قال الإمام أحمد -رحمه الله-: «عجبت لقومٍ عرَفُوا الإسناد وصِحَّتَه، يَذْهَبُون إلى رَأْيِ سُفْيَان؛ والله تعالى يقول: {فليحذر الذين يخالفون عن أمره أن تصيبهم فتنة}. أتدري ما الفتنة؟ الفتنة: الشرك، لعله إذا رَدَّ بعض قوله أن يَقَعَ في قلبه شيءٌ مِن الزَّيْغِ فيَهْلِكَ».
[لم أجد من حكم على الأثر.] - [رواه ابن بطة.]
المزيــد ...

Imām Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: "I wonder at those people who knew the Isnād (chain of narration) and its authenticity, yet they favor the opinion of Sufyān, although Allah, the Almighty, says: {So let those beware who dissent from the Prophet's order, lest Fitnah should strike them} [Sūrat An-Nūr: 63]. Do you know what is Fitnah? Fitnah is polytheism. Maybe if he rejects some of the Prophet's sayings, some deviation will befall his heart and he will thus be ruined.”

Explanation

Imām Ahmad disapproves of those who know an authentic Hadīth reported on the authority of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) and follow instead Sufyān or others in what goes against the Hadīth, giving invalid excuses as a justification. It is obligatory for the believer to follow the Book of Allah and the Prophet's Sunnah, once being informed of them and understanding their meanings. He should act upon them, regardless of those who oppose him, for this is how Allah and the Prophet (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) commanded us to behave. Imām Ahmad was concerned about those who are informed of the authentic Sunnah, then act contrary to it. Their hearts might deviate, and thus bring upon themselves perdition in this world and the Hereafter. Allah, the Almighty, says: {When they deviated, Allah caused their hearts to deviate} [Sūrat As-Saff: 5]. However, scholars who do not comply with the authentic traditions are excused, for as pious scholars of Allah, they do not act contrary to the Qur'an and the Sunnah on purpose. Rather they might lack the knowledge of certain parts thereof, or believe other parts are abrogated or weak.

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