The Shaykh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) said, “And know that most of the innovations connected to ‘uloom (sciences) and acts of worship occurred in this Ummah at the end of the period of the rightly-guided Khaleefahs. Just as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) informed, when he said, “Those of you who live long after me will see a great deal of differences. So hold fast to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly-guided Khaleefahs after me…”
So when the period of the rightly-guided Khaleefahs had passed and the rule of kingship appeared, deficiencies appeared in the leaders, and therefore deficiency spread also to the people of knowledge and deen. So during the end of the rule of ‘Alee رضي الله عنه the innovation of the Khawaarij1 and Raafidah2 appeared.
This being connected to the issue of leadership and khilaafah, and that was connected to this from actions and Sharee’ah rulings.
The kingship of Mu’aawiyah رضي الله عنه was a kingship of mercy, so when it passed, the rule of Yazeed came and fitnah (trials and discord) took place within it; the killing of al-Husayn in ‘Iraaq, the fitnah of the people of Hurrah in Madeenah and the siege of Makkah when ‘Abdullaah ibn Zubair made his stand. Then Yazeed passed away and the Ummah split up. Ibn Zubair in Hijaaz, Banoo Hakam in Shaam (Syria, Jordan, Palestine) and the jump to power of Mukhtaar ibn Abee’Ubayd and others in ‘Iraaq. All of this took place at the end of the era of the Companions, when there only remained the likes of ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Abbaas, ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, Jaabir bin ‘Abdullaah, Aboo Sa’eed al-Khudree and others.
The innovation of the Qadariyyah3 and the Murji’ah4 then occurred and it was refuted by those Companions who remained, as they had along with others, refuted the innovations of the Khawaarij and the Raafidah. Indeed the status of the first three generations, by agreement of the majority, is the best and most just generations.
That which the Qadariyyah mostly spoke about was related to the actions of the servants, as did the Murji’ah. Their speech was concerned with issues of obedience and disobedience, the believer and the sinful one and other similarly related matters such as the names and the judgements, and promises and threats. Until then they had not spoken about their Lord, nor about His Attributes, except in the last period of the lesser Taabi’oon, this being the last period of the Umayyah rule, when the third generation, the Atbaa’ut-Taabi’oon, began, and by which time most of the Taabi’oon had already passed away.
So the majority of the Companions had passed away by the end of the rule of the four rightly-guided Khulafaa, until none remained from the people of Badr except a few. The majority of the Taabi’oon had passed away in the last period of the younger Companions, during the reign of Ibn az-Zubair and ‘Abdul-Malik. The Majority of the third generation passed away in the last part of the Umayyah rule, at the beginning of the ‘Abbaasee rule.
It then occurred that many of the offices of authority and power started to be occupied by the non-Arabs, whilst at the same time, many of the Arabs left the offices of power. Some of the non-Arab books were translated into Arabic: the books of the Persians, the Indians (Hindus) and the Romans. Thus, what the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said appeared, “Then lies will become widespread, to such an extent that a person will testify and will not have been asked to do so, and will take an oath without being asked to do so.”
Then three matters occurred: opinion (ra’ee), philosophical speech and theology (kalaam) and sufism (tasawwuf). The innovation of the Jahmiyyah5 also occurred, which is negating and denying the Attributes of Allaah.”
Source: from the book, The ‘Aqeedah of Imaam al-Bukhari, Salafi Publications, 2nd Edition, Chapter Five, pp. 54-57.
1 The Khaawarij were the first sect in Islaam to split from the way of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his Companions. They arose during the Khilaafah of ‘Alee, making rebellion (khurooj) against him, before the arbitration between him and Mu’aawiyyah رضي الله عنه. From their false ‘aqeedah (belief) is: allowing rebellion against the legitimate Muslim ruler, whether pious or wicked, and declaring a Muslim to be a kaafir (disbeliever) due to commission of a major sin. They were described by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) as the “Dogs of Hellfire.” Refer to Maqaalaatul-Islamiyyeen (1/168) of Abul-Hasan al-Ash’aree, Al-Bidaayah (8/22-24) of Ibn Katheer and Fathul-Baaree (12/282-302) of Ibn Hajr.
2 The Raafidah (the Rejectors) are an extreme sect of the Shee’ah who rejected Zayd ibn ‘Alee ibn al-Husayn due to his refusal to condemn Aboo Bakr and ‘Umar. They rapidly deteriorated in ‘aqeedah, morals and deen, until the present day, where their beliefs are those represented by the Ithnaa Ash’ariyah Shee’ahs of ‘Iraan. From their false beliefs are: declaring all but three to five of the Companions to be disbelievers, the belief that their Imaams have knowledge of the Unseen past, present and future, considering the imaamah to be one of the main pillars of eemaan (faith) and they believe that the Qur’aan is incomplete. Refer to Maqaalaatul-Islaamiyyeen (1/65), Al-Farq Baynal-Firaq (no. 21) of ‘Abdul-Qaadir al-Baghdaadee and Talbees-Iblees (pp.94-100) of Ibnul-Jawzee.
3 The Qadariyyah are the followers of Ma’bad ibn al-Juhanni, and from their false beliefs are: that Allaah has no prior knowledge of anything until it comes into existence; that it is people, and not Allaah, who are the creators of their own actions; denying ‘aqeedah (belief) in the Punishment of the Grave and denying that the authentic hadeeth is an evidence for the ‘aqeedah unless it is related in mutawaatir form. Refer to Al-Milal wan-Nihal (1/72) of ash-Shahrastanee and Sawnul-Mantaq wal-Kalaam of as-Suyootee.
4 The Murji’ah are those who reject that actions are a part of eemaan (faith) and say that eemaan is affirmation of the heart and statement of the tongue only. The extreme amongst them limit eemaan to belief of the heart only. They also deny that eemaan increases and decreases. Refer to Al-Maqaalaat (1/214) and Al-Farq baynal-Firaq (p.202)
5 The Jahmiyyah are the followers of Jahm ibn Safwaan, who unleashed upon this Ummah the horrific innovation of ta’teel (denial of Allaah’s Attributes), either directly or by twisting the meanings. Such as twisting the meaning of the Hand of Allaah to mean His Power and Generosity. They also deny that Allaah is above His creation, above His Throne, as well as holding the belief that Paradise and Hell-fire are not ever-lasting. Refer to Ar-Radd ‘alal-Jahmiyyah by Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and also ad-Daarimee and Al-Ibaanah (p.141) of Abul-Hasan al-‘Asharee.