The Shaykh began with al-Khutbah al-Haajah, praising Allaah, seeking His forgiveness, seeking refuge with Him, testifying to the oneness of Allaah and the messengership of Muhammad, until he stated that the best speech is the Book of Allaah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasllam) and the worst of affairs are innovations (in the religion), that all innovations are misguidance and all misguidance is in the Fire.
The Shaykh stated that there are many great and important matters that a Muslim should know and from the greatest of those such matters is that the seeking of truth is from the Qur'aan, the Sunnah and the (understanding and application) of the Companions. (In other words when a person investigates to find the truth (in matters), then he seeks it from these three places as a matter of methodology).
The Shaykh explained that this provides us with the benefit of knowing that a Muslim knows specifically where to investigate and look for the truth, and this in turn leads to another issue (as proof for the above) which is the saying of Allaah, the Most High, "And whover contends with the Messenger after the guidances has become plain and clear to him and follows a path other than the path of the believers, we will leave him to where he has turned and burn him in the Fire, what an evil destination" (4:115). This verse comprises a number of matters, the first is the obligation to follow the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and the second obligation is to follow the Companions (radiallaahu anhum). This latter obligation is also confirmed and emphasized in the hadeeth regarding splitting in which the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said "This ummah will split into seventy-three sects all of them in the Fire except for one" and when the Companions asked "Who are they O Messenger of Allaah?" he replied, "Those who are upon what I and my Companions are upon."
The Shaykh stated that there are numerous important matters that are built upon and follow on from what has preceded.
a) From them is the matter of making luzoom (adhering, holding fast) to the people of truth (those Scholars who follow that way) and not separating from them. The Shaykh explained the danger of isolation by saying that the wolf takes the lone sheep.
b) In turn, that making luzoom to Scholars who are upon the truth is not partisanship (ta'assub) as is claimed by the Innovators such as al-Halabi al-Ma'ribee and their likes. Rather this is something indicated and commanded in the Book and the Sunnah and is not ta'assub at all.
c) The difference between the people of truth and the Hizbiyyeen (partisans) is that we make luzoom of the Scholars because of the truth that is with them whereas the Hizbiyyeen make luzoom of whomever they adhere to because of opinions and desires (that clash with the truth) and hence they are the ones who fall into tahazzub.
d) Therefore, describing this luzoom which is commanded in the Book and the Sunnah with labels like tahazzub (and taqleed) is a great evil.
The above indicates that it is not permissible to seek and investigate for the truth from other than what has been specified and using a way or path other than the one outlined.
All the above in turn means that we have certainty of the falsehood of the one who claims that all the various jamaa'aat (groups, parties, factions) present today are upon the truth. This is because the truth is only one and does not vary and split, due to the saying of Allaah, the Exalted, "And that this is My straight path so follow it and do not follow other paths lest they separate you from this path..." (6:153).
The Shaykh explained that [in violation of the above] many Muslims seek and pursue the truth from other than these foundations, the Qur'an, the Sunnah upon the understanding of the Companions (by way of a Scholar who speaks on the basis of that). This behaviour indicates that such a person has shakk (doubt) [as it relates to the Qur'an, Sunnah and understanding of the Companions being the way of truth]. This also indicates that a person has with him "thiqah bil-nafs" - which means self-reliance, self-dependence and trust in oneself. Such a person claims that he can know truth and falsehood, that he can mix with the people and through this figure out the truth from falsehood because he has "thiqah bil-nafs" (trust in his own ability). In reality, this is trust in his own self and is not trust with Allaah, he is simply relying upon is own reason (aql) and his own thought (dhann). Such a person has not appreciated where the truth lies, in the Qur'an, the Sunnah, the understanding of the Companions (through a Scholar who speaks on the basis of that) and has an element of doubt.
The Shaykh explained that here are two important issues facing us. Is the truth (and the way to arrive at it) clear to us? Have we been given success in (arriving at the truth and) following it? When a person has "thiqah bil-nafs" he has no way of knowing the answers to these questions with certainty. As opposed to when we follow the Qur'an, the Sunnah upon the understanding of the Companions (through making luzoom of the Scholars who speak on the basis of that), then we have assurance and certainty of the correctness of the path being followed.
The Shaykh also explained that this important foundation also has another issue connected to it which is the importance of seeking that knowledge by which truth and falsehood can be distinguished. The Muslim, as a basic principle, should be upon knowledge, light and guidance, this is what a Muslim should be upon, be he an average Muslim, the student of knowledge or a Scholar. They should be upon acquaintance of the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). This is because "seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim" as occurs in the hadeeth, which means the knowledge of the rulings which a Muslim is in need of. Knowledge of them is obligatory just like the obligation of the five prayers (for example). From here we realise the mistake of the common Muslims who believe that they are not in need of seeking knowledge in these such matters (being discussed in this regard from the rulings pertaining to the religion). The rulings of the religion (ahkaam al-deen) in the view of the Scholars are of two types:
The first is that which is obligatory upon all Muslims such as knowledge of the rulings of Tawheed, its opposite, Shirk, purification, prayer, fasting and what they need to know of the affairs of worship. This takes place by asking scholars, referring back to them, listening to their lessons. The second type is an additional matter above and over the individual obligation and it is a collective obligation (unlike the first), when some Muslims perform it the rest are excused and this relates to other fields of knowledge.
End of Part 1. Note in the last paragraph, the intent of the Shaykh is that knowing truth from falsehood is a matter obligated upon all Muslims, and hence every Muslim must pursue and seek knowledge by which truth is distinguished from falsehood - and this is through the Scholar who gives rulings and advice based upon the Qur'an, the Sunnah upon the understanding of the Companions. Exactly how a Muslim pursues this is elaborated upon in the next part.