Points and Footnotes taken from the Book:
Foundations of the The Sunnah by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (died 241 H)

Chapter: The Foundations of the Sunnah

Ahmed Ibn Hanbal said: "The Fundamental Principles of the
Sunnah(1) with us are:

1. Holding fast to what the Companions of the Messenger of Allah
(Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) were upon.

2. Taking them [and their way] as a model to be followed.

3. The abandonment of innovations, and every innovation is
misguidance.

4. The abandonment of controversies.

5. The abandonment of sitting with the people of Ahwaa (Desires).(2)

6. And the abandonment of quarrelling, argumentation and controversy
in the religion."(3)

To be continued…

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1. The term Sunnah here refers to the principles and foundations of
the correct Islamic `aqeedah (belief) and manhaj (methodology),
since the Salaf would apply this term to matters of `aqeedah and
manhaj – as can be seen from their books and writings.

2. Al-Fudayl ibn `Iyaad (d. 187H) said, "I met the best of
people, all of them people of the Sunnah and they used to forbid from
accompanying the people of Innovation". Reported by
al-Laalikaa'ee

3. Imam as-Saaboonee (d. 449H) said about Ahlus-Sunnah, "They
follow the Salafus-Salih, the Imaams and the Scholars of the Muslims,
and they cling to the firm deen that they clung to and the clear
Truth. And they hate Ahlul-Bid'ah (the People of Innovation) who
innovate into the Deen that which is not from it. They do not love
them and they do not keep company with them. They do not listen to
their sayings, nor sit with them, not argue with them about the Deen,
nor debate with them. Rather, they protect their ears from the
hearing their futility, things which if they pass through the ears
and settle in the hearts, will cause harm and cause doubts and wicked
ideas to appear. And concerning this Allah, the Mighty and Majestic,
sent down [What has been translated as]: "And when you see people
engaged in vain discourse about Our signs, then turn away from them
unless they turn to a different theme." Soorah al-An'aam:68
Reported in the Risaalah fil i'tiqaad Ahlis-Sunnah Ashaabil-Hadeeth
of Imam as-Saboonee


Allahu Alim

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'Rabbee zidnee`ilmaa'
My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.[20:114]

The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said:
"Whoever sets out on a path to seek knowledge, Allaah will make easy his path to Paradise."
[Saheeh Muslim]