The Consensus of the Believers Is Used as a Proof
The above mentioned Qur'anic verse, "If anyone opposes the Messenger even after guidance has been plainly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that becoming to men of belief," indicates that the believers ijma', consensus of opinion, is used as a proof. Therefore, disagreement with them is mutually connected to disagreement with the Messenger, because whatever the believers unanimously agreed on was based on nass, words or evidence, from the Messenger. Thus, every unanimously resolved issue is certainly true, while disagreeing with such unanimity leads to unbelief, exactly like disagreeing with al-nass al-bayyin, the clear text [Qur'an]. However, if unanimity is not decisive, then disagreeing with it may not lead to unbelief. For it may happen that the indecisive unanimity is false and that the truth is something else.
A question was posed concerning ijma’, consensus of opinion. Does it mean qatiyyun, definitive, or zanniyyun, mere assumption? Some people use it in the affirmative and some in the negative. The truth is clear, it is considered as a consensus of opinion and, for certain, there is no dispute to begin with among the believers. This matter must be decided upon justly. This is exactly what the Messenger pointed out as al-huda, the guidance. This is explained fully elsewhere.
When specific aspects of an obligation are described with interconnected attributes, this is an indication that any attribute will become a duty that must be followed. This is the Sirat al-Mustaqim, Straight Path, which Allah commands us to follow as guidance. Indeed, this means Islam, following the Qur’an, and obedience to Allah and His Messenger. It is also the way to worship Allah correctly. All the attributes, regardless of how numerous they may be, eventually lead to the obligation of worshiping Allah. These attributes are similar to the different names of Allah, the Exalted, the names of His Book, and the names of His Messenger. These are all like the names of His religion. Thus every constituent and its attributes refer to one and the same thing.
Allah says: "And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah stretches out for you, and be not divided among yourselves . . ." (Surah Al-‘Imran, 3: 103). In this verse, the phrase habl Allah, Allah's rope, has the following interpretations: Din al-Islam, the religion of Islam, the Qur'an, Allah's Covenant, Allah's Obedience and Commands, and the Muslim community. And all of these are haqq, true.
Connotation of the Book, the Sunnah, and Ijma’ as One
Accordingly, the three constituents— the Book, the Sunnah, traditions, and ijma’ consensus of opinion, should have the same connotation. For whatever is in the Book is agreed upon by the Messenger, and the Muslim community in its totality is in agreement on this matter. Indeed, all the believers must follow the Book as an obligation. The same applies to the Sunnah. That is, whatever is in the Sunnah, the Qur'an commands that it be followed; so do the believers. Similarly, whatever Muslims unanimously agree on is nothing other than the truth consistent with what is in the Book and the Sunnah. For Muslims learn about their religion from the Messenger, who had true Revelations revealed to him: the Qur'an and Wisdom. The Messenger (Peace be upon him) said: "I have received the Book, along with it, and the like of it [wisdom]."
Hassan Ibn 'Atiyyah  said: "Gabriel used to descend to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to teach him the Sunnah as well as to teach him the Qur'an." For not everything included in the Sunnah is necessarily interpreted in the Qur'an. This is contrary to what people of ijma’ say must be inferred from both the Qur’an and the Sunnah. For the Messenger was a mediator between Allah and the people by transmitting His commands, His permission, and His prohibitions.
Some of the Signs of Iman
Illustrating the above point are the following sayings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him): "A person who believes in Allah and the Last Day never nurses a grudge against the al-Ansar, the Helpers," and "The love of al-Ansar is the sign of Iman, and hatred against them is the sign of hypocrisy." For whoever knows what al-Ansar did for the Prophet, like obeying Allah and supporting His Messenger, and loves Allah and His Messenger, definitely loves al-Ansar, which is in turn a sign of heartfelt belief. However, for he who hates them, Allah has ordained no belief in his heart.
Whoever does not have hatred in his heart against what Allah and His Messenger hate — what He prohibits like unbelief, sin, and rebellion — does not have true belief in his heart. To put it differently, whoever does not hate what Allah prohibits, does not have belief, as will be indicated later, in sha'a Allah. Likewise, whoever does not love his brother, the believer that, which he loves for himself, does not have true belief, for Allah does not negate one's belief unless he abandons part of that required belief. Hence, he will be one of those subject to punishment, and he does not deserve Paradise without punishment.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: "Whoever cheats us is not one of us and whoever takes up arms against us is not one of us," for if one neglects an obligation or commits what Allah and His Messenger prohibit, his true belief is negated and he is not one of the believers who deserve Paradise without punishment.
Likewise, Allah says: "They say, we believe in Allah and in the Messenger, and we obey: then after that, a group of them turn away: they are not believers. And when they are summoned to Allah and His Messenger, in order that He may judge between them, behold, a group of them decline. If the right is on their side, they come to Him with all submission. Is it that there is an affliction in their hearts? Or do they doubt? Or are they in fear that Allah and His Messenger will deal unjustly with them? No, it is they themselves who are wrongdoers. The answer of the believers, when summoned to Allah and His Messenger, in order that he may judge between them, is no other than this. They say: ' We hear and we obey.' Those are the successful ones" (Surah An-Nur, 24:47-51).
Indeed, the word Iman, belief, if used in an absolute sense in the sayings of Allah and His Messenger, indicates fulfilling one's obligations and abandoning what is prohibited. Thus, whoever Allah and His Messenger declared to be without belief, must have abandoned an obligation or committed something prohibited. Hence, he is subject to punishment and does not deserve Paradise without punishment.
The same applies to Allah's saying: ". . . Allah has endeared belief to you, and has made it beautiful in your hearts, and He has made hateful to you unbelief, sin, and rebellion: such indeed are the righteousness ones" (Surah Al-Hujuraat, 49:7).
 Hassan Ibn 'Atiyyah, Abu Bakr al-Muharibi (7-130 A.H.), was one of the scholars of hadith in Syria and also one of al-Awza’i’s teachers. [Kitab al-Iman MZ, p. 59.]
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