The statement of Imam Ahmad:
“Say to the People of Innovation, ‘between you and us is the funerals’ “
It was reported by Imam Daraqutni:
سمعتُ أبا عليٍّ الصَّوَّافَ يقولُ: سمعتُ عبدَاللهِ بنَ أحمدَ يقولُ: سمعتُ أبي رحمه اللهُ يقولُ: ” قولوا لأهلِ البدعِ: بيننا وبينكم يومُ الجنائزِ”. وسمعتُ أبا سهلِ بنَ زيادٍ
I heard Aba Ali as-Sawaaf say: I heard Abdullah ibn Ahmad say: I heard my father (may Allah have mercy upon him) say: “Say to the People of innovation: Between us and you is the day of the Janaaiz (funeral)”. I heard (Daraaqunti) from Abu Sahal ibn Ziyaad (likewise)”
[Reported by as-Sulaami in his Su’alaat li Daraqutni pg. 361 no. 472. And the narration is Saheeh]
It was also mentioned by Imam Dhahabi in Siyar (11/430), Hafidh Mizzi in Tahtheeb al-Kamaal (1/467), Hafidh Ibn ‘Asaakir in Tareekh ad-Dimishq (5/332) and others.
Hafidh Ibn Kathir rahimahullah explained the narration saying:
وقال الدارقطني: سمعت أبا سهل بن زياد، سمعت عبد الله بن أحمد، يقول: سمعت أبي، يقول: قولوا لأهل البدع بيننا وبينكم الجنائز حين تمر.
Daaraqutni said: I heard Abu Sahl ibn Ziyaad say: I heard Abdullah ibn Ahmad say: I heard my father say: “Say to the People of innovation: Between us and you is the day of the Janaaiz (funeral) when it passes”
Allah has spoken the truth regarding the statement of Ahmad for verily he was an Imam of Sunnah in his time. The leader of those who opposed him was Ahmad ibn Abi Duwaad and he was the judge from the judges of the dunya. No one celebrated his death nor turned towards it. When he died, no one witnessed it except a little from the assists of the Sultan.
Likewise, al-Haarith al-Muhaasibi despite his asceticism, cautiousness, mentioning of his own faults, and his accountability regarding his thoughts and actions, no one prayed on him except three or four people.
Likewise, Bishr ibn Ghiyaath al-Mireesi. None prayed upon him except a very small group. His affair was made small from before and after”
[Bidayah wan-Nihaayah (10/376)
And Allah Knows Best
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan