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Praise be to Allah of Whom we ask help, forgiveness and guidance, and in Whom we seek refuge against our own wrongdoings. "He who Allah guides there is none to lead astray and he whom Allah misguides there is none to guide."
It has been almost ten years since this discourse was first published in Arabic, a period in which it has been reprinted or photocopied in various countries throughout the Muslim world, where it has been received with approval, praise be to Allah for His grace.
It is our purpose in publishing this concise discourse to present to our brothers-in-Islam the articles of our creed in their entirety. Following the example of those of our pious predecessors who have composed concise discourses on the tenets of Islam, I have written this in a simple style, and numbered it in order to facilitate comprehending and retaining its contents. It was my intention to write explanatory comments on this discourse had I not been preoccupied with the daily editing of articles on issues which required immediate attention. Allah, however, made it possible to expound on the subject in consecutive lessons and lectures that were recorded in about forty-five audio tapes, copies of which are available, by the grace of Allah, in the East and West, to the benefit of many people interested in learning throughout the world.
In the ten years since the first edition of this discourse, Muslims have suffered many afflictions, that caused some to swerve from the right way and others to tamper with the fundamentals of Islam, while still others came to claim partners to Allah, to whom they ascribed His attributes. This necessitated the exposition of terms of reference to safeguard the Muslims against deviation from the right way.
It is common knowledge that Islamic `aqeedah (1) is presented in the Qur'an in two types of ayat (verses):
1) Statements in which Allah plainly and clearly informs us (e.g. "Say: He is Allah, the One, Allah, the absolutely independent upon whom all depend. He does not beget nor was he begotten. And there is none comparable to Him." [S.112]). This surah (chapter) is a Divine statement informing us about His Exalted essence and His attributes and His Oneness, praise be to Him. He is Self-sufficient, who stands out matchless, with none equal to Him, and He neither begets nor was begotten. The reason behind revealing the above surah, as it has been reported, was that the Prophet(Peace be on Him) was asked either by Quraish (2) or by some bedouins: "Tell us of your Lord's lineage!" (3) The surah was revealed in response to their query. Irrespective of the particular circumstances of the revelation of this surah, it and many other similar ones were revealed by Allah to make us aware of His attributes and his existence.
2) Statements in which Allah rebuts or repels dubious or profane tenets held by the pagans or People of the Book, to verify the truth and ordain His aqeedah. For example: "And they said the Compassionate has taken unto Himself offspring." [19.88] Allah in the above ayah refutes a belief held by the pagans that angels were the daughters of Allah. The angels are His honourable servants, not His daughters as they alleged.
"The Jews say: 'Allah's hand is tied up (i.e. He does not spend of His bounty).' Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for what they uttered. Nay! Both His hands are widely outstretched. He gives and spends (of His bounty) as He wills. . ." 5.64
"Those who take partners (in worship) with Allah will say:'If Allah had willed, we would not have taken partners (in worship) with Him, nor would our fathers, and we would not have forbidden a thing (against His Will).' Likewise those who were before them gave the lie (to Allah's messengers)" 6.148
The latter ayah in which Allah rebuts and rebukes unbelief and confirms the true belief represents a type commonly found in the Qur'an.
No doubt, the lesson of correct `aqeedah is more thoroughly teamed through the presentation of the false and its refutation. This is due to the fact that things are recognized better when placed in opposition to their contraries; light for instance can be distinguished only by contrast with darkness. Similarly, truth may be sought through an awareness of falsehood. Allah the Exalted says [in the meaning of]:
"Whoever disbelieves in the false deities and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that will never break. . . " 2.256
This means that in order to belie taghoot (4), one first must be aware of it and its nature.
I have compiled this discourse in accordance with the concept of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaah (the Sunni Muslims) in order to present the authentic creed as perceived by as-Salafus-Saalih (the pious predecessors). It is due to His grace that neither a tenet which is held by Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaah, nor any issue related to the subject matter, were left out of this discourse.
In other words, this work comprises all of the issues relevant to `aqeeda dealt with by scholars of the past and by contemporary ones, along with other commentaries relating to disruptive controversies of our time.
Anyone who is well aquainted with works on aqeedah realizes that there have been times when many of religion's minor issues have been treated as fundamental, e.g., wiping over boots (in abolution), the imamate (leadership) of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman (may Allah be pleased with them), the definition of the term Ahul-Beit (the family of the Prophet (Peace be on Him), the marriage of mut'ah (enjoyment), stoning the married adulterer, and other minor judicial issues, differing over which resulted in attacks on the reputations of the companions of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with them all). Differeing over these issues ultimately led some to regard the Prophet's respected companions as infidels, and even to go so far as to regard the Qur'an as incomplete.
Thus there have been times when people so exceeded the bounds of correct behavior in pursuing differences in minor issues in religion, that they ended by differing over fundamentals.
Similar to them are many people of the present time, who form a small group to invite to the way of Allah and deem themselves the sole Islamic group, while holding all others to be either infidels or polytheists.
Invariably, the source of this attitude is a disagreemenet over some minor question which later develops into the central feature of their sect and the criterion by which they judge others.
Motivated by the concern over this situation, I brought together all the major issues of `aqeedah in this work, including the articles of faith (i.e. the belief in Allah, His angels, His Scriptures, his Messengers, the Final Day, predestiny (of good or bad)) and other issues of importance on which people have differed now and in the past. I have also included that which it is incumbent on the Muslims to believe with regard to jurisprudence and ijtihad (5), and the stand that the believers must take in relation to both Muslims and non-Muslims. All the basic issues have been included, of which the Muslim should be aware in order to learn, and to evaluate his convictions so that he may hold fast to the right way.
The Sunni Muslims have no choice but to accept this pure `aqeedah to achieve their unity and avoid all innovations in belief or acts of worship, and to resist deviation from and perversion of religion, and to rebuff false opinions and the deviant seventy-two sects to which the prophet(Peace be on Him) referred:
"The Jews were divided into seventy-one sects, and Nasaraa (Christians) were divided into seventy-two sects, and my Ummah (nation) shall be divided into seventy-three sects; all of them are in the (Hell) Fire except one, that is Al-Jamaa`ah (6)."
In another hadeeth, he referred to them saying, "A group of my Ummmah will remain victorious in their struggle in the course of the truth until Allah's order (the Final Hour) comes upon them".(7)
The above authentic hadeeth makes it abundantly clear that only the salafis (those who follow the methodology of the Prophet (Peace be on him) and his companions) constitute the Jamaa'ah, the people of the truth who hold fast to the Book and Sunnah and who shun disbelief, falsehood and shirk(8).
The salafi call and the aqeedah of the safe sect is what this discourse is all about.
We hope that this `aqeedah dwells in the hearts of every Muslim, and that every da'ee (inviter) to Allah promotes it. We also hope that Allah makes feasiable completing a concise Arabic commentary on this discourse substantiated by valid arguements and by proofs from the Qur'an and Sunnah.
It is entirely up to Allah to make our endeavour purely for His sake, and to help us avoid errors in belief, utterance and deed; He is the Hearer the Knower.
Abdur-Rahmaan Abdul Khaliq
(1) 'Aqeedah' is a religious tenet upon which one's mind and heart is firmly settled and to which he holds or adheres.
(2) Quraish is the tribe of the Prophet (Peace be on Him).
(3) It is customary for the Arabs to take pride in their family lineage and to set it as a criterion by which social status is judged.
(4) Taghoot is any deity worshipped beside or other than Allah, or any object of worship.
(5) 'Ijtihad' is drawing forth the judicial laws or rulings by studying relevent texts from the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
(6) 'Al-Jamaa`ah' is the assemblage of Sunni Muslims. The Hadith is narrated by Abu Dawud.
(8) Shirk - The attribution of partners or offspring to Allah.
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