Aqeedah (creed and belief) is the foundation of the religion and it
(‘aqeedah) is what is contained in the testification (shahaadah) that
none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is
the Messenger of Allaah. And it is the first pillar from the pillars of
So therefore, it is an obligation to give importance to it (`aqeedah)
and to give care and attention to it and to acquire knowledge of it and
knowledge of whatever will damage it so that the person can be upon
clear insight and can be upon a correct creed and belief.
Since if the person’s religion is established upon a sound, correct
foundation then it will be a straight and true religion that he is upon
– one that is acceptable to Allaah and if it (his religion) is based
upon a shaky or disturbed `aqeedah (creed) or if his religion is based
upon an ‘aqeedah (creed) which is corrupt then his religion will not be
correct and it will be without a foundation.
So, this is why the scholars rahimahumullaah used to give importance to
the affair of ‘aqeedah and they were not laxed about explaining it in
their lessons and whenever they had an opportunity. The later person
used to transmit it from the one who came before him.
And the Companions radiyAllaahu `anhum did not have any doubts about
what came in the Qur’aan and what came in the Sunnah of Allaah’s
Messenger sallAllaahu`alayhi wa sallam. So their `aqeedah (creed and
belief) was based upon the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Allaah’s
Messenger sallAllaahu`alayhi wa sallam and they were not afflicted by
any doubt in that regard nor any hesitation. So, whatever Allaah said
and whatever His Messenger sallAllaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, they took
it as their creed and belief and they took it as their religion. And
they did not need any further book to be written for them after that
since this was something fully accepted by them and something that was
certain with them; their creed (‘aqeedah) was the Book and the Sunnah.
And then their students proceeded upon that from the Taabi`een (the
next generation after the Companions) – those who took from them. So,
there was no disputing in `aqeedah (creed and belief); it was an affair
which was fully accepted (undisputed); and their source was the Book
and the Sunnah.
But when the sects and the differences arose and appeared, and when
people entered into the religion who were such that the creed and
`aqeedah was not firmly grounded in his heart or those who entered into
Islaam whilst still carrying some deviated ideas with them, and when
there arose in Islaam people who did not refer back to the Book nor to
the Sunnah in `aqeedah, rather, they referred back to principles and
methodologies which had been established by people of misguidance by
themselves. When all of this happened then the a’immah (the imaams) of
Islaam at this time needed to clarify (make explanation and
clarification of) the correct `aqeedah (belief and creed) and they
needed to carefully record it and write it down and narrate it from the
scholars of the Ummah. So therefore, they wrote down the books of creed
and belief and they gave attention to that; and this became a reference
for those who came after them from the Ummah and it will be so until
the establishment of the last Hour.
And this is an example of the Protection of Allaah, the Most High for
this religion and Allaah’s taking care of this religion – that He
provided for it trustworthy carriers to convey it just as it came from
Allaah and His Messenger and to repel the false interpretations of the
negators and the false declarations of the Creator’s being like the
creation. So these scholars came and passed on as inheritance this
creed (`aqeedah), the later ones taking it from the earlier ones.
And from as-Salaf as-Saalih (the pious predecessors) who used to be
upon the sound and firm belief and creed (i`tiqaad) taken from Allaah’s
Messenger sallAllaahu`alayhi wa sallam and from his Companions and from
the Taabi`een were the four imaams: Imaam Aboo Haneefah, Imaam Maalik,
Imaam ash-Shaafi`ee and Imaam Ahmad and others from the imaams, those
who stood and defended the correct `aqeedah (belief and creed) and who
confirmed it, explained it and taught it to the students.
And the followers of the four imaams (their students who came after
them) used to give attention to this creed and belief; they used to
study it and caused their students to learn it. And many books were
written about it upon the methodology of the Book and the Sunnah and
upon what the chosen Messenger, al-Mustafaa sallAllaahu`alayhi wa
sallam was upon and his companions radiyAllaahu `anhum and the
Taabi`een. So, they refuted the false beliefs and the deviated beliefs,
and they clearly explained how they were counterfeit and baseless. And
the same was done by the imaams of hadeeth such as: Ishaaq ibn
Raahawayh and al-Bukhaaree and Muslim and Imaam Ibn Khuzaymah and Imaam
Ibn Qutaybah; and from the imaams of tafseer (explanation) of the
Qur’aan such as Imaam at-Tabaree and Imaam Ibn Katheer and Imaam
al-Baghwee and others from the imaams of tafseer.
They (all) wrote works in this regard (explaining the correct belief)
and they called them Kutub As-Sunnah – books of the Sunnah; for
example, Kitaab as-Sunnah of Ibn Abee `Aasim and the book as- Sunnah of
`Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the book as-Sunnah of Al-Khallaal
and the book ash-Sharee`ah of Al-Aajurree and other than that.
 As is shown by the hadeeth of Ibn `Umar radiyAllaahu anhumaa who
said, “Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Islaam is
built upon five: the shahaadah (testification) that none had the right
to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of
Allaah, and correct establishment of the prayer, and giving the zakaat,
and the hajj, and fasting in Ramadaan’.” The hadeeth is reported by
Bukhaaree as no.8 and reported by Muslim.