An Introduction to the study of the Islamic Creed

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of mercy

The sources of the (Islamic Creed) can only be established through the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. The Creeds are of two types: (a) the creed revealed by Allaah and the creed fabricated by the people. However, the sound and correct creed can only be from Allaah’s Wahi [the revelation sent down by Allaah (the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah)].  Allaah (The Most High) informed us about Yoosuf (alayhis-salaam) and what said to his companions in the prison:

يَا صَاحِبَيِ السِّجْنِ أَأَرْبَابٌ مُتَفَرِّقُونَ خَيْرٌ أَمِ اللَّهُ الْوَاحِدُ الْقَهَّارُ; مَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءً سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنْتُمْ وَآَبَاؤُكُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ أَمَرَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوا إِلَّا إِيَّاهُ ذَلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

 

“O two companions of the prison! Are many different lords (gods) better or Allah, the One, the Irresistible? You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command (or the judgement) is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him (i.e. His Monotheism), that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not.” [Soorah Yoosuf: Ayah: 39-40]

 

Allaah (The Most High) said:

أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ اللَّاتَ وَالْعُزَّى (19) وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الْأُخْرَى (20) أَلَكُمُ الذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ الْأُنْثَى (21) تِلْكَ إِذًا قِسْمَةٌ ضِيزَى (22) إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنْتُمْ وَآَبَاؤُكُمْ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ سُلْطَانٍ إِنْ يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى الْأَنْفُسُ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُمْ مِنْ رَبِّهِمُ الْهُدَى (23)

 

”Have you then considered Al-Lat, and Al-‘Uzza (two idols of the pagan Arabs) And Manat (another idol of the pagan Arabs), the other third? Is it for you the males and for Him the females? That indeed is a division most unfair! They are but names which you have named, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority.’’ [Soorah Najm: 19-23]

 

Allaah (The Most High) said:

أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ شَرَعُوا لَهُمْ مِنَ الدِّينِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَنْ بِهِ اللَّهُ

 ”Or have they partners with Allah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed.’’ [Soorah Ash-Shoorah: Ayah:21]

 

Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنْتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَكِنْ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (52) صِرَاطِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ أَلَا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَصِيرُ الْأُمُورُ

”And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad) Ruhan (an Inspiration, and a Mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Qur’an) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism).” [Soorah Ash-shoorah: ayah:52-53]

All these aayaat demonstrates the fact that sound Islamic creed can only be derived from the revelation (i.e. the Qur’aan and the Sunnah

The Sunnah: The delegation of Abdul Qais:

The delegation said: ”O Messenger of Allah, we come to you from a far-off distance and there lives between you and us a tribe of the kuffaar of Mudar, and it is not possible for us to come to you except in the sacred months. So direct us to a clear command, concerning which we are to inform others and by way of which we may enter paradise. He (Sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: I command you to do four things and forbid you from four things, and he added: I command you with Imaan in Allaah, and then he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) asked them: Do you know what Imaan in Allaah is? They said: Allah and His Messenger know best. The Prophet said: It is the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah….to the end of the Hadeeth [Saheeh Muslim]

These people were Arabs and people of eloquence in their language, however when the Messenger asked them about what Imaan is, they replied: ”Allaah and His Messenger know best.’’  This shows that the affairs of the creed and Eemaan are only established by way of the revelation. As for the people of innovation and desires, some of them derive their creed by way of the intellect, opinions, dreams, fables and what they relish of beliefs. 


 

Principles We Must Establish In This Affair

 

The First Principle:

We believe that the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) has clarified all the affairs of the religion. He has clarified its fundamentals, subsidiary issues, beliefs and prescribed laws. Allaah (The Most High) said:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

 

”This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Soorah Al-Maa-idah: Ayah:3]

So when it is the case that the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) has even explained in detail the etiquettes of using the toilet, then it is not possible that he would not have detailed the affairs of the creed, thus giving an allowance for others to come along and make up beliefs based on their intellects, opinions etc. Indeed, the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) has clarified all the Religion, its creed and laws. 


 

The Second Principle

The Book of Allaah (The Most High) and the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) are the sources of the religion, and every dispute between the Muslims is to be referred back to them. Allaah (The Most High) said:

فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّى يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا

”But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad ) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [Soorah An-Nisaa: ayah:65]

 

Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُبِينًا

”It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.”[Soorah Al-Ahzaab: Ayah:36]

 

Allaah (The Most High) said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآَخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا

”O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.’’ [Soorah An-Nisaa: Ayah: 59]

And referring back to Allaah is to refer to His Book (i.e. the Qur’aan), and referring to the Messenger is to refer to his Sunnah. The one who does not do this, then indeed he has deviated from the straight path. Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) used to say often:

مَنْ فَارَقَ الدَّلِيل ضَلَّ السَّبِيل وَلَا دَلِيل إِلَّا بِمَا جَاءَ بِهِ الرَّسُول

Whoever opposes the proofs will be led away from the path, and there is no proof, except that which the Messenger came with.

 

Ibn Abil Izz Al-Hanafi (rahimahullaah) said:

كَيْفَ يُرَام الْوُصُول إِلَى عِلْمِ الْأُصُولِ بِغيْرِ مَا جَاءَ بِهِ الرَّسُول

How can one aim at reaching knowledge of the fundamental principles of the (religion) with other than what the Messenger brought?!


The Third Principle:

A Muslim is not to put himself forward before Allaah and His Messenger. He is not to speak about the Religion without knowledge from Allaah and His Messenger, because that is from the greatest of sins and crimes. Allaah (The Most High) said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

 ”O you who believe! Do not put (yourselves) forward before Allah and His Messenger (), and fear Allah. Verily! Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” [Soorah Al-Hujuraat: Ayah:1]

This means: Neither speak (about the religion) until Allaah and His Messenger speak, nor act (in the name of the religion) until you are commanded; neither in the affairs of creed and acts of worship nor in the affairs of knowledge.

Allaah (The Most High) said:

 وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا

‘’And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not, etc.) that of which you have no knowledge (e.g. one’s saying: “I have seen,” while in fact he has not seen, or “I have heard,” while he has not heard). Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you will be questioned (by Allah).’’ [Soorah Al-Israa: Ayah:36]


 

The Fourth Principle:

Our understanding of the Book (of Allaah) and the Sunnah of the Messenger has to be in agreement with the understanding of the salaf (i.e. the pious predecessors). They (i.e. the pious predecessors) possessed the most pious of hearts and purest of souls. They were the ones who received the religion directly from the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and transmitted it to the Ummah as they heard it, and they fulfilled its requirements. Indeed, Allaah selected them to be the companions of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and carriers of His religion. Allaah was pleased with them and they were pleased with Allaah. Allaah (The Most High) sent down tranquillity upon them and bestowed them with piety. Therefore, it is obligatory to understand the religion the manner in the manner in which they understood it. And it not for a person to come along thereafter and say: ‘’They (i.e. the companions of Muhammad) were men and we are men;’’ and if someone says this, then indeed he is a person of misguidance. And for this reason, Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا

 ”And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad ) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.’’ [Soorah An-Nisaa: Ayah:115]

 

And Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

”And the first to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajirun) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.”[Soorah At-Tawbah: Ayah: 100]

This is the aim: We follow them exactly (in faith) and we follow their path. The closer a person is in following them, then the closer is he to guidance. And in a hadeeth, the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”the best of people are those living in my generation, then those who come after them, and those after them….’’ 


 

 The Fifth Principle:

It is obligatory upon the person who has been bestowed with this favour of (holding unto the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah of the Messenger and the understanding of the pious predecessors) to be steadfast upon it. He is to be steadfast upon it by way of knowledge, creed and action until Allaah takes his soul. Allaah said:

فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ

”So stand (ask Allah to make) you (Muhammad) firm and straight (on the religion of Islamic Monotheism) as you are commanded.” [Soorah hood: Ayah:112]

 

Steadfastness can only be through what Allaah has revealed. Allaah (The Most High) said:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

”Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is (only) Allah,” and thereafter Istaqamu (i.e. stood firm and straight on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden and by performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained), on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”[Soorah Al-ahqaah: Ayah:13]

 

Allaah (The Most High) said:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

”Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (Alone),” and then they Istaqamu , on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!” [Soorah Fussilat: Ayah:30]

This steadfastness is sought from a (slave of Allaah); steadfastness upon the (sound) creed, righteous action and deeds that draws him close to Allaah until Allaah takes away his soul. Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ

 And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death). [Soorah al-Hijr: Ayah:99]

 

And Allaah (The Most High) said:

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ

 ”O you who believe! Fear Allah (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah. [Soorah Aala Imraan: Ayah: 102]

 

And amongst the tremendous supplications is what has been reported by Ibn Abee Shaybah that Abu Dardaa (radiyallaahu-anhu) used to supplicate saying:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي

أَسْأَلُكَ إيمَانًا دَائِمًا وَعِلْمًا نَافِعًا وَهَدْيًا قَيِّمًا

 ”O Allaah! I ask you for abiding Imaan, beneficial knowledge and upright guidance.”

Mu-aawiyyah Ibn Qurra (rahimahullaah) transmitted this narration from Abu Dardaa and then said: ”Because there is Imaan that is not abiding, knowledge that is not beneficial and guidance that is not upright.”   Therefore, a Muslim must ask Allaah for these (things) and he should employ the means to attainting them, as the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ‘’be eager for what is of benefit to you, and place your reliance upon Allaah’’


The Sixth Principle:

And after being steadfastness upon the (sound creed, in following the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the way of the pious predecessors), one must call to it. Allaah (The Most High) said:

 

وَالْعَصْرِ (1) إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ (2) إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ (3)

By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf)which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar)which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.). [Soorah al-Asr]

 

Therefore, one has to call to the (path and religion) of Allaah in accordance with what Allaah makes easy for the person in that. The Messenger (sallal-laahu-alahi-wasallam) said to Ali (radiyallaahu-anhu): ”By Allaah, for Allah to guide one man by you is better for you than red camels.” The Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) also said: ”hoever calls to guidance, he will be rewarded, and (also) receive reward equal to those who follow him, without their rewards being reduced in the least.” The Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) also said: ”The one who guides to good is like the doer of that deed itself’’ 


[Source: Madkhal Li-Diraasati Aqeedah Al-Islaamiyyah: lesson:2′ by Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr (may Allaah preserve him)]

 

 

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The Quran and Sunnah Upon The Understanding of The Salaf