The Importance of Aqeedah

 Link: The Importance of Aqidah

Author: Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Qari

The Messenger informed Mu’adh bin Jabal, when he was going to the land of Yemen, “You are going to a people from the People of the Book. Let the first thing that you call them to be the worship of Allah. If they acknowledge Allah, then inform them that Allah has obligated upon them five prayers during their days and nights.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim] This hadith is clear. It does not require much of an explanation. The Prophet applied this principle in his practical calling to Islam. He stayed in Makkah for thirteen years to each the people iman and to educate his Companions on this point and to correct the beliefs of the people. That is the pattern upon which the Companions were brought up.

Jundub Ibn Abdullah al-Bajaly said, “We learned iman (faith) and then we learned the Quran and it increased our iman.”

Abdullah ibn Umar said, “We lived during an instant of time in which one of us would receive faith first before receiving the Quran and when the surahs were revealed we would learn what they permitted and what they prohibited and what they forbade and what they ordered and what should be the stance towards them. But I have seen many men from whom one is given the Quran before iman and he reads it from the opening of the Book to its closing and he does not know what it orders and what it forbids and what should be his stance towards it. He is like someone who is just throwing out dates [i.e., he does not get any benefit from his recital].”

That is the manner in which the Prophet brought up his companions: Iman first and then the Quran. This is similar to what Imam Abu Hanifa pointed out: Understanding in the religion first (i.e. tauheed) and then understanding in the science (i.e. the shariah).

The beliefs must be corrected first, then follows all of the other aspects of the religion.

And Imam Ash-Shafi`i said, “That a servant meets Allaah with every sin except Shirk is better say than meeting Him upon any of the innovated beliefs.”

Al-Aqidah linguistically is derived from the term aqada. In Arabic, one states, “Aqada the rope” when the rope is tied firmly. And, “Aqada the sale” or “He settled the sale” when the person ratifies and contracts a sale or agreement. And Allah says in the Quran, “And as for those whom your right hands have made a covenant (Ar., aqadat)” [Al-Nisa 33]. And Allah also says, “But He will take you to task for the oaths which you swear in earnest (Ar., aqadtum) [Al-Maida, 89] which means asserted and adhered to, as proven in the verse, “And break not oaths after the assertion of them” [An-Nahl, 91]. If one says, “Aqadtu such and such,” it means his heart is firm upon such and such.

Therefore, al-aqidah or al-itiqad according to the scholars of Islam is: The firm creed that one’s heart is fixed upon without any wavering or doubt. It excludes any supposition, doubt or suspicion.

Imam Abu Hanifa called this great subject al-Fiqh al-Akbar (“The Greater Understanding”) and the understanding of the religion. He called the science of law (Ar., shariah) the understanding of the science. Many scholars of Islam use the word tauheed for all matters that a person must believe in. This is because the most important of these matters is the basic tauheed that is contained in the phrase, “There is none worthy of worship except Allah.”

Tauheed, according to them, may be divided into two categories: tauheed of cognition and affirmation and tauheed of purpose and deeds.

Tauheed of cognition and affirmation is the tauheed of the Oneness of the Creator and the tauheed of His Names and Attributes [i.e. He is Unique in His being the only Creator and the only One with His names and attributes]. Tauheed of purpose and deeds is tauheed of lordship or that none should be worshipped except Allah [i.e., He is the only One worthy of worship].

The scholastic theologians (Ar., kalaamiyoon) – and what will explain to you who the scholastic theologians are (i.e. how can this group of people be described to make you understand their reality) – call this great subject “the root of the religion” and they call the law “the branches of the religion”. This is their terminology. We also have a dispute with them in this matter but this is not the place to discuss it. All of them give it a name or adjective according to their needs.

But what is the name the Quran gives to this matter?

The Quran gives the grave matter the name iman. Allah says in the Quran, “And thus We inspired in You (Muhammad) a Spirit of Our command. You did not know what the Scripture was, nor what the Faith was. But we have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of our bondmen…” [Al-Shura, 52]. The general concepts that the heart of the believer must be firm about are the “pillars” of this faith. But one will not be called a believer just by knowing and understanding these pillars but he must come to the level where he submits and implements what is described, in the hadith of Gabriel, as Islam. Iman, in this manner, incorporates Islam. If iman was simply knowing the facts in one’s heart, then its companion would be equal to Satan and Pharaoh [Note: The Satan was the most knowledgeable of his Lord but he was destroyed because of his pride and envy. And Pharaoh, even though he claimed to be the lord, knew that the lord is Allah and that none has the right to be worshipped but Him. Allah says, “He said: In truth you know that none sent down these portents save the Lord of the heavens and the earth as proofs…” [al-Isra, 102]. – Although they knew the truth, they did not put it in practice by turning their `ibadah to Allah Alone].

In the hadith of Gabriel, the Prophet explained the pillars of this faith in which every human must believe, when he was asked, “What is iman?”, he said, “To believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers and the Last Day and predestination of good and evil.”

It is a must for every person to know these pillars and to learn them with a correct understanding and to believe in them in the manner that he pious forefathers understood and believed in them, in the same manner that the Companions of the Prophet believed and understood them, as well as their Followers and those who followed on their path. This includes the four imams, Sufyan Al-Thauri, Sufyan ibn Uyaina, Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak and others similar to them, as well as Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj, Shaikh al-Islam ibn Taymiya and al-Hafedh ibn al-Qayyim and scholars similar to them who followed the same manner of understanding and believing in these pillars.

This is the first obligation upon the responsible human being. There is no difference of opinion on this question among the scholars whose opinions are worth followingImam Abu-Hanifa said, “The understanding of faith is better than understanding of the science.” What he meant by faith is tauheed and what he meant by science is the shariah. He put the understanding of tawheed before the understanding of the shariah.

And Shaikh al-Islam al-Haruwi al-Ansari (d. 481 AH) stated at the beginning of his book, Itiqad ahl al-Sunnah, “The first obligation upon the slave is the knowledge of Allah. This is proven by the hadith of Muadh, when the Prophet said to him, ‘You will come to a people from the People of the Book. The first thing that you should call them to is the worship of Allah. If they gain the knowledge of Allah, then tell them that Allah obligates upon them five prayers during the day and night…”

From this premise did the great scholars of Islam precede. Ponder, for example, what Imam Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari did in his book al-Jami al-Sahih, which is the most authentic book after the Book of Allah; one will see that from his detailed knowledge and understanding of this religion, this great Imam began his book with “The Beginning of Revelation” and then he followed it with chapters on faith, followed by the chapters on knowledge. As if he means, may Allah have mercy on him, to point out that the first obligation upon a human being is faith or Iman and the way to attaining faith is knowledge. And the source of faith and knowledge is revelation. So he began by showing how the revelation occurred and what it was like. Then he followed by mentioning faith and knowledge. This arrangement is no accident; by it he makes some important points.

This is the sum of what we wish to mention and what we wish to raise our voices about. The matter of aqidah is the first priority. Faith and knowledge are the means of attaining it. And the source of knowledge and faith is the Book and Sunnah.


11 Responses to The Importance of Aqeedah

  1. Bint Amina says:

    MashaaAllah very beneficial – barakAllahu feek.

    Wa Salamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

  2. Abu Habiba says:

    wa feekum barak Allah ya ukhti, wa 3laykum is-salaam wa ra7matullahi wa barakatuh wa maghfiratuh.

    “The reminder benefits the believers”

  3. […] a verse (from the Quran) and what our stance should be towards it” as we have reproduced here in another blog entry.  They were the ones who applied and explained the Quran after the death of the Prophet (sal […]

  4. Bachelorette says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Bachelorette.

  5. Abu Habiba Ismael says:

    Sorry to hear that Bachelorette, was there any particular thing you needed an explanation on; this is a very important topic in Islam, important for every muslim to know in order to have the correct foundations. So if there is anything you’d like explained please let me know.

  6. Hassan says:

    Who is in dispute with what you have written?

    The problem is that the ummah faces a monumental problem which requires action. It does not require people correcting belief to the point where they neglect the work to make al-Islaam the highest.

    We could learn the sciences of ‘aqidah for a lifetime but many actions are incumbent as soon as the knowledge for it is gained. They go hand-in-hand.

    Your article explains knowledge precedes action very well but there is no call to action, no call to work urgently, to organise and to move people once this has begun.

    Pacifying people just when they need to work is counter-productive, dangerous, simplistic and a help to the kuffar when the deen must be defended against a worldwide onslaught. Why not emphasise to your ummah that they need correct belief and then urge action?


  7. Abu Habiba Ismael says:

    wa 3laykum as-salaam Hassan.

    The point is not whether there is a dispute about the need to gain knowledge first, my point is that most people don’t even know this, they just want to “take action” like you are suggesting. Did you not see the title of the blog: “Knowledge First Then Action”???

    However what you are suggesting, and may Allah guide you, myself, and the ummah, is not correct according to the scholars; it sounds like the eagerness of youth which is understandable, and it also sounds like the call of the politicians, revolutionaries and anarchists.

    I have not said anywhere that one needs to become a scholar before they start taking action; this violates the islamic principle of “acting upon the knowledge you have.” So a muslim, once he/she learns a single verse from the Quran or an authentic hadeeth from the Prophet, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then they are required to act on it. Yet even this has condition applied to it such that the action must be in accordance with the methodology of the Prophet, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. There are commandments by Allah to give da’wah (inviting to Allah) but if you do it in a way other than by the instruction and methodology of the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, then it will be doomed to failure, yet the person reads the verse in the Quran and goes out and does da’wah and its wrong.

    Further, I am at a loss to understand how you think the article in question or all the articles in general are “pacifying people”. Why would I emphasize or encourage specific actions (other than to have the correct beliefs) when I myself don’t even know what those actions should be? There are alot of muslims who have gone off to “act” or “work” as you say ambiguously, and all of the good they thought they were doing was actually “counter-productive, dangerous, simplistic, and a help to kuffar” as you think I am doing.

    Do you mean by “work” that we go out and fight in Jihad?? I will leave you with a statement from the Imaam of the Students of the Sahaba, al-Hasan al-Basri, when he was confronted by his students with an urgent appeal and sincere request to go and fight al-Hajjaj when he had killed some of the sahaba and fought around the Ka’ba.

    The story (narration) is:
    Ibn Sa’ad in Tabaqaatul-Kubraa reports (7/163-165): A group of Muslims came to al-Hasan al-Basree seeking a verdict to rebel against al-Hajjaaj. So they said, “O Aboo Sa’eed! What do you say about fighting this oppressor who has unlawfully spilt blood and unlawfully taken wealth and did this and that?” So al-Hasan said, “I hold that he should not be fought. If this is the punishment from Allaah, then you will not be able to remove it with your swords. If this is a trial from Allaah, then be patient until Allaah’s judgement comes, and He is the best of judges.” So they left al-Hasan, disagreed with him and rebelled against al-Hajjaaj – so al-Hajjaaj killed them all.

    About them al-Hasan used to say, “If the people had patience, when they were being tested by their unjust ruler, it will not be long before Allaah will give them a way out. However, they always rush for their swords, so they are left to their swords. By Allaah! Not even for a single day did they bring about any good.”

    So akhi, all this “work” that you would like to do or think needs to be done, have you thought about what real benefit any of it would bring. Keep learning your religion and inshaa Allah we will all be corrected when we meet Allah.

  8. Talha says:

    Akhi, when are you posting your next post? Maybe something about laylatul qadr for the benefit of the people inshaAllah??

  9. Shahid says:

    Assalam alaikum, All praise is for Allah (swt)

    I salute the person who created this blog. Its beautiful and clearly explained.

    JazakAllah khair.

  10. A O A.
    Hello In charge,
    I visited your website and deeply impressed by your work and teachings. I found that you are doing a great work for the Islam and Islamic people in the meantime. I am a professional translator as you know that the Urdu is the language of different countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan,etc. i want that your work
    Should be appreciated in these countries. I want to do work with your ministry OR organisation as a Urdu Translator’s. Hopes that you will consider me for this great option.
    Yours Sincerely,
    Zainab Naseem

  11. lawyer says:

    This is the perfect web site for everyone who would like to
    understand this topic. You understand so much its
    almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that’s been written about for a long time.
    Excellent stuff, just great!

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