The correlative relationship between creed and Manhaj (way)
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
It is known that the word “`Aqîda” (creed) is used neither in the Book (the Quran) and the Sunna, nor in the major [Arabic] lexicons. However, the previous Imams (great scholars) used what indicates it such as: “As-Sunna” (the Sunna), Al-Îmân (the faith) and Ash-Sharî`a (the Sharia). In addition, many Imams, such as: Ibn Jarîr At-Tabari, Al-Lâlakâ'i and Al-Bayhaqi, used these two words: “I`tiqâd” and “Mu`taqad” (creed).
In usage, the word “`Aqîda” (creed) is used in general to indicate “What the heart of the man sticks to firmly, whether it is true or false”. As for its usage when associated with an adjective, such as the following expression: “Islamic creed”, some defined it as follows, “To have firm faith in Allah, and what is incumbent on us towards His Ulûhiyya (Divinity), His Rubûbiyya (Lordship), His Names and Attributes, His Angels, His Books, His Prophets, the Last Day and Destiny, whether it is good or evil; in addition to believing firmly in all that the authentic texts brought, among the fundamentals of religion, the information and affairs of the Unseen, the consensus of the Pious Predecessors and the submission, on one hand, to Allah’s judgment, orders, Destiny and Sharia, and, on another hand, to His Prophet by obeying and following him and referring to his arbitration”.
In Islam, creed is parallel to Sharia: because Sharia is the practical obligations that Islam has brought regarding acts of worship and daily affairs, while creed is knowledge that every Muslim should believe in with his heart, because it is Allah تعالى Who informed him of it through His Revelation to His Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم. In fact, the relationship between them is very strong: they have faith in common when they are mentioned individually, because faith has two parts: a clear deep-rooted creed that lies in the heart and another part that should appear through the limbs. Thus, faith is a creed which one agrees with his heart, says with his tongue and admits the way that Allah عزَّ وجلَّ connected to it. For this, some scholars of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) said that faith is a deep-rooted creed in the self, which should be pronounced by the tongue and materialized by the limbs.
Having said that, relying on the validity of this creed could not be done except according a sane way, based on the authentic reports established by the Book, the Sunna, the Companions’ and Successor’s traditions رضي الله عنهم among the Imams of guidance and the Lights in darkness who followed their path, according to the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “The best people are those living in my generation, followed by those coming after them, and then those coming after (the second generation)”(1).
Therefore, this right path, which consists of seeking knowledge with the divine ways, using the Quranic verses and the hadiths as arguments and referring to the understanding of the Companions, the Successors and those who abide by their way among the scholars, is one of the attributes which distinguishes Ahl As-Sunna Wal Jamâ`a (People of the Sunna and Communion) from the people who follow their passions and are in divergence.
In addition, among their major attributes, the fact that they do not oppose the Revelation by reason, opinion or analogy; and they believe that Sharia takes precedence over reason, though sane reason does not contradict authentic texts; it is rather in agreement with it. They reject also the scholastic interpretation of the religious texts by means of different metaphors. They adopt the Quran and Sunna as criteria of acceptation or reject.
These are the most important principles of the Salafi way and its major attributes which distinguish them from all the others. This is because the source of acquisition of knowledge for their antagonists, among people of desires and heresies, is the reason which is altered by the absurdity of philosophers, the nonsense of the logicians and the inventions of the scholastics, who exaggerated in referring to reason by rejecting and contradicting religious texts with it, in addition to the other practices known in the traditions of the generations which came after.
That being said, among the fruits of the straight way: the unification of the opinion of Ahl As-Sunna Wal-Jamâ`a by worshipping only Allah, their communion by following their Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم and their agreement, unanimously, regarding matters of creed and its branches; an agreement that can never be broken during time and even they are far from each other.
Accordingly, the straight way leads to the sane creed, and the validity of the creed proves that there is a sane way; this is called “Indication of cause by effect”, such as proving the existence of something by the existence of its effect, and its absence by the absence of its effect. This is called also by the specialists of the fundamentals of jurisprudence “The indicative analogy”.
However, the creed may be sane in some aspects and corrupt in some others; thus, the sane way indicates the sane aspect of creed, and the corrupt way indicates the corrupt aspect of creed; for instance, if one adopts the creed of the Salaf regarding the Names and Attributes of Allah and adopts, in the same time, the matters of uprising against the rulers, Al-Hizbiya (preconception) and other issues… in this case, his creed is sane in regard to the Names and Attributes of Allah, because his way draws its principles from the Quran and Sunna and refers to the understanding of the Companions. However, the abandonment of the Salafi way concerning the other aspect (the attitude toward the rulers) indicates that his creed is altered concerning it.
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers, Jumâda Al-Ûla 16th, 1429H.
Corresponding to: May 21st, 2008.
(1) Reported by Al-Bukhâri in his “Sahîh”, chapter of “Testimonies”, concerning the fact that one should not bear false testimony if he is asked to do it (hadith 2509), Muslim in his “Sahîh”, chapter “The merits of the Companions”, concerning the merits of the Companions, then those who come after them then those… (hadith 6472), At-Tirmidhi in his “Sunan”, chapter of “The merits”, concerning what is reported about those who had seen the Prophet and accompanied him (hadith 3859), Ibn Hibbân in his “Sahîh” (hadith 7228) and Ahmad in his “Musnad” (hadith 5383) on the authority of `Abd Allâh Ibn Mass`ûd رضي الله عنه.