A Summary of the Fundamentals of the Creed of Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jama'ah

By Dr.Nasir ibn 'Abdul-Karim al-'Aql

Translation by Ali ibn Mehdi ibn Mutlak al-Timimi

I. The Methodology Employed by Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamaah in the Acquisition and Derivation of Matters of Creed:

(1) The source upon which the creed is based is restricted solely to the Book of Allaah (the Qur'aan), the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah, and the consensus (ijma') of the righteous salaf.

(2) It is required to accept all which is authentic from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah even when its mode of transmission is ahad or non-mutawatir. (A mutawatir report is one which fulfills four conditions:

  1. It is reported by such a large number of narrators that under normal circumstances it would be impossible for them to gather upon a lie;
  2. that such a number exists throughout the chain of narration;
  3. that the report is based upon something heard or seen, etc.;
  4. that the narration necessitates knowledge by he who hears it.)

(3) The point of reference for understanding the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah is those texts (nusus) that clarify their meaning and the understanding of the righteous Salaf and those scholars who have traversed upon their methodology. This is to be followed by what is authentic from the language of the Arabs. One may not, however, contradict what has been affirmed by the above due to mere linguistic possibilities.

(4) The Prophet has explained all the fundamentals of the religion. It is therefore impermissible for anyone to innovate something claiming that his innovation is something from the religion.

(5) One must submit both inwardly and outwardly to Allaah and His Messenger.
Therefore, one may not oppose anything from the Book of Allaah, and the authentic Sunnah by analogy (qiyas), sensation (dhawq) and unveiling (kashf) of a mystic, opinion of a scholar (shaikh or imam), or anything similar.

(6) Sound reasoning is always in agreement with correct transmission of revelation. No two absolute proofs among reason and revelation can ever contradict one another. When contradiction is supposed between the two, one must put revelation first over reasoning.

(7) In matters of aqeedah, it is required to adhere to the wording employed by the shariah and to avoid all innovated wording. As for any equivocal non-shariah wording which connate both incorrect and correct meanings, one must inquire into the context in which it was employed. That meaning which is then found to be true and correct is affirmed, and that which is found to be false is negated.

(8) Infallibility from committing sin and error is only affirmed for the Prophet. The Muslim nation, as a whole, is also infallible from agreeing upon any deviation. There is no infallibility for any single individual of the nation. In those matters concerning which the scholars and others have differed, the reference is the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah - with the advancement of an excuse for the errant among those scholars of the Muslim Nation exercising ijtihad (i.e., spending one's utmost ability in trying to reach the judgment of the shariah in a particular issue).

(9) Existing among the Muslim Nation are those individuals who are spoken to and whom receive inspiration. Furthermore, the existence of a righteous dream is a reality and is part of Prophet hood. Similarly the existence of perspicacity (farasah) is a reality. When found to be in agreement with the shariah, all of these matters are forms of miracles (karamat) and glad tidings from Allaah. They are not a source of aqeedah or shariah though.

(10) To argue falsely in matters of religion is blameworthy. As for "arguing in a manner which is best", this is allowed by the shariah. Those matters where there exists an authentic prohibition from delving into, it is required to comply with that prohibition. It is also required for a Muslim to refrain from speaking about those matters of which he has no knowledge. He should instead resign knowledge of that matter to Allaah who knows all matters.

(11) When refuting, it is required to adhere to the methodology employed by the Inspiration - as it is required to adhere to that same methodology in matters of beliefs and when acknowledging those beliefs as true. One may therefore not refute a heresy with another, nor may one face negligence with extremism or vice versa.

(12) Every innovation in the religion is a bid'ah, and every bid'ah is a deviation, and every deviation is in the Hell-Fire.