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

The Muslim Community (Jama'aah) and Its Leadership (Imamaah)

(1) The meaning of Community in this context is the Companions of the Prophet and their followers until the Day of Resurrection who have held to their way. They are the "Saved Sect". Whoever adheres to their methodology is from the community (jama'aah), even if he has erred in some specific issues.

(2) It is permissible to divide into sects in the religion or to cause discord between the Muslims. In those matters in which Muslims differ, it is required to refer to the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah of His Messenger and that which the righteous Salaf followed.

(3) Whoever steps outside of the community (jama'aah) is required to be advised, invited and argued with "in a manner which is best", and to have the evidence established against him. If he repents, fine; otherwise, he is to be punished according to what he deserves according to the shariah.

(4) It is required to hold the general body of Muslims responsible for the established meanings of the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Salaf. It is impermissible to test the general body of the Muslims with subtle matters and profound meanings of the religion.

(5) The general rule concerning all Muslims is that they possess both good intent and sound belief until the opposite manifests. The general rule is to construe their words in the best manner. However, whoever manifests his resistance to the truth and evil intent, it is impermissible to bend over backwards to find a sound explanation for his words and deeds.

(6) The Muslim sects (ahl al-Qiblah) which stand outside the fold of the Sunnah are all threatened with destruction in this world and punishment in the Hereafter. With the exception of he among them who inwardly is an infidel, the ruling concerning any particular individual among them is similar to those who stand under the threat of Allaah's punishment.
However, the followers of those pseudo Muslim sects which stand outside the fold of Islaam are, in general, to be considered infidels. The ruling concerning any individual among them is like that of the apostates.

(7) The Friday and Congregational prayers are among the greatest outward symbols of Islaam. The prayer performed behind a Muslim whose true nature is hidden is valid. Not to pray behind him claiming ignorance of his true nature is a heresy.

(8) When one is able to pray behind someone else, it is impermissible to pray behind someone who openly manifests heresy or impiety. If prayer behind such an individual does occur, it is valid and the performer of that prayer has sinned, unless he intended by praying behind such an individual to restrain a greater evil. However, if one cannot find any individual to pray behind except one who is similar or more evil, under such circumstances it becomes permissible to pray behind such individuals. It is impermissible under any circumstance to forsake the congregational and Friday prayers.
It is impermissible under all circumstances to pray behind someone judged to be an infidel.

(9) Leadership of the Muslims (al-imamaah) is decided by either the consensus of the Muslim nation or by the oath of allegiance given by those among the Muslim nation who possess the right to place or remove a ruler (ahl al-hall wa al-`aqd).
It is similarly required to obey, in what constitutes obedience to Allaah, and give advice to whoever seizes power by force, gathering the Muslim nation behind him. It is forbidden under all circumstances to revolt against the ruler unless he openly manifests his disbelief (kufr) concerning which there is evidence from Allaah.

(10) It is required to perform prayer, pilgrimage and jihad with the leaders of the Muslims even when they are tyrannical.

(11) It is forbidden for the Muslims to fight between themselves out of worldly motivations or jahiliyah partisan pride. Such actions are among the greatest of sins. It is however permissible to fight the heretics, those who revolt against the ruler and their likes when one cannot stop them with lesser measures. While at other times it becomes required to fight these groups. This is determined according to the benefits achieved and the situation at hand.

(12) All the noble Companions of the Prophet are trustworthy (`adul). They are the best of this Muslim nation. To testify to their faith and their merit over the rest of the Muslim nation is an absolute fundamental point known by necessity to be part of the religion. To love them is religion and faith while to hate them is disbelief and hypocrisy. It is required to refrain from entering into what befell them of arguments and to forsake delving into that topic which diminishes their standing.
The best among them were Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Uthman, then Ali. They are the rightly guided successors to the Prophet. The right of each of them to Successor ship was as the historical order.

(13) From the religion is to love and support the Family of the Household of the Messenger of Allaah, to glorify the standing and recognize the merit of his wives, who are the Mothers of the Faithful, to love the leaders among the Salaf, the scholars of the Sunnah and those who follow them, and to steer clear from the heretics and their desires.

(14) To wage jihad in the path of Allaah is the apex of Islaam. It will remain lawful until the establishment of the Hour.

(15) To command good (al-ma'ruf) and forbid evil (al-munkar) is among the greatest outward symbols of Islaam. It is among the causes which preserves the Muslim community. Such an act is required according to one's ability and by taking into consideration the benefits achieved by that act.