Part Two: Our `Aqeedah
Our `Aqeedah is that of as-Salaf-as-Salih, in general and in detail.
While the objective of a Muslim is his Qiblah (or direction) towards which he turns his face in any action, word or intention; his `Aqeedah is the engine that drives him from inside himself towards that objective. It urges him to move forward and prevents him from retreating or quitting.
Whenever `Aqeedah regresses or its influence wavers in the heart, attempts to work righteousness come to an end or at least suffer a relapse. The servant, as a result, moves away from his objective and sets about doing things which keep him away from attaining it. For a servant is either travelling towards Allah, driven forward by faith, or away from Him if he is tempted away by the devils.
`Aqeedah is neither a claim nor a set of linguistic issues in which only linguists and those skilled in rhetoric excel. Paying lip service to it, talking about it in an ornate style, writing pages and even volumes about it is not sufficient, indeed it is futile and of no avail.
`Aqeedah is certainly which takes root in the heart and is immediately reflected in the actions of the body. The Qur'an is extremely careful to emphasise this fact by reiterating the connection between faith and good conduct in so many contexts. This insistence clearly points to the fact that `Aqeedah must be associated with good conduct, for good conduct is a proof of the presence of `Aqeedah in the heart.
To prove that the claim of Iman (faith) is genuine, the effect of `Aqeedah on the actions of the body must materialise; otherwise, this claim remains unfounded:
“Verily, those who believe [in the Oneness of Allah, and in His Messenger Muhammad (Peace be upon him) including all obligations ordered by Islam] and do righteous good deeds, they are the best of creatures.“ [Surah Al-Bayyinah (98), Ayah 7.]
"But as for him who believes and works righteousness, he shall have the best reward (Paradise), "[Surah Al-Kahf (18), Ayah 88.]
Whosoever believed in Allah and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. [Surah Al- Ma'idah (5), Ayah 69.]
Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 62.]
Whosoever believes and does righteous good deeds, upon such shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. [Surah Al-An'am (6), Ayah 48.]
And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes (in My Oneness, and associates none in worship with Me) and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, (till his death). [Surah Ta- Ha (20), Ayah 82.]
Except those who repent and believe (in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger Muhammad ), and work righteousness. Such will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged in aught. [Surah Maryam (19), Ayah 60.]
But as for him who repented (from polytheism and sins, etc.), believed (in the Oneness of Allah, and in His Messenger Muhammad SAW), and did righteous deeds (in the life of this world), then he will be among those who are successful. [Surah Al-Qasas (28), Ayah 67.]
And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us (i.e. pleases Allah), but only he (will please Us) who believes (in the Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds; as for such, there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings (Paradise) in peace and security. [Surah Saba (34), Ayah 37.]
And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). [Surah Al- Baqarah (2), Ayah 25.]
And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are the dwellers of Paradise, they will dwell therein forever. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 82.]
The mosques of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, offer prayers perfectly, and give Zakah and fear none but Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance. [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 18.]
What has Allah to do by punishing you if you thanked [Him] and believed [in Him]? And Allah is ever All-Appreciative [of good], All-Knowing. [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 147.]
These are explicit indications which recur in many verses of the Qur'an in such a way that only those with a blurred vision or blind hearts would ignore them:
"Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind." [Surah Al-Hajj (22), Ayah 46.]
The Prophet's statements are also replete with indications to the effect that good conduct is part and parcel of Iman. The Prophet said:
"Faith (or Iman) has over seventy branches; the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah, and the humblest of which is the removal of what is injurious from the road; and modesty is a branch of faith." 
"Whoever amongst you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; if he is not able to do so then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of faith." 
"...He who strove against them with his hand was a believer. He who strove against them with his heart was a believer, and he who strove against them with his tongue was a believer, and beyond that there is no faith even to the extent of a mustard seed." 
Not everyone who claims to have Iman with the tongue is sincere. Such a claim is false unless the signs if Iman are evident. The difference between hollow words and true belief is that between East and West. Let us present two chapters of two generations of our Ummah: the generation of the Sahabah, the best of generations, and that of the present time.
The generation of the Sahabah on which we are trying to model a similar generation in beliefs and practice was a generation which the Islamic `Aqeedah had rescued from the claws of Jaahiliyyah, cleansed from the squalor of Shirk and instilled in their hearts the truth of faith in order to illuminate their lives with the light of Tawheed.
`Aqeedah alone was the decisive factor in forming this generation, and moulding the character of its members. We would like to take a closer look at the different aspects through which this `Aqeedah manifested itself and see how it affected their lives. There are so many examples to survey that we do not know which one to choose. Shall we talk about the Muhaajiroon or the Ansaar? The elderly, the young or the children? The men or the women? Shall we talk about them whilst they were in prosperity or in adversity?
Shall we talk about them as horsemen by the day or as monks by night? Shall we talk about selling lives (to Allah) or the sacrifice of wealth? Or shall we talk about the light of obedience or the truthfulness of repentance?
In each of these illustrations without exception evidences and manifestations of true Iman sparkle, adorn with light and brightness. They dazzle the onlooker and make him wonder and ask: "What is it that took all these out with such speed from darkness to light, and made them the best o generations?"
We will wander in the vastness of these scenes, listening and observing...
This is Bilal defying Umayyah bin Khalaf, his master, saying `Ahad, Ahad,' (He, Allah, is one), despite the burning sand under his back and the heavy stone on his chest. And this is Khabbab adhering faithfully to the religion of Allah despite being tortured by red hot iron being applied to every part of his body. And this is the family of Yasir being tortured, and Sumayyah killed, but yet their Iman did not weaken; they steadfastly believed in the promise of the Prophet : "Be patient and endure, O family of Yasir, for Paradise awaits you."
Witness the Muhaajiroon who forsook their wives, children and possessions, and crossed the desert from Makkah to Madeenah with no provisions apart from their faith, emigrating to Allah and His Messenger .
And look at Abu `Ubaydah slaying his father on the day of the Battle of Badr, And Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq almost killing his own son; and Mus'ab killing his own brother, `Ubayd bin `Umair.
Let us go back a little and see the Ansaar reaching out their hands with a pledge of allegiance to the Prophet on the night of al-`Aqabah. They knew full well that the Arabs would unite against them and attack them from all directions and that the best of their men would be killed as a result of this. Yet they considered their new allegiance profitable and swore to fulfil their promises whatever happened to them.
Let us see them sharing their homes, money and possessions with their migrating brothers, the Muhaajiroon and, as Allah ( SWT ) said about them (which means):
"Love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given ( from the booty of Bani an- Nadir), but give them (emigrants) preference over themselves even though they were in need of that." [Surah Al-Hashr (59), Ayah 9.]
Let us listen to them on the day of the Battle of Badr, saying to the Prophet : "Go forth, O Messenger of Allah, to your desired destination, for we are with you. We swear by Him who sent you with the Truth that [even] you decided to cross this sea, we would all follow you into it, not a single man from us will fall behind. Go forth with the blessing of Allah."
And here they are on the day of the Battle of Uhud, defending the Prophet , and seven of them were martyred in the process. And on the day of the Battle of Hunayn, when 12,000 fighters turned away from Prophet , 80 of the Ansaar rushed to the rescue and clenched victory from the tribe of Hawazin and gathered the booty. The Prophet then divided the booty among the members other than the Ansaar, giving it to the first to flee and the last to return: those whose hearts have been inclined towards Islam. The Ansaar then asked the Prophet : "What is our portion, O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "Are you not satisfied that others return home with [the booty of] sheep and camels, while you return with the Messenger of Allah?" They wept and said: "We are pleased with the Messenger of Allah as a share and portion." 
Let us return to Madeenah, to see Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq donating all his money to equip the Muslim army, leaving for his children nothing other than Allah and His Messenger . And this is `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab giving half his fortune, and Uthman equipping the whole army at his own expense.
Let us stand behind the trench, when the Ahzaab (the Confederates) besiege Madeenah for a month until "the eyes grew wild and hearts reached to the throats.", and suddenly the faithful, driven by the power of Iman, cried out: "This is that which Allah and His Messenger had promised us." [Surah Al- Ahzaab (33), Ayah 22.]
Watch with admiration the thousands of believers who marched out towards Tabuk with the Prophet in the year of difficulty and distress (`Usrah), leaving behind the comfort of their homes and the ripe fruits, crossing the barren desert with no more than meagre ration of water and dry dates, happy to accompany the beloved Messenger of Allah .
Now let us return to Madeenah and weep along with those who did not find anything to spend [on Jihad], nor could Prophet provide them with any mounts:
"They turned back, while their eyes were overflowing with tears for sorrow that they could not find anything to spend." [Surah At-Taubah (9), Ayah 92.]
Let us search through the ranks waiting to meet the enemy on the day of the Battle of Uhud. Hiding among them we find `Umair bin Abi Waqqaas, keeping out of sight of the Prophet lest the Prophet would see him and send him back because of his tender age.
Let us walk in the streets of Madeenah, awash with spilled alcohol immediately after the revelation of the command to forbid its consumption:
"O you who believe! Intoxicants  , gambling, al-ansab  , and al-azlam are an abomination of Shaitan's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaitan (Satan) wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you by means of intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As-Salat (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?" [Surah Al- Ma'idah (5), Ayah 91.]
Let us listen to al-Khansaa' on the day of the Battle of Qaadisiyyah when her four sons were martyred: "Praise be to Allah who blessed me with the honour of their killing." It was she who said before embracing Islam in a verse of poetry,
"Were it not for the many mourners around me, I would have killed myself."
And these are the Sahabiyat covering their faces because the Qur'an commanded them to:
"Draw their veils over their juyubihinna[Bodies, necks, bosoms and so on]," [Surah An-Nur (24), Ayah 31.]
And here is a woman from the tribe of Bani Dinar who, having been told the deaths of her husband, father and brother in the Battle of Uhud, said: "How did the Messenger of Allah fare?" The answer was that he fared well. When she saw him [alive] she said: "Every catastrophe, compared to your well being, is easy to bear."
And we see al-Ghamidiyyah who committed adultery and, although no-one found out about it and Allah protected her, she insisted on confessing her sin and placing herself between the hands of the Prophet , pleading with him to purify her through stoning. She sacrificed herself to please her Lord and to undergo a repentance so pure that it would suffice to grant Allah's forgiveness to seventy of the people of Madeenah.
And here is the noble companion Abu Dharr who placed his cheek on the ground and insisted on Bilal to step on his other cheek, in repentance for having sinned against him by calling him: "O son of a black woman!"
Standing before all these, and many other examples of the greatness of the first generation of Muslims, all we can say is to repeat what Allah said in the Qur'an (which means):
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking Bounty from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of (their) prostration (during prayers). This is their description in the Taurat (Torah). But their description in the Injeel (Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoot, then makes it strong, it then becomes thick, and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet Muhammad SAW till the Day of Resurrection) and do righteous good deeds, forgiveness and a mighty reward." [Surah Al-Fath (48), Ayah 29.]
This was a page of the past, and it is rather hard for us to turn it over and be faced with that of the present. We leave it reluctantly and meet the present unwillingly. We look at our reality to find darkness everywhere; people's faith weak and shaky. Our present situation requires no elaboration, for we all see it and live its tragic circumstances. It is agonising to see our Ummah disintegrating, its `Aqeedah oscillating between Irjaa' and Takfeer and obsessed by heresy, whims and superstitions. Our rulers are openly and obnoxiously allied to either the infidel West or the atheist East, reserving all their love for the Jews and the Christians and directing all their hatred and enmity towards Islam and the Muslims. They have abandoned the laws of Allah and substituted man-made laws with His Shari'ah, and yet they claim to be Muslims; they are supported in this profanity by corrupt Ulama who confer on them such titles as "Khalifah" and "One who rules by Allah's commandments."
The Muslim people are forced to pledge their allegiance to the rulers, to approve their infidelity and go for judgement to their laws. Secularism has become a new religion, spreading amongst the people, propagated by the media and inculcated by the educational systems in the minds of the young. This new creed calls for the separation of religion and politics; that the mosque is for Allah and legislation is for the rulers. The corrupt Ulama teach people the creed of Irjaa'; namely that the acts are not required as long as "Iman is in the heart" and that all the people are believers, including the rulers. Sufiism, Baha'ism, Qadianiyya, Nusairiyyah and other misguided creeds are given free rein to spread their venom into the true `Aqeedah and propagate superstitions and heresy. On the other hand, as a chaotic response, the sect of Khawaarij with its various schools of thought, emerges anew with new vitality to brand all Muslims with disbelief.
We search amongst all these misguided sects for the `Aqeedah of our meritorious predecessors and can hardly find it. For it disappeared from the hearts and minds leaving no trace in the lives of societies or individuals, except him on whom our Lord has bestowed His Mercy, and they are very few!
All the examples we see around us are clear evidence that true belief is absent from our community and that `Aqeedah has lost its way in the hearts of our people, or at most occupies a small place therein. This is today's page bewailing the deplorable state of affairs to which we have been reduced. The darkness of today's page obscures the light we momentarily enjoyed while surveying our glorious past and the best generation of our Ummah.
Despite the wild, unbridgeable, gulf between the present and the past and the big differences between these two generations, they both claim to be true believers. True faith is a banner raised by both generations. One generation raised it with sincerity and conducted itself and its affairs in accordance with tenets of true faith. The other generation raises it as an inheritance and a tradition, but acts in a such a way as to conceal its true nature.
So, have we learned the lesson that an attestation of faith is of no avail if it is not accompanied with corresponding conduct and sacrifices? May Allah have mercy on Imam ash-Shafi'ee who said: "If people were to study Surah al-`Asr, it would be sufficient for them." Allah says in this Surah (which means):
“In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. By al-`Asr (the Time). Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe, and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth and exhort one another to patience." [Surah Al-`Asr (103).]
We talk about our `Aqeedah, that of at-Tawheed. The `Aqeedah of the Prophets and Messengers from Adam to Muhammad . The `Aqeedah of our meritorious predecessors, As-Salaf-us-Salih' and of those who followed in righteousness from amongst the Muslim scholars and the lay-people alike. We talk about our `Aqeedah not for the sake of theological arguments or philosophical debates, but to rectify the beliefs of our Ummah and cleanse their `Aqeedah of the heresies and errors that have been planted.
We reiterate this so that it may take root in the hearts and act in accordance with its obligations. We declare before Allah our innocence from any heresy contradicting the `Aqeedah of our meritorious predecessors and we seek His assistance to prevent our actions from contradicting our words.
This is Our 'Aqeedah
- Iman is a proclamation with the tongue, action with the limbs and belief with the heart. Iman increases with acts of obedience and decreases with acts of disobedience, and accordingly, believers are of varying levels.
- Sins and acts of disobedience diminish Iman but do not invalidate its essence, while greater disbelief (al-Kufr al-Akbar) completely eradicates it.
- Kufr (disbelief) is of two types: major (akbar) and minor (asghar). The first excludes one completely from the fold of Islam, thus branding him a disbeliever. The second is an act of disobedience given an exaggerated name for purposes of warning and repelling. The same categories of 'major' and 'minor' equally apply to Shirk (polytheism), Nifaaq (hypocrisy), Dhulm (oppression), and Fisq (evil- doing).
- A Muslim does not become a kaafir (disbeliever) by committing acts of disobedience, even if they were many and he did not repent from them, as long as he does not approve of them with his heart. The Faasiq who believes in the prohibition of the sins and vices he commits is not considered a kaafir, even if he insists on continuing with his wrong actions and does not repent and dies on such a state of affairs. His fate in the Hereafter is left to Allah who may forgive him or may punish him in the Hell-Fire for a time then take him out of it into Paradise. ·
- When Islam and Iman are mentioned together, the former means believing with the heart and the latter refers to the physical conduct. When mentioned seperately they both refer to the Deen of Islam as a whole. ·
- We do not judge as Kaafir someone who commits acts of 'kufr' (disbelief) unless clear, undisputed evidence has been established against him by those qualified to do so, so that it would become clear to us that he has comitted such acts knowingly, intentionally and by his own free will. ·
- We believe that Allah, Exalted is He, is the Creator and Provider, the Life-Giver and Life-Taker, the Resurrector, the Inheritor, the Doer of all good and harm. We seek no lord besides Him, "Say: 'Shall I seek a Lord other than Allah, while He is the Lord of all things?' " [al-An'am (6), Ayah 164.] ·
- He is Glorified and High, Exalted above having a consort, son, partner or rival, "Say: 'He is Allah, (the) One. Allah as-Samad  . He begets not nor is He begotten; and there is none comparable unto Him." [Surah al-Ikhlaas (112).] ·
- Allah, Exalted is He, is rightly worshipped and the One worthy of worship. His slaves should direct everything to Allah Alone: fear, hope, rememberance, supplication, love and submission; assistance and salvation; entreaty; reliance; sacrifices; vows and all other forms of worship. ·
- We seek blessings from neither trees, nor stones, nor graves. We entreat Allah only by using one of His Names or Attributes, through good works we have done or through the supplication of a living, meritorious person. We neither walk around a grave seeking blessings from the dead, nor present sacrifices to a Jinn or to a dead saint, nor make a vow anyone apart from Allah. Whoever does one of these things has indeed committed Shirk. ·
- We accept no source of laws or judgements other than Allah, as we accept no other Lord beside Him. Since Allah is the Creator, He has the sovereignty, and thus rules, commands, prohibits, judges and legislates. Allah is the All-Knower, All-Aware.
- Whoever legislates different laws to those of Allah and replaces His Laws with others, has gone against Allah's sovereignty. Such a person has made himself a partner and equal in jurisdiction with Allah, thus (he has) stepped outside the circle of Islam. If this person is a ruler, he should therefore be rebelled against and deposed. ·
- We confirm all of Allah's Names and Attributes which Allah has stated in His Book (the Qur'an) or mentioned through His Messenger Muhammad without changing them or ignoring them completely or twisting their meanings or giving resemblance to any of the created things. We do not even claim knowledge of what His Attributes are like, because "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer."[Surah Ash-Shura (42), Ayah 11.] There is none like Him, whether in His Being, His Names, His Attributes or Actions. ·
- We confirm those Attributes of Allah which He Confirmed for Himself and which His Messenger Muhammad confirmed for Him, such as Knowledge, Capability, Hearing, Seeing, the Face, Hands and other Attributes which are not like any of those of His creatures. · We say as our Lord said (which means):
"The Most Beneficent (Allah) rose over the [mighty] Throne." [Surah Ta- Ha (20), Ayah 5.]
Allah is therefore present on His Throne, over and above His creation. The fact that He is present over the Throne is known, but the manner of it is not. Believing in it is an obligation (wajib), and asking about such a manner is an innovation in religion (bid'ah). ·
- Allah does whatever He wills, whenever He wills and in the manner He wills. He delights, laughs, loves, hates, shows approval and wrath (in a manner that suits His Majesty), as has been stated in the Qur'an and the Prophetic traditions. In His actions He is like none of His creation and none from mortals knows how those actions take form. ·
- The Qur'an is the true uncreated word of Allah, not similar in any way to the speech of Mankind; it was spoken by Him in a way that we know nothing about. ·
- We believe in the Angels, the Prophets and the Messengers. ·
- We believe in the books revealed to the Messengers and we make no distinction between any of His Messengers. ·
- We believe that Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger; he is the best and leader of all Mankind, the seal of all the Prophets and the leader of the pious. ·
- We believe that Muhammad was taken by night in his bodily form while awake from al-Haram mosque [in Makkah] to al-Aqsaa mosque [in Jerusalem], and ascended through the heavens to whatever heights Allah willed for him. ·
- We have no doubt that the awaited Mahdee (or rightly-guided Imam) will come forth from among the Ummah of the Prophet at the end of time (on earth).
- We believe in the Signs of the Hour. The appearance of ad-Dajjal (false Messiah, or Antichrist). The descent from heaven of 'Isa, son of Mary. The sun rising from the West. The emergence of the Beast from the earth. And other signs mentioned in the Qur'an and the authentic Hadeeth of the Prophet. ·
- We believe in the questioning in the grave by the two angels. Munkar and Nakeer, about one's Lord, one's religion and the Prophet Muhammad . ·
- We believe in the punishment in the grave, may Allah save us from it, for those who deserve it. The grave is either one of the meadows of Paradise or one of the pits of the Hell-Fire, and each servant gets what he deserves. ·
- We believe in the resurrection of Mankind from the graves on the Day of Judgement to be set before Allah. We believe in the Reckoning, the reading of the book (account of deeds), the Scale (on which the deeds will be weighed), as-Sirat (the bridge set over Hell-Fire), and punishment and reward. ·
- We believe that the Intercession which the Prophet reserved for his Ummah on the Day of Judgement is true. ·
- We believe in Al-Hawd, the Pool which Allah will grant the Prophet as an honour to quench the thirst of his Ummah on the Day of Judgement. ·
- We believe that Paradise and Hell are both true. They are created and will never vanish. ·
- We believe that the people of Paradise will see their Lord directly, without their vision being all-encompassing and without the manner of their vision being known. As Allah, Exalted is He, said (which means): "Some faces that Day will be shining and radiant, looking at their Lord (Allah)." [Surah Al-Qiyaamah (75), Ayah 22-23.] ·
- We believe in al-Qadar (Divine Decree), the good of it and the bad of it, and say as Allah said (which means):
"Say: All things are from Allah." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 78.] Good and evil are therefore both from Allah's Decree. Everything in the universe occurs by His Will. ·
- We believe Allah, Exalted is He, does not command His slaves to be disbelievers or to be disobedient, nor is He pleased with them being so: "He likes not disbelief for His slaves." [Surah Az-Zumar (39), Ayah 7.] And if He, Exalted is He, preordains infidelity for the infidel, He does so for reasons only He knows: out of justice from Allah, transgression from the servant against his own soul, and as a punishment for previous sins he had committed: "Whatever of good reaches you (is from Allah), but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 79.]
All this happens in accordance with Allah's Will. Whatever Allah wills will be, and whatever He does not will, will not be. And Allah is never unjust to any of His servants:
"Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or small ant)." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 40.] ·
- We believe Allah created the actions of His slaves: "Allah has created you and what you make." [Surah As-Saaffaat (37), Ayah 96.] and the slaves execute their own actions in reality, not metaphorically. ·
- We love the companions of the Prophet , may Allah be pleased with them all; they are the best of all generations. We remember their merits, hold them in high esteem and display Walaa' to them. We also abstain from the things they disagreed upon. Love of them is part of Islam, part of Iman and part of Ihsan (excellent behaviour). Hatred of them is disbelief and hypocrisy. ·
- We confirm the Caliphate first to Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq, due to his excellence and superiority over the rest of the Ummah; then to 'Umar bin al-Khattab; then to 'Uthman bin 'Affan; then to 'Ali bin Abee Taalib, may Allah be pleased with them all. They are the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and upright leaders about whom the Prophet said: "So you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs; cling to it stubbornly." 
- The scholars of as-Salaf (the first generation of this Ummah and those who followed in their footsteps) must only be spoken about in the best way. Anyone who speaks ill of them is surely not on the right path.
This is our 'Aqeedah which is more precious to us than our own lives. It has stood the test of time and remained firm for fourteen centuries. It will continue to remain so in the face of all the onslaughts of the disbelievers, the spreading of doubt by the hypocrites and the innovations of the heretics. It has also been steadfast despite the remiss and negligence of many Muslims.
The survival and endurance of our `Aqeedah is in itself proof that is from Allah, the Mighty and Exalted. All creeds have become extinct and all religions have been altered, but Islam alone remained pure and true because it is the only Truth which cannot be affected by falsehood or shaken by doubt. Allah, Exalted is He, says (which means):
"Verily We: it is We Who have sent down adh-Dhikr [the Qur'an] and surely We will guard it [from corruption]." [Surah Al-Hijr (15), Ayah 9.]
It is a creed which provides us with a strong, correct base from which we can go forth towards our objective; confident that Allah Alone is the true God worthy of worship. This is so because He is the Owner who rules with authority in what He owns and because He has all the Attributes of perfection. Behind or above Him there are no objectives for us, nor is there any objective greater than this, for He is the Greatest.
It is a creed which gives total authority to Allah, makes attesting and submitting to this authority one of the conditions of Iman, and makes adhering to one of its prerequisites and a sign of its sincerity:
"It is not befitting for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decreed a matter that they should have an option in their decision." [Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 36.]
"But no, by your Lord, they can have no faith, until they make you (Muhammad ) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept them with full submission." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 65.]
It is a creed which refers all matters, even at times of disagreement, to Allah and His Messenger:
"O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those of you [Muslims] who are in authority; and if you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination." [Surah An-Nisa (4), Ayah 59.]
Our `Aqeedah thus unifies understanding and eliminates any possibility of discord. It provides us with the objective and the path, thereby unifying the believers and placing them on the same path. One can see them seeking the same objective despite their being of different countries, nationalities and colours.
Our `Aqeedah is a creed which sets up the individual as a watchful guardian over his own conduct in the world, responsible and accountable for it. For he knows that on the Day of Judgement it will be said to him (which means):
"Read your book, your soul is sufficient as a reckoner against you this Day." [Surah Al-Israa' (17), Ayah 14.]
By so doing, this `Aqeedah instils in the heart of the believer that which prevents him from disobeying the commands of Allah and His laws and judgement. It also helps him return to the right path if he wanders away from it or oversteps the limits. It also drives him to continual and sustained striving in the way of Allah and endeavour to attain His pleasure.
This is the great difference between our `Aqeedah and all the other ideologies and philosophies, and this is what makes it rise above them all. Islam raises this `Aqeedah up to a high position which all the other doctrines and ideologies eagerly wish to attain. And due to the huge gulf between their creeds and our `Aqeedah, they do not even cherish the hope of approaching its pinnacle, let alone reach it.
The creed of Islam gives its followers certainty that Allah ( SWT ) is with them, hearing and seeing, and that He knows what their breasts conceal and that He will resurrect them on the Day of Reckoning for Judgement and reward or punishment.
Saa'saa' bin Mu'aawiyyah came to the Prophet and recited to him the following ayah (which means):
"So whosoever does good equal to an atom's weight will see it then; and whosoever does evil equal to an atom's weight will see it then." [Surah Az-Zalzalah (98), Ayat 7-8.]
To this the Prophet said: `It is enough for me not to listen to any other [verse] than this.' 
Ours is an `Aqeedah which makes our Walaa, directed entirely to Allah, His Messenger and the believers. Apart from these, all others are looked upon with enmity and hatred subject to the degree of their remoteness from and opposition to Allah. It is an `Aqeedah which brings its followers out of the narrowness and insignificance of the life of this world to the expense and splendour of the hereafter. People of this `Aqeedah are always seen walking on the ground but their hearts are fixed on Paradise; they take their provisions for both this life and the next. They do not strive for a transient, base life, for they want to take from it only what will help them on their journey towards Allah and the Next Life:
"And the life of this world in nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the abode of the hereafter for those who keep their duty (to Allah). Will you not then understand?" [Surah Al-An'am (6), Ayah 32.]
"And Allah is better [as regards reward in comparison to your reward], and more lasting [as regards punishment in comparison to your punishment]." [Surah Ta-Ha (20), Ayah 73.]
It is an `Aqeedah which makes those who hold fast to it lead an honourable life, knowing no humiliation or disgrace. Though their condition swings between ease and hardship, victory and defeat, nothing affects their lofty and dignified life through their faith, for they draw their dignity and honour from their Lord Who is:
"the Most High, the Most Great." [Surah Al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 255.]
"the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." [Surah As-Saff (61), Ayah 1.]
They do not draw honour from wealth or influence, nor any other power on this earth. In fact, they are a living image and the real encapsulation of the following verses:
"But honour belongs to Allah, His Messenger and to the believers." [Surah Al-Munafiqoon (63), Ayah 8.]
"So do not become weak [against your enemy] nor be sad, as you will be superior [in victory] if you are indeed [true] believers." [Surah Ale-Imran (3), Ayah 139.]
It is an `Aqeedah which gives its followers confidence and peace of mind in this world and peace and glad tidings in the Hereafter. It also makes them eager to meet with their Lord, savouring, for His sake, all the difficulties and hardships.
 Muslim, on the authority of Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree.
 Surah Al-Ahzaab (33), Ayah 10.
 Including all kinds of alcoholic drinks.
 Stone altars whereupon sacrifices are slaughtered on certain occasions in the name of idols, jinn, angels, saints, and so on, in order to honour them or to expect some benefit from them.
 Divining arrows used for seeking luck or decision.
 As-Samad: The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need; He neither eats nor drinks.
 Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Najeeh al-`Irbaadh bin Saariyah. (Hadeeth Hasan Sahih).
 Related by Imam Ahmad. An-Nasaa'ee also relates the same account in At-Tafseer.