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Aqeedah and Manhaj

Aqeedah is the belief of a Muslim and Manhaj refers to the methodology of receiving, analyzing and applying knowledge. So, if you go by the correct understanding of the Quran and Sunnah then you are on the correct Manhaj. The correct understanding of the Quran and Sunnah is that of the righteous predecessors. It refers to the specific way and methodology adopted by Ahl us-Sunnah, the people of Sunnah, that is derived from the Book and the Sunnah, upon the fahm (understanding) of the Salaf, pious predecessors, in the various affairs of the deen, be they related to beliefs, or other aspects of knowledge, or aspects of action.

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: "And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method." [Quran: Surah al Maidah 5: Ayah 48]

So for example, Ahl us-Sunnah have a specific methodology in the way that they make tafseer of the Book of Allaah, i.e. Exegesis of the Quran, likewise they have a specific methodology in the way that they derive their aqeedah, and they have specific methodologies in the subject of hadeeth, and they have a specific methodology in the way that they perform the da'wah to Allaah, and they have a specific methodology in refuting, warning, and they have a specific methodology in behaving during specific circumstances, such as oppressive rulers, or empowerment of the kuffar over the Muslims, and so on. So many other affairs can be listed.

So from this we understand that manhaj is something that is very broad and vast. In light of this, it also becomes clear that it is of the utmost importance that we are precise and exact in these methodologies, which is really a matter that returns back to gaining a proper understanding of the Book and the Sunnah in light of the understanding of the Salaf. When subtle mistakes are made in the methodologies underlying these fields they can lead, over time, to great innovation and misguidance.

Shaykh al Fawwzaan (رحمه الله) said, “Manhaj is broader than aqeedah, manhaj (methodology) occurs in aqeedah, and in sulook (behaviour) and in akhlaaq (manners) and in mu'aamalaat (dealings), and in all the life of a Muslim. As for aqeedah, then the foundation of eemaan (faith) is intended by it, and the meaning of the two testimonials and whatever is required by them both, this is aqeedah.”

The subject of manhaj is more vast than the subject of tawheed and aqeedah, the affairs of manhaj are more broad and they underlie the affairs of the deen in general, so they underlie the affairs of Tawheed, because Ahl us-Sunnah have particular methodologies in understanding Tawheed and explaining it, and teaching and calling to it, likewise in Aqeedah, likewise in Fiqh, likewise, in dealing with the Innovators, likewise in refuting and warning from deviation, likewise in rectifying the society, likewise in correcting the rulers and so on. The affairs of manhaj cover both knowledge based matters, such as the affairs of tawheed, and tafseer, and aqeedah and fiqh, and they also cover action based matters, such as how to behave with the rulers, how to behave with the Innovators, how to rectify the society, how to perform da'wah, where to begin, what are the priorities, and how to implement the aqeedah of walaa and baraa and so on.

Shaykh Ubayd ibn Jabiree (رحمه الله) said, “And Islaam is composed of these two: correctness in belief and soundness in manhaj (methodology), and its uprightness. One of them does not separate from the other. Thus, whoever’s manhaj is corrupt, then have trust that it springs from corruption in his aqeedah. So when the aqeedah is upright upon the correct manner, then the manhaj will also be upright.”

 

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