Title: Sharh al-Aqeedat-il-Wasitiyah
Author: Ibn Taimiyah
Publication: Darussalam Publications 1996
Reviewed by: A.S Abd Mokti
This treatise Sharh Al-aqeedat-il-wasitiyah, describes the belief of the genuine followers of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah based on the Quran and Hadiths. The belief of this saved and successful sect (Al-Firqatun Naajiyah Al-Mansoorah) includes the fundamental belief of faith to Allah and His attributes, His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, the hereafter and in having good or bad destiny. These faiths which forms the articles of Iman (faith) are thoroughly discussed in this book.
The saved sect believes that Allah has attributed those attribute to Himself and neither negation nor alteration should be done, as Allah has stated clearly through his book (Quran) and sent guidance to the prophet s.a.w.
Ibnu Taimiyah portrayed a rather clear, striking and elegant method of addressing the readers. This book is so richly stepped in references to the Quran, to Ahadith, to the saying of the rightly guided companions and their followers, and to opinion of other experts in jurisprudence, that make as if the Muslim reader feels that he is leaving in the blessed age of Islam.
Sharh Al-aqeedat-il-wasitiyah starts the discussion of faith with the meaning of Bismillah, Hamd and Madh followed by the meaning of the Shahadah itself. He then kicks of the introduction of the Saved Sect and its Faith by describing the attributes of Allah. Among the attributes discussed are hearing, seeing, intention, love, justice, mercy, pleasure, wrath, curse, coming etc and the controversially-understood attribute of Istiwa’ for Allah. It is important to note that these attributes of Allah are as what that suits His Majesty and neither negation nor measurement with His creatures should be made. Ibnu Taimiyah also stressed on the importance of avoiding ta’weel (to interpret into another meaning) as the Quran is the word of Allah and Allah knows best what He said. But, rather it is the belief of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah to have faith in the attributes which Allah qualified for Himself.
The faith to the prophet as messengers and the life after death then ensues with illustration of the day of resurrection and its events, Haud, Sirat, and Intercession as stated by the Quran and Ahadith. Discussion continues with the belief in Qadar(Divine Decree) in which the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah are the moderate between the Qadariyah and Mu’tazilah, In the mater of the Sahabah (companions) and the Ahlul Bait (family of the prophets), Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah should believe and love them.
The author ends the book with the affirmation of belief in karamah of auliya, following the Sunnah of the prophet, and the basic principles of Shari’ah.
Sheikhul Islam also affirmed that Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah are the moderate sects among the Ummah, which is described in one of the chapter as follows:
“In such Ahadith in which the prophet pbuh gives information about Allah the Almighty and Glorious, the men of the saved sect have faith in the same manner as they have faith on the information given about them by Allah in His book without distortion and negation and without adding adding quality and resemblance. In fact, among all the sects of the Ummah, this sect is moderate just as the community of Muslims is a moderate one among all the communities.
The followers of ASWJ occupy a moderate position between the Ahlul Ta’teel (Jahmiyah: deny names of Allah and attibutes) and Ahlul-Tamtheel (Mushabbiha-resemble Allah’s attribute with His creatures), and are moderate between the Jabariyah sect (belief that slaves has no will and power to do good or bad) and Qadariyah (belief that slaves have full will and power after himself) regarding the act of Acts of Allah, and are moderate about the promise of Allah between Murjiah (believe that action are not part of faith, only testimony and confession are) and the Wa’eediyah sects among Qadariyah (believe that the believer who commits major sins and do not repent will enter hell forever) and moderate on matters of the Faith and names of the religion between Harooriyah (Khawarij-rebellion against Ali) and Mu’tazilah and between Murhi’ah and Jahmiyah, and are moderate regarding the companions between Raafidah (Shia) and Khawarij.”