We need to learn about Aqeedah; it’s not a simple thing that you can inherit from your parents.
Aqeedah has a direct effect on our actions; if a person does not have the correct aqeedah then their deeds are void. If someone has Shirk in their Aqeedah, their deeds will never be accepted regardless of whether or not the person prays, fasts, recites Qur’aan etc.
Can you imagine arriving on the Day of Judgement and not seeing the deeds you did in the world because they were mixed with Shirk? Allaah says:
“They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice (dhulm)- those will have security, they are [rightly] guided.” (6:82)
According to the scholars, studying aqeedah far exceeds study in any other field because it is the means by which we get to know Allaah and therefore we find out the correct Manhaj (way) in regards to how to worship Him. Aqeedah is like the head of the body of Islaam, without the head, the body is useless. It is not something that can come from intellectual deduction and anything relating to Aqeedah must have a proof from the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah otherwise it is rejected. Aqeedah is so important because for the believers, Allaah is more beloved to us than anyone in the heavens and the earth, so by learning about Him we can further our love; it’s not possible that we could truly love Allaah without knowing who He is, without knowing His beautiful Names and perfect Attributes.
The first waajib (compulsory duty) is the declaration of Laa ilaaha illallaah (None has the right to be worshipped except Allaah). This is the basis of our deen- Tawheed: It is to single out Allaah alone in His Ruboobiyyah (Lordship), His Asmaa was-Sifaat (Names and Attributes) and His Uluhiyyah (His worship). This matter of aqeedah is something we cannot do without for even a second, prayers for example are at specific times, whereas we cannot assign a specific time for aqeedah, meaning we can never say that we are not in need of aqeedah right now. Our entire lives must be built on the correct aqeedah as Allaah says:
“Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds’” (6:162)
This is our entire life. It is said that:
“ Verily Aqeedah is the first of the matters and the last of them.”
We need to know what the meaning of لا اله الا الله (the first part of the testimony of faith, that none has the right to be worshipped other than Allaah. The second part of the testimony being that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم).
It is the first pillar of Islaam and therefore the first of matters and on the authority of Mu’adh ibn Jabal, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
“He whose last words are ‘Laa ilaaha illallaah’ will enter Jannah” [Saheeh- Riyadhus Saaliheen]
Eemaan (faith) is called noor (light). Allaah blesses that person with light, to establish between truth and falsehood, kufr/shirk and tawheed. The more your knowledge grows the more you are guided by this light. If Allaah wishes good for a servant then He will give him understanding of the deen as stated by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)
“He to whom Allaah intends to do good, He gives him insight into religion” [Sahih Muslim]
If we look at the people of this time, we see that many people have lost the ability to distinguish between the truth and falsehood, and guidance and misguidance. If we go back to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah then we will not be blinded by the things that blind so many others.
Aqeedah, linguistically means to tie something up to make it strong. Allaah says:
“O you have believed, fulfil [all] contracts[al ‘uqood- a derivative of aqeedah]” (5:1)
From this verse we see that it comes with the meaning of certainty, it is something that is binding and confirmed. This implies that it’s not something you can leave like in a binding contract.
Legally (in the Shari’ah) it is the firm conviction of the mind/heart. It is the belief that the heart ties itself to. If a person’s conviction corresponds to the truth of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah we say that they have a strong aqeedah, if it goes against these two then they have a false aqeedah. Aqeedah is not based on opinions or philosophy but the Qur’aan and Sunnah strictly as understood by the Sahaabah.
Another scholarly definition of Aqeedah is ‘the affairs and matters that are not subject to discussion or argument.’ Anything to do with the 6 pillars of eemaan (belief in Allaah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the last day and predestination-the good and the bad) cannot be argued about using your own opinions/judgements/doubts etc.
We’ll never accept for anyone to come and change anything of these 6 pillars of eemaan, whether to take something away or add anything.