Indeed all praise is for Allaah. We praise Him, seek His aid and assistance and seek His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evil promptings of our souls and our evil actions. Whomsoever Allaah guides, none can misguide; and whomsoever Allaah leaves to stray, none can guide aright. I testify that none has the right to be worshiped except Allaah alone; having no partner, and I testify that Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Slave and Messenger.
This is a brief treatise concerning the fundamental precepts (usool) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah as regard their beliefs and creed ('aqeedah). It was prepared and published in response to the request of many readers - students of knowledge as well as the general Muslims - who expressed the need for a clear, yet concise, presentation of the fundamentals of the creed of the Pious Predecessors (Salaf) and its principles; whilst at the same time adhering to the terms employed by the Sharee'ah that have been recorded from the scholars.
Linguistically the word 'aqeedah comes from the word al-'aqd, which means: To bind, to fasten tightly, to fortify, to consolidate. Technically it means: A firm and unwavering belief, which is not open to any doubt with its holder.
The Islaamic 'aqeedah refers to: An unwavering belief in Allaah the Most High and what is due to Him from exclusive worship and obedience. It also refers to an unwavering belief in His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and in Pre-Decree. It likewise includes all that has been affirmed from the matters of the Unseen, the reports concerning previous nations, as well as all the definite reports, whether in matters pertaining to knowledge or action.
The Salaf (Predecessors): They are the initial era of this nation (ummah): the Companions, their followers and the rightly guided scholars of the first three excellent generations.
All those who follow the Salaf and traverse their path, in every age, are designated as being Salafee; due to their ascription to the Salaf.
Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa`ah: They are all those who are upon that which the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions were upon.
They are called Ahlus-Sunnah because of their adherence to the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
They are called the Jamaa’ah because they are the ones who gather upon the truth and do not split-up in their Religion; they gather upon the legitimate rulers and do not rebel against them; and they follow the consensus (ijmaa) of the Pious Predecessors of this ummah.
Since they are the ones who truly follow the Sunnah of Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, following his path, they are also called the Traditionalists (ahlul-hadeeth), the People of Narration (ahlul-aathaar) and the Adherents (ahlul-ittibaa'). They are also called the Aided Group (at-taa`ifatul-mansoorah) and the Saved-Sect (al-firqatun-naajiyah).
Naasir ibn 'Abdul-Kareem al-'Aql