Foreword adapted from the book,
by Shaikh Saleh ibn Fawzan ibn Abdullah al-Fawzan
‘Al-Aqeedah (faith)' is what a person takes as a religion. It is said, 'He has a good Aqeedah' meaning, ' He is protected from doubts.’
Aqeedah is an action of the heart -which is to believe and affirm something in the heart.
IntheSharee'ah, Aqeedah is the belief/faith in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day and Predestination -its good and evil. These are called the Pillars of Eeman (faith).
The Sharee'ah is divided into two parts; Beliefs and Actions.
(a)Beliefs are issues that are not related to how an act is performed such as belief in the Lordship of Allah, the obligation to worship Allah (alone) and belief in the other afore-mentioned pillars of Eeman (faith). These are called Asliyah -the basic foundation.
(b)The latter part consists of issues related to how actions are performed like Salaat (prayer), Zakaat (charity), Sawm (fasting) and other rulings with regards to actions. These are termed as Far'eyyah -the branches, because their soundness or corruption is based upon the beliefs.
The c orrect Aqeedah is thus the foundation upon which the religion is based. It is the correct Aqeedah with which t he actions are set arightas the Most High said, "So, whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord." [Soorah al-Kahf (18): 110]
"Indeed, it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad ) as it was to those (Prophets) before you, 'If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers." [Soorah az-Zumar (39): 65]
"So, worship Allah (alone) by performing religious deeds sincerely for His sake. Surely, the religion is for Allah only." [Soorah Zumar (39): 2]
These verses and numerous other narrations that have been related in this regard confirm that actions are not accepted unless they are free from Shirk(polytheism/associating partners with Allah).
It was therefore the main concern of the Messengers to rectify the beliefs first. Sole worship of Allah and abandonment of worship to anything other than Him was their primary call as the Most High says, "Verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming), 'Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid the Taghoot (everything that is worshiped other than Allah)." [Soorah An-Nahl (16): 36]
The first issue addressed by every Prophet was, "Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (deity worthy of being worshiped) but Him." [Soorah al-A'raf (7): 59, 65, 73, 85]
It was said by Nuh , Hood , Saleh , Suhaib and all the other Prophets to their nations. After being bestowed with Prophethood, the Messenger of Allah stayed in Mecca for thirteen years calling people to Tawheed and rectifying their Aqeedah because Aqeedah is the foundation upon which the entire structure of the Deen stands.
The Duaat (callers to the religion of Allah) and those who seek to guide others during every age followed the example of the Messengers and the Prophets who initiated their call with Tawheed (Oneness of Allah’s worship) and correction of Aqeedah, and subsequently focusing upon the remaining commandments of the Deen (religion).