The Roots of Belief According to the People of Hadîth

Abul-Hasan al-Ash’arî (may Allah have mercy on him) said:[1]

This is a mention of the sum of the Companions of Hadîth’s and the People of the Sunnah’s statement.

The sum of what the People of Hadîth and the Sunnah are upon is:

Affirmation of Allah, His angels, His books and His messengers; [of] what came from Allah and what the reliable [narrators] narrated from Allah’s messenger (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him)—they do not reject anything from that; that Allah, glorified is He, is a single god, solitary, eternal. There is no god [worthy of worship] other than Him, He did not take a [female] companion, nor a child; and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

[They affirm] that Paradise is true and that the Fire is true; that the Hour is coming [and] there is no doubt about it; and that Allah will resurrect whoever is in the graves.

[They affirm] that Allah, glorified is He, is over His throne as He said, «The Merciful mounted[2] the Throne» (20:5); that He has two hands without [asking] how as He said, «I created with My two hands» (28:75), and as He said, «Rather His two hands are both outstreched» (5:64); that He has two eyes without [asking] how as He said, «proceeding with Our eyes» (54:14); and that He has a face as He said, «And your Lord’s face remains, Possessor of the splendor and the honour» (55:27); that it is not said about Allah’s names that they are not Allah as the Mu’tazilah and Khawârij said. And they affirmed that Allah has knowledge, as He said, «He revealed it with His knowledge» (4:166), «There is not any female that carries [i.e., is pregnant] nor drops [i.e., gives birth], except with His knowledge» (35:11). They affirmed the [attribute of] hearing and the [attribute of] sight and they did not negate that from Allah as the Mu’tazilah negated it. And they affirmed the [attribute of] strength for Allah as He said, «And do they not see that Allah is the One who created them? He is more severe than them in strength» (41:15).

They said that there is no good, nor evil, existing in the earth except what Allah willed, and that things exist by Allah’s volition, as He (mighty and sublime is He) said, «And you cannot will except that Allah wills» (81:29), and as the Muslims said, “Whatever Allah willed existed and whatever He does not will does not exist.” And they said that it is not possible for anyone to do something before he does it {or [that] anyone is capable of deviating from Allah’s knowledge}[3] or that he does something that Allah knew he could not do. They affirm that there is no creator except Allah and that Allah creates the sins of the servants; that Allah (mighty and sublime is He) creates the deeds of the servants; and that the servants are not able to create anything.

[They affirm] that Allah, glorified is He, made the believers suitable for His obedience and deserted the disbelievers; [that] He was kind to the believers, took care of them, rectified them, and guided them, and [that] He was not kind to the disbelievers. He did not rectify them, nor guide them—and if He rectified them, they certainly would have been righteous [people] and if He guided them, they certainly would have been guided [people]. [They affirm] that Allah, glorified is He, is capable of rectifying the disbelievers and of being kind to them such that they become believers. He desired, however, that He not rectify them or be kind to them, but He desired that they be disbelievers just as He knew. He deserted them, led them astray, and sealed their hearts.

[They affirm] that the good and the evil are by Allah’s judgement and His predestination. They believe in Allah’s judgement and His predestination, its good and its evil, its sweet and its bitter. They believe that they cannot control any benefit, nor harm, for themselves, except [for] whatever Allah willed just as He said. And they refer their affair to Allah, glorified is He. They confirm the need for Allah during every time and the want for Allah during every state.

They say that the Qur’an is Allah’s uncreated speech. [Concerning] the speech regarding the [issue of] hesitation[4] and the [issue of] articulation;[5] according to them, whoever spoke of the articulation or of hesitation is a heretic; it is not said that the articulation of the Qur’an is created or uncreated.

They say that Allah, glorified is He, will be seen by the sights on the Day of Standing just as the moon is seen on the night of the full moon. The believers will see Him and the disbelievers will not see Him because they will be veiled from Allah. Allah (mighty and sublime is He) said, «Nay! Surely, from their Lord on that day, they will certainly be veiled» (83:15); and that Mūsâ (may the peace be upon him) asked Allah, glorified is He, for the sighting in the worldly [life] and that Allah revealed [Himself] to the mountain and made it level ground, so He made it known to him that he would not see Him in the worldly [life], but he will see Him in the Afterlife.

They do not declare anyone from the People of the Qiblah[6] a disbeliever for a sin he perpetrated, such as the likes of adultery, stealing, and what resembles that from the great sins. They are believers due to what is with them of faith, even though they perpetrate the great sins. Faith according to them is faith in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and in predestination—its good and its evil, its sweet and its bitter—and that whatever escaped them woud never have struck them and whatever struck them would never have escaped them. And Islam is that one testifies that there is no god [worthy of worship] except Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger, according to what has come in the hadîth. Islam according to them is not faith.[7]

They affirm that Allah is the Turner of the Hearts. And they affirm the intercession of Allah’s messenger (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him), and that it is for the People of the Great Sins from his nation; the punishment of the grave; and that the Pool[8] is true, the Sirât[9] is true, the resurrection after death is true, Allah’s accounting for His servants is true, and the standing in front of Allah[10] is true.

They affirm that faith is statement and deed, it increases and decreases; and they do not say it is created, nor uncreated. They say Allah’s names are Allah, and they do not testify [knowledge] of the Fire for anyone from the People of the Great Sins, nor do they judge Paradise for anyone from the monotheists until Allah sets them down wherever He willed; and they say, “Their affair is to Allah; if He willed He will punish them and if He willed He will forgive them.” They believe that Allah, glorified is He, will take a people from the monotheists out from the Fire according to what has come of it from the narrations from Allah’s messenger (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him).

With submission to the authentic narrations and the traditions (which the reliable [narrators] narrated: a just [person] from a just [person] until that ends at Allah’s messenger (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him)) they rebuke arguing and quarrelling about the religion, disputing about predestination, and debating about whatever the People of Argument debate and contend [with each other] about from their religion, and they do not [ask] how, nor why, because that is a heresy.

They say that Allah did not order the evil, but [that] He prohibited it and ordered the good. He is not pleased with the evil, even if it was desired to Him.

They recognize the right of the predecessors who Allah, glorified is He, chose because of the companionship of His prophet (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him), they accept their virtues, and they withhold from what occurred between them, their young and their old. They give precedence to Abâ Bakr, then ‘Umar, then ‘Uthmân, then ‘Alî, may Allah’s pleasure be upon them. They affirm that they are the Rightly Guided Successors, the best of all of the people after the Prophet (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him).

They attest to the hadîths that came from Allah’s messenger (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him) [mentioning] that «Allah, glorified is He, decends to the worldy heaven and says, “Is there anyone asking for forgiveness … ?”» just as the hadîth came from Allah’s messenger (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him).

They keep to the Book and the Sunnah just as Allah (mighty and sublime is He) said, «Thus, if you contend [with each other] in anything, then return it to Allah and the Messenger» (4:59). They are of the opinion of following those who preceded from the imams of the religion [who] did not introduce heresies into their religion which Allah did not permit.

They affirm that Allah, glorified is He, comes on the Day of Standing, just as He said, «And your Lord will come, as will the angels, row by row» (89:22), and that Allah gets close to His creation however He wills as He said, «And We are closer to you than the jugular vein» (50:17).

They are of the opinion of [praying] the ‘Îd, the Friday, and the congregational [prayers] behind every imam, righteous or immoral; and they confirm [that] the wiping over the shoes [during ablution] is a sunnah and deem it appropriate during [times of] settlement and [times of] travel. They confirm the religious duty of jihâd against the polytheists since Allah dispatched His prophet (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him), until the last of the troop fights the Imposter,[11] and after that. They are of the opinion of supplicating for improvement for the imams of the Muslims, that they do not rebel against them with the sword, and that they do not fight them during the [times of] turmoil.

They attest to the emergence of the Imposter and that ‘Îsâ bin Maryam (Jesus) will kill him, and they believe in Munkar and Nakîr,[12] the Ascent,[13] the dream during sleep,[14] and that the supplication for the Muslim dead and the charity from them reaches them after their death.[15]

They attest that [there are] magicians in the world, that the magician is a disbeliever, and that magic exists and is found in the world.

They are of the opinion of praying over all of those who die from the People of the Qiblah,[16] the righteous [ones from] them, and the immoral [ones from] them, as well as the [transmission of] their inheritance.[17]

They are of the opinion that Paradise and the Fire are both [already] created; that whoever died died at his appointed time, and similiarly whoever was killed was killed at his appointed time; that the provisions are from Allah, glorified is He, He provides it to His servants whether it is lawful or forbidden; that the devil whispers [temptations] to the human being, causes him to doubt, and causes him to stumble; that it is indeed possible that Allah endowes the virtuous with signs [that] support them; that the Sunnah does not abrogate the Qur’an;[18] that the children’s affair is [left] to Allah, if He willed He will punish them, and if He willed He will do with them however He desired; that Allah knows what the servants will do, that he wrote that that will happen, and that the affairs are in Allah’s hand.

They are of the opinion of having patience with Allah’s judgement, accepting what Allah has commanded of, refraining from what Allah prohibited; sincerity of deed and advising the Muslims. They profess the worship of Allah and the advice to the congregation of the Muslims, avoid great sins, fornication, false statement, bigotry, boasting, pride, contempt for the people, and conceit. They are of the opinion of avoiding every caller to heresy; occupying [themselves] with reading the Qur’an, writing the narrations, and studying jurisprudence, with humbleness; good character; offering the recognized [good acts]; stopping the harm; leaving backbiting, defamation, and slander; and checking food and drink.[19]

So this is the sum of what what they command, employ, and hold the opinion of. And of all of what we mentioned of their statement, we speak, and to it we opine; and our success is not except by Allah. He suffices us and is the excellent Trustee. Of Him we seek aid, upon Him we rely, and to Him is the outcome.


[1] [t] This text was extracted from I’tiqâd Ahl as-Sunnah Sharh As·hâb al-Hadîth by Dr. Muhammad bin ‘Abdir-Rahman al-Khumayyis (Ministry of Islamic Affairs. Riyâdh, Saudi Arabia. 1419H), with editing for corrections and additions using an internet copy of Maqâlât al-Islâmiyyîn wa Ikhtilâf al-Musallîn taken from

[2] [t] Ar. v. istawâ – to be on the same level; to be even with; to sit above, to mount. After quoting a number of Qur’anic verses mentioning Allah’s mounting His throne, on pg. 23 of I’tiqâd Ahl as-Sunnah, Dr. al-Khumayyis explains,

These verses indicate Allah’s mounting His throne and His transcendence over His creation, blessed and exalted is He. All of them are with the word ‘mounted’ (Ar. istawâ), which is transitive by means of the [word] ‘upon’ (Ar. istawâ ‘alâ); the imams of the Sunnah such as Abil-‘Âliyah, Mujâhid, and others, have explained it with ‘transcendence’ (Ar. ‘ulū) and ‘elevation’ (Ar. irtifâ’ – rise; elevation; increase; height, altitude). Imam Mâlik has been asked about the mounting and said, “The mounting is known, the how is unknown, faith in it is obligatory, and asking about it is a heresy.” (al-Asmâ’ was-Sifât, pgs. 515-516).

Ibn al-Mubârak said, “We recognise our Lord as being above the seven heavens, He mounted His throne, distinct from His creation, and we do not say as the Jahmiyyah said.” (ad-Dârimî’s ar-Radd ‘alal-Jahmiyyah, pg. 67).

[3] [t] The portion between the braces { } is missing from my copy of I’tiqâd Ahl as-Sunnah Sharh As·hâb al-Hadîth and was added from the copy of Maqâlât al-Islamiyyîn.

[4] [t] Ar. waqf – stopping; halting; discontinuation, suspention, stay; pausing; restraining. It refers to hesitating with regards to the Qur’an such that it is not said that it is created or uncreated. About the Hesitators, Dr. al-Khumayyis explains, “They are those who hesitated regarding the Qur’an and said, ‘We do not say [it is] created, nor uncreated,’ and they hereticated whoever differed from them.”

[5] [t] Ar. lafdh – expression; word; wording; articulation, enunciation. It refers to the issue of whether one’s articulation of the Qur’an is created or not.

[6] [t] Ar. qiblah – direction which Muslims pray (towards the Ka’bah).

[7] [t] I.e., referring to the distinction some of the scholars of the People of the Sunnah make between Islam and faith. Dr. al-Khumayyis explains,

This is what the author (i.e., Abul-Hasan al-Ash’arî) affirms from them. Hâfidh Abū Bakr al-Ismâ’îlî, however, indicated that they had differed regarding the difference between Islam and faith (see I’tiqâd A’immah al-Hadîth, pg. 67). In his book I’tiqâd A’immah al-Hadîth pgs. 67-68, he had said,

Some of them said faith is surely statement and deed, while Islam is the doing of what has been made incumbent on the human being to do. When each noun is mentioned seperately, close to the other, such that it is said ‘the believers and the Muslims’ individually, then a meaning is intended by one of them [which is] not intended by the other. While if [only] one of the two nouns is mentioned, it implies all and includes them.

Many of them said Islam and faith are one; Allah (mighty and sublime is He) said, «And whoever seeks other than Islam as a religion, then it will not be accepted from him» (3:85). So if faith was other than it (i.e., Islam), then it would not be accepted. He said, «So we brought out whoever was in it from the believers ¤ but We did not find save one house of the Muslims in it» (51:35-36).

From them are those who opined that Islam is relative to surrender (Ar. istislâm) to Allah, subjection (Ar. khudū’) to Him, and submission (Ar. inqiyâd) to His judgement in what he is a believer of as He said, «The Arab bedouins said, “We believe.” Say, “You did not believe. Say, however, “We surrender [to Islam],” for faith has not yet entered your hearts» (49:14), and He said, «They consider that they surrendered [to Islam] as a favour to you. Say, “Do not consider your Islam as a favour to me. Rather, Allah favoured you that He guided you to Islam» (49:17). This is also evidence for those who say both are one.

I say there are other statements, and the preferable [one] in my view is the statement of those who say if faith and Islam are separate, they correspond [in meaning] and when they are combined, they are separate [in meaning].

[8] [t] Ar. hawd – water basin; trough, tank, reservoir; pool. It refers to the pool which Allah prepared for His prophet at which the believers will gather during Judgement day.

[9] [t] Ar. sirât – way, path, road. It refers to the bridge over Hell that the people will cross over on Judgement day.

[10] [t] Ar. baina yadai Allah – lit. between Allah’s hands.

[11] [t] Ar. dajjâl – swindler, cheat, imposter; charlatan. It refers to the false Messiah or Antichrist who is prophecized to come near the end of days, before the establishment of the Final Hour.

[12] [t] I.e., the two angels who will question you in the grave.

[13] [t] Ar. mi’râj – ladder, stairs. It refers to the ascent to the seven heavens made by Prophet Muhammad during the Night Journey described in the beginning of chapter 17 of the Qur’an.

[14] [t] Dr. al-Khumayyis explains (pg. 151),

As for the author’s mention of the dream during sleep, I do not know what the connection is of sleep and the dream with the roots of creed according to the People of Hadîth, except if he meant the hadîth of the Prophet (may Allah send salutations and peace upon him), «When the time approaches the Muslim’s dream will hardly lie. The most truthful of you in dream is the most truthful of you in speech. … » (Sahîh Muslim, no. 2263).

It is possible that he means that the believer’s seeing his Lord during sleep is possible, because from the creed of the People of the Sunnah is seeing Allah during sleep. As for in the Afterlife, then they will see him with their sights in the [state of] wakefulness.

As for those who claim seeing Allah in the worldly [life while] awake, as many of the Sūfîs claim (just as that was claimed by at-Taftazânî al-Mâturîdî), then they are from the liars, [and] the imposters.

[15] [t] I.e., they benefit from these good deeds even when dead.

[16] [t] Ar. qiblah – prayer direction.

[17] [t] Dr. al-Khumayyis explains,

The People of the Sunnah and the Congregation hold the opinion of praying over every Muslim after his death so long as he is associated with the People of the Qiblah i.e., the Muslims, and so long as he does not exit from Islam by rejecting what entered him in it; the virtuous and the villainous, the obedient and the disobedient, the righteous and the immoral, are [all] equal in that, so long as he does not exit from Islam. Similarly they are of the opinion transmitting his inheritance so long as he is Muslim. As for if he exited from Islam, then there is no transmission of inheritance.

[18] [t] Dr. al-Khumayyis explains,

This is a mistake from the author (may Allah have mercy on him) and perhaps “does not” (لا) was added by the transcriber, either purposely or inadvertently, because the truth that many of the People of the Sunnah are upon is that the Sunnah can abrogate the Qur’an. From that is the hadîth «[There is] no bequest for the heir,» [which] abrogated His statement, exalted is He, «When death visits one of you, if he left good [i.e., wealth], the bequest for the parents and [close] relatives is prescribed for you» (2:180).

(NB: The Sunnah’s abrogating the Qur’an means that the Sunnah specifies the Qur’an’s generality or restricts the Qur’an’s unrestrictedness, contrary to the Hanafîs whose statement is false, based on an unsound foundation; that the Sunnah is speculative according to them.)

And because, generally, the predecessors had differed in this issue into two factions:

The first: approved of the Sunnah’s abrogating the Qur’an. They deduced [that] by many evidences and maintained that the abrogation was for the ruling only.

The second denied the Sunnah’s abrogating the Qur’an; they had other proofs regarding that.

Each of the the two groups replied to the other, and it is an issue of large differing.

[19] [t] I.e., checking to see if it is lawful (Ar. halâl) or forbidden (Ar. harâm). This does not mean that we go overboard in doing so as some of the groups and parties today have done, examining each and every single ingredient found in the food and drink, then ruling on the legality or forbiddance of these ingredients based on misconceived notions of what is lawful and forbidden, speculation and even doubt.


About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

2 Responses to The Roots of Belief According to the People of Hadîth

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