The Difference between Shariah (Fiqh) and Aqeedah

Consider the degrees of halal (what is lawful) and haram (what is unlawful – and sinful) in Islam. There are 5 degrees:

  1. Fard, Wajib: This is Obligatory: You MUST do this. No excuses. Severe in punishment for failure.
  2. Mustahabat*: This is Preferred or Rewardable: For example, Qiyyum al-Layl; fasting in Shawwal; i.e. doing the Sunnah.
  3. Haram: This is Forbidden or Illegal.
  4. Makruh#: This is Hated or Disliked: i.e. it is better to avoid it for more Taqwa (piety; fear of ALLAH) – but it is not haram.
  5. Mubah: This is Allowance: For example, to eat meat… there is silence about it – it’s not haram, not mustahabat and not makruh. It’s just O.K..

*Mustahabat are those actions that if performed will achieve rewards, but if these actions are not done, they will not incur a sin.

# Makruh are those actions that if is performed will not acquire a sin, but if they are avoided will gain a reward.

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The Golden Generation

The best people are those of my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then, there will come people after them whose testimony precedes their oaths and their oaths precede their testimony.” The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.

Reported by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6065, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2533.

What this shows is there is something special about the Companions of the Prophet, and their Successors (for the next two generations). They are the Golden Generation: al-Qurun al-Dhahabiyyah. It was due to their Imaan (faith) and the Tawheed that they lived and breathed, garnered from the Prophet himself, peace be upon him, that make them examples of how to practice the teaching of the Prophet (Deen al-Islam). What is clear is they were united in their Aqeedah.

And the intended purpose is that the Sahaabah – may Allaah be pleased with them – did not fight ever, over a principle (qaa’idah) from the principles of Islaam originally. And they did not differ in anything from the qawaa’id of Islaam, not about the Attributes, not about the Qadr, not about the issues of al-Asmaa` and al-Ahkaam (rulings), nor in the issues of the Imaamah.” (Minhaajus-Sunnah (6/336) of Ibn Taymiyyah)

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