What characterises Ahl al Sunna wal Jammah from other groups? Especially in matters of aqeedah?
The unique position with the aqeedah of Ahl as Sunna wal Jamaah is that noone can deny it because it is all evidence-based and goes right back to the formative period of Islam.
For instance, if we glance at the deviant sects, we notice they have a specific focus, which though their topic of interest itself is good – these groups make these topics an unbalanced priority. For instance:
- The Khawarij focus only on jihad or the outward signs of worship
- The Shia focus only on the ahl al bayt (i.e. the family of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him)
- The Sufis focus only on dhikr
- Hizbut Tahrir (HT) focus only on khilafa
- Ikhwan al Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood) focus only on the unity of the Muslims
But the reality is that the mission of the prophets was only ever about Towhid (the one-ness of Allah, monotheism). And this is the priority of the Ahl al Sunnah wal Jamaah or the Muwahidun (monotheists):
- “Hear O Israel, the Lord, our God, is One.” Deuteronomy 6:4
- La ilaha illallah: There is no ilah except Allah (The Only One, Unique, True Ilah [i.e. deity, god, one to worship])
So what exactly are the characteristics of Ahl al Sunnah wal Jamaah?
By ‘Sunnah’, which means ‘the tradition’, what is meant is the general tradition of all the prophets and messengers from Adam, the First to Muhammad, the Last (peace be upon them all). This tradition is focussed on Towhid (monotheism, the One-ness of Allah). It is also refers to the specific tradition of the Last prophet as his alloted time lasts till the Last Day. In this sense, it is a short hand for us to follow what has been revealed via the Qur’an (Allah’s revelation to the prophet- Most Exalted be Allah, The Lord of All that exists) and the Sunnah (the traditions of the Last prophet).
By ‘Jamaah’, what is meant is generally the ijma (consensus) of the community of believers, which is a reference to the early community around the prophet (peace be to him) that included the first three generations. Their understanding is critical – even now – because they were the closest to his way (his Sunnah) and lived it after he died. The superiority of their perspectives that should never be overlooked is vouched for and supported by authentic hadiths. Specifically, however, ‘Jamaah’ is a reference to the necessity to imbibe the ‘Heart-Action’ (one of the parts of faith outlined previously) without which whatever knowledge and whatever action we possess or demonstrate is ultimately meaningless.
“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.”
(Qur’an, Surah Al-Imran 3:103 – My emphasis, bold and italic)
So here we have a direct connection between loyalty, obedience, practice and necessity for Allah’s ‘rope’ or His Way (Qur’an and Sunnah) and our hearts (hence, Heart-Action).
This is why this topic of aqeedah is critical to first know and then apply.
There was a conversation via Whatsapp that continued into Facebook, where the suggestion to ‘Fear Allah’ was understood by the addressee as ‘malicious’.
The addressee wrote this on Facebook: