In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Shaikh Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] was asked about the fundamental principles of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah in the subject matter of Aqeedah and other affairs of the Religion, so he responded [as follows]: The principle of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah in the subject matter of Aqeedah and other affairs is to completely adhere to the Book of Allaah [i.e. the Qur’aan], the [authentic] Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and that which the rightly guided khulafaa were upon in guidance and the Sunnah, and this due to the statement of Allaah [The Exalted]: [قُلۡ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡ ذُنُوبَكُمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ – Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allaah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah), Allaah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful]. [Surah Aal Imraan. Aayah 31]

And also the statement of Allaah [The Exalted]: [مَّن يُطِعِ ٱلرَّسُولَ فَقَدۡ أَطَاعَ ٱللَّهَ‌ۖ وَمَن تَوَلَّىٰ فَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ عَلَيۡهِمۡ حَفِيظً۬ا- He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad), has indeed obeyed Allaah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad) as a watcher over them. [Surah An-Nisaa. Aayah 80]

And also the statement of Allaah [The Exalted]: [وَمَآ ءَاتَٮٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَہَٮٰكُمۡ عَنۡهُ فَٱنتَهُواْ‌ۚ – And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). [Surah Al-Hashar. Aayah 7]

And even though this [command in Surah Al-Hashar] was revealed in relation to distribution of the war booty, however it applies to all affairs of the Sharee’ah first and foremost, because indeed the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] used to address the people on the day of Jumu’ah saying, “To proceed; indeed the best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is Muhammad’s guidance; and the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters [in the religion] and every newly invented matter [in the religion] is a bidah; every bidah is misguidance and every [act of] misguidance [leads] to the hell fire”. [Reported by Muslim 2/592]

And also due to the statement of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], “It is obligated on you to adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khulafaa after me- adhere to it and cling to with your molar teeth; and beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for indeed every newly invented matter [in the religion] is a bidah and every bidah is misguidance”. [Reported by Abu Daawud 4/201]

The texts regarding this affair are numerous; therefore the path of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah and their methodology is to adhere completely to the Book of Allaah, the [authentic] Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khulafaa after him. And based on this, they establish the religion and they do not split because they fulfil the command of Allaah [in the Aayah]:

شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِۦ نُوحً۬ا وَٱلَّذِىٓ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ وَمَا وَصَّيۡنَا بِهِۦۤ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰٓ‌ۖ أَنۡ أَقِيمُواْ ٱلدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُواْ فِيهِ‌ۚ

He (Allaah) has ordained for you the same religion (Islam) which He ordained for Nuh (Noah), and that which We have inspired in you (O Muhammad), and that which We ordained for Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and ‘Iesa (Jesus) saying you should establish religion (i.e. to do what it orders you to do practically), and make no divisions in it (religion) (i.e. various sects in religion). [Surah Ash-Shooraa. Aayah 13]

And even if differing occurs between them regarding affairs in which Ijtihaad is permissible (ref 1), this differing does not lead to differing in their hearts; rather you find them united and loving one another, even when differing occurs between them through the path of permissible Ijtihaad. [An Excerpt from Fataawaa Fadheelah Ash-Shaykh Al-Allaamah Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen Fil Aqeedah. Vol 1-2. pages 45-47. Slightly paraphrased]

Ref 1: Read here: Tolerated Differing and Impermissible Differing In Islaam: https://www.abukhadeejah.com/tolerated-differing-and-impermissible-differing-in-islaam/

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