In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah’s [may Allaah have mercy upon him] book Al-Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah is a precious book in its subject matter; rather it is one of the best and one of the most precious summaries put together on the Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah. Indeed, he gave this work precise attention- precisely established the topics, presented the evidences, preserved -in his work – the words of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, adhered to precision and clarified the Aqeedah of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah- a sufficient clarification with its testimonies and evidences from Allaah’s statements and the statements of Allaah’s Messenger. The authorship of this book was based on a request that was put to him by one of the virtuous people; rather this person insisted and urged Shaikhul Islam to write a summary on the subject matter of Aqeedah that would be memorized, studied and understood precisely. Shaikhul Islaam [may Allaah have mercy upon him] excused himself from doing so due to the presence of many books of Aqeedah written by the Imaams amongst the scholars and the scholars of the pious predecessors; therefore, he told the requester to obtain one of those books; but this person insisted and urged Shaikhul Islaam to write a book on Aqeedah and thus his request was accepted.
The man who made this request was from a place called Waasit- situated between Basra and Kufa. It was called Waasit because it was situated between these two places, and the requester was called Radiyyuddeen Al-Waasitee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] – one of the Judges of Waasit. Whilst on his way to Hajj, he met Shaikhul Islam in Damascus and urged him to write a treatise on creed. Shaikhul Islaam stated regarding why he wrote Al-Waasitiyyah, “The reason for writing this book was that one of the judges of Waasit came to me a Shaikh called Radiyyuddeen Al-Waasitee from the followers of the Shaafi’ee Madhab. He came whilst on his journey and was one of the good people and an adherent to the religion. He complained about the overwhelming ignorance and wrongdoing in his land – under the rulership of the Tartars – and asked me to write for him an Aqeedah that would be a fundamental support for him and his household; but I asked him to excuse me from this request. I said to him, ‘The scholars have written various books of Aqeedah, so take from the books written by the Imaams of the Sunnah”, but he insisted and carried on urging me, and said, ‘I do not want except a book of Aqeedah written by yourself’. So I wrote this Aqeedah for him whilst I was sitting after Asr'”. So, in that one sitting after asr prayer, Shaikhul Islaam wrote – accurately – this Aqeedah and fulfilled what the requester desired. Shaikhul Islaam said, “Many copies of this book spread in Egypt, Iraq and other places”. This is the reason why Shaikhul Islaam wrote the book.
Some Beneficial Reminders From This Affair:
: When Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah – and other illustrious Imaams of knowledge and virtue – wrote books, they did not do so just for the sake of writing or out of a desire to have many books and write a lot; rather their writings- whether few or many – was due to a pressing and an urgent need in their era. And one of the amazing affairs regarding Shaikhul Islaam in this matter, which he himself mentioned, is that he said, “I have not written a book except due to being asked”. Therefore, questions came to him from this and that place, because they knew his knowledge, virtue and station, and they insisted in their requests for a response and mentioned the need for it, so he responded. You find him saying in other places, “It has never occurred from me (i.e. writing), except by way of responding to subject matters of the religion and giving a fatwa to a person who seeks it” – Meaning, he never embarked upon writing himself. This is why many of his books were known by the names of the places where those questions came from- seeking from him to write or respond to questions. For example Al-Waasitiyyah is given this name because the one who requested from Shaikhul Islaam that he writes a book was a man from Waasit; likewise, was the book Al-Hamawiyyah, At-Tadmuriyyah, Al-Muraakishiyyah, Al-Isfahaaniyyah and many others. During his era, the people were satisfied with his knowledge, his adherence to the religion, his precision and what he compiled and presented.
The need to clarify the Aqeedah – making it clear to the people and attaching them to their Creator and Lord, their Master and Protector, through the sound Aqeedah and upright Eemaan- is the affair by way of which the degeneration and deviation in society would be be cured. That is because the greatest cause of degeneration in society is due to lack of (truly) knowing Allaah, His Greatness, Exaltedness and Perfection, and what the hearts should have in them about Allaah by way of exaltation. And it has been said, “The one who knows Allaah more will fear Him more”; but when a person’s knowledge about Allaah is weak, then various deviations and corruptions appear amongst the people. Therefore, the Aqeedah is the cure and medication that will bring about safety. If the Aqeedah is sound, the deeds will be upright, behaviour will become good and the souls will be satisfied. Contemplate on this in relation to the affair of this righteous judge and the state of his land, such as his mention of the spread of ignorance, rife wrong doing and corruption; so he went to find a solution to these problems by asking Shaikhul Islaam to write a book on creed. When you look at the state of affairs in our time, you’ll see this widespread and the painful state of affairs in many societies; therefore, people are greatly in need of concentrating on Aqeedah, learning Aqeedah, nurtured upon Aqeedah, and spread Tawheed, Eemaan and affairs that will bring about strong attachment to Allaah. This judge saw that Aqeedah is the solution and cure, and he acknowledged Shaikhul Islaam’s leadership in knowledge, religion, piety and great station, so he sought from him and insisted until Shaikhul Islaam agreed to write this book.
: The importance of sincere and upright intention. Indeed, the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Verily actions are judged by intention and for every person is what he intended”. A sincere intention is a blessing for a person- a very great blessing. Contemplate on this blessing in the request of this person and we have a good suspicion that he made this request based on a righteous intention and being truthful to Allaah in seeking to rectify the people, so he requested and insisted, then Shaikhul Islaam wrote this book in a sitting after Asr and then the blessing prevailed and spread- not only after the era of Shaikhul Islaam, but rather during his era as well. This is why Shaikhul Islaam said, “Numerous copies of this book was spread in Egypt, Iraq and other places”. In that era, there were no printing services; rather the book spread through writing. The students copied it with their hands and spread it, so the book became wide spread during his time. We benefit from this affair that it is obligated on a student of knowledge to purify his intention even when asking the scholars questions (or when requesting something related to knowledge from them), because just as there is blessing in a response, there is also blessing in a question. If a question is from a sincere and truthful person- a person in whose heart is a desire and he is ardent to bring about rectification for the people, Allaah will bless his question and bring benefit during his lifetime and after his death (InShaaAllaah). So, due to this question (or request made by Radiyuudeen al-Waasitee), then how many times has he been mentioned in this era of ours and before it, and people asking Allaah to have mercy upon him and mentioning him with good?! He is not known through books and writings; rather he is known by was of this request he made.
: The manner in which Shaikhul Islaam held the Imaams of the pious predecessors in a high station, his acknowledgement of their station and their great status, because when the request was made to him, he did not write a book (straightaway); rather he said to the requester, “Take some of the books of Aqeedah of the Imams of the Sunnah”- Meaning, they are sufficient. However, when the person urged him and insisted, he responded due to that.
: The student of knowledge should not rush to write unless he sees a situation that requires that and an affair that justifies the need. Despite Shaikhul Islaam’s virtuous status and leadership in the religion, he excused himself when the request was made to him.
: The great blessing Allaah placed in the life of Shaikhul Islaam! There are many great books of his which when one examines and reads, he’ll think that the book was written within a prolonged period – maybe many months; but then he becomes amazed after finding out that it was written in one sitting. This book Al-Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah was written in one sitting- after Asr prayer.
Encounter With His Opponents
Seven years after he wrote Al-Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah, they started having a discussion with him regarding the issues in it; so he challenged them to bring a single letter from it that is not from the statements of the pious predecessors. They said to him, “What do you believe?” But he did not utter anything in that gathering. He said, “If I utter a statement that I believe such and such, some of them may say he has hidden something of his beliefs; so let us look for an Aqeedah that I have written seven years ago and read”. This was from his wisdom and experience. He said, “I give you three years to read this book and bring out from it a single letter that is not from the speech of the pious predecessors”. He said, “I have reiterated that I give three years to everyone who opposes me in anything in Aqeedah Waasitiyyah, and if one brings a single letter from anyone amongst the first three generations, I will recant”. So during one sitting, the book was read completely and he responded when they questioned him regarding some of the words in the book. Imaam Adh-Dhahabi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Then there was an agreement – after the gathering – that Al-Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah is a book of Salafi Creed and a good book”. Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “There was agreement that the book is a Sunni Salafi Aqeedah book”. [https://al-badr.net/detail/IjSpTAs2hO] [paraphrased]
There was an Indian man who used to have extreme hatred for Imaam Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab [rahimahullaah] due to the false claims of Ahlul Bidah, so he always reviled the Imaam. However, one day, a sincere adviser wished to clarify to this person [i.e. the Indian man] that he is mistaken, so he invited him to his house and treated him kindly. He [i.e. the sincere adviser] removed the cover from Kitaab At-Tawheed and placed it where the guest [i.e. the Indian man] would be sitting because he was a scholar and loved reading books. When he [i.e. the sincere adviser] went to get some food for the guest, he [i.e. the guest] saw the book [i.e. Kitaab At-Tawheed but there was no cover on it with the name of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab] and started reading. He was amazed by the book because it contained nothing else but proofs [i.e. irrefutable and unambiguous proofs regarding Tawheed]. When he [i.e. the sincere adviser] returned [i.e. with the food], the guest [i.e. the Indian man] asked him who the author of the book was and was told that Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab [rahimahullaah] is the author; so he realised [i.e. acknowledged] that he was one of those who reviled Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab based on false claims.
And one of the most evil false claims is that Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab hates and reviles Ahlul Bayt [i.e. the Prophet’s family]; but ask these people what the Kunyaa of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab is! His Kunya is Abu Ali; rather all the names of his children are the same as the names of Ahlul Bayt, except one of his children who is called Abdur Azeez. Therefore, is this a sign of love for Ahlul Bayt or a sign of hatred?! Would a person name his children after people he hates?! Rather, these names [i.e. Ali, Hasan, Husayn, Faatimah etc] are well known even amongst the descendants of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab.
Once I met a man in one of the Muslim lands and mentioned the name of Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab [rahimahullaah], so the man said, ‘’Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhaab reviles Ahlul Bayt in his books’’. I said to the man, ‘’Name a single book in which this revilement is found! If you stand in the presence of Allaah on the Day of Judgement and you are questioned about this, would you have any proof to offer?! Show me a single statement in which Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Abdil Wahhaab reviles Ahlul Bayt; rather I can bring you many of his statements in which he praised Ahlul Bayt’’. This shows that many people are affected by the false claims of Ahlul Bidah – the people of desires and misguidance, because none will show hatred towards Kitaab At-Tawheed, except a person of desires. [Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed. Lesson 1. By Shaikh Abdur Razaaq Al-Badr] [paraphrased]