In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Need For Sound Aqeedah to Rectify The State of Affairs
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.
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 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. (1)
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said:
The rectification of every nation and its [upright] ascendancy is tied to the soundness of its Aqeedah and Afkaar [views or thoughts]; therefore, due to this reason, the Message of the Prophets [alayhimus salaatu was-salaam] came to rectify the Aqeedah [of the people]. So, the first thing every Messenger said to his people [was]: [ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنۡ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيۡرُهُ- Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. (La ilaha ill-Allah: none has the right to be worshipped but Allah)]. [Surah Al-A’raaf’ Aayah 59]
[Allaah (The Most High) said]: [وَلَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِى ڪُلِّ أُمَّةٍ۬ رَّسُولاً أَنِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱجۡتَنِبُواْ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتَۖ – And verily, We have sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities, etc. i.e. do not worship Taghut besides Allah)]”. [Surah An-Nahl’ Aayah 36]
And that is because Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all Imperfections] created the Khalq [i.e. Jinn and Mankind] to worship Him alone and not to associate anything as a partner with Him, just as [Allaah (The Most High)] said: [وَمَا خَلَقۡتُ ٱلۡجِنَّ وَٱلۡإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُونِ -And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)]. [Surah Adh-Dhaariyaat’ Aayah 56]
Ibaadah [worship] is a right due to Allaah [alone] which His slaves must fulfil, just as the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said to Mu’aadh Bin Jabal [radiyallaahu-anhu]: “O Mu’adh, do you know what is the right of Allah upon His servants?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet said, “To worship Him alone and to associate none in worship with Him. And do you know what is their right upon Him?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet said, “Not to punish them if they do so.” [Bukhari]
The is the first and foremost Right [or obligation one must fulfil] without exception. Nothing else precedes it nor is precedence given to the rights of anyone [or the obligations owed to anyone] over it. Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوٓاْ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَـٰنًاۚ – And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents]. [Surah Al-Israa’ Aayah 23]
قُلۡ تَعَالَوۡاْ أَتۡلُ مَا حَرَّمَ رَبُّڪُمۡ عَلَيۡڪُمۡۖ أَلَّا تُشۡرِكُواْ بِهِۦ شَيۡـًٔ۬اۖ وَبِٱلۡوَٲلِدَيۡنِ إِحۡسَـٰنً۬اۖ
Say (O Muhammad ): “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents. [Sural Al-An’aam’ Aayah 151] (2)
[Ref 1: Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed. Lesson 1. By Shaikh Abdur Razaaq Al-Badr]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ‘Muhaadaraat Fil Aqeedah Wad-Da’wah’ 1/7-17. Slightly paraphrased]