The following is a summary, in note form, of the explanation of the classical text of Ibn Taymiyyah, Aqeedatul-Waasitiyyah in which he outlines the beliefs of the Ahlu-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah.
Part 1: The Basmalah
1. Bismillaahir-Ramaanir-Raheem: as a separation between surahs, part of Surah Naml, left out between Surah Anfaal and Surah Tawbah. The bay in the Bismillah stands for seeking help.
2. Ism: that word which signifies the sense and makes it distinct. It has been derived from simatun which means a symbol or sumooh which means height. Musamma is tha t sense which has been signified.
3. Allah: derived from Uloohiyat, meaning of llah is something that is worship ped.
4. Rahmaan: an attribute which exists along with the Self of Allah.
5. Raheem: an attribute which is related to that Self which has Rahm.
6. The saying of Ibn 'Abbaas that both these names comprise gentleness and sof tness.
All Praise is due to
Allah Who sent His Messenger with the Guidance and the Tr ue Religion so as to
make it prevail over all (false) religions and enough is the evidence from
1. Hamd: oral praise of a grace regardless of being benefited by it. Statement of qualities with love and affection. Different to Shukr (praise done for some fa vour either orally, emotionally, or with a part of the body) and to Madh (mere statement o f qualities without implication of love and respect).
2. Al Hamd: the prefix al denotes comprehensiveness. All forms of Hamd include d. Perfect Hamd is only proved for Allah, therefore Allah has all attributes of p erfection and beauty.
3. Rasool: a person sent with written communication (dictionary definition). Technically, that person to whom Allah's revelations are sent and he is requir ed to convey them. If no conveyance is involved then he is a nabi. Every rasool is a nabi, but a nabi is not a rasool.
4. Hidaayat: to describe, to guide. The Qur'aan and the Prophet (sallallahu-al aihi-wasallam) are both known as Haadi (the guide). Also, assistance and revelation. All true information, right faith, profitable knowledge and good deeds which are brough t by the Prophet (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam).
5. Deen: all commandments and laws, whether related to beliefs, statements or actions. Also, the meaning of Judgement (Yawmid-Deen).
6. Haq: Real, true and proved. Baatil is that thing which has no reality and c annot be proved.
7. Meaning of the passage: that all the attributes denoting perfection are pro ved for Allah in the highest degree. Allah is praised on account of His favours upon m ankind, which are beyond our comprehension. His greatest favour is the sending of Muha mmed (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) with the'real and true Deen to make it dominant o ver all other religions
Part 2: The Declaration
I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of
worship except Allah in His Oneness without giving Him any partners affirming it
in tawheed and I bear witness that Muhammed is His Slave and His Messenger, the
peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and his Companions.
1. Ashhadu: bearing witness is to explain a thing by having knowledge of it and having a belief regarding its being correct and evident. A witness is reliable only when he has conviction, affirmation and the heart supports the tongue. (Munaafiqoon only bore witness with the tongue so Allah declared them as liars).
2. Laa ilaaha illallah: There is nothing worthy of worship except Allah. The sentence of Tawheed about which all messengers are unanimous. It is the essence of their message. All missions began with this sentence.
3. Wahdahu laa shareekalahu: In His Oneness, without any partners, reinforces the first part of the sentence.
4. Necessary to bear witness for the Messenger as well. One testification remains pointless without the other as the first testification (of Allah's Oneness) cannot be effected and established without the other. Mentioning together of them both in Adhaan and Salaat.
5. Establishment of the attributes of Messengerhood and Slave of Allah for the Prophet (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam). Most important attributes of the Servant of Allah.
6. Attributes of the Messenger (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) contradict the extremists and innovators who exalt the Prophet (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) above his station.
7. Purpose of creation is worship. Perfection of creation lies in realising this aim in practice. Slave of Allah is exalted only due to an increase in his enslavement to Allah ('Uboodiyah).
8. Testimony for the Messenger (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) only complete when the Slave testifies to the ideas transmitted by the Prophet (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam), obeys his commands and remains away from those things which he has forbidden.