Abu Hasan al-'Ash'ari (rahimahullaah) said:
Praise be to Allaah the One, the almighty the glorious, the only one to whom unity is ascribed, the Magnified in praise, whom the attribute of Human beings do not adequately describe. He has neither adversary nor rival, and He is the creator and the restorer, "The Doer of what He wills"- [11:109] He is too exalted to possess consorts or children, too holy to associate with the genera of creation or things corrupt. He has not form capable of expression, nor is a definition of Him by means of a simile possible.
If anybody says to us, " You have denied the beliefs of the Mu`tazilah, the Qadariyyah, the Jahmiyyahh, the Haruriyyah the Rafidha and the Murji`a; now let us know the beliefs you hold and the religion you follow," the answer is:
The belief we hold and the religion we follow consists of:
Holding fast to the book of our Lord, to the Sunnah of our Prophet, and the traditions related on the authority of the Companions and the Successors and the Imaams1 of hadeeth - to that we hold firmly...
The essence of our belief is that we confess faith in Allaah, His angels, His Books, His Messenger ()s, the revelation of Allaah, and what the trustworthy have handed down on the authority of Allaah's Messenger (), rejecting none of them.
We confess that Allaah is One - There is none worthy of worship but He - unique, eternal, possessing neither consort nor child;
and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger (), who He sent with the guidance and the real Religion;
and that Paradise is real and Hell is real ;
and that there is no doubt regarding the Coming Hour; and that Allaah will raise up all those who are in the graves ;
and that Allaah (istiwaa) His throne (as He has said, "The Merciful is (istiwaa)on the Throne" - [20:4] ) ;
and that He has a face (as He has said, "but the Face of thy Lord shall abide resplendent with majesty and glory" - [55:27] ) ;
And that He has two hands, bila kaifa (without asking how?) (as He has said " I have created with my two hands," - [38:75] and he has said, "nay! Outstretched are both His hands" - [5:69]);
and that He has an eye, without asking how (as He has said "under Our eyes it floated on" - [54:14] ),
and that anybody who thinks that the names of Allaah are other than He is in error;
and that Allaah has Knowledge (as He has said, in His knowledge He sent it down," - [4:164] ), and as He said, "And no female concieveth and bringeth forth without His knowledge" - [35:12] ),
we also assert that Allaah has hearing and sight, and we do not deny it as the Mu`tazila, the Jahmiyyah, and the Khaarijites deny it;
And we assert that Allaah has Prowess(Quwwah) (as He has said, " saw they not that Allaah Who created them was mightier than they in Prowess?" -[41:14] );
and we believe that the Word of Allaah is uncreated, and that He has created nothing without first saying to it, "Be!," And it is "as he has said, "Our word to a thing when we will it is but to say, 'Be!', and it is" - [16:42]),
and that there is no good or evil on earth save what Allaah wishes: and that things exist by Allaah's wish;
and that not a single person has the capacity to do anything until Allaah causes him to act,
and we are not independent of Allaah,
nor can we pass beyond the range of Allaah's knowledge;
and that there is no creator save Allaah, and the works of human beings are things created and decreed by Allaah (as He has said, "Allaah has created you and what you make" - [37:94]);
and that human beings have not the power to create anything, but are them selves created (as He has said, " Is there a creator other than Allaah?" - [35:3], and as He has said, "they create nothing, but are themselves created," - [16:20] and as he said, "Shall He who creates be as who creates not?," - [16:17] and as He has said, "were they created by nothing or were they themselves the creators?," - [52:35] for this is mentioned in Allaah's Book frequently);
and that Allaah favours the Believers by granting them obedience to Him, is gracious to them, considers them, does what is salutary for them, guides them;
whereas He causes the Disbelievers to stray, does not guide them, does not give them the grace to believe".
As the deviators and rebels think for if He were gracious to them and did what salutary for them they would be sound;
and if He guided them, they would be guided; as He has said, "He whom Allaah guides is the guided and they whom be misleads will be the lost" - [7:177],
and that Allaah has power to do what is salutary for the infidels and be gracious to them, that they may become believers, nevertheless He wills that they be infidels, as He knows; and that He forsakes them and seals up their hearts;
and that good and evil are dependant upon the general and the particular decrees of Allah, His sweet and His bitter; and we know that what passes us by was not to befall us, and what befalls us was not to pass us by;
and that human beings do not control for themselves what is hurtful or what is helpful, except what Allaah wishes;
and that we ought to commit our affairs to Allaah and assert our complete need of and dependence upon Him.
We believe, too, that the Qur`an is the uncreated word of Allaah, and that he who believes that the Qur`an is created is an infidel.
We hold that Allaah will be seen in the next world by sight (as the moon is seen on the night it is full, so shall the faithful see Him, as we are told in the traditions that come down on the authority of Allaah's Messenger ();
and we believe that the infidels will be veiled from Him when the faithful see Him in Paradise (as Allaah has said, "Yea, they shall be shut out as by a veil from their Lord on that day" - [83:15],
and that Musa asked Allaah for the sight of Him ion this world, and "Allaah manifested Himself to the mountain" and "turned it to dust," - [7:139], and taught Musa by it that he should not see Him in this world.
It is our opinion that we ought not to declare a single one of the people of the Qibla an infidel for a sin of which he is guilty, such as fornication or theft or the drinking of wine, as the Kharijites hold, thinking that such people are infidels;
but we believe that he who commits any these mortal sins, such as fornication or theft or the like presumptuously declaring it lawful and not acknowledging that is forbidden is an infidel.
We believe that Islam is more extensive than faith, and that faith is not the whole of Islam.
We hold that Allaah changes men's hearts, and that their hearts are between two of Allaah's fingers, and that Allaah will place the heavens on a finger and the earth on a finger, as we are told in the tradition that comes down on the authority of Allaah's Messenger ().
We hold that we ought not to relegate any of the Monotheists, or those who hold fast to the faith, to Paradise or to Hell, save him in whose favour the Messenger () of Allaah has borne witness concerning Paradise;
and we hope that sinners will attain to Paradise, but we fear that they will be punished in Hell.
We believe that Allaah, by the intercession of Muhammad, Allaah's Messenger (), will bring forth a people from Hell after they have been burned to ashes, in accordance with what we are told in the traditions related on the authority of Allaah's messenger.
We believe in the punishment of the grave, and the Pool, and hold that the Scales are real, and the Bridge is real, and the resurrection after death is real, and that Allaah will line up human beings at the Station, and settle the account with the faithful.
We believe that faith consists of words and deeds, and is subject to increase and decrease;
and we receive the authentic traditions regarding it related on the authority of the Messenger () of Allaah, which the trustworthy have transmitted, one just man from another, until the tradition goes back to the Messenger () of Allaah,
we believe in affection towards our forebears in faith, whom Allaah chose for the company of His Prophet, we praise them with the praise wherewith Allaah praised them, and are attached to them all.
We believe that the excellent Imaam, after the Messenger () of Allaah, is Abu Bakr the Veracious, and that Allaah strengthened the Religion by him and gave him success against the renegades,
and the Muslims promoted him to the imamate just as the Messenger () of Allaah made him leader of prayer, and they all named him the caliph of Allaah's Messenger ();
then after him came `Umar Ibn Al-Kattab; then Uthmaan bin Affaan (those who fought with him wrongfully and unrighteously); then `Ali Ibn Abi taalib; wherefore these are the Imaams after the Messenger () of Allaah, and their caliphate is a caliphate of Prophecy.
We bear witness concerning Paradise in favour of the ten in whose favour the Messenger () of Allaah bore witness to it, and we are attached to all the Companions of the Prophet, and avoid what was disputed among them.
We hold that the four Imaam are orthodox, divinely guided, excellent caliphs, unmatched by others in excellence.
We accept all the traditions for which for which the traditionists vouch: the descent in to the lower heavens, and the Lord's saying, "Is the there any who has a request? Is there any who ask forgiveness?," and the other things they relate and vouch for; dissenting from what the deviators and followers of error assert.
We rely, in that wherein we differ, upon our Lord's book, and the sunnah of our Prophet, and the unanimous consent (Ijma`) of the Muslims and what it signifies;
and we do not introduce into Allaah's religion innovations that Allaah does not allow,
nor we do we believe of Allaah what we do not know.
We believe that Allaah will come in the day of resurrection (as He has said, "and thy Lord shall come and the Angels rank on rank" - [80:23]);
and that Allaah is near His servants, even as He wishes (as He has said, "We are nearer to him then his Jugular vein," - [50:15] and as He said, "the He came nearer and approached and was at the distance of to bows or even closer" - [53:8,9]).
It belongs to the our religion to observe the Friday Assembly, and the feasts, and the remaining prayers and public devotions under the leadership of every pious man or impious (as it is related of `AbdAllaah ibn Umar that he used to pray behind al-Hajjaj ibn-yusuf);
and we believe that the wiping of the sandals is a sunnah at home and in travel, contrarily to the belief of anybody who denies it;
and we approve prayer for the welfare of the imaams of the Muslims, and the confession of their imamate; and we regard it as error on anybody's part to "going out" against them when they have clearly abandoned rectitude;
and we believe in abstinence from "going out" against them with the sword, and abstinence from fighting in civil commotions (fitnah).
We confess the going forth of Antichrist (ad-Dajjaal), as it is contained in the tradition related on the authority of Allaah's Messenger ().
We believe in the punishment of the grave, and in Munkar and Nakir, and their interrogation of those who are buried in the graves.
We accept the hadeeth of Ascension (mi`raj) and regard as authentic many of the visions of sleep, and confess there are interpretations to them.
We approve alms on behalf of the Muslim dead, and prayer for their welfare; and we believe that Allaah helps them by it.
We accept it as true that there are sorcerers and sorcery in the world, and that sorcery exists in the world.
We believe in praying for those of the people of the Qibla who are dead, the pious and the impious, and in the lawfulness of being their heirs.
We confess that Paradise and Hell are created;
and that he who dies or is slain at his appointed term;
and that sustenance is from Allaah who gives it to His creatures in the permitted and the forbidden;
and that Satan whispers to man and causes him to doubt and infects him, contrarily to the belief of the Mu`tazilah and the Jahmiyyahh (as Allaah has said, "they who swallow down usury shall arise in the resurrection only as he ariseth who Satan hath infected by his touch," - [2:276] and as he has said, "against the mischief of the stealthily withdrawn whisperer, who wispereth in man's breast-against jinn and men". - [114:46]).
We believe that Allaah can design particularly for the just the signs he manifests to them.
Our belief regarding the children of the polytheists is that Allaah will kindle a fire for them in the next world, and then will say to them, "rush into it!," as the tradition tells us concerning it.
We hold that Allaah knows what human beings are doing, and what they are going to do, what has been, what is, and how what is not would have been if it had been.
We believe in obedience to the Imaams and in the sincere counsel of the Muslims.
We approve separation from every innovation tendency, and the avoidance of the people of straying impulses.