1) ‘Aqeedah: Meaning and Usage

The word ‘aqeedah and related words are constantly repeated by people in their everyday conversations. So we hear them saying “Ana a’taqid kadha (I believe such and such),” “Foolaan ‘aqeedatuhu hasanah (So and so’s belief is sound),” “The Islaamic ‘aqeedah is the strongest cause for the great Islaamic victories in every time and place,” “The war between us and the Jews is in fact an ideological war (harb ‘aqaa’idiyah)” and so on.

What do people mean by the word ‘aqeedah (faith)? What does this word mean in Arabic? What is the concept of ‘aqeedah (faith) in Islaam?

Aqaa’id (plural of ‘aqeedah) are the things which people’s hearts affirm and believe in, the things that they accept (as true). These are matters which are held as certain beliefs, with no taint of doubt.1

‘Aqd al-habl (tying the rope) means tying one part to another part, as opposed to untying it. In Arabic, the meanings of the word ‘aqd revolve around ideas of adherence, certainty and affirmation. There is ayaah (verse) in the Qur’aan:

“Allaah will not punish you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He will punish you for your deliberate oaths ['aqqadtum];” ([5]:89)

A deliberate oath is one in which there is resolve and determination in the heart, unlike an unintentional oath which may be spoken of without any intention.

Uqood refers to the strongest of covenants, as when Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala), says:

“O’ you who believe! Fulfill [your] obligations [awfoo bi'l-'uqood]…”

The Arabs say “a’taqada ash-shay’u” when a thing becomes solid and strong.2

In Islaam, ‘aqeedah (belief) is the counterpart of shari’ah, because Islaam is composed of both ‘aqeedah and shari’aah. Shari’ah means the practical duties enjoined by Islaam, about acts of worship and dealings with others.

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[1] Risaalat al-’Aqaa’id by Shaykh Hasan al-Banna. See Majmoo’ ar-Rasaa’il, 429. The Muslim scholars of earlier and recent times have discussed the issues of this branch of knowledge under the heading of Al-’Aqaa’id, although the word ‘aqeedah is not mentioned in the Book of Allaah or in the Sunnah of His Messenger (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).

[2] Lisaan al-’Arab, 2/836, listing of words derived from the root ‘aqada.

  • Transcribed from: Belief in Allaah In Light of the Qur’aan and Sunnah | ‘Umar S. al-Ashqar

 

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