The beliefs of the Saved Sect or the Successful Group until the time of the Hour, the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah, are: belief in Allâh, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, Resurrection after death, and belief in Preordainment and the good and evil consequences thereof.
As for belief in Allâh, it includes: belief in whatever attributes Allâh has described Himself with in His Book and whatever attributes His Messenger (SAW, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, meaning: may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has attributed to Him, [the belief in those attributes is] without any distortion or negation, and without stating how or in what manner the attributes are. In fact, the belief is that there is nothing similar to Allâh and, at the same time, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. Therefore, what He has attributed to Himself is not denied nor are such descriptions distorted from their proper meanings. In addition, the Names of Allâh and His signs are neither denied, nor is their manner described, nor are they depicted in a way that makes His Attributes similar to the attributes of any of His creation. This is because there is no one and nothing similar or comparable to Him. He has no associate or partner. One cannot make an analogy between Him and His creation, glorified and most High is He.
With respect to belief in what Allâh has been attributed with, of attributes and names, there must be a combination of affirmation and negation. The Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah do not allow any straying aspect from what the Messengers preached, as that is the Straight Path. Included in this very important principle are all the statements from the Qur’ân and the Sunnah detailing Allâh’s Names, Attributes, Actions and what should be negated of Him. Included also among this is the belief in Allâh’s settling Himself over the Throne, His descending to the lowest heaven, the believers seeing Him in the Hereafter — as the confirmed, continuous reports have stated. Also included under this principle is that Allâh is close and responds to the supplications. What is mentioned in the Qur’ân and Sunnah concerning His closeness and “being with” the believers does not controvert what is stated concerning His transcendency and His Self above the creation. For, glory is to Him, there is nothing at all similar to Him with respect to any of His Characteristics.
From the belief in Allâh and in His Book is the belief that the Qur’ân is the Speech of Allâh, descended from Him, non-created, from Him it began and to Him it shall return. Allâh spoke it in actuality.
From the belief in the Hereafter is the belief in all the aspects related to it that were stated by the Prophet (SAW) — all of his statements concerning what will happen after death, including the affairs of Al-Barzakh [the state between one’s death and the Day of Resurrection]. Therefore, the believers believe in the trial in the grave and the punishment and reward in the grave. They also believe in the Haud (pond or cistern), the Balance, the Bridge, Heaven and Hell and all of the details concerning them.
The Saved Sect also believes in Preordainment (Al-Qadar), with the good and evil consequences of it. Belief in Qadar is made up of two levels, with each level encompassing two other aspects. The first level is the belief that Allâh the Most High has knowledge of all of the deeds of the creation according to His ever-existing Knowledge that He is described with forever and ever. This includes His Knowledge of all their affairs with respect to obedience, disobedience, sustenance and life spans. Then Allâh recorded in Al-Lauh Al-Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet) all of the measures [acts, deeds, sustenance] of all of the creation. The second level concerns Allâh’s implemented Will and all-encompassing Ability and Power. It is the belief that whatever Allâh wills comes about; and whatever is not willed by Allâh, does not come about. There is nothing that occurs in His dominion that is not according to what He wills. The humans are the doers of their obedience and disobedience to Him but Allâh created them and created their abilities and wills.
From the basic principles of the Saved Sect is that the religion and Faith are comprised of both statements and deeds. These comprise the statements of the heart and tongue as well as the deeds of the heart, tongue and physical body. Such Faith increases with obedience to Allâh and it decreases by acts of disobedience. At the same time, the Ahlus-Sunnah do not excommunicate anyone of those who pray toward the Qiblah simply due to a sin or great sin that they have committed. Instead, they call such a person “a believer who has a shortcoming in Faith” or “a believer by his Faith and an evildoer by his great sin”.
From the basic principles of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah is also that their hearts and tongues are pure with respect to the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (SAW) They accept what has been stated in the Qur’ân and Sunnah concerning their virtuousness, merits and ranks. They love the family of the Prophet (SAW). They give them their loyalty as they also give their loyalty to the wives of the Prophet (SAW) - the Mothers of the believers. They are innocent and free of the way of the Rawaafid (Shi‘ah) who hate and revile the Companions. They are also innocent of the way of the Nawaasib who harm the family of the Prophet (SAW) by speech or action. With respect to the disputes that occurred among them, they remain quiet and they recognize that they had such virtues and previous good deeds that imply forgiveness for them for the problems that occurred among them. May Allâh be pleased with them and they with Him.
They [the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah] also believe in the miracles and supernatural events that occur by the Will of Allâh at the hands of the righteous. They also seek the effects of Allâh’s Messenger (SAW), both exoteric and esoteric.
They also call to every beautiful character and manner. They forbid every evil behavior and action.
And in all of that, they are following the Qur’ân and Sunnah.
We ask Allâh the Most High to make us from among them and we ask about our hearts not to swerve after we have been guided. We also ask that Allâh bestow mercy upon us from Him. Truly, He is the Bestower. 
One of the Attributes of Allâh is that of speech. He is a Speaker who speaks by speech that is heard from Him, by whomever He wills of His creation. Musa (AS) heard him without the aid of any intermediary. Angel Gabriel (AS) and whoever Allâh permitted of His angels and Messengers also heard His Speech directly from Him. Allâh will speak to the believers in the Hereafter and they will speak to Him. He will give them permission and they will visit Him.
[Concerning these matters,] Allâh has stated in the Qur’ân:
“And to Moses Allâh spoke directly.” (4:164)
Allâh also says:
“To some of them Allâh spoke (directly).” (2:253)
Again, Allâh says:
“It is not given to any human being that Allâh should speak to him unless (it be) by inspiration, or from behind a veil.” (42:51)
From the Speech of Allâh is the Noble Qur’ân. It is the perspicuous Book of Allâh, His strong cable, and His straight path. It is the revelation of the Lord of the worlds, brought down by the Honest Spirit (Gabriel) to the heart of the leader of the Messengers, in a clear Arabic tongue. It was descended from Allâh and not created. From Allâh it came and unto Him it shall return. It has chapters that are clear and verses of exposition and clarification. It is made up of letters and words. Whoever recites a letter from it will earn ten good deeds. It has a beginning and an end as well as parts and sections. It is recited by the tongues, preserved in the hearts, heard by the ears, and recorded in the Masaahif [physical copies of the Qur’ân]. It has unequivocal (clear) as well as equivocal (allegorical) verses. It contains abrogating and abrogated verses. It contains general and specific phrases as well as orders and prohibitions.
[Allâh has said about the Book:]
“Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it. (It is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.”(41:42)
Muslims are agreed concerning its number of chapters, verses, words and letters. There is also no difference of opinion among the Muslims that if anyone denies just one chapter, verse, word or letter of the Qur’ân which is agreed upon as part of the Qur’ân, then that person becomes a disbeliever.
The believers shall see their Rabb in the Hereafter with their eyes. They shall visit Him. They shall speak to Him and He shall speak to them. Allâh says:
“Some faces that day shall be shining and radiant, looking at their Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer).” (75:22,23)
Allâh also says:
“Nay! Surely they [the disbelievers] will be veiled from seeing their Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) that Day.” (83:15)
This is in reference to the disbelievers. Since they will be veiled from their Lord because of Allâh’s anger with them, this demonstrates that the believers will see their Lord while He is pleased with them. If this is not the case, there would be no difference between these two groups [and no need for Allâh to explicitly mention that the disbelievers would be veiled from their Lord]. Furthermore, the Prophet (SAW) said:
“You shall certainly see your Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) as you see this moon [and it was a full moon] and you will not find any hardship or doubt in your seeing of Him.”
This is an authentic Hadith that was recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. The comparison in the Hadith is between one vision and another and not between one thing that is being seen [the moon] and another [Allâh], as certainly there is nothing similar or comparable to Allâh.
From the Attributes of Allâh is His Doing whatever He wills. Nothing will exist except by His Will. Nothing escapes His control. Nothing comes about except through His direction. Nothing escapes the decreed matters. Nothing can exceed what has been recorded in the Preserved Tablet. He willed whatever the creation is doing. If He had immuned them from sin, they would not be able to go against His Command. If He willed for all of them to obey Him, they would have obeyed Him.
He created the creation and their actions. He decreed their sustenance and life spans. He guides whom He wills by His mercy and He misleads whom He wills according to His Wisdom. He is not asked about what He does but they will be asked about what they do. Allâh says in the Qur’ân:
“He cannot be questioned as to what He does, while they will be questioned.” (21:23)
“Verily, We have created all things with Divine Preordainments.” (54:49)
We cannot take Allâh’s Decree and Preordainment as a proof or argument on our behalf when it comes to failing to fulfill His Commands or doing what He has forbidden. In fact, it is a must that we believe and know that Allâh has the proof and argument against us by His revealing of the Books and His sending of Messengers. Allâh has stated:
“Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allâh after the Messengers.” (4:165)
And we also know that Allâh, Glorified is He, never ordered or prohibited anyone except the one who has the ability to do or avoid deeds. Furthermore, we know that He has never compelled anyone to commit a sin or forced anyone to avoid complying with an order. Allâh says:
“Allâh burdens not a person beyond his capacity.”(2:286)
Another verse states:
“So keep your duty to Allâh (and fear Him) as much as you are able to.” (64:16)
Allâh has also said:
“This Day shall every person be recompensed for what he earned. No injustice (shall be done to anybody).”(40:17).
These verses demonstrate that the human himself does deeds and acquires [the consequences of those deeds]; he shall be recompensed for the good of them with rewards and for the evil of them with punishment. All of that occurs by Allâh’s Decree and Preordainment.
Faith is a statement of the tongue and actions by the physical limbs as well as belief in the heart. It increases by acts of obedience and decreases by acts of disobedience.
It is obligatory to have Faith and belief in everything that the Prophet (SAW) stated and which is authentically transmitted from him, including those things that we witness as well as those things that are unseen to us. We must know that it is truth and verity. This must be our attitude regardless of whether we comprehend the matter [mentioned by the Prophet, SAW] or if we are ignorant of it and we cannot be exposed to its true nature, such as the Hadith of the Prophet’s Night Journey and Ascension to heaven. This journey took place while the Prophet (SAW) was awake and not while he was sleeping, for the Quraish rejected it and refused to believe in it while they would not have done so if it were simply a dream. Also included in this category are the signs of the Day of Judgment, such as the coming out of the Antichrist, the Descending of Jesus (AS) and his killing of the Antichrist, the appearance of the Gog and Magog, the appearance of the Beast, the sun rising from the West and other matters that have been authentically reported from the Prophet (SAW).
Similarly, the punishment and bounties of the grave are realities. The Prophet (SAW) sought refuge from its punishment and he ordered others to do the same in every prayer. The trial in the grave is a reality. The questioning by the two angels, Munkar and Nakeer, is a reality. The Resurrection after death is a reality, and that will take place when Angel Israafeel (AS) blows the Trumpet.
“And the Trumpet will be blown and, behold, from the graves they will come out quickly to their Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer).”(36:51)
The people will be gathered on the Day of Resurrection, bare-foot, naked and uncircumcised, having nothing with them. They will be standing at the place of the resurrection until our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) intercedes on their behalf.
Allâh the Blessed and Most High will hold them to account for their deeds. He will erect the Balance, distribute the Records, and give out the Scrolls of the deeds to the left and the right hands. As Allâh says:
“Then, as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand, he surely will receive an easy reckoning, and will return to his family in joy! But whosoever is given his Record behind his back, He will invoke (his) destruction, and shall enter a blazing Fire.” (84:7-12)
The Balance has two scales and a tongue. It shall weigh the deeds of the humans.
“Then, those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy — these, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light — these are those who lose their own selves in Hell they will abide.” (23:102,103).
Our Prophet (SAW) will have a Haud (cistern or pond) on the Resurrection. Its color will be whiter than milk. Its taste will be sweeter than honey. Its jugs are as the number of the stars in the heavens. Whoever takes one drink from it will never be thirsty again afterwards.
The Bridge is also a reality. The pious will pass over it while the wicked will fall from it. Our Prophet (SAW) will intercede for those of our nation who committed great sins and who have been entered into the Fire. They shall be taken out because of his intercession and after they will have been burnt in the fire and reduced to charcoal. They shall enter Paradise by his intercession. Also, the rest of the Prophets and angels will be given the right to intercede. However:
“They cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased. And they stand in awe for fear of Him.” (21:28)
The disbeliever cannot benefit from the intercession of those who intercede.
Paradise and Hell are both creations and will not perish. Paradise is the abode for Allâh’s devoted slaves while Hell is the punishment for His enemies. The inhabitants of Paradise will remain therein forever. And:
“Verily, the evildoers [disbelievers] will be in the torment of Hell to abide therein forever. [The torment] will not be lightened for them, and they will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and in despair therein.” (43:74,75)
Death will come in the form of a clear white ram and it shall be slaughtered in between Paradise and Hell. Then it will be said, “O People of Paradise, abide therein forever with no death. O People of Hell, abide therein forever with no death.”
Allâh’s Messenger Muhammad (SAW) is the seal and finality of the Prophets as well as the leader of the Messengers. A person’s Faith will not be correct until he believes in his message, bears testimony that he was a Prophet, that judgment will not be made between the people on the Day of Judgment except after his intercession and that no nation will enter Paradise except after his nation enters Paradise. He is the one with the banner of praise, the praiseworthy position and the Haud (cistern or pond). He is the Imaam of the Prophets and their speaker. He is the one who will intercede for them. His nation is the best of nations. His Companions are the best companions of all the Prophets.
We do not definitively state about anyone of those who pray toward the Qiblah that they will be in Paradise or in the Hell-fire, except concerning those whom the Prophet has made a definite statement about. However, we have hope for those who are doers of good and we fear for those who do evil.
We do not excommunicate anyone from the people who pray toward the Qiblah for any sin nor do we excommunicate them from Islam due to any action. We view that pilgrimage and Jihaad will continue behind every leader, whether he is pious or impious. And congregational prayers behind such leaders is permissible.
It is also from the Sunnah to have loyalty to the Companions of Allâh’s Messenger (SAW) to have love for them, make mention of their good aspects, seek mercy for them, ask forgiveness for them and refrain from speaking about the evils and the dispute that occurred among them. We have belief in their merits and we acknowledge them as foremost. May Allâh be pleased with them and they with Him. Allâh says about them:
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allâh, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer), seeking bounty from Allâh and (His) good Pleasure. The mark of them is on their faces from the traces of (their) prostrations (during prayers).” (48:29)
It is also from the Sunnah to be pleased with the wives of Allâh’s Messenger (SAW), the Mothers of the believers, the pure, innocent of every evil, may Allâh be pleased with them.
It is from the Sunnah to listen to and obey the leaders of the Muslims, the pious and impious among them, as long as they do not order something that Allâh has forbidden. There is no obedience to anyone if it involves disobedience to Allâh.
It is also from the Sunnah to boycott the heretics and to expose them clearly. One must also avoid disputations and arguments concerning the Deen. One should not look into the heretical books or have any leaning towards their speech. Every innovated matter in the religion is a heresy. And everyone who takes on a name other than that of Islam and the Sunnah is a heretic. We ask Allâh to protect us from heresies and trials, to give us life upon Islam and the Sunnah, and to make us from those who follow Allâh’s Messenger (SAW) and to gather us among his troops after our deaths, by His mercy and grace. Ameen! 
Seventy of the Followers, Leaders (Imaam) of the Muslims, Early Predecessors and Scholars of the different lands have agreed that the Sunnah [or religion] upon which the Prophet (SAW) died, covered the following aspects:
Satisfaction with whatever Allâh has decreed and preordained; submission to His Rule; patience with respect to His Wisdom; following what Allâh has ordered and abstaining from what Allâh has forbidden; sincerity in one’s deeds to Allâh; belief in Qadar (Preordainment), the good and evil outcome thereof; avoiding argumentation, disputation and debating with respect to the religion; wiping over the leather socks; performing Jihaad with every Khalifah (caliph), be he pious or impious; funeral prayers over everyone who died from the people who face the Qiblah; Faith is statement, action and intention, it increases by acts of obedience and decreases by acts of disobedience; the Qur’ân is the Word of Allâh that was revealed through Angel Gabriel upon our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and it is uncreated; having patience under the command of the ruler, regardless if he commits justice or injustice; we do not revolt against the leaders with our swords, even if they commit injustice; we do not excommunicate anyone from those who face the Qiblah, even if they commit a great sin unless they try to consider that sin permissible; we do not bear testimony concerning anyone of those who face the Qiblah that they will be in Paradise due to some good they have done unless the Prophet (SAW)has borne such testimony for them; we refrain from discussing the problems that existed among the Companions of the Prophet (SAW); the best of creation after Allâh’s Messenger (SAW) was Abu Bakr, then Umar, then Uthman, then Ali bin Abu Talib, may Allâh be pleased with all of them; we invoke mercy for the wives of the Prophet (SAW) and his children and Companions, may Allâh be pleased with all of them. All praise be to Allâh alone and may the blessings and complete peace of Allâh be upon our leader Muhammad and upon his family and Companions. 
Translated by Jamaal al-Din-Mohd. Zarabozo
*Taken from the Author’s book, “The Delight of Faith”, copyright and published by the Darussalam Publishers and Distributors, Riyadh, 1996. Alhamdullillah, Brother Abdul Malik Mujahid, the Darussalam General Manager, has given the Wisdom Enrichment Foundation (WEFOUND) permission to include this book and other selected Darussalam publications in the Islamic CD-ROMs designed for the WISDOM International Islamic Learning Program. We pray to Allah the Almighty to reward Brother Abdul Malik supreme success for supporting the WEFOUND International Islamic project. To purchase this book and other Islamic books according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, go to the Links page and click on “Dar-us-salam Publications”.
 The above section was taken in abridged form from Ibn Taimiyah, Al-Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyah.
 The above passage was taken and abridged from Lum‘ahtul-I‘tiqaad Al-Haadi ila Sabeel-ur-Rishaad by Shaikh-ul-Islam Muwafaq Al-Din Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Qudaamah Al-Maqdisi (d. 620 AH).
 This section was taken from Adh-Dhahabi, Kitaabul-Kabaa’ir, pp. 150,151.