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Aqidah (sometimes spelled Aqeeda, Aqidah or Aqida) (Arabic: عقيدة plural عقائد 'aqā'id‎) is an Islamic term meaning creed. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However this term has taken a significant technical usage in Muslim history and theology, denoting those matters over which Muslims hold conviction. There are three main accepted schools of Sunni Aqidah: Ashari, Maturidi and Athari.


Muslims enumerate their creed to include the Six articles of belief. There is a consensus on the elements of this creed across all spectrums as they are clearly articulated in the Quran.

Sectarian differences between Shias and Sunnis are often expressed in differences in branches or elaboration of creedal beliefs as opposed to the core creed (aqidah).

For example, Muslims may have different ideas regarding the attributes of God or about the purpose of angels. However there is no dispute on the existence of God, that he has sent his revelation via messengers nor that man will be held to account and rewarded or punished with heaven or hell.

Six articles of belief

In the Hadith Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Bukhari, the Islamic prophet Muhammad explains, "It (Al-Iman/faith) is to affirm your faith in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Last Day, and to believe in the Divine Destiny whether it be good or bad."

The six Sunni and Shia articles of belief are:

  1. Belief in God (Allah), the one and only one worthy of all worship (tawhid).
  2. Belief in all the Prophets (nabi) and Messengers (rusul) sent by God
  3. Belief in the Angels (mala'ika).
  4. Belief in the Books (kutub) sent by God (including the Qur'an).
  5. Belief in the Day of Judgment (qiyama) and in the Resurrection (life after death).
  6. Belief in Destiny (Fate) (qadar).

In Sunni and Shia view, having Iman literally means to have belief in Six articles. However the importance of Iman relies heavily upon reasons. Islam explicitly asserts that belief should be maintained in that which can be proven using faculties of perception and conception.

Shi'a beliefs and practices

Roots of Religion (Usūl al-Dīn)

  1. Tawhīd (Oneness): The Oneness of Allah.
  2. Qiyamah (The Day of Judgment): Allah will raise mankind for Judgment
  3. Nubuwwah (Prophethood): Allah has appointed perfect and infallible prophets and messengers to teach mankind the religion (i.e. a perfect system on how to live in "peace".)
  4. Adalah (Justice): The Justice of Allah.
  5. Imamah (Leadership): God has appointed specific leaders to lead and guide mankind — a prophet appoints a custodian of the religion before his demise.

Branches of Religion (Furū al-Dīn)

  1. Salat (Worship) - The 5 daily prayers.
  2. Sawm (Fast) - Fasting during the month of Ramadan.
  3. Hajj (Pilgrimage) - Undertaking the pilgrimage to Mecca.
  4. Zakaat (Poor-rate) - Paying the poor-due.
  5. Khums (One-fifth) - Paying a tax of 20%, which is levied on un-taxed, annual profit.
  6. Jihad (Struggle/Striving) - Struggling to earn the favor of God. The greater jihad, "al-Jihad al-Akbar", is the struggle against the evil within one's own soul. The lesser jihad, "al-Jihad al-Asghar", is where one fights on the battlefield in defence of his religion when attacked.
  7. Amr-Bil-Ma'rūf (Promotion) - Encouraging people to perform good deeds.
  8. Nahi-Anil-Munkar (Dissuasion) - Dis-couraging people from performing sin.
  9. Tawalla (Re-affirmation) - To love Ahl al-Bayt.
  10. Tabarra (Never forgive and never forget) - To disassociate oneself from the enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt.

Ismaili beliefs

The branch of Islam known as the Ismāˤīlī is the second largest Shiˤa community. They observe the following pillars of Islam:

  1. Tawhīd
  2. Imāmah
  3. Nubuwwah
  4. Qiyāmah
  5. Ṣalāt


Many Muslim scholars have attempted to explain Islamic creed in general, or specific aspects of aqidah. The following list contains some of the most well-known literature.

Sunni Literature

  • Aqeedah at-Tahawiyya or "The Fundamentals of Islamic Creed by Imam Tahawi. Has been accepted by almost all Sunni Muslims (Atharis, Ash'aris, Maturidis).[1] It was well explained by Ibn Abu al-Iz.[2]
  • Aqeedah al-Waasittiyah by Ibn Taymiya.[3]
  • Sharh as Sunnah or the Explanation of the Creed by Al-Barbahaaree. Lists approximately 170 points pertaining to the fundamentals of Aqidah.
  • Khalq Af'aal al-Ibad (The Creation of the acts of Servants) by Bukhari. It shows the opinion of early scholars (Salaf) but it does not cover all topics.
  • Ulu by al-Dhahabi. Details the opinions of early scholars.
  • Ibaanah by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari. Accepted by Atharis and early Ash'aris.

Shia Literature

  • Shi'a Muḥammad Ḥusayn al-Ṭabāṭabāʼī: translated by Hossein Nasr
  • Root and Branches of Faith by Maqbul Hussein Rahim
  • Shi'ism Doctrines, Thought and Spirituality by Hossein Nasr


External links