The aqeedah (belief) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah consists of three parts
The aqeedah (belief) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah consists of three parts:
It consists of the clarification of the six articles of faith and what is connected to them from belief in Allah, oneness in His Lordship, oneness in worshipping Him, and oneness in His names and attributes, belief in the angels, in the books, in the Last Day, and in the Qadr (pre-ordainment) the good of it and the bad of it is from Allah, The Most High, and anything connected to that (which was previously mentioned).
The second part of the aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah is that a person follows the correct minhaj with regards to his dealings, which is in opposition to the misguided groups that oppose Ahlus-Sunnah.
And for this reason Ahlus-Sunnah discuss (in issues of aqeedah) commanding the good and forbidding the evil, obeying the rulers in those things that aren‘t disobedience to Allah and not rebelling against them, issues about the sahaabah (companions) and the mothers of the believers (i.e. the wives of the Prophet), the issue of wiping over the khuffs, issues of hajj and fighting in the path of Allah with the leaders whether they are righteous or sinful. There are many other issues that became issues of aqeedah because those issues were what separated the Sunni from the person from Ahlul-Bid‘ah (The people of Innovations).
The third part of the aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah is akhlaaq (manners/character).
So if a person were to ponder over ’Al-Wasatiyyah“ (i.e. Al-Aqeedah Al-Wasatiyyah) by Shaykh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah), he would find that the shaykh broke the aqeedah down into the previous mentioned parts. He clarified that the intent of the book was to clarify the aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah. He said in the beginning of the book, ’As to what follows. This is the belief of the saved sect, the successful group, Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah“. Then he went on to mention their aqeedah, and at the end of the book he mentioned the manners they possess within them then he mentioned some descriptions of Ahlus-Sunnah.
He said, they command the good and forbid the evil, they order with the establishment of the prayer, they stand for the night prayer, they keep the ties between kin and they command others to do the same, and they deal with the people with good manners, and there were other things he mentioned.
So when discussing the manners of the caller to Allah, it‘s not a discussion of general upbringing or customary mannerism taught by one‘s parents (rather these manners are from the religion of Islam). So whoever makes a separation between these three parts of the aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah, then he doesn‘t understand the aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal Jamaa‘ah.
A person of the Sunnah is the one who follows all three parts of the aqeedah.
You‘ll find that in his manners and da‘wah he follows the Sunnah, and in his interactions with the people he follows the Sunnah, and in the affairs of aqeedah he follows the Sunnah. (In general if a person follows all three aspects) he would have implemented the Sunnah of Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhe wa sallam.
Without a doubt the first two parts which are inclusive of aqeedah and minhaj are obligatory.
(The third part) Akhlaaq is broken down into that which is obligatory and that which is recommended depending on the detailed explanation of the issue.
[Taken from Shaykh Saalih ali-Shaykh's lecture ’The Manners of the Caller to Allah]