In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to the One, the One who is to be singled out in worship, our reliance. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Master, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah, his family, and all of his companions. As for what follows:
The knowledge of creed (العقيدة) is obligatory upon every Muslim who has reached the age of desecernment, and who is capable of understanding said creed. In Sunni Islam, there are two accepted schools (مذهبان), the Ash’ari School and the Maturidi School.
In this article, we will focus on how to study the Ash’ari Creed, the school founded by al-Imam Abu’l Hassan al-Ash’ari (d. 324 A.H.). May Allah shower him in His Mercy. The reason why we’re focusing on this school is because it is the majority school amongst the followers of Sunni Islam. This is not to discredit the other noble school.
Al-Asha’irah (pl. of Ash’ari) have three main primers (متون) which are taught to beginner students. This texts will provide the student with basic knowledge in theological rhetoric (علم الكلام); and they are encouraged to commit at least one of these three texts to memory:
• Umm al-Barahin (أم البراهين) by al-Imam Muhammad ibn Yusuf as-Sanusi (d. 895 A.H.)
Note: This text has been translated into the English language under the title, “The Sanusi Creed,” with commentary by one of the major scholars of our time, ash-Shaykh Sa’id Foudah.
• Jawharat at-Tawhid (جوهرة التوحيد) by al-Imam ‘Abdus-Salam ibn Ibrahim al-Laqani (d. 1078 A.H.)
These three books are the most popular and comprehensive to prime a student in the Ash’ari creed, but there are also other books which are taught to students which are more basic, such as the section of creed in the poetic primer, al-Murshid al-Mu’in (المرشد المعين), by al-Imam ‘Abdul-Wahid ibn ‘Ashir al-Ansari (d. 1040 A.H.), which has been translated into English.