To proceed: So this is the I'tiqad of Al-Firqatin-Najiyatil-Mansurah (the saved, aided sect) until the establishment of the Hour, (that is) the people of the Sunnah, and the Jama'ah.
*Concerning his saying:"To proceed: So this is the I'tiqad of Al-Firqatin-Najiyatil-Mansurah (the saved, aided sect) until the establishment of the Hour, (that is) the people of the Sunnah, and the Jama'ah."
* "So this is the I'tiqad": "So this" is a demonstrative pronoun that must necessarily indicate something that exists. (For example), whenever I say: 'this', I must be referring to something tangible (and) apparent. But here, the author had written the (introductory) address before the book, and before this book was brought to light to the visible world; so how doe we harmonize that?
I say: The scholars say that if the author had written the book before the introduction and (introductory) address, then (clearly) what is being referred to does exist, and is tangible; (thus) there is no conflict therein. But If he had not written the book, then the author is referring to what he had written the book, then the author is referring to what he had in mind about the meanings which he was to write in the book.
I have a third possibility, which is that the author said in consideration of the condition of the one he is addressing in such a manner, until after the book had been brought to light and published. Thus, it is as if he (the author) was saying "this, which is before you, is so and so." Therefore, these are three angles of interpretation.
*Linguistically, "I'tiqad" is the Ifti'al from of the word Al-'Aqd, which means "blindly" and "tying." But with the people terminology, it means a determined judgement of the mind. It is said: "I firmly believe such (I'tiqadtu kadha)," meaning I have determined it in my heart (and it is definite). Thus, it is determined judgement of the mind. So, if it agrees with reality, it is correct. But if it opposes reality, it is invalid.
Therefore, our belief that Allah is One God is correct; while the belief of the Christians that Allah is one of the three is wrong. For it opposes reality. Also, the relationship between that and the linguistic meaning is obvious. That as if he has bound and tied it to the heart in a way that does not bolt away.
*"Al-Firqah" with the Kasra on the (letter) Fa', means At-Ta'ifah (the group). Allah, the Most High, said:
"For there should separate from every division of them a group." (At-Tawbah 9:122)
But, Al-Furqah with Damma (on the letter Fa), then it is taken from Al-Iftiraq (the division).
*"An-Najiyah (the saved sect)": is a subject's noun, from Naja (saved), when he is rescued. It is , safe and secure from Bid'ah (innovation) in this world, and safe from the fire in the Hereafter.
The support for this is that the Prophet said:
"This Ummah shall be divided into seventy-three sects; all of them shall enter the Fire, except one."
They said: "Which is it, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied:
"It is that which is upon the like of what I and my Companions are upon."
Note: Reported by At-Tirmidhi (2641), Al-Lalaka in Sharh As-Sunnah (147), Al-Hakim (1:129), and Al-Ajurri (15 and 16) from the narration of 'Abdullah bin 'Amr radiyallahu anhu, with a chain of transmission including 'Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin An'um Al-Afriqi, who is a weak narrator due to his poor memory. But the hadeeth is supported by the report from Anas,radiyallahu anhu, reported from Anas, radiyallahu anhu, reported by At-Tabarani in As-Saghir (724) and 'Uqaili in Ad-Du'afa' (2:262) and with that, it rises to the grade of Hasan (good).
This hadeeth explains to us the meaning of "An-Najiyah (the saved )." Thus, whoever is upon the like of what the Prophet and his Companions were (upon), then he is safe from Bid'ah (innovations). (As for) "All of them shall enter the Fire, except one" then that one is safe from Bid'ah (innovations) in this world, and from the Fire in the Hereafter.
*"Al-Mansurah (aided) until the establishment of the Hour:" the author expresses this in conformity with the Hadeeth wherein the Prophet said:
"A group of my Ummah shall continue to be manifest (Zahirin) upon the truth."1
The meaning of Zuhur (manifest) here is victory, for the saying of the Most High:
"So We gave power to those who believed against their enemies, and they became the victorious."
Note (1): It is reported from a number of the Companions radiyallahu anhum ajma'een with them, and it is Mutawatir as it is clearly stated by Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Tamiyyah in Iqtida' As-Sirat (1:69), Al-Kattani in Nazm Al-Mutanathir (93), Az-Zubaida in Laqt Al-Lali Al-Muntanathirah (68), and Al-Albanee in Salat Al-'Idian (39:40).
Allah, His Angels and the believers aid it. Consequently, they shall remain supported till the establishment of the Hour; supported by Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, the Angels and His believers; the human can even be supported by the Jinn. The Jinn will support him and intimidate his enemy.
*"Until the establishment of the Hour": meaning until the Day of Judgment. Thus, it is to remain supported until the establishment of the Hour.
Here a problem arises. The Messenger has informed (us) that the hour will occur upon the most evil of creation;(1) and it will not come about until "Allah, Allah" is not (even) said.(2)
Note: (1) Reported by Muslim (2949) from Ibn Mas'ud, radiyallahu anhu.
(2) Reported by Muslim (148) from Anas, radiyallahu anhu.
How doe we harmonize between this and his saying: "until the establishment of the Hour"?
The response is, that it be said: What is intended (by "until the establishment of the Hour") is close to the establishment of the Hour; based on the Hadeeth in which he said: "Until the order comes of Allah comes."(3) Or, until the establishment of the Hour, meaning their hour, which is their death. For he who dies, his (time of Judgment) has occurred. However, the first interpretation is closer 9to be correct); they will, thus remain supported close to the establishment of the Hour.
Note: (3) Reported by Al-Bukhari (7312) and Muslim (1920)
We only resort to the Ta'wil (interpretation) based on the evidence, since Ta'wil (interpretation) based upon proof is allowed, because all of it (the text and the implication) is from Allah.
*"The people of the Sunnah and the Jama'ah": He ( the author) attributed them to the Sunnah because they adhere to it, and to the Jama'ah (congregation) because they agreed upon it (the Sunnah).
If you were to say: How could he say : "The People of the Sunnah and the Jama'ah" since they themselves, are the Jama'ah (congregation)? So, how could a thing be ascribed to itself?
The response would be that the word Jama'ah- a common noun- primarily means gathering. It was transferred to mean people who are gathered together. Hence, the meaning of the People of the Sunnah and Jama'ah becomes: the People of Sunnah and the gathering. They are being referred to as the People of Sunnah because they adhere to it; and they are being referred to as the people of the Jama'ah (community) because they are gathered on it (Sunnah).
For this reason, this group does not divide as the people of Bid'ah (innovations) do. We find the people of Bid'ah (innovations), like the Jahmiyyah, the Mu'tazilah, the Rafidah and others from the people of Ta'til (1) are divided. As for this group, it is united upon the truth. Even though some disagreements may occur among them, yet they are the harmless ones. It is a disagreement where no one accuses the other of having gone astray by it; their chest is widened for it (2). Besides, they have differed in matters that relate to creed.
Note: (1) Those who suspend Allah's attributes from their meaning.
(2) Meaning, they will make exceptions for minor disagreements.
For example, did the Prophet see his Lord with his eyes or not? And similarly , does the punishment of the grave affect both the body, and the soul, or the soul only?. And issues like these over which they differ, but they are considered branch matters in relation to the fundamentals. and they are not considered fundamentals. Yet, with that, while they differ, they never accuse the other of having gone astray, unlike the people of Bid'ah (innovations).
Therefore, they are gathered upon the Sunnah, so they are the People of the Sunnah and the Jama'ah.
Furthermore, it is known from the author's statement, may Allah have mercy upon him, that he did not include among them whoever opposed them in their path. So the Ash'aris for example, and the Maturidis are not included among the People of the Sunnah and Jama'ah in this topic. Because they oppose them in what the Prophet and his Companions followed, regarding accepting the attributes of Allah, Glorious is He and Exalted, upon their realities. And for this reason, whoever says (the following) is mistaken: "The People of the Sunnah and the Jama'ah are three: The Salafis, the Ash'aris, and the Maturidis.' This is a mistake; we say: How can they all be People of the Sunnah, while they oppose one another. What is there after the truth but falsehood?! And how can they be from the People of the Sunnah , when each of them refutes the other?! This is not possible, unless it is possible to unite the two opposites, then yes. Otherwise, then there is doubt that one of them is Sahib As-Sunnah (a person of the Sunnah); then which one? The Ash'aris? The Maturidis? The Salafis? We say whoever agrees with the Sunnah, then he is a person of (Sahib) of the Sunnah and whoever opposes the Sunnah; then he is not a person (Sahib) of the Sunnah. So therefore we say: The Salaf are the People of the Sunnah and the Jama'ah, and this description will never be true about them other than them, and since words carry meanings, then let is reflect; how can we name those who oppose the Sunnah with "the People of Sunnah?! It is not possible! How is it possible that we say about three opposing paths that they are united?! So where is this agreement?! So the People of the Sunnah and the Jama'ah they are the Salaf in creed, such that the later one until the Day of Judgment, when his is upon the path of the Prophet and his Companions, then he is Salafi.
Aqeedah Al Wasitiyyah (Book 1) p.64-71