In the Name of Allaah, ar-Rahmaan, ar-Raheem. From the most amazing of affairs and the greatest of signs that indicate the power of the Malik, (King) and Ghallaab (Overcomer,Victor) are Six Foundations that Allaah, the Most High, has explained in the most clear manner for the common people [to know and understand] – above and beyond what the suspicious ones may think. Then after this, many of the shrewd people of the world and the intelligent ones amongst Banee Aadam (the offspring of Aadam), excepting a very few, erred with respect to them.
The First Foundation
Making the religion sincerely and purely for Allaah alone, the Most High, without any partners and the explanation of its opposite which is Shirk (associating partners) with Allaah, and (the explanation) that the majority of the Qur’aan is in explanation of this foundation, from a variety of different angles, with such words that even the most dumb from the common-folk can understand. Then, when there occurred to the Ummah what occurred [to it], Shaytaan presented to them [what they presumed to be] Ikhlaas by portraying a picture of belittlement of the Righteous people and absence of the fulfilment of their rights1. And he made Shirk to appear amongst them in the form of love of the Righteous and their followers.
1 So that they thought that exaggeration regarding these righteous people and devotion to them was the embodiment of Ikhlaas.
The Second Foundation
Allaah has commanded unity (al-ijtimaa’) in the religion and has prohibited separation (at-tafarruq) therein. So Allaah has explained this, clearly and sufficiently, [in a manner] that the common people can understand. And He forbade us to be not like those who split and differed [amongst themselves] before us and were destroyed [by this]. And He mentioned that He commanded the Muslims to be united in the religion, and forbade them from becoming separated therein. And this is increased in clarity by what has been reported in the Sunnah of amazing affairs pertaining to that. Then the matter became [overturned] such that [blameworthy] splitting in the foundations (usool) and subsidiary branches (furoo’) of the religion was turned into (the real) knowledge (‘ilm) and understanding (fiqh) of the religion, and (such that) no one spoke of unity in the religion except [that he was considered] a zindeeq (heretic) or a majnoon (mad person).
The Third Foundation
Verily, from the completion of unity is hearing and obeying the one who has taken authority over us, even if it be an Abyssinian slave. So Allaah explained this with a clear, broad (i.e. general) and sufficient explanation, by way of many aspects of numerous types of explanation, both legislatively (i.e. in the Sharee’ah), and in terms of [divine] decree (i.e. in what He willed to occur in the creation). Then this foundation became unknown to many of those who claim knowledge, so how then could it be acted upon?
The Fourth Foundation
An explanation of [what is] ‘ilm and [who are] the ‘ulamaa, and [what is] fiqh, and [who are] the fuquhaa (jurists). And an explanation of the one who tries to resemble them but is not from them.
And Allaah has explained this foundation at the beginning of Surah al-Baqarah in His saying, “O Children of Israel. Remember my favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil my covenanent and I will fulfil yours” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:40), up until His saying, “O Children of Israel. Remember my favour which I bestowed upon you and how I favoured you over all the worlds” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:47).
And what increases this in clarity is what has been explained by the Sunnah concerning this [with] abundant, clear and manifest speech [that is clear] for the common person.
Then this affair became the strangest of things, and ‘ilm and fiqh were considered to be innovations and misguidance, and the best of what was with them was truth mixed with falsehood. And the actual ‘ilm that Allaah the Most High obligated upon His creation and which He praised, then no one spoke of it, except [that he was considered] a heretic or insane person. And as for the one who rejected [this ‘ilm] and authored in warning against it, and prohibiting it, then he was considered to be the faqeeh and ‘aalim.
The Fifth Foundation
Allaah, the Sublime’s explanation of (who are) the Awliyaa of Allaah, and His separating between them and between those who try to resemble them amongst the enemies of Allaah, the Munaafiqeen and the Fujjaar (Hypocrites and Sinners). And in this regard, the verse in Surah Aali Imraan is sufficient, and it His saying, “Say if you truly love Allaah, then follow me, Allaah will then love you” (Aali Imraan 3:31), and also the verse in Surah al-Maa’idah, and it is His saying, “O you who believe, whoever amongst you turns his back on his deen, then soon will Allaah bring another people whom He loves and they will love Him” (Al-Maa’idah 5:54), to the end of the verse. And also the verse in Yunus, and it is His saying, “Verily, the (pious) friends of Allaah, they do not fear, nor do they grieve, those who believed and used to have taqwaa” (Yunus 10:62).
But then the affair, to most of those who claimed knowledge and who claimed to be guides for the creation and protectors of the legislation, became such that it they considered it necessary for the Awliyaa to abandon following the Messengers, and that whoever followed them, was not from them, and that it was necessary to leave Jihaad and that the one who made Jihaad is not amongst them, and that it is necessary to leave off Imaan and Taqwaa, and that whoever adopted Imaan and Taqwaa is not amongst them (the Awliyaa). O our Lord, we ask You for forgiveness and pardon, verily You are the Hearer of supplication.
The Sixth Foundation
Refuting the doubt that Shaytaan has placed concerning the abandonment of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah and [instead] following the scattered and divergent opinions and desires. Which is that the Qur’aan and the Sunnah are not known except to a Mujtahid Mutlaq (absolutely qualified jurist), and that the Mujtahid is described with such and such (quality or requirement), with such descriptions that are not even perhaps found completely with Abu Bakr or Umar. And that if a person is not like this (with these qualities), then he should turn away from them (the Qur’aan and the Sunnah) by certain obligation, in which there is no doubt or difficulty.
And that whoever sought guidance from them (the Qur’an and the Sunnah), then he is either a zindeeq (heretic) or a mad person, due to the difficulty in understanding them both.
So glorified is Allaah, and by His praise, how much has Allaah explained, both legislatively (in the Sharee’ah), and by way of [divine] decree, and also [by way of His] creative ability and [His legislative] command, in refuting this cursed doubt, from a variety of different angles that have become general necessities (in knowledge). But most of mankind do not know, “Indeed the Word (of punishment) has proved true against most of them, so they will not believe. Verily! We have put on their necks iron collars reaching to chins, so that their heads are forced up. And We have put a barrier before them, and a barrier behind them, and We have covered them up, so that they cannot see. It is the same to them whether you warn them or you warn them not, they will not believe. You can only warn him who follows the Reminder (the Qur’ân), and fears the Most Beneficent (Allâh) unseen. Bear you to such one the glad tidings of forgiveness, and a generous reward (i.e. Paradise).” (Ya-Sin 36:7-11 )
And the finality of it is that all praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds and prayers and many salutations be upon our chief, Muhammad, his family and his companions, until the Day of Judgement.
The Six Foundations of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab,