Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ’s Forty Obligatory Beliefs

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين

Praise be to Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allāh, his family, and the Companions.


The importance of learning ʿaqīdah (Islamic creedal and theological beliefs, as well as the evidence and rational/scriptural arguments in support of them) need not be restated for those familiar with the Islamic tradition. 

The Ahl al-Sunnah (leaving out any non-fundamental, detailed discussions or disagreements that may have occurred among them)—or Sunnīs—have agreed upon particular beliefs, and required that all Muslims affirm them in order for them to be safely within the circle of valid, orthodox creed, such that they would not be considered sinful or lacking if they were to be questioned about such knowledge when they are Judged—may Allah (ﷻ) Make our Judgment easy and brief. Āmīn. The discussion of various arguments and responses is left to more dedicated readers who wish to learn about ʿaqīdah with more depth—though laymen are required to know very simple proofs for the most essential beliefs, such as tawḥīd (Monotheism) and the Prophethood of Muḥammad (ﷺ) (without needing to know how to properly structure or defend them).1

We have chosen to list here the forty beliefs that every Muslim must affirm in order to attain the aforementioned safety. The presentation is taken from the Arabic text al-Iʿlām bi-Ḥudūd wa Qawāʿid al-Islām (“Informing of the Boundaries and Rules of Islām”), which is a brief work authored by al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ regarding the five pillars of the religion (taken from the famous ḥadīth narrated by multiple Companions listing such pillars).2 For further inquiry, one may check out our list of creedal books for beginners here or refer to the Aqīdah al-Ṭaḥāwīyyah.

Brief Biography of al-Qāḍī ‘Iyāḍ 

His full name is: ʿIyād b. Mūsā b. ʿIyāḍ b. ʿAmrūn al-Yaḥṣubī (also pronounced al-Yaḥsabī or al-Yaḥṣib; comes from Yaḥsub b. Mālik, who was from the Arabic tribe Ḥimyar) al-Andalusī (from al-Andalus, an early Muslim hub where Spain currently is) as-Sabtī (from Sabta, the Arabic name for Ceuta, the Spanish city) al-Mālikī (from his following the Mālikī school of legal thought). 

He was born in Ceuta halfway through the month of Shaʿbān in the year 476 Hijrī, and passed away in Marrakesh in the year 544 Hijrī. 

He was brought up in a pious household, and was, from his youth, interested and enthusiastic about gaining Islamic knowledge and engaging in worship and combat for the Muslims, and was known for his continued reciting of the Qurʾān and performing nightly prayers, as well as his generosity in giving to charity. He was made a judge when he was only 35 years old. 

He was known to be a fair judge, an eloquent speaker and writer, a talented poet, and a leading scholar in Islamic law, ḥadīth (the study of reports and their reliability, with a focus on Prophetic, legal thought (rulings and methods of deriving them), theology, Arabic grammar, linguistics, the speech of the Arabs, and their lineages and times. 

Al-Dhahabī (a known master of ḥadīth and a respected Islamic historian) stated regarding him, “He gathered much from the various areas of study, and put them together, and authored works, and his works spread widely and he became famous, and his authored works are beneficial”. 

The jurist Muḥammad b. Ḥammāda as-Sabtī said, “There was never in Sabta (Ceuta) more works than the ones he authored.” 

The historian Ibn Khallikān stated in his work Wafiyyāt al-Aʿyān, “And all his authored works are innovative.”

He authored various works, with some researchers counting 34 of them being known,3 the most notable of them being: al-Iʿlām (whose section on creed we are translating hereafter), al-Shifā (a book covering the various honorable characteristics of the Prophet as well as the beliefs we should have regarding him and how we should honor him, personally and legally), Ikmāl al-Muʿlim (an extension of al-Muʿlim by the earlier scholar al-Māzirī, which is a commentary on Sahīh Muslim, a known book of Prophetic reports), Tartīb al-Madārik (a book of biographies for followers of the Mālikī school up to his time), and Mashāriq al-Anwār and al-Ilmāʿ (two important early works in the science of ḥadīth, covering unfamiliar terms in reports and methods of transmission for reports respectively).4

Translation of the First Rule (qāʿida) from al-Iʿlām by al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (d. 544H)5:

Explanation of the first rule, which is the Shahādatān, and it is obligatory—regarding it—to affirm it in one’s heart as true and to pronounce [said belief] with one’s tongue [if they are able to]. 

In detail, it is made up of forty beliefs: 

  1. Ten that must be considered necessary. 
  2. Ten that must be considered impossible. 
  3. Ten whose existence must be affirmed. 
  4. Ten whose occurrence must be affirmed.

As for the ten that must be considered necessary, [they are] to believe:

  1. That Allah (ﷻ) is One, Singular, without any partition/parts in His (ﷻ) Essence, and 
  2. That there is no second god with Him (ﷻ), and 
  3. That He (ﷻ) is Alive, and that all creatures depend on Him (ﷻ). He (ﷻ) does not experience drowsiness or sleep, and 
  4. That He (ﷻ) is the God and Creator of everything, and 
  5. That He (ﷻ) is, over all things, Powerful/Capable, and 
  6. That He (ﷻ) Knows of all that is apparent or hidden, {Not ˹even˺ an atom’s weight is hidden from Him in the heavens or the earth…} [34:3], and 
  7. That He (ﷻ) Determines/Chooses everything that exists, whether good or evil, and what He (ﷻ) Chooses will exist, and what He (ﷻ) does not Choose will not exist, and 
  8. That He (ﷻ) is All-Hearing, 
  9. All-Seeing, 
  10. And that He (ﷻ) is Attributed with Speech, [all] without an organ or tool. Rather, His (ﷻ) Hearing, Sight, and Speech are Attributes of His (ﷻ), that are not similar to the attributes [of others], just as His (ﷻ) Essence is not similar to the essences [of others], {…There is nothing like Him, for He ˹alone˺ is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing}. [42:11] 

As for the ten that must be considered impossible, [they are] to believe:

  1. That it is impossible that He, the Exalted, began to Exist, 
  2. Or can cease to Exist. Rather, He (ﷻ)—as well as His Attributes and Names—is Eternal, Everlasting, continuously Existing, {…the Vigilant One Who knows what every soul commits..} [13:33]. He (ﷻ) has no beginning or end; rather, {He is the First and the Last…} [57:4], and 
  3. That there is no God but Him (ﷻ), {Had there been other gods besides Allāh in the heavens or the earth, both ˹realms˺ would have surely been corrupted…} [21:22], and 
  4. That He has no reliance upon any of His (ﷻ) creation, and He is in no need of a helper from His (ﷻ) Property, and 
  5. That no matter distracts Him (ﷻ) from another in His (ﷻ) Predetermination or His (ﷻ) Commands, and 
  6. That no space/place contains Him (ﷻ), in the Heavens or Earth that belong to Him (ﷻ). Rather, He (ﷻ) Is as He (ﷻ) Was prior to having created space, and 
  7. That He (ﷻ) is not an atom or a body, and does not have an image or a shape, and that nothing is similar or identical to Him (ﷻ). Rather, He (ﷻ) is One, He (ﷻ) is What creation relies upon, He (ﷻ) does not have children, nor was He (ﷻ) born, and He (ﷻ) has no equal, and 
  8. That no emergent properties or changes subsist within Him (ﷻ), and that no imperfections or damage/illness are attached to Him (ﷻ), and 
  9. That injustice does not befit Him (ﷻ). Rather, His (ﷻ) Predetermination is entirely Wise and Just, and 
  10. That none of the actions of His (ﷻ) creation occur without being Pre-determined, Created, and Willed by Him (ﷻ). Rather, {The Word of your Lord has been perfected in truth and justice. None can change His Words…} [6:115], {Allah sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills} [35:8], {He cannot be questioned about what He does, but they will ˹all˺ be questioned}. [21:23] 

As for the ten whose existence must be affirmed, [they are] to believe:

  1. That Allah – the Exalted – Sent Prophets and Messengers to His slaves, and
  2. That He (ﷻ) sent down upon them [i.e., the Prophets and Messenger] His (ﷻ) Verses and Books, and
  3. That He (ﷻ) Concluded the sending of Messengers with Muhammad (ﷺ), our Prophet, and 
  4. That He (ﷻ) sent down the Qur’ān upon him as guidance for the people, and clear verses with guidance that distinguish between truth and falsehood, and 
  5. That it is the Speech of our Lord (ﷻ), uncreated, and 
  6. That He (ﷻ) is truthful regarding what he informed [us] of, and 
  7. That His (ﷻ) scriptural law abrogates all other previous laws, and 
  8. That [the existence of] Heaven is truth and, 
  9. That [the existence of Hellfire] is truth, with both currently existing, prepared for the people of [eternal] happiness and misery [respectively], and 
  10. That angels exist, some being observers that document the actions of slaves, and some being messengers to His (ﷻ) Prophets, and {…formidable and severe angels, who never disobey whatever Allah orders—always doing as commanded}. [66:6] 

As for the ten whose occurrence must be affirmed, [they are] to believe: 

  1. That this world will cease to exist, {Every being on earth is bound to perish} [55:26], and 
  2. That creatures will be tested in their graves, and [some will be] rewarded/pleased, and [some will be] tortured, and 
  3. That Allah—the Exalted—will Bring them together on the Day of Judgement; just as He Began them, they will return, and 
  4. That the [occurrence of] Judgement, and [the existence of] the Mīzān, are both true, and 
  5. That [the existence of] the Ṣirāṭ is truth, and
  6. That [the existence of] the Ḥawḍ is truth, and 
  7. That the pious are [going to be] in Heaven, in felicity, and the disbelievers are [going to be] in the Hellfire, in great flames, and 
  8. That the believers will see their Lord—Glorified and Sublime be He—with their eyes in the Afterlife, and 
  9. That Allah—the Exalted—will Torture within the Fire whomever He (ﷻ) Chooses from among the egregious sinners from the believers, and will Forgive whomever He (ﷻ) Chooses, and 
  10. He (ﷻ) Will Take them out of Hellfire by the grace of His Mercy, and by the intercession of the Prophets and pious from among His slaves, until only the disbelievers will be left in the Hellfire. {Surely Allah does not forgive associating ˹others˺ with Him ˹in worship˺, but forgives anything else of whoever He wills.} [4:116]

In closing, we ask Allah (ﷻ) in His Generosity and Mercy to Keep us firm upon the straight path of the Sunna of the Prophet (ﷺ), and to Protect us from falling into any misguidance or disobedience of the Prophet (ﷺ) and we ask Him (ﷻ) to take back our souls while we are in this state, and to make Janna our final abode with the pious and the Prophets. Amīn.


  1. See Usūl al-Fiqh by Ibn Mufliḥ (4:1538) and Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar ar-Rawḍa by at-Tūfī (3:656), as well as Sharḥ Umm al-Barāhīn by as-Sanūsī, pp. 126-135. reports).
  2. Including Ibn ‘Umar (al-Bukhārī), Jarīr b. ‘Abd-Allah, and Ibn ‘Abbās, as well as in the famous Ḥadīth Jibrīl (Muslim) narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattāb, may Allah be Pleased with them all.
  3. See the introduction by ‘Abduh ‘Alī Kushk for his edition of ash-Shifā, pp. 34-40.
  4. See the introduction above for a complete biography in Arabic.
  5. Text taken from the edition by Dār al-Faḍīla.

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1 Comment

  • Sannan

    JazakAllah khayr for the article.

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