Readings in al-Qawaa’id al-Arba’ah (The Four Principles)

This is the book ‘The Four Principles’ which Shaikh ul-Islaam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhaab (may Allaah have mercy on him) has written. It is a short treatise and follows ‘The Three Fundamental Principles’ from the point of view of its necessity to be grasped by the students of knowledge.
‘Principles’ (qaawaid) is the plural of ‘principle’ (qaaidah) and it is the foundation from which many issues or branches spread out. And the general meaning of these four principles which the Shaikh (may Allaah have mercy on him) has mentioned is knowledge and recognition of tawheed and shirk.
So what is the principle regarding tawheed? And what is the principle regarding shirk? This is because many people have strayed in these two matters. So they stray with regard to the meaning of tawheed and shirk, each person explaining them according to his own desires.
However, that which is obligatory is to return to the Book and the Sunnah. So that this taq‘eed may become correct and sound, taken from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (S), especially in the two
important matters of tawheed and shirk.
And the Shaikh (may Allaah have mercy on him) has not mentioned these principles form his own self or his own thoughts as many of those who have gone astray do. Rather, he has taken these principles from the Book of Allaah, the Sunnah and seerah of the Messenger of Allaah (S). So when you come to know and understand these principles, it will be easy for you to gain knowledge and recognition of tawheed, the reason for which Allaah sent His messengers and revealed His Books, as well as knowledge and recognition of shirk which Allaah has warned against and explained its danger and harm in this world and the Hereafter. This is a very important matter, rather knowledge of it is more obligatory for you than knowledge of the rulings of salaah, zakaah, the other forms of worship and the rest of the matters of the world. This is due to the fact that it is the foremost matter and the foundation. As well as the fact that salaah, zakaah, hajj and other forms of worship are not correct if they are not built upon the foundation of
correct aqeedah, which is pure and sincere tawheed for Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) has preceded these four principles with a great introduction which contains a supplication for the students of knowledge and an indication of what he is about to say.
He said: “I ask Allaah, the Most Generous, the Lord of the Throne, to protect you in this world and the Hereafter, and to bless you wherever you are and to make you from those who are grateful when they are given, patient when they
are tested and those who seek forgiveness when they sin. For verily, those are the three signs of happiness.”

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