Question: What is Manhaj (methdology)? And what is the difference between it and Aqeedah (creed)?
Answer: Allah azza wa jal says: “[Say (O Muhammad) to these idolaters (pagan Arabs) of your folk:] Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah), and follow not any Auliya’ (protectors and helpers, etc. who order you to associate partners in worship with Allah), besides Him (Allah). Little do you remember!” [7:3].
He also says: “And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah’s Religion of Islamic Monotheism); and he is a Muhsin (a good-doer – see V.2:112)”.
The evidences in this chapter are many. All of them prove the following of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger and that the Book and Sunnah are upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih (the Pious Predecessors). They [the Quran and Sunnah] are both the belief of Ahlul Sunnah and the Manhaj (methodology) of Ahlul Sunnah.
So take Aqeedah, Manhaj, manners, dealings, allegiance to the people of truth, disloyalty from the people of falsehood, everything in accordance to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger. The best book in Aqeedah is the book of Allah azza wa jall and the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (May peace and blessing be upon him and his followers). There is not in them [the Quran and Sunnah] an evidence except it emphasizes the methodology of the people of the Sunnah and the Aqeedah of the people of the Sunnah. And they [the Quran and Sunnah] push back and destroy falsehood and its people. Those who deviated and their feet slipped and their understanding has become reckless from desires.
So yes, verily Aqeedah and Manhaj are the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Messenger, which the Salafus-Saalih traversed from the Companions and those after them. It [Aqeedah and Manhaj] are one and dividing them is disputable. Aqeedah is that which the salaf took care of and they named their books Sunnah and they meant by that belief of the Ahlul Sunnah. They also named it Aqeedah: like Aqeedah Waasityyah, Aqeedah Tahawiyyah, and Aqeedahtul-Salaf. They brought in these books verses from the Quran, Ahaadith, and narrations [of the salaf] that refute the people of desires and they named it Aqeedah.
Allah order us two things: following the Book of Allah and Sunnah of his Messenger. The understanding is that of the Salaf-us-Saalih. Allah said: “And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination“[4:115]
Allah says: “It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it)” [9:33].
The Prophet (May Peace and Blessings be upon him and his family) said:
إنما بعثت لأتمم صالح الأخلاق
“I was only sent to perfect moral character”
[Reported by Ibn Sa’d, Bukhari in Adabul Mufrad, Haakim, and Bayhaqi in Shu’ab ul-Imaan. Graded Saheeh Adab-ul-Mufrad no. 207]
Guidance is the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of his Messenger (May Peace and Blessings be upon him) upon the understanding of the Salaf-us-Saalih. So this is correct Aqeedah and the correct methodology, which our Salaf traversed, without differentiating between them. There is no evidence for differentiating the Book of Allah from the Sunnah of his Messenger (May Peace and Blessings be upon him and his family)
[Taken from Kanz uth-Thameen ‘ala asilah taalib ul-‘ilm wa zaa’ireen found here: https://www.sh-yahia.net/show_books_36.html ]
Translated Faisal ibn Abdul Qaadir ibn Hassan