Prerequisites to Understanding the Correct Creed
 A CENSURE OF THE INTELLECT:
Imaam Abul-Muthaffar as-Sam’aanee – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said:
The people of the Sunnah say, “the foundation of the Religion is following (Ittibaa’), and the intellect is subservient.’ So if the foundation of the Religion was left to the intellect, the creation would have been in no need of Revelation, nor of Prophets, and the commands and prohibitions would have no meaning, and anyone could have said whatever they wanted. 
From ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar – may Allaah be Pleased with him – who said, “My brother and I were sitting in a gathering… and then some elders from the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) came and they sat by one of his doors. We hated to divide between them so we sat to one side. They mentioned an aayah from the Qur’aan and began arguing about it until they raised their voices. So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) came out angry. Indeed his face was red. He flung dust at them and said,
“Slow down O my people! Nations before you were destroyed because of this, due to their differing about their Prophets and due to their claims that parts of their books contradicted other parts. Verily the Qur’aan was not sent down to contradict itself, rather it affirms itself. So whatever you know from it, then act upon it; and whatever you are ignorant of, then refer it to someone who is knowledgeable about it.’
Imaam Ahmad – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said, “So we refer the Qur’aan to One who is knowledgeable about it, to Allaah, the Blessed and Exalted, as He is the most knowledgeable about it.” 
Imaam as-Sam’aanee said:
Indeed they make their intellects callers to Allaah, and they take them to the level of Messengers concerning what is between them. So if a person says: ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allaah and my intellect is the Messenger of Allaah,’ it will not be objectionable for this to be ascribed to the people of rhetoric by way of its meaning. 
‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood – may Allaah be pleased with him – said, “Follow and do not innovate, for indeed you have been sufficed, and every innovation is misguidance.” 
 THE POSITION OF THE SALAF CONCERNING RHETORIC AND ARGUMENTATION:
Imaam al-Baghawee (d.516H) – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said, “So the scholars from the people of the Sunnah are united upon the prohibition of quarrelling and argumentation, and upon discouraging others away from learning or discussing theological rhetoric.” 
Imaam ash-Shafi’ee – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said, “That a slave meets Allaah with everything He forbade except shirk is better for him than theological rhetoric. Indeed I have seen things from the people of theological rhetoric that I do not think a Muslim would say.” 
He (may Allaah have Mercy on him) also said, “Whoever manifests nationalism or theological rhetoric and calls to it, then he has apostated from the testimony (shahaadah). That the servant meets his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, with every sin except shirk is better than meeting Him having followed his desires and innovated.” 
Imaam Ahmad said to al-Mu’tasim during the days of the trial, “I am not a person of argumentation or theological rhetoric. I am only a person of narrations and reports.” 
 THE WAY OF THE SALAF IS THE BEST METHODOLOGY AND THE MODERATE PATH:
“The first predecessors from the Emigrants and the Helpers and those who followed them in goodness – Allaah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens underneath which rivers flow. They will abide therein forever. That is the great achievement.” [Sooratut-Tawbah 9:100]
Imaam al-Awzaa’ee (d.157H) – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said,
“Adhere to the narrations from those who have preceded, even if the people reject you, and beware of the opinions of men, even if they beautify it with their speech. So indeed the affair will become clear (for others), while you are upon a straight path regarding it.” 
He also said, “So make yourself patient upon the Sunnah, and stop where the people stopped, and say what they said, and refrain from what they refrained from. Travel upon the path of your righteous Salaf, for verily sufficient for you is what was sufficient for them.” 
 OPPOSING THE WAY OF THE SALAF IS MISGUIDANCE:
In describing the path of the Salaf in creed, Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728) – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said:
Whoever looks into the words of the famous imaams from the Salaf concerning this topic will come to know that they were the most accurate in discernment regarding this topic, due to authentic texts and unadulterated intellects. He will see that their statements are established upon the texts and the intellect. Due to this, they were united, not differing, established, not deficient. Those who opposed the Salaf and the imaams did not understand the reality of their statements. They did not know the reality of the texts and the intellects, so they started to go in different directions and differ about the Book, and thus became opponents of the Book. Indeed, Allaah the exalted said,
“And indeed, those who differ about the Book are in extreme dissension.”
[Sooratul-Baqarah 2:176] 
Imaam Aboo Haatim ar-Raazee (d.264H) – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said:
A sign of the people of innovation is their hatred of the people of narrations. A sign of the heretics is that they call the people of the Sunnah: Hashawiyyah, wanting thereby to nullify the narrations. A sign of the Jahmiyyah  is that they call the people of the Sunnah: Mushabbihah.  A sign of the Qadariyyah  is that they call the people of narrations: Mujbirah. A sign of the Murji’ah  is that they call the people of narrations: Mukhaalifah (Opponents) and Nuqsaaniyyah (the Deficient Ones). A sign of the Raafidhah  is that they call the people of the Sunnah: Naasibah.  However, the people of the Sunnah are not deserving of any name except one, and it is absurd to gather them upon these names. 
The Imaam, the haafidh – Muhammad Ibn Sinaan al-Waasitee said:
The Mushabbihah are those who go beyond the hadeeth. So as for those who speak with the hadeeth, then they do not increase upon what they hear. These are the people of the Sunnah. They only believe in what has come in the Hadeeth, they are the believers. They believe in what the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) came with: the Book and the Sunnah. 
 THE PROHIBITION OF USING TERMS THAT ARE NOT FOUND IN THE QUR’AAN OR THE SUNNAH IN MATTERS OF CREED:
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah – may Allaah have Mercy on him – said:
Verily the great imaams used to forbid the usage of doubtful innovated ambiguous terms. In them, the truth is covered with falsehood, along with that, it causes doubt and differing and tribulation, which are in opposition to the narrated terminology, and those terms whose meanings have not been fully explained. So, whatever is narrated can be made familiar, and whatever is known can be made known. As Imaam Maalik said, ‘If there is little knowledge, futility emerges, and if there are few narrations, the desire increases.’ So if a word is neither textually proven nor is its meaning known to the intellect, then it is useless and full of desires… 
Taken from the book; 'The Creed of The Four Imaams' by Dr. Muhammad al-Khumayyis – Troid publications.
 al-Hujjah (85/a)
 Hasan: Related by Ahmad in his Musnad (2/181) by way of Aboo Haazim from ‘Amr Ibn Shu’ayb, from his father, from his grandfather. Aboo Haazim is Salamah Ibn Deenaar who is reliable. Its chain of narrators is hasan.
 Related by Hanbal Ibn Is-haaq in al-Mihnah (p.45) from Ahmad
See al-Hujjah (83/a)
 Saheeh: It was reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (p.162), Wakee’ in az-Zuhd (no.315), ad-Daarimee (no. 211). It was also reported by Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah (p.23), and by Mujaahid in as-Sab’ah (p. 46), and by Ibnut-Tabaraanee in as-Sunnah (no. 104), and al-Bayhaqee in al-Madkhal (no. 204).
 Sharhus-Sunnah (1/216)
 Reported by Ibn Abee Haatim in Aadaabush-Shafi’ee (p. 182), and it is authentic
 Related by Ismaa’eel Ibnul-Fadhl in al-Hujjah (7/b), and it is authentic
 Reported by Hanbal Ibn Is-haaq in al-Mihnah (p. 54) from Imaam Ahmad
 Related by al-Bayhaqee in al-Madkhal (no. 233) with an authentic chain of narrators
 Related by Ismaa’eel Ibnul-Fadhl in al-Hujjah (6/a-b) with an authentic chain of narrators
 Dar’u Ta’aarudil-‘Aql wan-Naql (2/301)
 Jahmiyyah – The followers of Jahm Ibn Safwaan, the student of Ja’d Ibn Dirham, both of whom were executed for their apostasy in the time of the later taabi’oon. Amongst their beliefs is that they deny the Attributes of Allaah and declare the Qur’aan to be created.
 Mushabbihah – Those who declare that Allaah is like His creation and that the Attributes of Allaah are like those of the creation. This was first propagated by Muqaatil Ibn Sulaymaan al-Khuraasaanee, during the era of the taabi’oon.
 Qadariyyah – They are also followers of Jahm Ibn Safwaan. This sect was founded by Ma’bad Ibn Juhanee, in Basrah at the end of the era of the Companions. They deny Qadar (Divine Decree) of Allaah and believe that man creates his own actions, which are free from the Will and Power of Allaah.
 Mujbirah or Jabariyyah – They hold the belief that people have no free will, and are not responsible for their own actions, rather they are forced.
 Murji’ah – They uphold the belief of irjaa’ (to hold that sins, major or minor, do not effect faith and that eemaan neither increases nor decreases). The first to call to this belief was Gheelaan Ibn Abee Gheelaan al-Qadree. He was executed in 105H. They claim that actions are not part of faith and that people do not vary in faith and that faith does increase or decrease.
 Rawaafidh – They are extreme Shee’ah who call themselves Ithnaa ‘Ashariyyah (the Twelvers) or Ja’fariyyah. This sect was formed by ‘Abdullaah Ibn Saba’, a Jew who appeared during the caliphate of ‘Uthmaan. He claimed to have love for ‘Alee and the Family of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). They curse the Companions and declare them to be disbelievers, especially Aboo Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmaan and the wives of the Prophet. They also believe that the Qur’aan is incomplete.
 Nawaasib – those who have hatred towards ‘Alee and the family of the Prophet
 Related by Ibnut-Tabaree in as-Sunnah (1/189) and refer to (p. 182)
 Related by Ismaa’eel Ibnul-Fadhl in al-Hujjah (32/b) with an authentic chain of narrators
 Dar’u Ta’aarudil-‘Aql wan-Naql (1/271) A further example of this can be seen when Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah was discussing the issue of attributing a jilah (direction) to Allaah. He says in Minhaajus-Sunnah (1/216):
The people have three sayings about the application of the word jilah. A group negates it, another affirms it and the other explains the matter: and this divergence is found amongst the affirmers of the Attributes of the companions of the four imaams and their likes.
The dispute of the People of Hadeeth and Sunnah, however, regarding the denial and affirmation of it is a dispute regarding the word itself, it is not a dispute concerning the meaning. For this reason a group from the companions of Ahmad, such as Taymees, al-Qaadhee in one of his two sayings negates it, and another group of the majority of which affirm it, and this is also the second of the two sayings of al-Qaadhee. This (difference) is because the word jilah (direction) sometimes refers to that which exists and can sometimes refer to that which does not exist. It is also known that there is nothing in existence save the Creator and the created. So when something that exists that is other than Allaah is intended by the word jilah, it is from the creation of Allaah, and nothing from the creation surrounds or encompasses Allaah, the Most High. And if by jilah (direction) something which does not exist is intended – and that is whatever is above the world, then there is nothing above it save Allaah alone.
Shaykhul-Islaam also said in the course of this topic:
Indeed the term jism (body), a’raadh (organs), mutahayyiz (extent) are newly invented terminologies. We have mentioned many a time before that the Salaf and the imaams have not spoken about such things – neither by way of negation, nor by way of affirmation. Rather they declared those who spoke about such a matter to be innovators, and went to great lengths to censure them.
This is what has repeatedly has affirmed by Shaykhul-Islaam – may Allaah have mercy on him – in many of his books, such as: Sharh Hadeethin-Nuzool (p. 69-76), Majmoo’ul-Fataawee (3/306-310, 13/304-305), Minhaajus-Sunnatin-Nabawiyyah (2/134-135, 192, 198-200, 527). Indeed in Sharh Hadeethin-Nuzool Shaykhul-Islaam has labeled ascribing Allaah with the term jism, by saying:
“It is an innovation in the Sharee’ah, a corruption of the language, and a contradiction to (sound) intellect. Rather, it is repudiated by the Sharee’ah, the language and the (sound) intellect.” And from them: Shaykhul-Islaam mentions the intended meaning of ascribing Allaah with the term jism, by saying, “Whosoever alleges that the Lord is a jism – with the meaning that he accepts division, separation and partition (for Allaah) – then he is the most disbelieving of people and the most ignorant. Indeed, his statement is more evil than the one who says that Allaah has a son – with them meaning that a part of Him split and thus became His son.” Al-Asaalah magazine (issue 4/p. 54055), see also his Rudood wat-Ta’aqqubaat (p. 21-23)
And he also says in Bayaan Talbeesil-Jahmiyyah (1/422), in regards to the usage of the term hadd (limit):
These words that he mentioned would be applicable if they had said that He has an Attribute and it is hadd, as suggested by this person who tries to refute them. This has not been said by anyone and neither would any intelligent person say this, for this statement has no reality to it due to there not existing a single Attribute from the Attributes that He is described with, such as Hand or Knowledge, that has been specified as hadd. All that is meant here is what distinguishes something else with regards to its description and measure as is well known of the word hadd when dealing with the clearly defined things. For example it is said: the hadd of man, meaning those characteristics that distinguish him as being a man.