What are the most important books of ʿaqīdah which a student of knowledge should read at his beginning stages of seeking knowledge?
Shaykh Sāliḥ al-Fawzān:
Kitāb al-Tawhīd by Shaykh Muḥammad bin ʿAbd al-Wahhāb in [the subject of] Tawḥīd al-ʿIbādah. al-ʿAqīdah al-Wāsiṭīyyah by Shaykh al-Islām ibn Taymīyyah encompasses all chapters of ʿaqīdah, and al-ʿAqīdah al-Taḥāwīyyah by Imām Abī Jaʿfar al-Taḥāwī. Then the explanations of these books; al-ʿAqīdah al-Taḥāwīyyah, Kitāb al-Tawḥīd and al-ʿAqīdah al-Wāsṭīyyah so that he will benefit himself and others and he will be upon clarity in his affair.
The affair is not easy, for in front of us will be a question and an answer when we are placed in the grave. How will we answer? So it is obligatory that we give importance to this and prepare for this.
What are the best explanations of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, al-ʿAqīdah al-Wāsiṭīyyah and al-ʿAqīdah al-Taḥāwīyyah?
Shaykh Sāliḥ al-Fawzān:
[As for] Kitāb al-Tawḥīd, then from it’s explanations is Fat`ḥ al-Majīd. This is the best explanation of it, it is simple and concise. If you want an increase, [then read] Taysīr al-ʿAzīz al-Ḥamīd by Shaykh Sulaymān bin ʿAbd Allāh – [a book that] Fat`ḥ al-Majīd was abridged from. [In terms of] al-ʿAqīdah al-Taḥāwīyyah, ibn Abil ʿIzz has the best explanation. It is reliable, very beneficial and upon the methodology of the Salaf. Al-ʿAqīdah al-Wāsiṭīyyah by itself is clear, nonetheless it has beneficial and contemporary explanations such as the explanation of Shaykh ibn ʿUthaymīn and the explanation of Ibn Rashīd.1 They are beneficial explanations.
1 Al-Tanbīhāt al-Saniyyah – Shaykh Sāliḥ Aal-Shaykh said: “This blessed ʿaqīdah has many explanations and from the most beneficial and articulate of them is the explanation titled al-Tanbīhāt al-Sanīyyah ʿalá al-ʿAqīdah al-Wāsiṭīyyah by the Shaykh and the ʿAllāmah ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ar-Rashīd. This explanation is certainly from the most beneficial explanations of al-ʿAqīdah al-Wāsiṭīyyah.
For it has indeed explained the points of this ʿaqīdah its wording will suffice the student of knowledge in [understanding] issues of this affair. I mean [by that], the affair of Iʿtiqād (creed and belief), due to what is mentioned in it from extensive knowledge. If a student of knowledge was to suffice with it in the clarification of the ʿaqīdah of Ahl al-Sunnah, it would be enough for him. For this reason I urge anyone who wants an explanation of this ʿaqīdah to get this book: al- Tanbīhāt al-Sanīyyah by Shaykh Ibn Rashīd. [Aal-Shaykh, Sāliḥ bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz. al-Lāliʾu al-Bahīyyah fi Sharḥ al-ʿAqīdah al-Wasiṭīyyah. Maktabah al-Hijāz, Riyādh, KSA, 1434 pp. 15-16]