Aqidah (sometimes spelled Aqeeda, Aqidah or Aqida) (Arabic: عقيدة plural عقائد 'aqā'id) is an Islamic term meaning creed. Any religious belief system, or creed, can be considered an example of aqidah. However this term has taken a significant technical usage in Muslim history and theology, denoting those matters over which Muslims hold conviction. There are three main accepted schools of Sunni Aqidah: Ashari, Maturidi and Athari.
Muslims enumerate their creed to include the Six articles of belief. There is a consensus on the elements of this creed across all spectrums as they are clearly articulated in the Quran.
Sectarian differences between Shias and Sunnis are often expressed in differences in branches or elaboration of creedal beliefs as opposed to the core creed (aqidah).
For example, Muslims may have different ideas regarding the attributes of God or about the purpose of angels. However there is no dispute on the existence of God, that he has sent his revelation via messengers nor that man will be held to account and rewarded or punished with heaven or hell.
Six articles of belief
In the Hadith Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Bukhari, the Islamic prophetMuhammad explains, "It (Al-Iman/faith) is to affirm your faith in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers and the Last Day, and to believe in the Divine Destiny whether it be good or bad."
The six Sunni and Shia articles of belief are:
Belief in God (Allah), the one and only one worthy of all worship (tawhid).
Belief in all the Prophets (nabi) and Messengers (rusul) sent by God
In Sunni and Shia view, having Iman literally means to have belief in Six articles. However the importance of Iman relies heavily upon reasons. Islam explicitly asserts that belief should be maintained in that which can be proven using faculties of perception and conception.
Khums (One-fifth) - Paying a tax of 20%, which is levied on un-taxed, annual profit.
Jihad (Struggle/Striving) - Struggling to earn the favor of God. The greater jihad, "al-Jihad al-Akbar", is the struggle against the evil within one's own soul. The lesser jihad, "al-Jihad al-Asghar", is where one fights on the battlefield in defence of his religion when attacked.
Amr-Bil-Ma'rūf (Promotion) - Encouraging people to perform good deeds.