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Sunni islam accepts a number of madhahib, each seen as co-valid (despite differences of opinion, other schools are not considered as sinful or transgressing).

There are also various schools of 'aqidah, differing on creed rather than laws. Are such schools considered co-valid among Sunnis the same way that schools of fiqh are? Can one pick and choose thus, as one can choose a madh'hab?

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Can you mention some of those Sunni schools of 'aqidah? –  Tamer Shlash Feb 5 '13 at 4:22
    
@TamerShlash Wikipedia has pages for at least nine different schools; the Ash'ari, Athari and Maturidi schools are specifically categorized as "Sunni". –  goldPseudo Feb 5 '13 at 4:37
    
I don't think the title and the body are in sync. –  Bleeding Fingers Mar 2 at 16:21
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There is no room for being accommodative of differences in the main matters of creed. Creed is not something that is derived or interpreted - it is knowledge of the unseen that is given to us by Allah and His Messenger. There are usul (trunk) and furu` (branches). In some secondary matters (branches) where there isn't a consensus or contradictory reports, a difference of opinion is unavoidable. However in the core matters, this is not acceptable.

For the most part, the Sunni schools of `aqidah agree on the majority of the core (tawheed, qada, qadr, etc), with disagreements on some issues. These differences are not sufficient on any side to declare the other sides as being outside the fold of Islam - aspects of their creed are however labeled incorrect/misguided.

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The basic matters (usool) of religion are not purely theoretical, and there is no separation between belief and practice in Islam. There is nothing in the Quraan or the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to suggest that the basic matters have to do only with beliefs and that the minor issues have to do only with practice. This separation originated with the Mu'tazilah, who are the ones who separated the basic matters and minor principles in this manner. Shaykh Abd-Allaah al-Ghunaymaan,qsep –  Islam Feb 5 '13 at 18:41
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@Ali - I never said the usul and furu' correspond to belief and practice respectively. –  Ansari Feb 5 '13 at 20:00
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