The following question was answered by Shaykh Ubayd Al-Jabiree (حفظه الله).
Question: May Allah reward you with good and treat you well. This questioner asks about the difference between ‘Aqeedah and Minhaj? Are there generalities and specifics between them or not?
Answer: The ‘Aqeedah is: That which you believe in religiously regarding Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and the Qadr, its good and its bad, and that which follows from that, from affirming the reports of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) relating to the past and the future.
From that is the bliss of the grave and its punishment; the Hawd (the lake in Paradise), the scales, and other than that. This is the ‘Aqeedah. Likewise, that which follows from the ‘Aqeedah to give status to the ‘Awliyaa and the righteous who are the friends of Allaah; those who have Taqwaa of Allaah; the Ahlus-Sunnah, the Imaams of the Companions of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and the members of the household (of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)) and Imaams of the Taabi’oon and those after them-their proper status without extremism; without exceeding the limit (Ifraat) and without neglecting the rights (Tafreet) and to have allegiance for them out of love for the sake of Allaah, the Glorified and High.
‘Minhaj’ is: the path, which the person traverses upon in calling the people to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. Its basis is the Book and the Sunnah upon the understanding of the righteous predecessors.
Know that the ‘Aqeedah and the Minhaj are inseparable. How excellent is that which Al-Barbahaari, may Allaah have mercy upon him, has said:
‘Know that Al-Islam is the Sunnah and the Sunnah is Al-Islam’
Therefore, the ‘Aqeedah and the Minhaj are such that none errs in one of them except one who errs in the other. So the Khawarij; when they erred in their Minhaj and made Takfeer (upon Muslims) due to major sin, and they ruled upon the one who commits major sin in the Dunyaa that he is a disbeliever whose blood and wealth is permissible and this led them to taking their women and families captive (this was) from error in their ‘Aqeedah. They denied the authentic texts which were affirmed from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and (they denied) the Ijmaa’ of Ahlus-Sunnah upon the fact, that acts of disobedience do not remove Eemaan from a person in totality; they only remove the perfection of Eemaan.
Due to this the Khawarij committed, another denial, along with this, and they ruled upon the one who committed a major sin that when he dies he will be in the Hellfire forever.
The Mu’tazilah said that he is in a position between two positions; he is neither a believer nor a disbeliever; in opposition to that which the texts attest to, from the revealed verses and the authentic Sunnah from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). They coincided with the Khawaarij regarding the one who dies upon a major sin from the major sins, that he would spend eternity in the Hellfire.
The extreme Murji’ah are those who say that Eemaan is merely At-Tasdeeq (affirmation) and sins do not harm with (the presence of) Eemaan just as acts of obedience do not benefit with (the presence of) Kufr.
Look at the contradiction, acts of obedience do not benefit with (the presence) of Kufr, this is correct. However, the corrupt analogy is that sins do not harm with the presence of Eemaan!
Hence, the raving alcoholic is equal to the righteous, god-fearing truthful person. Likewise, the jurists of the Murji’ah; they are those who say: Al-Eemaan is statement and affirmation.
The point is that the belief of these two groups in the removal of actions from the title of Al-Eemaan, so this is an error in ‘Aqeedah and an error in Minhaj.
For they associate and hold enmity for the sake of these corrupt beliefs. Ahlus-Sunnah do not associate nor do they hold enmity except for the sake of Allaah, the Glorified and High. So let not the abnormality of phrases deceive you or the hindrances in the path.
So the Minhaj which is part of Da’wah to Al-Islam, devoid from the filth of disbelief and innovations and disobedience, does not ever oppose the correct ‘Aqeedah. For the Da’wah to Al-Islam is upon the Minhaj of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) predicated upon a correct ‘Aqeedah and a sound and upright Minhaj.
Source: A Collection of Treatises For Ahlus-Sunnah on How to Deal with the People of Innovation, By Shaykh Ubayd Al-Jabiree, Translated and Published by MiraathPublications.Net, 2013 C.E./1435 A.H., pp.95-98.