The scholars of the Salaf would pen books clarifying the core beliefs based upon the verses of the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah. This creed would be presented as a written compilation or a poem, which is known as a Manzumah in the Arabic language. Poetry was used as it was easy for the student to retain and memorise.
The written works would vary in size. Some opted to present these matters as concise points such as Imam Ahmad in his book Usul al-Sunnah (The Foundation of the Sunnah), while others opted to write an extensive explanation of the fundamentals of Islam such as Imam al-Ajurri in his book al-Shari’ah.
A person may ask in our time: How is this relevant to me? Why are we studying this poem in 2018?
Shaykh al-Islam ibn- Taymiyah said:
“It was the practice of the scholars, who wrote concise treatise in accordance to the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, that they cite what differentiates Ahl al-Sunnah from the non-Muslims and the innovators.