Category Archives: Ahlus Sunnah

The Ahle-Sunnah

by Huseyn Hilmi Isik of Turkey (Extract from: The Sunni Path)

THE Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ differed slightly from one another in understanding some pieces of knowledge pertaining to ‘Ibadat. Hence various madhhabs arose. Each sahabi had a madhhab, too. Only four of all madhhabs are known today. Others were forgotten before being committed to books. The I’tiqad or Iman of these four real and correct madhhabs are the same. There is no difference among them. All of them are of the Ahl as-Sunna I’tiqad. Those who do not believe the Ahl as-Sunna I’tiqad are called the “non-madhhabite”. They call themselves “members of the fifth madhhab”. They lie; there is not anything called the “fifth madhhab”.

Today there is no way other than learning the knowledge pertaining to ibadat from the books of one of these four madhhabs. Everyone chooses the madhhab that is easy for him to follow. He reads its books and learns it. He does everything compatibly with it and becomes a member of it. Because it is easy for a per­son to learn what he hears and sees from his parents, a Moslem usually belongs to the madhhab of his parents. The madhhabs’ being not one but four is a facility for Moslems. It is permissible to leave one madhhab and join another, yet it will take years to study and learn the new one, and the work done to learn the former one will be of no help and may even cause confusion. It is by no means permissible to leave one madhhab because one dislikes it, for Islamic scholars said that it will be kufr to dislike the Salaf as­-salihin or to say that they were ignorant.

Recently some people like Maudoodi of Pakistan and Sayyid Qutb of Egypt have appeared, who say that the four madhhabs should be un­ited and that Islam should be made easily practicable by selecting and gathering- the rukhsas of the four madhhabs. They defend this idea with their short minds and deficient knowledge. A glance over their books will show at once the fact that they know nothing about taf­sir, hadith, usul (‘ilm al-fiqh and ‘ilm al-kalam) and fiqh and that they reveal their ignorance through their unsound logic and false writings; because:

1. The ‘ulama’ of the four madhhabs say, “The mulfiq’s decisions are in­correct,” that is, an ‘ibada performed by following more than one madhhab at the same time will not be sahih when this perfor­mance is not sahih in one of these madhhabs. A person who does not obey this unanimity of the ‘ulama’ of the four madhhabs will not be in any madhhab. Deeds of such a non­-madhhabite person will not be compatible with the Sharia. They will be false. He will have made game of Islam.

2. Uniting the madhhabs will be confining Moslems to a single way and making the ‘Ibadat more difficult. Allah and His Prophet would have declared everything clearly if they wished it so and everything would be done by following only that one way. But, pitying human creatures, Allah and His Messenger did not declare everything clearly. Various madhhabs came out as a result of different in­terpretations of the Ahl-as-Sunna ‘ulama’. When a person en­counters a difficulty, he chooses the easy way in his own madhhab. In case of a greater difficulty, he follows another madhhab and does that action easily. There will be no such facility in the case of a single madhhab. The non-madhhabite peo­ple who think that they are collecting the rukhsas to establish a single system of easy ways are, in actual fact, raising difficulties for Moslems, probably unaware of what they are doing. 

3. An attempt to do one part of an lbada according to one madhhab and another part to another madhhab will mean to disrespect the knowledge of the imam of the former madhhab. As it is already written above, it will be kufr to say that the Salaf as-salihin were ignorant.

History has witnessed many people who wanted to make changes in lbadat and who insulted the Ahl as­-Sunna ‘ulama’. It is obvious that the people who say it is necessary to select the rukhsas of the four madhhabs and to abolish the four madhhabs cannot even correctly read and unders­tand one page of the a’immat al-madhahib’s books. To un­derstand the madhhabs and the superiority of the a’im­ma, it is necessary to be deeply learned. The one who is, profoundly learned will not lead people to ruin by open­ing an ignorant, stupid path. Those who believed in the ig­norant, deviated people, who have appeared in the course of history, have rolled down into great loss. Those who followed the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ who have come in every century for thirteen hundred years and who have been praised in the Hadith have attained happiness. We, too, should hold fast to the right path of our ancestors, of those pious, pure Moslems, of those martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah and for the spread of Islam. And we should not believe the poisonous, harmful ar­ticles of upstart reformers!

Unfortunately, the poisonous ideas of `Abduh, chief of the Cairo Masonic Lodge, have recently spread in Jami’ al-Azhar in Egypt, thus in Egypt there have appeared the religion reformers such as Rashid Rida, Mustafa al-Marfighi, rector of the Jami’ al-Azhar, ‘Abd al-Majid as-Salim, muf­ti of Cairo, Mahmtid ash­-Shaltut, Tantawi al-Jawhari, ‘Abd ar-Raziq Pasha, Zaki al-Mubarak, Farid al-Wajdi, ‘Abbas ‘Aqqad, Ahmad Amin, Doctor Taha Husain Pasha and Qasim Amin; more unfortunately, as done to their master ‘Abduh, these were regarded as “modern Moslem scholars” and their books were translated into many languages. They caused many religious men to slip out of the right path.

Great Moslem scholar Sayyid ‘Abdul hakim-i Arwasi, the mujaddid of the fourteenth century of the Hegira, said: “‘Abduh, Mufti of Cairo, could not unders­tand the greatness of the ‘ulama’ of Islam but sold himself to the enemies of Islam and at last became a freemason, one of the ferocious disbelievers who have been demolishing Islam insidiously.”

Those who rolled down into disbelief or deviation like ‘Abduh sort of competed with one another in leading astray also those young religious men who succeeded them. They pioneered those disasters which were prophesied in the hadith, 

“Ruination of my umma will come through fajir (deviated) men of religious authority.”

‘Abduh’s novices who were trained in Egypt did not stay idle; they published numerous harmful books which caused the manifesta­tion of Divine Curse and Wrath. One of them is the book Muhawarat by Rashid Rida. In this book, like his master, he  attacked the four madhhabs of the Ahl as­-Sunna and, thinking of the madhhabs as idealistic differences and misrepresen­ting the methods and con­ditions of ijtihad as reac­tionary controversies, went so far into deviation as to say that they had broken Islamic unity. He sort of made fun of millions of true Moslems who have been following one of the four madhhabs for a thousand years. He walked away from Islam as far as to search for meeting the con­temporary needs in changing Islam. It is common among religion reformers that each of them introduces himself as an Islamic scholar of exten­sive culture who has com­prehended real Islam and modern needs, while saying “imitators -who think vulgarly” about those real, pious Moslems who have read and understood Islamic books and who have been walking in the footsteps of the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ who were given the good news that they were Rasiilullah’s inheritors and who were praised in the hadith. 

“Their time is the best of times.” 

The reformers’ speeches and articles show clearly that they know nothing of the rules of the Sharia and of the teachings of fiqh, that is, they are devoid of religious knowledge and that they are vulgarly ignorant. In the hadiths, 

“The highest human beings are the scholars who have Iman,”

“The ‘ulama’ of the religion are the prophets’ inheritors,” 

“The Aalim’s sleep is worship,”

“Revere the ‘ulama’ of my umma! They are the stars on the earth,”

“The ‘ulama’ will intercede on the Day of Judgement,”

“The fuqaha are estimable. It is ‘ibada to be in company of them.” 


“An ‘alim among his disciples is like a prophet among his umma,” 
does our Prophet praise the Ahl as­-Sunna ‘ulama’ of thirteen hundred years or ‘Abduh and his novices of the last hun­dred years? The question is answered by our master Rasulullah, again: 

“Each cen­tury will be worse than the cen­tury previous to it. Thus they will go on worsening till Doomsday!” and 

“As Dooms­day draws near men of religious post will be more rotten, more putrid than putrefied donkey flesh.” 

These hadiths are written in Mukhtasaru Tadhkirat al-­Qurtubi. All Islamic scholars and thousands of awliya’ whom Rasulullah praised and lauded, unanimously say that the path which has been given the good news of being saved from Hell is the path of those ‘ulama’ who are called Ahl as–Sunnat wa‘I–Jama’a, and that those who are not Ahl as-Sunna will go to Hell. They also say unanimously that talfiq (unification), that is, selecting and gathering the rukhsas of the four madhhabs and making up a single false madhhab, is wrong and absurd.

Will a reasonable person follow the Ahl as-Sunna path, which has been praised unanimously by the ‘ulama’ of Islam who have come dur­ing the period of a millennium or will he believe the so-called “culture, progressive” people who are ignorant of Islam and who have sprung up during the last hundred years?

The outstanding talkative ones of the seventy-two heretical groups, about whom it was told in the Hadith that they will go to Hell, have always attacked the Ahl as-Sunna ‘ulama’ and attempted to blemish these blessed Moslems, yet they have disgraced with answers documented with ayats and hadiths. Seeing that they are unsuccessful through knowledge against the Ahl as-Sunnah, they have begun brigandage and violence and caused bloodshed of thousands of Moslems in every century. But the four madhhabs of the Ahl as­-Sunna have always loved one another and lived brotherly. Rasulullah declared,

“Disagreement (on the ‘amal, practices) among my umma is (Allah’s)compassion.” 

But such religion reformers as Rashid Rida, who was born in 1282 A.H. (1865) and died suddenly in Cairo in 1354 (1935), said that they would establish Islamic unity by un­iting the four madhhabs.

Whereas, our Prophet com­manded all Moslems over the world to unite in one single iman path, in the right path of his four caliphs. By working together, the ‘ulama’ of Islam searched and studied the iman path of the four caliphs and transferred it into books. They named this path, which our Prophet had showed, Ahl as–Sunnat wal –Jama‘a. Moslems all over the world have to unite in this single path of Ahl as–Sunna. Those who wish for unity in Islam, if they are sincere in their words, should join this union. But unfortunately, freemasons and zindiqs, who have been trying to demolish Islam insidiously, have always deceived Moslems with such false words as ‘uni­ty’ and, under the mask of their slogan, “We shall bring cooperation,” have broken the “unity of iman” into pieces.

Following Isolated Opinions of Scholars

The following are some great advices of top Syrian Shaykh, Al Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad Awwamah (damat barakatuhum) given to students who wish to follow isolated opinions of scholars. 

The following advices have been extracted from a lecture titled: ‘Golden Guidelines in The Path of Knowledge’ translated by Maulana Ibn Maulana Haroon Abasoomar titled ‘The Eight Guideline’.

The Eighth Guideline:

The eighth guideline is that a student should ensure that he sticks to the view of the overwhelming majority of ‘ulama and that he distances himself from the isolated or uncommon views, forsaking them totally just as our ‘ulama used to do. I do not mean that we should be searching for those issues on which the majority are unanimous. It is very rare for them all to concur on one view only.

The motive here is that, for instance, on a particular issue there may be a different view by each of the four imams. Each of these four is backed by other scholars of the past who concur with them in their respective viewpoints. There may also exist one or two scholars who have a fifth viewpoint which is in contrast to what all the others have said. In such a situation, it is binding upon a student that he keeps to the view point of the four imams, and those that backed them, and that he abandons the fifth view which goes against the majority.

This is a huge mistake that is often committed by students of our era. Rather, as a result of the present academic disarray, this practice actually appeals to many of them!

Listen to the words of the great imam and mujtahid who lived in the early period of Islam, Imam Awzai (rahmatullah alayh):

“One who accepts the isolated views of the scholars will eventually leave Islam !!”

Imam Awzai passed away in 157 A.H.  – An era which was filled with great personalities and many tabi’un, of which some might have had certain isolated views. Despite their position, this is the effect he foresaw in following such remote views.

Imam Sulayman At-Taymi (rahmatullah alayh) who lived in an era earlier than Imam Awzai. He says:

“If you accept the (isolated) concessions of every scholar, in you would be every evil !!”

After quoting this statement, the great muhaddith of Spain, Imam ibn ‘Abdil Barr (rahmatullah alayh) writes:

“This is a unanimous and accepted fact regarding which I am unaware of any difference of opinion.”

In the book, Tabaqatush Shafi’iyyatul Kubra, after citing some isolated views that were held by certain illustrious scholars, the author, Tajuddin As-Subki (rahimahullah) then quotes a statement of a great imam of Hadith and Fiqh, Imam Abu Ali Karabisi (rahimahullah) who said:

“If somebody claims that the proponents of such isolated views are sometimes respected scholars, he will be told, the only real cause of the destruction of Islam would be the mistake of a respected aalim whereas a thousand mistakes of a jahil (non-aalim) would not affect Islam in the least. Historically there have been several people of knowledge who propounded views that were impermissible in Islam. For example, The famous Judge, Qadi Shurayh, passed certain verdicts which were not acceptable to anyone, which have no basis whatsoever, neither in the noble Quran, the hadith, or the views of the Sahabah or Tabi’in.”

If somebody studied the biography of Qadi Shurayh, he would understand him to be Islam’s second best judge of all times. (The first being Sayyiduna Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) who received the title of being the best judge amongst the Sahabah from none other than the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) himself). Despite the position of Qadi Shurayh, see what Imam Al-Karabisi said regarding some of his verdicts.

Therefore, it is not permissible for one who clings to a weak, isolated view to justify his stance against us by saying that this is the view of such and such a scholar who is an imam, hujjah (proof) and a mujtahid etc, for our response would be that such and such an imam and tens or hundreds like him have opposed him by forsaking his view all together!

Since a student should beware of adopting the view of one or two people which is in contrary with the vast majority of Islam, it is even more important that he guards himself against another even more drastic and grave offence. That is to appoint one or two scholars as arbitrators over the vast majority of Islam, thereby habitually adopting the view of these one or two whilst abandoning as well as insulting everyone besides them.

So, the first precaution should be against resorting to the view of one or two scholars which oppose the majority for the sole purpose of suiting one’s worldly needs at the expense of one’s Din, or for no other reason but to create concessions for one’s self or anybody else… The second precaution should be against one surrendering the steering of his knowledge to one or two scholars whose every view he adopts and defends, thereby forsaking the view of the vast majority of the ulama of the ummah who may even number up to several hundreds or even thousands.

The gist of the post is that Muslims who cling to isolated opinions of scholars have a lot of evil in them and are more likely to die without imaan, meaning they will be a burden upon the earth while they live and after they die will be the fuel of hell-fire, and if they also happen to prefer social isolation, not only are they going to be a burden upon themselves, they will also be a burden upon the state and are also more likely to die earlier, which is not a bad thing after all, is it?

Stick with the Jama’ah.

The Roots of Sunni-Shi’i Differences in Fiqh

[Abu Muhammad al-Afriqui]

It is often alleged by the protagonists of Sunni-Shi‘i unity that differences between the two schools are not more grave or serious than the differences that exist within the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence. Sunni-Shi‘i differences should therefore be treated with the same tolerance and acceptance as Hanafi – Shafi‘i differences, and it is in the spirit of this proposed “mutual tolerance” that the advocates of unity speak of the Shi‘i Ja‘fari school of jurisprudence as nothing more than a “fifth madh-hab“.

It is therefore only normal for the average Sunni lay person who has come into contact with advocates of Sunni-Shi‘i unity to wonder about, or even be taken in, by such a claim. How serious are the differences between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah really? Could they ever be reconciled? If not, could there at least be an amicable agreement to disagree, just like the Hanafis disagree with the Shafi‘is, or the Malikis with the Hanbalis? It is these questions that this article sets out to answer.

Full reconciliation between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Ithna ‘Ashari Ja‘fari Shi‘ah is not merely elusive, it is simply an impossibility. Anyone who knows the reality of the issues that separate the Shi’ah from the Ahl as-Sunnah is bound to agree. Nothing sums up the truth of the situation better than the words of Hamid Algar—an ardent admirer of Khomeini and the revolution—, who describes Sunnism and Shi‘ism as “two parallel lines that cannot meet”. The endeavour to bring about reconciliation between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah is therefore a wasted effort. The next best option is thus mutual tolerance and acceptance.

In order to test the viability of tolerance and acceptance between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah we will have to look more closely at the issues that separate the one from the other. These issues can be categorised into two groups:


1. fundamental differences,

which include articles of faith, and all such issues that could be termed “differences in principle”, that by their nature give rise to differences in secondary matters;

2. secondary differences,

i.e. difference in matters of jurisprudence, like the way salah is performed, or that marriage and divorce take place, etc..

Each of the fundamental issues of difference would require a separate study to see how they affect compatibility between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah. In this article it is our intention to look more closely at the type of difference that is usually dismissed as “secondary”, and thus “unimportant”. Are differences in fiqh between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah really so insignificant that we can jusitifiably turn a blind eye when we encounter them?

There can be no doubt that this question is anathema to the propagators of Shi‘ism amongst the Ahl as-Sunnah, as well as to those who have fallen prey to their propaganda. Yet, if it is truth we seek, we cannot allow the preferences of such obviously biased persons to deter us. The “unity” such people strive to achieve, and which they accuse others of trying to destroy, is a unity forged in ignorance. How much do we really know about the Shi‘ah? We have taken them on face value, and on grounds of what we have thus learnt about them we proceed to create unity. The naivety of such a position in a matter of far reaching religious implications is far too obvious. A unity founded upon ignorance is a very precarious unity indeed. Like a mirage, it seems very real when seen from afar, but as soon as you approach it, it slips out of existence.

There are two levels at which one can look at the differences in jurisprudence between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah. The first is the level of external appearance. When the differences in fiqh are inspected at this level they do not seem any more alien than the differences that exist between the various schools of Sunni jurisprudence. In fact, in many, or even most cases one will find the Shi‘i position to be conformity with at least one of the four Sunni madhahib. This is illustrated in the following three examples:

In the salah, the jalsat al-istirahah is held to be sunnah by the Shi‘ah. In this they concur with the view of the Shafi‘i madhhab. [Yahya ibn Sa‘id al-Hilli: al-Jami‘ lish-Sharai’ p.75 (Mu’assasat Sayyid ash-Shuhada’, Qum 1405)]

In marriage the majority of Shi‘i jurists hold the view that khalwah, i.e. valid seclusion, has no effect on the mahr (dowry) nor upon any other aspect of the marital contract. In this they are once again agreement with the Shafi‘is, but differ from the other three schools. [Muhammad Jawad Maghniyyah: The Five Schools of Islamic Law p. 319 (Ansariyan Publications, Qum 1995)] If the husband is unable to pay the mahr the wife is not entitled to divorce according to the Shi‘i and the Hanafi schools. The Malikis, the Shafi‘is and the Hanbalis all have different views. [ibid]

It is on this level that most people view the differences that exist between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah. Even certain `ulama of the Ahl as-Sunnah, looking at the matter on this level, have been known to express the view that “differences between the Ahl as- Sunnah and the Shi‘ah are no more serious than the differences that exist between the various schools of Sunni jurisprudence”.

However, when we confine ourselves to viewing the problem of Sunni-Shi‘i differences on this level we are in effect closing our eyes to the most important aspect of those differences: THE ROOT. The true nature of Sunni-Shi‘i differences can never be appreciated or understood in full without comprehending the reasons for their existence. It is only when the problem has been viewed and grasped on the level of the reasons for difference, and not merely the external appearance of difference, that one is justified to take further steps.

When the Shi‘ah differ from the Ahl as-Sunnah, it is not the same as when one Sunni school differs from the other. This is because the various Sunni schools all trace their roots back to the same legacy. They share a common heritage in the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). When differences do occur, they occur not because one madhhab bases itself on a legacy other than the legacy of the other. Both believe in and hold on to the same legacy. Their differences are caused by secondary factors, like whether certain categories of hadith possess binding authority or not, or the divergence in the methods they regard as valid to interpret the legacy and extrapolate from it. The following two examples illustrate how such differences occur:

The mursal hadith (a hadith with an interruption in its chain of narrators between the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam and the Tabi‘i), for example, is deemed to possess binding authority by the Hanafis, while the Shafi‘is do not accept it except if it is supported by any one of a number of external factors. If we imagine a mursal hadith that is not supported by any of the factors the Shafi‘is stipulate, it is only logical to expect that the Shafi‘i ruling on the issue the hadith pertains to will differ from the Hanafi ruling.

Spoken words are sometimes accompanied by implied meanings. For example, when it is said, “Stay awake,” this also means “Don’t sleep”. This unspoken opposite meaning is termed mafhum al-mukhalafah. The Shafi‘is accept it as a valid means of extracting meaning from a text, while the Hanafis do not. If the former extract such meaning from a text and base a ruling upon the meaning inferred by this method, and the latter base their ruling upon some other grounds, there is bound to be a measure of difference in the outcome of their respective views.

Sunni-Shi‘i differences, on the other hand, are fundamentally distinct from inter-Sunni differences. While it may rightly be claimed that the Shi‘ah, too, have their particular principles of extrapolation, it would be incorrect to describe those principles as the root cause of difference between them and the Ahl as-Sunnah, the reason for that being that while the Sunni schools each have methods of extrapolation particular to themselves, they all apply their respective methods to the same legacy. The Shi‘ah, on the other hand, have not only their own set of principles, but also a legacy distinct from the legacy of the Ahl as-Sunnah. When there are differences between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah, they arise not on account of differences in interpretation or methods of extrapolation, but because the source from which the Shi‘ah draw their law is a source other than the source of the Ahl as-Sunnah.

What is this “legacy”, the reader may well ask. It is embodied in the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). As far as the Qur’an is concerned, although history is witness to alot of Shi‘ite calumny against the inviolability of the Qur’an, most contemporary Shi‘i scholars, and even many of their classical ‘ulama who staunchly believe in its interpolation, will admit the Qur’an’s status as the prime source of legislation. (A Shi‘i scholar of the present century, Muhammad ‘Ali Tabataba’i, reconciles belief in the interpolation of the Qur’an with acceptance of the Qur’an as a source of legislation by saying that “interpolation occured specifically in those verses relating to Imamah.” [Tafsir al-Qummi] Verses with a legal purport are thus left uncorrupted.) Since the Qur’an is thus “agreed upon” between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah, there remains only the other part of the legacy we inherited from the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam): the Sunnah.

Essentially, the difference lies in the concepts each have of what constitutes the Sunnah. According to the Ahl as-Sunnah the Sunnah is everything narrated from the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wasallam), as long as the transmitters are trustworthy. The Shi‘ah, on the other hand, will only accept as the Sunnah that which is transmitted by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the rest of the twelve Imams, and that which is narrated from these Imams by their Shi‘ah followers. Forget what the rest of the Sahabah narrate, not even the narrations of other members of the household of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), his daughters besides Fatimah (radiyallahu ‘anha), his wives, his cousins or uncles, are considered part of the Sunnah by the Shi‘ah. That is the first observation.

The second is the way the Shi‘ah regard the legacy upon which the foundations of Sunni fiqh rests. Since the days of the Sahabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) the Sunnah of the Prophet was handed down from generation to generation. The Sahabah narrated it to the Tabi‘in, they to the generation after them, and so on, until it came to be compiled in what we know today as the hadith literature. To the Shi‘ah, when this legacy is found to be in contradiction to what is supposedly narrated from their Imams, the reason behind it is that the Sahabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were guilty of wilfully distorting and corrupting the Din of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Thus, where inter-Sunni differences amount to nothing more than technicalities, Sunni-Shi‘i differences are differences in historical perspective.

To use an example: In salah, the Malikis let their hands hang by their sides, while the Hanafis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis fold their hands. The Shi‘ah too, let their hands hang by their sides. In this single issue of fiqh we thus have an inter-Sunni difference as well as a Sunni-Shi‘i difference. Between the Malikis and the other three madhahib the difference is a mere technicality. The Malikis accept the validity of folding the hands in salah (after all, Imam Malik (rahmatullah alayh) himself in the Muwatta’ narrates a hadith that supports the folding of the hands), but prefer letting the hands hang for the reason that in Imam Malik’s day this was the practice of the community in Madinah. The other madhahib take into consideration that the Companions of the Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) who narrate his Sunnah were not exclusively settled in Madinah. Many of them resided in the Makkah, ‘Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Ahadith to the effect that it is sunnah to fold the hands have been authentically narrated from a number of Sahabah (amongst whom ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (radiyallahu ‘anhu), and therefore this, and not the practice of the people of one particular city, takes precedence. Between the Sunni schools this difference is a technical one, one that amounts to giving preference to one view over another. But between the Shi‘ah and the Ahl as-Sunnah the issue assumes much more serious proportions. From a question of mere technical preference it turns into an acrimonious indictment of the Sahabah (radiyallahu ‘anhum). Traditions in the book Tahdhib al-Ahkam, one of the four major collections of Shi‘i hadith, describe the folding of the hands in salah as “an act of kufr” and “something that is only done by the fire-worshippers”. Here one would have to ask: How could an alien practice like this creep into Islam? The answer is given by Ayatullah Khomeini himself, in his treatise at-Ta‘adul wat-Tarjih, wherein he quotes the following tradition from the book ‘Ilal ash-Shara’i‘ by Ibn Babawayh al-Qummi:

(Ja‘far as-Sadiq) asked: Do you know why you are commanded to act contrary to the`Àimmah (the Ahl as-Sunnah)?

I replied: I do not know.

He said: Verily, the Ummah contradicted ‘Ali in each and every aspect of his religion, intending thereby to destroy his cause. They used to ask him about things they did not know, and when he gave a ruling they would invent an opposite verdict from their own side to mislead the people.  [at-Ta‘adul wat-Tarjih by Ayatullah Khomeini, p. 82, cited in Dr. Zayd al-‘Is:al-Khomeini wal-Wajh al-Àkhar p. 131]

In the Shi‘i perspective of Islamic legislative history the fact that the Sahabah deliberately corrupted and distorted the teachings of the Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is such a fundamental truth, that is came to be looked upon as a criterion of truth in itself. This position is reflected in the way they deal with the phenomenon of Shi’i narrations that contradict one another. Abu Ja‘far al-Kulayni, in the introduction to al-Kafi, the most important of their four canonical hadith collections, expresses it in the following terms:

Know… that no one can distinguish narrations of the Possessors of Knowledge (the Imams) by his opinion; except according to the words of the Possessor of Knowledge: ‘Compare them to the Qur’an. Accept that which is in accordance with it, and reject that which contradicts it,’ and his words: ‘Abandon that which is in accordance with the people (the Ahl as- Sunnah), for truly, guidance lies in being different to them’. [al-Kafi  vol. 1 pp. 55-56 (Dar al-Adwa’, Beirut 1992)]

This particular perspective has persisted in the Shi‘i psyche over the centuries since Kulayni and his teacher Qummi, until it became, in the opinion of Khomeini and all other Shi‘i jurists, one of the two principal methods of juridical preference in cases of conflicting narrations. In light of the alarming frequency with which contradictions occur in the ahadith of the Shi‘ah (one of their four major hadith sources, al-Istibsar, is devoted to the phenomenon of contradiction) the importance of a principle of this nature is evident. We reproduce here from Khomeini’s works various Shi‘i narrations in which he and other Shi‘i mujtahids find justification for their view:

1. Hasan ibn Abil Jahm asked: If something is narrated from Abu ‘Abdillah (Imam Ja‘far), and something contrary to it is also narrated from him, which should we accept?

The Imam answered: Accept that which is in contradiction to the people, and avoid that which is accordance with them. [at-Ta‘adul wat-Tarjih p.80]

2. Abu ‘Abdillah said: Our Shi‘ah are those who submit to our command, who accept our words, and who act contrary to our enemies. Whoever is not like that is not of us. [Tahrir al-Wasilah p. 83, from al-Fusul al-Muhimmah by al-Hurr al-‘Amili p. 225]

3. ‘Ali ibn Asbat narrates that he asked Imam Rida: (What should I do in case) an incident occurs for which I am need of a juridical opinion, but nowhere in the city do I find anyone of your partisans (the Shi‘ah) whom I can ask?

He replied: Go to the (Sunni) faqih of the city and refer your case to him. Then take the opposite of whatever answer he gives you, for verily, therein lies the truth. [at-Ta‘adul wat-Tarjih p.82, from ‘Uyun Akhbar ar-Rida by Ibn Babawayh al-Qummi, vol. 1 p. 275]

It is on account of these and other similar narrations which the Shi‘ah claim to emanatefrom their infallible Imams that the mujtahids of the Ja‘fari madhhab were led to formulate the principle Khomeini expresses in these terms:

In cases of conflicting reports, contradiction of the Ahl as-Sunnah is a factor of preference … In fact, it is the most common and widespread factor of preference in all chapters of fiqh and upon the tongues of the fuqaha. [at-Ta‘adul wat-Tarjih p. 83]

There is no ambiguity with regard to the issue of contradicting the Ahl as- Sunnah being a factor of preference in the case of conflicting narrations. [at-Ta‘adul wat-Tarjih p. 84]

The factors of tarjih (preference) are limited to two: conforming to the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and contradicting the Ahl as-Sunnah. [at-Ta‘adul wat-Tarjih p. 84]

All of these quotations show a definite obsession with being different from the Ahl as- Sunnah. We therefore ask: If so much importance is attached to being different, to the point of it being regarded as the criterion of truth, why should there be such a noise and clamour for unity? Why should the Shi‘ah seek unity with people whose version of Islam they regard as the corruption of the Din of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) wrought by the hands of his Companions? And even if the Shi‘ah do manage to create a semblance of such unity, how much goodwill and sincerity can be expected of them if one considers their particular perspective of the legacy which forms the basis of our faith and practice?

We have chosen Khomeini’s views as representative of Shi‘i opinion for a very special reason, and that is the fact that in the contemporary world it is he and his successors who are the most vociferous proponents of Sunni-Shi‘i unity, and who dismiss Sunni-Shi‘i differences as negligible. In more than one of his public addresses he takes to task those who attempt to create mischief amongst the Muslims by “misleading” them into believing that there are substantial differences between the Ahl as-Sunnah and the Shi‘ah. However, closer scrutiny of his jurisprudential works reveal that such condemnations are nothing but political rhetoric. When we remove the image he projects as Leader of the Revolution, we are left with merely another Shi‘i scholar imprisoned by the fundamentals of his faith. In his eyes, and likewise in the eyes of generations of Shi‘i scholars before him, the legacy of the Sunnah upon which their Sunni “brothers” base their practice of Islam is the product of the envious mischief and the disbelief of the Sahabah, who in the hope of destroying the cause of the Ahl al-Bayt distorted every teaching of the Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) they could lay their hands upon. If this is how they regard the very basis upon which the foundations of our Deen rests, what remains to be said for unity?

The Authority of Hadeeth, Ijma’, Qiyaas etc and their rejection by the Deviant Sects [Part 2]

For Part 1, click here➡The Authority of Hadeeth, Ijma’, Qiyaas etc and their rejection by the Deviant Sects

The Difference between Hadeeth and Sunnah

The meaning of and 4 things that constitute Hadeeth

4 things make up Hadeeth

1. The Aqwaal (sayings) of Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)

2. The Af’aal (actions) of Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)

3. The Taqreer i.e if a Sahaabi did something in the presence of Nabi υ and he did not express displeasure or prevent him. (consent) of Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)

4. The physical traits and habits of Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)

The meaning of Sunnah

And  Sunnat  means:  At-Tareeqatul  Maslookah  fid  Deen  –  The followed path in Deen.

The  Nisbat  (link)  between  Hadeeth  and  Sunnah  is  Aam-Khaas  min Wajhin.

i.e.  they  are  similar  (Muttafiq)  in  one  way  and  different  (Muftariq) in two ways:

Maaddatul  Iftiraaq  (differences)  are  two:

1.  Those  Ahaadeeth  which  deal  with  the  Khaasiyaat (specialities)  of  the  Nabi  e.g.  marrying  more  than  4  wives. This  is  Hadeeth  but  not  Sunnah.

2.  Those  things  which  were  implemented  by  the  4  Khaleefahs. These  will  be  Sunnah  even  if  there  is  no  Hadeeth  in  support of  it  e.g.  the  2nd  Azaan  for  Jumu’ah  which  was  implemented by  Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu)

The Sunnats of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu):

Like  this,  there  are  3  Masaa’il  which  came  about  in  the  time  of  Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu) when  two  groups  of  Muslims  fight  against  each  other:

1. Regarding  those  who  are  killed:  will  they  go  to  Jannat  or Jahannum;

2. Will  the  goods  of  the  defeated  party  be  treated  as  Ghaneemat (spoils  of  war);

3. Will  the  captives  be  treated  as  slaves;

4.  The  answers  to  these  3  Masaa’il  were  stipulated  by  Ali  (radhiyallahu anhu). This is Sunnah even though there is no ‘Hadeeth’.

The  Battle  of  Jamal  was  fought  between  Ali  and  Aa’ishah’s (radhiyallahu anhuma) parties. Ali’s (radhiyallahu anhi)  group  was  victorious.  Questions  2  and  3  came  up.  Some Muslims  wanted  to  take  the  spoils  as  theirs.  Ali (radhiyallahu amhu) said:  “Which wretched  person  will  take  Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu anha)  as  a  slave?  There  is  no  booty, nor  any  slavery!”  So  all  the  prisoners  were  set  free  and  all  the  goods of the Shuhadaa (martyrs) was returned to their families.

Then  the  Battle  of  Siffeen  came  along  between  Ali  and Mu’aawaiyah (radhiyallahu anhuma).  Some  people  raised  the  first  question.  Ali  said: “ours and theirs are in Jannah

This  is  such  a  Mas’alah  that  no  one  could  have  solved  since  no Hadeeth  was  present,  nor  anything  similar  by  which  a  Shari’  analogy could have been extracted (Qiyaas).

Ignorant  people  (the noisy ‘La Madh-habi’s)  generally  make  a  huge  noise  about the  2nd  Azaan  and  the  Rak’ats  of  Taraweeh.  We  have  presented  the Sunnah  of  Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) here  because  their  knowledge  has  not  yet  reached this  level.  When  they  come  to  know  about  this,  they  will  have  an extra Mas’alah to shout about.

The  basic  point  is  that  the  decrees  (Fatwahs)  and  rulings  of  the Khulafaa e Raashideen  are  accepted  as  Sunnah  by  the  Muslims  even if  perchance  there  is  no  Hadeeth  in  support  thereof.  This  has  always been  the  standpoint  of  the  Ahlus  Sunnah  till  the  emergence  of  this group. 

We  will  discuss  the  name  ‘Ahlus  Sunnah  wal  Jama’ah’  shortly In shaa’Allaah  –  suffice  for  now  that  we  are  Ahlus  Sunnah  not  Ahle Hadeeth.        

The  Similarity  between  Hadeeth  and  Sunnah (Maaddatul Ijtimaa’):

Those  Ahaadeeth  which  are  accepted  as  Ma’mool  Bihaa  (practiced upon)  and  are  not  Mansookh  (abrogated)  or  Khaas  (special)  are  also Sunnah.

We  accept  all  the  Ahaadeeth  in  this  category  and  we  practice  upon them. We also follow the Sunnah of the Sahaabah

Being  ‘Ahle  Hadeeth’  is  not  good  enough  for  two  reasons:

1.  Hadeeth  includes  Mansookh  and  Khaas  matters.  It  is  not correct  to  practice  on  this  even  though  it  is  Hadeeth.  e.g. Marrying  more  than  four  and  temporary  Nikaah  –  both  these are  Baatil.

2.  Hadeeth  does  not  cover  the  Sunnah  of  the  Khulafaa.  For  this reason  the  Salafis  are  in  Dhalaalat  (error).  We  have  been clearly  commanded  to  follow  the  Sunnat  of  the  Khulafaa  in Hadeeth  just  as  we  have  been  ordered  to  follow  the  Sunnah in the Qur’aan!   

The  ‘Ahle  Quraan’  rejects  Sunnah.  The  ‘Ahle  Hadeeth’  also  reject  it in practice yet when confronted, neither of them will admit to it. 

This  is  the  deception  of  the  Ghair  Muqallid/  Salafi/  Ahle  Hadeeth sect.

A Challenge:

We  place  a  challenge  to  all  the  self-styled  ‘Ahle  Hadeeth  –  present a  single  Hadeeth  where  we  have  been  commanded  to  follow  the Hadeeth. Hadeeth is a technical term, an academic classification.

In  the  Hadeeth,  we  have  been  ordered  to  follow  the  Sunnah:  The Sunnah  of  the  Rasul  everyone  accepts  –  we  have  been  clearly ordered  by  the  Rasul  himself,  in  a  Saheeh  Hadeeth  to  follow  the Sunnah of the Khulafa as well and this too, with no distinction!

In  our  discussion,  this  is  the  matter  that  separates  the  truth  from falsehood.  We  follow  Hadeeth  –  they  claim  to  follow  Hadeeth.  A claim  that  is  

a)  false  and  

b)  deceptive.

Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said: “You  must  follow  my  Sunnah and  the  Sunnah of  the  rightly guided  Khulafaa!  Hold  firmly  onto  it  and  grip  it  with  your teeth!”

In  another  Hadeeth  He  said:

Whoever  holds  on  to  my  Sunnah  during the time of evil…


I  am  leaving  behind  two  things.  You  will  never  go  astray  so long  as  you  hold  on  to  them:  The  Kitaab  of  Allaah  and  my Sunnah

There  are  great  virtues  for  memorizing  Hadeeth  and  passing  it  on  to others  –  But  we  have  been  ordered  to  follow  Sunnah.

The Sunnats of Abu Bakr (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam):

So  we  have  touched  on  the  Sunnah  of  the  other  Khulafaa. Sayyidinaa  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) has  also  given  us  certain  Sunnahs.  In  fact  He was  the  first  to  present  certain  Sunnahs  (since  he  was  the  first Khaleefah). 

If  any  townspeople  collectively  leave  out  any  important  command of  Islaam  (e.g.  Zakaat),  the  Ameer  can  wage  Jihaad  against  them. When  one  group  refused  to  pay  Zakaat,  He  said:  “If  they  with  hold even  one  piece  of  string  which  they  used  to  pay  in  the  time  of Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam),  I  will  fight  them!”  Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  did  not  understand  this verdict.  He  felt  that  there  were  more  pressing  matters  like  dealing with the renegades and the threat against Madinah itself. 

This  was  a  very  important  decision  taken  by  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu).  The  entire stability of the Muslim nation depends on it. 

He  named  a  successor  (i.e.  Umar radhiyallahu anhu)  He  wrote  an  order  to  this  effect, and  then  told  Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu)  to  gather  the  Muslims  in  the  Masjid  and take Bay’at on Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) hand. The Sahaabah accepted this. 

These  were  two  Masaa’il  which  only  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) could  have  enacted, because  this  was  the  era  of  the  Sahaabah.  They  were  people  of understanding  and  Ita’at  (obedience).  The  very  next  generation  was one  of  turmoil.  That  is  why  we  see  that  in  the  period  of  Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) and  Ali (radhiyallahu anhu),  non-Sahaabah  created  great  anarchy.  They  were  not prepared to accept the decisions of the Khaleefah

A  person  once  asked  Ali (radhiyallahu anhu)  why  the  first  2  eras  were  of  unity  and peace  while  the  2nd  two  were  of  turmoil  and  strife.  He  said: “Because  of  the  change  in  Ra’iyyat  (the  general  public)”  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu) led  people  like  Ali,  Uthmaan,  Abu  Ubaidah  and  the  others (radhiyallahu anhum).  The latter  period  saw  a  death  of  men.        
The name: Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah:

Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  said  that  the  Yahood  and  Nasaara  were  split  into  71 and  72  sects…  and  that  this  Ummat  will  be  split  into  73  –  all  of them  but  one  will  enter  Hell.  On  being  asked  who  they  were,  he said:  

Maa  Ana Alaihi  wa  Ashaabee” “Those who follow the path that I am on and my Sahaabah

My Path: this is the Sunnah

My  Sahaabah:  this  is  Al-Jamaa’ah.  From  this  comes  the  Ijmaa’ (consensus of the Mu’mineen)

Ibn Taymiyyah has supported this in “Minhaajus Sunnah” 

The  ‘Ahle  Hadeeth’  scholar  Nawaab  Waheeduz  Zamaan  in  “Nazlul Abraar”  has  also  affirmed  it.

The  group  who  are  on  Haqq  (truth)  and  that  will  gain  Najaat (salvation)  are  those  who  follow  the  Sunnah  and  accept  the  Ijmaa’ of  the  Ummat.

The 3 Usools of Deen:

The  3  principle  sources  of  Sharee’at  are:  The  Kitaab  of  Allaah;  the Sunnah; Ijmaa’.

The  fourth  Usool  is:  Qiyaas  (analogical  reasoning)  based  on  these three Usools.

The  Masaadirul  Asliyyah  (principle  sources)  are  3.  Qiyaas  is  the  4th (source) but it is not in the category of the first 3.

Qiyaas  is  Muzhir  (makes  apparent  the  hidden)  of  Sharee’at  not Muthbit  (proof  of  itself)  of  Sharee’at  i.e.  Qiyaas  is  a  means  of understanding  the  laws  of  Sharee’at  from  Qur’aan,  Sunnah  and Ijmaa’.  Qiyaas  is  not  used  to  create  laws  of  its  own  type  in  conflict of  the  3  UsoolsQiyaas  is  not  contradictory  to  them.  

Ijmaa’ is also linked to Qur’aan and Hadeeth 

These  are  now  the  4  Usools  of  Deen.  The  first  3  are  on  a  higher level.  Qiyaas  is  of  a  ‘lower’  level.  But  all  4  are  interlinked.  Deen  is the  command  of  Allaah  –  Allaah  is  the  Shaari’  (The  one  who revealed  Sharee’at).  This  Sharee’at  is  manifested  through  these Usools.  Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) expounded  the  commands  of  Allah.  He conveyed  and  taught  them  to  us  in  full.  He  did  not  alter  them  in  any way  or  present  anything  on  his  own  account  [Na’oodhu  Billah].  The Sahaabah then conveyed this to us. 

Their  Ijmaa’  strengthened  the  foundation  of  Islaam  and  protected  it from  being  tampered.  They  did  not  alter  anything.  This  is  how  Deen was  established  on  a  firm  –  watertight  –  tamper-proof  foundation. The  A’immah  then  codified  it  to  its  finest  detail  through  Ijtihaad and  Qiyaas.  They  did  not  alter  Deen  or  present  anything  of  their own. This completed the matter. 

The  Shee’ahs  tried  to  alter  Deen.  The  Khawaarij  tried  to  alter  Deen. The Mu’tazilah tried.

Many  groups  have  come  and  gone.  ‘Kulluhum  fin  Naar’  –  All  are  in Hell. They are not part of us. 

Then  the  ‘Ahle  Qur’aan’;  ‘Ahle  Hadeeth’;  ‘Ghair  Muqallid’; ‘Salafi’;  ‘Maudoodi’  etc.  sprang  up.  They  changed  things.  They created  confusion.  Some  of  them  went  very  far  –  right  out  of  the fold  of  Islaam;  others  will  be  classed  as  Muslim  but  not  part  of  the Ahlus  Sunnah.  Some  on  something,  others  on  something  else… All of this is nothing but Dhalaalat (waywardness) and confusion.

We  have  a  straight,  clear  road.  Our  Deen  has  come  to  us  generation by  generation  from  the  best  of  people  from  every  age.  May  Allaah keep  us  on  this  and  raise  us  on  this.

All Ahaadeeth are linked to Qur’aan:

Hadhrat  Abdullaah  ibn  Mas’ood  (radhiyallahu anhu) once,  while  delivering  a  sermon, mentioned  a  Hadeeth  that  Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  cursed  the  person  who lengthens  her  hair  by  joining  other  hair  to  hers  as  well  as  the  person who  carries  this  out.  He  also  cursed  the  tattooer  and  the  person  who gets  himself  tattooed…

After  the  sermon,  a  woman  said  to  him:  “You  narrate  Ahaadeeth about such matters that we find no mention of in the Qur’aan.” 

He  said  to  her:  “If  you  recited  the  Qur’aan,  you  would  have  foundTake  that  which  the  Rasul  gives  you  and  abstain  from  all  that  he has  prohibited  you’”  [Surah  Hashr].      

Ijmaa’  (consensus  of  opinion)  is  also  linked  to Hadeeth and Qur’aan

Ijmaa’  has  to  be  Mustanad  (based  on  something  in  Qur’aan  or Hadeeth).  The  question  then  arises  that  what  is  the  need  for  Ijmaa’ then, when the Qur’aan and Hadeeth are there??

The  answer  is  that  sometimes  the  Aayat  or  Hadeeth  only  makes Ishaarah  (an  indication)  to  the  matter.  Ijmaa’  makes  it  clear.  Ijmaa’ is a Hujjate Qat’i (a definite proof) in Deen.

Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  did  not  nominate  a  successor.  In  his  last  days,  He appointed  Abu  Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu)  as  the  Imaam  for  14  days!  After  his  demise, the  Ansaar  met  at  Saqeefah  Bani  Saa’idah.  They  proposed  two Ameers  –  one  from  the  Ansaar  and  one  from  the  Muhaajireen.  Umar (radhiyallahu anhu)  said  that  this  is  the  person  who  the  Rasul  of  Allaah  appointed  as Imaam  in  his  lifetime.  All  the  Sahaabah  then  took  Bay’at  to  him. This is the 1st Ijmaa’ of this Ummat.

Abu  Bakr’s (radhiyallahu anhi)  appointment  as  Imaam  was  an  Ishaarah  (indication). Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) understanding  this  as  appointment  as  Khaleefah  was Istidlaal  or  Qiyaas  (extracting  a  proof/  deeper  reasoning). Sahaabah’s unanimously accepting it was Ijmaa’.

Ijmaa’  is  a  Hujjate  Qat’i.  An  absolute  proof.  To  oppose  it  is Dhalaalat  (misguidance).  If  anyone  rejects  the  Khilaafat  of  Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu anhu),  one  will  be  in  the  wrong.

Similar  is  the  case  with  20  Rak’ats  of  Taraweeh.

How Qiyaas is linked to the 3 Usools

The  example  of  Qiyaas  is  like  3  huge  pots  of  steaming  food.  A person cannot take this food out by hand. He needs a big spoon. 

Like  this,  you  have  Qur’aan,  Hadeeth  and  Ijmaa’.  To  extract  the Masaa’il  (laws)  of  Deen,  the  Imaams  use  Qiyaas.  Call  it  Qiyaas  or Ijtihaad,  it  is  the  same  thing.  The  Qiyaas  of  the  Imaams,  contrary  to the  propaganda  of  the  ‘Ahle  Hadeeth’  is  not  personal  opinion  or reasoning  in  the  matters  of  Deen.  The  Imaams  were  people  of Allaah and were far beyond such evil.

So  now  we  have  proven  these  four  Usools  of  Deen.  The  Madh-hab of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah is based on this.

Let  us  conclude  with  the  two  Aayats  that  we  began  with:

The  first  Aayah  (115  of  Surah  Nisaa)  has  been  discussed  in  detail in Part 1.

The  2nd  Aayah  is  from  (Surah  An-Nahl  Aayah  44) in Part 1

The proof of Qiyaas from Surah An-Nahl

The  Kuffaar  of  Makkah  objected  to  the  Risaalat  of  Rasulullaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). They  reasoned  that  if  Allaah  really  wanted  to  send  a  message,  He would  have  sent  an  angel  or  some  other  supernatural  being.  In  reply, this Aayat was revealed. 

Throughout  history,  Allaah  had  sent  messengers.  All  of  them  were human  men.  No  Nabi  was  a  female  and  no  angel  was  ever  sent  for this purpose.

Allaah  Says:

“…and  We have revealed  the  Reminder  (Qur’aan)  to  you,  so that  you  may  explain  to  the  people  all  that  has  been  revealed  to them, and so that they may reflect.

The  Qur’aan  is  Allaah’s  message  to  mankind.  Allaah  has  the  power to  do  anything  He  wills.  Yet  Allaah,  by  His  wisdom,  takes  the temperament  of  man  into  account.  For  this  reason,  Allaah  did  not send  the  Qur’aan  directly.  He  sent  it  with  His  Rasul (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  so  that  the Rasul (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) can  explain  it  to  them.  He  can  guide  them  and  assist  them. They can relate to the Nabi since the Nabi is a human among them. 

A  human  cannot  relate  to  an  Angel  or  to  any  other  supernatural being.  Allaah  took  man’s  weakness  into  account  and  sent  a  Nabi.  The actions and commands of the Nabi are an exposition of the Qur’aan. 

This  is  Hadeeth.  So  in  this  Aayah,  the  Hujjiyyat  of  the  Qur’aan  and Hadeeth  has  been  established.  Ijma’  has  not  been  mentioned  here. Ijmaa’ has been mentioned in the other Aayah.

Then  Allaah  says:  “…so  that  they  may  reflect” i.e.  so  that  they  may  ponder  on  the  deep  meanings  of  the  Qur’aan and  as  and  when  the  need  or  situation  arises,  they  may  seek guidance  from  the  Qur’aan  and  Hadeeth.  In  their  respective  periods, the  Khulafaae  Raashideen  extracted  guidance  in  this  way.  Then  in every  age,  the  Fuqahaa  have  extracted  and  will  extract  guidance  like this. 

Whenever  any  new  Mas’alah  arises,  the  Ulamaa  will  show  the  right path through Qur’aan and Sunnah

Daily  we  are  faced  with  new  questions  –  in  the  business  field,  in  the field  of  commerce  and  medicine.  As  technology  advances,  the Muslim  is  faced  with  new  conditions.  Hidaayat  (guidance)  through all of this is in Deen. The Ulamaa will show the way. 

The  work  of  the  Ulamaa  in  these  instances  is  through  Ijtihaad  and Qiyaas. There is no avoiding it. 

Here  the  big  question  arises  as  to  who  has  the  right  of  Ijtihaad  and Qiyaas.  Every  common  layman  will  not  have  the  right  to  voice  his feeling.  This  is  ‘self-opinion’,  which  is  Haraam  in  Deen.  This  is  a topic of its own.

The  last  part  off  this  verse  is  the  proof  for  Qiyaas. One  cannot  avoid  Qiyaas.  The  ‘Ghair  Muqallids’  of  our  belated  age are  allergic  to  the  word  Qiyaas.  But  just  as  in  the  Mas’alah  of Taqleed,  here  too  they  are  even  more  ‘guilty’  of  Qiyaas  than  us.  We follow  set  rules  in  Qiyaas.  They  are  free  thinkers  –  without studying  the  Usools  of  Qiyaas,  they  go  about  it.  They  have  thrown the  flood  gates  open.  All  and  sundry  are  allowed  to  decide  for themselves  what  they  wish.  They  bring  loads  of  the  strangest  types of Istimbaat (deductions) and Qiyaas.

The  safest  route  for  all  today  is  that  of  the  pious  people  gone  by. Every  new  matter  in  Deen  is  as  dangerous  as  it  is  misleading.  May Allaah protect all of us in these trying times. 

Who are Ahl al Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah??

[By Sayf ad-Din Ahmad]

Many people today like to classify themselves as belonging to the Saved Sect (Firqatun-Najiyyah) – Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah; but do these people really know which is the Saved Sect, from the many sects we have today?? The following is an attempt to clarify some misconceptions by way of definitive proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah, as well as quotes from the profoundly learned Classical Scholars of Islam. Know that there is only one Saved Sect in Islam, and this is the original pristine form of Islam that has been transmitted to us by Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala in his Qur’an, his Rasul (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam), the blessed Companions and the great scholars of Islam (alayhi rahmah) who have been following their Straight Path for more than one thousand years of Islam’s history.

The first question that should be raised is: “What differentiates one sect from another sect??” The answer to this is simple and definitive! Know that the chief characteristic that distinguishes one sect from another, lies not in the differences of opinion that its scholars have attained by making Ijtihad from the sources of the Shari’ah (this leads to the formation of the Madhhabs), but rather the actual belief (Aqeedah or I’tiqad in Arabic) that the scholars and laity of the sect in question are clinging onto – since the founding of their respective sect.

According to the unknown author of the book Belief and Islam (pp. 78-9), the faith of the People of the Sunnah and Jama’ah was spread as follows: “Nowadays, some mouths frequently use the name of “Salafiyya“. Every Muslim should know very well that in Islam there is nothing in the name of the Madhhab of Salafiyya but there is the Madhhab of the Salaf as-salihin who were the Muslims of the first two Islamic centuries (i.e; the Companions, their successors and the followers of the successors) which were lauded in a Hadith sharif. The ulama of Islam who came in the third and fourth centuries are called Khalaf as-sadiqin. The i’tiqad (belief) of these honourable people is called the Madhhab of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. This is the Madhhab of Faith, tenets of faith. The beliefs held by the Sahaba (alayhim ar-ridhwan) and by the Tabi’un (rahimahumullah) was the same. There was no difference between their beliefs. Today most Muslims in the world are in the Madhhab of Ahl as-Sunnah (i.e; most Muslim’s claim to be Sunni’s). All the seventy-two heretical groups (see later for the actual Hadith and its commentary) of bid’ah appeared (mainly) after the second century of Islam. Founders of some of them lived earlier, but it was after the Tabi’un that their books were written, and that they appeared in groups and defied the Ahl as-Sunnah.

Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) brought the beliefs of Ahl as-Sunnah. The Sahaba (radhiyallahu anhum) derived these teachings of Faith from the source (the Qur’an and Sunnah). And the Tabi’un (successors), in their turn, learned these teachings from the Sahaba. And from them their successors learned, thus the teachings of Ahl as-Sunnah reached us by way of transmission and tawatur (through many undeniable chains of transmission). These teachings cannot be explored by way of reasoning. Intellect cannot change them and will only help understand them. That is, intellect is necessary for understanding them, for realizing that they are right and for knowing their value. All the scholars of Hadith held the beliefs of the Ahl as-Sunnah. The Imams of the four Madhhabs in deeds, too, were in this Madhhab. Also, al-Maturidi and al-Ashari (rahimahumullah), the two Imam’s of our Madhhab in beliefs, were in the Madhhab of the Ahl as-Sunnah. Both of these Imams promulgated this Madhhab. They always defended this Madhhab against heretics and materialists, who had been stuck in the bogs of ancient Greek philosophy. Though they were contemporaries, they lived in different places and the ways of thinking and behaving of the offenders they had met were different, so the methods of defence used and the answers given by these two great scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah were different. But this does not mean that they belonged to different Madhhabs (rather they were both from the Ahl as-Sunnah). Hundreds of thousands of profoundly learned ulama and awliya (friends of Allah) coming after these two exalted Imams studied their books and stated in consensus that they both belonged to the Madhhab of the Ahl as- Sunnah.

The scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah took the evidential source language (nass from Qur’an and Sunnah) with their outward meanings. That is, they gave the verses and Hadiths their outward meanings, and did not explain away (ta’wil) the nass or change these meanings unless there was a darura (necessity) to do so. And they never made any changes with their personal knowledge or opinions. But those who belonged to heretical groups and the la-Madhhabi (those who do not belong to one of the four Madhhabs) did not hesitate to change the teachings of Faith and Ibadat (worship) as they had learned from (the books of) Greek philosophers and from sham scientists, who were Islam’s adversaries.” 

What is Ahl as Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah according to Classical Scholars

Let us now see what the definition of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah was according to the classical scholars of this aided, Victorious sect (Tai’fatul-Mansoorah) of Islam.

Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974/1567; R. A.)

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami defined the Sunni Muslims as follows in his book Fath al-jawad: “A Mubtadi (innovator) is the person who does not have the faith (Aqeedah) conveyed unanimously by theAhl as-Sunnah. This unanimity was transmitted by the two great Imam’s Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari (d.324/936; Rahimahullah) and Abu Mansur al- Maturidi (d.333/944; Rahimahullah) and the scholars who followed their path.” Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami also said in his bookal- Fatawa al-Hadithiyya (pg. 205): “Man of bid’ah means one whose beliefs are different from the Ahl as-Sunnah faith. The Ahl as- Sunnah faith, is the faith of Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari, Abu Mansur al- Maturidi and those who followed them. One who brings forth something which is not approved by Islam becomes a man of bid’ah.”

Imam Ahmad Shihab ad-Din al Qalyubi (d.1069/1659; R. A.)

Imam al-Qalyubi wrote on the fourth volume of his marginalia to the book Kanz ar-raghibin: “One who departs from what Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (Allah’s mercy be upon them) reported is not a Sunni. These two Imam’s followed the footprints of Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) and his Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them all).”

Imam Abdullah ibn Alawi al-Haddad (d. 1132 AH; Rahimahullah),

Imam al-Haddad stated in The Book of Assistance (pg. 40): “You must correct and protect your beliefs and conform to the pattern of the party of salvation, who are those known from among the other Islamic factions as the “People of the Sunnah andJama’ah” (Ahl as- Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah). They are those who firmly adhere to the way of the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim), and of his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all). 
If you look with a sound understanding into those passages relating to the sciences of faith in the Book (Qur’an), the Sunnah, and the saying of the virtuous predecessors, whether they be Companions or followers, you will know for certain that the truth is with the party called the Ashari (NB-the Maturidi’s are also upon the truth), named after the Shaykh Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari, may Allah have mercy on him, who systematized the foundations of the creed of the people of the truth, and recorded its earliest versions, these being the beliefs with the Companions and the best among the followers agreed upon.”

Imam Abdal Ghani an-Nablusi (d. 1143/1733; Rahimahullah)

Imam an-Nablusi stated in his book al-Hadiqat an-Nadiyya(vol. 2, pg. 103): “Jama’ah is rahma, that is, the union of Muslims on truth brings Allahu ta’ala’s Compassion. Division is adhab, that is, separation from the Community of Muslims brings about punishment from Allahu ta’ala. Hence, it is necessary for every Muslim to unite with those who are on the right path. He must join and believe like them even if they are only a small group. The right path is the path of as-Sahaba . Those who follow this path are called Ahl as- Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. It should not confuse us that many heretical groups appeared after the time of as-Sahaba . Al-Imam al- Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066; Rahimahullah) said, ‘When Muslims go astray, you should follow the right path of those who came before them! You should not give up that path even if you are left alone on the path!’

Najm ad-Din al-Ghazzi (d. 1061/1651; Rahimahullah)

He wrote: ‘Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah are those ulama who keep on the right path of Rasullullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) and as-Sahaba . As-Sawad al-Azam, that is, the majority of Islamic scholars, have followed this right path. The Firqatun-Naajiyyah which was defined to be the group of salvation among the seventy three groups is this true Jama’ah.’ The Qur’an declares, ‘Do not disunite!’ This verse means ‘Do not disunite in I’tiqad, in the teachings of beliefs!’ Most ulama, for example, Abdullah ibn Masood (radhiyallahu anhu), interpreted this verse as above and said that it meant, ‘Do not deviate from the right path by following your desires and corrupt ideas.’ This verse does not mean that there should be no disagreement in the knowledge of Fiqh. It forbids separation which causes discord and dissension in the knowledge of I’tiqad (see Imam al-Qurtubi’s opinion later). The disagreement in the knowledge (of Fiqh) derived through Ijtihad in the field of practices (Amal) is not a discord, because such disagreement has brought to sight the rights, the fards and the subtle teachings in Amal and ‘Worship (worship). As-Sahaba (alayhim ar-ridhwan), too, differed from one another in those teachings that explained the daily life, but there was no disagreement among them in the knowledge of I’tiqad.”

Allamah Sayyid Ahmad at-Tahtawi (d. 1231/1816; Rahimahullah)

Allamah Sayyid Ahmad at-Tahtawi, a great Hanafi Fiqh scholar of Egypt, wrote on the subject of ‘Zabayih’ in his Hashiya al-Durr al- Mukhtar:

According to the majority of scholars of Tafsir, the verse, ‘They parted into groups in the religion,’ referred to the people of bid’ah who would arise in this Ummah. In a Hadith reported by Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) said to Aisha (radhiyallahu anha), ‘The verse about the partitions into groups in the religion refers to the people of bid’ah and to the followers of their nafs who would arise in this Ummah.’ Allah declared in the 153rd verse of Surah Al-An’am,‘This is My Straight path, so follow it! Follow not other ways, lest you be parted from His way!’ (that is, Jews, Christians, and other heretics departed from the right path; you should not part like them!). In the 103rd verse of Surah Al-Imran, Allah declares, ‘And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and do not separate!’ (see later for a brief commentary). Some scholars of Tafsir said that Allah’s rope meant Jama’ah, unity. The command, ‘Do not separate’, shows that it is so and the Jama’ah are the possessors of Fiqh and Ilm (knowledge).

One who descents from Fuqaha (scholars of Fiqh) as much as a span falls into heresy, becomes deprived of Allah’s help and deserves Hell, because the Fuqaha have been on the right path and have held on to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) and on to the path of al– Khulafa ar-Rashideen, the Four caliphs (alayhim ar ridhwan). 
As-Sawad al-Azam, that is, the majority of the Muslims, are on the path of Fuqaha. Those who depart from their path will burn in the fire of Hell. O believers! Follow the unique group which is protected against Hell! And this group is the one that is called Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. For, Allah’s help, protection and guidance are for the followers of this group, and His wrath and punishment are for those who dissent from this group. Today, this group of salvation comes together in the Four Madhhabs, namely the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali.”

It is very important to have unity in the Ummah, and to achieve this goal of unity it is incumbent that the whole Ummah has the correct and preserved Aqeedah of the Salaf as-salihin (alayhim ar ridhwan); since Allah will no doubt ask us about our Aqeedah if it is not in conformity with the divine revelation and what his Messenger (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) transmitted to us. The way of the Salaf as Salihin is the way of the saved sect of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. And we should all know that the Jama’ah is the sect which has the most correct and united Aqeedah out of all other Jama’ahs. To know what is the real Jama’ah, one must look into the Qur’an and Hadith for evidence. If one was to look deeply in to this matter with an open and scholarly mind, one will come to the conclusion that this great Jama’ah is the one which is composed of the foremost scholars of Qur’anic commentary, Hadith, Fiqh and other Islamic sciences; it is no doubt the Jama’ah which has had the greatest following throughout Islamic history in terms of scholars and laity, and this alone is the main body of Islam which represents the views of the great mass of believers (as-Sawad al-Azam) as we shall see from the Hadith evidence below. Let us now see what Allah ta’ala has said about unity and schism in the Holy Qur’an.


(1) Surah al-Imran (3:103):

“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided.”

Imam Sayf ad-Din al-Amidi (d. 631/1233; Rahimahullah) said in his al-Ihkam pg. 295 with regard to the above Qur’anic verse: “Allah has forbidden separation, and disagreement with consensus (‘Ijma‘) is separation.” Hence, if Allah has forbidden separation then surely we must all unite on the unanimously accepted Aqeedah of our pious predecessors. And I have already quoted Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (Rahimahullah) as saying: “This unanimity (in aqeedah) was transmitted by the two great Imam’s Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (rahimahumullah) and the scholars who followed their path.”

Mahmoud Ayoub wrote in The Qur’an and Its Interpreters (vol. II, 275-6): “Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373; Rahimahullah) interprets the ‘rope of God‘ in verse 103 as ‘The covenant of God,’ citing in support of this interpretation verse 112 below (in Surah al-Imran). Another view, he adds, is that ‘The rope of God’ here refers to the Qur’an, as reported on the authority of Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) who said that ‘The Qur’an is God’s strong rope and the straight way.’ He cites another Hadith, on the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (radhiyallahu anhu), where the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) declared, ‘The book of God is God’s rope stretched from heaven to earth.’ Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu anhu) reported -that the Messenger of God (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Surely this Qur’an is God’s strong rope, manifest light, and beneficial source of healing. It is protection for those who hold fast to it, and a means of salvation for those who abide by it.’

Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) interprets the injunction, ‘and do not be divided’ to mean strict adherence to unity among Muslims. He reports on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘God will be pleased with three acts from you, and wrathful with three others. He wishes that you worship Him alone without associating any thing with Him; that you hold fast all together to the rope of God and be not divided; and that you show loyalty to those whom God has set in authority.’ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, II, pp. 83-4)

Qurtubi (d. 671/1273; Rahimahullah) agrees with Tabari (d. 923 CE; Rahimahullah) and Ibn Kathir regarding the meaning of ‘the rope of God‘ in verse 103. He cites with approval the famous traditionist Ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181/797; Rahimahullah) who said, ‘Surely unity is God’s rope; therefore hold fast all together to ‘its firm handle’ (see Qur’an 2:256).’ Qurtubi adds that ‘God enjoins concord and forbids dissension, for in disunity is perdition, and in unity salvation.’

Qurtubi offers two possible interpretations of the phrase ‘And be not divided‘: ‘Be not divided in your religion as were the Jews and Christians divided in their religions’ and ‘Be not divided in following different false opinions and purposes. Rather, be brothers in God’s religion.’ As a jurist, Qurtubi observes that, ‘There is no indication in this verse of the prohibition of disagreement in the branches (furu‘) [of fiqh] as this in reality is not dissension. This is because true dissention is one wherein concord and unity become virtually impossible.

As for disagreement in judgements based on personal effort (ijtihad), it is due to differences in deducing obligations (fara’id) and the minutiae of law.’ On page 279, Imam al-Razi (d. 606/1210; Rahimahullah) was quoted as saying in conclusion to his commentary on the above verse: ‘If a person going down into a well must hold fast to a rope in order that he may not fall in, so also the Book of God, His covenant, religion and obedience to Him, as well as unity and harmony among the people of faith are means of security for anyone who holds fast to them from falling into the bottom of Hell.'”

(2) Surah al-Imran (3:105):

“And be not like those who separated and disputed after the clear proofs had come unto them: For such there is an awful doom.”

(3) Surah al-Imran (3:110):

“Ye are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin the good and forbid the evil; and ye believe in Allah”

(4) Surah Al-An’am (6:159):

“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou has no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.”

(5) Surah Al-Mu’minun (23:52-53):

“And verily this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah and I am your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me. But they have broken their religion among them into sects, each sect rejoicing in its tenets.”

(6) Surah Al-Rum (30:32):

“Those who split up their Religion, and become Sects, each sect exulting in its tenets.”

(7) Surah Al-Nisa (4:115):

“He that disobeys the Apostle (Muhammad) after guidance has been made clear to him and follows a way other than that of the believers, We appoint for him that unto which he himself hath turned, and expose him unto Hell – a hapless journey’s end!”

(8) Surah Al-An’am (6:153):

“This is My Straight path, so follow it. Follow not other ways, lest ye be parted from His way. This has he ordained for you, that ye may ward off (evil).”


Imam Abu Dawood

Imam Abu Dawood (Rahimahullah) has quoted the well known Hadith concerning the division of the Muslim Ummah into seventy- three sects in his Sunan (3/4580, English edn):

Abu Amir al- Hawdhani said, “Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (radhiyallahu anhu) stood among us and said, ‘Beware! The Apostle of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stood among us and said’: ‘Beware! The People of the Book before (you) were split up into 72 sects, and this community will be split up into 73, seventy-two of them will go to Hell and one of them will go to Paradise, and it is the majority group (Jama’ah).

Another version of the above Hadith has been reported by Hafiz Ibn Kathir (Rahimahullah) in The Signs Before The Day of Judgement (pg. 14):

“Awf ibn Malik reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The Jews split into 71 sects: one will enter Paradise and 70 will enter Hell. The Christians split into 72 sects: 71 will enter Hell and one will enter Paradise. By Him in Whose hand is my soul, my Ummah will split into 73 sects: one will enter Paradise and 72 will enter Hell.’ Someone asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who will they be?’ He replied, ‘The main body of the Muslims (al-Jama’ah).’

Awf ibn Malik (radhiyallahu anhu) is the only one who reported this Hadith, and its isnad is acceptable.” And in another version of this Hadith the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) goes on to say that the saved sect,

…Are those who follow my and my Sahaba’s path” (Tirmidhi,vol. 2, pg. 89)

Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad al-Sirhindi (d. 1034/1624; Rahimahullah) who is regarded by many people in the Indian sub-continent as a great renovator of the Tenth Islamic Century (Mujaddid alf Thani) wrote in his Maktubat (Vol. 3, Letter 38):

“It was declared in a Hadith that this Ummah would part into 73 groups, 72 of which would go to Hell. This Hadith informs us that the 72 groups will be tormented in the Fire of Hell. It does not inform us that they will remain in torment eternally. Remaining in the torment of Hell Fire eternally is for those who do not have Faith. That is, it is for disbelievers. The 72 groups, on account of their corrupt beliefs, will go to Hell and will burn as much as the corruptness of their beliefs. One group, the 73rd, will be saved from Hell Fire because their belief is not corrupt. If among the members of this one group there are those who committed evil deeds and if these evil deeds of theirs have not been forgiven through repentance or intercession, it is possible that these, too, will burn in Hell as much as their sins. All of those who are in the 72 groups will go to Hell. But none of them will remain in Hell eternally. Not all of those who are in this one group will go to Hell. Of these only those who have committed evil deeds will go to Hell. The 72 reported groups of bid’ah, which will go to Hell, should not be called disbelievers, because they are Ahl al-Qibla (people of the Qibla in prayer). But, of these, the ones who disbelieve those facts in the Deen that are indispensably required to be believed, as well as those who deny the rules of the Shari’ah which every Muslim has heard and knows, become disbelievers.”

In another letter (vol. 1, letter 80) he said:

“There is no doubt whatsoever that the sect that made conforming to the conduct of the Prophet’s Companions (radhiyallahu anhum) necessary, that alone is the Ahl as Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah.”

Shaykh Abdal Qadir al-Jilani (d. 561/1166; Rahimahullah) stated in his commentary to the above Hadith in Ghunyat at-Talibin (pg. 90), “The Believer should adapt himself to the Sunnah and to the Jama’ah. The Sunnah is the way shown by Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). The Jama’ah is composed of the things done unanimously by the Sahaba who lived in the time of the four caliphs called Khulafa’ ar-Rashidin (and others in their path). A Muslim must prevent the multiplication of the men of bid’ah and keep away from them, and should not greet them (as given in many Hadith on this issue). Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah), the Imam of our Madhhab, said that greeting a man of bid’ah meant loving him since it had been declared in a Hadith, ‘Disseminate (your) greeting (salaam)! Love one another in this way!” He also said (pg. 143): “The title, Ahl as-Sunnah, which the innovators have expressed for themselves is not appropriate for them.”

Ibn Taymiyya

Ibn Taymiyya hit the right point when he described those who are the real Sunni’s in his Aqeedat-il-Wasitiyyah (pg. 154):

Their creed is the religion of Islam which was sent to the world by Allah through the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam). But the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘My Ummah will get divided into 73 sects and each one will go to Hell save one and that one is the Jama’at.‘ Also in one Hadith he said, ‘They are those people who will follow this path which I and my Sahaba follow today.‘ Therefore they have caught hold of Islam unalloyed from every adulteration and these are the people of Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. This group includes the truthful, the martyrs and the virtuous; it includes the minarets of guidance, lamps in the darkness and owners of such superiorities and virtues who have been already mentioned. It includes the saints and also those Imams on whose guidance Muslims are unanimous. It is this successful group about which the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) has said: ‘One group from my Ummah will always remain dominant with truth; the opponents will never be able to harm its members or afflict them upto the Doomsday.


Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has collected a number of variant Hadith on the saved sect. He has related a longer version of the last Hadith quoted above:

“Abdal Rahman ibn Shamasa al-Mahri said: ‘I was in the company of Maslama bin Mukhallad and Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas (radhiyallahu anhu).’ Abdullah said, ‘The Hour shall come only when the worst type of people are left on the earth. They will be worse than the people of pre-Islamic days. They will get what ever they ask off Allah.’ While we were sitting Uqba ibn Amir came, and Maslama said to him, ‘Uqba, listen to what Abdullah says.’ Uqba said, ‘He knows, so far as I am concerned, I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say: A group of people from my Ummah will continue to fight in obedience to the Command of Allah, remaining dominant over their enemies. Those who will opose them shall not do them any harm. They will remain in this condition until the Hour over takes them.‘ (At this) Abdullah said, ‘Yes. Then Allah will raise a wind which will be fragrant like musk and whose touch will be like the touch of silk; (but) it will cause the death of all (faithful) persons, not leaving behind a single person with an iota of faith in his heart. Then only the worst of men will remain to be overwhelmed by the Hour.'” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4721, English ed’n, see also Sahih al-Bukhari, 9/414, English ed’n)

Imam Nawawi

Imam Nawawi (d. 676/1277, Rahimahullah) said in his Sharh Muslim (vol. 2, pg. 143):

“The group of people (mentioned in the above Hadith) consists of scholars, jurisprudents, authorities on Hadith, those who enjoin Good and forbid Evil and all such persons who do good deeds. Such righteous persons may be found spread all over the world.”


Imam al-Tirmidhi (Rahimahullah) said:

“The explanation of al- Jama’ah according to the people of knowledge: They are the people of Fiqh, knowledge and Hadith.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 4/2167; Ahmad Shakir ed’n)


Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah) stated in his Sahih (vol. 9, chapter. 10, English ed’n),

“The statement of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): ‘A group of my followers will remain victorious in their struggle in the cause of the Truth.’ Those are the religious(ly) learned men (Ahl ul-Ilm).”


Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Rahimahullah) said about this group:

“If it is not the people of Hadith, then I do not know who they may be.” (Sahih Muslim Sharif-Mukhtasar Sharh Nawawi, vol. 5, pg. 183, W. Zaman )


Qadi Iyad (Rahimahullah) said in ash-Shifa (pg. 188):

“In a Hadith from Abu Umama (radhiyallahu anhu), the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, `A group of my community will remain constant to the truth, conquering their enemy until the command of Allah comes to them while they are still in that condition.‘ He was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), where are they?’ He replied, `In Jerusalem.'”


Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has related in his Sahih (3/4553) under the chapter heading ‘Instruction to stick to the main body of the Muslims in the time of the trials and warning against those inviting people to disbelief’, a Hadith on the authority of Hudhaifa ibn al-Yaman (radhoyallahu anhu), who said:

“People used to ask the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) about the good times, but I used to ask him about (the) bad times fearing lest they overtake me. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, we were in the midst of ignorance and evil, and then God brought us this good (time through Islam). Is there any bad time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes‘. I asked, ‘Will there be a good time again after that bad time?’ He said, ‘Yes, but therein will be a hidden evil.‘ I asked, ‘What will be the evil hidden therein?’ He said, ‘(That time will witness the rise of) the people who will adopt ways other than mine and seek guidance other than mine. You will know good points as well as bad points.’ I asked, ‘Will there be a bad time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes. (A time will come) when there will be people standing and inviting at the gates of Hell. Whoso responds to their call, they will throw them into the fire.’ I said, ‘Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), describe them for us.’ He said, ‘All right. They will be a people having the same complexion as ours and speaking our language.’ I said, `Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), what do you suggest if I happen to live in their time?’ He said, ‘You should stick to the main body of the Muslims and their leader’ I said, ‘If they have no (such thing as the) main body of the Muslims and have no leader?’ He said, ‘Separate yourself from all these factions, though you may have to eat the roots of trees until death comes to you and you are in this state.’

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said:

“A group of people from my Ummah will continue to fight in obedience to the command of Allah, remaining dominant over their enemies. Those who will oppose them shall not do them any harm. They will remain in this condition until the Hour overtakes them.”

(4) Abu Hurayra (radhiyallahu anhu) reported the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying:

Who (ever) defected from the obedience (to the Amir) and separated from the main body of the Muslims – then he died in that state – would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic ignorance). And he who is killed under the banner of a man who is blind (to the cause for which he is fighting), who gets flared up with family pride and fights for his tribe – is not from my Ummah, and whoso from my followers attacks my followers (indiscriminately) killing the righteous and the wicked of them, sparing not (even) those staunch in faith and fulfilling not his obligation towards them who have been given a pledge (of security), is not from me.” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4557 & 4555; English ed’n)

Imam al-Bayhaqi

Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066; Rahimahullah) stated in his: The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith (pg. 42-3), under the fiftieth branch of faith (50 – Holding firmly to the position of the majority):

“Allah Most High has said: Hold fast, all together, to the rope of God, and do not be disunited. [3:103].

Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) relates on the authority of Abu Hurayra (radhiyallahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘Whoever is disobedient, and departs from the majority, and then dies, has died in a state of Jahiliyya.’

He also relates the following Hadith on the authority of Ibn Shurayh (radhiyallahu anhu):

After I am gone, there will come days of corruption and turmoil. When you see people damaging the unity of the Community of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), you must fight them, whoever they may happen to be.

Abdal Hakim Murad

Abdal Hakim Murad (the translator of the above book) said in the footnote to the fiftieth branch of faith:

“Orthodoxy in Islam is defined as the doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna wa’l Jama’ah, the People of the Sunna and the Community. To know whether a doctrine or practise is orthodox or heretical, the Muslim is required to find out whether it is recognised by the majority of Muslim scholars (see later for Imam al-Munawi’s commentary). Thus even without looking into their theology, he will know that sects such as the Isma’ilis, the Khariji’s, the Wahhabi’s, the Twelver Shi’a and others (not to mention anti-Islamic groupings such as the Ahmadiya and the Bahais) are to be repudiated.'”

Ibn Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) reported the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying:

One who found in his Amir [the ruler of the Islamic state, holding the station of caliphate] something which he disliked should hold his patience, for one who separated from the main body of the Muslims even to the extent of a handspan and then he died, would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya.” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4559; English ed’n & Sahih al-Bukhari, 9/257; English ed’n)

Imam’s Ahmad and Abu Dawood (rahimahumullah) said that Abu Dharr (radhiyallahu anhi) reported the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying:

He who separates from the main body (of the Ummah) by even a hand’s breadth from the Community he throws off Islam from his neck.
(Mishkat-ul-Masabih, 1/185 & Sunan Abu Dawood, 3/4740)

The following five Hadith have been mentioned by the great scholar of Hadith, Hafiz Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597/1201; Rahimahullah) in his Talbis Iblis in the section entitled: Adherence to the Sunnah and Jama’ah. A section of the above work has been translated by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips in to English, on pages 4-5.

Hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi was noted for his exceptional stringency in accepting Hadith, and he has been known to have declared some of the Hadith in Bukhari/Muslim to be Da’eef, as well as declaring some sound Hadith to be fabricated! Nevertheless, I would like to make it clear to those readers who are unaware of the status of Bilal Philips, that he has heavily depended on the classifications of al-Albani in most of his books! If the esteemed reader is convinced that the errors of al-Albani are most apparent, then one should beware of the status of those Hadiths that have been used by Bilal Philips (on account of his accepting al-Albani’s classifications). Bilal Philips seems to be a leading critic of Taqleed who has been swept away by the tide of modern day “Salafiyyism”; and it seems that he has ‘blindly’ accepted the classifications of al-Albani without himself reverifying al-Albani’s classifications! I ask you, is this not a clear cut example of Taqleed? If it has been proven that al-Albani’s classifications are unreliable, would it not be just for Bilal Philips to re-verify all the Hadiths that have been authenticated by al-Albani and correct any misclassifications in his books? Allah know’s best.

(7) ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that on one occasion Allah’s Messenger (Sall Allahu alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallam) stood up among them and said, “Whoever among you desires the centre of paradise should keep close to the Jama’ah for the Devil closely accompanies the solitary individual and is more distant from two.” (Collected by Imam Tirmidhi)

(8) And ‘Arfajah (radhiyallahu anhu) reported (Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, as saying): “that Allah’s hand is over the Jama’ah and the Devil is with whoever deviates from the Jama’ah.” (Collected by Imam al-Tabarani )

(9) ‘Abdullah ibn Masood; (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that once Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) drew a line in the dust with his hand and said, “This is the straight path of Allah.” Then he drew a series of lines to the right of it and to the left and said, “Each of these paths has a devil at its head inviting people to it.” He then recited (Qur’an 6:153), “Verily this is my straight path so follow it and do not follow the (twisted) paths.” (Collected by Ahmad, Nisai and Darimi; see Mishkat ul-Masabih, 1/166)

(10) Mu’adh ibn Jabal (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The Devil is like a wolf among humans as a wolf is among sheep; it snatches the stray sheep. So beware of the paths which branch off and adhere to the Jama’ah, the masses and the masjid.” (Collected by Imam Ahmad; NB- The version given in Mishkat, 1/184, also on the authority of Imam Ahmad does not have the addition ‘the masses and the masjid.’)

(11) And Abu Dharr (radhiyallahu anhu) reported from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that, “Two are better than one, and three better than two; so stick to the Jama’ah for verily Allah, Most Great and Glorious, will only unite my nation on guidance.‘ (Collected by Ahmad )

(12) Al-Harith al-Ashari (radhiyallahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “I bid you to do five things: to remain attached to the main body (Jama’ah of Muslims), listen to your ruler (the Khalif of the Islamic state) and obey him, and migrate, and fight in the way of Allah. And he who detaches himself from the main body of the Muslims (Jama’ah) to the extent of one span of hand, he in fact, throws off the yoke of Islam from his neck, and he who calls with the call of ignorance, he is one from the denizens of Hell beyond doubt, even if he observes fast and says prayers and considers himself as a Muslim.” (Musnad Ahmad, vide: Selection from Hadith, no. 288; by A.H. Siddique)

(13) Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) as saying: “Follow the great mass (as- Sawad al-Azam) for he who kept himself away from it, in fact would be thrown in Hell Fire.” (Ibn Majah; vide: Mishkat, 1/174, by A.H. Siddiqui). The translator of Mishkat-ul-Masabih (A.H. Siddiqui, pg. 113) said in the footnote to the last Hadith: “There is a good deal of difference of opinion as to what the term Sawad al-Azam implies. The overwhelming majority of the scholars are of the view that As- Sawad al-Azam means the largest group of the learned scholars and pious persons whose opinions are held in high esteem in Islam.”

Imam al-Shafi’i

The Imam said in his Risala (pg. 252-3): “Sufyan (ibn Uyayna) told us from Abd al-Malik ibn Umayr from Abd al-Rahman ibn Abd Allah ibn Masood from his father, that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, `God will grant prosperity to His servant who hears my words, remembers them, guards them, and hands them on. Many a transmitter of law is no lawyer (faqih) himself, and many may transmit law to others who are more versed in the law than they. The heart of a Muslim shall never harbour vindictive feelings against three: sincerity in working for God; faithfulness to Muslims; and conformity to the community of believers (Jama’ah) – their call shall protect (the believers) and guard them from (the Devil’s) delusion.'” (vide: Sunan al-Darimi, vol. 1, pp. 74-6; Ibn Hanbal, vol. 6, pg. 96;
Musnad al-Shafi’i, vol. 1, pg. 16; Mishkat-ul-Masabih, 1/228; and al-Bayhaqi in his al-Madkhal ). Imam al-Shafi’i said (pg. 253): “The Apostle’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) order that men should follow the Muslim community is a proof that the I’jma‘ (consensus) of the Muslims is binding.”

Imam al-Shafi’i (Rahimahullah) stated in al-Risala (pg. 286-7): “And Sufyan (also) told us from `Abd Allah ibn Abi Labid from `Abd Allah ibn Sulayman ibn Yasar from his father, who said: `Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiyallahu anhu) made a speech at al-Jabiya in which he said: The Apostle of God (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) stood among us by an order from God, as I am now standing among you, and said: Believe my Companions, then those who succeed them (the Successors), and after that those who succeed the Successors; but after them untruthfulness will prevail when people will swear (in support of their saying) without having been asked to swear, and will testify without having been asked to testify. Only those who seek the pleasure of Paradise will follow the community, for the devil can pursue one person, but stands far away from two. Let no man be alone with a woman, for the devil will be third among them. He who is happy with his right (behaviour), or unhappy with his wrong behaviour, is a (true) believer.‘” (see also Musnad al-Shafi’i, vol. 2, pg. 187; and Ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, pg. 112-13, 176-81). Imam al-Shafi’i said in conclusion to this Hadith: “He who holds what the Muslim community (Jama’ah) holds shall be regarded as following the community, and he who holds differently shall be regarded as opposing the community he was ordered to follow. So the error comes from separation; but in the community as a whole there is no error concerning the meaning of the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and analogy (qiyas).”

Imam Hakim

Imam Hakim (1/116) has related a Sahih Hadith from the Prophet (sallallaahu alqyhi wasallam) in the following words: “My Ummah shall not agree upon error.”

Imam al-Tirmidhi

Imam al-Tirmidhi (4/2167) reported on the authority of Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), who said: “Verily my Ummah would not agree (or he said the Ummah of Muhammad ) would not agree upon error and Allah’s hand is over the group and whoever dissents from them departs to Hell.” (see also Mishkat, 1/173)

Imam al-Azizi

Imam al-Azizi (d. 1070/1660; Rahimahullah) quoted Imam al- Munawi’s (d. 1031/1622; Rahimahullah) commentary to the last Hadith in his al-Siraj al-munir sharh al-Jami al-saghir (3.449), as follows:- Allah’s hand is over the group (al-Azizi:) Munawi says, “Meaning his protection and preservation of them, signifying that the collectivity of the people of Islam are in Allah’s fold, so be also in Allah’s shelter, in the midst of them, and do not separate yourselves from them.” The rest of the Hadith, according to the one who first recorded it (Tirmidhi), is:- and whoever descents from them departs to hell.

Meaning: that whoever diverges from the overwhelming majority concerning what is lawful or unlawful and on which the Community does not differ has slipped off the path of guidance and this will lead him to hell.” (vide: The Reliance of the Traveller, pg. 25)