Friday, 22 June 2018

The Saved Sect of the Muslims


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأبياء والمرسلين

نبينا محمد وعلى اهل بيته الطيّبين الطاهرين المظلومين

In their zeal for rejecting sectarianism, a growing number of Muslims have embraced the polar opposite notion of “unity for the sake of unity”. This pan-Islamic tendency emphasizes terms such as “the Umma” and denounce all names and labels which smack of factionalism. For example, they condemn both the terms “Sunni” and “Shi’i” and claim that Muslims should merely identify as “Muslim”, and that no other attributive name should be used, in compliance with the Verse:

هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

He has named you Muslims

(Sura 22:78)

This Ayah is especially quoted by a Takfiri group that calls itself Jamaat ul-Muslimin, founded by Syed Masood Ahmad (d. 1997) and currently led by Muhammad Ishtiaq based in Karachi, Pakistan. While the followers of Syed Masood Ahmad are an extreme manifestation of the “Muslim-only” movement, especially considering the fact that they consider as non-Muslims anyone who isn’t a member of their insignificant organization, their doctrine that Muslims can only refer to themselves by that name and must absolutely reject any other religious appellation has caught on among some other ignorant individuals as a useful slogan to eradicate the scourge of sectarianism. It is worth mentioning that this tendency is also characterized by reductionism, modernism and even secular liberalism. It mirrors the movement of Restorationism within Christendom which views itself as the antidote to denominationalism. The “Muslim-only” movement is easily refuted by the fact that Allah Most High has referred to the Muslims by other names in the holy Qur’an. In fact, some of those other names distinguish a group of Muslims from the general body of the Umma, such as Mu’minin (Believers), Hizb Allah (Party of God), Ashab ul-Maymana (Companions of the Right), etc. Although the Qur’an condemns sectarianism:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ

Verily those who divided their religion and became sects, you (O Prophet) are not associated with them in anything

(Sura 6:159)

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا

Hold firmly to the Rope of Allah and do not be divided

(Sura 3:103)

But the definition of sectarianism is to differ after the Truth has been made manifest:

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُوا وَاخْتَلَفُوا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ

Do not be like those who became divided and differed after the clear proofs came to them.

(Sura 3:105)

Thus, those Believers who stick to the Truth and apparently become take the shape of a group themselves are not guilty of the kind of sectarianism which Allah Most High condemns in the Qur’an. The Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) said:
افْتَرَقَتْ الْيَهُودُ عَلَى إِحْدَى وَسَبْعِينَ فِرْقَةً , فَوَاحِدَةٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ , وَسَبْعُونَ فِي النَّارِ , وَافْتَرَقَتْ النَّصَارَى عَلَى ثِنْتَيْنِ وَسَبْعِينَ فِرْقَةً , فَإِحْدَى وَسَبْعُونَ فِي النَّارِ , وَوَاحِدَةٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ , وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَتَفْتَرِقَنَّ أُمَّتِي عَلَى ثَلَاثٍ وَسَبْعِينَ فِرْقَةً , وَاحِدَةٌ فِي الْجَنَّةِ , وَثِنْتَانِ وَسَبْعُونَ فِي النَّارِ " , قِيلَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ , مَنْ هُمْ ؟ قَالَ : الْجَمَاعَةُ
“The Jews became divided into seventy-one sects, one in Paradise and seventy in the Hellfire, and the Christians became divided into seventy-two sects, seventy-one in the Hellfire and one in Paradise, and by the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, my Umma shall become divided into seventy-three sects, one in Paradise and seventy-two in the Hellfire.” It was said: “O Apostle of Allah! Who are they?” He said: “The Jama’a.” (Sunan Ibn Maja)
In another version, the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) described the “Saved Sect” as being:
مَنْ كَانَ عَلَى مَا أَنَا عَلَيْهِ الْيَوْمَ وَأَصْحَابِي
“The one which is upon what I and my Companions are upon today.” (Mu’jam al-Awsat lil-Tabarani)
The Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) also explained that Allah has given His Umma other names apart from “Muslims”:
فَادْعُوا الْمُسْلِمِينَ بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ بِمَا سَمَّاهُمُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ : الْمُسْلِمِينَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عِبَادَ اللَّهِ
“So call the Muslims with the names that Allah Azza wa Jall has named them: the Muslims, the Believers, the Slaves of Allah.” (Sunan al-Kubra lil-Nasa’i)
A term coined to describe the “Saved Sect” is al-Ta’ifat al-Mansura “the Aided Group” derived from the Prophetic Hadith:
لاَ تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي مَنْصُورِينَ لاَ يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَذَلَهُمْ حَتَّى تَقُومَ السَّاعَةُ
“A group from my Umma shall not cease to be aided and will not be harmed by those who forsake them until the Hour is established.” (Jami al-Tirmidhi #2192; Sunan Ibn Maja #6)
The eminent Tabi, Ali b. al-Madini (d.234 H), considered this prevailing group upon the truth to be the companions of Hadith. Sayyidina Abi Hurayra (radi Allahu anh) narrates that he asked the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam):
أَيُّ النَّاسِ خَيْرٌ ؟ قَالَ : أَنَا وَمَنْ مَعِي ، قَالَ : فَقِيلَ لَهُ : ثُمَّ مَنْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : الَّذِي عَلَى الْأَثَرِ  ، قِيلَ لَهُ : ثُمَّ مَنْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : فَرَفَضَهُمْ
“Which of the people are best?” He said: “I and whosoever is with me.” “Then who, O Apostle of Allah?” He said: “The one who is upon the athar (trace).” “Then who, O Apostle of Allah?” But he rejected the rest. (Musnad Ahmad)
Yet another Hadith describes the group of Believers who shall be purified of any trace of hypocrisy as the Fustat al-Iman (Camp of Faith):
فُسْطَاطِ إِيمَانٍ لَا نِفَاقَ فِيهِ
“Camp of Faith, no hypocrisy in it” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
Another term used to distinguish a particular group of Muslims during the latter-days from the general body is Ghuraba (strangers):
إِنَّ الإِسْلاَمَ بَدَأَ غَرِيبًا وَسَيَعُودُ غَرِيبًا كَمَا بَدَأَ فَطُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ
“Verily, Islam began as something strange and will return to being something strange as it began, so Tuba is for the Strangers.” (Jami al-Tirmidhi)
In summary, these and many other narrations establish the fact that the Muslim Umma is destined to break up into sects, and that the “Saved Sect” from among them is not only a sect itself, but will be characterized by its clinging to the Sunna of the Prophet and the way of his companions, and that it shall be an estranged group from the rest of the Umma during the latter-days.

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