Monday, 18 February 2019

Truth is Not With the Majority

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الانبياء والمرسلين

Some misguided groups such as the Barelwis/Quburis and Asharis/Maturidis, claim they are upon the truth because they form the majority or a plurality within the Umma. However, Allah Most High declares in His Book that the majority are misguided:

إِنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
Indeed, it is the Truth from your Lord, but most of the people do not believe
[Sura 11:17]

And if it is argued that this and other Ayat refer to humanity as a whole, and not the majority of those who believe in Allah, then the answer is in this Aya:
وَمَا يُؤْمِنُ أَكْثَرُهُم بِاللَّـهِ إِلَّا وَهُم مُّشْرِكُونَ
And most of them believe not in Allah except while they associate others with Him
[Sura 12:106]

Therefore, Believers are enjoined not to follow the majority. Indeed, to follow the majority of the people is a cause of misguidance, as Allah says:

وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ
And if you obey most of those upon the Earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah
[Sura 6:116]
As for the Sawad al-A’zam, which is usually but incorrectly translated to mean “the great majority”, it actually means the great blackness. According to a Hadith:
إِنَّ أُمَّتِي لَنْ تَجْتَمِعَ عَلَى ضَلاَلَةٍ فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُ اخْتِلاَفًا فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِالسَّوَادِ الأَعْظَمِ
“Verily, my Umma will not unite upon misguidance. So if you see differing, then follow the Sawad al-A’zam”
[Sunan Ibn Maja #3950]

But this Hadith is extremely weak due to the two narrators Mu’an b. Rifa’a and Abu Khalaf Hazim b. Ataa, the latter a confirmed liar. And if the term ‘Sawad al-A’zam’ is indeed authentic from the Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam], it does not mean the majority of the Umma in all times and places.

Those who insist that the majority is upon the truth cite other Hadith which speak of adhering to the Jama’a of the Muslims, for example:

عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْجَمَاعَةِ وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْفُرْقَةَ فَإِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ مَعَ الْوَاحِدِ وَهُوَ مِنَ الاِثْنَيْنِ أَبْعَدُ مَنْ أَرَادَ بُحْبُوحَةَ الْجَنَّةِ فَلْيَلْزَمِ الْجَمَاعَةَ
“Adhere to the Jama’a, beware of separation, for indeed Satan is with one, and he is further away from two. Whoever wants the best place in Paradise, then let him stick to the Jama’a”
(Jami at-Tirmidhi, #2165)

يَدُ اللَّهِ مَعَ الْجَمَاعَةِ
“Allah’s Hand is with the Jama’a”
(ibid, #2166)

In explanation of the term ‘Jama’a’, the compiler of these narrations, Abu Isa al-Tirmidhi [rahimahullah] said:
قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى وَتَفْسِيرُ الْجَمَاعَةِ عِنْدَ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ هُمْ أَهْلُ الْفِقْهِ وَالْعِلْمِ وَالْحَدِيثِ ‏.‏ قَالَ وَسَمِعْتُ الْجَارُودَ بْنَ مُعَاذٍ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ عَلِيَّ بْنَ الْحَسَنِ يَقُولُ سَأَلْتُ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ الْمُبَارَكِ مَنِ الْجَمَاعَةُ فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرُ ‏.‏ قِيلَ لَهُ قَدْ مَاتَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرُ ‏.‏ قَالَ فُلاَنٌ وَفُلاَنٌ ‏.‏ قِيلَ لَهُ قَدْ مَاتَ فُلاَنٌ وَفُلاَنٌ ‏.‏ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ الْمُبَارَكِ أَبُو حَمْزَةَ السُّكَّرِيُّ جَمَاعَةٌ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى وَأَبُو حَمْزَةَ هُوَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مَيْمُونٍ وَكَانَ شَيْخًا صَالِحًا وَإِنَّمَا قَالَ هَذَا فِي حَيَاتِهِ عِنْدَنَا
“The explanation of the Jama’a, according to the people of knowledge, is the people of fiqh, knowledge, and Hadith.” He said: “I heard al-Jarud bin Mu’adh saying: I heard Ali bin al-Hasan saying: ‘I asked Abdullah bin al-Mubarak: Who is the Jama’a?’ So he said: ‘Abu Bakr and Umar.’ It was said to him: ‘Abu Bakr and Umar have died.’ He said: ‘So-and-so.’ It was said to him: ‘So-and-so, and so-and-so have died.’ So Abdullah bin al-Mubarak said: ‘Abu Hamza as-Sukkari is a Jama’a.’” [Abu Isa said:] “Abu Hamza is Muhammad bin Maimun, he was a righteous Shaikh, and he only said this about during his life, according to us.” [ibid, #2167]
In other words, the term ‘Jama’a’ does not always refer to the majority of the Muslims. In explanation of the Prophet’s [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam] Hadith:

كَيْفَ أَنْتَ إِذَا كَانَتْ عَلَيْكَ أُمَرَاءُ يُؤَخِّرُونَ الصَّلاَةَ عَنْ وَقْتِهَا أَوْ يُمِيتُونَ الصَّلاَةَ عَنْ وَقْتِهَا ‏ قَالَ قُلْتُ فَمَا تَأْمُرُنِي قَالَ ‏‏ صَلِّ الصَّلاَةَ لِوَقْتِهَا فَإِنْ أَدْرَكْتَهَا مَعَهُمْ فَصَلِّ فَإِنَّهَا لَكَ نَافِلَةٌ
“How would you act when you are under the rulers who would delay the prayer beyond its prescribed time, or they would make prayer a dead thing as far as its proper time is concerned?” I [Abu Dharr] said: “What do you command?” He said: “Observe the prayer at its proper time, and if you can say it along with them do so, for it would be a supererogatory prayer for you.”
[Sahih Muslim]

سَيَلِي أُمُورَكُمْ بَعْدِي رِجَالٌ يُطْفِئُونَ السُّنَّةَ وَيَعْمَلُونَ بِالْبِدْعَةِ وَيُؤَخِّرُونَ الصَّلاَةَ عَنْ مَوَاقِيتِهَا ‏ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَدْرَكْتُهُمْ كَيْفَ أَفْعَلُ قَالَ ‏ تَسْأَلُنِي يَا ابْنَ أُمِّ عَبْدٍ كَيْفَ تَفْعَلُ لاَ طَاعَةَ لِمَنْ عَصَى اللَّهَ
“Among those in charge of you, after I am gone, will be men who extinguish the Sunna and follow innovation. They will delay the prayer from its proper time.” I [Ibn Mas’ud] said: “O Messenger of Allah, if I live to see them, what should I do?” He said: “You ask me, O Ibn Umm Abd, what you should do? There is no obedience to one who disobeys Allah.”
[Sunan Ibn Maja #2865]

Sayyidina Ibn Mas’ud [radi Allahu anhu] said:
إنما الجماعة ما وافق طاعة الله وإن كنت وحدك
“The Jama’a is none other than that which complies with the obedience of Allah, even if you are alone.”
[Sharh Usul I’tiqad Ahl us-Sunna wal-Jama’a lil-Lalika’i; #160]:


 

إن جمهور الجماعة هم الذين فارقوا الجماعة الجماعة ما وافق الحق وان كنت وحدك
“The majority are those who split off from the Jama’a. The Jama’a is that which agrees with the Truth, even if you are alone.”
[Tahdhib al-Kamal  lil-Mizzi v.22 p.264]:


The great muhaddith, Nu’aim b. Hammad [d. 228 H] likewise said in explanation of this Hadith:
إذا فسدت الجماعة فعليك بما كانت عليه الجماعة قبل أن تفسد وان كنت وحدك فإنك أنت الجماعة حينئذ
“If the Jama’a becomes corrupt, then you must adhere to its practice before it became corrupt. Even if you are alone, then you by yourself would be the true Jama’a.” [ibid, p.265]:

In explanation of the term Sawad al-A’zam, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya [rahimahullah] wrote:
واعلم أن الإجماع والحجة والسواد الأعظم هو العالم صاحب الحق وإن كان وحده وإن خالفه أهل الأرض
“Know that the Ijma [concensus], Hujja [proof], and Sawad al-A’zam is the scholar, man of the Truth, even if he is alone, and even if the people of the Earth oppose him.” [I’lam al-Muwaqi’in v.5 p.388]:


Then he brings the example of the great Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal [radi Allahu anhu]:
وكان الإمام احمد وحده هو الجماعة
“And the Imam Ahmad alone was the Jama’a” [ibid, p.389]:

During the Mihna, or the tribulation of khalq al-Quran, the vast majority of the Ulama, out of fear of the Abbasid ruler, either kept silent or pronounced the false creed that the Quran is a created thing. It was only Imam Ahmad who remained steadfast and courageously proclaimed the truth that the Quran is the uncreated Speech of Allah. Thus, at that time, the truth was represented by Imam Ahmad alone, he was the Jama’a of the Muslims.
The fact of the matter is that only during the time of the Sahaba and the Salaf were the majority of the Muslims upon the truth. The Prophet [sall Allahu alayhi wasallam] predicted that in the latter days the majority of the people will be corrupt and those who remain upon the Truth will be the Ghuraba. The Hadith point to the fact that in the latter days, the Umma will have declined significantly, and become divided into numerous, astray sects. They will largely be negligent of the Sunna, but those whom the Prophet [alayihis-salam] praised in that time will be a revivalist tendency that is estranged from the majority of the people:

طُوبَى لِلْغُرَبَاءِ ، فَقِيلَ : مَنْ الْغُرَبَاءُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : أُنَاسٌ صَالِحُونَ ، فِي أُنَاسِ سُوءٍ كَثِيرٍ ، مَنْ يَعْصِيهِمْ أَكْثَرُ مِمَّنْ يُطِيعُهُمْ
“Tuba is for the Ghuraba.” It was said: “Who are the Ghuraba, O Apostle of Allah?” He said: “A righteous people in the midst of the numerous evil people. Those who disobey them are more then those who obey them.”
[Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal]

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