By: Maulana Muhammad A. K. Azad [ Abu Arif Al Alawi ]
Islamic Scholars are in absolute agreement that Ahl as-Sunnah Wa'l Jama'ah is the Saved Sect (Firqatun-Najiyyah). Even Allama Ibn Taimiya, The Grand – Shaykh of The Salafi/ Ahle Hadeeth Sect, has admitted it. Ibn Taimiya writes :
" Their creed is the religion of Islam which was sent to the world by Allah through the Prophet (Peace be upon him). But the Prophet (Peace be upon him) 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 (Peace be upon him) 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.'" [ Aqeedat-il-Wasitiyyah - pg. 154]
Hadeeth No 04 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ Allah will never let my Ummah agree upon misguidance, and the hand of Allah is over the group (Jama'ah), so follow the great mass of believers (Sawad ul-'Azam), and whoever dissents from them departs to hell” [A narration "AUTHENTICATED" and reported by al-Hakim (1/116), and al-Dhahabi agreed with him]
Hadeeth No 05 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ La yajma`ullahu ummati `ala dalala” or "Verily Allah will not make my Community agree on error” [ Reference:Tirmidhi with a fair (hasan) chain ]
Hadeeth No 06 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ Inna Allaha la yajma`u ummati -- aw qala: ummata Muhammadin --`ala dalalatin wa yadullahi ma` al-jama`a “ or “Verily Allah will not make my Community -- or Muhammad's Community -- agree on error, and Allah's hand is with the largest Congregation."[Reference :Tirmidhi (gharib) #2256, Cairo ed. `Aridat al-ahwadhi (11:9)]
Hadeeth No 06: The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ Man arada minkum bi habuhat al-jannati fal yulzim al-jama`at” or "Whoever among you wants to be in the middle of Paradise, let him cling to the Congregation." [Reference : Tirmidhi related it and said it is sound (sahih).]
Hadeeth No 07 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ Inna al-shaytana dhaybun ka dhayb al-ghanam ya'khudh al-shat al-qasiya wal-najiya fa iyyakum wal-shu`aab wa `alaykum bil-jama`ati wal-`aammati wal-masjid” or "Shaytan is a wolf like the wolf that preys on sheep, taking the isolated and the stray among them; therefore, avoid factionalism and keep to the Congregation and the collective and the masjid." [Reference: Ahmad relates it through Mu`adh and through Abu Dharr, the two chains being respectively fair [hasan] and sound [sahih] according to Haythami in Majma` al-zawa'id 6/123]
Hadeeth No 08 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ Inna ummati la tajtami`u `ala dalalatin fa idha ra'aytum al-ikhtilaf fa `alaykum bi al-sawad al-a`zam.” Or "My Community shall never agree upon misguidance, therefore, if you see divergences, you must follow the greater mass or larger group.” [ Ibn Majah 2:1303 #3950]
Hadeeth No 09 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ Lan tajtami`a ummati `ala dalalatin fa `alaykum bi al-jama`ati fa inna yadullahi `ala al-jama`a. or "My Community shall not agree upon misguidance. Therefore, you must stay with the Congregation, and Allah's hand is over the Congregation.” [Reference: Tabarani narrated it with two chains from Ibn `Umar, one of which is sound (sahih). See Haythami, Majma` al-zawa'id, chapter on the obligation to stay with the Congregation.]
Hadeeth No 10 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “ Innallaha qad ajara ummati min an tajtami`a `ala dalala “ or "Verily Allah has protected my Community from agreeing upon error." [Ibn Abi `Asim narrated it in the Sunna and Wahabis’ so called mujtahid Albani declared it hasan in his Silsila sahiha (3:319).]
Hadeeth No 11: The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “Yadu Allah `ala al-jama`a” or "Allah's hand is over the group." [Sunan Tirmidhi , Hadith termed hasan]al-Munawi said: "Allah's hand is over the group means His protection and preservation for 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. Whoever diverges from the overwhelming majority concerning what is lawful and unlawful and on which the Community does not differ has slipped off the path of guidance and this will lead him to hell.” [al-Munawi, Sharh al-Jami` al-saghir 3:449]
Hadeeth No 12 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “Yadu Allah `ala al-jama`at wa man shadhdha shadhdha ila al-nar.” Or "Allah's hand is over the group, and whoever dissents from them departs to hell “ [Tirmidhi (gharib) from Ibn `Umar, al-Hakim both from Ibn `Umar and Ibn `Abbas, and Ibn Jarir from Ibn `Umar.]
Hadeeth No 13: The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “Yadu Allah `ala al-jama`a, ittabi`u al-sawad al-a`zam fa innahu man shadhdha shadhdha ila al-nar.” Or "Allah's hand is over the group, follow the largest mass, for verily whoever dissents from them departs to hell” [ Narrated by al-Hakim and al-Tabari from Ibn `Abbas, and al-Lalika'i in al-Sunna and al-Hakim also narrated it from Ibn `Umar.]
Hadeeth No 14 : Abu Ghalib said that during the crisis with the Khawarij in Damascus he saw Abu Umama one day and he was crying. He asked him what made him cry and he replied: "They followed our religion," then he mentioned what was going to happen to them tomorrow. Abu Ghalib said: "Are you saying this according to your opinion or from something you heard the Prophet say?" Abu Umama said: "What I just told you I did not hear from the Prophet only once, or twice, or three times, but more than seven times. Did you not read this verse in Al `Imran: The day faces will be white and faces will be dark..."? (3:106) to the end of the verse. Then he said: I heard the Prophet say: "The Jews separated into 71 sects, 70 of which are in the fire; the Christians into 72 sects, 71 of which are in the fire; and this Community will separate into 73 sects, all of them are in the fire except one which will enter Paradise." We said: "Describe it for us." He said: "The Sawad al-a`zam [the majority group ] ."
[Reference : Haythami said in Majma` al-zawa'id: Tabarani narrated it in al-Mu`jam al-kabir and al-Awsat, and its all narrators are trustworthy (thiqat) This hadith is Sahih ]
Hadeeth No 15 : The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said , “Sataftariqu ummati `ala thalathat wa sab`ina firqatin kulluhum fil nari ila millatin wahidat, qalu man hiya ya rasulallah, qala ma ana `alayhi wa as-habi” "My Community will split into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in the fire except one group. They asked: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: Those that follow my way and that of my companions."
[ Sunan tirmidhi 18:2650, sunan Abu Dawud, and al-Darimi related it.]
Hadeeth No 16: “Meaning of word Sawad us Azam according to Sahih hadiths itself “
لَمَّا أُسْرِيَ بِالنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جَعَلَ يَمُرُّ بِالنَّبِيِّ وَالنَّبِيَّيْنِ وَمَعَهُمْ الْقَوْمُ وَالنَّبِيِّ وَالنَّبِيَّيْنِ وَمَعَهُمْ الرَّهْطُ وَالنَّبِيِّ وَالنَّبِيَّيْنِ وَلَيْسَ مَعَهُمْ أَحَدٌ حَتَّى مَرَّ بِسَوَادٍ عَظِيمٍ فَقُلْتُ مَنْ هَذَا قِيلَ مُوسَى وَقَوْمُهُ وَلَكَنِ ارْفَعْ رَأْسَكَ فَانْظُرْ قَالَ فَإِذَا سَوَادٌ عَظِيمٌ قَدْ سَدَّ الْأُفُقَ مِنْ ذَا الْجَانِبِ وَمِنْ ذَا الْجَانِبِ فَقِيلَ هَؤُلَاءِ أُمَّتُكَ وَسِوَى هَؤُلَاءِ مِنْ أُمَّتِكَ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ فَدَخَلَ وَلَمْ يَسْأَلُوهُ وَلَمْ يُفَسِّرْ لَهُمْ فَقَالُوا نَحْنُ هُمْ وَقَالَ قَائِلُونَ هُمْ أَبْنَاؤُنَا الَّذِينَ وُلِدُوا عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ وَالْإِسْلَامِ فَخَرَجَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ هُمْ الَّذِينَ لَا يَكْتَوُونَ وَلَا يَسْتَرْقُونَ وَلَا يَتَطَيَّرُونَ وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ فَقَامَ عُكَّاشَةُ بْنُ مِحْصَنٍ فَقَالَ أَنَا مِنْهُمْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ نَعَمْ ثُمَّ قَامَ آخَرُ فَقَالَ أَنَا مِنْهُمْ فَقَالَ سَبَقَكَ بِهَا عُكَّاشَةُ
Sayyidina Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated: When the Prophet (SAW) was taken to the (heavens for the) mi’raj, he passed by a Prophet and Prophets with whom were a group of people, a Propher and Prophets with whom was a raht, a Prophet and Prophets with whom was nobody till he passed by a great multitude (sawad us azam) . He asked. “Who is this?” He was told, “Musa and his people, but raise your head and see.” He said, “I saw a great multitude that had plugged the horizon from this side barricaded the horizon from that side.” He was told, “These are you ummah and apart from these there are seventy thousand of your ummah who will enter paradise without any accounting.” Then he came (home) and they did not ask him and he did not explain to them. They said (to one another), “We are among them.” And some said, “they are the children born on nature and on Islam.’ The Prophet came out and said, “They are those who do not have themselves cauterised or treated with incantation (charms) , or believe in omens, but on their Lord do they rely. Ukashah ibn Mihsan got up and said, “Am I one of them,O Messenger of , “Yes.” Then another came and asked, “Am I one of them?” He said, “Ukashah overtook you in that.” [Sahih Bukhari 5752,Sahih Muslim 220, Ahmed 2448, sunan tirmidhi 17:2454]
Hadeeth No 17: The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa sallam said ,
إفترقت اليهود على احدى وسبعين فرقة،
وافترقت النصارة على إثنتين وسبعين فرقة،
وتفترق أمتي على ثلاث وسبعين فرقة
“The Jews were divided among themselves into seventy one or seventy two sects, and the Christians were divided among themselves into seventy one or seventy two sects. And My Ummah will be divided among itself into seventy three sects.” [ Abu Dawud Book (Kitab Al-Sunnah) #40 ,Hadith # 4579 , sunan al-Tirmidhi, al-Hakim and musnad Ahmad among several others, reported this Hadith. At-Tirmidhi said; “Hadeethun Hassanun Sahih”. ]
Hadeeth No 18 : Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu `Amir `Abdullah bin Luhay said; "We performed Hajj with Mu`awiyah bin Abi Sufyan. When we arrived at Makkah, he stood up after praying Dhuhr and said; ‘The Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu alaihi wasallam) said;
إِنَّ أَهْلَ الْكِتَابَيْنِ افْتَرَقُوا فِي دِينِهِمْ عَلى ثِنْتَيْنِ وَسَبْعِينَ مِلَّةً، وَإِنَّ هذِهِ الْأُمَّةَ سَتَفْتَرِقُ عَلى ثَلَاثٍ وَسَبْعِينَ مِلَّةً يَعْنِي الْأَهْوَاءَ كُلُّهَا فِي النَّارِ إِلَّا وَاحِدَةً وَهِيَ الْجَمَاعَةُ وَإِنَّهُ سَيَخْرُجُ فِي أُمَّتِي أَقْوَامٌ تَجَارَى بِهِمْ تِلْكَ الْأَهْوَاءُ كَمَا يَتَجَارَى الْكَلَبُ بِصَاحِبِه، لَا يَبْقَى مِنْهُ عِرْقٌ وَلَا مَفْصِلٌ إِلَّا دَخَلَه
‘The People of the Two Scriptures divided into seventy-two sects. This Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all in the Fire except one, that is, the Jama’ah. Some of my Ummah will be guided by desire, like one who is infected by rabies; no vein or joint will be saved from these desires.’’”
ثنتان وسبعون في النار. قيل: يا رسول الله
من هم؟ قال: الجماعة
“Seventy two in hell fire and one in the Jannah: that is the 'Jama’ah.'”
[ Abu Dawood (2/503), Ahmad (4/102) and al-Haakim (1/128)] among others, with similar wording but with the following addition ]
Dear Readers ! 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.
"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 Iman. 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 (may Allah be pleased with them all) 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 (Peace be upon him). The Jama'ah is composed of the things done unanimously by the Sahaba al-Kiram 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."
May Allah Keep us and our coming generations in the path of Ahle Sunnat wa Zamaat . Aamin.