The Ruling Concerning Multiple Groups and Parties : al-Albaani, ibn Baz, ibn Uthaymeen

Fatwaas by Shaykh ’Abdul-’Azeez bin Baaz, Shaykh Naasirud-Deen al-Albaanee, Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen
Al-Ibaanah Online, Issue No.3 – Dhul-Qa’dah 1416H / April 1996

Fatwa of Shaykh bin Baaz [1]

[Q] What is the obligation upon the Muslim Scholars with regard to the large number of jamiyyaat (societies) and jamaa’at (groups) in many of the Islaamic lands and elsewhere, and with regard to the differences that exist between them, to the point that each group declares the others to be misguided. Do you not hold that it is fitting to enter into explaining the like of this matter, and to clarify the truth concerning their differences, for fear that these differences will increase and lead to evil consequences for the Muslims?

[A]: Our Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam made clear to us a single way which it is obligatory upon the Muslims to follow and traverse, and that is Allaah’s Straight Path and the methodology of His upright religion. Allaah – the Most High – said: “And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path. This has He ordained for you, that you may become pious.” [Soorah al An’aam 6:153]. Just as the Lord of Might and Majesty warned the Ummah (nation) of Muhammad sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam against splitting and disunity, since that is one of the greatest causes of failure and of the enemy taking control, as occurs in the saying of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic’s – : “And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allaah and do not be divided.” [Soorah Aal-Imraan 3: 101 ]. And His – the Most High’s – saying: “He has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nooh, and that which We revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibraaheem, Moosaa and ’Eesaa ’alayhimus-salaam, saying: that you should establish the religion by doing that which you are ordered with, and make no divisions in it. Intolerable for the Pagans is that to which you call them.” [Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:13].

So this is a Divine call to unity and for hearts to be harmonised. And in any Islaamic land, if there are many groups for the purpose of good, aid, cooperating in righteousness and piety between the Muslims without their being differences between the desires of the companions and followers – then this is good, is a blessing, and produces great benefit.

However, if each of them declare the others to be misguided and attack their actions, then this harm is very great and its evil consequences very serious. Then what is obligatory upon the Muslims is to clarify the true state of affairs and to discuss with each group and to sincerely advise all of them that they should proceed upon the way laid down by Allaah for His servants, and upon that which our Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam called to. Then those who ignore this, or continue in their stubbornness, due to personal benefit or goal – known only to Allaah – then what is obligatory upon those who know the reality is to make this known about them and to warn against them, so that the people may avoid their path, and that those who do not know the reality of their affair may not fall into it and be led astray, and that they are not turned away from the Straight Path which Allaah ordered that we follow, as occurs in His – the Mighty and Majestic’s – saying: “And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path. This has He ordained for you, that you may become pious.” [Soorah al-An’aam 6:153]. And from that which there is no doubt about is that the multitude of sects and groups in the Islaamic society is, firstly something desired by Shaytaan, and secondly something desired by the enemies of Islaam from amongst mankind. Since agreement and unification of the Muslims, and their being aware of the dangers which threaten them and their ’aqeedah (beliefs), will make them active in refuting and rebutting it, and acting in a unified manner for the benefit of the Muslims, thereby repelling the danger from their religion, their lands and their brothers. And this is something which the enemies -from amongst mankind and jinn – are not pleased with. Therefore they are very eager to split-up the Muslims, destroy their unity and to sow the seeds of enmity and discord between them. We ask Allaah that He unites the Muslims upon the truth and that He removes from their society every type of misguidance and every cause of discord. Indeed He is the One Who is able to do that, and He is the One having full power over it.

The Fatwaa of Shaykh al-Albaanee [2]

[Q]: What is the Sharee’ah ruling concerning these numerous Islaamic groups, parties and organizations which differ amongst themselves in their minhaaj (methodology), their modes of operations, their da’wah (call), their ’aqeedah (beliefs) and the foundations upon which they are based. Especially when the group of truth is a single one, as is proven by the hadeeth?

[A]: We have spoken a lot about the answer to this question, therefore we shall be brief whilst speaking about it. So we say: It will not be hidden from any Muslim who has knowledge of the Book and the Sunnah and that which our Salafus-Saalih (Pious Predecessors) – may Allaah be pleased with them all – were upon, that firstly; formation of parties and organizing into groups with differing thought, and secondly; differing in the minhaaj (methodology), is not from Islaam at all. Rather it is from what our Lord – the Mighty and Majestic – has actually forbidden, in more than one aayah (verse) from the noble Qur‘aan. From this is His – the Most High’s – saying: “And do not be like those who worship others besides Allaah – those who split-up their religion and become sects. Each party rejoicing in only that which is with them.” [Soorah Room 30:31-32]. And our Lord – the Mighty and Majestic – also says: “And if your Lord has so willed, He could have made mankind a single nation. But they will not cease to differ, except those upon whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy.” [Soorah Hood 11: 118 -119] So Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High – made exempted from this differing and disagreement – a differing which must occur by Allaah’s creational Decree , but not as something that He is pleased with or desires from us – that sect upon which He has bestowed His Mercy, as occurs in His saying: “ … except those upon whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy.” And there is no doubt whatsoever, that any group that has purity of intention for Allaah, and earnestly desire to be from that nation which is exempted from this differing; and upon whom Allaah has bestowed His Mercy, then there is no way to practically reach and attain this in the Islaamic societies, except by returning to the Book and to the Sunnah of the Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam and to what our Salafus-Saalih (Pious Predecessors) – may Allaah be pleased with them all – were upon.

And Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam made clear the manhaj (methodology) and the correct way, in many authentic ahaadeeth: From the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam, that one day he drew a straight line upon the ground, and drew short lines around the straight line. Then he recited Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High’s – saying: “And this is My Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow paths other that will separate you from His Path.” [Soorah al-An’aam 6:153]. He then pointed with his finger to the straight line and said that this is Allaah’s Straight Path. Then he pointed to the other lines away from the Straight Path and said: At the head of each of these other paths, there is a devil calling the people to it. [3]

And there is no doubt that these short paths are those which represent the many parties and groups. Therefore, what is obligatory upon every Muslim who truly desires to be from al-Firqatun-Naajiyah (the Saved Sect) is that he proceeds upon the Straight Path – neither turning to its left or its right. And there is no party which is successful, except the Party of Allaah, about which the noble Qur‘aan mentions to us: “Indeed, it is the Party of Allaah who are succesful.” [Soorah al-Mujaadilah 58:22].

Therefore, every party which is not the party of Allaah is only from the party of Shaytaan and not from the party of ar-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful). And there is also no doubt at all, that proceeding upon the Straight Path requires correct knowledge of it, and this cannot be attained by mere organization and mere formation of parties – that desire to be upon true Islaam, but not truly understanding what was the Islaam that Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High – sent down upon the heart of Muhammad sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam. And the sign of the Saved-Sect was clearly stated by the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam, when he was asked about it – so he said: It is that which I and my Companions are upon. [4]

So this hadeeth indicates to the one eagerly seeking knowledge of Allaah’s Straight Path, that one must have knowledge of two extremely important matters: – Firstly: That which the Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam was upon. Secondly. That which his sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam’s Companions were upon. this is because the noble Companions were those who transmitted the guidance of the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam and his Sunnah to us, and secondly that they were the ones who best followed this Sunnah in practice. So since this is the case, it is not therefore possible for us to have a correct understanding of the Prophet’s Sunnah, except by way of his Companions … Thus, attaining a correct understanding of Islaam cannot be possible except through knowing the life examples of the Companions and how they followed this great Islaam which they took from the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam – either from his sayings, actions or tacit approvals.

Therefore, we believe with certainty, that every group that does not establish itself upon the foundations of the Book and the Sunnah and the manhaj (methodology) of the Salafus-Saalih having extensively and comprehensively studied the rulings of Islaam, the large and the small, the principles and the branches then this group will not be from the Saved Sect; the Sect that which proceeds upon the Straight Path which was indicated by the Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam in the authentic hadeeth.

And if we imagined that there are separate groups in the Islaamic lands, upon this manhaj (methodology), then they will not be considered as being parties, rather they are a single group, with a single manhaj and its path is a single one. Though they are separated by land, they are not, however, separated in thoughts, ’aqeedah (beliefs), or manhaj. Rather this separation is only due to a physical separation of land – as opposed to the various groups and parties, which may even be in a single land, yet despite this, each party is pleased only with what it possess. As for these types of parties, we do not believe that they are upon the Straight Path. Rather we state with certainty, that they are upon those paths – at the head of each one there is a devil calling the people to it. And hopefully this contains an answer for what has preceded.

The Fatwaa of Shaykh Ibn al-’Uthaymeen [5]

[QJ: Are there any texts from the Book of Allaah or the Sunnah of His Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam which contain an allowance of multiple groups and parties or al-Ikhwaan?

[A]: I say: There is not in either the Book or the Sunnah that which allows multiple parties and groups. Rather, there is in the Book and the Sunnah that which censures this. Allaah – the Most High – said: “Verily those who split-up their religion and become sects, you have no concern with them in the least. Their affair is with Allaah, Who will tell them about what they used to do.” [Soorah al-An’aam 6: 159]. Allaah – the Most High – said: “Each sect rejoicing in only that which is with itself.” [Soorah Room 30:32]. And there is no doubt that these parties are contrary to what Allaah ordered. Rather what Allaah has ordered and encouraged is in His saying: “And indeed this Ummah of yours is one Ummah and I am your Lord, so fear and obey Me.” [Soorah al-Mu‘minoon 23:52]. And some people say: It is not possible for the da’wah (call) to be strong unless it is done within the framework of a party! We say to that: This is incorrect! Rather the da’wah will be strong whenever the person is under the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam following the narrations of the Prophet sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam and that of his Companions.


1. Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah (5/202-204).
2. Fataawaa Shaykh al-Albaanee (pp.106-114)
3. Hasan: Related by Ahmad (l/435) and an-Nasaa‘ee (7/49).
4. Hasan: Related by at-Tirmidhee (5/26).
5. From a cassette entitled Majmoo’ Kalaamul-’Ulemaa fee ’Abdur-Rahmaan ’Abdul-Khaaliq (side two).

Comprehensive Guidance

From al-Haarith al-Ash’aree radiallaahu ’anhu, who said that Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam said:

Indeed Allaah – the Most High – ordered Yahyaa ibn Zakariyyaa ’alayhimus-salaam with five things; that he should act upon them and order the Chldren of Israa‘eel to cat upon them. ’Eesaa ibn Maryam ’alayhis-salaam said to him: Indeed Allaah ordered you with five things, that you act upon them and that you order the Children of Israa‘eel to act upon them. So either you order them, or I will order them. So Zakariyyaa said: If you precede me in that, I fear that I will be punished or swallowed up by the earth. So he gathered the people in the mosque of Jerusalem until it was filled, and the people sat upon its walls. He admonished them saying:

“Indeed Allaah has ordered me with five things which I should act upon and order you to act upon. The first of them is that you should worship Allaah and not associate anything along with Him in this worship. That one who associates anything in worship with Allaah is like a man who bought a slave with his own wealth – either gold or silver – and said: This is my house and this is my work, so work and give the wages to me. So the slave worked and gives the wages to other than his owner. So which of you would be pleased for his slave to be like that? But Allaah created you and provides for you, so do not associate anything in worship with Him.

And I order you with Prayer, and when you pray then do not turn aside.

And I order you with Fasting. And that is the like of a man, amongst a group of people, who had a small pouch containing musk. Each of them likes to smell it. And, to Allaah, the fasting person is better than the smell of musk.

And I order you with sadaqah (charity). For its likeness is that of a man taken prisoner by the enemy, so they take hold of him and tie his hand to his neck, so he says: Will you not allow me to ransom myself from you? So he gives them small and large amounts to escape from them.

And I order you to make mention and remember Allaah alot. And the like of this is a man being chased by the enemy, who are hastening after him. So he comes to a protected fortress and enters into its protection. Likewise is the case for the servant. For he does not protect himself from Shaytaan, except through the remembrance of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic.”

Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam said: “I order you with five things which Allaah ordered me with: The Jamaa’ah, [1] hearing, obeying, hijrah (migration) and jihaad in the way of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic. So whosoever separates from the Jamaa’ah by a hand-span, throws of the yoke of Islaam from his neck, unless he repents. And whosoever calls with the call of the days of ignorance, then he is from the horde of Hell-Fire” It was said: Even if he fasts and prays? He said: “Even if he fasts and prays. So call with the call of Allaah, which Allaah gave: The Muslims, the Believers, Worshippers of Allaah.” [2]

1. At Teebee said – as occurs in Tuhfatul-Awaadhee Sharh Sununut-Tirmidhee (5/162): “What is meant by the Jamaa’ah is the Companions, the Taabi’een and the generation after the Taabi’een – the Salafus-Saalih (Pious Predecessors): That is, I order you to cling to their guidance and their way, and to associate with them.”
2. Saheeh: Related by at-Tirmidhee (nos.2863.4), at-Tiyaalasee (nos.1161-2) and others. And its chain of narration is Saheeh

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