Sharh as-Sunnah : Lesson 52: Point 90A
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
Imaam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said:
And know that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “My nation will divide into 73 sects; all of them shall be in the Fire except one, and it is the Jamaa`ah; the united body upon the truth.” It was said, “Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “That which I and my companions are upon today.”
His saying, “And you should know that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “My nation will divide into 73 sects, all of them in the Fire except one and it is al-Jamaa`ah; the united body upon the truth,” Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, commanded us to unite; to become ijtimaa` upon the truth.
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا
And cling together to the rope of Allaah and do not separate. (Soorah Aali-Imraan (3), aayah 103)
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
Those who split up their religion and become sects, you have nothing to do with them. Their affair is just with Allaah. Then He will inform them of what they used to do. (Sooratul An`aam (6), aayah 159)
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُوا وَاخْتَلَفُوا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
And do not be like those who split and differed after the clear signs have come to them. And they are the ones for whom will be a tremendous punishment. (Soorah Aali-Imraan (3), aayah 105)
So He forbade us from splitting and He commanded us with uniting and with clinging on to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. So He said:
وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ
And this is my straight way so follow it and do not follow the divergent paths for they will split you and lead you away from His path. (Sooratul An`aam (6), aayah 153)
So it is not permissible to split and differ on account of desires or on account of taqleed (blindly following) fathers and forefathers or as a result of blindly following the Jews and the Christians. Differing is not permissible in the matters of `aqeedah (creed and belief) and in the fundamentals of the religion. Rather, it is obligatory to agree and to be united with regard to it. As for differing in issues of fiqh then this occurs. However, it is obligatory to return and refer back to those sayings which the proof establishes. He, the Most High, said:
فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
So if you dispute about anything then refer it back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger if you truly believe in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and finer in its outcome. (Sooratun-Nisaa· (4), aayah 59)
Therefore ikhtilaaf (differing) in `aqeedah (creed and belief) is not permissible because `aqeedah (creed and belief) is tawqeefeeyah (reliant upon text). It is not a place for ijtihaad (scholarly deduction). But as for the issues of fiqh and istinbaat (deduction of rulings) then in that case, each one of the People of Knowledge in that matter who are suitable to promote ijtihaad can strive to deduce rulings and they may differ in their outlooks. However, they should not just remain upon their differing. Rather, they should refer back to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. So, whoever has proof then they should follow him and take his saying and leave their own opinions. This is the position of the people of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah and this is what the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam directed us to. As for our saying, leave the people and let everyone have his own opinion and the differing of the nation is a mercy as they say then we say haathaa baatil (this is false and futile). Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, says:
وَلَا يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ
إِلَّا مَن رَّحِمَ رَبُّكَ
And they will continue to disagree except for those who your Lord has mercy upon. (Soorah Hood (11), aayah 118-119)
So His saying, “Except for those who your Lord has mercy upon,” indicates that those whom Allaah has mercy upon do not differ and that differing is a punishment (athaab) and is not a mercy (a rahmah). Mercy is for those who do not differ and if they do differ then they refer back to the Book and the Sunnah and they take what is correct and they leave what is wrong. This is the way of Ahlus-Sunnah W`al Jamaa`ah.
But as for each one remaining upon his own opinion and what so and so said and so and so then this is not the way of the Muslims. This is the way of the Ahlul-Ahwaa (innovated sects) and the People of Shahawaat (followers of desires). They search for whatever saying will conform to their desires and whatever will conform to what they want and whatever differs with their desires, they abandon it even if the Imaam whom they say that they take his saying says it. Meaning, they do not accept from the sayings of the Imaams and the scholars except what is in accordance with their desires. As for what contradicts their desires then they reject it. So, this is a proof that they are just following their own desires, whatever conforms with their desires they accept it and whatever is contrary to their desires they abandon it. Wa laa hawla wa laa quwatta illaa billaah (and there is no movement and no ability except with the aid of Allaah).
And this is what is called to nowadays in the newspapers and magazines and meetings and conferences mostly and upon the channels. They promote disagreement and they say we are just making things open and easy for the people. With what are we making things open and easy for the people? With abandonment of the Book and the Sunnah and with going along with sayings whose people are not secure from error; those who make errors sometimes and are correct sometimes.
Whereas they; meaning the Imaams of the past, they forbade us from taking their sayings except what accords with the proof. They forbade us from taking their sayings, which are in contrary to the proof. So, this is a matter, which it is obligatory to be aware of because the people today have been put to trial on account of those people who confuse things for the people.
So his saying, “And you should know that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, my nation will split into 73 sects, all of them will be in the Fire except one,” This hadeeth is authentic, when its chains of narration are gathered and its many narrations and the Imaams reported in their works and speak in praise of it and actual circumstances testify to its truth. So he sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam informed that this nation of Muhammad will split into 73 sects and these are the major fundamental sects and there are actually more than these sects.
He said all of them will be in the Fire, meaning the 72, all of them will be in the Fire except for one and it is the 73rd one, which is that which is upon the like of what the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and his companions were upon. So it is what will be saved from the Fire. And therefore, they are called al-Firqatun Naajiyah (the saved sect) and they are called Ahl-us-Sunnah W`al Jamaa`ah (the People of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah); the united body upon the truth.
And whatever is beside them then they are opposers to the truth under the threat of the Hellfire. So from them will be those who enter the Fire on account of disbelief (kufr) and from them will be those who enter the Fire on account of fisq (evil doing) and from them will be those who enter the Fire on account of ma`siyyah (sin, disobedience). They are not all the same with regard to entering the Fire. So it is not to be taken from this hadeeth that these sects, all of them are disbelievers.
His saying, “And it is the Jamaa`ah; the united body,” Al-Jamaa`ah (united body) is whoever is upon the truth even if it is a single person. This is the Jamaa`ah (the united body). As for Al-Kathrah (being numerous on its own); a group being numerous then this on its own does not indicate the truth. He, the Most High said:
وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
And if you were to obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead you astray from the path of Allaah. (Sooratul-An`aam (6), aayah 116)
And He, the Most High, said:
وَمَا أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتَ بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
And most of mankind even if you eagerly wish will not be believers. (Soorah Yoosuf (12), aayah 103)
وَمَا وَجَدْنَا لِأَكْثَرِهِم مِّنْ عَهْدٍ ۖ وَإِن وَجَدْنَا أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَفَاسِقِينَ
We have not found most of them to be true to their covenant, We have found most of them to be disobedient ones. (Sooratul-A`raaf (7), aayah 102)
So being numerous is not what is counted. What is counted is those who are upon the truth even if they are few in number, even if it is a single person then he will be the Jamaa`ah (the body upon the truth).
His saying, “It was said, “Who are they O Messenger of Allaah? He said, “That which is upon that which I and my companions are upon today.” This is the correct path, those who are upon that which the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and his companions were upon, they are the Jamaa`ah (the united body upon the truth).
 Reported by At-Tirmithee (2641) and by al-Haakim and by others, Al-Laalikaa’ee in As-Sunnah and by others besides from a hadeeth of `Abdullaah ibn `Amr ibn al `Aas radiyAllaahu `anhumaa. And Shaykh Al-Albaaniyy mentioned that this hadeeth is hasan; has supporting narrations for its final wording and declared it hasan.
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
(A Gift To The Reader In Annotation Of Sharh As-Sunnah)
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah
Transcribed by Saima Zaher.
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
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