The End of Times: Isolating Oneself, Sticking to the Majority, and Protection from the Dajjal

Question: What is the meaning of the following hadiths:

“There will come a time when the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take to the tops of mountains and the places of rainfall so as to flee with his religion from the afflictions”

Hudhayfah – radiallâhu ’anhu – said:

The people used to ask the Messenger of Allâh sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam about the good, but I used to ask him about the evil from fear that it would overtake me, so I said: O Messenger of Allâh! We used to be in jâhiliyyah (ignorance) and evil, then Allâh brought this good to us, so is there any evil after this good? He said: “Yes.” I said: And is there any good after that evil? He said: “Yes, but it will be tainted.” I asked: What will taint it? He said: “A people guiding others with other than my Sunnah, you will approve of some (of their actions) and disapprove of others.” I asked: Then is there any evil after that good? He said: “Yes! Callers to the Gates of Hell-Fire, whoever responds to them in that will be thrown into it.” I said: O Messenger of Allâh! Describe them to us. He said: “They will be from our own people and speak our language.” I said: What do you order me to do if that should happen in my own lifetime? He said: “Stick to the Jamâ’ah (united body) of the Muslims and their Imâm.” I said: What if they do not have a united-body nor an Imâm? He said: “Then keep away from all those sects even if you have to bite upon the root of a tree, until death overtakes you and you are in that state.”

Do these hadiths refer to the end of times during the trial of Dajjal? Does this mean that during the trials of Dajjal the believers MUST withdraw from society and move to rural areas? What is expected of the believers during those upcoming trials .


Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

Both hadiths you mention are found in Sahih Bukhari.

Isolation versus Community

Regarding the first hadith, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (rah) mentions that it would seem to refer to the end of time, and that it indicates the merit of isolation in times of tribulation.

However, he also states that, in general, the preference of isolation versus remaining within the community is situation specific: there are some scenarios when isolation is preferred, such as in difficult times so as to protect one’s religious practice; and there are other situations when remaining within the community is better, so as to fulfill communal obligations and rights. [Fath al-Bari]

However, we do not know if this tribulation is specifically at the time of Dajjal’s emergence or beforehand.


Adhering to the Way of the Majority

Regarding the second hadith, Ibn Hajar (rah) mentions the general ruling that if there are many factions among the Muslims, then as per this hadith, one should avoid the disputation and stick to the majority, as well as adhere to the Noble Sunnah. Some defined the “majority” as the Sahaba, and others defined them as the religious scholars in every age, since neither of these two groups will agree on misguidance. [Fath al-Bari]

Badr al-Din al-Ayni also mentions that the “majority” could either be the Sahaba or the community of scholars in any time period. He adds that the basis of interpreting the majority as the community of scholars is that they are the ones whom Allah has made a proof (hujja) against the evil among creation, and to them do the general laity turn when there is tribulation in their religious practice, such as heretical sects, reprehensible innovations, and the like.

With respect to the first “time of evil” mentioned in the hadith, some commentators said it refers to the time of fitna when our Master Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him) was killed. The subsequent “time of good” then would be the caliphate of our Master Ali (Allah ennoble his face), and the “tainted” aspect of that time would refer to the Khawarij and similar groups that caused tribulation. [Umdat al-Qari]

What is the Way of the Mainstream?

Another key hadith, also found in Sahih Bukhari, helps us understand the way of the mainstream.

Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “There will remain a group from my nation manifest [on truth and upholding the Sacred Law], until the matter of Allah comes [the Day of Judgment], while they are manifest.”

And in the next narration in Bukhari, there is the additional phrase “Anyone who betrays or opposes them will not harm them.”

Traditionally, this manifest group was understood to be the righteous scholars of The People of the Sunnah and Majority (Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a), the methodology of which is to adhere to one of the four schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali), as well as one of the two schools of theology (Ash’ari and Maturidi).

Yet along with such legal and theological diversity comes an appreciation and respect of valid difference of opinion, which is key in avoiding internal discord. Sunni orthodoxy is predicated upon unity and respect, not necessarily uniformity; this is essential to the strength of its methodology.

For detailed explanations of Sunni Orthodoxy, please see the following articles by Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad:

What is a Madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one?

Understanding the Four Madhhabs

Social Implications of Remaining with the Majority

Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) highlighted the importance of remaining with the group in several hadiths:

He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Stick to the group, and beware of being separate. For indeed, Satan is with the one who is alone, yet further from two together. Whoever wishes to live in the best part of Paradise, at its center, then let him stick to the group.” [Tirmidhi]

He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is also reported to have said, “The group is a mercy, while separation is torment.” [Musnad Shihab]

Allah Most High has placed a very special mercy in the hearts of believers united for Allah. He Most High states, “The believers are but brethren,” (49:10) and our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) explained the brotherhood of believers when he said, “The example of believers in their mutual love, mercy and compassion is like a single body: if one limb complains of pain, the rest of the body’s limbs call one another [to react], with fever and insomnia.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

What to do if Dajjal Comes?

Linguistically, “dajjal” means “imposter” (kadhdhab), or literally “one who covers over,” since he covers the truth with falsehood, to the extent that he claims divinity. He is also called that because he covers the earth with so many of his followers.

He is also called “maseeh,” which has the meaning of “anointed,” since half his face is “anointed,” such that he has no eye on that side. The Dajjal is the one who brings the greatest tribulation of this life. [Misbah Munir; Tahdhib al-Asma’; Lisan al-Arab]

There are many descriptions of him in the hadith literature, such as, “Verily, your Lord is not one-eyed. Verily, the Masih Dajjal is one-eyed: his right eye is like a floating grape,” and “Between his two eyes is written: Kafir.” [Sahih Bukhari]

The sunna is to seek refuge from the tribulation of Dajjal. The dua of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace)—which he recited at the end of the prayer and which he taught the Companions the way he would teach them a surah of the Qur’an—was:

“O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the torment of Jahannam; I seek refuge with You from the torment of the grave; I seek refuge with You from the False Messiah (dajjal); and I seek refuge with You from the tribulations of life and death.” [Sahih Muslim]

اللّهُمَّ إِنَّي أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّم وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْر وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيْحِ الدَّجَّال وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَات

The sunna is also to recite Surah Kahf, specifically the first ten verses. Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Whoever memorizes ten verses from the beginning of Surah Kahf will be safe from Dajjal,” and in another narration, “So whoever among you encounters him [Dajjal], let him recite the opening verses of Surah Kahf.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lastly, if the Dajjal does come during one’s life, then one should do what one should always do: turn wholeheartedly to Allah, and continue to serve Allah’s religion. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that if a person is planting a seed and the Day of Judgment suddenly begins, he should continue planting the seed. [Musnad Ahmed]

Whether it is the end of the world or not, there is much work to be done, so as to serve this ummah and gain the pleasure of Allah Most High.

And Allah knows best.
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Also Read:

Who are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah (1)?

Who are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah (2)?

Why is Jumu`ah Prayer Held on Friday?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Do we know why Salah Jumu`a is on fridays? I mean, the jews believe that God created the universe in 6 days and rested on the seventh, so they also have to rest that day.

My religion-teacher (who don’t believe in any religion) told our class that the friday prayer is established on fridays because that was the day where people were gathered in the market anyway. Is this true?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

The Friday prayer (salat al-jumu`ah) is held on Fridays due to the explicit Qur’anic command to do so, ‘O ye who believe! When the call is heard for the prayer of the day of congregation, haste unto remembrance of Allah and leave your trading. That is better for you if ye did but know’ [62:9]

The ‘day of congregation’, here, refers to Friday.

The Prohibition of Trading at the time of the Friday Prayer

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas mentions, in his commentary of the Mukhtasar al-Tahawi, trade, specifically, is not intended here, rather, anything else which busies one from attending the Friday prayer would also take the same ruling.

Moreover, trading was specifically mentioned here because of the fact that Friday noon was a busy time for traders; so it is as if they are being told, hasten to the trade of the hereafter (akhirah), leave the trading of this world (dunya) and hurry unto the remembrance of God. [Nasafi, Madarik al-Tanzil wa Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil]

The Virtue of Fridays

It is related from the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace), that he said: “Verily the most virtuous, of your days, is Friday. Send abundant blessings upon me on Fridays because they are presented to me on that day.” [Abu Dawud]

In summary, Fridays are singled out, more emphatically, as days for sending blessings upon the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace) specifically because the blessings (salawat) are presented to him, accepted. [Abadi, `Awn al-Ma`bud Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud]

And Allah knows best.

The Day of `Arafah: The 9th of Dhu’l Hijjah and the Takbirs of Eid

-Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

The 9th of Dhu’l Hijjah is known as ‘the Day of `Arafah,’ because the pilgrims at Hajj gather at `Arafah in worship, which is one of the three central integrals of the Hajj rituals. Its importance is such that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Hajj is `Arafah.” [Reported in most major hadith works]

The Day of `Arafah is important for those not at Hajj, as well.

Abu Qatada (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Fasting the Day of `Arafah [9thof Dhu’l Hijjah] expiates for two years, one prior and one forthcoming.” [Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah]

As such, the scholars concur that it is highly recommended (mustahabb) to fast the Day of `Arafah [9th of Dhu’l Hijjah], even for the one on Hajj in the Hanafi school, if it does not weaken the pilgrim from spending the day busy in worship. [Haskafi, Durr; Kasani, Bada’i`]

The Day of `Arafah is one of the days when supplications (du`a) are more likely to be accepted. [Ibn al-Haajj,al-Madhkhal; Saffarini, Ghidha’ al-Albab]

This is based on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, “The best of supplications are those on the Day of `Arafah.” [Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Malik, and others] Imam al-Baji explained this as meaning, ‘Having most baraka, the greatest reward, and the quickest in being answered.’ [Baji,al-Muntaqa Sharh al-Muwatta]

The Takbirs of Eid Start on This Day: The Fiqh

Allah Most High commanded us to, “Remember Allah through the appointed days.” [Qur’an, 2.203]

Hakim recorded in his Mustadrak, from both Ali and Ammar that they said, “The Messenger of Allah used to… make thetakbirs from the Fajr prayer of the Day of `Arafah and would stop them after the Asr prayer of the final day of the Days of Tashriq [13th of Dhu’l Hijjah].” There is, however, weakness in the chain of narrators, as Imam Bayhaqi mentioned. There are numerous hadiths that have been mentioned on this, as Imam Jamal al-Din al-Zayla`i expounded in his Nasb al-Raya [2.266-269]

This has been established by consensus of the Companions of the Beloved of Allah, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). [Mawaffaq Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni 2.126 #1431]

Legal status:

It is necessary (wajib) for every Muslim (male or female, whether praying in congregation or alone) to make the following takbir (declaration of the greatness of Allah) immediately after each obligatory (fard) prayer.


From: the Fajr Prayer on the 9th of Dhu’l Hijjah (the Day of `Arafah)

To: the Asr Prayer on the 13th of Dhu’l Hijjah.

Thus, these takbirs last 5 days, and 23 prayers.

The takbirs:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illa Llahu.

Wa Llahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahi Lhamd .

( اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لَا إلَهَ إلَّا اللَّهُوَاَللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ )

(Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah.

And Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)

Rulings related to this:

1. The wajib is to recite this takbir once. If done more than this, it is good. [Haskafi, Durr, quoting `Ayni]

2. The position related above that it is obligatory for 23 prayers, whether in congregation or alone, for every Muslim, is the position of Abu Hanifa’s students, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, and it is the position acted upon and chosen for fatwa, because of the strength of their evidence and the inherited practice being on it, and because it is more cautious. [Durrand Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya, quoting al-Zahidi] Abu Hanifa’s position, that it lasts only 8 prayers, is supported by evidence, too, though, including the practice of some major Companions such as Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him), and was taken by some major Hanafi imams, though a minority, such as Ibn al-Humam in hisFath al-Qadir.

3. It is not wrong (rather, it is recommended) to also perform it after the Eid prayer itself because the Muslims have performed it generation after generation, so it is proper to follow their inherited practice (that has been accepted by generation after generation of scholars). [Durr and Radd al-Muhtar]

4. The followers must perform it, even if the imam leaves it. [Durr]

5. Latecomers [those who missed one or more rakat of the congregational prayer] must perform it, but after completing their prayer.

6. It is necessary for the congregation to perform it out loud. [Ibn Abidin,Radd al-Muhtar, quoting Quhustani]

7. It is necessary to make the takbirs immediately after the salams. If one talks, loses one’s wudu, or performs other actions completely foreign to the prayer, one has missed the wajib. [al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya;Durr]

And Allah alone gives success.

Which companion was known as “the Keeper of the Secret of God’s Messenger”?

How concerned are you about Khawariji extremism (Al Qaeda/ISIS/Taliban) in your country?


Who are the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah?

-Article by Ahmed ibn Muhammad (Taken from with slight modification)


Many people today like to classify themselves as belonging to the Saved Sect (Firqatun-Najiyyah) – Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah; but do these people really know which is the Saved Sect, from the many sects we have today? The following is an attempt to clarify some misconceptions by way of definitive proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah, as well as quotes from the profoundly learned Classical Scholars of Islam. Know that there is only one Saved Sect in Islam, and this is the original pristine form of Islam that has been transmitted to us by Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala in his Qur’an, his Rasul (Peace and blessings be upon him), the blessed Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) and the great scholars of Islam (Allah’s mercy be upon them all) who have been following their Straight Path for more than one thousand years of Islam’s history. The first question that should be raised is: “What differentiates one sect from another sect?” The answer to this is simple and definitive! Know that the chief characteristic that distinguishes one sect from another, lies not in the differences of opinion that its scholars have attained by making ijtihad from the sources of the Shari’ah (this leads to the formation of the Madhhabs), but rather the actual belief (aqid’ah or i’tiqad in Arabic) that the scholars and laity of the sect in question are clinging onto – since the founding of their respective sect.

According to the unknown author of the book Belief and Islam (pp. 78-9), the faith of the People of the Sunnah and Jama’ah was spread as follows:

“Nowadays, some mouths frequently use the name of ‘Salafiyya’. Every Muslim should know very well that in Islam there is nothing in the name of the Madhhab of Salafiyya but there is the Madhhab of the Salaf as-salihin who were the Muslims of the first two Islamic centuries (i.e; the Companions, their successors and the followers of the successors) which were lauded in a Hadith sharif. The ulama of Islam who came in the third and fourth centuries are called Khalaf as-sadiqin. The i’tiqad (belief) of these honourable people is called the Madhhab of Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. This is the Madhhab of Iman, tenets of faith. The Iman held by the Sahaba al-Kiram (may Allah be pleased with them all) and by theTabi’un (Allah’s mercy be upon them all) was the same. There was no difference between their beliefs. Today most Muslims in the world are in the Madhhab of Ahl as-Sunnah (i.e; most Muslim’s claim to be Sunni’s). All the seventy-two heretical groups (see later for the actual Hadith and its commentary) of bid’ah appeared (mainly) after the second century of Islam. Founders of some of them lived earlier, but it was after the Tabi’unthat their books were written, and that they appeared in groups and defied the Ahl as-Sunnah.

RasulAllah (Peace and blessings be upon him) brought the beliefs of Ahl as-Sunnah. The Sahaba al-kiram (may Allah be pleased with them all) derived these teachings of Iman from the source (the Qur’an and Sunnah). And the Tabi’un (successors), in their turn, learned these teachings from the Sahaba al-kiram. And from them their successors learned, thus the teachings of Ahl as-Sunnah reached us by way of transmission and tawatur (through many undeniable chains of transmission). These teachings cannot be explored by way of reasoning. Intellect cannot change them and will only help understand them. That is, intellect is necessary for understanding them, for realizing that they are right and for knowing their value. All the scholars of Hadith held the beliefs of the Ahl as-Sunnah. The Imams of the four Madhhabs in deeds, too, were in this Madhhab. Also, al-Maturidi and al-Ashari (Allah’s mercy be upon them), the two Imam’s of our Madhhab in beliefs, were in the Madhhab of the Ahl as-Sunnah. Both of these Imams promulgated this Madhhab. They always defended this Madhhab against heretics and materialists, who had been stuck in the bogs of ancient Greek philosophy. Though they were contemporaries, they lived in different places and the ways of thinking and behaving of the offenders they had met were different, so the methods of defence used and the answers given by these two great scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah were different. But this does not mean that they belonged to different Madhhabs (rather they were both from the Ahl as-Sunnah). Hundreds of thousands of profoundly learned ulama and awliya (friends of Allah) coming after these two exalted Imams studied their books and stated in consensus that they both belonged to the Madhhab of the Ahl as-Sunnah. The scholars of the Ahl as-Sunnah took the nass (Qur’an and Sunnah) with their outward meanings. That is, they gave the ayats and Hadiths their outward meanings, and did not explain away (ta’wil) thenass or change these meanings unless there was a darura (necessity) to do so. And they never made any changes with their personal knowledge or opinions. But those who belonged to heretical groups and the la-Madhhabi (those who do not belong to one of the four Madhhabs) did not hesitate to change the teachings of Iman and Ibadat (worship) as they had learned from (the books of) Greek philosophers and from sham scientists, who were Islam’s adversaries.”

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.

(1) Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974/1567; R.A.)

Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami defined the Sunni Muslims as follows in his book Fath al-jawad:

“A mubtadi (innovator) is the person who does not have the faith (aqid’ah) conveyed unanimously by the Ahl as-Sunnah. This unanimity was transmitted by the two great Imam’s Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari (d.324/936; Rahimahullah) and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (d.333/944; Rahimahullah) and the scholars who followed their path.” Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami also said in his book al-Fatawa al-Hadithiyya (pg. 205): “Man of bid’ah means one whose beliefs are different from the Ahl as-Sunnah faith. The Ahl as-Sunnah faith, is the faith of Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari, Abu Mansur al-Maturidi and those who followed them. One who brings forth something which is not approved by Islam becomes a man of bid’ah.”

(2) Imam Ahmad Shihab ad-Din al Qalyubi (d.1069/1659; R.A.)

Imam al-Qalyubi wrote on the fourth volume of his marginalia to the book Kanz ar-raghibin:

“One who departs from what Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (Allah’s mercy be upon them) reported is not a Sunni. These two Imam’s followed the footprints of Rasulullah (Peace be upon him) and his Sahaba (may Allah be pleased with them all).”

(3) Imam Abdullah ibn Alawi al-Haddad (d. 1132 AH; Rahimahullah)

Imam al-Haddad stated in The Book of Assistance (pg. 40):

“You must correct and protect your beliefs and conform to the pattern of the party of salvation, who are those known from among the other Islamic factions as the “People of the Sunnah and Jama’ah” (Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah). They are those who firmly adhere to the way of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), and of his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all).

If you look with a sound understanding into those passages relating to the sciences of faith in the Book (Qur’an), the Sunnah, and the saying of the virtuous predecessors, whether they be Companions or followers, you will know for certain that the truth is with the party called the Ashari (NB-the Maturidi’s are also upon the truth), named after the Shaykh Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari, may Allah have mercy on him, who systematized the foundations of the creed of the people of the truth, and recorded its earliest versions, these being the beliefs with the Companions and the best among the followers agreed upon.”

(4) Imam Abdal Ghani an-Nablusi (d. 1143/1733; Rahimahullah)

Imam an-Nablusi stated in his book al-Hadiqat an-Nadiyya (vol. 2, pg. 103):

“Jama’ah is rahma, that is, the union of Muslims on truth brings Allahu ta’ala’s Compassion. Tafriqa is adhab, that is, separation from the Community of Muslims brings about punishment from Allahu ta’ala. Hence, it is necessary for every Muslim to unite with those who are on the right path. He must join and believe like them even if they are only a small group. The right path is the path of as-Sahaba al-Kiram. Those who follow this path are called Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. It should not confuse us that many heretical groups appeared after the time of as-Sahaba al-Kiram. Al-Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066; Rahimahullah) said, ‘When Muslims go astray, you should follow the right path of those who came before them! You should not give up that path even if you are left alone on the path!‘ Najm ad-Din al-Ghazzi (d. 1061/1651; Rahimahullah) wrote: ‘Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah are those ulama who keep on the right path of Rasullullah (Peace and blessings be upon him) and as-Sahaba al-Kiram. As-Sawad al-Azam, that is, the majority of Islamic scholars, have followed this right path. The Firqatun-Naajiyyah which was defined to be the group of salvation among the seventy three groups is this true Jama’ah.‘ The Qur’an al-Karim declares, ‘Do not disunite!‘ This ayat means ‘Do not disunite in i’tiqad, in the teachings of beliefs!‘ Most ulama, for example, Abdullah ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him), interpreted this ayat as above and said that it meant, ‘Do not deviate from the right path by following your desires and corrupt ideas.‘ This ayat does not mean that there should be no disagreement in the knowledge of fiqh. It forbids separation which causes discord and dissension in the knowledge of i’tiqad (see Imam al-Qurtubi’s opinion later). The disagreement in the knowledge (of fiqh) derived through ijtihad in the field of practices (amal) is not a discord, because such disagreement has brought to sight the rights, the fards and the subtle teachings in amal andIbadah (worship). As-Sahaba al-kiram (Allah be pleased with them all), too, differed from one another in those teachings that explained the daily life, but there was no disagreement among them in the knowledge of i’tiqad.”

(5) Allamah Sayyid Ahmad at-Tahtawi (d. 1231/1816; Rahimahullah)

Allamah Sayyid Ahmad at-Tahtawi, a great Hanafi fiqh scholar of Egypt, wrote on the subject of ‘Zabayih‘ in his Hashiya al-Durr al-Mukhtar:

“According to the majority of scholars of tafsir, the ayat, ‘They parted into groups in the religion,‘ referred to the people of bid’ah who would arise in this Ummah. In a Hadith reported by Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), Rasulullah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), ‘The ayat about the partitions into groups in the religion refers to the people of bid’ah and to the followers of their nafs who would arise in this Ummah.’ Allah declared in the 153rd ayat of Surah Al-An’am, ‘This is My Straight path, so follow it! Follow not other ways, lest you be parted from His way!‘ (that is, Jews, Christians, and other heretics departed from the right path; you should not part like them!). In the 103rd ayat of Surah Al-Imran, Allah declares, ‘And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and do not separate!‘ (see later for a brief commentary). Some scholars of tafsir said that Allah’s rope meant Jama’ah, unity. The command, ‘Do not separate‘, shows that it is so and the Jama’ah are the possessors of fiqh and ilm (knowledge). One who descents from fuqaha (scholars of fiqh) as much as a span falls into heresy, becomes deprived of Allah’s help and deserves Hell, because the fuqaha have been on the right path and have held on to the Sunnah of Rasulullah (Peace and blessings be upon him) and on to the path of al-Khulafa ar-Rashideen, the Four Khaliphs (may Allah be pleased with them). As-Sawad al-Azam, that is, the majority of the Muslims, are on the path of fuqaha. Those who depart from their path will burn in the fire of Hell. O believers! Follow the unique group which is protected against Hell! And this group is the one that is called Ahl as-Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. For, Allah’s help, protection and guidance are for the followers of this group, and His wrath and punishment are for those who dissent from this group. Today, this group of salvation comes together in the Four Madhhabs, namely the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali.”

It is very important to have unity in the Ummah, and to achieve this goal of unity it is incumbent that the whole Ummah has the correct and preservedaqidah of the Salaf as-salihin (may Allah be pleased with them all); since Allah will no doubt ask us about our aqidah if it is not in conformity with the divine revelation and what his Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) transmitted to us. The way of the Salaf as-salihin is the way of the saved sect of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l Jama’ah. And we should all know that the Jama’ah is the sect which has the most correct and united aqid’ah out of all other Jama’ahs. To know what is the real Jama’ah, one must look into the Qur’an and Hadith for evidence. If one was to look deeply in to this matter with an open and scholarly mind, one will come to the conclusion that this great Jama’ah is the one which is composed of the foremost scholars of Qur’anic commentary, Hadith, fiqh and other Islamic sciences; it is no doubt the Jama’ah which has had the greatest following throughout Islamic history in terms of scholars and laity, and this alone is the main body of Islam which represents the views of the great mass of believers (as-Sawad al-Azam) as we shall see from the Hadith evidence below. Let us now see what Allah ta’ala has said about unity and schism in the Holy Qur’an.


Qur’anic Evidence

(1) Surah al-Imran (3:103):

“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided.”

Imam Sayf ad-Din al-Amidi (d. 631/1233; Rahimahullah) said in his al-Ihkam fi usul al-ahkam (The proficiency: on the fundamentals of legal rulings, pg. 295) with regard to the above Qur’anic verse:

“Allah has forbidden separation, and disagreement with consensus (ijma) is separation.”

Hence, if Allah has forbidden separation then surely we must all unite on the unanimously accepted aqid’ah of our pious predecessors. And I have already quoted Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (Rahimahullah) as saying: “This unanimity (in aqidah) was transmitted by the two great Imam’s Abu’l Hasan al-Ashari and Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (Allah’s mercy be upon them) and the scholars who followed their path.”

Mahmoud Ayoub wrote in The Qur’an and Its Interpreters (vol. II, 275-6):

Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373; Rahimahullah) interprets the ‘rope of God‘ in verse 103 as ‘The covenant of God,‘ citing in support of this interpretation verse 112 below (in Surah al-Imran). Another view, he adds, is that ‘The rope of God‘ here refers to the Qur’an, as reported on the authority of Ali (Allah be pleased with him) who said that ‘The Qur’an is God’s strong rope and the straight way.‘ He cites another Hadith, on the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him), where the Prophet (Peace be upon him) declared, ‘The book of God is God’s rope stretched from heaven to earth.‘ Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) reported -that the Messenger of God (Peace be upon him) said, ‘Surely this Qur’an is God’s strong rope, manifest light, and beneficial source of healing. It is protection for those who hold fast to it, and a means of salvation for those who abide by it.‘

Ibn Kathir interprets the injunction, ‘and do not be divided‘ to mean strict adherence to unity among Muslims. He reports on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, ‘God will be pleased with three acts from you, and wrathful with three others. He wishes that you worship Him alone without associating any thing with Him; that you hold fast all together to the rope of God and be not divided; and that you show loyalty to those whom God has set in authority.‘ (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, II, pp. 83-4)

Qurtubi (d. 671/1273; Rahimahullah) agrees with Tabari (d. 923 CE; Rahimahullah) and Ibn Kathir regarding the meaning of ‘the rope of God‘ in verse 103. He cites with approval the famous traditionist Ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181/797; Rahimahullah) who said, ‘Surely unity is God’s rope; therefore hold fast all together to ‘its firm handle‘ (see Qur’an 2:256).’ Qurtubi adds that ‘God enjoins concord and forbids dissension, for in disunity is perdition, and in unity salvation.‘

Qurtubi offers two possible interpretations of the phrase ‘And be not divided‘:

‘Be not divided in your religion as were the Jews and Christians divided in their religions‘ and ‘Be not divided in following different false opinions and purposes. Rather, be brothers in God’s religion.‘

As a jurist, Qurtubi observes that, ‘There is no indication in this verse of the prohibition of disagreement in the branches (furu’) [of fiqh] as this in reality is not dissension. This is because true dissention is one wherein concord and unity become virtually impossible. As for disagreement in judgements based on personal effort (ijtihad), it is due to differences in deducing obligations (fara’id) and the minutiae of law.‘ On page 279, Imam al-Razi (d. 606/1210; Rahimahullah) was quoted as saying in conclusion to his commentary on the above ayat:
‘If a person going down into a well must hold fast to a rope in order that he may not fall in, so also the Book of God, His covenant, religion and obedience to Him, as well as unity and harmony among the people of faith are means of security for anyone who holds fast to them from falling into the bottom of Hell.’

(2) Surah al-Imran (3:105):
“And be not like those who separated and disputed after the clear proofs had come unto them: For such there is an awful doom.”

(3) Surah al-Imran (3:110):
“Ye are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin the good and forbid the evil; and ye believe in Allah”

(4) Surah Al-An’am (6:159):
“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou has no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.”

(5) Surah Al-Mu’minun (23:52-53):
“And verily this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah and I am your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me. But they have broken their religion among them into sects, each sect rejoicing in its tenets.”

(6) Surah Al-Rum (30:32):
“Those who split up their Religion, and become Sects, each sect exulting in its tenets.”

(7) Surah Al-Nisa (4:115):
“He that disobeys the Apostle (Muhammad) after guidance has been made clear to him and follows a way other than that of the believers, We appoint for him that unto which he himself hath turned, and expose him unto Hell – a hapless journey’s end!”

(8) Surah Al-An’am (6:153):
“This is My Straight path, so follow it. Follow not other ways, lest ye be parted from His way. This has he ordained for you, that ye may ward off (evil).“


Hadith Evidence

(1) Imam Abu Dawood (Rahimahullah) has quoted the well known Hadith concerning the division of the Muslim Ummah into seventy-three sects in his Sunan (3/4580, English edn):

Abu Amir al-Hawdhani said, “Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (may Allah be pleased with him) stood among us and said, ‘Beware! The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) stood among us and said’: ‘Beware! The People of the Book before (you) were split up into 72 sects, and this community will be split up into 73, seventy-two of them will go to Hell and one of them will go to Paradise, and it is the majority group (Jama’ah).’

Another version of the above Hadith has been reported by Hafiz Ibn Kathir (Rahimahullah) in The signs before the day of Judgement (pg. 14):

“Awf ibn Malik reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, ‘The Jews split into 71 sects: one will enter Paradise and 70 will enter Hell. The Christians split into 72 sects: 71 will enter Hell and one will enter Paradise. By Him in Whose hand is my soul, my Ummah will split into 73 sects: one will enter Paradise and 72 will enter Hell.’ Someone asked, ‘O Messenger ofAllah (Peace be upon him), who will they be?’ He replied, ‘The main body of the Muslims (al-Jama’ah).’ Awf ibn Malik is the only one who reported this Hadith, and its isnad is acceptable.” And in another version of this Hadith the Prophet (Peace be upon him) goes onto say that the saved sect, “…Are those who follow my and my Sahaba’s path” (Tirmidhi, vol. 2, pg. 89)

As-Sayyad Shaykh Abd’al-Qadir al-Jilani (Radi Allahu ta’ala anhu) (470AH) says in his famous book Ghuniyya-t at-Talibeen “There are 73 groups as foretold by Sayyadina Rasulullah (Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa Sallam). The group which will be saved from the fire of Hell is the Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.”

Imam Ghazzali (Radi Allahu anhu) (450AH-505AH) in his book Mujarribaate Imam Ghazzali states ” The Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah is the sucessful group and it is this group which weighs or determines its thoughts and its mind according to the scales of the Noble Quran.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad al-Sirhindi (d. 1034/1624; Rahimahullah) who is regarded by many people in the Indian sub-continent as a great renovator of the Tenth Islamic Century (Mujaddid alf Thani) wrote in his Maktubat (Vol. 3, Letter 38):

“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.“

Although Ibn Taymiyya was accused of holding certain corrupt points in his aqid’ah, which led so many scholars to denounce him for his heresy, he never the less hit the right point when he described those who are the real Sunni’s in his Aqeedat-il-Wasitiyyah (pg. 154):

” 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.’”

Imam Rabbani Mujaddid Alf Thanni (Radi Allahu anhu)(971AH-1034AH) states in his famous book Maktubaat

” The way of Salvation is followance of the Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. May Almighty Allah bestow blessings upon the Ahl as-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, in their speech, in their actions, laws, for this is the successful group. Besides this, all other groups have become victims of deception. Today, nobody realizes how much these misled groups will be punished, however, on the Day of Judgment this secret will become apparent. Even though at that time this knowledge will be of no benefit to the misled.”

(2) Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has collected a number of variant Hadith on the saved sect. He has related a longer version of the last Hadith quoted above:

Abdal Rahman ibn Shamasa al-Mahri said: ‘I was in the company of Maslama bin Mukhallad and Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-Aas (may Allah be pleased with them).’ Abdullah said, ‘The Hour shall come only when the worst type of people are left on the earth. They will be worse than the people of pre-Islamic days. They will get what ever they ask of Allah.‘ While we were sitting Uqba ibn Amir came, and Maslama said to him, ‘Uqba, listen to what Abdullah says.‘ Uqba said, ‘He knows, so far as I am concerned, I heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) say: A group of people from my Ummah will continue to fight in obedience to the Command of Allah, remaining dominant over their enemies. Those who will opose them shall not do them any harm. They will remain in this condition until the Hour over takes them.‘ (At this) Abdullah said, ‘Yes. Then Allah will raise a wind which will be fragrant like musk and whose touch will be like the touch of silk; (but) it will cause the death of all (faithful) persons, not leaving behind a single person with an iota of faith in his heart. Then only the worst of men will remain to be overwhelmed by the Hour.’” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4721, English ed’n, see also Sahih al-Bukhari, 9/414, English ed’n)

Imam Nawawi (d. 676/1277, Rahimahullah) said in his Sharh Muslim (vol. 2, pg. 143):

“The group of people (mentioned in the above Hadith) consists of scholars, jurisprudents, authorities on Hadith, those who enjoin Good (Maroof) and forbid Evil (Munkar) and all such persons who do good deeds. Such righteous persons may be found spread all over the world.”

Imam al-Tirmidhi (Rahimahullah) said:

“The explanation of al-Jama’ah according to the people of knowledge: They are the people of fiqh, knowledge and Hadith.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 4/2167; Ahmad Shakir ed’n)

Imam Bukhari (Rahimahullah) stated in his Sahih (vol. 9, chapter. 10, English ed’n),

“The statement of the Prophet (Peace be upon him): ‘A group of my followers will remain victorious in their struggle in the cause of the Truth.’ Those are the religious(ly) learned men (Ahl ul-Ilm).”

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Rahimahullah) said about this group:

“If it is not the people of Hadith, then I do not know who they may be.” (Sahih Muslim Sharif-Mukhtasar Sharh Nawawi, vol. 5, pg. 183, W. Zaman)

Qadi Iyad (Rahimahullah) said in ash-Shifa (pg. 188):

“In a Hadith from Abu Umama (Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, `A group of my community will remain constant to the truth, conquering their enemy until the command of Allah comes to them while they are still in that condition.‘ He was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), where are they?‘ He replied, `In Jerusalem.‘”

(3) Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has related in his Sahih (3/4553) under the chapter heading ‘Instruction to stick to the main body of the Muslims in the time of the trials and warning against those inviting people to disbelief‘, a Hadith on the authority of Hudhaifa ibn al-Yaman (Allah be pleased with him), who said:

“People used to ask the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) about the good times, but I used to ask him about (the) bad times fearing lest they overtake me. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, we were in the midst of ignorance and evil, and then God brought us this good (time through Islam). Is there any bad time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes’. I asked, ‘Will there be a good time again after that bad time?’ He said, ‘Yes, but therein will be a hidden evil.’ I asked, ‘What will be the evil hidden therein?’ He said, ‘(That time will witness the rise of) the people who will adopt ways other than mine and seek guidance other than mine. You will know good points as well as bad points.’ I asked, ‘Will there be a bad time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes. (A time will come) when there will be people standing and inviting at the gates of Hell. Whoso responds to their call, they will throw them into the fire.’ I said, ‘Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), describe them for us.’ He said, ‘All right. They will be a people having the same complexion as ours and speaking our language.’ I said, `Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), what do you suggest if I happen to live in their time?’ He said, ‘You should stick to the main body of the Muslims and their leader’ I said, ‘If they have no (such thing as the) main body of the Muslims and have no leader?’ He said, ‘Separate yourself from all these factions, though you may have to eat the roots of trees until death comes to you and you are in this state.’”

(NB-It is not likely that there will be an absence of a Jama’ah, since I have already quoted the Prophet, peace be upon him, as saying: ‘A group of people from my Ummah will continue to fight in obedience to the command of Allah, remaining dominant over their enemies. Those who will oppose them shall not do them any harm. They will remain in this condition until the Hour overtakes them.‘)

(4) Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) as saying:

“Who (ever) defected from the obedience (to the Amir) and separated from the main body of the Muslims – then he died in that state – would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya (pre-Islamic ignorance). And he who is killed under the banner of a man who is blind (to the cause for which he is fighting), who gets flared up with family pride and fights for his tribe – is not from my Ummah, and whoso from my followers attacks my followers (indiscriminately) killing the righteous and the wicked of them, sparing not (even) those staunch in faith and fulfilling not his obligation towards them who have been given a pledge (of security), is not from me.” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4557 & 4555; English ed’n)

Imam al-Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066; Rahimahullah) stated in his: The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith (pg. 42-3), under the fiftieth branch of faith (50 – Holding firmly to the position of the majority): “God Most High has said: Hold fast, all together, to the rope of God, and do not be disunited. [3:103]. Muslim (Rahimahullah) relates on the authority of Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, ‘Whoever is disobedient, and departs from the majority, and then dies, has died in a state of Jahiliyya.‘ He also relates the following Hadith on the authority of Ibn Shurayh (Allah be pleased with him): ‘After I am gone, there will come days of corruption and turmoil. When you see people damaging the unity of the Community of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), you must fight them, whoever they may happen to be.‘

Abdal Hakim Murad (the translator of the above book) said in the footnote to the fiftieth branch of faith:

‘Orthodoxy in Islam is defined as the doctrine of ahl al-sunna wa’l jama’a, the People of the Sunna and the Community. To know whether a doctrine or practise is orthodox or heretical, the Muslim is required to find out whether it is recognised by the majority of Muslim scholars (see later for Imam al-Munawi’s commentary). Thus even without looking into their theology, he will know that sects such as the Isma’ilis, the Khariji’s, the Wahhabi’s, the Twelver Shi’a and others (not to mention anti-Islamic groupings such as the Ahmadiya and the Bahais) are to be repudiated.’”

(5) Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as saying:

“One who found in his Amir (the ruler of the true Islamic state; which is absent today) something which he disliked should hold his patience, for one who separated from the main body of the Muslims even to the extent of a handspan and then he died, would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya.” (Sahih Muslim, 3/4559; English ed’n & Sahih al-Bukhari, 9/257; English ed’n)

(6) Imam’s Ahmad and Abu Dawood (Allah’s mercy be upon them) said that Abu Dharr (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as saying:

“He who separates from the main body (of the Ummah) by even a hand’s breadth from the Community he throws off Islam from his neck.” (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, 1/185 & Sunan Abu Dawood, 3/4740)

NB-The following five Hadith have been mentioned by the great scholar of Hadith, Hafiz Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597/1201; Rahimahullah) in hisTalbis Iblis (section entitled: Adherence to the Sunnah and Jama’ah). A section of the above work has been translated by Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips in to English, under the title: The Devil’s Deception of the Shee’ah (pp. 4-5). Bilal Philips has put footnotes to the five Hadith that I will be quoting below (to declare some of the Hadith to be Da’eef), but one thing that should be mentioned is that he has mainly relied upon al-Albani’s classification of the Hadiths in question; hence these ‘classifications’ of al-Albani need re-verifying! I say this because it is a well known fact that Hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi was noted for his exceptional stringency in accepting Hadith, and he has been known to have declared some of the Hadith in Bukhari/Muslim to be Da’eef, as well as declaring some sound Hadith to be fabricated! Nevertheless, I would like to make it clear to those readers who are unaware of the status of Bilal Philips, that he has heavily depended on the classifications of al-Albani in most of his books! If the esteemed reader is convinced that the errors of al-Albani are most apparent, then one should beware of the status of those Hadiths that have been used by Bilal Philips (on account of his accepting al-Albani’s classifications). Bilal Philips seems to be a leading critic of Taqleed who has been swept away by the tide of modern day “Salafiyyism”; and it seems that he has ‘blindly’ accepted the classifications of al-Albani without himself reverifying al-Albani’s classifications! I ask you, is this not a clear cut example of Taqleed? If it has been proven that al-Albani’s classifications are unreliable, would it not be just for Bilal Philips to re-verify all the Hadiths that have been authenticated by al-Albani and correct any misclassifications in his books? Allah know’s best.

(7) ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that on one occasion Allah’s Messenger (Peace and blessings be upon him) stood up among them and said, “Whoever among you desires the centre of paradise should keep close to the Jama’ah for the Devil closely accompanies the solitary individual and is more distant from two.” (Collected by Imam Tirmidhi)

(8) And ‘Arfajah (Allah be pleased with him) reported (Allah’s Messenger, peace be upon him, as saying): “that Allah’s hand is over the Jama’ah and the Devil is with whoever deviates from the Jama’ah.” (Collected by Imam al-Tabarani)

(9) ‘Abdullah ibn Masood (Allah be pleased with him) reported that once Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) drew a line in the dust with his hand and said, “This is the straight path of Allah.” Then he drew a series of lines to the right of it and to the left and said, “Each of these paths has a devil at its head inviting people to it.” He then recited (Qur’an 6:153), “Verily this is my straight path so follow it and do not follow the (twisted) paths.” (Collected by Ahmad, Nisai and Darimi; see Mishkat ul-Masabih, 1/166)

(10) Mu’adh ibn Jabal (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) said, “The Devil is like a wolf among humans as a wolf is among sheep; it snatches the stray sheep. So beware of the paths which branch off and adhere to the Jama’ah, the masses and the masjid.” (Collected by Imam Ahmad; NB- The version given in Mishkat, 1/184, also on the authority of Imam Ahmad does not have the addition ‘the masses and the masjid.’)

(11) And Abu Dharr (Allah be pleased with him) reported from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) that, “Two are better than one, and three better than two; so stick to the Jama’ah for verily Allah, Most Great and Glorious, will only unite my nation on guidance.” (Collected by Ahmad)

(12) Al-Harith al-Ashari (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:

“I bid you to do five things: to remain attached to the main body (Jama’ah of Muslims), listen to your ruler (the Khalif of the Islamic state) and obey him, and migrate, and fight in the way of Allah. And he who detaches himself from the main body of the Muslims (Jama’ah) to the extent of one span of hand, he in fact, throws off the yoke of Islam from his neck, and he who calls with the call of ignorance, he is one from the denizens of Hell beyond doubt, even if he observes fast and says prayers and considers himself as a Muslim.” (Musnad Ahmad, vide: Selection from Hadith, no. 288; by A.H. Siddique)

(13) Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying:

“Follow the great mass (as-Sawad al-Azam) for he who kept himself away from it, in fact would be thrown in Hell Fire.” (Ibn Majah; vide: Mishkat, 1/174, by A.H. Siddiqui).

The translator of Mishkat-ul-Masabih (A.H. Siddiqui, pg. 113) said in the footnote to the last Hadith:

“There is a good deal of difference of opinion as to what the term Sawad al-Azam implies. The overwhelming majority of the scholars are of the view that As-Sawad al-Azam means the largest group of the learned scholars and pious persons whose opinions are held in high esteem in Islam.”

(14) Imam al-Shafi’i (Rahimahullah) said in his Risala (pg. 252-3):

“Sufyan (ibn Uyayna) told us from Abd al-Malik ibn Umayr from Abd al-Rahman ibn Abd Allah ibn Masood from his father, that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, `God will grant prosperity to His servant who hears my words, remembers them, guards them, and hands them on. Many a transmitter of law is no lawyer (faqih) himself, and many may transmit law to others who are more versed in the law than they. The heart of a Muslim shall never harbour vindictive feelings against three: sincerity in working for God; faithfulness to Muslims; and conformity to the community of believers (Jama’ah) – their call shall protect (the believers) and guard them from (the Devil’s) delusion.‘” (vide: Sunan al-Darimi, vol. 1, pp. 74-6; Ibn Hanbal, vol. 6, pg. 96; Musnad al-Shafi’i, vol. 1, pg. 16; Mishkat-ul-Masabih, 1/228; and al-Bayhaqi in his al-Madkhal). Imam al-Shafi’i said (pg. 253): “The Apostle’s (Peace be upon him) order that men should follow the Muslim community is a proof that the ijma (consensus) of the Muslims is binding.”

(15) Imam al-Shafi’i (Rahimahullah) stated in al-Risala (pg. 286-7):

“And Sufyan (also) told us from `Abd Allah ibn Abi Labid from `Abd Allah ibn Sulayman ibn Yasar from his father, who said: `Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) made a speech at al-Jabiya in which he said: The Apostle of God (Peace be upon him) stood among us by an order from God, as I am now standing among you, and said: Believe my Companions, then those who succeed them (the Successors), and after that those who succeed the Successors; but after them untruthfulness will prevail when people will swear (in support of their saying) without having been asked to swear, and will testify without having been asked to testify. Only those who seek the pleasure of Paradise will follow the community, for the devil can pursue one person, but stands far away from two. Let no man be alone with a woman, for the devil will be third among them. He who is happy with his right (behaviour), or unhappy with his wrong behaviour, is a (true) believer.’” (see also Musnad al-Shafi’i, vol. 2, pg. 187; and Ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, pg. 112-13, 176-81).

Imam al-Shafi’i said in conclusion to this Hadith:

“He who holds what the Muslim community (Jama’ah) holds shall be regarded as following the community, and he who holds differently shall be regarded as opposing the community he was ordered to follow. So the error comes from separation; but in the community as a whole there is no error concerning the meaning of the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and analogy (qiyas).”

(16) Imam Hakim (1/116) has related a Sahih Hadith from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) in the following words: “My Ummah shall not agree upon error.”

(17) Imam al-Tirmidhi (4/2167) reported on the authority of Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who said: “Verily my Ummah would not agree (or he said the Ummah of Muhammad) would not agree upon error and Allah’s hand is over the group and whoever dissents from them departs to Hell.” (see also Mishkat, 1/173)

Imam al-Azizi (d. 1070/1660; Rahimahullah) quoted Imam al-Munawi’s (d. 1031/1622; Rahimahullah) commentary to the last Hadith in his al-Siraj al-munir sharh al-Jami al-saghir (3.449), as follows:- Allah’s hand is over the group

(al-Azizi): Munawi says, “Meaning his protection and preservation of 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.” The rest of the Hadith, according to the one who first recorded it (Tirmidhi), is:-

and whoever descents from them departs to hell.

Meaning that whoever diverges from the overwhelming majority concerning what is lawful or unlawful and on which the Community does not differ has slipped off the path of guidance and this will lead him to hell.” (vide: The Reliance of the Traveller, pg. 25)

So, it is compulsory for the wise people to amend their beliefs to be in accordance with the beliefs of the Ahl as-Sunnah Wa Jama’ah because this is the only group which will be saved from the fire of Hell. None of the Sahaba, the Salaf-e-Saliheen or the pious scholars of Islam followed the new ideas or beliefs. They strictly abstained from the groups who followed these deviated ideas and beliefs. All the great scholars of Hadith and the great scholars of Fiqh of the four Schools of thought and their followers, all held the belief of the Ahl as-Sunnah Jama’ah. In addition, all the great pious Muslims and the Sufi Saints of the past and present, followed the way of the Ahl as-Sunnat Wal Jama’ah. Their great literary works stand witness to this fact.


The nullifiers of fast

We will discuss the acts nullifying the fast under two categories:

  • Actions that require both Kaffara and Qada.
  • Fast-breaking actions that require Fasting as Qada only.

1. Actions that require both Kaffara and Qada.

It is a sin to break our fast or not fast without an excuse during the month of Ramadan. When we are fasting, if we break the fast knowingly, we must seek forgiveness of Allah due to this sin. As a penalty, we must fast for two months (kaffara) and one additional day to make up the broken fast.

Nullify fasts

2. Fast-breaking actions that require Fasting as Qada only.

Our fast can also be broken accidentally or due to an excuse. In this case, we only fast for those days that we have missed.

Some of the fast-breaking actions that require only qada (without kaffara) include:

Some of the fast-breaking actions that require only qada (without kaffara) include:

1. Eating or drinking does not break the fast if is done through forgetfulness. However, one should immediately stop ea- ting or drinking upon remembering. In this case, the fast is not nullified. That person washes his mouth and continues to fast. Fast breaks if anything goes down one’s throat after remembering that one was fasting. If he does not stop eating or drinking upon remembrance, the fast is nullified and he has to make qada instead.


Our beloved Prophet ﷺ says:

“Whosoever eats and drinks while fasting due to forgetfulness, he should complete his fast. That is because Allah made him eat or drink.”

(Bukhari, Sawm, 26)

1. In tooth extraction, the spray-on morphine does not break the fast, but the injection of morphine does break the fast.  2. To taste a food without swallowing it is an objectionable act (makruh).

1. In tooth extraction, the spray-on morphine does not break the fast, but the injection of morphine does break the fast.
2. To taste a food without swallowing it is an objectionable act (makruh).

– Excerpt from the book,”My beautiful Religion: According to the Hanafi School”