Salafis are Callers to Unity and they Forbid Splitting: Those who Divide are Ahlul-Bid’ah and the Hizbiyyūn: A Lesson for the Astray Callers in Hyde Park and on Social Media.
All praise is due to Allāh, Lord of all creation. May Allāh extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly until the Day of Judgement.
Imām Al-Barbahāri (Allah’s mercy be upon him, d.329AH) stated, “Know that Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “My Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all of them will be in the Fire except for one, and that is the Jamāʿah.” It was said, “And who are they, O Allāh’s Messenger?” He responded, “That which I and my Companions are upon today.”
Allāh (the Most High) has commanded us with unity upon the truth as He stated:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُواۚ
“And hold fast to the Rope of Allāh, altogether and be not divided.” (Āli ʿImrān: 103) He also said:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا شِيَعًا لَّسْتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ ۚ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
“Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects, you O Prophet, are not associated with them in the least. Their affair is left only to Allāh and He will inform them about what they used to do.” (Al-Anʿām: 159)
Regarding those who divide and become sects, Al-Baghawī (Allah’s mercy be upon him) said, “They are the people of innovation and desires.” Ibn Al-Mubārak (Allah’s mercy be upon him) said, “The people of truth have no differing among them.”. Ash-Shātibi (Allah’s mercy be upon him) stated, “Splitting is from the particular characteristics of the innovators.”
And He, the Most High, also stated:
وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُوا وَاخْتَلَفُوا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
“And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment.” (Āli ʿImrān: 105) So Allāh prohibited us from division and commanded us with unity and holding fast to the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), as He said:
وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“And this is My Straight Path, so follow it; and do not follow the other paths, for you will be separated from His Path. This He has instructed you with, that you may become righteous.” (Al-Anʿām: 153)
So, differing, splitting [by following one’s desires], blindly-following one’s father and forefathers, and blindly-following the Jews and Christians are all impermissible.
Differing is not permissible in the affairs of belief and in the foundations of the religion; it is obligatory to agree and unite upon these matters. As for differing that takes place in matters of fiqh, then this can occur, but even here one must only accept sayings that are supported by the proofs. Allāh (the Most High) stated:
فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
“And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allāh and the Messenger, if you believe in Allāh and the Last Day. That is the best way and best in result.” (An-Nisā’: 59) The point is that differing in matters pertaining to belief (i.e. the ʿaqīdah) is not permitted because the ʿaqīdah is established by textual proofs alone and not open to juristic interpretation or opinion. As for the fiqh rulings and derived judgements, those who are capable and worthy from the scholars will deduce what they see to be most correct from the sources of the religion.
This is the way of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah and this is what the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded with. As for the saying of the ignorant, “Leave the people alone, each to his own opinion because differing in the ummah is a mercy.” We say, this is sheer falsehood. Allāh (the Most High) stated:
وَلَا يَزَالُونَ مُخْتَلِفِينَ إِلَّا مَن رَّحِمَ رَبُّك
“But they will not cease to differ except whom your Lord has shown mercy.” (Hūd: 118-119) The saying of Allāh (the Most High), “Except whom your Lord has shown mercy” is a proof that those who are shown mercy by Allāh do not differ, and that differing is a punishment and not a mercy.
Ibn Mas’ūd (Allah be pleased with him) said, “Differing is evil.” At-Tahāwi (Allah’s mercy be upon him) said, “We hold that the Jamā’ah is the truth and correct; and division is deviation and punishment.” Ibn Taymiyyah (Allah’s mercy be upon him) said, “Indeed the Jamā’ah is a mercy, and splitting is a punishment.” As for the [so-called] hadīth which states, “Differing in my ummah is a mercy”, then As-Subki stated, “This hadīth is not known to the scholars of hadīth, and I myself have not found for it a chain of narration that is authentic, nor weak nor fabricated.” Ibn Hazm (Allah’s mercy be upon him) said, “This hadeeth is false and a lie, made up by the people of sin.”
Those who do not differ are shown Allāh’s mercy — and if they ever fall into differing, they return to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah for resolution. They take what is authentic and abandon that which is erroneous. This is the path of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah. As for leaving each person to his own opinions in matters of religion, that is not the way ordained for the Muslims. Rather, that is the way of the people of whims and desires. They seek after opinions which agree with their desires, and they abandon whatever opposes their desires.
The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) stated that this ummah will divide into seventy-three sects. These are the foundations of the sects, and there are certainly more sects, but these seventy-three constitute the foundations of all of them. All of them will end up in the Fire [for a period of time] except for one, which is saved. So, the seventy-third sect is upon that which the Messenger and his Companions were upon.
It is the Sect that is saved from the fire. For this reason, it is referred to as the Saved Sect (Al-Firqah An-Nājiyah) and it is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah. And all those besides them are the opposers, threatened with the Fire. From them are those who will enter the Fire due to their disbelief, others due to their sins and others due to their disobedience – so, those who enter the Fire are not all the same (they differ in their opposition to the truth). It is not to be understood from this narration that all of the sects who enter the fire are upon disbelief.
In a narration, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,“…all of them will be in the fire except for one, and that is the Jamāʿah.” The Jamāʿah refers to any person who adheres to the truth even if he is alone. A gathering of large numbers in itself is not an indication that they are upon the truth. Allāh (the Most High) said:
وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ
“And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the path of Allāh. They follow not except assumptions, and they are not but falsifying.” (Al-Anʿām: 116) And He said:
وَمَا أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتَ بِمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And most of mankind will not believe even if you desire it eagerly.” (Yūsuf: 103) And His saying:
وَمَا وَجَدْنَا لِأَكْثَرِهِم مِّنْ عَهْدٍ ۖ وَإِن وَجَدْنَا أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَفَاسِقِينَ
“And We did not find for most of them any covenant. Indeed, We found most of them defiantly disobedient.” (Al-Aʿrāf:102)
So, attention is not given to numbers, attention is given to those who are upon the truth even if they are small in number, in any given time or place. So even if there is just one person, he can be considered as the Jamāʿah. Ibn Mas’ūd (Allah be pleased with him) said, “The majority of the people abandon the Jamāʿah. Verily the Jamāʿah is whatever agrees with the obedience of Allāh, even if you are alone.” Nu’aym ibn Hammād (died 239 AH) said regarding this narration, “Meaning, when the people become corrupt, then you are obligated to follow the Jamāʿah as it was before they became corrupt, even if you are alone because in that situation, you are the Jamāʿah.” 
The Companions (Allah be pleased with them) asked about the saved sect, “Who are they O Allāh’s Messenger?” He responded,“Those who are upon that which I and my Companions are upon today.” So, this is the correct path! Whoever is upon that which the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions (Allah be pleased with them) were upon, they are the Jamāʿah, regardless of numbers.
As for those who claim they follow the Path of the Salaf but they unite with Ahlul-Bid’ah, and reach out to them, praise them, and take photographs embracing them, while all along they revile Ahlus-Sunnah (the Salafiyyūn) and demean the scholars of Salafiyyah — they are not from the People of Sunnah, and they are not upon the Path of the Salaf and Salafiyyah. Rather, they are enemies of the Salafi Da’wah and Manhaj. They have abandoned its principles (its Usūl) and their claim to it is empty and carries no weight. They are the people of Hizbiyyah, which is blameworthy and ugly partisanship that invites to unity and cooperation upon Bid’ah and misguidance. This is why you find them in recorded interviews on YouTube and FaceBook labelling the Salafis in belittlement, mockery and disrespect as Madākhilah or Jāmiyyah (ascriptions to Shaikh Rabee’ Al-Madkhali and Shaikh Muhammad Amān Al-Jāmi respectively). They criticise the People of Hadeeth, Sunnah and Salafiyyah of this age; those who establish the call to the Tawheed of Allah, and the ‘Aqeedah, Manhaj and manners of the Salaf. When you see a person praising Ahlul-Bid’ah and reviling Ahlus-Sunnah, make no mistake, he is a person of desires, deviation and innovation. He is to be warned against and abandoned in order to preserve and protect the Religion, and due to our love for it and our dislike to see it opposed and belittled — and because no Muslim who loves the Sunnah would tolerate that the People of Hadeeth and Salafiyyah are reviled whilst the upholders of the banner of innovation and Hizbiyyah are praised and honoured. No one honours an innovator except out of sheer ignorance or deliberate misguidance — and if he is the latter, then he too is counted among the People of Desires and Innovation.
Imām Al-Baghawī (d. 535H) stated under his commentary of the story Ka‛b Ibn Mālik, Mirārah Ibnur-Rabī’ and Hilāl Ibn Umayyah (may Allah be pleased with them): “And there has already transpired the speech of the Sahābah, the Tābiʽūn, then those who followed them, from the scholars of the Sunnah, that they united and agreed upon having enmity towards Ahlul-Bid‛ah and to boycott them.”  This Methodology of the Salaf does not oppose unity, rather it closes the door to division and separation in the ranks of the Muslims because it prevents the people of Bid’ah from entering among the unsuspecting Muslims and causing discord and weakness.
The Manhaj of the Salaf was to warn against sitting with Ahlul-Bid’ah. Al-Lālikā’ī (d. 418H) brings his chain of narration to Thābit Ibn ‛Ajlān, who said: “I reached Anas Ibn Mālik, Ibn Musayyib (d. 94H), Hasan Al-Basrī (d.110H), Sa‛īd Ibn Jubair (d. 95H), Ash-Sha‛bī, Ibrāhīm An-Nakha‛ī (d. 96H), ‛Atā Ibn Abī Rabāh (d. 114H), Tāwūs (d. 106H), Mujāhid (d. 104H), ‛Abdullāh Ibn Abī Mulaikah (d. 117H), Az-Zuhrī (d. 124H), Mak-hūl (d. 112H), Al-Qāsim Abū ‛Abdur-Rahmān, ‛Atā Al-Khurasānī (d. 135H), Thābit Al-Bunānī (d. 120H), Al-Hakam Ibn ‛Utbah, Ayyūb As-Sakhtiyānī (d. 131H), Hammād, Muhammad Ibn Sīrīn (d. 110H), Abū ‛Āmir – and he met Abū Bakr As-Siddīq, Yazīd Ar-Raqāshī (d. 119H) and Sulaymān Ibn Mūsā: ‘All of them commanded me to stick to the Jamā‛ah and they all forbade me from the People of Desires.’” (no. 239) Look at at this report of Imām Al-Lālikā’ī in clarification of the methodology of the Salaf and their stances towards Ahlul-Bidʽah and Ahlul-Ahwā’. Where do you find this in the behaviour of these misguided callers in Hyde Park corner or those active on social media who claim to follow the Manhaj of the Salaf and Sunnah?
Imām Ash-Shātibī stated after mentioning the narrations that warn against Ahlul-Bid‛ah: Yahyā Ibn Abī Kathīr said: “If you see a person of innovation on the path, then take another path.” So, those who call to Bid’ah, or those who praise the callers to Bid’ah, then Ahlus-Sunnah (the Salafiyyūn) do not mix with them or listen to their lectures — we are not impressed by them in the least. Rather, they are the foolish who think to make fools out of the Muslims. Allah has stated in the Qur’an regarding the hypocrites:
“When it is said to them (the hypocrites), “Believe as the people (i.e. the Companions of the Prophet) have believed.” They respond, “Are we to believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they are the fools, but they do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:13) The callers to innovation and misguidance carry many of the characteristics of the hypocrites. They see the adherents of the Salafi Manhaj to be fools, whereas in reality, it they who are the fools. That is because the Salafis follow the Madhhab of the Sahābah and the early Salaf, and it is the Hizbiyyūn and the People of Desires who oppose that way and they say: “Shall we believe as these foolish Salafis believe?!” All praise is for Allah, the Salafi ‘Aqeedah and Manhaj is rooted in the Book and Sunnah and the writings of the Salaf, and that is why they cannot harm it no matter how much they try.
And we ask Allah for steadfastness and firmness in speech and action. And all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation.
Tirmidhī, no. 2641; Ibn Naṣr Al-Marwazī in As-Sunnah, no. 59; Al-Ḥakīm in Al-Mustadrak, 1/218; Al-Ājurrī in Ash-Sharīʿah, no. 23; Al-Lālikā’ī in Sharḥ Uṣūl Iʿtiqād, no. 147; Ibn Baṭtah in Al-Ibānah, no. 196; and many others. It has support from the ḥadīth of Anas reported by At- Ṭabarānī in Al-Awsat, no.7840; and in As-Saghīr, no. 724; It has been authenticated by a large body of scholars from the past and present.
Al-Baghawī: (Sharh As-Sunnah, 1/210). Ibn Al-Mubārak: (At-Tabarī in Jāmi’ Al-Bayān, 12/85). Ash-Shātibi: (Al-I’tisām, 1/113).
Ibn Mas’ūd: (Abu Dāwūd, no. 1920, and it is sahīh). At-Tahāwi: (Ash-Sharh At-Tahāwiyyah, 2/775). Ibn Taymiyyah: (Majmū’ Al-Fatāwā, 3/421). As-Subki (Faydul-Qadīr, 1/212). Ibn Hazm: (Al-Ahkām fī Usūlil-Ahkām, 5/61).
Ibn Mas’ūd: (Al-Lālikā’ī in Sharh Usūl I’tiqād Ahlis-Sunnah, 1/121, no. 160). Nu’aym ibn Hammād: (Ibn ‘Asākir in Tārīkh Dimashq, 46/408-409).
It-hāf al-Qārī, Shaikh Al-Fawzān’s explanation of Sharḥus-Sunnah of Imām Al-Barbahārī, vol.1 pp. 419-423, adapted And I (Abu Khadeejah) have added several narrations as supporting proofs that further solidify the methodology of Ahlus-Sunnah-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah. Sharhus-Sunnah (1/227).
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