It is the nature of human being to think and feel himself
to be on the right side and better than other. This problem was inherited
from Satan when he said that he is better than Adam because he was created
from fire. Ask any person of any religions let say Jews of any sects or
Christians of any sects, he will claim to be on the right path and he will
be the one who will enter paradise. He is so quite sure that he really feel
sorry that other are not like him.
We, Muslim like other human being, are not different. We
are just like Jews and Christians who are divided into many sects and each
of them believe to be rightful guided.
Sunan Abu Dawud Book 40, Number 4579: (And Ahmad)
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The Jews were
split up into seventy-one or seventy-two sects; and the Christians were
split up into seventy one or seventy-two sects; and my community will be
split up into seventy-three sects.
We can also find in Imam Ahmad in his Musnad, vol 1, page
155; Said ibn Mansur in his Tuhdib al-Athar; Kanzul Ummal vol 6, p. 396; and
Imam Shahabul Din Ahmad, alias Abd Rabbah al Andalusi in his ‘Iqdah al Farid
it is mentioned that the Holy Prophet said, :
‘The Banu Israil split into seventy-two sects, and my
nation will split into seventy-three sects, all of which go to hell except
Our main problem that all Muslims irrespective to their
persuasions claim that they follow the correct Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w).
The differences among Muslims come from the transmitted Prophetic traditions
through different avenues. Such traditions serve as explanatory means of the
Holy Quran upon whose authenticity all Muslims agree. Thus divergence in the
transmitted traditions, which in turn has led to differing interpretation of
Quran and the prophetic Sunnah, has created numerous versions of Sunnah. All
Muslims, as a result, splintered into different schools, groups, offshoots,
which is believed to add up to seventy three groups. All of them are obeying
their own version of Sunnah which they claim to be the true one.
The Muslim differed with one another in matters of the
Law (fiqh), following different paths and dividing into various sects, such
Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki, Hanbali, Jaafari, Zaydi and Ibadhi, each of which has
a fiqh of its own. Similary, from the viewpoint of the doctrine, they
divided into various schools, each with its own set of principal doctrines.
The most important of these schools are the Ashaariah, the Mu’tazilah, the
Shiah, the Hanbalis, the Murjiah and the Ibadhi.
Which of these Muslims schools and groups follow the true
Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w)? We hear a lot of roaring, shouting and
crying in this forum by Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaa claiming that they are the one
of that group which are in the right path and will be a success one. Before
we can come to the agreement, first let us have brief experience of their
history and next we would like to have answers of some of the questions.
Majority of Ahlel Sunnah wa Jamaa follow Abul Hassan Al-Ash’ari
who appeared about late 3rd/9th century and the early
4th/10th. He received instruction in Mutazalite
teachings under Qazi Abdul Jabbar, and had mastered them. He rejected
Mutazalite tenets and inclined towards the doctrines of the Ahlel Sunnah.
Since, on the one hand, he was not a man devoid of genius, and on the other
was equipped with the tools used by the Mutazilah, he established all the
doctrines of Ahlel Sunnah on a rational basis, and gave them the form of a
relatively closely-knit intellectual system. Ashairah considered ‘Ilm Kalam’
as permissible; and the Hanbalis considered it unlawful.
Of course, the Asharite school underwent gradual changes,
and particular in the hands of Imam Muhammad al-Ghazali who has to a great
extent established and strengthened it doctrines, has put them on a
different foundation. Through al-Ghazali, ‘Ilm Kalam’ was brought closer to
‘irfan and Sufism. Imam al-Razi brought the Asharite doctrine close to
Out of the approximate 1.2 billion Muslims in the World,
85% to 90% are defined as Sunnis, and 10% to 15% are defined as Shias. Shias
are further divided into sects such as the Jafari, the Ismaili, the
Zaidi,the Alawi, the Nusairi, Bohra, Druze and other minor sects. With the
exception of Yemen where they constitute 50% of the population, the Zaidis
are non-existent in other Muslim countries. The Alawis, Druze, and Nusairis
are only found in the Syria/Jordan/Lebanon area. Ismailis are found in
India, Pakistan, Central Asia, and Africa. However, compared to the Jafaris
and the Ismailis, the other groups have very small populations.
The Sunnis are usually divided into the four schools of
Jurisprudence: Hanafi, Maliki, Sha'afi, and Hanbali. The Hanafis are the
most populous, the Hanbalis are the least populous, concentrating mainly in
the Arabian peninsula. They are not found in significant populations
anywhere else in the World.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that Saudis are ALL
Wahhabies. This is not the case. In fact, Saudi Arabia did not come into
existence until the 1930's, and before that Najd and Hejaz were different
states. The official Madhab of the Ottomans was Hanafi Fiqh. The Hejaz was
governed by the Ottomans until the first World War.
The present population of Saudi Arabia is 16.9 million,
of which 4.6 million are foreign residents. That leaves 12.3 million native
Saudis. If you travels from the Najd to the Hejaz, you can notice the
difference in the attitudes of the people. People in cities such as Buraidah,
Riyadh and other towns of central Arabia are less hospitable and
approachable than people living in the two Blessed cities, as well as places
like Jeddah and Taif. A lot of the people I met in Hejaz were actually
Sha'afii, while people in the Najd are almost always Wahhabi/Hanbalis,
whereas the majority
are Maliki Sunnis. The Government, however,
officially follows Hanbali fiqh and Wahhabi Aqeedah. There is a large shia
population in the eastern provinces as well.
So under the assumption that roughly less than half the
population of Saudi Arabia is "Salafi", thats just 2 million - most from the
Najd area. Other countries such as India and Pakistan have "Ahle Hadith"
groups, but they constitute only small (less than 5%) of the total
So, estimating that the total population on the true "Salafi"
path is less than 40 million (I am being generous with this estimate),
Salafis only make up less than 3% of the Total Muslim population. I really
do not believe that less than 3% of the total Muslim population is on the
Sirat al Mustaqeem, and everyone else is on the wrong/deviated path.
Secondly, if you are in ANY part of the Muslim World,
whether it is Mauritania, Indonesia, Syria, Central Asia, the Balkans,
China; you will find Sufis. I challenge you to find me ONE Muslim
culture/people that do not have Sufis. Sufis were responsible for bringing
people in the Sub-continent, in Central Asia, and Indonesia/Malaysia. If it
wasn't for these blessed men and women travelling without armies and
courtiers into hostile territories, large areas of the present day Muslim
World would still be Kaffir (Allahu Alam!)
I AM HIS MASTER, ALI IS HIS MASTER. O
God! Love those who love him. Be hostile
to those who are hostile to him. Hate
those who hate him. Help those who help
him. And keep the truth with him
wherever he turns." (repeating this
paragraph three times).