Compiled By: Mufti Umar Anwar Badakhshani
INTRODUCTION: Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianvi Shaheed (Jamia Banuri Town, Karachi) wrote a detailed essay in response to a question asked through a letter. The following valuable article is a prelude to this answer. Due to the importance of this topic in present times, we are publishing this prelude here.
useless discussions keeps you away from action and practice
The interest and enthusiasm shown by yourself and your companions is praiseworthy and congratulatory. However, my advice is that you change this interest of yours from discussions and debates to learning and teaching Islam. Devote your time and energies to the practical implementation of the Islam. You should make an effort to adopt the lifestyle of our beloved Prophet (S.A.W) and likewise turn the attention of others in that direction.
This suggestion of mine is based on two reasons:
Discussions and debates hamper the ability of a person to carry out (good) actions. It is reported in Musnad-e-Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Mustadrak Haakim that Holy Prophet (S.A.W) said:
ما ضل قوم بعد ھدی کانوا علیہ إلا أوتوا الجدل (مشکوۃ)۔
“That nation is not led astray after the guidance has been brought to them, except when they are given to arguments.”
Hence no good abodes for that nation that indulges in arguments and debates.
Useless discussion is a cause of sin and deprivation from good deeds.
Another point is that by having too many discussions and debates, generally, people’s enthusiasm to understand is plagued, and they are more desirous of having their views and opinions accepted. Also, that person who is not very well learned in the Shariah, tends to get carried away and does not pay heed and give due consideration to the limits of the Shariah. At times it may happen that a thing may be false and incorrect (in terms of the Shariah) and this person will endeavor to prove it to be true and Haqq. At times in such discussions a person may slur and revile an accepted servant of Allah’s, hence blackening his Book of Deeds. A combination of all these factors, not only deprives one of the virtue of good actions, in fact, one’s mental ability and tendency to accept the Haqq decreases gradually.
Therefore, it is my humble and sincere advice to all of you that each one of you follow and place your trust on that Aalim (Shariah scholar), whom you envisage and consider as being on Haqq, whom you deem is an Aalim Muhaqqiq, and who is conveying the Message of Allah and the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (S.A.W) to the people for the Pleasure of Allah. Practice according to this person’s advice and teachings and continue with your daily routine. Instead of all this vain discussions and debates, you should all rather spend your time more constructively and engage in Thikr, Tilawat, Durod Sharef or some other beneficial Islamic work.
How to define true Islam? What is truth and who is closer to the truth?
Your first question, albeit very concise and short in words, nevertheless, its answer requires an in -depth answer that would extend into a voluminous Book. This useless writer does not have the ability or the opportunity to render such a detailed answer, such that I may fulfill the rights of this subject. However, in order to fulfill. Your request we will write a few lines. If this proves to be beneficial to yourself and your companions then this will be a means of the salvation and good fortune for this worthless writer.
First of all, it is necessary to know and understand what the true “Deen-e-Haqq” is. This will be our starting point and our basis for establishing which group is on the Haqq and Straight Path, or which is the closest to the Haqq.
I, you and every Muslim is fully aware that the “Deen-e-Haqq” is that Divine Message which was revealed to us through our Holy Prophet (S.A.W). This is what Rasulullaah (S.A.W) and his Companions practiced upon. And this is also (that Deen) which Allah had promised to safeguard until Qiyamah. Allah has safeguarded this Deen through the Quran Majed, the statements and actions of Holy Prophet (S.A.W), the practice of the Sahabah (R.A) and the explanations and interpretations of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahiddeen. Alhamdulillah, until today all these things are just and safely and securely protected in the Ummat. It is as though this Deen has been revealed for this time and era.
Two types of differences in the ummah
Another point which is necessary to understand is that in this Ummat there are two types of differences (Ikhtilaf). Holy Prophet (S.A.W) has notified the Ummat with regard to these differences and he has also guided the Ummat with regard to both of them.
Exercise of Judgment Differences (Ijtihadi ikhtilaf) and its code of conduct
The first type of difference is with regard to the Ijtihadi issues (Interpretations of law points), which occurred between the Sahabah (R.A), the Tabieen and the Aimmah-e-Mujtahiden. A reflection of this evident in the Hanafi, Shaafi, Maliki and Hambali Math-habs which are well known as an “Ikhtilaf”. This type of difference also occurred, at times, during the blessed era of Prophet (S.A.W). For example, once, Prophet (S.A.W) instructed the Sahaabah (R.A) on the occasion of arriving at the tribe of Banu Quraidha:
لا یصلین أحد العصر إلا فی بنی قریظۃ
“None of you should read his Asr Salaat except at (arrival at) Banu Quraidha.”
It so transpired that the Sahabah (R.A) were delayed in reaching there and the time of Asr Salaat was about to terminate. The Sahabah (R.A) made Consult as to what they should do. The discussion resulted in two groups. The one group opined that since Prophet (S.A.W) gave a clear cut instruction that Asr Salat only be read at arrival at Banu Quraidha, how is it possible for them to perform their Salat now on the way. Therefore, even though the Salat may become Qadha, they felt that it was necessary to follow the instructions of Prophet (S.A.W). The second group felt that the import and intention of Prophet’s (S.A.W) instruction was that they reach Banu Quraidha before the expiry of Asr Salat time, and upon reaching there they were to perform the Asr Salat. Therefore, they felt that since the time for sunset was drawing close, and they would not reach there before sunset, there was no question about making the Asr Salat Qadha. They felt that it did not mean that if they were delayed in reaching there then they had to make the Asr Salat Qadha. They felt that this would worsen their shortcomings.
Nevertheless, the first group decided to make the Salat Qadha, thereby fulfilling the explicit instructions of Prophet (S.A.W), whilst the second group alighted from their conveyances and performed the Salat opining that they were fulfilling and carrying out the intention the desire of Prophet (S.A.W). When news of this incident reached Prophet (S.A.W), he did not rebuke either of the two groups, in fact he regarded both of them as being correct, since both of them had completed and carried out his intention and desire. There are many other such examples beside this one.
Ijtihadi disparity is infact a mercy
In conclusion, we have ascertained that one such difference is this type, which is called an “Ijtihadi Ikhtilaf”. This type of difference is not merely a natural, inevitable or indispensable difference, in fact, Prophet (S.A.W) had termed such a difference a Rahmat (mercy). And for that person whom Allah had imbued with even the slightest bit of insight, will immediately discern why such differences are termed as a Rahmat. Due to a lack of opportunity, I should have shed much more light on this topic.
In conclusion, this type of difference is completely correct and in order. The ruling for the general masses (regarding such differences) is that they follow with conviction whichever Imam Mujtahid they have trust and confidence in, whilst keeping in mind and granting due respect and honor to the other pious personalities. All these personalities were o f a very high level of intelligence and experts in Deen and they were also spiritually very elevated. Their was and is not a single person from amongst those who followed them who could even match their knowledge. There is also none who came after them that can be equal to them in piety and Noor-e-Ma`rifat (recognition of Allaah). This is precisely the reason why great great personalities and Auliyaah — the likes of Hadhrat Peer-o-Murshid Sheikh Abdul Qaadir Jilaani, Sayidud Taa`ifah Hadhrat Junaid Baghdaadi, Sheikh Muhyuddin Ibn Arabi, Khwajah Ali Hijveri, Ganj Bakhash Baba Fareedud Deen Shakar Ganj, Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani (rahmatullahi alaihim ajmaeen) were all the followers of these Aimmah-e-Mujtahiddeen.
Theoretical Differences: is the basic issue of present times
The second type of difference is known as “Nazaryati Ikhtilaf” (Theoretical differences). This is the subject matter of your question. Our Prophet (S.A.W) had also foretold and predicted such differences. This type of difference is also the basis and differentiation between Haqq and Batil. Hence, Prophet (S.A.W) said: “The Bani Israeel were separated into 72 sects and my Ummat will be slit into 73 sects. All of them, besides one, will be in the Fire.” It was asked: “O Rasulullaah (S.A.W)! Which will be this successful sect?” Prophet (S.A.W) replied: “Those that will remain on that path which I and my Sahaabah are on.”
It is reported in another Hadith:
that 72 sects will go to Jahannum and one to Jannat – and this is the “Al-Jamaat” i.e. that group which will be on Haqq. And some people will abscond from this Jamaat, their desires and false opinions will lead them astray just as the bite of a rabid dog makes a person ill, such that not a joint, vein or fibre of his remains except that this illness penetrates it.
It is reported in another Hadith:
“Any person remains alive after me will see many differences in the Ummat. Therefore he should hold on fast to my way and the way of the Khulafaa-e Raashideen. He must hold on to it with his teeth. Take Heed! Stay away from all new innovations (that will spring up), because all such innovations (which are regarded as being part of Deen) are a Bid`ah and every Bid`ah is astray.”
It is reported in another Hadith that Prophet (S.A.W) once drew a line and said:
that this is (symbolises) the Road of Allah. He then drew some small lines on either side of this line and said that these are those paths upon which one shaitaan sits at each one and tends to lead man astray by tempting him towards it. (indicating to the first line) Prophet (S.A.W) said: “This is the correct path.” Saying this, Prophet (S.A.W) recited the following Aayat: “This is My Straight Path, hence tread upon it.”
All these Ahaadith are reported in Mishkaat Shareef.
How Islam guides in Theoretical Differences? 7 Basic principles
Regarding this subject there are many other Ahadith, the compiling of which I am presently unable. There is also no need for it (at this juncture). From these statements, the following points become clear:
- 1). Rasulullaah (S.A.W) had forewarned the Ummat regarding Nazaryaati Ikhtilaafs.
- 2). He displayed an aversion for this type of differences and with the exception of one sect, he warned all the others with the Fire.
- 3). Such Ikhtilafs are the basis for leading people on Haqq or Batil. Prophet (S.A.W) had clearly said that whoever treads the path and follows the way chalked out by him and follow his Sahabah (R.A), will be on Haqq. Whoever goes astray of this path is on Baatil. The path of Haqq and the distinguishing factor is the way of Prophet (S.A.W) and his Sahaabah (R.A). The Quran had also in many instances, stated this as the basis of the Haqq. In one Aayat it is stated:
وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا
“And he who opposes the Rasool after guidance had come to him, and he treads (a path) other than the path of the believers, we will take to him (in the direction) to where he is going, and we will fling him into Jahannum, an evil abode.”
In this Aayat, the “path of the believers” refers to the Sahabah (R.A).
- 4). Prophet (S.A.W) had labeled any innovation which was to come after him, in the name of the Deen, as “Bid’ah” (innovation).
- 5). Rasulullah (S.A.W) had also outlined the reason and contributory factor of Bid`ah and deviation, as being incorrect desires. This is such an illness that destroys one‟s heart and mind. Just as the poison in the bite of a rabid dog seeps into the system of the victim, which renders a normal person into displaying bestial tendencies. In that same way a person who is inflicted with the poison of false and incorrect opinions, his every vein and fibre is seeped with self-opinion. Then, besides his own opinions he disregards every other view.
- 6). Rasulullaah (S.A.W) had also guided the Ummat in that at such a time when all such differences rear their ugly heads in the Ummat, then they should hold on fast to his Sunnah and that of his Khulafa-e-Rashiden. There is absolutely no doubt or qualm about this being the road of true guidance. Muslims must hold on fast to this path, with their teeth. There may come a multitude of new innovations and differing views and opinions, but the Ummat must hold on fast to this path of guidance and not leave it.
- 7). Prophet (S.A.W) has also indicated that this is the Path of (to) Allah, which he had demonstrated and upon which the Sahabah (R.A) had treaded. This Path will remain so until Qiyamah. Besides this “Path of Allah”, there are many other “side-streets‟ upon which a shaitaan is sitting and waiting to lead man astray by temptation. However, the Ummat must be vigilant and wary. They must know that the Road leading to Allaah is (only) the one which Prophet (S.A.W) had showed. That is also the Road upon which the Sahabah (R.A) and the Khulafa -e-Rashiden (R.A) had treaded, and which all the Salf-e-Salihen (pious predecessors) and Auliya had followed. Besides this ONE road all the others are the inventions of shaitan. Whoever calls to any of these roads is the agent of shaitan, in fact, he is the personification of shaitan. Whosoever, deviates from the Path of Allah and ventures into one of the other roads, must know that he has entered a cave and into the mouth of a large snake. Or that he has ventured into some dangerous jungle and has become prey to a wild animal.
If one keeps in mind these principles and guidelines set out by the Quran and the Ahadith, and one understand them well, then it will not be difficult for one to discern and recognize which of all the groups mentioned in your question is the one which is on Haqq. It will also not then be necessary for me to analyze each one of them. However, for your ease and benefit, I will analyze and dilate briefly on each one of them.