الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعينMuslim community in the world is divided into 73 major sects and innumerable subgroups. This division is based on the their belief, not deeds. The followers of all these groups claim that they follow the right path of Islam and they are the only Naji (saved) group among Muslims. This is a strange phenomenon. People do not understand that with so many divergent beliefs, how can they claim to be on the right path of Islam?It is in Hadith - Ibn Mas’ud (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) reported that the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) drew a line with his hand and he said, 'This is the straight path of Allah.' Then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) drew lines to the right and left, and he said, 'These are other paths, and there is no path among them but that a devil is upon it calling to its way.' Then the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) recited the verse, وَأَنَّ هَـٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَن سَبِيلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُم بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ [Verily, this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow (other) ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.] (Al-An'aam - 153). ] (Musnad Ahmad)It is in Hadith - Thawban (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) reported that the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said : 'There will always remain a group of people from my Ummah who will be triumphant on truth (حق) (They will be on the straight path). Those who will oppose them or abandon them, will not be able to harm them. This will continue until the Command of Allah (Qiyamah) arrives. (Bukhari, Muslim)
The above Hadith describes that among the innumerable groups among Muslims, only one is on the right straight path, and the rest have lost the right path of Islam. We have identified this group in this book in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
It is an important read for all Muslims in the world.
The innumerable groups of Muslims have innumerable scholars. It is important to find out about the group who are on the straight path of Islam and follow its scholars. If you follow the scholars of a deviant group, you will go astray along with them.
It is in Hadith - The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said : 'Perform the five times salah, fast during Ramadan, give zakat from your wealth, follow the true scholars of Deen, then enter your Lord's Paradise.' (Mishkat)
Who are Ahle Sunnah wal Jam'ah among Muslims?
Ahle Sunnah means, those who follow Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). Al-Jama'ah means who follow the Khulafa-e-Rashideen. Thus, Ahle Sunnah wal Jama'a means, those who follow the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and his Khulafa-e-Rashideen (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہم اجمعين).
The term Ahle Sunnah wal Jama'ah is used for the Muslims who are on the straight path of Islam from the times of Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). Other than this group, the rest are not on the straight path of Islam.It is in Hadith - It is narrated on the authority of Abd Allah Ibn Amr (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) that the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم ) said that the (Muslim) Ummah will divide into seventy-three groups; all of them will enter Hell except one, namely, the one that follows the way of the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم ), and that of his companions. (Tirmidhi).It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad ( صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم ) said: “Jews got divided into seventy one groups and Christians got divided into seventy two groups and my nation will get divided into seventy three groups. All the groups will enter the Hell except one. They asked: “Allah’s Messenger ( صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم ) which one is it? He replied: “Those who will remain on the path on which I and my companions are today” (Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Ahmad).
The Arabic term 'السواد الأعظم' is also used for Ahle Sunnah wal Jama'a.
It is in Hadith - Ibn Omer (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) narrated : the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said - Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) will never let this (my) Ummah agree upon misguidance and the hand of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) is over the group (of pious believers), so follow " السواد الأعظم " (the Pious Group of Believers) and whoever dissents from them departs to Hell]. (Tirmidhi, al-Hakim)
In the above Hadith some people translate Arabic term 'السواد الأعظم' as 'largest Group, or the group of large number of Muslims which is not a correct understanding. This kind of understanding has created a lot of confusion among Muslims. And every sect started claiming that they are السواد الأعظم ( Ahle Sunnah wal Jama'a), the largest group.
The Arabic word الأعظم is generally used to describe 'the importance and greatness', rather than 'largeness'. Thus, the term 'السواد الأعظم' denotes the preeminence or importance of the Group, rather than its largeness in terms of the number of people in it.
Like we say الإمام الأعظم (Imam al-Azam) or الغوث الأعظم (Ghawth al-Azam), or الوزير الأعظم (Wazir al-Azam). Similarly 'السواد الأعظم', means 'the greatness or preeminence of the Group.
When we look at the wordings of the Hadith, it says, follow السواد الأعظم (Sawad al-Azam); meaning follow the most pious group who have been awarded with Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) bestowal. The Quranic verses (Al-Fateha 6-7) lead us to this understanding.
It is in Quran اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ - صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ [ (O'our Lord) Lead us to the straight path. The path of those on whom you have awarded your bestowal; and not the path of those who have been subjected to Your Wrath; and the path of those who have gone astray. ( Al-Fateha 6-7)
For following a Group, all its members should be pious. If we take the meaning of السواد الأعظم (Sawad al-Azam) as the largest Group, then it is evident that all its members will not necessary be pious. How can we follow a group which is a mix of deviants, Fasiqeen (wrongdoers) as well as some good believers?
With the above understanding, only the group of Awliya Allah / Sufi Shuyookh of Ihsan qualify to be السواد الأعظم (Sawad al-Azam) as all its members are pious by the grace of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ).
We are not talking here about 'fake Sufi babas' and 'illiterate peers' who hunt gullible people and run their 'spiritual shops' to make a fast buck.
Some people may argue that some famous Scholars of Islam have translated the Arabic term السواد الأعظم (Sawad al-Azam) as Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama’a.
Indeed, the scholars and Imams were right in translating the term that way, because the real Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama’a are Awliya Allah/Sufi Shuyookh of Ihsan. By following their foot steps, others can also try to be within the category of real Ahle Sunnah.It is in Quran - أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ - الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ - لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَىٰ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ [Behold the friends of Allah! On them shall come no fear, nor shall they grieve. These are they, who have believed in Allah and are mindful of (close to) Him and (have consequently abstained from everything evil). To them tidings come ( from Allah) of a happy life both in this world and in Hereafter. The word of Allah is never revoked. This in itself is a great felicity" (Yunus - 62-64).
Awliya Allah are chosen people. Their Group is the only group which is referred to as السواد الأعظم (Sawad al-Azam) in the following Hadith.
It is in Hadith - Ibn Omer (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) narrated : the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said - Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) will never let this (my) Ummah agree upon misguidance and the hand of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) is over the group (of Awliya Allah), so follow " السواد الأعظم " (the Pious Group of Believers - Awliya Allah / Shuyookh of Ihsan) and whoever dissents from them departs to Hell]. (Tirmidhi, al-Hakim)
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) has commanded that everyone of us should follow that Group and whosoever dissents, will be thrown in Hell fire. People who follow this group are naturally part of Sawad al-Azam. There cannot be two opinions in this regard.
The following Hadith will clarifies how Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) hand is on the Group of Awliya Allah.
It is in Hadith - “Whoever takes a Wali of Mine an enemy, I will wage war on him; and My slave will not perform any act with which he draws closer to Me, more beloved to Me then when he fulfills what I have ordained on him; and My salve will keep drawing closer to Me by performing the Nawafil (voluntary acts of worship) until I love him, and when I love him, I will be his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hands with which he strikes, and his legs with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him; and if he seeks refuge with Me, I will grant him refuge” (Bukhari).
The emphasis on "Wali of mine" in the Hadith shows that Awliya Allah are chosen people and their Group should be followed by all of us.Awliya Allah walk on the path of Ihsan. Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) gives them vision and understanding with which they can see the facts of things. They are pious and knowledgeable. They help in purification of the Nufoos of the people (Tazkia Nafs), correct people’s notions, educate them about the inner values and significance of Islam and draw people’s attention towards Divine signs and secrets in the cosmos. They follow Prophet Mohammad’s (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) foot steps in propagation of Sahih Iman. And we all need to follow them to ensure our Salvation.The Iman in heart is of primary importance. Because, on it depends the outcome of our deeds. The following Ahadith describe about this importance.
It is in Hadith - Narrated by Anas (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ), the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said, "Whoever said "There is no God but Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) (and Mohammad صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم is His Apostle)" and has in his heart good (Sahih Iman) equal to the weight of a barley grain will be taken out of Hell. (Bukhari)It is in Hadith - Narrated by Abu Dhar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said, "Jibreel (علیـــه السلا م) said to me, "Whoever said there is no God but Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) (and Mohammad صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم is His Apostle)" among your followers and died, will enter Paradise." The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) asked. "even if he has committed illegal sexual intercourse or theft?" He replied, "Even then." (Bukhari).
The good deeds are also an important factor on which depends the rewards or punishment in this world and in Hereafter. The Ahadith mentioned above emphasize the importance of Iman (in heart) over deeds (by limbs). However, we should not think that being Muslims, we can do sins. Remember, habitual/deliberate sinners are walking on the outer ring road of Islam, bordering Kufr.
Separating religion from day to day life or deliberately insisting on committing sins or making fun/mockery of established laws of Sharia or making fun / mockery of real Muslims are very serious issues that should not be taken lightly. The angels are recording every action. Watch out, you will not even know when you were declared as non-Muslim by Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) appointed angels.
When a person commits the sin and considers that what he has done is wrong, deplorable and he should not repeat it or correct himself as soon as possible, then he remains Muslim.
Islamic beliefs of Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama'a are as follows.
Iman - They follow Imam Asha'ri and Imam Maturidi in Islamic Creed/faith (Aqeedah /Iman).
Islam - They follow Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shafi'i, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh).
Ihsan - They follow Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqu and Hazra Ali Ibn Abi Talib (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہما) in Islamic Ihsan (تَصَوُّف ).The famous Salasil (Orders) of Ihsan attributed to Hazrat Abu Bakr and Ali (رضئ اللھ تعالی عنہم) are (i) Qadri, (ii) Naqshbandi, (iii) Chishti, (iv) Suharwardi, (v) Shadhili, (vi) Badawi, etc.It is important to note that walking on a path other than the one shown in this book leads a person nowhere. This is the straight path of Islam, the path of Awliya Allah on whom is Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) bestowal in this world and in Hereafter.