CIF INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION

العقيدة الإسلامية الصحيحة

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAHIH IMAN AND WRONG IMAN

 

Written   By

 

Shaikh Mir Asedullah Quadri

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PREFACE

 

بِسم الله الرحمنِ الرحيم  

 الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين

 
Muslim community in the world is divided into 73 major sects and innumerable subgroups out of which only one group is on the right path of Islam. 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 each one of them claim that they are on the right path of Islam who will receive salvation on the Day of Judgement? 
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 of Islam). 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 who claim themselves Muslims, only one is on the right path, and the rest have lost the 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 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 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 this 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 is what Allah has commanded you so that you will be conscious (about Him).]  (Al-An'aam - 153). (Musnad Ahmad)
We have identified in this book what is Sahih Iman (the straight path of Islam) and what is wrong Iman (the deviant path separated from Islam).   It is an important read for all Muslims of the world.
 

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SAHIH IMAN

 

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 - Umar ibn al-Khattab (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) narrated that the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said :Verily, deeds are only with intentions. Surely, every person will have only what they intended. Whoever emigrated to Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and his Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم), then his emigration is for Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and his Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). Whoever emigrated to get something in the world or to marry a woman, then his emigration is for whatever he emigrated for. (Bukhari, Muslim)

The above Hadith confirms the fact that if you are on Sahih Iman, then all your deeds will be counted as Islamic and you will eligible for their reward.  If you have wrong Iman in your heart, then all your deeds will go in vain. 
 

What is Sahih Iman?

Belief in Allah - A Muslim has to believe in Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) as the creator of this Cosmos and no one but Him can be worshiped. Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) is free from the considerations of body, form, shape, etc. Everything in this cosmos is His creation. Allah’s (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) creations are appearing in the cosmos in specific shapes/forms/characteristics as per their facts. This is Sahih Iman taught to us by Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم).

We have written separate books about 'Belief in Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ)', Belief in Prophet Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم)' and 'belief in other articles of Iman and Islam'.  All these are important  and a must read for all Muslims.

 

WRONG IMAN

 

The wrong beliefs in Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) are as follows:  

(a) Some people associate divinity (اُلوہيت) with some human beings and call them God-men or Avataar. Some people believe different gods for different works in this cosmos and they make pictures and mud/metallic idols of these gods and worship them. Some people believe that god has a son and angels are god’s daughters. All these beliefs are polytheism, contrary to the Islamic belief of Monotheism/Sahih Iman.

(b) Some Muslim sects (Wahhabis, Kharijis and their like minded groups) believe that their God has a huge human like body with human like physical features. He is sitting over the skies separated from his creatures. They call this Sky God as Allah (Astaghfirullah). This belief is polytheism (شرک). They have created an idol of a sky God in their minds and worship this idol claiming it to be Allah. Why do they call it Allah? Because God is translated in Arabic as Allah.

(c) Some Muslim sects (Devbandis and their like minded groups) believe that God can commit sinful acts. They believe that Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) can lie, and to lie is within His powers. They argue that when people can lie and it is in their power to lie, then to deny this power for Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) is apostasy. They claim that there is a difference between saying - ‘Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) lies’ or Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) can lie - and they believe that Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) can lie.

The above belief is Kufr because it sows the seed of suspicion about Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) perfection. Allah’s (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) omnipotence (قدرتِ اِلٰہی) is relevant to His knowledge. Allah’s (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) ‘will’ is the result of His wisdom, which in turn is dependent upon His knowledge. A thing which is contrary to His ‘Wisdom’ will not appear. To believe Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) can perform unwise deeds is equal to not believing Him Wise.

The omnipotence (قدرت) of insane and mad is not subordinated to knowledge and wisdom. The omnipotence of sensible, intelligent and wise is subordinated to 'knowledge and wisdom'.

The irrelevance of 'omnipotence of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ)' to baseless things (مُستحیلات) and forbidden things (مُمتنعات) does not indicate Allah’s (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) powerlessness. The powerlessness is indicated when the thing was possible in the first place.

Polytheism and Idol worship is contrary to Islamic monotheism. If a person recites Kalima Tayyiba orally/publicly and claims himself to be a Muslim, but at the same time visits Hindu temples, Sikh Gurduwaras, Jew Synagogues, Christian Churches and participates in their functions and does not mind standing along with them in their worship in the name of Inter-faith, is a Muslim just for the namesake. There is a difference between the person who is a real Muslim and a person who is claiming to be a Muslims. The person who claims to be a Muslim but acts like non-Muslims, is surely a hypocrite. Since these so called Muslims are involved in, or participate/join in worship other than Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ), their Islamic faith is only a lip service that will neither benefit them in this world, nor will be helpful in Hereafter.

When these people, who claim themselves to be Secular/Liberal Muslims are questioned about their actions, they claim that they are doing it for peace and harmony among different faiths and sections of society. Indeed, it is a deception on their part. They are fooling people for the sake of some political/material gains.

It is in Quran - لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُم بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ [Make no excuse; you have done Kufr after your Iman.] (At-Tauba - 66).

As far as working for peace and harmony in a multi-cultural society is concerned, this can be achieved in hundreds of other ways, without sacrificing your Iman.

We are discussing the essential requirement of Islamic faith. It is important to note that hating people on the basis of their sect, faith, or ethnicity is not an Islamic practice.  Faith is a choice of every individual on this planet. They can choose any faith. To keep good relations with everyone is part of Islamic teachings.

It is in Hadith – Ibn Abbas (رضئ الله تعالى عنه) reported, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said ‘He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while the neighbor to his side is hungry’ ( Baihaqi, Sunan al-Kubra).

In the above Hadith there is no mention that your neighbor should be a true Muslim in order to help him/her in any manner needed. He/She can be anyone, belonging to any sect, faith and ethnicity. 

 

CATEGORIES OF MUSLIMS

 

The Hadith of Ihsan has categorized different groups among Muslims, as follows.

Hadith of Ihsan - Abu Huraira (رضئ الله تعالى عنه) narrated - One day while the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) was sitting in the company of some people, (angel) Jibreel (عليه السلام) came and sat, folding his knees (like a student sits in front of a teacher) and asked, "What is faith?" Allah's Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) replied, ‘Faith is to believe in Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ), His angels, (the) meeting with Him (on the day of judgment), His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.’ Then he asked, "What is Islam?" Allah's Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) replied, "To worship Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly, to pay the compulsory charity ‘Zakat’ and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan." Then he asked, "What is Ihsan?" Allah's Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) replied, "To pray as if you see Him, and if you cannot see him then you must consider that He is looking at you." (Bukhari – part of the Hadith).

As per the above Hadith, there are three categories of people in Muslim Ummah.

(i) People of (Sahih) Iman - They truthfully believe in Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and His Apostle Mohammad (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم). People of Sahih Iman will eventually get salvation.

(ii) People of Islam - There are two types of Muslims under this category, (a) People of Sahih Iman, and (b) People of wrong Iman or Faithless Muslims, the followers of deviant sects. 

The followers of deviant sects who come under the purview of apostasy / polytheism / hypocrisy / blasphemy are faithless Muslims even though they recite Kalima Tayyiba verbally, claim themselves to be Muslims and act upon certain Islamic deeds.

It is in Hadith - Abu Said Al-Khudri (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) narrated - Allah’s Apostle (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said ‘there will appear some people among you whose prayer will make you look down upon yours, and whose fasting will make you look down upon yours, and they will recite Qur'an ( in melodious voices and memorize it) but Quran will not go down their throats (they will misunderstand and misinterpret the meanings of Quran) and will go out of Islam as the arrow goes out of the bow. (Bukhari)

Some people consider that people belonging to all Sects will get salvation on the day of Judgment. Some will get instant salvation, the others will get salvation after they are punished for wrong Iman. This is not a correct understanding because the first and foremost requirement is Sahih Iman. A person who dies without the light of Iman in his heart, lived in darkness in this world, will remain in darkness in Hereafter as well. His Islamic deeds will not be useful for him for his salvation.

It is in Hadith - Abu Hurairah (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) narrated that the Apostle of Allah (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) said, 'Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) does not look at your figures, nor at your (Muslim) attire but He looks at your hearts.(Muslim)

The above Hadith testifies that Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) looks at your Iman and intentions because all your outward deeds are dependent upon your Sahih Iman. If you do not have Sahih Iman (correct Islamic faith) in your heart, all your good deeds go in vain.

It is in Quran -  وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَى مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَنْثُورًا  [ Then We will turn to whatever (good) deeds they did, reducing them (the deeds) to scattered dust. ] (Al-Furqaan - 23)

One who does not have correct knowledge, he neither has Islam nor Iman. When you have the right knowledge, you will act upon it and perform good deeds.  The affects of your actions will reflect the soundness of your knowledge. What is illiteracy?  It is a kind of darkness and obliteration. 

The one who does not have correct knowledge (صحيح ايمان) here in this world, will not be relieved of eternal torment in Hereafter. If you do not have the light of knowledge today, tomorrow (after death), it will be the darkness of illiteracy which is permanent torment.

It is in Quran -  وَمَن كَانَ فِى هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أَعۡمَىٰ فَهُوَ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ أَعۡمَىٰ [ The one who is blind (about Sahih Iman) in this world, will be blind in Hereafter] (Al-Isra - 72)

The success in the World of Resurrection and welfare in this world  depends upon the rightful knowledge (correct Islamic faith) and Allah's gnosis’.   If there is a defect in a person's faith (Sahih Iman), he has lost everything in this world as well as  in Hereafter - خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ [ He has lost (this) World and the Hereafter.]  (Al-Hajj - 11)

 

(iii) People of Ihsan - Those who have Sahih Iman (correct Islamic faith) and good Islamic deeds. These are the people who are successful in both the worlds. They are the ones who will get innumerable bounties of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) in Hereafter.

It is in Quran - إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوا وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ [ Allah is with those who are righteous and practice Ihsan. ] (An-Nahl - 128).

It is in Quran - - إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ [ Allah loves those who practice Ihsan.] (Al-Baqara - 195; Aale-Imraan - 134, 148; Al-Maidah - 13, 93).

Who are the people of Ihsan? People of Ihsan are the friends of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ).

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 Him and are righteous (abstain from everything evil). To them good tidings come. This in itself is a great felicity. (Younus 62-64).

Followers of Salafi/Wahhabi/Devbandi sects and their like minded groups do not believe in Awliya Allah and consider their pious graves as places of polytheism. The Muslims who visit their graves for barakah are called by these sects as ‘Grave worshipers’ They do not realize that it is the practice of Prophet (صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم) and Sahabah who used to visit the graves of Muslims frequently. There are many Ahadith in this context in almost all authentic Ahadith books. By doing blasphemy of Awliya Allah, followers of these sects surely invite the wrath of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ).

It is in Quran -  وَلَا يَمْلِكُ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِهِ الشَّفَاعَةَ إِلَّا مَنْ شَهِدَ بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ [ And those whom they worship besides Allah do not have the right of intercession. The right of intercession is only for those who testify to the Truth and have knowledge. (Az-Zukhruf - 86)

The above verse clarifies the difference between Prophets, Islamic dignitaries, Awliya Allah and that of Idols worshiped by idolators.

The idols, deities and false gods worshiped by idolators expecting these idols to intercede for them in front of Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) is a wrong belief.

But, the prophets, Awliya Allah and Islamic dignitaries are the ones who are assigned with the responsibility of intercession of people before Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) in this world in and Hereafter.

It is in Quran - إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ [ Your guardian (or solver of grievances) can only be Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) and His Apostle ( صلى الله عليه و آله وسلم ) and those who believe, who establish Salah, and pay Zakat and bow down (in prayer.] (Al-Maida - 55)

It is in Quran - يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُوا فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ [ O' You who belief, be mindful of Allah and fear the consequence of disobeying Him and seek the means of approach to Him and strive earnestly in His path that you may succeed] (Al-Ma'ida - 35).

Kharijis, Wahhabis, Salafies, Deobandis and their like minded groups impose Quranic verses meant for idolators on prophets and Awliya Allah and misguide Muslims and take them away from Islam.

It is in Hadith - Abdullah bin Umar (رضئ اللہ تعالی عنہ) considered the Khawarij (Salafis, Deobandis, Ikhwan and like minded groups) the worst of Allah's creation, and said, 'Verily they take the verses that were revealed about unbelievers and use them against the believers.(Bukhari)

 

HOW DO WE FOLLOW THE RIGHT PATH OF ISLAM

 

Allah (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) has provided humans with mind, heart and senses and they are required to use them in finding facts in this cosmos. As an additional help, He sent His Prophets and Apostles to teach humanity about the truth of this cosmos. Now, it is up to the individual to make good use of his faculties and find the right path. If you get attracted to the spurious, the evil/deviant scholars and men in power, then Allah's (عَزَّ وَجَلَّ) light of guidance which is inherently kept in human hearts, goes away. Once the darkness occupies the heart, the progeny of Satan and and his following devils get associated with it and lead to further darkness of evil.  If you reach this stage, there is very little hope that you will ever come back to the right path. This aspect has been described in Quran as follows.

It is in Quran - أَفَمَن شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ فَهُوَ عَلَىٰ نُورٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ ۚ فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْقَاسِيَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مِّن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ فِي ضَلَالٍ مُّبِينٍ [ If Allah renders one's heart content with submission, he will be following a light from his Lord. Therefore, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against Allah's message; they have gone far astray.] (Az-Zumar - 22).

The role of senses is important in shaping the true meanings (faith) in your heart. If these meanings are opposed to fact of the matter, this is not true faith (Sahih Iman), it is a 'biased faith', it is a wrong Iman.

All deviant sects among Muslims are suffering from the 'biased faith'. Faith is the primary factor as far as salvation is concerned. As we have described above, if you do not have truthful faith, you have lost both the worlds. All your Islamic deeds will of no use in Hereafter, if you profess a biased faith. The people who are struck with 'biased faith' never try to see logic. For them the facts are not important. It is their conviction and dependence on their wrongful deviant scholars that matters.

The following Quranic verses explain that the punishment for rejection of faith (kufr), and punishment for 'not trying to understand true faith' or having biased faith and following deviancy, is the same.

It is in Quran - كَذَ‌ٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ [ So Allah places degradation (subjects them to torment) on those who do not believe.(Al-An'aam - 125)

It is in Quran وَيَجْعَلُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ [ And He places degradation on those (subjects them to torment) who have no understanding (about true faith). ] ( Yunus - 100)

 

PEOPLE OF SAHIH IMAN

 

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. 
 

AHLE SUNNAH WAL JAM'A IN MUSLIM COMMUNITY 

 

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.
 
 

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