People say that anyone who proclaims Shahada (Islamic Testimony) and believes it in heart, is a Muslim. Since Muslim sects do not disagree on the basic faith, they all should be treated as Muslims. This is the reason all sects are allowed to perform Hajj/Umra and visit Prophet (SAWS) mosque in Madina-al-Munawwara.
Who will not agree with the above opinion? As a matter of fact we should keep peace not only between different Muslim sects, but also between the people of different religions. We can disagree with each other but it should be expressed wisely. Peaceful living is important for our survival on this planet.
Every human being thinks differently as his thinking is influenced by various factors like his upbringing, personal traits, local/cultural environment, educational background, group affiliations, interpretational skills, etc. This is the reason Muslims are divided in various sects/groups throughout the world.
All these sects claim that they are on the right path. Many of them claim that they are the real Ahle Sunnat wal Jama’a, the conventional mainstream of the Islamic nation.
We all believe in the existence of God. The concept of God as described in the Holy Quran is also available in various other religious scriptures. Even Non believers at some point of time must be wondering how come this Cosmos works on its own unless it is program -med to do so? If there is a system, then, there has to be someone who is the inventor, owner and Chief of Operations of this system.
When every one believes in the existence of God, then why human beings are divided into so many religions and ethnic groups?
It is our perception of God which distinguishes us from one another. The words ‘god’ and ‘divinity’ are used loosely by many people to an extent that people belonging to Hinduism consider everything existing in this cosmos as god. Christians believe in Trinity and claim Isa (AS) (Jesus Christ) as son of god. In Muslims there are different groups whose perception of God is different from each other. Salafis and their like minded groups believe that Allah (SWT) has hands, eyes, face and other limitations.
Some people say that we should not discuss differences of opinions among various religious groups and among Muslim sects as it creates discord among people. Yes, indeed, we should avoid it as a casual talk. If we have to discuss it for a cause, we should do it with wisdom.
As per Webster English Dictionary, sect means ‘a group of people sharing a particular religious, philosophical or political opinion, who have broken away from the main body’.
Some Muslim sects passionately propagate their individual views and their interpretations of Quranic verses and claim that what they interpret is the actual Islam. They spend their lives in propagation of their views and baptizing people from other sects and declare people of other sects as infidels, hypocrites, innovators and polytheists. Often their interpretations are based on their individual / group understanding in the meaning of the verses of holy Quran and Ahadith. If their misunderstanding is removed, the subject becomes clear.
It is estimated that there are over 73 major sects and innumera -ble smaller sub groups of Muslims whose view points on religion differ in many ways.
It is in Hadith - Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) 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 (SWT) Messenger which one is it? He replied: “Those who will remain on the path on which I and my companions are today” narrated by Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad.
It is in Hadith - It is narrated on the authority of Abdullaah ibn Amr (RU) that the Prophet (SAWS) 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 (SAWS), and that of his companions. (Tirmizi).
As per the above Ahadith-e-Nabawi (SAWS) “only one of these sects will be on the right path who will get salvation on the day of Judgment. The rest will be thrown into Hell fire permanently”.
In the light of the above Ahadith, people belonging to 72 sects and innumerable smaller / sub groups are not Muslims in the eyes of Allah (SWT) and His Apostle (SAWS).
Population of Muslim sects and their sub groups in the world is estimated to be over 1.2 billion (1,200,000,000).
How can we know the actual number of real Muslims among this huge population?
There can be a simple way. If we divide 1.2 billion by 73, we may probably get this figure.
(1,200,000,000/73) = 16,438,356
Meaning, about 16.4 million people may be on the right path.
But this figure is extremely doubtful because every sect has several sub groups and we do not know which sub group of a sect is on the right path.
For our rough calculation, if we consider every sect to have at least 3 sub groups, then to find the actual number of people who are on the right path, we will have to divide 16,438,356 / 3 = 5,479,452.
Meaning, approximately 5.48 million are real Muslims in the eyes of Allah (SWT).
The rest (1,200,000,000 – 5,479,452) = 1,194,520,548 - meaning over 1.194 billion may be treated as non-Muslims on the Day of Judgment.
The above calculation shows that, out of 1,000 (one thousand) people who claim themselves to be Muslims in the world today, about 4 (four) are possibly the real Muslim in the eyes of Allah (SWT). The remaining 996 are likely to be thrown into hell fire permanently.
These are bare facts.
People belonging to various sects need to keep their minds open and try to get to the truth rather than insist upon the correctness of their sects’ faith.
Every sect and every sub group claims that they are on the right path. How could this be possible?
It is plain common sense that 99.6% of the people who call themselves Muslims face imminent danger of rejection by Allah (SWT) in this world and in Hereafter.
While we respect each others point of view and try to live in peace and harmony, we need to seriously think of our revival in this world and our salvation on the Day of Judgment.
The above analysis shows that simple acceptance of oneness of Allah (SWT) and the prophet-hood of Mohammad (SAWS), without correct explication and truthful understanding, may not be sufficient for us.
The Islamic Testimony (Kalima Tayyiba) La Ilaha Illallah, Mohammadur Rasulullah [There is no (real) God, but Allah (SWT) and Mohammed (SAWS) is the messenger of Allah (SWT)] looks a simple believe. But indeed it is not like that. We need to find out its accurate implicated meanings and correct our beliefs accordingly.
You ask any non-Muslim in the world as to who is the Prophet of Islam, he will immediately say that Prophet Mohammad (SWAS) is the Prophet of Islam. As many religions came into being before Islam, many non-Muslims may also not mind in accepting the fact that Prophet of Islam (SAWS) is the last prophet. Non-Muslims also believe in oneness of Allah (SWT) in their own interpretations. Then, can they be called Muslims? The answer will be an emphatic No.
In the same way, among the people who call themselves Muslims, if their understanding and belief in the meaning of Islamic Testimony (Kalima Tayyiba) conflicts with the accurate implicated meanings, they will be regarded as Non-Muslims by Allah (SWT) and His Apostle (SAWS).
This is the reason Prophet (SAWS) said that out of 73 sects, only one will be on the right path, the rest will go to hell fire.
Generally people do not openly identify themselves with a sect or sub group and claim that they are Muslims even though they follow beliefs of a particular sect/sub group.
Book stores selling Islamic literature are full of religious books with varied interpretation of Islamic believes. The scholars of various sects passionately argue on correctness of their sect’s believes. In this scenario it is not possible for a common man to find the right path. Whoever reads a particular translation of the Holy Quran or religious literature written by a scholar of a particular sect, starts believing in that version and looses the right path permanently.
As has been described above, there are 73 sects in Muslims and unlimited number of sub groups. These include, (i) Kharijis, (ii) Shias, (iii) Marjia, (iv) Mua’tazila, (v) Mutashabbah, (vi) Jahimia, (vii) Bukharia, (viii) Ziraria, (ix) Kilabia, (x) Salafia, (xi) Wahabia, (xii) Ahle Hadith, (xiii) Taliban, (xv) Bohras, (xvi) Ismailia, (xvii) Aga Khanis, (xviii) Mahdavia, (xix) Sunnis, (xx) Deo Bandis, (xxi) Tablighi Jamat, (xxii) Jamat-e-Islami, (xxiii) Ikhwanul Muslimeen, etc., etc. The maximum number of sub groups are in Shias (more than 32), followed by Kharijis, Salafis, Sunnis, etc.
Several sects and their sub groups like Shias, Fatimids, Wahabis, Sunnis, etc. have ruled different countries at different times during the history of Islam. Currently, Shias are ruling in Iran. Jama’at-e-Islami is a powerful political outfit in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Wahabis are ruling most of the Middle East. Wahabi rule started in Saudi Arabia in early 20th century. Since they are economically affluent and Islamic sacred places like Kabatullah in Makka Al-Mukarramah and Masjid-e-Nabawi in Madina Al-Munawwara are under their jurisdiction, this sect enjoys major influence in the Muslim world. Many sub groups of this sect have also come into being.
Conventional Muslims (Sunnis) or Ahle Sunnat wal Jama’at have been the mainstream of Islamic nation throughout the history of Islam. But they have also been divided into many sub groups like, Barelvis, Deo Bandis, Tablighi Jama’t, Jama’t-e-Islami, etc. Deo Bandis, Tablighis and Jama’t Islami, etc., who are closer to Wahabi beliefs, are aggressive in propagation of their specific faiths. Taliban who follow Deobandi beliefs, are famous for their militancy. Barelvis are closer to Sufi traditions. Salafis and certain Sunni Sects who are influenced by Salafi beliefs are generally intolerant of other sects and regard Barelvis as out of Islam. The Barelvis are equally outspoken in defending their beliefs.
There is a great divide between various sects of Shias, Wahabis and Sunnis. Often they get involved in fatal conflicts and many people die on each side. Their mosques have become battle grounds where people are killed in suicide bombings and retaliatory attacks. Iraq is the worst example of this divide in recent history where hundreds of thousands of people have died on each side. Similar is the situation in several other places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. Muslims seem to be in a disintegrated pathetic situation around the world and it looks there is no respite in their down gradation.
Nobody could deny the fact that 1.2 billion Muslim population of the world are already facing Hell fire. Are not they facing illiteracy, hunger and humiliation in the World. Are not they seen as threat to the world peace? Are not they haunted by military, police and security agencies throughout the World? They are branded as terrorist and are murdered brutally. Their homes ravaged in wars by powerful nations.
Why their Lord is not helping them to live in peace and safety as honorable citizens in the world?
There was a time when only 313 unarmed/untrained Muslims prevailed over 1000 fully armed and trained army of Quraish in Badr. There was a time when nominal Muslim armies defeated mighty world powers like Persian Empire and Byzantine Empire. There was a time when over one hundred thousand brutal army personnel of Chengis Khan and their children accepted Islam influenced by the virtuous attributes and morality of their Muslim subjects. Allah (SWT) helped them as they were real Muslims.
Why Allah (SWT) is not helping them now? May be because 99.6% of their population has come out of Islamic fold in view of their misguided faith and wrong deeds. Alas! how unfortunate situation is this for such a huge population!
They think they are Muslims, but Allah (SWT) and His Apostle (SAWS) do not seem to accept them as such.
O’ Allah (SWT), kindly reveal the facts of things, as they are, and keep us Muslim while dying and unite us with the group of righteous people for the sake of the happiness of your devoted beloved Prophet Mohammad (SAWS).
We testify that there is no (real) God, but Allah (SWT), and Mohammed (SAWS) is the messenger of Allah – SWT. O’Allah –SWT, kindly enlighten us with the rightful belief and help us become good Muslims and provide us peace and honor in this world and Prophet’s (SAWS) intercession and salvation on the Day of Judgment. Ameen.
It is important that we think composedly, leaving all our inhibitions, premonitions, prejudices persistence and inflexibilities.
The need of the hour is to consolidate rightful faith in Allah (SWT) and His Apostle (SAWS). Allah (SWT) has assured us in Quran that no one can overpower the true believers in the world. Looking at the current state of affairs of the disintegrated Muslim society throughout the world, we need to do a serious soul searching to find out what has gone wrong with us and where we have faltered.
To be on the right path is not the name of monastic life, which is forbidden in Islam. It is not a mystery, or mystical way of life or a spiritual theory/dogma as has been portrayed by some Western writers and ignorant Muslims. It is the middle path of Prophet’s (SAWS) tradition, it is moderation and it is the path of requisite excellence.
There are many issues among various sects that are heatedly debated by their scholars. When we look at their contentions, we realize that their debates and fault finding with each other is because of their misunderstanding. If the misunderstanding is removed, the issue becomes clear. The misunderstandings are like dark massive road blocks. When these are removed, we get the light of truth in which we can walk on the rightful path of Islam and revive ourselves in this world and in Hereafter.
Living in peace and harmony with everyone in this world is a major objective for all of us. Still bigger goal is Salvation in Hereafter. Democratic and progressive Governments throughout the World talk of secularism, keeping religion out of professional life of people in order to achieve peace and harmony among various sections of society. This is good. But, let us think a little further and equip ourselves to live in peace and harmony in Hereafter as well. This is possible when we are pardoned from our lord. Our revival in both the worlds depends on our right belief and good deeds.
Islam treats all human beings as the servants of Allah (SWT). Muslims do not propagate hatred among people. The purpose of Islam is to remove misunderstand -ing from the minds of all individuals of the World.
We have to be stead fast in our faith and hold on to the rope of Allah (SWT) and purify our hearts and minds in the Divine light. We should try to be a role model for others in reformation of their attributes. Our Jihad is with our own self which is offensive in nature and permanent throughout our lives.