THE QURANIC PERSPECTIVE ON SECTARIANISM:
On Islamic Sects in General
There is an idea among Western scholarship on Islamic subjects that the division of the Prophetic community into 73 groups was something approved of and justified by the hadith, “My community will separate into 73 sects”. Understanding it this way does not reflect the true nature of revealed knowledge. This has never been the implication of the hadith, nor does it reflect Islamic scholarly understanding of the hadith. The hadith pertaining to the 73 sects is to be understood within the context of all of the hadith pertaining to the end times, with the methodology that applies to them.
The end of times hadiths were not predictions made on a whim, hoping they would one day come true, like the sayings of mystics and soothsayers, but were statements describing inevitable occurences taking place as a natural symptom of the degeneration of the human race in the time where their corruption would be at the highest rate, and the culmination of the forces in power on this earth in relation to their behaviour at that time. The end of times hadith also, besides being descriptions of inevitable realities, were informed to the believing community with the specific intention in mind that they be aware of it. After being aware of it and informing their descendants of these realities, their job would be to follow the Prophetic guidance regarding them. Some people may misunderstand the Prophet as somebody who took pleasure in informing people of unhappy situations, who simply foresaw calamities without giving instructions on how to deal with, and worse yet, in case of people of most extreme delusions about him, someone who used divine power to ordain the future with his words and prayers and then left the rest of us to deal with it. All of these assumptions are false, baseless, and abominable suggestions. The Prophet had no such power that the future was shaped by words he uttered, made true by divine decree, that is the height of falsehood, he was simply describing things which already existed or were inevitably going to exist. If people believe in him this way, it is their fault for following the assumptions of their egos instead of divine guidance. Rather, the End of Time hadiths should be understood as inevitable occurrences foreseen by the Prophet, informed by divine revelation, in which he described approaching evil, and then diagnosed his followers with the remedy for these situations. Such is the case with all of them, without exception, to the extent that learned Muslims will feel no shock or surprise at the arrival of the Antichrist, unlike most of deluded humanity, and know how to avoid his tricks. Therefore, when understanding the hadith about the division of the community, the news is shocking at first, but later becomes quite understandable, that if it has been the way of humanity to ignore divine signs and rather follow deluded opinions inspired by devils, and past Prophets’ faiths such as Christianity and Judaism were infilitrated, it was inevitable that it would happen with this community also.
Now that you are convinced at how natural and normal this is, you are ready to accept the Prophetic advice on how to stay clear of the problems of divisions within the Islamic community. You will realise, that it is in fact a division of heretical elements away from the main core of believers at the centre, rather than a division of this centre itself, alleviating you of any worries. Then you will adhere to the prophetic advice regarding this period which is to stay away from conflicting sectarian groups and adhere to the main majority of believers known throughout history as Ahlus Sunnah Wa’l Jama’ah. The Prophet assured us of the continuation of this group until the arrival of the Antichrist, saying “My community will never gather upon misguidance”. It is a shame then, that Western scholars have so grossly misinterpreted this hadith, some believe that the hadith was fabricated to justify the sects, and some, using as evidence the almost obsessive nature by which certain medieval scholars categorised sects almost as if they wished to justify the hadith, claim that the sects themselves were fabricated to justify the existence of the hadith, again, misunderstanding the descriptive nature of revealed knowledge, treating it as if it were a future prediction of some fortune teller.
The hadiths of the Holy Prophet regarding future calamities and the coming of the end of the world should therefore not be treated on the same level as the predictions of Nostradamus. Due to the mistake of certain earlier scholars who appeared to have treated this hadith in this manner and created lists of various sects to fit in this hadith, as they did with the hadiths on the mujaddid, the prophecised reviver to come at every century, Western scholars have tried to explain away the apparent embarrassment by classing the hadith as fabricated or saying that it was misinterpreted. None of these are needed however if one understands the fundamental nature of revealed knowledge of the kind brought by Prophet Muhammad alayhisalaam, who has always been greatly underestimated by many who have studied him without the proper insight. When it is understood that the hadith sayings descriptions of inevitable occurences, and are not simple predictions made on a whim, or borrowed from other sources, the need to find explanations for their apparent ‘non fruition’ becomes void. The divisions within the community are discernible through moderate study, as is the nature of the saved group. That is all that needs to be known. We will discuss how Western scholars have misunderstood this hadith however for the sake of knowledge.
Western Scholars Attempt to Understand Hadith: Excerpt
Palgrave suggested that the idea of the 72 sects came from the New Testament account of Jesus's 72 disciples. Goldziher's suggestion is that this tradition is an erroneous interpretation of a word which originally meant something quite different, this wrong interpretation having changed the primitive form. Meaning, he thinks that the word used to describe sects was changed from its original word meaning branches. He is saying that this hadith is a mistake. Many scholars narrated this hadith, many hadith experts, but Goldziher feels he has a better idea about its origins, offering the explanation that the hadith was the result of intellectual Chinese whispers. The tradition he feels it is morphed out of is the one about “branches of faith”. Bayhaqi wrote a book on this hadith.
Excerpt from Farq bayn al Firaq: http://planetaislam.com/islamic-library/Farq_baynal_Firaq.pdf
The tradition which has become thus misinterpreted is, according to Goldziher, the one quoted by the great traditionalist Bukhari, "Faith has 60 and some branches, and modesty is one branch of faith". This same tradition appears a little later, as follows: " Faith has 70 and more branches, of which the highest is the belief that there is no God but Allah, and of which the lowest is the taking out of the oath what is to be rejected; and modesty is a branch of faith" (Muslim, Sahih, ed. Cairo 1288 A. H., vol. i, p. 126) .This use of the word branch gradually came to have the meaning of branching off, dividing; and finally firkah having been substituted for "Shu'ab," we have the tradition of the 72 or 73 sects. Other rather interesting explanations of this arbitrary division are to be found in Steinschneider's article in Z. D. M. G., vol. iv, p. 147. Here the suggestion is made that it can be traced back to the Jewish tradition about Moses and the 70 elders; that Moses chose six elders from each tribe, except Levi, which being a model tribe would not take offense if slighted, and was therefore asked for only four representatives, Moses himself constituting the seventy first elder. This number the Mohammedans must increase; and they therefore claim 73 sects. Another view is that the origin is astronomical, while a third derives it from the 70 languages of the Tower of Babel; and a fourth from the 2 letters in Allah's name, a tradition drawn from the Jewish legend of the 2 letters with which Yahweh will free the children of Israel.
Shahrastani, Baghdadi, and ibn-Tahir, as orthodox Sunnites cling to the hadith, and strive to whip the various sects into line, cutting, inserting, and combining, till they reach the number of 73. Ibn-Hazm, on the other hand, disregards the hadith altogether. Of these writers, the three whom we are going to consider, Baghdadi, Shahrastani and ibn-Hazm, although differing in details, agree more or less in the main divisions. Being orthodox Sunnites themselves, they cannot disagree about that sect. The unorthodox they divide as follows:
Shahrastani groups them under the four main headings: Kadariyah, Sifatiyah, Khawarij, and Shiite.
Ibn-Hazm: Mu'tazilah (much the same as the Kadariyah), Murji'ah, Kharijiyah and Shiite.
Baghdadi: Kadariyah, Kharijiyah, Murji'ah, Shiite.
In the subdivision of the Shiites, which is the next most important sect to the Sunnites:
Shahrastani gives the following divisions: Kaisaniyah, Zaidiyah, Imamiyah, Ghulat, Isma'iliyah;
Ibn-Hazm gives only two subdivisions, the Zaidiyah and the Imamiyah (or Rafidiyah).
Baghdadi: Zaidiyah, Kaisaniyah, Imamiyah; the Ghulat he excludes entirely from the Ummat al-Islam.
With such an array of sects as the above statements indicate, we are led to wonder what were some of the causes for disagreement. The average student of Islam is likely to imagine that every Muslem must accept the Quran as infallible. After a glance at some of the Islamic works on sects, however, it is apparent that the only thing upon which all Moslems agree is the creed: "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the prophet of Allah." Everything aside from this has, at some time or other, been attacked by some scholar or leader. If these men limited themselves to attacking or arguing over questions really vital to Islam, such as the necessity for daily prayers, the pilgrimage, the giving of alms, etc., a Mohammedan work on sects might prove most interesting reading. As a matter of fact, these subjects seem to occupy them far less than their hair-splitting quibbles over the question of whether Allah touches his throne or not, whether a man is a believer, an unbeliever or a heretic, whether an interrupted prayer is acceptable, etc. These discussions strongly resemble in pettiness the scholastic debates of the mediaeval Christian Church, regarding the number of angels able to stand on a pin-point at one time, or the consequences attending a mouse's eating the consecrated host. The result is rather dull reading, and at times appears not only dull but exceedingly childish
HYPOCRITES ARE NEGATIVE-EMOTIONALLY FUELLED INDIVIDUALS.
I have identified that in Islamic Psychology, there are two groups of people with regards to how they channel negativity, one is generally positive and the other is self destructive.
Hypocrites, on a psychological level, are individuals who have been unable to healthily process negativity they faced and allow it to simmer inside themselves, without taking effort to remove it. The ability to attain closure is beyond them. How you recognise this tendency when you meet them is that whereas a normal individual shows restraint, hypocrites only have the ability to express their fears to any audience. To explain a little further, a ‘normal’ individual in this case would be experiencing x amount of problems, however, in average interactions, they show restraint, they keep their problems at the back of their mind, with the intention to deal with them at a later stage. They do not allow average people to feel the pain/angst they are going through, out of consideration and desire not to burden those individuals with their own problems. Hypocrites are opposite to this. They spend their time nurturing mental abnormalities/delusions/fears, and when they interact with natural/free individuals, they unleash this negativity on their ‘subjects’ by simply spewing their concern for certain issues. Whenever you try and steer the conversation back to something normal, hypocrites make this impossible by the force of their inner negativity. When engaged in this type of interaction, you will find it almost impossible to gain victory, this is because despite how much positive will power/force you may possess, you still need a lot of training to simply withstand the barrage of negativity this individual is coming out with. One of the reasons why interactions such as this will fail for you is that these people do not talk rationally, reason is not the basis of their interaction. They speak purely on the basis of a recording/template they have logged into their memory, fuelled by emotion, and this is simply played on repeat. This is their general practice. Thus, if you try to interject or divert it, or worse, if you make the mistake of empathising with them, pretending as though you agree, they will continue to pull you back into further levels of negative discussion. Since natural/rational individuals only generally try to communicate out of positivity, you cannot use the tactic of ‘fight fire with fire’ in this situation, because this is not your style, so victory is closed from this angle. Second, if you try and win through positivity, you will not attain victory since your opponent simply rejects positivity, he/she does not have the capacity for it. When you realise that conversing with people that are psychologically defined as ‘hypocrites’, you must come to the conclusion that talking to them is a complete waste of time. Usually, after an interaction with one of these individuals, you will feel a strain on your mind/soul, and this is common, but know that it is the objective of a hypocrite to use his lower state to try and pull you down to his level, you will recover, but you have to make sure to avoid and to show enmity to these types of individuals in the future. This is why Islamic scholars prescribe that you completely avoid hypocrites, refusing to talk, sit, eat, least of all marry with them, as their lifestyle is completely opposite to yours, even though they may appear exactly the same. The Quranic term of ‘hypocrites’ is applicable here as you know, but also the legal term of ‘innovator’, an innovator is a person working for a cult agenda, designed to subvert and undermine the activity of ‘believers’, and Islamic scholars, such as the Indian Sufi, Ahmed Rida Khan, have instructed people to take them seriously and treat them severely. He writes “Islamic living commands humiliation and severe treatment of men of innovation and giving respect to them. In books of doctrine, like ‘Sharh Maqasid’, the ulema of Islam wrote “it is necessary to treat severely, to humiliate, to refute, and to expel men of innovation (bida)”. (Fatawa al Haramayn, p.1.) He wrote during a time in which people the like of which have been described above also claimed they belonged to the Islamic faith and claimed that they wanted unity with the believers. Its quite dangerous, as your life could be affected by negativity, the quality of your experience will deteriorate, all of this because of vibes coming to you from a source you would never suspect.
HOW TO ELIMINATE EVIL/ ‘THE ART OF FIGHTING WITHOUT FIGHTING’:
Once it becomes clear that it is impossible to win against hypocrites by giving them attention, a person will need to understand that a completely different tactic is needed.
Hypocrites/negative individuals thrive on your attention. They project negativity out into the world, in the hopes that some naïve individual will foolishly return it, thus giving affirmation and reality to their existence. This is the essence of their activity. The species identified in the Quran as Jinn also have this purpose, they live on a lower frequency than Man, they envy the power of the human soul, they envy humanity for other reasons also, and through feeding on fears and hidden inhibitions, they suck the energy out of human beings to sustain their own existence. Hypocrites pursue the same activity except within the paradigm of human life. It is natural to assume that they share the same parasitic existence as the metaphysical jinn. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal is cited in Suyuti’s book on Prophet Medicine as having said that it is sufficient for an individual to avoid ‘Black Magic’ a common form of negative energy, that he disregards it and considers its influence as weak. Wise men know this, as they know giving importance to some form of evil only amplifies the ability it has to affect us. As for those people who only focus on positive energy and higher powers, their lives are rarely affected by external negativity, such as that from jinn and hypocrites, as they never attract them with their will power, they keep their willpower focused on that which is real, and thus keep themselves safe. This is the first step to removing the effect of cult propaganda and Satanic influence from your life, a) belittling its importance and considering it as weak, and this is not the same as underestimating a valid enemy, it means to consider weak a possible threat so that it does not overcome you with how your mind perceives it.
When you carry out this practice, you will understand that evil only thrives when you give it importance and when you give it attention. Giving it attention gives substance to its existence and gives it a reason to continue its activity, you are giving it life with your own attention to it. Going up in a frenzy every time you see a ‘deviant’ and shouting about it at the top of its voice is the same as deifying and solidifying that individual/group, you have turned it into a God that you must consistently give payments to and without which you do not attain rest. That is the main principle that should be taken account of here.
Secondly, the next stage is to strategically remove the influence of these groups from your own life by understanding them and placing them in your mind strategically. This means you need to come to terms with them and understand their influence is only limited, you should know the extent of their evil, and then put them to rest, so that you can have the ability to sweep away their subterfuge easily and continue to live your life without giving them any control over you.
There is no real third step except to combine the above two in a more creative and concrete fashion, thinking about them strategically and logically and figuring out what would be the best way to shut them down at the source. You need to have belief that this is possible and then simply watch out for signs that show you how to do this.
Also, lastly, you need to make sure you are not fooling yourself. There are many people who deceive themselves into thinking they are truly striving after a just cause and making a difference by causing a fuss over this and that form of evil, but really it could be just that they are doing it out of inferiority complex, and to affirm to themselves that they are righteous, perhaps not out of genuine concern for those issues. This is one of the most dangerous traps and could take your life for a drastic turn if you let it. It is important not to live a life you ‘think’ is good, just so you can be free of the need to constantly act on your feet, and to try and live a life of certainty, where you know you fight for truth/justice because you know they are genuinely important, and not out of self-deceit, laziness, following the herd, etc.
This project aims to represent a move in the right direction towards solving the problems that face us today. What this means is that we are taking moderate and easily achievable steps, and dealing with evil in a sober and technical fashion, not allowing any emotion to come into the exchange. This is more frustrating to them than any display of random extremism/protest. You should deal with them just in the same way you deal with your bills at the end of the month, or the plastic wrapping of your sandwhich from lunch: ‘swift and painless disposal’.
This particular document represents using this tactic, and should be used as a form of anti-cult propaganda, just use the bullet points and fire them in a direction you think they need to go. This takes away your energy from constantly repeating the cycle of revisiting the same books to bring out the same refutation, or even worse, exerting the energy to bring out new refutations, which you know your enemy will only ignore. You should understand it is not the evidence/concept that concerns them, they are only focusing in tiring YOU out, so the sooner you realise this, the sooner you will escape from your problems, or remain subdued by them.
SUNNISM VERSUS CULTS AND SECTS: UNDERSTANDING THE SECTARIAN MINDFRAME VERSUS ‘PROPHETIC THOUGHT’.
-We must oppose a mentality that projects the boundaries of what is known as ‘Sunnism’ as a sectarian/cult agenda, this is displayed when reacting to people who do not come from a Subcontinental background, and people ask “Is he Sunni?”. Checking this becomes a tiring practice and a source of mental burden. The principle with regards to any individual is to leave him be until there is some evident sign that he means ill towards Islam or Islamic theology. Even so, there are people who sit in wait for signs of ‘deviance’ so that they can take action, and thus ‘defend the faith’, in the style of Ahmed Rida Khan. This is equally an infectious disease, and is a manifest sign of cult activity, when an individual is so obsessed about an external fear that he sits in waiting for someone who appears different. The mentality of these weak minded individuals has most people on the edge of their seats. Let it be known that there is sufficient room within Islamic thought for an individual to grow within his thought and entertain certain scenarios without choosing that as his final position (aqida), and real Islamic theology has a preventative approach towards takfir, it discourages the act of dismissing someone as unislamic until a very extreme limit has been breached. We are not talking about obvious cases here, such as Deoband, and if it has not become clear what our position is on such incidents through this document, then there is no mental institution that can house you, but here we address regular everyday incidents that are perceived by ‘hyper-conscious’ individuals to be a sign of ‘heresy’. They give takfir to an individual without any knowledge of psychology or theology, and provoke much wrath. They are the basis of what is known as ‘Sunni-Wahhabism’, when an individual uses the concepts of Sufism and Sunni law, but his entire being operates on a Kharijite/wahhabite like frequency, with the same agenda to ‘wipe out the deviants’. This is a deeply deluded mindframe, which considers the majority of people as ‘astray from guidance’, and this was the mentality of the Wahhabis, about whom a verdict is cited in this document that “Whoever considers the entire nation to be astray, he himself is a disbeliever”, this is because his extreme awareness of disbelief has led him to enter the same psychological state himself. It must be reiterated, that the situation in which Ahmed Rida Khan lived was different from the situation we face today, and you cannot employ the same tactics. This is because in his day, there was a culture of reading fatawa and writings of scholars, in the same way people read newspapers, and evil was restricted to places like Deoband, Nadwa, etc, and so too was their potency concentrated, when he compiled a survey about their beliefs, and scholars endorsed it, it had a great impact and problems were solved by it. In this day however, reading such literature is a specialist activity and is not generally pursued, and there is a lot of literature going around on different subjects, thus it is not possible to grab the mind of an individual/ solve a theological problem just by writing about it. In the past, one man could have written a statement against Islam, and there would be an equal amount of responsible individuals to address it, today, any number on individuals can write what they like on a ‘YouTube’ comments page or on a blog, and it is impossible to trace. It is not considered wise that you simply spend all your days on the internet looking for such cases and treating each individual incident one by one, because this is what ‘Ahmed Rida would do’. This method does not lead to any significant progress, and is a neverending cycle, furthermore, it denotes that the individual you are talking to is of sufficient standing in society and intellectual prowess that teaching him a higher concept will actually make a difference. Most people who adopt positions such as ‘The dead do not hear or see anything’ or ‘Muhammad was a man, not made of light’, are doing so as a result of their own growth as individuals, and at their stage, adopting those beliefs would probably cause them mental disturbance, and it is not possible to accelerate a person’s learning so that it can come up to your level, you can only bring them up to their own current best level. For this reason, a proper approach to these incidents, which are important in their own right but to a far lesser degree than many modern students suppose, is to use the template/platform provided by ‘Sunni Awareness Initiative’, and tackle these issues using the template document and using the means listed in the ‘Plan of Action’ document. It represents putting a problem to the side and allocating a set procedure for dealing with it, rather than going up in flames every time a similar incident comes up, and also, it means not to go looking for these incidents.