Unity, Groups and Parties
Profound words in regards to joining and/or acknowledging the various groups and parties that exist in the Ummah today.
I advise them all that their goal should be to follow the Book and the Sunnah and to proceed upon the methodology of the Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah, and that they should call themselves Ahl al-Sunnah, or the followers of the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ. But as for taḥazzub (bigotted partisanship) for the Ikhwān al-Muslimīn or Jamāʿah al-Tablīgh or other groups, then I do not advise that. This is a mistake.
Imām ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn Bāz (raḥimahullāh)
SHAYKH ’ABD AL-ʿAZĪZ IBN BĀZ:
[Q.1]: ‘What is the obligation upon the Muslim scholars with regards to the large number of jam’iyyaat (societies) and jamāʿāt (parties) in the Islamic lands and elsewhere, and with regards to the differences that exist between them, to the point that each group declares others to be misguided. Do you not see that it is befitting to enter into explaining the like of this manner, and to clarify the truth concerning their differences, for fear that these differences will increase and lead to evil consequences for the Muslims?’
[A.1]: “Our Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) made clear to us a single way which it is obligatory upon the Muslims to follow and traverse, and that is the Straight Path of Allāh and the methodology of His upright Religion. Allāh - the Most High - said:
“And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path. This has He ordained for you, that you may become pious.” [Sūrah al-Anʿām, 6:153]
Just as the Lord of Might and Majesty warned the Ummah (nation) of Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) against splitting and disunity, since that is one of the greatest causes of failure and of the enemy taking control, as occurs in the statement of Allāh - the mighty and Majestic - :
“And hold fast altogether to the rope of Allāh and do not be divided.” [Sūrah Ālī ʿImrān, 3:101]
And His - the Most High - saying:
“He has ordained for you the same religion which He ordained for Nūḥ, and that which We revealed to you, and that which We ordained for Ibrāhīm, Mūsá and ʿĪsá saying that you should establish the religion by doing that which you are ordered with, and make no divisions in it. Intolerable for the Pagans is that to which you call them.” [Sūrah al-Shūrá, 42:13]
So this is a divine call to unity and for hearts to be harmonized. And in any Islamic land, if there are many groups for the purpose of good, aid, cooperating in righteousness and piety between the Muslims - without there being differences between the desires of the companions and followers - then this is good, is a blessing, and produces great benefit.
However, if each of them declare others to be misguided and attack their actions, then this harm is very great and its evil consequences are very serious. Then what is obligatory upon the Muslims is to clarify the true state of affairs and to discuss with each group and sincerely advise all of them that they should proceed upon the way laid down by Allāh upon His servants, and upon that which our Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) called to. Then those who ignore this, or continue in their stubbornness, due to personal benefit or goal - known only to Allāh - then what is obligatory upon those who know the reality is to make this known about them and to warn against them, so that the people may avoid their path, and that those who do not know the reality of their affair may not fall into it and be led astray, and that they are not turned away from the Straight Path which Allāh ordered that we follow, as occurs in His - the Mighty and Majestic - saying:
“And this is My Straight Path, so follow it and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path. This has He ordained for you that you may become pious.” [Sūrah al-Anʿām, 6:153]
And from that which there is no doubt about is that the multitude of sects and groups in the Islamic society is, firstly something desired by Shayṭān, and secondly something desired by the enemies of Islām from amongst mankind. Since agreement and unification of the Muslims and their being aware of the dangers that threaten them and their ʿaqīdah (beliefs), will make them active in refuting and rebutting it, and acting in a unified manner for the benefit of the Muslims, thereby repelling the danger from their Religion, their lands and their brothers. And this is something which the enemies - from amongst mankind and jinn - are not pleased with. Therefore, they are very eager to split-up the Muslims, destroy their unity and to sow the seeds to enmity and discord between them. We ask Allāh that He unites the Muslims upon the truth and that He removes from their society every type of misguidance and every cause of discord. Indeed He is the One Who is able to do that, and He is the one having full power over it.” 
[Q.2]: ‘...and the students of knowledge refer back to you and the other major scholars and ask them. So what do you advise them? Do you advise and approve of entering (i.e. joining) the likes of these groups, such as Jamaa’atul-Ikhwān, Jamāʿat al-Tablīgh, Jamaa’atul-Jihād, and so on, or do you advise them to remain upon seeking knowledge with the students of knowledge from those who call to the way of the Salaf?’
[A.2]: “The praise is for Allāh, and may Allāh extol and send blessings of peace upon His Prophet. We advise them all to unite upon a single way and that is the way of seeking knowledge and attaining understanding of the Book and the Sunnah, and to proceed along the manhaj (methodology) of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah. I advise them all that their goal should be to follow the Book and the Sunnah and to proceed upon the methodology of the Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah, and that they should call themselves Ahl al-Sunnah, or the followers of the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ. But as for tahazzub (bigotted partisanship) for the Ikhwānul-Muslimīn or Jamāʿat al-Tablīgh or other groups, then I do not advise that. This is a mistake. Rather, we advise them that they should be together upon a single way, a single jamāʿah, advising one another to the truth and having allegiance towards Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah. This is the correct way to prevent differences. But if there are various groups upon that same way (following the Salaf al-Ṣāliḥ) – a group in one place, and another in a different place – but all of them are upon the Salafī  way, following the Book and the Sunnah, calling to Allāh and having allegiance to Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamāʿah – without tahazzub (partisanship) and without ta’assub (bigotted blind following), then that is not harmful – even if there are a number of groups – as long as their way and their goal is one.” 
SHAYKH ṢĀLIḤ AL-FAWZĀN:
[Q.1]: ‘O noble Shaykh, with regards to the serious state of affairs in which the Ummah of Islām lives – a state of confusion in people’s thoughts – particularly in matters pertaining to the Religion. For the Islamic jamāʿāt (groups) and sects have become many, and each of them claim that their manhaj (methodology) is the correct Islamic methodology which must be followed. So the Muslim is left in a state of confusion as to what he should follow and which one is upon the truth.’
[A.2]: “Splitting up is not from the Religion, since the Religion commands us with unity and that we should be single jamāʿah and a single Ummah upon the ʿaqīdah (belief) of Tawḥīd (i.e. to single out Allāh in worship) and upon following the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam). Allāh – the Most High – said:
“Indeed this Ummah of your is a single Ummah and I am your Lord, so worship Me alone.” [Sūrah al-Anbiyāʾ, 21:92]
And Allāh – the Most High – said:
“And hold fast altogether to the Rope of Allāh and do not become divided.” [Sūrah Āl ʿImrān, 3:103]
And Allāh – the Most Perfect – said:
“Indeed those who spilt-up their Religion and become sects, you have no part with them in the least. Their affair is with Allāh who will tell them what they used to do. ” [Sūrah al-Anʿām, 6:159]
So this contains a severe warning against splitting and differing. Allāh – the Most High – said:
“And do not be like those who split-up and differed after the clear evidences came to them. For them is a tremendous punishment. ” [Sūrah Ālī ʿImrān 3:105]
So our Religion is the Religion of al-Jamāʿah, and the Religion of agreement and unity. Splitting is not from the Religion, since the Religion orders that we should be a single Jamāʿah and the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: “The Believer to the Believer is like a building, one part supporting the other.”  And he (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) also said: “The example of the Believers with respect to their mutual love, mercy and affection is like the example of a single body.”  And it is known that a building and a body are a single cohesive thing, not disunited and fragmented – since if a building splits, then it will collapse; and likewise, a body, if it splits, then life will be lost. Thus, there must be unity and we must be single Jamāʿah whose foundation is Tawḥīd and whose methodology (manhaj) is the daʿwah (call) of the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam); and which proceeds upon the Religion of Islām. Allāh – the Most High – said:
“And this is My Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path.” [Sūrah-Anʿām 6:153]
So these groups, and this splitting which is present today, is not approved of by Islām. Rather, Islām forbids it severely and commands uniting upon the ʿaqīdah (belief) of Tawḥīd and upon the methodology of Islām, a single Jamāʿah and a single Ummah, just as out Lord – the Most Perfect, the Most High – ordered. And splitting and these being many (differing) groups and parties is from the plots of the devils – from the jinn and mankind – against this Ummah. So the kuffār (disbelievers) and the munāfiqs (hypocrites) have never ceased, since olden times, introducing their poison in order to split the Ummah. The Jews said previously:
“And a party of the People of the Book say, ‘Believe in the morning in that which is revealed to the Muslims, but reject it at the end of the day,’ so they turn back.” [Sūrah Āl ʿImrān, 3:72]
Meaning, that the Muslims will leave their Religion when they leave you leaving it. And the Hypocrites said:
“Do not spend on those who are with the Messenger of Allāh until they desert him.” [Sūrah al-Munāfiqūn, 63:7]
“And as for those who erect a mosque by way of disbelief and seeking to harm and disunite the Believers.” [Sūrah al-Tawbah, 9:107]” 
[Q]: ‘What is the ruling upon those who align themselves to those jamāʿāt, particularly those that are established upon secrecy and giving bay’ah (pledge of allegiance)?’
[A]: “The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) informed us that splitting would occur, and he ordered us, at that particular time, to come together and to be upon that which the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) and his Companions were upon. So he (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: “The Jews split up into seventy-one sects and my Ummah would split up into seventy-three sects. All of them are in the Fire except one.” They said: ‘Who is it, O Messenger of Allāh?’ So he replied: “That which I and my Companions are upon this day.”  And he (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, when his Companions asked him to advise them: “I advise you to have taqwá (fear and obedience) of Allāh and to hear and to obey, even if an Abysinnian slave is a leader over you. And those of you who live long after me will see many differences of opinion. So hold fast to my Sunnah and the guidance of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs after me; cling to it tightly...”  So this is the methodology which it is obligatory for all of the Muslims to follow, until the Day of Resurrection. So when disagreements occur, then they must return back to that which the Salaf (the Pious Predecessors) of this Ummah were upon, with regards to manhaj, bay’ah (pledge of allegiance), and other matters connected to Religion.” 
 Majmūʿ al-Fatāwá wa Maqālāt al-Mutanawwiʿah(5/202-204)
 Imām as-Samʿānee (d.562H) said in al-Insaab (3/273): “as-Salafī: this is an ascription to the Salaf and following their ways, in that which is related from them.” Ibn al-Atheer (d.630H) said in al-Lubaab fī Tahdheebul-Insaab (2/162), commenting upon the previous statement of as-Samʿānee: “And a group were known by this ascription.” So the meaning of this is that the term Salafī, and it’s ascription to them was known in the time of Imām as-Samʿānee – the sixth century – or before him. Thus, the term Salafī is not a term that has been recently invented, as some have mistakenly claimed! Rather, it is an ascription to the Salafand following their way.
 From a series of taped questions asked by Shaykh Abū al-Ḥasan al-Misree in the house of the noble Shaykh, ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn Bāz – hafiẓahullāh – on the 6th day of Dhu al-Ḥijjah 1416H (equivalent to the 24thof April, 1996CE).
 Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 481) and Muslim (no. 2586), from al-Nuʿmān Ibn Bashīr (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).
 Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 6011) and Muslim (no. 2586), from al-Nuʿmān Ibn Bashīr (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu).
 From a series of questions put to the noble Shaykh – hafiẓahullāh – between the 13th and 15th day of Dhu al-Ḥijjah, in the year 114113H. The questions have been reproduced from the book, Mujaaji’aat fī Fiqh al-Wāqiʿ(p. 44-45).
 Ḥasan: Related by al-Tirmidhī (no. 2792) and al-Ḥākim (1/128-129), from ʿAbdullāh Ibn ’Amr (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu). It was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albānī in al-Ṣaḥihah(no. 204).
 Ṣaḥīḥ: Related by Aḥmad (4/126) and Abū Dāwūd (no. 4607), from al-’Irbaad Ibn Saariyah (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu). It was authenticated by al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Ḥajar in Takhreej Aḥādīth Mukhtasar Ibn al-Haajib(1/137).
 Muraaji’aat fī Fiqh al-Wāqiʿ (p. 46-47)