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A History of the Ahlul Hadeeth
  • A History of the Ahlul Hadeeth

A History of the Ahlul Hadeeth

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 A Study of the Hadith about the Saved Sect And that it is The People of Hadeet,  It was narrated from Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood among us and said: “Those who came before you of the people of the Book split into seventy-two sects, and this ummah will split into seventy-three: seventy-two in Hell and one in Paradise, and that is the jamaa’ah (main body of Muslims).”

Narrated by Abu Dawood (4597) and others; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/128), who said: it is an important hadeeth that represents a basic principle. It was classed as hasan by Ibn Hajar in Takhreej al-Kashshaaf (63). It was classed as saheeh by Ibn Taymiyah in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (3/345), al-Shaatibi in al-I’tisaam (1/430), and al-‘Iraaqi in Takhreej al-Ihya’ (9/133). It is mentioned frequently and often quoted as evidence by the scholars in the books of Sunnah, and it was narrated from a number of the Sahaabah via many isnaads, most of the soundest of which specify the number of sects as being seventy-three.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) described the saved group as the jamaa’ah, i.e., the consensus of the Muslim scholars. In other reports he also described them as “the vast multitude”, as in the hadeeth of Abu Umaamah and others which is recorded by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim in al-Sunnah (1/34) and al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer (8/321), with an isnaad that is hasan li ghayrihi (hasan because of corroborating evidence).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also described them in the following terms: “My ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of whom will be in Hell except one group.” They said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: “(Those who follow) that which I and my companions follow.” This is mentioned in the hadeeth of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr which was recorded and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi (2641). It was also classed as hasan by al-‘Iraaqi in Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (3/432), al-‘Iraaqi in Takhreej al-Ihya’ (3/284) and al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

This is the clearest sign that the Muslim can use to determine what is the saved group, so he should follow the way of the majority of scholars, those whom all the people testify are trustworthy and religiously-committed, and he should follow the way of the earlier scholars among the Sahaabah, Taabi’een and the four Imams and other scholars, and he should beware of every sect that differs from the main body of Muslims (jamaa’ah) by following innovation (bid’ah).

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

The sign of the people of bid’ah is that they do not follow the salaf. End quote from Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/155). 

He also said (3/346): The sign of these groups – i.e., the seventy-two groups that go against Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah – is that they forsake the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. The one who follows the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus is one of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah. End quote.

 Al-Shaatibi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

These are regarded as sects because they differ from the saved group with regard to some fundamental issues of religion and basic rules of sharee’ah, not with regard to minor issues, because differences with regard to minor issues does not lead to division and factionalism, rather factionalism occurs when there are differences concerning fundamental issues of Islam.

Al-I’tisaam (1/439).

If some Muslim groups stand out from others because of a specific method of da’wah and working for Islam, but they do not go against Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah in their ‘aqeedah, then they are not to be regarded as doomed groups, rather they are among the saved group in sha Allaah, if they follow the way of the Sahaabah and Taabi’een in ‘aqeedah and action.

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