Since long, humans divided religions into different sects and subsects because of their own convenience and understanding. Almost all the true and false religions have further groups founded by someone who was not entirely satisfied with some of the principles of that religion. In islam, sectarianism is totally out of question. It is because previous nations differed among themselves and became enemy of each other only because they differed in the matter of deen. Sectarianism created divisions and made the previous nations weak. The same thing has happened to Muslims despite of the fact that changing Islam is forbidden.
Allah swt say in Quran about those who differ in the matters of deen;
[003:105] “Do not be like those who splintered (into sects) and differed (among themselves), even though clear proofs had already come to them. It is they, for whom there exists the severest (most awful) punishment.”
Even the divine revelation could not satisfy people and they divided themselves according to their understanding. The verse mentioned above says the same thing. Also, Allah swt warns of the punishment for those who do such a thing. Unfortunately, today we see many a sect have been created in islam out of total ignorance. Most of these sects are associated to the people who never in the lives, said such a thing as initiate a group out of their name. Just like the hanafi sect. Imam abu hanifah was so cautious about his knowledge that he himself said that if any of his saying contradicts with islam, they throw it on the wall i.e. to leave it, shun it and ignore it. So, the pious men of Allah knew that their knowledge was bounded and they could never parallel the knowledge of the creator. But still, some of the people persisted in this sin and today we see hanafi, maliki, hanbali etc sects and their subsects and even their subsects. In another place, Allah swt say;
[006:159] “Indeed, you have nothing to do with those who cause schisms, and divide their faith into sects. The decision in their case rests with Allah; He will (pass His verdict and) tell them what they used to do.”
Allah swt tell us to leave the sectarian people and ignore them. Indeed, we cannot benefit from those who try to interpret religion with their own eyes. Such a people are to be left alone. There can be no religious benefit attained from them instead such people do all this to gain worldly pleasures. It is the trick of satan who wants humans to change religion only for the sake of displeasing Allah But satan is at war with the divine laws, he cannot win and he knows this but still in his utter ignorance and insolence, he wants to ruin others just like he has ruined himself.
Why people divided themselves into sects is answered by Allah swt in the following verses;
[023:053] “But they divided up their religion into sects each one well pleased with its own beliefs.”
[030:032] “(Don’t be one of) those who divided their religion into many sects, each happy and contented with what it holds.”
It is so true, even today we see the same thing. Every second day, there is another group of people who find something new in the religion and call themselves after the name of sect, instead of calling themselves muslim. Muslims found differences even in the placement of hands in salah and created separate groups. Today, we have mosques associated with sects. One man cannot offer namaz in the other sect’s mosque for the fear that his namaz will not be accepted. People won’t let another sect’s man offer salah ih their mosques for the fear that they might offer namaz with a kafir deviant. This shows the pathetic condition of muslims.
The religion of Allah had never been anything other than islam. Allah swt say;
[042:013] “He enacted rules (and rites) for your religion which are the same (rules) as He decreed for (the messenger) Nooh. What We have revealed to you are the same commandments as We gave to (the messengers) Ibraheem, Musa and Jesus: (namely) to establish the faith and not (disunite and) splinter into sects. (Oh Muhammad, SAW), what you are calling them towards (the worship of the One true god, Allah) is too burdensome to bear for those accepting other gods beside Him. Allah selects whom He wants, and guides along His path the one who turns to Him (in repentance).”
thus, the worship of one true God, Allah swt, was the ever existing commandment for all nations but every nation went astray just like the modern day muslims. All messengers were told to keep their nations united but all nations differed. And the sole reason which can be found is because of the poor understanding of some people.
The rabbis of bani israel used to change religion for worldly riches and fame. Similarly, the Christians started to change religion for the reasons that suited them. This is why, today, we see various versions of their scriptures. Each version described as per the understanding of one saint or the other.
Fortunately, islam has a huge edge over all other religions. It is, the Glorious Quran, our scripture is under the protection of Allah swt and no one can ever change it or even make an equal of it. Allah swt has challenged the men and jinn together to create even a verse of the like of quran and said that no one will ever be able to do this. So, because of the special blessing, Quran is preserved and a group of people is their who will remain on the right path till the last day, as per a sahih hadith.
Islam and sectarianism are totally different. Islam is Quran and sunnah, no other person could ever say anything the equal of these two sources. So, the wise people follow these two sources. If they find anything against them, they would openly oppose it and remain on the right path otherwise, punishment of this world and hereafter will be for those who do not understand.
By Naveed Shamem