Each group claims to be the right group

Question:

Your Eminence, Fitnahs (temptations) have spread in the arena of Da’wah (calling to Islam) due to the presence of many Islamic groups. Among these groups are Jama’at Tabligh, Al-Ikhwan-ul-Muslimun (the Muslim Brotherhood; a political group also calling to Islam), Al-Salafiyyah (following the way of the righteous predecessors) and many others. Each group claims to be the right group in following the Sunnah. Would you please name the groups which are truthful and which of them are more entitled to be followed?

Answer:

The group we should follow and comply with its methodology is that which follows Al-Sirat-ul-Mustaqim (the Straight Path), the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sunnah and the Qur’an. Such a group calls to the Qur’an and the Sunnah through words and deeds. With regard to the other groups, they must not be followed unless they comply with the truth. Regardless of being Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun, Jama’at Tabligh, Ansar Al-Sunnah, Salafiyyah, Al-Jama’ah Al-Islamiyyah, the so-called group of Ahlul-Hadith (Ahle Hadees), or any other group given any name, we should only obey and follow them in the truth which is supported by evidence. If their opinions contradict the evidence, they must be refuted. Thus, we should follow them in whatever conforms to the Qur’an, the Sunnah or Ijma’ (consensus of scholars).

If they contradict the truth, Muslim scholars must refute their sayings and deeds and inform them of such contradiction. Due to their knowledge of the Islamic groups and the fact that they are well versed in the rulings of Islam because of their deep understanding of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, Muslim scholars are obligated to refute any wrongful group. None of these groups is infallible; they may give correct opinions and false ones. Opinions which are proven correct by evidence from the Qur’an, Sunnah or Ijma’ are the ones to be followed without doubt. This fallibility applies to these groups and Madhabs (Schools of Jurisprudence), including Al-Hanabilah, Al-Shafi’iyyah, Al-Malikiyyah, Al-Zhahiriyyah (a group whose members follow the literal meaning of the texts), Al-Hanafiyyah or others. The opinions that are proven correct by evidence are true and those which contradict evidence from the Qur’an, Sunnah or decisive Ijma’ are wrong.

With regard to the groups calling to following other than the Qur’an and the Sunnah, they must not be followed or even imitated. We should only follow the people who call to the Qur’an and Sunnah and whose opinions are correct. They should be appreciated and followed if their opinions are correct. If not, Muslim scholars should clarify their wrong opinions and contradiction to evidence and ask them to perform Tawbah (repentance to Allah) and return to the truth. This is the duty of Muslim scholars, not the commons, since the former have deep insight and awareness of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. People must always refer to Muslim scholars to answer their queries and address their mistakes in order to know the truth.

Allah (Glorified be He) says: “So ask the people of the Scripture, if you do not know.” [Al-Nahl: 43] The Ayah (Qur’anic verse) indicates the importance of asking those who understand the Qur’an and the Sunnah. People committing or encouraging others to commit Bid’ahs (innovations in the religion) cannot fall into the category of those who know the Qur’an and the Sunnah. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.