[Q]: What is the Shari'ah ruling concerning these numerous Islamic groups, parties and organizations which differ amongst themselves in their minhaj (methodology), their modes of operations, their da'wah (call), their 'aqidah (beliefs) and the foundations upon which they are based. Especially when the group of truth is a single one, as is proven by the hadith?
[A]: We have spoken a lot about the answer to this question, therefore we shall be brief whilst speaking about it. So we say: It will not be hidden from any Muslim who has knowledge of the Book and the Sunnah and that which our Salafus-Salih (Pious Predecessors), may Allah be pleased with them all, were upon, that firstly; formation of parties and organizing into groups with differing thought, and secondly; differing in the minhaj (methodology), is not from Islam at all. Rather it is from what our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, has actually forbidden, in more than one ayah (verse) from the noble Qur'an. From this is His, the Most High's, saying:
"And do not be like those who worship others besides Allah - those who split-up their religion and become sects. Each party rejoicing in only that which is with them."
And our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, also says:
"And if your Lord has so willed, He could have made mankind a single nation. But they will not cease to differ, except those upon whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy."
So Allah, the Most Blessed the Most High, made exempted from this differing and disagriment - a differing which must occur by Allah's creational Decree, but not as something that He is pleased with or desires from us - that sect upon which He has bestowed His Mercy, as occurs in His saying, " ... except those upon whom your Lord has bestowed His Mercy." And there is no doubt whatsoever, that any group that has purity of intention for Allah, and earnestly desire to be from that nation which is exempted from this differing; and upon whom Allah has bestowed His Mercy, then there is no way to practically reach and attain this in the Islamic societies, except by returning to the Book and to the Sunnah of the Messenger, peace be upon him, and to what our Salafus-Salih (Pious Predecessors), may Allah be pleased with them all, were upon.
And Allah's Messenger, upon whom be peace, made clear the manhaj (methodology) and the correct way, in many authentic ahadith. From the Prophet, peace be upon him, that one day he drew a straight line upon the ground, and drew short lines around the straight line. Then he recited Allah, the Most Blessed the Most High's, saying:
"And this is My Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow paths other that will separate you from His Path."
He then pointed with his finger to the straight line and said that this is Allah's Straight Path. Then he pointed to the other lines away from the Straight Path and said: "At the head of each of these other paths, there is a devil calling the people to it."
And there is no doubt that these short paths are those which represent the many parties and groups. Therefore, what is obligatory upon every Muslim who truly desires to be from al-firqatun najiyah (the Saved Sect) is that he proceeds upon the Straight Path - neither turning to its left or its right. And there is no party which is succesful, except the Party of Allah, about which the noble Qur'an mentions to us:-
"Indeed, it is the Party of Allah who are succesful."
Therefore, every party which is not the party of Allah is only from the party of Shaytan and not from the party of Ar-Rahman (the Most Merciful). And there is also no doubt at all, that prociding upon the Straight Path requires correct knowledge of it, and this cannot be attained by mere organization and mere formation of parties - that desire to be upon true Islam, but not truly understanding what was the Islam that Allah, the Most Blessed, the Most High, sent down upon the heart of Muhammad, peace be upon him. And the sign of the Saved-Sect was clearly stated by the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he was asked about it - so he said, "It is that which I and my Companions are upon."
So this hadith indicates to the one eagerly siking knowledge of Allah's Straight Path, that one must have knowledge of two extremely important matters; Firstly: that which the Messenger, peace be upon him, was upon. Secondly. That which his Companions were upon. This is because the noble Companions were those who transmitted the guidance of the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and his Sunnah to us, and secondly that they were the ones who best followed this Sunnah in practice. So since this is the case, it is not therefore possible for us to have a correct understanding of the Prophet's Sunnah, except by way of his Companions ... Thus, attaining a correct understanding of Islam cannot be possible except through knowing the life examples of the Companions and how they followed this great Islam which they took from the Prophet, peace be upon him, either from his sayings, actions or tacit approvals.
Therefore, we believe with certainty, that every group that does not establish itself upon the foundations of the Book and the Sunnah and the manhaj (methodology) of the Salafus-Salih having extensively and comprehensively studied the rulings of Islam, the large and the small, the principles and the branches then this group will not be from the Saved Sect; the Sect that which procids upon the Straight Path which was indicated by the Messenger, peace be upon him, in the authentic hadith.
And if we imagined that there are separate groups in the Islamic lands, upon this manhaj (methodology), then they will not be considered as being parties, rather they are a single group, with a single manhaj and its path is a single one. Though they are separated by land, they are not, however, separated in thoughts, 'aqidah (beliefs), or manhaj. Rather this separation is only due to a physical seperation of land - as opposed to the various groups and parties, which may even be in a single land, yet despite this, each party is pleased only with what it possess. As for these types of parties, we do not believe that they are upon the Straight Path. Rather we state with certainty, that they are upon those paths - at the head of each one there is a devil calling the people to it. And hopefully this contains an answer for what has precided.