IN THE LIGHT OF THE QUR’AN SECTARIANISM IS IDOLATORY

In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most merciful

“And be not of the Mushrikeen (Idolators) of those who divided

their deen and became sects.” 30/32

IN THE LIGHT OF
THE QUR’AN

SECTARIANISM IS IDOLATORY

English Translation of the Essay:

“Quran-e- Kareem Ki Ro Say Firqabandi Shirk Hai.”

By

Khawaja Azhar Abbas
Fazil Dars Nizami

The Qur’an terms Muslims to be such a nation that observes the
deeds of all the nations of the world and its central authority to be
an observer on its own deeds. Likewise it is stated:

“Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be
witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a

witness against you. ..” 2/143

The Quran makes it obligatory on Muslims to observe and check
the deeds of the nations of the world. For this it is expedient that
the Muslim Ummah has sufficient strength and power so as to
compel the nations to act justly. And whichever nation
transgresses on a weaker group, then the Muslim Ummah will
come to the aid of the oppressed. To reach this state of arbitration
it is necessary that the Muslim Ummah have unity within itself. The
Qur’an terms Muslims as Ikhwah or brotherhood.

“The believers are naught else than brothers.” 49/10

It is obligatory on Muslims to act as brethren with each other. If
there occurs a dispute between two groups of Muslims then it is
the duty of the entire Muslim body to resolve that conflict 49/9. The
Qur’an does not tolerate divisions within Muslims at any point and
terms such as a result of not being joined with the Book of Allah.
That is why it states:

“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not

become divided. .” 3/103

In the above verse the Muslims are commanded to stay united and
not have any divisions. Its wordings are very clear. The first part is
an affirmation to do something while the latter is a negation for not
to do something. It exhorts Muslims to hold fast to the Qur’an and
is clear that sects come about when the rope of Allah is not held
on to but is released, namely when Muslims do not hold the the
Quran but ignore its teachings. When this happens, sects begin to
appear. It is obvious from this verse that the basic reason behind
existence of sects is abandonment of Quran. In another passage it
is stated:

“And be not of the Mushrikeen (Idolators) of those who divided

their deen and became sects.” 30/32

In the above verse the Qur’an has very clearly declared the
sectarianism is Shirk or idolatry. Similarly sectarianism is detested
by another verse:

“Lo! As for those who sunder their ‘Deen’ and become schismatics,
no concern at all hast thou with them. Their case will go to Allah,
Who then will tell them what they used to do.” 6/159

This verse makes it clear that those who engage in sectarianism
have no connection with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The
above three verses establish that those who divide their deen and
become sects have neither any association with the Qur’an nor
with the Messenger of Allah. No matter how much a sect claims to
be on the right path, the Quranic verdict concerning them is clear.
They have no link with the Quran or with the Messenger (pbuh)

due to their act of Shirk (association with Allah). The Qur’an does
not suffice on the above but further states:

“And be ye not as those who separated and disputed after the
clear proofs had come unto them. For such there is an awful

doom.” 3/105

The above verse states that if sectarians persist in their
divisiveness even after clear guidance has reached them they will
receive punishment from Allah. The Quran has given different
categories of Allah’s punishment:

(1) In worldy life, ignominy and shame is a punishment of Allah
20/134.
(2) Fear and hunger is a punishment from Allah 16/112.
(3) The cessation of Divine blessings is a punishment from Allah
7/96.
(4) To fall into groupings and parties is a punishment from Allah
6/65.
(5) To have mutual conflict and differences is a punishment
from Allah 3/104.
(6) For differences and conflict to be eradicated is a blessing
from Allah 11/118.

The above are some categories of Allah’s punishment. Similarly
the Qur’an has narrated all those trials and tribulations that fell
upon the people of Firaun as a punishment 20/47. It has stated in
verse 3/105 that which ever nation will fall into sectarianism it will
have a grievous punishment and has identified the various forms

of these punishments that befall on them. As a result of
sectarianism our people are also under such punishments but we
do not realize this.

The final stage of life is the period close to death. It is at this stage
that man wishes that his creator is satisfied with him. The Qur’an
states that at that point:

“..do not die except as Muslims.” 3/102.

In the final stage we have to be only Muslims and nothing else. We
are not labeled with any sect. Quran states that we are all from
Millat-E- Ibraheem and that Allah has named us as Muslim 22/78.
Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) also called himself Awal-Muslimeen or
the first of the Muslims (of his time). Therefore in accordance with
his Sunnah, we too should call ourselves as Muslims and not
associate ourselves with any sect. We have briefly stated the
Quranic verdict concerning sectarianism namely that it has
detested this tendency. But it is amazing to note that sectarianism
is prevalent among Muslims and many see it being right! Scholars,
Mosques, Madrassas, Institutions; all seem to be affiliated with one
sect or the other. Despite the clear-cut rejoinders from Quran they
are still falling into sects. The claim is made that there is no
objection on sects; the objection is on their mutual differences. If
they do not have differences then there is no harm in them.
However this claim overlooks the fact that all sects consider
themselves to be right and everyone else to be wrong, hence they
are bound to have differences with each other. This is not only
against Quran but also practically impossible. It is not possible for

sects to have mutual respect and tolerance because they believe
that one group is right and everyone else is wrong. Point of
reflection is what is the definition of a sect? How they are formed
and how they can be eliminated? As the Quran is a universal life
code, it has given principles for living and formation of society. As
for the bye-laws, it has left this on each generation to devise these
in the light of Quranic permanent values. The Muslim government
will establish these bye-laws in accordance with the needs of the
time. In the Prophetic era and the era of Khilafat-E- Rashida these
bye-laws were framed. But thereafter the Monarchs abolished the
Khilafat and started to make laws by their own discretion. These
bye-laws that they framed were the Fiqh and Shariat of their time.
This Shariat and Fiqh were not meant for all times to come but
were framed keeping in view the needs of a particular era. It was
only the Divine law that was meant for all times.

“Follow that which is sent down unto you from your Lord, and
follow no protecting friends beside Him. Little do ye recollect!” (7:3)

The Shariat and Fiqh that caused divisions among the Muslims
were codified during the era of the Abbasids. Their governments
were by Muslims but were subservient to the Monarchs of the time.
They were not purely Islamic governments. Just like today the
governments of Turkey, Morocco, Egypt etc. are governments by
Muslims but not purely Islamic governments, the Abbasid
monarchy too was a government of Muslims but devoid of Islamic
laws in its legislature. The laws framed by that era were not meant
to be binding on Muslims of a later era. It is because of the
differences in such bye-laws of Fiqh that sects came into being

among the Muslims. Today if we establish an Islamic government
and derive bye laws in the light of Qur’an, then such differences
and sectarian divisions can be eliminated. For example consider
the Quranic order:

“..Then strictly observe the fast till nightfall ..” 2:187

Various jurists who had a difference of opinion as to when night
starts interpreted the above differently. As a result the timings of
breaking the fast got confused. If an Islamic government decides
when the night falls and makes it binding on all Muslims to follow
its orders then in this manner sectarian differences will be effaced.
Similarly the Quran has given the relaxation to the traveller to
observe the fast after he completes his travels. But it has not
defined travelling. This is to be done by an Islamic government
then the difference of opinion will be resolved. Another example is
the punishment of theft. The definition of thief and ‘hand’ has not
been done in the Qur’an, therefore the punishment of cutting the
hand of thief is to be interpreted by the Islamic government. Sects
came into being because of various schools of jurisprudence. If we
were to establish an Islamic government today, which frames
jurisprudence in the light of Quran, then this would eradicate
sectarianism from our society.