‘Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jama’ah is composed of three groups (theologically)
The Athariyyah and their Imam is Ahmad ibn Hanbal (ra).
The Asha’riyyah and their Imam is Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (ra).
The Maaturidiyyah and their Imam is Abu Mansoor Al-Maaturidi (ra).’
(Imam Saffirini al-Hanbali as-Sufi (ra)
Ahlus Sunnah. This is a broad straight path upon which there are different legitimate thoughts over which God knows best. Ahlus Sunnah is the group who are the real authentic Muslims, they follow the whole teaching of Islam as passed through authorized chains of transmission, originating with God, via Angel Gabriel and Muhammad (saws) and they follow the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah (The Holy Book and the Way of the Prophet (saws). The people of the majority stay with the Orthodox believing mainstream and follow the way upon which the great figures of Islam were on, such as…
- the Holy Prophet (saws),
- Hadhrat Abu Bakr (raa),
- Hadhrat Umar al Khattab (raa),
- Hadhrat Uthman ibn Affan (raa),
- Hadhrat Ali ibn Abu Talib (raa),
- Imam Hassan al Basri (raa),
- Imam Zaid ibn Ali (raa),
- Imam Jafar as Sadq (raa),
- Imam Malik (raa),
- Imam Abu Hanifa (raa),
- Imam Shafi’i (ra),
- Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (ra),
- Imam Ashari (ra)
- Imam Maturidi (ra),
- Imam Tahawi (ra),
- Iman Abu Yusuf (ra),
- Imam Shaibani (ra),
- Imam ibn al Qasim (ra),
- Imam Ibn Wahb (ra),
- Imam Sahnun (ra),
- Imam Baqillani (ra),
- Imam Ibn Abi Zayed (ra),
- Imam Ibnul Arabi (ra),
- Qadi Iyad (ra),
- Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (ra),
- Sheikh Moinudeen Chisti (ra),
- Imam Qurtubi (ra),
- Imam Qarafi (ra),
- Imam Nawawi (ra),
- Imam Birgivi (ra),
- Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi (ra),
- Imam Saffarini (ra),
- Shah Waliullah (ra),
- Sheikh Muhammad Ali Sanusi (ra),
- Sheikh Hajji Imdadullah (ra),
- Bediuzzaman Said Nursu (ra),
- and many, many, many others, both famous and less known…..
Ahlus Sunnah is the group of the vast majority of the historical and the modern Muslims, be they Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi or Hanbali in their school of the understanding of Divine Law. Most famous modern scholars are from Ahlus Sunnah, most modern Muslim groups represent Ahlus Sunnah and most Mosques are run by Ahlus Sunnah.
Some inspiring modern Sunni Figures
Those who cause trouble between real Muslims should beware of the following…
…you will not enter Paradise until you submit, and you will not submit until you love one another;
greet each other with peace and you will love one another;
and beware of hatred, for it is the razor;
It doesn’t shaves hair, it shaves away the religion.
(Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, 260)
Not Ahlus Sunnah but Muslim?
There are some Muslims who are not Sunnis but are essentially like Sunnis in nearly all respects. These include the moderates amongst the Zaydis and other Shiah who neither curse the blessed companions nor go to other extremes, the moderates amongst the Ibadites who avoid extremes in their religion and some other Muslims who are not Sunnis but are essentially like them. God knows best about them.
Harmful and Misguided Groups
Confused and misguided ‘Muslim’ groups are a very small minority of the people claiming to be Muslims and it is best to stay well away from them, they include the following sects;
- The terrorist Kharijites who think that Islam is a religion of death and destruction.
- Extremist Pseudo-Sufis (who clearly go beyond the bounds of Divine Law in their beliefs and deeds) – real Islamic Sufis are on the Sunnah (e.g. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (ra),
- Extremist Modernists (who clearly go beyond the bounds of Divine Law in their beliefs and deeds),
- Extremist Pseudo-Salafis (who go into far-fetched extremes in their religion),
- Extremist Hadeeth Rejecters (who totally reject the Hadeeth narrations and reject much of the Sunnah of the Prophet),
- Extremist Takfiris of various orientations (Salafi/Sufi/Shiah) (who declare the masses of the believers to be disbelievers),
- Extremist Anthropomorphists (who go beyond all bounds in their comparing God to the created beings and fail to assert that Allah is beyond comparison or imagining),
- Batinites (Ismailis and all the misguided sects that sprang from them),
- Rafidites extremists (a misguided type of Shiah Muslim who, among other things, curse the blessed Companions of the Prophet (saws),
- Nasibihs (those who hate Ali (raa) the beloved son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet (saws),
- Mutazlites (a “rationalist” sect that went into misguidance along with the sects that sprang from it),
- Qadianis (a pseudo Islamic sect that denies the Seal of Prophecy),
- Qadirites (free will absolutists – and the sects that sprang from them),
- Jabirites (deniers of human limited free will)
- Jahmites (who deny the limited free will of humans – and the sects that sprang from them),
- The limiters of God who say that He is encompassed by the creation when this is against the teaching of the Holy Quran.
- The Pantheists who think that God is mixed with His creation.
- Murijites (who downplay the importance of good deeds – and the sects that sprang from them).
- Extremist Feminists who claim to be Muslims yet who attack the religion and its followers unceasingly. A real Muslim feminist would not have such an attitude.
- Extremist ‘Gay Muslims’ who flaunt what they should hide if they are a Muslim and pretend that it is approved of by the religion when this is a distortion of the truth.
- Extremist Political people who put their politics over the values of their religion.
- Extremist Group Joiners who join groups (secret or open) that are hostile to their religion.
- Perrenialists who think all religions lead towards God.
- Grave worshippers – who ask from the dead, thinking that they have their own independent power and failing to realize that only God has power.
- Habashi AICP Cult – which claims represent Ahlus Sunnah but is in alliance with the enemies of Islam, causes deliberate fitna and distorts Sunni beliefs.
Wise Muslims avoid these groups and stay with the believers whose religion resembles that of the Prophet (saws) and his blessed Companions (ra).
The works of the following writers are either partly or fully misleading and harmful according to the views of Ahlus Sunnah and they cannot be considered true Islamic reference points…
- Syed Ahmad Khan
- Jamaludeen Afghani
- Muhammad Abdu
- “Maulana” Muhammad Ali
- Mahmud Shaltut
- Rashad Khalifa (Richard Caliph)
- Ghulem Ahmed Pervez
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
Allah knows who are the rightly guided claimants to Islam and who are the self deluded ones. Allah knows who are his favoured Muslims, who are the Muslims who are only struggling at the spiritual level and who are the hypocrites who pretend to be Muslims but only seek to harm Islam and the Muslims. We do not normally know this for sure with the people we may meet who call themselves Muslims, but we do know that if we stick to the majority group (Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaat) and follow its true learned scholars then we will avoid (God willing) the pitfals that many a piteous soul has fallen into.
Some complex issues are mentioned above. Sheikh Uthman dan Fodio (ra) explained that simple Muslims need need not be so much concerned with the complex issues of faith that may be beyond their understanding, rather they should adhere to the basic pillars of Islamic of faith (and they should adhere to sound scholars if they have access to them).