Shaykh Muhammad al-Hassan Walid Dido al-Shanqiti | Translated by U. Abdullah
Are the sects that are mentioned by the Prophet in the Ḥadīth to remain in the hellfire forever? And is there any way in which it is possible for the Ahl al-Sunna to be united with them?1
The statement of the Prophet that, “The Jews splintered into seventy one sects, the Christians splintered into seventy two sects and my Umma will splinter into seventy three sects,” this much of the ḥadīth is authentic. It has been transmitted by al-Ḥākim [al-Naysābūrī (d. 405 AH)] and others, and it is authentic in its various narrations. As for the additional phrase (ziyāda), namely, “all of them are in the hellfire except one,” or, “all of them are in Heaven except one,” or “whoever [follows] what I and my Companions [follow…],” all of these additional phrases are inauthentic. Thus the authentic ḥadīth is only the affirmation [that there will exist] sects, and this is one of the signs of prophethood [of Muḥammad, and one of its proofs. But as for their being “in the hellfire,” or “in Heaven,” or, [following] what he and his Companions [follow]; none of these [variant narrations] has authentically reached us from the Prophet.
As for the sects within this Umma, they are those which [promote] reprehensible innovations and misguidance within the faith, and whose followers are not disbelievers [in Islam]—for whoever dies testifying that there is no god but God and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of God will not remain in the hellfire forever, even if they were misguided and an innovator, however great their disobedience may be.2 Rather God will either forgive them, or punish them to the extent that they have disobeyed Him, and then He will take them out of the hellfire. Indeed God will bring forth groups of people on the Day of Resurrection who have become blackened and scorched [in the hellfire] and cast them into the River of Life. [Therein] their bodies shall sprout as a seed of a desert plant sprouts in the dross of a torrent, and then they shall be entered into Heaven.3 Additionally, they may be punished in their graves—and the punishment of the grave is one of the means of expiating sins […]—such that when they are brought forth on the Day of Resurrection, they will already have been recompensed for their innovation and sin.
- Original Arabic text is to be found here: http://www.dedew.net/index.php?A__=5&type=4&h=1&linkid=980 ↩
- UA: The Shaykh seems to be implying here extreme groups within Sunnism, such as extreme Salafīs and extreme Ṣūfīs, as well as sects outside Sunnism such as Twelver Shīʿism or Khārijism. ↩
- Such a ḥadīth is repeated five times in Bukhārī, e.g., ḥadīth no. 814, in the Jamʾiyyat al-Maknaz edition. ↩