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On Islamic Groups and Unity

by Muhammad al-Hassan Walid al-Dido al-Shanqītī | Translated and Abridged by Suhaib Webb

The Question:

It is well known that there are a large number of Islamic groups. What is your advice regarding those groups who fall under the generality of the Qur’an and Sunna [Claming them as their point of reference] but differ in their application and understandings regarding particular issues?

The Answer:

Incriminating intentions is one of the major prohibited acts. One of the fundamentals of Islam is that a person whose aims and works are known to be good should not be incriminated or exposed because of them. This was echoed by ‘Umar bin al-Khattab who said, “During the time of the Prophet [sa] people were called to account by revelation. And with the closure of prophethood, revelation ceased. [Now] We are a people who base our judgments on the apparent [actions of others] and Allah is responsible for the hidden [motives behind actions]. If anyone makes his evil apparent to us, we will call him to account for it.”

Based on this principle, it is incumbent upon every group, that strives towards the service of Islam, to assist and cooperate with each other [towards goodness]. They are like the limbs of a body. The body has two eyes, two ears, two hands and two legs. The eye cannot function like the hand, the hand cannot function like the ear nor can the ear function like the limbs. All of them cooperate together- towards complete functionality.


Islam is vast and Paradise is vast. The latter’s vastness if that of the heavens and the earth encompassing all of these groups…Allah praise is due to Allah [alone].

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  • If only people from different groups realized, ultimately, that they're not working for some mutually exclusive cause.

  • Interestingly enough, I came across a pertinent quote of Ibn Taymiyyah (r):

    “How then can it be permitted to the community of Muhammed to divide itself into such diverse opinions that a man can join one group and hate another one simply on the basis of presumptions or personal caprices, without any proof coming from God?… Unity is a sign of divine clemency, discord is a punishment of God.”

    Majmūʿat al-rasāʾil al-kubrā (Cairo , 1323/1905), Vol. 1, pp. 307-9

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