“This is a very important question. In today’s Islamic world several Sunni sects / groups claim to be Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at and people are confused about it. Therefore, it is important to understand who is who within Islam and who are Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at.”
All the denominations within Islam have NO differences on common beliefs. They are all united on these beliefs
- There is no God but Allah , Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the messenger of Allah.
- Allah has no partners, children or associates. He is alone the Creator (KHALIQ) and Sustainer (RAB) of every thing. Allah is everywhere. He has no shape or form. He is not confined to one place. We worship only Allah.
- Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the FINAL and LAST Messenger and Prophet of Allah. There is no Prophet OR Messenger of Allah after him. Allah perfected and completed His DEEN (way of life) on Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
- Qur’an is the word of Allah and it is the FINAL divine book from Allah.
- Allah sent Prophets and Messengers before Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) towards different tribes and locations, such as Prophet Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus (Peace be upon all of them). These prophets and messengers of Allah are part of Islamic faith.
- Allah gave books to several of His messengers, such a Zaboor, Torah and Gospel.
- Allah created Angels
- There is a life after death. On the judgement day (QIYAMAT), we will be judged by Allah.
- There is Heaven and Hell.
- Allah is the ultimate authority. Without His Will no harm or benefit comes to anyone.
Right after the martyrdom of third caliph of Islam, Ameer ul Mo’mineen Hazrat Usman Ibn Affan (May Allah be pleased with him), Muslims were divided on political front. Islamic state was divided into two separate governments. One government with capital in Madinah (now part of Saudi Arabia) and the other government with capital in Kufa (Iraq). One group identified themselves as Ahle Sunnat and the other group identified themselves as Ahle Tash’ee. In other words, Sunni and Shi’a. Over the past hundreds of years, Sunni and Shi’a have been further divided into sub-denominations. Following are some of the sub-denominations of Shi’adenomination.
- Ithna Ashari
The above Shi’a groups are further subdivided into subgroups due to the ethnic, organizational, geographical and language differences and traditions.
Similarly, Sunnis are also subdivided into several sub-denominations.
- Salafi (also called Ahle Hadith)
The above Sunni groups have been further subdivided into subgroups due to the ethnic, organizational, geographical and language differences and traditions.
Among Sunnis; Hanafi, Maliki, Shafe’ee and Hanbali are considered as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at. The basic difference among the four groups of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at is the FIQH (Jurisprudence of Islam). Otherwise, these four groups have unanimity in beliefs, traditions and the status of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), his SAHABAH (companions), his Aal (progeny) and the Aulia Allah (The very righteous people among Muslims) in Islam. Most of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jama’ah follow the tradition of SUFIS (mysticism of Islam). Barelvi school of thought is also considered as Ahle Sunnat wal Jama’at. They follow the Hanafi FIQH.
The basic differences between Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at and the other Sunni sects are as follows
Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at believes that;
- Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is closer and dearer to believers than their own lives.
- A believer must seek the pleasure (REDHA) of both Allah and His messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is spiritually alive in his grave (QABR-E-ANWAR). He listens and responds to the salutations and Darood Sharif that the Ummatee (followers) recite on him.
- Allah keeps Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) informed about the conditions and situations of every Ummatee (follower). That is why he (peace be upon him) will be able to witness (SHAHEED) about the conditions of people on the judgement day in front of Allah.
- Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the leader of all prophets and messengers of Allah.
- Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will intercede (SHAFA’AT) for the sinners on the judgement day and his SHAFA’AT (intercession) will be accepted by Allah.
- Allah gave Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) the knowledge of unseen (GHAIB). He has the knowledge of past, present and future.
- All the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the most honourable people among the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- The household (Ahle Bait) and the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the most honourable leaders of the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- The wives of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the mothers for all believers and must be respected and honoured.
- Calling Ya Rasool-ullah (peace be upon him) is permissible in Islam and a tradition of Salaf Saleheen.
- The Aulia Allah (the very righteous saints) are very honourable people. They are inspired by Allah and they are spiritually alive in their graves.
- Organizing the birthday celebrations of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and gatherings of Milad Sharif are very noble and Islamic deeds.
- Standing up during SALAAM (salutation) on Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is an honorable action and shows love and respect towards Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
- Visiting the graves and shrines of Prophets of Allah and Aulia Allah (Sufis) is permissible deed in Islam and highly desirable tradition of Muslims.
- Organizing programs on the birthdays and death anniversaries (Urs) of Aulia Allah (Sufis) is permissible in Islam. “Giyarween sharif” of Sayyidna Abdul Qadir Jilani (May Allah’s blessings upon him) is permissible in Islam.
- Serving humanity is a part of IBADAAH (worship) of Allah and the tradition of Sufis.
- Fanaticism, extremism and forceful conversion is an un-Islamic practice and is condemned by Islam.
The other Sunni sects such as Wahabis, Salafis (Ahle Hadith), Parvezees, Deobandis, etc.. do not believe or practice the above traditions of Ahle Sunnah.
Important note: Some westerners consider QADYANIS (also known as Ahmadis and Mirzai) as a sect of Islam. This is not correct. Ahmadism OR Qadyanism is a separate religion that emerged from Islam, just like Bahai’ism and Daroozism. Baha’i, Darooz and Ahmadis are not Muslims. The founders of these three religions were born in Muslim families but they decided to start their own religions and left Islam. The founder of Ahmadism/Qadyanism was Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani. Ahmadis follow Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadyani. Their claim that they are Muslim too is only to convert innocent Muslims from Islam to Ahmadism.
“We respect all religions and faiths including Qadyanis/Ahmedis but Qadyanis/Ahmadis should not be using our religion, Islam in order to misguide people. This is what the extremists and the terrorists are doing. They are using Islam to justify hate and violence against innocent people. Qadyanis/Ahmadis are also using Islam to justify their beliefs under the disguise of Islam.”