Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,Who has taught (the writing) by the pen, Has taught man that which he knew not
[Holy Qur'an Chapter 96 Alaq 1-5]
When all the Muslim follow one and the same Qur’an then why are there so many sects among Muslims?
1. Muslims should be united
It is a fact that Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. The tragedy is that such divisions are not endorsed by Islam at all. Islam believes in fostering unity amongst its followers.
The Glorious Qur’an says: “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;” [Al Qur’an 3:103]
Which is the rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse? It is the Glorious Qur’an. The Glorious Qur’an is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together. There is double emphasis in this verse. Besides saying ‘hold fast all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’.
The Qur’an further says: “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger” [Al Qur’an 4:59] All the Muslims should follow the Qur’an and authentic ahadith and be not divided among themselves.
2. It is prohibited to make sects and divisions in Islam
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.” [Al Qur’an 6:159] In this verse Allah (swt) says that one should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects.
But when one asks a Muslim, “who are you?”, the common answer is either ‘I am a Sunni, or ‘I am Shia’. Some call themselves Hanafi, or Shafa’ee or Maliki or Hambali. Some say ‘I am a Deobandi’, while some others say ‘I am a Barelvi’. 3. Our Prophet was a Muslim One may ask such Muslims, “what was our beloved prophet (pbuh)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafa’ee, or a Hambali or a Maliki?” No! He was a Muslim, like all the other prophets and messengers of Allah before him.
It is mentioned in Chapter 3 Verse 52 of Al Qur’an that Jesus (pbuh) was a Muslim.
Further, in Chapter 3 Verse 67, Al Qur’an says that Ibraheem (pbuh) was not a Jew or a Christian but was a Muslim. 4. Qur’an says call yourselves Muslim a. If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say “I am a MUSLIM, not a Hanafi or a Shafa’ee”. Surah Fussilat Chapter 41 Verse 33 says
“Who is better in speech than one who calls (men) to Allah, works righteousness, and says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ ” [Al Qur’an 41:33]
The Qur’an says “Say I am of those who bow in Islam”. In other words, say, “I am a Muslim”.
b. The Prophet (pbuh) dictated letters to non-Muslim kings and rulers inviting them to accept Islam. In these letters he mentioned the verse of the Qur’an from Surah Ale Imran Chapter 3 Verse 64:
Say ye: “Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah’s Will).” [Al Qur’an 3:64] 5. Some may argue by quoting the hadith of our beloved Prophet (pbuh) from Sunan Abu Dawood, Vol. 5 Hadith 4596. In this hadith the prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said, “My community will be split up into seventy-three sects.”
This hadith reports that the prophet(pbuh) predicted the emergence of seventy-three sects. He did not say that Muslims should be active in dividing themselves into sects. The Glorious Qur’an commands us not to create sects. Those who follow the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith, and do not create sects are the people who are on the true path.
According to Tirmidhi, Vol. 5, Hadith 2641, Abdullah ibn Amr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "My Ummah will split into seventy-three sects. All of them are in the Fire except one sect”. He said: "And which is it O! Messenger of Allah?" He said: "What I am upon and my Companions.”
The Glorious Qur’an mentions in several verses, “Obey Allah and obey His Messenger”. A true Muslim should only follow the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. He can agree with the views of any scholar as long as they conform to the teachings of the Qur’an and Sahih Hadith. If such views go against the Word of Allah, or the Sunnah of His Prophet, (pbuh) then they carry no weight, regardless of how learned the scholar might be.
If only all Muslims read the Qur’an with understanding and adhere to Sahih Hadith, InshAllah most of these differences would be solved and we could be one united Muslim Ummah.