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  The Splitting and Differing in the Ummah is Due to the Innovations and Innovators
Author: Imaam ash-Shatibee
Source: Al-I'tisaam
Article ID : GSC010003  [22626]  
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The explanation (tafseer) of this verse has come in the hadeeth from Aa’ishah (radiallaahu anhaa) who said: "The Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: ‘O Aa’ishah! Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects. Who are they?’ So I said: ‘Allaah and His Messenger know best.’ He replied: ‘They are the People of Desires, the People of Innovations and the People of Misguidance from this Ummah. O Aaishah! For every sin there is repentance, except [for] the People of Desires and Innovations, there is no repentance from them and I am free and innocent of them and they of me."

Ibn ‘Atiyyah said: "This verse includes the People of Desires, Innovations and Deviation in the minor matters and others besides them from amongst the people engrossed in argumentation, and disputation with theological rhetoric (kalaam). All of this is directed towards the mistakes and the arena of evil beliefs."

And he means - and Allaah knows best - by ‘amongst the people engrossed in argumentation, and disputation in the minor matters’ what Abu ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-Barr in the chapter on ‘Censure of Ra’I (Opinion)’ in his book ‘Kitaab ul-‘Ilm’ and we shall mention it [in due course] with the power of Allaah.

And Ibn Battaal quotes in his ‘Sharh ul-Bukhaaree’ from Abu Haneefah that he said: "I met ‘Ataa ibn Rabaah in Makkah and I asked him about something and he said: ‘From which place are you?’ I said: ‘Kufah’. He said: ‘Are you from the town [whose inhabitants] split their religion and break into sects?’ I said: ‘Yes’. He said: ‘From which group are you?’ I said: ‘From those who do not revile and abuse the Salaf (Pious Predecessors), who have faith in Qadr and who do not declare anyone to be a disbeliever on account a sin [that he committed].’ So ‘Ataa said: ‘You know [the truth] so hold fast."

And from al-Hasan who said: "Uthmaan bin ‘Affaan (radiallaahu ‘anhu) came out one day and addressed us with a sermon but the people interrupted his speech and began to throw pebbles at each other until --- He said: ‘And we heard a voice from one of the rooms of the Wives of Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and it was said: This is the voice of the Mother of the Believers.’ He said: ‘So I heard it and she was saying: ‘Verily, your Prophet is free and innocent from the one who divides his religion and breaks up into a sect’ and she recited:

Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (O Muhammad) have no concern in them in the least [Al-An’aam 6:159]

Al-Qaadee Ismaa’eel said: "I consider that he means by his saying ‘Mother of the Believers’ to be Umm Salamah, that has been mentioned in some of the hadeeth and Aai’shah at that time was performing Hajj."

And from Abu Hurairah: "That this verse was revealed in connection with this Ummah." And from Abu Umaamah: "They are the Khawaarij."

Al-Qaadee said: ‘The apparent meaning (dhaahir) of the Qur’aan indicates that everyone who introduces an innovation into the religion such as the Khawaarij and others besides them - that they come under this verse, because when they innovate, they argue and dispute [over this innovation], cause divisions and break off into sects."

And amongst such verses is the saying of the Exalted:

And be not of Al­Mushrikûn (the disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, polytheists, idolaters, etc). Of those who split up their religion (i.e. the true Islâmic Monotheism), and became sects, [i.e. they invented new things in the religion (Bid'ah), and followed their vain desires], each sect rejoicing in that which is with it. [Rum 30:31-32]

It is also read as ‘faaraqoo’ [instead of ‘farraqoo’ - thereby giving it the meaning ‘depart from and sever oneself from the religion’]. Abu Hurairah explained it with reference to the Khawaarij and Abu Umaamah has reported this in marfoo’ form.

It has also been said: ‘They are the People of Desires and Innovations’. They said: ‘Aa’ishah (radiallaahu anhaa) reported it from the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam)’ and that is because this is the nature of the one who innovates - as Ismaa’eel al-Qaadee has said and as has preceded in the other verses.

And amongst such verses is the saying of the Exalted:

Say: "He has power to send torment on you from above or from under your feet, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, and make you to taste the violence of one another. [Al-An’aam 6:65]

From Ibn ‘Abbaas that: "Covering you with confusion in party strife, this is the divergent and varying desires (i.e. innovations)."

And built upon His saying:

…and make you to taste the violence of one another. [Al-An’aam 6:65]

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