Let them label you as a sectarian for following the truth

A point that Allah has alluded to in numerous places in the Quran is that the sheer number of adherents to a creed does not in any way indicate the soundness of that creed. For example, Allah says,

And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie. Verily, your Lord! It is He Who knows best who strays from His Way, and He knows best the rightly guided ones” (Surah Al-Anaam 116).

Thus, one should never be fooled by or deceived by mere numbers. It is very possible that the masses – even the Muslim masses – may be deceived and may follow falsehood. Those who recognize and follow the truth may be a very small number indeed.

However, the important point that each and every Muslim must remember is not the number of companions but whether they are in fact along the Straight Path that is pleasing to Allah. As long as one can be certain that what he is following or believing in can be clearly proven from the Quran and Sunnah – the ultimate authorities – he never has to worry whether or not it is consistent with what the masses are following. In fact, Allah told the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),

Yet no faith will the greater part of mankind have, however ardently you [O Muhammad] do desire it” (Surah Yoosuf 103)

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) is one scholar who clearly understood this concept and realized that a Muslim must be ready to face a situation where he, by following the truth, is very much in the minority and may even be despised. However, the truth must always be supported and adhered to, no matter how great the opposition. Such is a virtuous act indeed.

In responding to a question put forth to him, ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah)  wrote,

Know first that if the truth shines forth and is clear, it is not harmed by the large numbers who oppose it and the small numbers who agree with it. You know how some aspects of tauheed have become strange, although they are clearer than the prayer and fasting; and that [strangeness] does not harm it at all.” [1]

Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) also wrote,

I do not know of anything more virtuous in getting one nearer to Allah than adhering to the path of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) during times of ‘strangeness.’ If one adds to that striving against the disbelievers and hypocrites, that forms the completeness of faith. In fact, the most virtuous jihad is striving against the hypocrites during times of ‘strangeness.’” [2]

The outsiders will call such people who adhere to the truth, regardless of what the masses are following, “sectarians.” In reality, though, this is the proper or acceptable type of “sectarianism.”

If the people as a whole are ignoring the truth, one has to adhere to the truth, even though it will make him appear as an outsider or a “sectarian.”

It is as the Companion ibn Masood told Amr ibn Maimoon after advising him to the stick to the jamaah (“congregation, community”) and then told him to pray alone if the rulers delay the prayer. This seemed to be a contradiction to Amr, so he asked ibn Masood about that.

Ibn Masood explained to him, “The jamaah is whoever is in agreement with the truth, even if it be just you by yourself.” [3]

In other words, it is the truth that one must adhere to, even if that makes one “an outsider” with respect to the masses who may be following a different way.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) spoke of a time in which this will be the proper course of action for a believer. In fact, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

Islam began as something strange and it will return as it began [that is, as being something strange]. So glad tidings of Tooba [a tree in Paradise] for the strangers.” (Recorded by Muslim.)

Another narration describes those “strangers” as:

Pious people among evil people. Those who disobey them are more than those who obey them.” [4] [Click here to Read more about the characteristics of the Strangers]

Ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) also gave the following advice, “If you find it difficult to go against what the people are doing, ponder over Allah’s words…” and then he quoted the following verses of the Quran:

Then We have put you (O Muhammad) on a plain way of (Our) commandment. So follow you that, and follow not the desires of those who know not. Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allah (if He wants to punish you). Verily, the wrongdoers are protectors to one another, but Allah is the Protector pious” (Surah al-Jaathiyah 18-19); and,

And if you obey most of those on earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie” (Surah al-Anaam 116). End quote. [5]

Some Muslims find it very strange that people, even Muslims, can be presented the truth from the Quran and Sunnah yet they refuse to follow it. However, Allah has explained the real motivation and reality behind such acts when He consoled the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him),

But if they answer you not, then know that they only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah? Verily! Allah guides not the people who are wrongdoers” (Surah al-Qasas 50).

Finally, the present time is a time in which the commoners do not distinguish between what Allah has said and what the ignorant or the so-called “educated” among the humans say.

This is very true. One can have a verse or a hadith in front of oneself and a contrary statement of an individual—a scholar, a writer, a speaker or whatever—and a Muslim may give the two equal weight.

Indeed, the statement of the individual may even be given more weight because he is writing “in the current times…,” in the 21st Century where things have changed and need be looked at afresh.

Sadly, today there may not be the trees and shrubs that the people of Najd venerated before the influence of ibn Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah), but there are new idols. Perhaps these idols are even stronger idols, in the form of “ideas” and “isms,” such as modernism, feminism, democracy, nationalism and so on. Many Muslims are being swept away by these concepts and ignoring or forgetting about the noble, perfect and perpetual guidance of the Quran.

Source: Taken from the book, The Life, Teachings and Influence of Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab page 350-354


[1] Muallifaat al-Shaikh al-Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, vol. 3, section on Fatawa, p. 88.

[2] Muallifaat al-Shaikh al-Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, vol. 7, p. 288.

[3] Muallifaat al-Shaikh al-Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, vol. 7, p. 236.

[4] Recorded by Ahmad. According to al-Albaani, this narration is sahih. See al-Albaani, Saheeh al-Jaami, vol. 2, p. 728.

[5] Muallifaat al-Shaikh al-Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhaab, vol. 7, pp. 256-257.

Author: Islamic Treasure

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