The Sects That Enter Jannah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken fromThe Sects That Enter Jannah” by Shaykh ‘Ali Juma’ah.

In the light of the hadits of beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), the ummah will be divided into 73 sects and one will go to paradise, how do we confirm that what one is following is among the ones who will go to Paradise?

Anas (r.a.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “My ummah will divide into 70 or 70 something groups; all of them will be in Jannah except for the unbelievers.”  This is recorded by Imam ad-Daylami (r.a.) in his Musnad al-Firdaws, and by Imam Abu Ya'la (r.a.) and others.

In his book, Ahsan at-Taqasim, Imam Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Bishari al-Maqdisi (r.a.) enumerated these groups and mentioned the two different phrasings of the hadits which read as, “72 groups will be in Paradise and one in Hellfire,” and, “72 groups will be in Hellfire and one will be Saved.”  Then, he said, "The second wording of the hadits is well-known while the first has the more authentic chain of transmission."

For this reason, Imam Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn al-Wazir (r.a.) contested the hadits in general and the additional statement, “72 will be in Hellfire and one will be Saved,” in particular.  This is because not only does the additional phrase result in misguidance among the people of the ummah, but also leads to accusations of kufr.

In his book al-'Awasim, Shaykh ibn al-Wazir (r.a.) spoke about the excellence of this ummah and warned against any involvement in accusing any Muslim of disbelief.  He said, “Do not be misled by, ‘all of them will be in Hellfire except for one,’ because it is an invalid and baseless addition and it is not farfetched that it has been introduced by atheists.”

He also quoted Imam ibn Hazm (r.a.) who said, “This addition is fabricated, it is neither classified as mawquf nor as marfu’.  All the hadits reported on disparaging the Qadariyyah, Murji'ah and Ash'ariyyah are likewise weak.”

Some past and present scholars have refuted this hadits based on its chain of transmission while others based their refutation on its meaning and text.  For example, Imam Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm (r.a.) refuted the allegations of those who accuse others of disbelief due to differences in belief and based his refutation on some evidences which they mentioned in this respect.  Imam ibn Hazm (r.a.) mentioned two ahadits used as proof by those who accuse others of disbelief and which they falsely attribute to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).  These are, “The Qadariyyah and Murji’ah are the magus of this ummah;” and, “This ummah will divide into 70 or 70 something groups; all of them will be in Hellfire except one, which will be in Jannah.”  In his commentary on the two previously mentioned ahadits, Imam ibn Hazm (r.a.) said, “In the first place, their chains of transmission are unauthentic.  Any ahadits with an unauthentic ascription cannot be used as proof according to the opinion of the ahadits scholars who recognise the hadits with khabar al-wahid.  So, what then of those who do not recognise it?”

In his book al-'Awasim wa al-Qawasim, Imam al-Wazir (r.a.), reconciled intellectual and textual evidences and enumerated the ahadits narrated by Mu’awiyah (r.a.), including the 8th hadits on the ummah dividing into 70 something groups all of which will be in Hellfire except for one.  He commented, “The chain of transmission of this hadits includes a naswibi and thus the hadits is unauthentic."

Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) reported the same hadits through ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aasw (r.a.) and said, “It is a gharib hadits.”  Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) mentioned this hadits in the book, Iman through “al-Ifriqi”, whose name is ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Ziyad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Yazid.  Imam ibn Majah (r.a.) narrated a similar hadits on the authority of ‘Awf ibn Malik (r.a.) and Anas (r.a.).  Imam ibn Hazm (r.a.) said that all these narrations do not meet the conditions of the hadits swahih; therefore, Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) and Imam Muslim (r.a.) did not record them.  Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) authenticated the hadits narrated by Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) through Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Alqamah (r.a.) which does not include, “All of them will be in Hellfire except for one”.  Imam ibn Hazm (r.a.) said, “The author of al-Badr al-Munir mentioned that this additional statement is fabricated.”

Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) commented on the Words of Allah (s.w.t.) in his Tafsir:

… or to cover you with confusion in party strife, giving you a taste of mutual vengeance ― each from the other … (Surah al-An’am:65)

He wrote, “It was reported in a hadits with multiple chains of transmissions that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘This ummah will divide into 73 sects, all of them will be in Hellfire except for one.’”  Hafizh ibn Katsir (r.a.) did not add anything to the hadits and he did not classify it either as authentic or fair although he elaborated on the interpretation of the verse by mentioning the hadits and non-prophetic narrations related to it.

Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) mentioned Hafizh ibn Katsir’s (r.a.) opinion on the above hadits and said, “As for the additional phrase, ‘all of them will be in Hell-fire except for one,’ some ahadits scholars have maintained that it is weak.  ibn Hazm (r.a.), on the other hand, maintained that it is fabricated.”

Despite the fact that some scholars have declared this hadith fair hasan like Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) or swahih, like Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.), due to its multiple chains of transmission, it does not stand as proof on the division of the ummah, both in manner and number, to be considered of permanent application until the day of Judgment.  The existence of such sects at any given time, suffices as proof for the authenticity of the hadits.  Some of these sects may exist and, when they do, they will be overwhelmed by truth and then perish, never to return.  This is exactly what happened to many of such deviant sects, some of which have perished and are no more.

This hadits indicates that all of these sects are attributed to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) ummah.  This is proved by his words, “my ummah will divide” and means that despite their deviation, these sects do not leave the religion of Islam nor are they been omitted from the Muslim community.  And the fact that they will be in Hellfire does not mean that they will be among its eternal dwellers like the disbelievers but will be dealt with like the disobedient believers.  One of the pious believers, angels or prophets may intercede for them by the leave of Allah (s.w.t.) or they may have made good deeds or suffered calamities which may obliterate their sins and ward off torture.  Allah (s.w.t.) may Forgive them by His Grace and Bounty especially if they did their best in arriving at the truth, but failed and deviated from the right path.  Allah (s.w.t.) has Forgiven people of this ummah their mistakes, forgetfulness and anything they were forced to do.


  1. Dear Harlequin,

    I am reading your blog with much interest and this post touches the surface of a problem I faced while considering conversion.

    While attending the BCI class, a replacement teacher addressed a question from someone who ignored who Darwin was. He responded half jokingly that Darwin was a joker who thought that monkeys started losing hair and later on became men. That was a shocking moment for me and it took me a while before making my way back to DA.

    Anybody who has done a little research about evolution and Darwin himself can easily point out mistakes in both the article posted above and the replacement teacher I met in BCI.

    I would be very interested in hearing your opinion about this and also whether you can offer any help in dealing with this apparent dilemma between evolution and faith in islam.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Good Evening,

    I think to understand Darwin's 'Origin of Species', you have to understand people like Huxley as well.

    From a scientific point of view only:

    1. Firstly, the theory of evolution is just that - A theory. It is not conclusively proven that there is evolution across phylum or family. Darwin's research on the finches in the Galapagos showed that they evolved to fulfill ecological niches that were not occupied. There was a diversification of species but they remained essentially finches. It is conjecture that took it further. And thus it is still a theory and not a law.

    2. The entire basis of the evolution of species is actually racist. Has anyone ever actually read the papers? The idea being that men originated from primates (not monkeys per se) and that the black man was at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder and the white man was at the top. This was used to justify the 'white man's burden' and colonialization. It ceased to become science and became pseudo-science.

    3. In the study of evolution, they are still trying to find the missing links between the different steps of the proposed evolutionary ladder. Until they find it, like everything else, it should be viewed with healthy skepticism. Science is the study of anything to discover the truth of things, not to prove preconceived notions of any kind.

    From Islam's view:

    1. All men are desscended from Adam and Eve.

    2. Man was Created Exalted. He did not evolve from anything else otherwise that perfection of form is compromised. He retains that perfection as long as he is in submission to God's Divine Will.

    3. Islam does not reject evolution in its entirety. Only the extent of it. Everything evolves to conform to various biological and environmental factors, for example. But at no time does it become other than what Allah intended. And so the finches Darwin studied did not evolve into fishes for example, even though they may fish. A penguin may swim with the fishes but it is essentially a bird.

    4. Unlike Creationism in Protestant Christianity, Islam does not have an issue with the Age of Dinosaurs and the various geological epochs prior to humanity. In Surah al-Mulk, it it is written that the world was created in stages. 6 to be exact.



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