Imam Fakhrudding Razi (d. 606 A.H.) in his book "Mafatih al-Ghaib" wrote that once he met a group of 'follower Fuqaha' (jurists). Concerning some issue he (Imam Razi) read out many verses of Qur'an. Their point of view was against these verses, so they refused to accept these verses. They looked quite blank, as they had not understood the meanings of these verses or as they were wondering; how is it possible to act according to these verses when their predecessors gave verdict against it? If you look into the matter deeply, you will find a lot of people infected with this disease. Many 'blind followers' believe in transmigration and union of their leaders with Allah. Similar event has been quoted by Mohyi As-Sunnah Allama Baghwi in his "Tafsir Ma'alam at-Tanzeel".
These Muslims of modern age who for successive generations keep on following their Imams without looking deep into the matters of faith and worship and into the matters of lawfulness and prohibition of various things should take a warning. Their following has no approval from the Qur'an and Sunnah, there is even no continuity in chain of action. Moreover, there is no Sahih Hadith available in their favor; as a matter of fact the Qur'an and Sunnah and the principles of their Imam contradict their way of action. Today the situation is worst and people are more sinful than before as Imam Razi has referred. So, the people of this era should come to their senses. Shaikh Rasheed Rida has also warned in his "Tafsir Al-Manar" against such kind of following. I have also clarified this in my work of explanation of Surah Fatihah entitled "Awdhul Burhan Fi Tafsir Umm al-Qur'an".
Allama Murtaza Zubaidi wrote in the explanation of "Ihya ul-Ulum" that the person worthy of following is the Prophet only; and his commands are to be obeyed. We follow the Companions of the Prophet, because they learnt directly form Allah's Messenger, and what they learnt from him, we follow that only and nothing else. That is why 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas said,
Iraqi reported that Tabarani quoted it in "Al-Kabir" and it is also present in "Quwwat ul-Quloob".
Sectarian following is an incurable disease that has spread all over the Muslim world. Only a small number of people prefer the Qur'an and Sunnah to sectarian books. All praise is to Allah, we find a group of pure believers among us and see them actively fighting against all kinds of ills and find them busy propagating Islam and the Oneness of Allah. An organization was established with mutual cooperation for the purpose of propagation. Workers of this organiztion are active in Hijaz, Egypt, Sudan and Iraq. May Allah bless them and may Divine help and guidance be with them.
Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan in his Tafsir of the Noble Qur'an entitled "Fath al-Bayan", while writing the explanation of verse no 31 of 9th surah, writes:
O slaves of Allah! your claim of being followers of faith, your claim of being members of Muslim Ummah is false because you gave up the Qur'an and Sunnah and rely on the words of others. You trust and follow the words of a man who is liable to error and sin. He can make mistakes, he can think wrongfully, all human weaknesses are present in him. Books of your faith also verify and affirm that nobody is innocent except the Prophet, and the following of other than him is unlawful. My brothers in Islam! Leave those books which are written by persons, who may commit mistakes, and return to the Book of Allah, which is free from all error, return to the Sunnah, which is true guidance for our lives. The Prophet is the greatest Imam, then why not follow him, why not follow his footprints? All the Imams followed the path of the Prophet and only his way can lead to success, all other ways surely lead to destruction and are rejected by Allah. May Allah guide us to the right path of the Prophet.
It is proven from the verses of the Noble Qur'an that real law giver to mankind is Allah Himself, and Muhammad (s.a.w) is His Messenger and informer as Allah said,
"... Your (Muhammad's s.a.w) duty is only to convey (the Message) ..." [3:20]
" The Messenger's (Muhammad's s.a.w) duty is nothing but to convey ..." [5:99]
"... Your (Muhammad's s.a.w) duty is nothing but to convey (the Message) ..." [42:48]
The point of being merely an informer and communicator has been emphasized in these verses, which is strong evidence that the real 'Law Giver' is Allah and we should follow the Prophet to abide by the Commands of Allah.
The fundamentals of Islamic faith established by the text of Qur'an and by the clarification and explanation of the Prophet are of three kinds,
As for other than these Commands of Shari'ah (Divine Law), if a text of Qur'an or clarification by the Prophet is not available, they may be proved by Ijtihad (authoritative interpretation of Islamic Law) and its basic philosophy is to avoid evils and bring about reformation and good. We should change our attitude towards religion and should wake up from carelessness. The Qur'an, the words of Hadith, and examples of righteous people of early period of Islam are available, we should turn to them for guidance.
Here I presented some instances from the writings of religious leaders and thinkers to support my arguments, which I presented to Muslims for contemplation and understanding the meaning and sense of the Qur'an.
Muslims are advised to take advice from the Noble Qur'an and from its explanation by the Prophet. Muslims should be satisfied with the modes of worship contained in these two sources i.e. the Qur'an and Hadith, and to abstain from all others. Believers should seek help from Allah to get strength from the Qur'an and Sunnah, and to be alert to defend Islam against the evil designs of disbelievers. They should fight hard against non-Muslims for the honour and integrity of Islam and to strengthen it.
In this transitory world, Allah has ordered us to adopt the straight path. This straight path is the intent of Allah and Allah wants us to follow it, for this reason all the Messengers were sent and all the Books were revealed. Allah has also informed us that only the straightway can lead us to Paradise. As much as one is firm on the right path in this world, exactly that much one will remain firm and confident on "Sirat" (the narrow bridge leading to Paradise made over the Hell). Allah says in Qur'an,
In this short-lived world a follower of the straight path is a traveler who is forsaken by the wordly minded people. For this reason he may feel himself lonely and aloof, but Allah has informed that the Prophet, faithful, martyrs and righteous are his companions on his route to the straight path, these people are endowed with the Grace of Allah. Who can be better companions than these people? So, the traveler of the straight path and the seeker of rectitude and guidance should feel happy and gratified that his companions are those who are dear to Allah and enjoy His favor.
Those who do not follow the right path may be greater in number but are worthless before Allah. former righteous and nobles have said: "Choose the right path and do not feel lonesome in this path due to your smallness in number. Keep away from the wrong way and do not be taken in by the majority - certainly they are approaching their destruction. Whenever you feel alone in this way, remember your good and virtuous friends, about whom Allah has promised. Pay no heed to the call of wrongdoers lest they mislead you from the right path. That is why it occurred in Du'a al-Qunut,
Everyone should refrain from the way of "Those who have earned Allah's wrath" (Maghdubi 'Alaihim) and "Those who went astray" (Dallin).
They are away from truth and right path. Truth and straightway is the way of the Prophet and his noble companions, and other ways are false and wrong. Everything which has been taken from or linked with the Prophet is correct and leads to the 'straight way;' and whatever is not taken from the Prophet is wrong and leads to the wrong way and deserves the wrath of Allah. (Madarij as-Salikeen - Ibn Qaiyim)
There is no doubt that the noble Companions of the Prophet understood the religion and Shari'ah (Divine Law) better than others, they were also aware of the truth and philosophy behind every point of law. If we compare the deeds of the noble companions and those of the innovators, we can find a clear difference between them. The Noble Companions conquered many countries and cities where there was atheism and disbelief, and wherever they went, they succeeded in winning the hearts of people with their excellent character. This is a big proof that they were on the right path. One the contrary, wherever the Rafidees (extreme Shi'as) and other innovators went, they left a reverse impression on people.
I was reciting the Noble Qur'an sitting in the masjid of Abdullah bin Abbas at Taif on 10th of Ramadan 1360H. I trembled from fear of Allah, when I came across some Verses and notices that it was Pharaoh who for the first time divided humanity into different classes and sects. From these Verses of the Noble Qur'an we infer that dividing the populace and creating classes of masses is a Pharaoh's method. Allah says in The Quran,
Even today the European governments work at the policy of "Divide and Rule."
Nobody denies the fact that it is a characteristic and distinguished quality of guided ones to believe in all Allah's Messengers and to believe in what has been sent down on them, and to make no distinction among them. Everyone should give due respect to al Allah's Messengers, rather it is our duty to respect them. If it is a fact of the matter, then why not to give due respect to their heirs - noble Companions of Allah's Messenger, their followers and the four Imams and other religious leaders and jurists - we ought to respect all of those and should not follow exclusively any one of them and hate others.
We should have love and respect for all and should take from all according to the Qur'an and Sunnah. Some sectarian followers value only their own Imams and have no respect for others. This attitude has caused hatred and enmity among them. This matter of fixated following has gone so far that followers of one sect do not pray (offer Salah) under the leadership of an Imam (leader of the prayer) belonging to another sect. Such following has made them mindless and heartless. Followers of some Mazahib regard their own Mazhab as the foundation and base of their religion and see the Qur'an with their own viewpoint. Wherever they find verses of the Noble Qur'an contrary to their point of view, they try to interpret them to make them agree with their own belief. As a matter of fact, the Noble Qur'an should be regarded as the foundation of religion and the Mazhab should be attributed to the Qur'an, whatever is in conformity with the Qur'an and Sunnah should be accepted and the rest should be rejected.
A quality of those who earned Allah's Wrath is that they accept the truth only when it is presented form the side to which they belong, or in other words they accept the truth when it is in their favour and is in accordance with their viewpoint. Whereas a Muslim takes the truth wherever it is available because wisdom is his lost property.
Every follower has a respect for his Imam, therefore he accepts everything from him without hesitation, and this is deviation from right path. One should watch what is being said and not who is saying it. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
The best way to follow is the way of Allah's Messenger, his Companions and their followers. Sectarian following brings nothing but destruction, and it is an innovation in religion. This heresy was introduced by kings and rulers to attain their political ends and save themselves and their empires.