We say: “My sect is bigger than yours, therefore it is the truth.”

However, being a majority is not proof of anything. From the Qur’an we learn that most people are not believers (12:103), do not believe in the verses of the Book (13:1), disbelieve in the approach of the Hour (40:59) and do not hear or reason (25:44), and further that much of creation would be led astray by Satan (36:62).

Most people on the earth are not Muslims. The number of people who do not believe in any religion is similar to the number identifying as Muslim, while twice as many people identify as Christian. Most people do not believe in Islam.

And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of God. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but falsifying.

Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who strays from His way, and He is most knowing of the guided.

Qur’an 6:116-7

In any case, I don’t know who we mean when we say the majority, for in our lived experience, Ahlus sunnah is merely a division employed to anathematise others.

My local mosque claims to be a staunch defender of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. So certain are they of their status as a saved people that congregants frequently declare that Deobandis, Salafis, Wahabis and Iqwanis are not from them. Our local Deobandi madrassa, meanwhile, declares that the Barelvis are misguided, alongside the Salafis and Wahabis. The Salafis, on the other hand, hold that both the Barelvis and the Deobandis are astray. And so it goes on.

The Qur’an does not use any such labels. On the contrary:

And who is better in speech than one who invites to God and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.”

Qur’an 41:33

The Qur’an could not be clearer.

So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth: the fitrah of God upon which He has created all people. No change should there be in the creation of God. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know.

Turn in repentance to Him, and fear Him and establish prayer and do not be of those who associate others with God.

Or of those who have divided their religion and become sects, every faction rejoicing in what it has.

Qur’an 30:30-33

As Muslims, we are merely instructed to enjoin righteousness, promote all that is good and warn against what is harmful.

And hold firmly to the rope of God all together and do not become divided. And remember the favour of God upon you — when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favour, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

And let there be from you a nation inviting to good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.

And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment.

Qur’an 103-5

Sectarianism is not of this way; rather, we are clearly warned away from it. But in the end, the sin is between us and our Lord alone.

“Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects — you are not with them in anything. Their affair is with God; then He will inform them about what they used to do.” — Qur’an 6:159

Better to leave such divisions, than to be held to account for it on an awesome day. If you must defend something, defend the fitrah of God.

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