Islamic associations based on correct ideology are not a 'forbidden innovation'
Fatwa No: 279502

  • Fatwa Date:5-1-2015 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 15, 1436
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As-Salaam 'alaikum. In Nigeria, we have various muslim' societies,both in the universities and outside world. These societies have done great job in Islaam,which countless numbers of the muslims,even the non-muslims can testify to. But recently,some unknown people came to tell us that such societies,though they base their enlightenment on Al-Kitaab Was-Sunnah,are also forbidden Innovation,because they are also among the deviating sects.My question now is, '' what are the differences between a sect and a university students' society?'' Answer with references. As-Salaam 'alaikum.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is not correct to say that all associations are forbidden innovations, because associations fall under what are called "means" (wasaa’il), so the ruling concerning them depends on the programs that they undertake and the objectives that they aim at. Hence, if this association is founded on the premises of Ahl As-Sunnah wal-Jamaa‘ah, and it is on this basis that it underlines its objectives and programs that it is willing to carry out, then it is an association that is based upon the truth.

Indeed, cooperating in goodness and obedience is required in Islam; Allaah says (what means): {And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allaah; indeed, Allaah is severe in penalty.} [Quran 5:2]

For more benefit on the conditions that regulate such associations, please refer to Fatwa 88076.

The division that is dispraised is that which is based on the contravention of the principles of the way of the people of the truth, or which is based on detestable fanaticism, in such a way that a person forges alliances and enmities for the sake of a particular group and not for the sake of the truth. Allaah says (what means): {Indeed, those who have divided their religion and become sects – you, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything. Their affair is only [left] to Allaah; then He will inform them about what they used to do.} [Quran 6:159]

In his interpretation of this verse, Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer: "This verse is general and it applies to anyone who disassociates himself from the religion of Allaah and is at variance with it. Allaah sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of the Truth to make it prevalent over all religions. His religion is one and there is no difference of opinion concerning it and no division. So, those who divided their religion and {became sects}, i.e. groups like groups of other religions and sects – which are based on desires and misguidance – Allaah declared His Messenger innocent of them. This verse is like the words of Allaah (which mean): {He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein.} [Quran 42:13] Also, a Hadeeth reads: 'We, Prophets are like paternal brothers (i.e. sons of different mothers from the same father), but our religion is one.' This is the Straight Path, and it is what all the Prophets presented as far as to worship of Allaah Alone Who has no partners, and hold fast to the religion of the final Prophet, and anything that is contrary to this is falsehood, ignorance, opinions, and desires, and all the Prophets are innocent of it; Allaah says (what means): {You, [O Muhammad], are not [associated] with them in anything}." [End of quote]

The word "sect" means ideology and way, and it may be correct or corrupt depending on the underlying principles and foundations.

Allaah Knows best.

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