Islam enjoins its followers to be united in following the truth and has warned them against being divided. It tells them that conflict and division after coming to know the truth is the way of those who are not Muslims and it is a guarantee of failure and loss of strength. This is what makes them an easy target for those who seek the downfall of Islam.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah (i.e. this Qur’aan), and be not divided among yourselves”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:101]
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The words “and be not divided among yourselves” enjoin unity and forbid division. There are numerous ahaadeeth which forbid division and enjoin unity and harmony. For example in Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Suhayl ibn Abi Saalih from his father from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah likes three things for you and He dislikes three things for you. He likes you to worship Him (alone) and not associate anything with Him; to hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah, and be not divided among yourselves; and to be sincere to the one who Allaah has appointed over you. And He dislikes for you three things: gossip, asking too much and squandering wealth.” And they have been guaranteed protection against agreeing on errors, as is also mentioned in numerous ahaadeeth, but division and differences are feared for them. That indeed came to pass in this ummah, and they divided into seventy-three sects, of whom one will be saved and will enter Paradise and be saved from the torment of the Fire, and they are the ones who follow the path of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer (2/89/90).
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.
105. And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:104, 105]
It is not permissible for a Muslim to join parties that go against Islam or are opposed to it, such as secular, nationalist or communist parties, because joining them implies approval of their misguidance and kufr, and is increasing their numbers.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And verily, this (i.e. Allaah’s Commandments mentioned in the above two Verses 151 and 152) is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al‑Muttaqoon (the pious)”
“Verily, those who divide their religion and break up into sects (all kinds of religious sects), you (O Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) have no concern in them in the least. Their affair is only with Allaah, Who then will tell them what they used to do”
Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Here Allaah is warning those who divide their religion, i.e., who cause division within it, each of them calling himself by a name that does not benefit him in his religious commitment, like the Jews, Christians and Magians, or that do not complete his faith, such as taking something from sharee’ah and making that his religion, and ignoring something of similar or greater importance, as is the case with the people of sects who follow innovations and misguidance and divide the ummah.
The verse indicates that Islam enjoins unity and harmony, and forbids division and dissent among the followers of the faith, and in all basic and minor issues.
And Allaah enjoins disavowing those who divide their religion, and says: “you (O Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) have no concern in them in the least” i.e., you are not of them and they are not of you, because they have gone against you and opposed you.
“Their affair is only with Allaah”, as they will return to Him and He will punish them for their actions: “Who then will tell them what they used to do”.
Tafseer al-Sa’di (p. 282).
There is no reason why Muslims should not establish charitable organizations or organizations that aim to call people to Allaah or to do good works in general, so long as they do not follow blindly this organization or the opinions of its leaders in such a way that may cause division among the Muslims.
It is not permissible for the Muslims to establish parties and organizations that are based on blindly following certain opinions or blindly following some leaders, because that involves falling into division that is forbidden to us.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Leaders have no right to create factionalism among the people and stir up enmity and hatred, rather they should be like brothers, cooperating in righteousness and piety, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression”
No one should form a covenant with another person, agreeing to everything that he wants, taking as friends those who take him as a friend and taking as enemies those who take him as an enemy. Rather the one who does that is like Genghis Khan and his ilk, who regard those who agree with them as friends and those who disagree with them as enemies. Rather they and their followers should adopt the covenant of Allaah and His Messenger by obeying Allaah and His Messenger, doing what is enjoined by Allaah and His Messenger, and regarding as haraam that which has been forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger, and paying attention to the rights of leaders as enjoined by Allaah and His Messenger.
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (28/15, 16).
And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Whoever swears allegiance to a person on the grounds that he will take as a friend the one who takes him as a friend and regard as an enemy the one who takes him as an enemy, is like the Tatars who are striving for the sake of the shaytaan. One who is like that is not among those who are striving for the sake of Allaah, may He be exalted and is not one of the Muslim ranks. It is not permissible for such a person to be one of the Muslim troops, rather he belongs to the troops of the shaytaan. He does well who says to his student: You must adhere to the covenant of Allaah by taking as a friend those who take Allaah and His Messenger as friends, and regarding as an enemy those who regarded Allaah and His Messenger as enemies. Cooperate in righteousness and piety and do not cooperate in sin and transgression. If truth lies with me then support the truth, and if I am following falsehood then do not support falsehood. Whoever adheres to this principle is one of those who are striving for the sake of Allaah, those who want submission to be all for Allaah and the word of Allaah to be uppermost.
Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (28/20, 21)
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
With regard to joining modern parties, this should not be done. Everyone should adhere to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, and cooperate in that sincerely. Thus they will be part of the “party of Allaah” of which Allaah says at the end of Soorat al-Mujaadilah (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, it is the party of Allaah that will be the successful” [al-Mujaadilah 58:22], after mentioning their great attributes in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “You (O Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) will not find any people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger…”
Among their great attributes are those which Allah mentions in Soorat al-Dhaariyaat, where He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, the Muttaqoon (the pious. See V.2:2) will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs (in the Paradise),
16. Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this Muhsinoon (good‑doers. See V.2:112).
17. They used to sleep but little by night [invoking their Lord (Allaah) and praying, with fear and hope].
18. And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allaah) for forgiveness.
19. And in their properties there was the right of the Saa’il (the beggar who asked) and the Mahroom (the poor who does not ask others)”
These are the attributes of the “party of Allaah”, who do not follow anything but the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah; they promote that and follow the path of the early generation of this ummah, the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) and those who followed them in truth.
They sincerely advise and call upon all parties and groups to adhere to the Qur’aan and Sunnah and to examine anything that differs from them; whatever is in accordance with both or one of them (the Qur’aan and Sunnah) is acceptable and true, and whatever goes against them must be shunned.
In that regard there is no difference between the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen), Ansaar al-Sunnah, al-Jama’iyyah al-Shar’iyyah, Jamaa’at al-Tableegh and other groups and parties that claim to be Islamic. Thus they have a shared purpose and aim and become one party which follows the path of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, who are the party of Allaah and the supporters and promoters of His religion.
It is not permissible to follow blindly any group or party in matters in which it goes against sharee’ah.
Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (7/177, 178).
If a Muslim is living in a secular, kaafir state, and there is a party that is calling for Islam, or playing a role in establishing the religion among the Muslims, and is striving to protect their identity and beliefs, then it is not permissible for anyone to abandon it, rather it should be supported and helped as much as possible. If a Muslim cannot support it except by joining it, there is no reason why he should not do so, but it is essential to pay attention to what we have said about not being partisan or following blindly.
Shaykh Ibn Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his discussion of what we learn from the story of Shu’ayb in Soorat Hood (peace be upon them both):
… Allaah may defend the believers in many ways, some of which they may know and some they may not know at all. He may defend them by means of their tribe or their kaafir compatriots, as Allaah defended Shu’ayb from the stoning of his people by means of his clan. There is nothing wrong with striving to maintain these connections by means of which Islam and the Muslims may be defended, and in some cases that may be essential, because da’wah is required according to ability.
Based on this, if the Muslims help those who are under the rule of the kuffaar, and strive to make the state a republic in which the religious and worldly rights of individuals and peoples are protected, that is better than their submitting to a state that denies their religious and worldly rights, and is keen to destroy them and make them its servants. Yes, if it is possible to make the state an Islamic one where the Muslims are the rulers, that is what should be done, but when that is not possible then the next priority is supporting a type of state where religious and worldly interests are protected. And Allaah knows best.
Tafseer Ibn Sa’di (388).
The scholars of the Standing Committee were asked:
Is it permissible to establish Islamic parties in secular states where the parties are officially subject to man-made laws but their aim is something other than that, and their da’wah is secret?
It is prescribed for the Muslims who live in kaafir states to unite and cooperate and work together, whether that is in the name of Islamic parties or Islamic organizations, because that is cooperating in righteousness and piety.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Razzaaq ‘Afeefi, Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ghadyaan and Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Qa’ood.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (23/407, 408)
We think that you and others should support the Islamic party without joining it, because of what we have stated above of concerns about blind following. You can support the truth that they follow without joining them, then you will have achieved two things: avoiding following and responding to your family’s request. If the law forbids supporting them without joining them, then we think that you should try to convince your family that your joining this party will help the interests of Islam and the Muslims. If they refuse and you cannot conceal your membership in this party from them, and you are living in their house and required to obey them, then we think that you should not join this party. But if you are living separately from them then you will not be sinning if you do not respond to their request, in sha Allaah.
And Allaah knows best.