It is an unacceptable ominous reality that Muslims, are divided amongst themselves. The tragedy is that such divisions are not rooted in the Islamic source,
but are later accretions to the understanding of Islam.
Muslims must be united in commitment to God:
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He
brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided [3:103]
There is double emphasis in the above verse. Besides saying ‘hold firmly all together’ it also says, ‘be not divided’.
Unity of the utmost importance in state of weakness - Harun (peace be upon him) was more concerned with the unity of the Bani-Isra'il, than he was with their worshipping the golden calf.
He said, ‘Son of my mother- let go of my beard and my hair! - I was afraid you would say, “You have caused division among the children of Israel and
have not heeded what I said.”’[20:94].
This was due to his state of weakness: …the people took me as weak and were
about to kill me… [Part of 7:150]. Are the Muslims today not in the state of weakness?
Sectarian/Party strife or conflict is a punishment
Say: ´He possesses the power to send you punishment from above your heads or from beneath your feet, or to confuse
you in sects and make you taste one another´s violence.´ Look how We vary the Signs so that hopefully they will understand. [6:65]
This community of believers should be invariably one in essence:
Verily this community of yours is a single community,
and I am your Lord; so worship Me. But they tore asunder their faith into many parts. But to Us they are bound to return. [21:92-3]
strongly forbids to associate with those that break away into sects:
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 Allah; then He will inform them about what they used to do. [6:159]
Despite the above verse, vast majority of Muslims still continue to associate themselves with various sects, denominations and school of thoughts (eg. Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Sufi and more recently ‘Progressive’, ‘Reformist’ and
‘Quranist’ and etc.) A Muslim should not seek to belong to a sect rather he should live as an upright Muslim 4:57, 4:122, 22:23, 22:56, 29:58, 5:9, 57:19 to attain salvation.
Those who divide into various sects adhere to ‘non-Scriptural’ dogmas, yet justify it by “Scripture”:
And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scripture, but it is not from the Scripture. And they say, "This is from Allah," but it is not from Allah.
And they speak untruth about Allah while they know. [3:78]
What sets these different sects apart is mainly their human factors, and the upholding
of various sources besides God's words.
Sectarian believers resemble the polytheists:
"Turn back in repentance to Him, and fear Him. Establish regular prayers, and be not among those who ascribe partners to God -- those who split up their religion, and become mere sects, each party
rejoicing in that which is with itself!" [30:31-32]
The community of believers are considered to be as Muslims:
• Pharaoh's magicians submit to God after witnessing Prophet Moses's (peace be upon him) sign from his Lord and are ready to die as those who surrender to God
• Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) asks for no reward from his people. He only surrenders to God (muslimeen)
• Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) speaks to his people to put their trust in God if they surrender to Him (muslimeen)
• Prophet Solomon's (peace be upon him) letter to Sheba (Saba) requesting her in the name of the Lord to abandon her blasphemy and to surrender
herself to God (muslimeen) [27:31]
• Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) acknowledges his own surrender to his Lord (muslimeen)
• Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is instructed to say that he has been commanded to be of those that surrender to God (muslimeen)
• Those who have persevered with the truth from the People of the Book and when it is recited to them, acknowledge that they have already
been from those that have surrendered to God (muslimeen) [28:53]
• All but one house belonging to Lot (peace be upon him) (from
his community) had surrendered to God (muslimeen) [51:36]
• Disciples of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) confirm that they surrender
to God (muslimoon) [3:52]
• Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was one who surrendered to His Lord (musliman)
• Prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) prays to his Lord to die as one who surrenders to his Lord (musliman) [12:101]
• Prophet Jacob's (peace be upon him) children at the point of their father's death profess that they surrender to God (muslimoon) [2:133]
God commands believers to die as Muslims:
You who believe, be mindful of God, as is His due, and make sure you devote yourselves to Him (muslimeen), to your dying moment. [3:102]
God will not judge people how they label themselves or are labelled by others but rather their beliefs and behavior or deeds:
[Muslim] believers, the Jews, the Nazarene/Christians, and the Sabians - all those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good - will have their rewards with their Lord. No fear for them, nor will they grieve. [2:62] Nevertheless:
Who speaks better than someone who calls people to God, does what is right, and says, ‘I am one of those surrendered to God (muslimeen)’?
All secondary ‘sources’ must be judged by the light of the Quran. (68.36-38). Thus, according to the Quran a Muslim must be of non-denominational
persuasion free from sectarian bias and partisanship; devout, faithful and submit to God alone.
For Younger Readers
God teaches in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims that: