Why are Muslims divided into so many rival sects?

1. Disunity Among Muslims

It is a fact that Muslims today, are divided amongst themselves. The tragedy is that such divisions are not rooted in the Islamic sources, but are later accretions to the understanding of Islam.

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“And hold fast, All together, by the rope

Which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves;”

[Al-Qur'an 3:103]

The rope of Allah that is being referred to in this verse is the Glorious Qur’an, the revelation from God Almighty to all humankind.

Islam in fact, prohibits its followers from engaging in sectarian disputes.

The Glorious Qur’an says:

“As for those who divide their religion and break up Into sects, thou hast no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of all that they did.”

[Al-Qur'an 6:159]

2. No Disagreement on the pillars of Islam

While it may be true that Muslims are divided into several sects, often at odds with each other, a closer scrutiny reveals that there is no disagreement on the fundamental pillars of Islam, among the vast majority of Muslims.

3. Single Identity

The Glorious Qur’an and Prophet (peace be upon him) refers to the followers of Islam as Muslims.

“Who is better in speech Than one who calls (men) To Allah, works righteousness, And says, ‘I am of those Who bow in Islam (Muslim)?’ “

[Al-Qur'an 41:33]

A Muslim is ‘one who submits’. In that sense, earlier prophets and their true followers were also Muslims.

4. Ethics of Disagreement in Islam

The ethics of disagreement are very much a part of the Islamic tradition. Muslims have traditionally accepted the existence of a plurality of opinions on various aspects of their religion. While one may hold a certain opinion to be more authoritative as compared to others, there is nothing in the Islamic sources that encourages a Muslim to disparage the views of others.

It was this acceptance of diversity that was a distinguishing feature of the great Islamic civilization. Muslims now need to revive the ethics of disagreement which was in the past, a hallmark of Islamic thought.



  1. Riyaz Kawoosa says:

    Muslim is ‘one who submits’ to Allah according to path shown by mohamad.

  2. Actually, ?slm literally means to be in complete harmony. In this sense, it entails peace, submission to bring about harmony, surrendering to bring about harmony, being trustworthy, thus every connotation to the words "trust" and "secure," to save from entropy of any kind to prevent disharmony, damage, harm, etc. One(s) who (mu-) do(es) this in respect to the laws of Allah then is a (are) Mu-SLiM(s). Granted, we can take out any Arabic-to-English dictionary and as with many Classical Arabic words come up with specific interpretations of certain words that mean have mean certain things in or out of context, but that is not enough. One has to look at the root, tri-literal format, and historical context as well. In this case, the word "Muslim" also means one who is saved or delivered, one who is trustworthy, one who strives to maintain peace in his/her Ummah, one who seeks to secure harmony in the most righteous way possible. Submitting to Allah definitely then qualifies as ONE MEANING of the word MuSLiM. In other words, a Muslim is one who obeys the command "Islam." In this sense, the laws of Gravity, Nature, the Universe (such as the motions of stars and planets) and the Speed of Light and Relativity, etc. are Muslim laws as well. They are in complete submission to the laws of Allah.

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