Shaykh Salih ibn Abdul Aziz Aal al-Shaykh said, “This principle (i.e. the muslims must stick to the Jama’ah (the imams and scholars) of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah and abide by their sayings) is based upon the saying of Allah, “Hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves.” [Soorahaal-Imran(3):103] and the saying of Allah’s Messenger, “The Shaytaan is the wolf that preys on man kind as the (real) wolf preys on sheep and snatches the sheep that wanders off alone. Beware of splitting and stay with the jamaa’ah (main body of Muslims).” [(hasan) Musnad Ahmad]
It is established in the Hadeeth which is narrated by Abdullah ibn Ahmad in Zawaaid of Musnad Ahmed that the Messenger of Allah said,”Jama’a his mercy, and division/differing is agony/punishment.” All kinds of differing whether in opinions, sayings or actions are a punishment with which Allah punishes those who oppose His Command and follow other than the Guidance.
Therefore, he who adheres to the Jama’ah of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah – and follows its Imams and scholars, he is the one who has adhered to the Jama’ah.
He who separates from them has not secured him self from being amongst those who have divided and those who are punished by Allah in the worldly life. We ask Allah to protect us and all our brothers from all this. Allah’s Messenger therefore said, “Jama’ah is mercy, and divisionis punishment.” All kinds of unity, in all it’s characteristics – if it is unity upon guidance and truth – then it is mercy and Allah bestows His Mercy upon his slaves due to it- while differing is punishment and it is devoid of any good at all. Therefore, after Allah said,” Hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e.this Qur’aan), and be not divided among yourselves.”
Allah said in the next verse, “Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining al-Maroof and forbidding all al-Munkar. It is they who are the successful.” [Soorah al-Imran(3):104]
And then He said, “Be not like those who are divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.” [Sooraha al-Imran (3):105]
Yes, those who differed in statement and actions – after the truth and the guidance has been shown to them – they are not secured from deviation, division and following other than the path of guidance. It is therefore, in cumbent to stick to the Jama’ah of Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. We adhere to their sayings and we do not oppose their principles and rules, and (we do not differ from) what the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah have decided because the scholars are knowledgeable concerning the Usool (principles) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah and the proofs of the Sharee’ah–which are not known to many people, and these a real so not known to those who claim knowledge. The scholars (of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah) posses deep-rooted knowledge, correct foresight and definite knowledge.
Do you know what Abdullah ibn Mas’ood did during Hajj with Uthman ibn Affan (the third Caliph)? Uthman was performing the (obligatory) Salaat in full and not shortening them. He prayed four units in Mina while the Sunnah is to pray two units because of the ruling of Qasr (shortening) of all four unit prayerstotwounits. Uthman thought that he should pray four units due to a Sharee’ah reason (while) Ibn Mas’ood used to say that the Sunnah of the Prophet is to pray only two units for prayers of four units. Ibn Mas’ood was asked,”You say this while you pray four units with Uthman!! Why?” Ibn Mas’ood replied,”O so-and-so! Differing is evil! Differing is evil! Differing is evil!” [Narrated by Abu Dawood with a strong chain of narrators]
This is because of their understanding of the correct principle that he who differs then he has neither secured him self nor others from Fitna. Ibn Mas’ood said, “Differing is evil.””
Ref: Islamic Principles For The Muslims Attitudes During Fitnah By Shaykh Salih ibn Abdul Aziz Aal al-Shaykh
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie