In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said,”The Jews were divided into seventy-one sects, one of which is in Paradise and seventy are in the Fire. The Christians were divided into seventy-two sects, seventy-one of which are in the Fire and one is in Paradise.
By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, my Ummah will be divided into eventy-three sects, one of which will be in Paradise and seventy-two will be in the Fire”. It was said, “O Messenger of Allaah! Who are they?” He said, “Al-Jamaa’ah”.(1) In another narration, the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “My Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all of them will be in the Fire except for one, and that is the Jamāʿah”. It was said, “And who are they, O Allāh’s Messenger?” He responded, “That which I and my Companions are upon today”.(2)
Hafs Bin Humaid [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “I said to Abdullaah Ibnul Mubaarak [may Allaah have mercy upon him], ‘How many sects has this Ummah spilt into?’ So he said, ‘The foundation of the sects are four: The shia, the hurooriyyah (i.e. khawaarij), the qadariyyah and the murji’ah. The shia (further) split into twenty-two sects; the hurooriyyah (further) split into twenty-one sects; the qadariyyah (further) split into sixteen sects and the murji’ah (further) split into thirteen sects'”. [Al-Ibaanah of Ibn Battah 1/379-380]
Question to Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him]: What is the intent behind the Messenger’s ﷺ statement when he spoke about the Ummah in the hadith: “All of them (the sects) are in the fire except one” and what is that one?. Also, will all the other 72 (deviant) sects be in the fire for eternity? Benefit us.
The answer: The prophet ﷺ said, “The Jews split into 71 sects, meaning all of them are astray and their affair ruined, except one. The Christians split into 72 sects, meaning all of them are astray and their affair ruined, except one. And this Ummah will split into 73 sects- all of them in the fire, except one. This one group is Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’a [those who firmly adhere to the authentic Prophetic Sunnah and are united upon that] – the companions of the Prophet and those who follow them exactly in faith, the adherents to pure Islamic monotheism and sound faith.
As for the other 72 sects that have been threatened with the fire, among them is one who is a disbeliever (ref a), among them is one who is a sinner and among them is one about whom it is established with clear evidence that he is an innovator in religious affairs. So, the one – among them – that dies in a state of disbelief (ref b) will be in the fire for eternity, the one that dies in a state of adherence to religious innovation that is lesser than major disbelief (ref c) or sins is under the will of Allah, while still threatened with the fire. So, based on this it is known that not all of them are disbelievers, but rather among them is a disbeliever and other than him among the sinners and the innovators in religious affairs. (0.1)
[Refs a and b]: NB: Takfeer – declaring that a Muslim left the fold of Islaam is a judgement that can only be given by the upright scholars and none else: https://www.manhaj.com/manhaj/articles/obkwf-takfir-and-the-excuse-of-ignorance-shaykh-saalih-al-fawzaan.cfm
[Ref c]: NB: All religious innovations are evil, but there are those that will exit a person from the fold of Islaam (Bida’atul Mukaffirah) and those that do not exit a person from the fold of Islaam (Bida’atul Mufassiqah). Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] was asked whether there is a difference between Bidah Al-Mukaffirah and Bidah Al-Mufassiqah; so he replied that there is Bidah Mukaffirah, such as rejecting the Ruyah (i.e. denying that the believers will see Allaah in the afterlife); rejecting Allaah’s Uluww [i.e. denying that Allaah is above his creation –Allaah ascended over the Throne in a way that benefits his majesty)]; invoking other than Allaah; offering slaughtered sacrifice (i.e. animals) to other than Allaah etc. These are affairs of Bidah Al-Mukaffirah (the bidah that is tantamount to disbelief). But we do not make Takfeer of the people who commit this type of Bidah until we establish the proofs against them. That is because some of them (i.e. the people who fall into these affairs) carry doubts and are far away from the era of Prophethood and its light (i.e. guidance). So they fall into the likes these innovations. Rejecting the Ruyah is disbelief; rejecting Allaah’s Uluww is disbelief; the saying that the Qur’aan is created is disbelief-major disbelief. But this person, -[who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allaah, and he prays, observes fasting, wants paradise and believes in that] -received the doubts of the people of falsehood, so he falls into the likes of these affairs (i.e. these innovations that are tantamount to disbelief). So we say to him: You have fallen into disbelief and the evidence is this and this, and we clarify for him. So if Allaah grants him Tawfeeq and he returns to the truth, then all praise is due to Allaah. But if not, we declare him a disbeliever after establishing the proofs against him. As for Bidah Al-Mufassiqah it is other than this (i.e. it is not at the level of that which is tantamount to disbelief)…[A paraphrased excerpt. see http://www.rabee.net/ar/questions.php?cat=26&id=484 ]
Some of The Most Well-Known Sects Amongst The Jews Who Either Deviated From The Sound Teachings of Their Prophets or Disbelieved In The Final Messenger Muhammad
* The Fareesiyyoon (Pharisees) or hard-liners: “They were also called Rabbis, erudite scholars, brothers for the sake of God, and they are monastic mystics. They believe in resurrection, in the angels and in the Afterlife. They also believe that the Torah is not the only holy book that is depended upon, but rather there are oral narratives that were later written and called the Talmud”.
* The Saddaaqiyyoon (Sadducees): “It was a name given to them because they were known to be deniers, so their enemies called them sedducees, because they denied the resurrection, the recompense, the paradise, the fire, the existence of the angels, the awaited Messiah. They believed that the reward for good deeds is a blessing and only something good in this life, and that evil deeds brings about crises and troubles for its doer”.
*The Saamirah: “They were a people who lived in the mountains of Jerusalem. They entered Judaism but they were not from the children of Israel. They affirmed the Prophethood of Moosaa, Haaroon and Yu’sha bin Noon [peace be upon them], but not the Prophethood of those after them. Their Qiblah was towards a mountain between Jerusalem and Nablus called Grezim. Their language is not the Hebrew language of the Jews, but rather a language close to it. This sect splintered into many groups which have different rulings and laws. They acknowledge the hereafter, reward and punishment in the hereafter, and some of their groups claim that the reward and punishment is only limited in this world”.
*The Muta’assibah (or Fanatical Partisans): “They were a group whose thought was close to that of the Pharisees, but they were very aggressive and believed in assassinating anyone who disagreed with them. They were also called Saffaakoon [Those Eager to Commit Murder], and they committed pillage, plunder, and transgressed against everyone who accepts submission to others besides them. Hostility occurred between them and the Pharisees because the Pharisees submitted to the Romans. Some of the researchers consider them to be from the political or nationalistic sects, even though their movement started within a religious framework, but great was their crimes which they committed from one place to another”.
*The Qurraa’oon (Reciters): “They were a small group of Jews and were given this name because they were reciters of the Torah. They appeared after the decline of the Pharisees. They only recognized the Old Testament, and they neither submit to the Talmud nor acknowledge it because they believe that they have freedom to explain the Torah and rectify the mistakes that occurred in some of its explanations”.
*The Al-Katabatu- (The Writers or Scribes): “This name was given to a group of Jews whose profession was to write the law for those who request it, and their job, besides writing and transcribing, was to preach, in order to obtain money from copying the law and preaching. And they have titles such as “Al-Hukamaa- Wise Men”. They established schools for education and the goal behind that was to gather money”.
*The Saba’iyyah: “They were the followers of Abdullah bin Saba, who entered Islam to (attempt) destroying it from within. He was the one who provoked the people against Uthmaan Bin Affaan [may Allaah be pleased with him] until he was murdered. He fabricated ahadeeth and he was the pioneer of political strife in Islam”. (3)
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] stated: Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The people in their pursuit of knowledge and religion have two innovated paths and a path legislated in the Sharee’ah. The path of the Islamic legislation is to look at that which the Messenger brought, utilise it as evidence and act upon that which it necessitates; therefore, there has to be knowledge based on that which he [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] came with and to act upon it, and only one of them is not enough. This path is built upon the sound intellectual proofs and the sound proofs that are based on absolute certainty (in conformity with the revelation), because indeed the Messenger clarified the sound intellectual proofs whose limits are determined by the (infallible) divine texts and the Messengers clarified the sound rational proofs which the people are in need of, just as Allaah put forth in the Qur’an every kind of similitude. This is the straight path which Allaah commanded His servants to ask Him to guide them to.
As for the two innovated paths, one of them is the path of the people of innovated theological speech and views, for indeed there is much falsehood in this. Many of its people become negligent in the deeds commanded by Allaah and His Messenger, so they remain upon corruption in knowledge and deeds. These people stray towards false Judaism.
The second is the path of people who employ ways of strengthening the soul, the people of the Soofi paths and innovated acts of worship. These ones stray towards false Christianity, because they say that if a person purifies his soul based on the manner in which they have stated, then the sciences of the religion will come to him in abundance without learning. The acts of worship of many amongst these people are innovated; rather they are in opposition to that which the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] came with and thus they remain upon corruption in their deeds and corruption due to deficiency in knowledge, since they do not know what the Messenger came with. These people often malign one another and every group speaks ill against the other, whilst each of them claims to be following the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam]; however, what the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] came with is neither in agreement with what these ones say and what those ones say. “Ibrahim (Abraham) was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism – to worship none but Allah Alone) and he was not one who associated partners to Allaah in worship”. [Surah Aal Imraan. Aayah 67]
Neither the Messenger of Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] nor his companions were upon the path of the people of religions innovations amongst the proponents of Theological Rhetoric and Views, nor upon the path of the people of religious innovations amongst the proponents of innovated worship and Soofiyyah; rather he was upon that which Allaah sent him with based on the Qur’aan and Sunnah”. [Al-Mukhtaaraat Al-Bahiyyah Min Kutub Shaikhil Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah. 290-291. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 1: Sunan Ibn Maajah, no. 3992. Kitaab Al-Fitan (Book of Tribulation; Chapter: Iftaaq alUmam (splitting of the nations). Declared authentic by imaam Al- Albaanee in saheeh Ibn Maajah. Publisher: Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif 1st edition. page 659. Also see Silsilah As-Saheehah1492]
[Ref 2: Shaikh Abu Khadeejah (may Allaah preserve him) stated: Reported by Tirmidhī, no. 2641; Ibn Naṣr Al-Marwazī in As-Sunnah, no. 59; Al-Ḥakīm in Al-Mustadrak, 1/218; Al-Ājurrī in AshSharīʿah, no. 23; Al-Lālikā’ī in Sharḥ Uṣūl Iʿtiqād, no. 147; Ibn Baṭtah in Al-Ibānah, no. 196; and many others. It has support from the ḥadīth of Anas reported by At- Ṭabarānī in Al-Awsat, no.7840; and in As-Saghīr, no. 724; It has been authenticated by a large body of scholars fromthe past and present]
[Ref 3: See Al-Faslu Fil Milal Wal-Ahwaa Wan-Nihal. 1/177-179 By Ibn Hazm. Publisher: Daar Al-Jeel 1405AH. Al-Milal Wan-Nihal 1/215-219. By Ash-Sharastaanee. Maktabah Al-Halabiy 1406AH. Maqaarinatul Ad’yaan Al-Yahoodiyyah 218-225. Maktabah An-Nahdah Al-Misriyyah]