No walaa’ and baraa’ (declaring allegiance and declaring innocence) should be pledged over sectarianism and partisanship
By Bakr Abu Zayd
Source: Hilyahtu Taalibil-‘Ilmi (Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge)
The people of Islaam have no distinguishing characteristic except Islaam and peace. O seeker of knowledge! May Allah bless you and your knowledge – seek knowledge and implement it and call to it upon the way of the Pious Predecessors. Do not be a person who frequently goes in and out of these groups or you will leave [the path of] freedom to enter [a way of] constriction, for all of Islaam is a path and a way for you and all the Muslims are the Community and the Hand of Allah is with the Community. There is no sectarianism and partisanship in Islaam. I seek refuge from Allah on your behalf that you become weak, and become like a robber between these sects, groups and false ideologies, and extremist parties if you pledge allegiance and declare innocence for their sakes.
Become a seeker of knowledge upon the Path, pursuing the tracks [of those who preceded you] and the following of the Sunan and calling to Allaah with insight, and acknowledging the virtues and precedence of the people of virtue. Hizbiyyah (partisanship), with its innovated paths and appearances is the greatest obstacle to knowledge and the cause of the dispersion of the Community, and it has very much weakened the rope of unity of Islaam and caused afflictions upon the Muslims. So beware of these parties and sects whose members move around for its sake and whose evil star has shone. Their likeness is no more then that of the roof of the gutter: it gathers grimy water and scatters it everywhere, except for those upon whom Allaah has bestowed His Mercy so they become upon that which the Prophet and his companions were upon. Ibn al-Qayyim said when he mentioned the sign of the people of servitude to Allaah  “…and the second sign, is in his (i.e. Abu Ismaa’eel al-Hurawee’s) saying: ‘and they are not affiliated to any name’, meaning that they are not renowned to people with names which they are known by, the names [or titles, as the sects are] with which have become signs for the people of the other paths. Similarly they are not bound to any one activity, with which they are named, and known by, nor known by other activities, for indeed this is a defect in servitude and it is restricted servitude. As for unrestricted servitude it is where a person is not known by a specific name from amongst its meanings because he answers the call of servitude regardless of the type [of worship], and he participates in all the activities of all the people of servitude, and is not bound by set regulations, signs, names, uniform or [any other] innovated path. Rather, if he were to be asked about his shaykh he would reply: the Messenger (saws), or [if he were to be asked about] his Way he would reply: adherent following, and [if he were to be asked about] his uniform he would reply: at-taqwa (fear of Allaah), or [if he were to be asked about] his madh-hab (religious school of thought in jurisprudence), he would reply: implementation of the Sunnah, or [if asked about] his aim he would reply:
“seeking His face” [Surah Al-An’aam 6:52]
or [if about] his place of dwelling he would reply:
فِى بُيُوتٍ أَذِنَ ٱللَّهُ أَن تُرۡفَعَ وَيُذۡڪَرَ فِيہَا ٱسۡمُهُ ۥ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ ۥ فِيہَا بِٱلۡغُدُوِّ وَٱلۡأَصَالِ (٣٦) رِجَالٌ۬ لَّا تُلۡهِيہِمۡ تِجَـٰرَةٌ۬ وَلَا بَيۡعٌ عَن ذِكۡرِ ٱللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ وَإِيتَآءِ ٱلزَّكَوٰةِ*ۙ يَخَافُونَ يَوۡمً۬ا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ وَٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرُ
“in houses (mosques_ which Allaah has ordered to be raised (to be cleaned and to be honoured), in them His Name is remembered. Therein Glorify Him in the mornings and in the afternoons or in the evenings. Men whom neither trade nor sale diverts from the Remembrance of Allaah, nor from performing as-Salaat nor giving the Zakaat.” [Surah An-Noor 24:36-37]
Or if he were asked about his lineage he would reply (poetry):
“My father is Islaam; I have no other father save him,
if they boast with Qays or Tameem.
Or if he were asked about what he eats and drinks, he would reply: “you have no concern with it, as it has its water container, and its feet and it will reach water, and eat of trees so leave it till its owner finds it [Poetry]:
“What a shame! You have spent your lifetime,
and its hours have passed
Between the humiliation of impotence and laziness,
And the people have taken the path of salvation,
And upon it travelled to the highest goal at east.”
He then said (i.e. Ibn al-Qayyim): “…as for his saying, ‘Indeed they are the treasures of Allaah wherever they may be’: the treasures of the king are what he stores with him for his important affairs, and does not give it to anyone. Similarly, the treasures of an individual are that which he stores for his needs and affairs. These people, when they were hidden from the people [because they are anonymous], and they are not noticed or distinguished from the [rest of the] people by a mark, or affiliated to the name of an (innovated) way, or madh-hab, or shaykh, or uniform, then these people are similar to the example of hidden treasures. These people are the furthest away from defects because defects lie beneath these (innovated) names or being attached to them, and lie beneath adherence to these ideological ways and [these] newly established and innovated ways, which have become [a] common [thing]. This is the cause of the majority of people becoming cut off from Allaah without realising [it]. The astonishing thing is that they are recognised by the people for their zeal and aspiration, and striving towards Allaah, and in reality they – except for a few – are the ones who are cut off from Allaah by these marks and bindings. One of the imaams was asked about the Sunnah (i.e. the People of the Sunnah), so he replied: “They are the ones who have no other name but the Sunnah.” He means that Ahl as-Sunnah have no other name that they are affiliated to.
There are amongst the people those who are bound by a [particular] uniform or by sitting in a [certain] place and not anywhere else, [or] by a particular way of walking and not walking in any other way, [or] by a uniform and an appearance that they never change, by a particular form of worship and they do not worship except in this manner even if other forms are better then it, or by a particular shaykh to whom they turn to and [turn to] no other then him even if the others are nearer (in following) to Allaah and His Messenger then him. [People who are bound by] all of these categories are prevented from reaching the Highest Goal and are deterred from it. Customs, names, circumstances and ideologies bring them from adherent following so they become secluded from it, and their station is the furthest station from it. You will see one of them worshipping by performing a set of exercises, seclusions and complete emptying of the heart. They consider knowledge as a thing that cuts them off from the Path. If walaa’ and baraa'(declaring allegiance and declaring innocence) for the sake of Allaah was mentioned to one of them or enjoining good and forbidding evil, he would consider it as something trivial and evil, and if they see people from amongst them who establish things, they will exile him from amongst them, and they would not consider him as one of them. Such people are the farthest people from Allaah even if they were the most notable. And Allaah knows best.”
151: And in the book Hukm al-Intimaa’, but the Shaykh, there are more benefits and more details
152: Madaarij as-Saalikeen (3/172)
153: These are the names of two notorious Arab tribes, i.e. if they became proud of being from these two tribes then I will become proud of my affiliation of Islaam. Salmaan al-Faarisee said this line of poetry.
154: A hadeeth narrated in al-Bukhaaree from the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Khaalid al- Juhanee.