Don’t teach the small thing, teach the main thing.
There are so many groups. If you try to identify each group and each sub-group, your task will never really end as they can go on forever.
So what group are we?
The thing to understand is that just look in the Quran.
What is the dawah? What is the teaching and call of all Prophets and Messengers? That is the real thing.
Just think that we have one name, that name is Muslim. There is no name better than this name.
Teach people Islam. Don’t teach madhab, don’t teach opinion (outside of the classroom environment). Don’t teach the small thing, teach the main thing. Real thing is piety, fear of Allah, His Oneness, read the Quran.
Unite the Muslims, don’t divide them. We are the Ummah of Muhammad salallahu ‘alayhi wasalam. We have the same Prophet, same Quran, same Allah, and yet we are still divided?
Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Shafi’i are not more important than the Quran and Sunnah. Think like that. They have defended our religion, they did a good service, you can benefit from them but you should never use their name to divide the Ummah.
There are so many issues where the scholars say if you follow Abu Hanifah you get reward and if you differ then that opinion still gets a reward. They are ijtihad issues. But the thing the Quran teaches you, if you do a mistake in that there is no reward, just the fire of Hell. So teach those things- piety, fear of Allah, trust in Allah, becoming good believer. That is why Islam has come.
Islam did not come to make people Hanafi, Maliki, or Shafi’i. Quran says that those believers are successful who have khushu in their prayer. Quran does not say those believers are successful who pray like Abu Hanifah. Or pray like Malik or ash-Shafi’i, or Ahmed ibn Hanbal. No, it says those who have khushu because thats the real thing.
Whether you raise your hands to ears or shoulders. Whether you hold your hands on chest or on navel. That is not going to save you from fire of Hell, what saves you from Hell is the condition and purity of your heart. So that should be the main concern, not these minor issues.
These are such minor issues that even if you don’t know them, it will not harm you. If you dont know who is Imam Abu Hanifah, it will not harm you. If you never know all your life that you are Hanafi, it is never going to harm you. But if you are not a Muslim it is going to harm you. If you do not trust in Allah, it is going to harm you. If you do not believe in the Hereafter, it is going to harm you. If you do not love the Prophet salallahu alayhi wasalam, it is going to harm you. If you don’t have taqwa, its going to harm you. Forget what group you are as that is not going to harm you. Get close to Allah.
Paraphrased from speech by Shaykh (Dr.) Akram Nadwi