Hadith on Sects: Warning Against Seventy-Three Sects

📖Sunan Abi Dawud 4596
Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The Jews were split up into seventy-one or seventy-two sects; and the Christians were split up into seventy one or seventy-two sects; and my community will be split up into seventy-three sects.

Hadith Explanation
This Hadith from Sunan Abi Dawud 4596 states that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prophesied the splitting of his community into seventy-three sects. This Hadith serves as a warning about the divisions that would arise among Muslims in the future. It highlights the importance of being aware of these sects and adhering to the teachings and principles of the Prophet Muhammad.

To further emphasize the significance of following the Prophet’s teachings, I can provide additional references:

  1. Sahih Muslim 2531: This Hadith narrated by Abu Burda states that the Prophet Muhammad led his companions in prayer, and they expressed their desire to continue praying with him. The Prophet acknowledged their good intentions and, while looking at the sky, made a comparison between the stars providing security to the sky and himself being a source of safety and security to his companions. He mentioned that when he would be gone, his companions would serve as a source of security for the Ummah (Muslim community), as they were promised.
  2. Sahih al-Bukhari 3606: In this Hadith narrated by Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman, he asked the Prophet Muhammad about the possibility of evil after the present good. The Prophet confirmed the occurrence of future evil and described that there would be people who deviate from his teachings and lead others astray. He mentioned that these individuals would be from within the Muslim community and speak the same language. Hudhaifa inquired about the course of action in such circumstances, and the Prophet advised him to adhere to the group of Muslims and their leader. In the absence of a specific group or leader, he instructed to distance oneself from all the different sects, even if it meant isolating oneself until meeting Allah in that state.

These references demonstrate the importance of following the Prophet Muhammad’s example and guidance through the actions of his companions. They serve as a reminder to seek unity within the Muslim community, adhere to the teachings of the Prophet, and avoid divisive sects or groups that deviate from his tradition. By following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad and his companions, Muslims can strive for unity, sound guidance, and the preservation of the true teachings of Islam.


The mentioned Hadith is a prediction made by Prophet Muhammad. He had knowledge that people would create their own sects according to their free will. In anticipation of this, Prophet Muhammad warned us in advance about the existence of 73 sects and also provided guidance on how to protect ourselves from them.