ADMINISTRATION OF MUSLIM LAW ACT
(CHAPTER 3, SECTION 32)
FATWA (LEGAL) COMMITTEE , ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF SINGAPORE
The Fatwa Committee has discussed the issue of Islam Jama’ah/Qur’an hadith Jama’ah in its 1st meeting of 21 October 2010, 2nd meeting of 9 December 2010, 3rd meeting of 27 January 2011, 4th meeting of 24 February 2011, 5th meeting of 21 March 2011, 9th meeting of 25 August 2011, 10th meeting of 15 September 2011, and 11th meeting of 17 November 2011.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيد المرسلين وإمام المتقين نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين. اللهم أرنا الحق حقا وارزقنا اتباعه، وأرنا الباطل باطلا وارزقنا اجتنابه . وبعد ،
1 The Fatwa Committee has received complaints on the teachings of a group referred to as “Quran Hadith Jama’ah” also known as “Islam Jama’ah” from members of the Muslim public. In addition to that, a newpaper report featuring the group was published on Berita Minggu dated 4th April 2010. The Fatwa Committee has studied the teachings of the group to ascertain the authenticity of their teachings. On this basis, the Fatwa Committee has discussed the matter in much detail in a number of meetings.
Collation of Information
2 In evaluating the teachings of this group, the Fatwa Committee has referred to these resources as a basis of its evaluation:
- Interviews with the management, religious teachers and ex-followers of the Islam Jama’ah group, Pasir Panjang branch.
- Published writings of the group as follows:
- Buku Makalah, published in 2002 & 2008
- Pengertian Jama’ah menurut Al-Quran Dan Sunnah, by Abu Sahl published in 2010
- Printed teaching materials of the group
- Fatwas issued by the Malaysian states of Perak on 9 May 2003, and Selangor on 24 September 1998, and the decision issued by the Attorney General of Indonesia on 29 Oktober 1971
- Newspaper report in Berita Minggu on 4 April 2010
- Audio recordings of classes conducted by Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah.
Findings of the Fatwa Committee on the teachings of the Islam Jama’ah / Quran Hadith Jama’ah.
3 From its observation and studies, the Fatwa Committee found that the teachings of the group are based on the teachings of Nurhasan Ubaidah, which were decreed as deviant and misleading in the fatwas mentioned above.
4 The Fatwa Committee also found that the teachings of the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah in Singapore holds unto the following concepts:
- The concept of Jama’ah:
This group believes that the “Quran Hadith Jama’ah” group is the only jama’ah from the Muslim community that is valid and deserves to enter heaven. In their teaching material “Buku Makalah 2002” which is distributed to their members, it is written as follows: “It has been the sole belief of the jama’ah that the Quran Hadits Jama’ah is the only path to enter heaven and be safe from hellfire.”
The understanding of the concept of Jama’ah by Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah is based on the interpretation of a few Qur’anic verses, one of which is the following:
)وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلا تَفَرَّقُوا(
Which means: And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves. ;
Based on this verse they believe that it is compulsory for a Muslim to be part of a particular jama’ah, with a specific imam that one gives his/her allegiance to. Whereas other Muslims who have not pledged allegiance to an imam, they are considered as not yet being part of a jama’ah.
The Fatwa Committee found that the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions used by the group as the basis to make jama’ah obligatory were interpreted differently than the views of the majority of Muslim scholars. The view of the majority of Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah is that the word jama’ah used in the hadith mentioned above refers to the Muslim community as a whole. It has been narrated by Tirmizhi as follows:
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ خَطَبَنَا عُمَرُ بِالْجَابِيَةِ فَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّى قُمْتُ فِيكُمْ كَمَقَامِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- فِينَا فَقَالَ « أُوصِيكُمْ بِأَصْحَابِى ثُمَّ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَهُمْ ثُمَّ الَّذِينَ يَلُونَهُمْ ... عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْجَمَاعَةِ وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْفُرْقَةَ...».
Which means: Recorded from Ibn Umar who said: Umar delivered a sermon to us in [an area called] Jabiyah. He said: Oh you people, verily I stand before you as the Prophet had stood before us before, when he said: It is upon you to always follow my companions, and those who come after them,, and those who come after them ... you must be together in a jama’ah (a big community) and you must not be divided.”.
This hadith is a strong basis to prove that what is meant by Jama’ah in the earlier hadith is the Muslim community as a whole, and not a specific group of Muslims. In this hadith, the Prophet p.b.u.h. taught Muslims to follow his sahabah (companions), tabi’in and tabi’it tabi’in (those who come after the generation of the companions), as a whole and not specific groups within them. This hadith further illustrates the underlying message of the Prophet, which is for the Muslims to be united as one whole Muslim community. It also reflects that any division in the community is not sanctioned.
This understanding is far different from what is understood and taught by the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah, which is not based on the interpretation of scholars of Quranic exegesis (tafsir) but is based on what is taught by the group’s founder, Nurhasan Ubaidah.
Imam Ibn Abi al-‘Izz Al-Hanafi in the book Sharah Ath-Thahawiyah wrote:
وَالْجَمَاعَة: جَمَاعَة الْمُسْلِمِينَ، وَهُمُ الصَّحَابَة وَالتَّابِعُونَ لَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إلى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
“And a jama’ah[means]: the general community of Muslims, and they are the companions, and those who follow their ways in all good deeds until the Day of Judgment”.
Therefore, it is compulsory upon all Muslims to worship Allah and fulfil the pillars of Islam and the tenets of Islamic faith. As long as a Muslim fulfils the above, and does not worship anything other than Allah, his faith and Islamic status remains. This is as explained in Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions such as the following verse from Surah adh-Dhariat:
)وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالإنْسَ إِلا لِيَعْبُدُونِ (
Which means: I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.
Another Qur’anic verse states:
)إِنَّ اللهَ لا يَغْفِرُ أَنْ يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَمَنْ يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ افْتَرَى إِثْمًا عَظِيمًا(
Which means: Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed.
- The concept of Imamah and Bai’ah:
Members of the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah believe that it is compulsory for all Muslims to appoint an imam (leader). Whereas the founder of the group (Nurhasan Ubaidah) is regarded as the reformist (mujaddid) of the era who is the one to be followed as the Imam. In view of this reason too, they make it compulsory for the followers of the group to make bai’ah to the imam, and whosoever do not comply to this, his Islamic status is deemed as invalid. This is described in their writing which means:
Therefore in practicing Islam, it is compulsory to be in a jama’ah, namely to have an Amir, to pledge allegiance (Bai’ah) to that Amir, and to follow his orders. In fact, it has to be emphasized that a Muslim who has not performed a bai’at and follows the orders of the Imam, his/her Islam is not valid, his/her acts of worship are not accepted, and he/she dies a death of the ignorant and enters hellfire. 
One of the hadiths used as the basis to obligate bai’ah is the hadith of the Prophet:
مَن مَاتَ وَلَيْسَ فِي عُنُقِهِ بَيعَة مَاتَ مِيْتَةً جَاهِلِيَّة.
Which means: Whosoever dies without ever pledging allegiance (bai’ah), he will die a death of the ignorant. 
The Fatwa Committe found that the concept of bai’ah held by the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah is not in line with the majority view of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.
The scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah describe the Imam whom it is compulsory for all Muslims to follow as the leader who holds the authority over the Muslim community. This is mentioned in a hadith recorded by Bukhari narrated from ‘Ubadah bin Samit. He said : We have made bai’ah to the Prophet p.b.u.h. that we will always heed and follow his words, in ease or in hardship, and that we will not claim power forcefully from the rightful authority, and that we will uphold justice wherever we are, and that we will not fear criticizism for the sake of Allah.”
This is further explained by Ibn Taimiyah in his writing as follows:
وَهُوَ أَنَّ النَّبِي صَلَى اللهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَمَرَ بِطَاعَةِ الأَئِمَّة المَوْجُودِينَ المَعْلُومِيْنَ الَّذِيْنَ لَهُمْ سُلْطَانٌ يَقْدِرُونَ بِهِ عَلَى سِيَاسَةِ النَّاس لاَ بِطَاعَةِ مَعْدُوم وَلاَ مَجْهُول وَلاَ مَنْ لَيْسَ لَهُ سُلْطَانٌ وَلاَ قُدْرَةٌ عَلَى شَيْء أَصْلاً.
Which means : Indeed the Prophet p.b.u.h. ordered Muslims to follow the leaders who are present and whose identities are known, and whose authority to lead the people are acknowledged. The Prophet did not order us to follow a leader whose presence is not known, and who does not hold any authority nor power. 
Although some scholars from Ahli Sunnah Wal Jama’ah are of the view that appointing an imam is compulsory in Islam, they explained that appointing an imam to lead a specific group or jama’ah is not one of the pillars or tenets of Islam. Al-Bajuri wrote :
فَلَيْسَ نَصْبُ الإِمَام رُكناً يُعْتَقَدُ فِي قَواَعِدِ الدِّيْنِ المُجْمَعِ عَلَيْهَا المَعْلُومَة بِالتَّوَاتُرِ بِحَيْثُ يُكَفَّرُ مُنْكِرُهَا كَالشَّهَادَتَينِ وَالزَّكاَة وَصَوْم رَمَضَان وَالحَجّ، لأَنَّهُ لَيْسَ مَعْلُومًا مِنَ الدِّينِ بِالضَّرُورَة، فَلاَ يُكَفَّر مُنْكِرُهُ.
Which means: Therefore the appointment of an imam is not a tenet of one’s faith, such that denying it could take a person out of the folds of Islam, such as proclaiming the Shahadah, paying alms, fasting in the month of Ramadan and performing Hajj. This is because the appointment of an imam (khalifah) is not a basic of the religion. 
Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani provided further explanation on the meaning of the phrase “dying the death of the ignorant” mentioned in the earlier hadith in the following words:
“ The death of an ignorant (pre-Islamic era) due to their misguidance for not pledging allegiance to an Imam, because those who live in the pre-Islamic era were not aware of it (the requirement of following an Imam). Further, what is meant is not that he dies as a non-Muslim, but that he dies in a condition of sin.” 
Referring to the above, Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah scholars were of the view that pledging bai’ah to a general Imam (as explained above) is compulsory, and by not doing so one commits a sin but not to the extent of expelling a Muslim from his/her Islamic faith.
The Fatwa Committee therefore concludes with the opinion that what is taught by the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah, that (1) pledging bai’ah is compulsory, (2) that the bai’ah is made to a specific Imam, (3) that the Imam is the leader of a specific group, and (4) that failure to fulfill the above invalidates one’s Islamic status, is not in harmony with the authentic teachings of Islam.
- The concept of Ilmu Manqul (communicated knowledge):
The Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah believes that religious knowledge that is attained without a valid chain of narration from Nurhasan Ubaidah is not valid. They further view such knowledge as unauthentic. This view is recorded in their book Makalah which means:
Their preaching is regarded as deviant because it is not in line with the teachings of the Prophet p.b.u.h. to his companions. They understand the meanings and content of the Quranic verses revealed by Allah differently than what was taught by the Prophet to his companions [which is] in a way that is accepted by Allah. Clearly they did noy have manqul-musnad-muttashil mukhlish jama’ah. 
The concept of Ilmu Manqul required by this group in receiving religious teachings from a religious teacher, gives more importance to the condition that the narration of the hadith comes from Nurhasan Ubaidahh, than assessing the validity degree of the hadith. Whereas Hadith scholars agree that solely prioritizing the chain of narration without considering the degree of the hadith, the reliability of the narrators and the methodology employed is a big error in the study of Hadith. 
This emphasizes the importance to understand the context and background of a certain hadith, to obtain a thorough understanding of the hadith that is being studied. Explanations and interpretations of Hadith scholars also have to be considered in the study of Hadith.
d. The concept of Fathonah Bithonah Budiluhur:
Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah practices this concept, which means that it is acceptable for a follower to tell an untruth regarding his/her religious teachings and movements in order to protect him/herself and/or the group. The definition of this concept is mentioned in their book in the following excerpts:
[Summary] : Bp. H. Ubaidah was invited to a discussion in a boarding school in Surabaya. He came in a jubah (long garb for men) and a head-dress. He then saw a docile dog, then carried it into the discussion room. His intention was to shift the discussion from the issues of Bai’ah Jama’ah to the issue of the ritual impurity of a dog.
In a different section, they wrote: He and his students perform Friday prayers on their own, in a small house owned by the jama’ah nearby the Jami’ mosque... out of spite somebody reported this to the Police, who came and asked for a statement. ”Why are you having Friday prayers on your own?” asked the Police. He answered:”We are not performing Friday prayers. We are still in the process of learning, and are ashamed that we are unable to perform it yet. When we have learned it well, we will follow the Friday prayers at the Jami’ mosque.” The Police then accepted their statement. 
The concept of Fathonah Bithonah Budiluhur practiced by Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah in the spread of their teaching allows its followers to conceal the truth in order to protect and ensure the continuity of the group. This is problematic because the Qur’an has explicitly mentioned that in the teaching and preaching of Islam, one has to be honest and upfront. The Qur’anic verse in Surah Yusuf verse 108 states:
)قُلْ هَذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ عَلَى بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ (
Which means: Say: "This is my way: I do invite unto Allah,- on evidence clear as the seeing with one's eyes - I and whoever follows me. Glory to Allah, and never will I join gods with Allah."
The Prophet p.b.u.h. also prohibited Muslims from telling untruths by saying:
مَنْ غَشَّ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّى.
Which means: Whosoever tells an untruth is not from among my ummah.
One of the characteristics of a suspicious/dubious/doubtful religious group is when its followers often consciously try to conceal the teachings and intentions of the group from the Muslim community in general. This is as mentioned by Umar ibn Abdul Aziz:
قَالَ عُمَر بن عَبْدُ العَزِيْز : « إِذَا رَأَيتَ القَومَ يَتَنَاجَونَ فِي دِينِهِم دُونَ العَامَة فَاعلَم أَنَّهُم عَلَى تَأسِيس ضَلاَلَة ».
Which means : Umar ibn Abdul Aziz said: If you see a group of people whispering among themselves [talking in seclusion] about matters of religion without sharing the information with the general Muslim community, know that they are on the grounds of deviance. 
- The use of Arabic books without any written commentary, by teachers with no recognized qualification:
The Fatwa Committee is concerned with the teaching materials and teaching manpower of the group, that mostly use books which are written fully in Arabic. At the same time, explanation and commentary of the books are provided by the teacher, based solely on his/her understanding of the text. Most of these teachers do not posess any formal relogious education and do not have any recognized qualifications, as well as not being recognized under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS) of Singapore. They do not refer to the established views of the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah in explaining religious teachings from the Arabic texts.
Decision of the Fatwa Comittee
5 Based on the Fatwa Committee’s observation on the teaching materials that are made as reference by the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah, and the interviews held with them, the Fatwa Committee is concerned that some aspects of the teachings founded by Nurhasan Ubaidah are maintained by the group. The teachings on the concepts of Jama’ah, Bai’ah, and pledging allegiance to an Imam are exclusive and extreme in nature, because they deny the validity of the Islamic status of other Muslims who practice Islam differently from their understanding of it.
These teachings are also reliant on their interpretations of Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions which are not in harmony with the established views of Muslim scholars. This may lead to the confusion of Islamic teaching and could result into some form of fanaticism, which could in turn cause friction and division between members of a family and the community-at-large. In view of the above, the Fatwa Committee decrees that the teachings founded by Nurhasan Ubaidah are antithetical to public interests, are to be contained, and can lead to deviance.
6 In the meeting held by the Fatwa Committee with the management and teachers of Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah, Pasir Panjang branch, they have agreed with the concerns raised by the Fatwa Committee,. They declared that they willabandon those aspects of their teachings. The Fatwa Committee takes this declaration seriously to ensure that any teaching that could lead to confusion and deviance is eradicated, and ceased to be spread by the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah.
7 The Fatwa Committee urges members of the Islam Jama’ah/Quran Hadith Jama’ah to free themselves from the teachings of Nurhasan Ubaidah that are problematic, and further enhance their religious knowledge by attending classes conducted by certified and recognized Asatizah.
8 The Fatwa Committee further advices the Muslim community to reject any form of teaching that could lead to a division in the community, and those that are based on exclusive and extreme interpretations. The Muslim community are also reminded to be more cautious in choosing religious teachers and to make sure that Islamic classes that they attend are conducted by qualified and recognized asatizah.
والله أعلم ، وبالله التوفيق ، وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلّم.
DR MOHAMED FATRIS BAKARAM
MUFTI OF REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
CHAIRMAN, FATWA COMMITTEE
ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS COUNCIL OF SINGAPORE
 Buku Makalah, 2002, pp. 64.
 Al-Qur’an, Ali Imran: 103.
 Abu Sahl, Pengertian Jama’ah- Menurut Quran dan Sunnah, 2010, pp. 55.
 Al-Tirmizi, Sunan al-Tirmizi, 8/328, Hadith no. 2318. Sheikh al-Mubarakfuri wrote in his book Tuhfah al-Ahwazi : This hadith in general holds the status of sahih or hasan. Refer to: Al-Mubarakfuri, Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, Beirut, Dar Kutub Ilmiyah, Vol. 6, pp. 320.
 Ibn Abi al-‘Izz, Sharh al-‘Aqidah al-Tahawiyah, Beirut, al-Maktab al-Islamy, 4th ed.4, 1391H, pp. 382.
 Al-Qur’an, Adh-Dhariyat: 56
 Al-Qur’an, an-Nisa: 48.
 Bai’ah : Based on the Arabic language, it is literally used as a form of indication for a financial transaction, or the granting of certain powers or allegiance. It also means being a party of an agreement. Refer to: Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-‘Arab, Beirut, Dar al-Sadir, 1st ed., Vol. 8, pp. 23.
The Prophet p.b.u.h. and his companions used the term ‘bai’ah’ which brings the meaning of: a form of promise or allegiance to the leader of a community, whether in following the leader’s orders or avoiding his prohibitions as long as the leader rules based on revealed text. There are three major bai’ahs recorded in Islamic history at the time of the Prophet: Bai’ah ‘Aqabah the First, Bai’ah ‘Aqabah the Second, and Bai’ah ar-Ridhwan.
 ”Jadi di dalam mengamalkan agama Islam wajib berjama’ah yaitu beramir, berbai’at dan tho’at. Bahkan secara tegas dinyatakan orang Islam yang belum berbai’at dan tho’at kepada seorang imam berarti Islamnya tidak sah, amal ibadahnya tidak diterima, mati sewaktu-waktu mati jahiliyah masuk neraka.” Buku Makalah 2002, pp. 75
 Hadith recorded byImam Muslim. Refer to : Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Beirut, Dar al-Jil, no. hadith , Vol. 6, pp. 22.
 Hadith recorded by Imam al-Bukhary. Refer to: al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhary, Beirut, Dar Ibn Kathir, 1987-1407H, no. , Vol. 6, pp. 2633.
 Ibn Taimiyah, Minhaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyah, Mua’sasah Qurtubah, 1st ed., 1406H, Vol. 1, pp. 115.
 Al-Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid ‘ala Jauharat al-Tawhid, Damascus, Maktabah Dar al-Beiruty, 1st ed., 2002-1423H, pp. 478.
 al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bary, Beirut, Dar al-Ma’rifah, 1379H, Vol. 20, pp. 58.
 ”Seruan mereka dikatakan sesat kerana menyalahi pemahaman yang telah disampaikan Rasululloh Shollaohu ’alaihi wassalam kepada para shohabatnya. Mereka memahami makna dan isi ayat-ayat Al-Quran yang diwahyukan oleh Alloh tidak sesuai dengan yang telah diajarkan oleh Rosululloh Shollaohu ’alaihi wassalam kepada para shohabatnya dengan cara yang diridhoi oleh Alloh dan diterima secara benar dan dipraktekkan secara murni, jelasnya mereka tidak manqul-musnad-muttashil mukhlish jama’ah.” Buku Makalah 2002, pp. 66.
 Al-Baghdady, al-Khatib, al-Kifayat fi ‘Ilm al-Riwayah, Madinah Al-Munawwarah, al-Maktabah al-’Ilmiyah, pp. 3.
 [Ringkasan]: Bp. H. Ubaidah diajak berdebat di sebuah asrama di Surabaya, beliau datang dengan memakai jubah dan serban. Kemudian beliau ternampak ada seekor anjing yang jinak, lalu beliau mendokong anjing tersebut ke dalam ruang pertemuan. Tujuan beliau adalah untuk mengalihkan tajuk pembahasan dari ”Bai’ah/Jama’ah dll” kepada najis atau sucinya anjing. Buku Makalah 2002, pp. 120.
 ”Beliau dan murid-muridnya mengadakan sholat Jum’at tersendiri di rumah kecil milik jama’ah di dekat masjid Jami’...kerana ada yang dengki dan melaporkan ke Polisi, maka beliau dipanggil dan dimintai keterangan oleh Polisi, ”Mengapa mengadakan sholat Jum’at sendiri?’ Beliau menjawab,”Kami tidak mengadakan sholat Jum’at. Kami baru belajar sholat Juma’at. Kerana kami malu kalau belum bisa sholat Jum’at. Nanti kalau sudah bisa sholat Jum’at kami akan ikut sholat di Masjid Jami’. Akhirnya polisi hanya mengatakan, “Ohh, yaa sudah, kalau begitu” Buku Makalah 2002, pp. 119.
 Al-Qur’an, Surah Yusuf: 108.
 Hadith recorded by Imam Muslim. Refer to: Muslim, Sahih Muslim, Beirut, Dar al-Jil, no. Hadith , Vol. 1, pp. 69.
 Ibn Hanbal, Ahmad, al-Zuhd, Beirut, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyah, 1st ed., 1999-1420H, No. , pp. 235.