Muslims around the world are surrounded and bombarded by groups, sects and schools of thought, all claiming to be the true saved sect until many are confused and torn between several sections of Muslim society with no criteria to discern and distinguish between those on the correct creed and those who have deviated from the true path of Islam. The prophet Muhammad (saw) prophecised and predicted that there will be many sects arising from Islam despite the command of Allah to unite together on the true creed. He (saw) said,
"My nation will be divided into 73 sects, all of which are in hellfire except one." the companions asked "Who is the saved sect O Messenger of Allah?" he replied "What I and my companions are upon."
This important message teaches us that there is a sect in Islam that is on the straight path and salvation lies in seeking out that correct creed and purifying our beliefs and creed to match the belief and understanding of the prophet Muhammad (saw) and his companions. Allah (swt) says,
"If they believe similar to what you all (the prophet and his companions) have believed, they will be guided and if they turn away they will be in clear error!" [Explanation of the Meaning of the Quran, 2:137]
Finding out about the differences and controversies in topics of creed (Aqeedah) and discovering the belief of the early believers in Islam who followed the beliefs and creed of the companions of the prophet (saw) closely is essential in these confused times.