That is because your Lord would not destroy the cities for wrongdoing while their people were unaware. Quran (6: 130-131)
Allah says: "And Allaah will never lead a people astray after He has guided them until He makes clear to them as to what they should avoid. Verily, Allaah is the All-Knower of everything" (9:115)
a) Imam Nawawi commented: "The scholars had made ikhtilaaf regarding the interpretation of this hadith. One group had said 'To ascribe this to be ignoring the qudrah of Allah is not correct. The reason is the one who has doubts regarding the qudrah of Allah is bizatihi (perse) kafir. Let alone at the end of the hadith it had been said he had done it out of fear from Allah. Whereas as, just as the kafir does not fear Allah he will not be pardoned. These individuals according to this have said there are two tawils for this hadith a) If Allah had predestined the punishment meaning if He had commanded. In this case this verb can be recited both as qadara and qaddara; both with the shadda (sign of emphasis) and without the shadda. In this case both meanings are the same b) The verb qadara here means dayyaka ala. It is stated in the ayah "restricting his subsistence for him" (Fajr 89/16) this is also the view said about this ayah "he thought that We would not straighten him" (Anbiya 21/87). Another group states: The statement is in the dhahir meaning. However this man had said this without realizing what he was saying. Moreover as his intention was not the real meaning of the word he did not carry such belief. On the contrary he had said this when fright, horror and extreme inpatience had overwhelmed him. Such that his strength had been lost and was not able to think of what he was saying. The individual in such state is in a position of being inattentive and forgetful. Responsibility is not mentionable in such condition. Fundamentally this is like someone finding his mount being overwhelmed with joy and saying "O Allah! You are my slave and I am your lord." The individual who said this had not been made takfir of because his amazement had been taken over by his joy and was mistaken. This hadith had been narrated in a place other than Muslim as follows: Maybe I will remain hidden from Allah meaning I will not be seen to Him. This shows that his statement meant if Allah is capable of in the dhahir meaning. Another group had said: This statement is a type of metaphor and unique use in Arabic. This type of speech is called the doubt used metaphoricaly for certainty (to mean the certain information with the doubt signifying word.) As in this ayah "and certain it is that either we or ye are on right guidance or in manifest error!" (Saba 34/24) The manner of expression is doubt and what had been meant is definite certainty. One group had said: This man had been ignorant in one of the attributes of Allah. Where as the Ulama had made ikhtilaaf regarding the takfir of the one who is ignorant in the attributes. Qadi Iyad said: 'For this reason (here the individual who doesn't have knowledge of the attribute of Allah has been meant. Not the person in the hadith) Ibn Jarir at-Tabari had made takfir of him. Abu'l Hasan Ashari had expressed this first.' Others say: An individual will not be made takfir of due to being ignorant in the attributes. Moreover contrary to the one who rejects it, it will not exit him from the scope of iman. Fundamentally Abu'l Hasan al-Ashari had later changed to this view and had kept stable at it. The reason is because this man had not believed this to be true with a satisfied i'tiqaad and also he had not seen it as another deen and shari'ah. Certainly the one who believes what he had said to be haq surely will be made takfir. These people say: If the Muslim is to be asked regarding the attributes only a few will know. A group had said: This man had lived in the era of fatrah which plain tawhid had benefited. According to the correct view prior to the arrival of shari'ah there is no proposition because in the ayah it is stated: nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent an messenger (to give warning)" (al-Isra 17/15)Another group says: In the shari'ah (contrary to our shari'ah) of this individual it is possible he lived in an era which the forgiveness of the kuffar was permissible, which according to the ahl sunnah this is possible in relation to mind. We could have been restricted from this, with this hukm in our shari'ah. The evidence for this is "Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him" (an-Nisa 4/48) and other similar evidences. Allahu Alam (Sharah an-Nawawi, 7/70-74).
b) Shaykh ul Islam Ibn e Taimiya (rah) writes :
فَهَذَا الرَّجُلُ ظَنَّ أَنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَقْدِرُ عَلَيْهِ إذَا تَفَرَّقَ هَذَا التَّفَرُّقَ فَظَنَّ أَنَّهُ لَا يُعِيدُهُ إذَا صَارَ كَذَلِكَ وَكُلُّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْ إنْكَارِ قُدْرَةِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَإِنْكَارِ مَعَادِ الْأَبْدَانِ وَإِنْ تَفَرَّقَتْ كَفَرَ . لَكِنَّهُ كَانَ مَعَ إيمَانِهِ بِاَللَّهِ وَإِيمَانِهِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَخَشْيَتِهِ مِنْهُ جَاهِلًا بِذَلِكَ ضَالًّا فِي هَذَا الظَّنِّ مُخْطِئًا . فَغَفَرَ اللَّهُ لَهُ ذَلِكَ . وَالْحَدِيثُ صَرِيحٌ فِي أَنَّ الرَّجُلَ طَمِعَ أَنْ لَا يُعِيدَهُ إذَا فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ وَأَدْنَى هَذَا أَنْ يَكُونَ شَاكًّا فِي الْمَعَادِ وَذَلِكَ كُفْرٌ - إذَا قَامَتْ حُجَّةُ
النُّبُوَّةِ عَلَى مُنْكِرِهِ حُكِمَ بِكُفْرِهِ
This person has thought about Allah that if his lashes will get scattered in the wind so than Allah would not be able to collect them because Allah has no Power over it, although both of these sayings are clear Kufr (Disbelief) (One is that Allah is not able to collect it and the second Allah cannot resurrect at the day of Judgement). But the person being Ignorant in this matter has faith in Allah and he has fear of Allah even tough he was on Mistake in his thought explicitly in spite of this Allah has forgiven him. And this hadith is clear in this matter that the person was doing this with the thought that Allah wouldn't be able to make him resurrect again or he must have any doubt with regards to resurrecting again and this doubt is Kufr as well because when the Hujjat is established from the Prophets so the person who disbelief about Last day the verdict of Kufr is issued about him. (Majmoa al Fatawa 3/16)
Fatwas of Classical Scholars
a) Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said Majmoo' al-Fataawa (23/349):
فالإمام أحمد رضي الله تعالى عنه ترحم عليهم ( يعني الخلفاء الذين تأثروا بمقالة الجهمية الذين زعموا القول بخلق القرآن ، ونصروه ) واستغفر لهم ، لعلمه بأنه لم يتبين لهم أنهم مكذبون للرسول ، ولا جاحدون لما جاء به ، ولكن تأولوا فأخطأوا ، وقلدوا من قال ذلك لهم
Imam Ahmad (may Allaah be pleased with him) prayed for mercy for them (i.e., the caliphs who were influenced by the view of the Jahamis who claimed that the Qur'aan was created, and supported it) and prayed for forgiveness for them, because he knew that it was not clear to them that they were disbelieving the Messenger and denying what he had brought, rather they misinterpreted and erred, and followed those who said that to them. End quote.
b) Shaykh ul Islam (may Allaah have mercy on him) said
وأما التكفير فالصواب أن من اجتهد من أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وقصد الحق فأخطأ لم يكفر ، بل يغفر له خطؤه
With regard to takfeer (judging someone to be a kaafir), the correct view is that a member of the ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) who strives to reach the truth concerning a certain issue, but reaches the wrong conclusion, is not to be deemed a kaafir, rather he will be forgiven for his mistake. Majmoo' al-Fataawa (12/180)
c) Shaykh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
هذا مع أني دائماً ومن جالسني يعلم ذلك مني ، أني من أعظم الناس نهياً عن أن ينسب معين إلى تكفير وتفسيق ومعصية ، إلا إذا علم أنه قد قامت عليه الحجة الرسالية التي من خالفها كان كافراً تارة ، وفاسقاً أخرى ، وعاصياً أخرى ، وإني أقرر أن الله قد غفر لهذه الأمة خطأها ، وذلك يعم الخطأ في المسائل الخبرية القولية والمسائل العملية . وما زال السلف يتنازعون في كثير من هذه المسائل ، ولم يشهد أحد منهم على أحد لا بكفر ولا بفسق ولا بمعصية
However, and those who sit with me know this about me, I am always one of those who most emphatically forbid describing a specific person as a kaafir, faasiq or sinner, unless it is known that shar'i proof has been established against him, and it has been proven whether he is a kaafir, a faasiq or a sinner. I affirm that Allaah has forgiven this ummah for its mistakes, which includes mistakes in narrative and practical issues. The salaf continued to debate many of these issues but none of them testified that anyone else was a kaafir or a faasiq or a sinner.[Majmoo' al-Fataawa (3/229)]
d) Ibn Hazm (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
ولا خلاف في أن امرءً لو أسلم ، ولم يعلم شرائع الإسلام ، فاعتقد أن الخمر حلال ، وأن ليس على الإنسان صلاة ، وهو لم يبلغه حكم الله تعالى : لم يكن كافراً ، بلا خلاف يُعتد به ، حتى إذا قامت عليه الحجة فتمادى ، حينئذ بإجماع الأمة فهو كافر .
There is no difference of opinion among the scholars concerning the fact that if a man became Muslim and did not know the laws of Islam, so he believed that alcohol was permissible and that a person did not have to pray, and the ruling of Allah had not reached him, he is not a disbeliever. And there is no difference of opinion concerning that, unless proof was established to him and he persisted. In that case, according to the consensus of the ummah, then he is a disbeliever. [Al-Muhalla (11/206)]
e) Imam Dahabee said
. ألا ترى الصحابة من فرط حبهم للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قالوا : ألا نسجد لك ؟ فقال : لا .
فلو أذن لهم لسجدوا له سجود إجلال وتوقير لا سجود عبادة كما قد سجد إخوة يوسف -عليه السلام - ليوسف .
وكذلك القول في سجود المسلم لقبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم على سبيل التعظيم والتبجيل لا يكفر به أصلا بل يكون عاصيا ، فليعرّف أن هذا منهي عنه ، وكذلك الصلاة إلى القبر
Don't you see that the Companions, in the excess of their love for the Prophet, asked him: "Should we not prostrate to you?" and he replied no, and if he had allowed them, they would have prostrated to him as a mark of utter veneration and respect, not as a mark of worship,just as the The prostration done to Yusuf (a.s) by his brothers was not prostration of worship. The prostration of the Muslim to the grave of the Prophet is for the intention of respect and reverence. One is Not doing Kufr because of it whatsoever but he is being disobedient . Let him therefore be informed that this is forbidden. Similarly in the case of one who offers Prayer towards the grave."[Imam Dhahabi in Mu'jam al-Shuyukh, Volume No.1, Page No. 55]
Fatwas by some scholars of our time (advice to takfiris)
a) Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him was asked about the ruling on joining Islamic groups and following the methodology of a particular group and not others. He replied:
It is obligatory on every person to adhere to the truth, what Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, not to adhere to the methodology of any group, whether it is the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen or Ansaar al-Sunnah or any other group.He should adhere to the truth. If he joins the Ansaar al-Sunnah and helps them with regard matters in which they are following to the truth, or he joins the Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen and agrees with them on matters in which they are following the truth, without going to extremes or being negligent, there is nothing wrong with that. But if he adheres to their set of beliefs and never deviates from it, this is not permitted. He has to follow the truth wherever it leads him. If the truth is with the Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen, he has to follow it, and if it is with the Ansaar al-Sunnah, he has to follow it, and if it is with another group, he has to follow it. He has to follow the truth, and help all other groups with regard to the truth, but he should not adhere to a particular way of thinking never forsaking it even if it turns out to be false or mistaken. That is wrong, and is not permitted. He should be with the group in every way in which they are correct, and not with them in the matters in which they are wrong. [Majmoo' Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanaawi'ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh al-'Allaamah 'Abd al-'Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), p. 237]
b) Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Uthaymeen said
Some of those who followed the path of Salafiyyah in modern times started to regard as misguided everyone who differed from them, even if that person was correct, and some of them adopted a partisan approach like that of other parties which claimed to belong to the religion of Islam. This is something that is to be denounced and cannot be approved of, and it should be said to these people: Look at the way of the righteous early generation (al-salaf al-saalih), what did they used to do? Look at their way and how open hearted they were in the case of differences in which ijtihaad is justified (and differences of opinion are allowed). They even used to differ concerning major issues, matters of belief and practical issues. You will find some of them, for example, denying that the Messenger (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) saw his Lord, whereas others say that he did see Him. You will see some of them saying that what will be weighed on the Day of Resurrection is deeds, whereas others will say that it is the books of deeds that will be weighed. You will also see them differing a great deal with regard to matters of fiqh having to do with marriage, shares of inheritance, buying and selling, and other issues. Yet despite all that they did not regard one another as misguided.
Salafiyyah in the sense of being a particular party with its distinguishing characteristics and in which the members regard everyone else as misguided, these people have nothing to do with Salafiyyah at all. As for the Salafiyyah which means following the path of the Salaf in belief, word and deed, in calling for unity and harmony and mutual compassion and love, as the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "The likeness of the believers in their mutual love, mercy and compassion is that of a single body; when one part of it is suffering the rest of the body joins it in fever and staying awake" -- this is the true Salafiyyah [Liqaa'aat al-Baab al-Maftooh, 3/246]
c) Shaykh Muhammad al-Hassan Walid Dido al-Shanqiti was asked
Are the sects that are mentioned by the Prophet in the Ḥadīth to remain in the hellfire forever? And is there any way in which it is possible for the Ahl al-Sunna to be united with them?
The statement of the Prophet that, "The Jews splintered into seventy one sects, the Christians splintered into seventy two sects and my Umma will splinter into seventy three sects," this much of the ḥadīth is authentic. It has been transmitted by al-Ḥākim [al-Naysābūrī (d. 405 AH)] and others, and it is authentic in its various narrations. As for the additional phrase (ziyāda), namely, "all of them are in the hellfire except one," or, "all of them are in Heaven except one," or "whoever [follows] what I and my Companions [follow...]," all of these additional phrases are inauthentic. Thus the authentic ḥadīth is only the affirmation [that there will exist] sects, and this is one of the signs of prophethood [of Muḥammad, and one of its proofs. But as for their being "in the hellfire," or "in Heaven," or, [following] what he and his Companions [follow]; none of these [variant narrations] has authentically reached us from the Prophet.
As for the sects within this Umma, they are those which [promote] reprehensible innovations and misguidance within the faith, and whose followers are not disbelievers [in Islam]—for whoever dies testifying that there is no god but God and that Muḥammad is the Messenger of God will not remain in the hellfire forever, even if they were misguided and an innovator, however great their disobedience may be. Rather God will either forgive them, or punish them to the extent that they have disobeyed Him, and then He will take them out of the hellfire. Indeed God will bring forth groups of people on the Day of Resurrection who have become blackened and scorched [in the hellfire] and cast them into the River of Life. [Therein] their bodies shall sprout as a seed of a desert plant sprouts in the dross of a torrent, and then they shall be entered into Heaven.Additionally, they may be punished in their graves—and the punishment of the grave is one of the means of expiating sins [...]—such that when they are brought forth on the Day of Resurrection, they will already have been recompensed for their innovation and sin.
Source of the fatwa of Sh Shanqiti http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/faqs-and-fatwas/shaykh-al-dedo-on-the-sects-of-the-umma-translated-by-u-abdullah/
d) Shaykh ul Hadeeth Umar Siddique who is a Salafi Scholar (From Gujran wala Pakistan)
I myself asked from sh Umar Siddique regarding the Fatwa of Shaykh Shanqiti whether it is right or wrong, he said we have never claimed that only we are going to paradise, our stance is all the people will enter paradise except the mushrikeen even bidatee will enter Jannah after his punishment Insha'Allah, on the day of judgment and he quoted this hadith
The people of Paradise are 120 rows, of which eighty are from this ummah and the other forty from all the other nations."(Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3469; he said this is a hasan hadeeth)
Note: As for the hadeeth where The Prophet said,... Adam will say: 'O Allah! How many are the people of the Fire?' Allah will reply: 'From every one thousand, take out nine-hundred-and ninety-nine.
This is regarding gogg and magogg as it is clear in very same hadith
" The companions of the Prophet asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is that (excepted) one?" He said, "Rejoice with glad tidings; one person will be from you and one-thousand will be from Gog and Magog." [Bukhari Book #55, Hadith #567]