A Few Notes on the Evils of Innovation.by Brother Abû Rumaysah
The Deen is complete
And he (SAW) said,
So the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) fulfilled the trust placed upon him by Allaah completely, explaining the religion to the people in it's inward and outward form, making clear the lawful from the prohibited, the encouraged from the discouraged, even to the extent that he taught us the manners of going to the toilet, the manners of having sex with our partners etc.
Allaah says in His Book,
and He says,
So in the Qur'aan is explained the principles of the religion, tawheed in all it's various categories, even to the extent that it teaches us the manners of sitting in circles, visiting other peoples houses, the correct clothing etc.
The Importance of Sticking to the Sunnah
He also says,
And he (SAW) also said,
In these narrations is clear evidence that the way of salvation and safety is to closely follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (SAW), and not to deviate from his path, not accepting the guidance of another individual, nor accepting a corrupted form of the Sunnah. Allaah says, "and whosoever contends with the Messenger after guidance has been made clear to him, and follows a way other than the way of the believers, We shall leave in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell, what an evil destination!"
The Sunnah shall become corrupted
We are taught in the revelation that the Sunnah shall become corrupted and this corruption would become the norm, so much so that the people who follow the Sunnah would become as strangers, and those that call to purifying the sunnah would be slandered and reviled.
And what is this corruption, it is none other than innovation, introducing into the pure religion of Allaah new ways of worshipping Him that He has not taught, blemishing His religion with our whims and desires, something that Allaah Himself condemns,
The Companion, Abdullaah ibn Mas'ud laments,
How true this statement is today, that the innovations have become so widespread in the religion that the people have taken then to be the Sunnah. And when the true scholar speaks out against these innovations he is labelled as a 'wahhabi' by the people because to them it seems that he is changing the sunnah. To Allah we complain of the ignorance of our times!
Only Allaah (SWT) has the right to tell us how to worship Him
From the tafseer of this verse we learn that this verse is a categorical statement that the privilege to tell people how to worship Allaah belongs to Allaah Alone. And how could it be otherwise when the true meaning of ibaadah is to worship Allaah in a way which He is Pleased with and not according to our desires,
In this regard the Prophet (SAW) said,
And he (SAW) used to say at the beginning of his lectures,
And he (SAW) commanded us,
'And in this hadeeth is a clear evidence that every action which is not
legislated in the sharee'ah must be rejected' [Jaami al-Ulum of ibn Rajab
The sayings of the Companions
Abdullaah ibn Umar (RA) states,
This narration is enough to demolish the concept of 'a good bid'ah', for
you have amongst the most knowledgeable companions of Muhammad (SAW) saying
the exact opposite. So who do you choose to follow, ibn Umar or these modern
day Shaykhs and Mullahs who are Imaams of their own whims and desires.
Mu'aadh bin Jabal (RA) used to say, whenever he sat in a circle of knowledge,
Abdullaah ibn Mas'ud (RA) said,
Hudhayfah bin al-Yaman said,
Is this not enough? That the Companions tell us to follow the way of Muhammad (SAW) and not to make up new ways of worship? "whomsoever Allaah guides to the truth, none can misguide him, and whomsoever Allaah misguides, none can guide"! [Muslim]
The sayings of the Second and Third generation scholars
Hasan al-Basree said,
Abul Aaliyah said,
This is because the innovator believes that he is doing something good and therefore sees no need to repent.
He also said, "…so cling to the original state of affairs" [al-Hilya 6/376] meaning stick to the Way of Muhammad (SAW) and his Companions.
Imaam al-Awzaa'ee said,
Ibraaheem al-Masayrah said,
The sayings of the Later Imaams
Imaam Abu Haneefah said,
Imaam Maalik said,
He also said,
Imaam Ahmad said,
As for the narrations from Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee in which he categorises bid'ah into two, then it is weak as all of it's chains of narrations depend upon unknown narrators. [al-Bid'ah of Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee, al-Masaabeeh fee Salaatit Taraaweeh of as-Suyutee with Alee Hasans footnotes] and even if it were authentic then it would be understood in the linguistic sense as explained by ibn Rajab and others.
Imaam Bukhaaree said,
What I have narrated here is just a small number of the many narrations that I have in front of me from various books, I have tried to quote as best to my ability only authentic narrations, and Allaah knows best. It is good to know that the early Imaams were prolific in writing and warning against bid'ah, and even today we have a number of books from them dealing just with this topic. Amongst them: al-Bid'ah of al-Qarnushi, al-Bid'ah of ibn Waddah, al-I'tisaam of ash-Shaatibee and many more. So once this topic becomes clear, a truth that none can deny, then know that all these innovations in the religions are a clear denial of the above mentioned verses and ahaadeeth, for none were done by the Companions.
So I leave you with the hadeeth of the Prophet (SAW), "….so he follows my sunnah has been guided, and he who follows the innovations has been destroyed." (Ahmad)
The arguments of the misguided
Know that every example that the misguided bring from the actions of the companions to prove their belief of a 'good innovation', is invalid and it just shows their weak understanding of the Sunnah of Muhammad (SAW), for all of these examples have a clear basis in the Sharee'ah, or occurred due to necessity, or from ijtihaad. Insha'allaah I will mention a few of their arguments.
When Umar (RA) was caliph, he collected the Muslims to pray in congregation for taraaweeh prayers and said, "what a good bid'ah this is" (Bukhaaree), Evidence is derived from this for 'bid'ah hasanah' but of course they have misunderstood the true intent of Umar which can be clearly understood if one were to quote the context of this narration.
When the Prophet (SAW) first prayed taraaweeh, the Muslims used to pray taraaweeh individually or in small groups, and then for three nights they prayed in one congregation behind the Prophet (SAW), and after this he stopped them doing so by saying, "I feared that it would become obligatory upon you." So after this again, the Muslims would pray individually or in small groups, and they remained like this throughout the rule of Abu Bakr and the beginning of the rule of Umar. Then Umar came to the Mosque and saw the Muslims praying in small groups and so gathered them as one jamaa'ah to pray behind Ubayy bin Ka'b and Tameem ad-Daaree and stated the above phrase. This context is reported in Bukhaaree, the Muwatta and others.
Firstly: how can the action of Umar be considered to be new when the Prophet (SAW) did it in his lifetime. Not only that but the Muslims were also in the habit of praying in small groups as well. Hence the praying of taraaweeh in jamaa'ah was well established in the sunnah and the practice of the sahaabah?
Secondly: The Prophet (SAW) gave the reason why he stopped the congregational prayer, for the revelation was still descending, and he feared that praying in obligation might become obligatory upon his nation, and that this might lead to be hard on them. After the death of Muhammad (SAW) revelation ceased so this fear was no longer present. Hence Umar (RA) reinstated the congregation during his rule because he knew his action could not be made obligatory upon the ummah.
Thirdly: all the companions agreed to this action of Umar (RA), there was a consensus (ijmaa) on this. And the scholars of usul have stated that a consensus cannot occur except when there is a clear text for it in the Sharee'ah.
Fourth: So how do we understand this statement of Umar, "what a good bid'ah this is" when this action that Umar called a bid'ah was done by the Prophet (SAW)? Bid'ah here can only be understood in it's linguistic sense and not in it's Sharee'ah sense i.e. when Umar said this he did not mean it in the legal sense that we may understand it today. For how many are the words that mean one thing in the language, but another thing in the Sharee'ah! The linguistic sense is: something new, because praying in one congregation was not present in the rule of Abu Bakr and the earlier period of his own rule.
Hence Abu Yusuf said,
The evidence they derive from this is that people can invent new practices in Islaam that are either good or bad. But were they to take this hadeeth in it's full context then it would not be possible to infer such a thing.
The context of the hadeeth states that a group of poor people came to the Prophet (SAW) so he asked those around him to give charity, but no-one came forward - so much so that signs of anger could be discerned on the face of Muhammad (SAW), so one of the companions stepped forward and gave charity and then the Prophet (SAW) mentioned the above statement.
Firstly: the word sunnah used in the hadeeth must be understood in it's linguistic sense (i.e. practice) not it's sharee'ah sense (i.e. the life example of Muhammad (SAW)) because otherwise it would imply that there is something bad in the sunnah.
This companion who gave charity, did not do anything new, for giving charity
had been legislated from the very early days of Islaam as the Makki Surahs
prove, rather he was simply implementing an already legislated matter. So the
statement of the Prophet (SAW), 'a good sunnah' was said at a time when the
people were reluctant to give charity, so one man gave it and then others
followed him - i.e. he RENEWED a sunnah that was being neglected - this is the
meaning of 'good practice' - renewing an already existing sunnah.
Thirdly: the meaning of 'bad sunnah' is to be understood in a similar vein, i.e. the one who renews an evil act will get it's evil…. and the Prophet (SAW) gave the example of the two sons of Adam one killing the other, so the one who killed got the sin of that action and the sin of all those that would kill in the future without their sins decreasing. And killing had been forbidden from the time of the first Prophet (AS) to the last (SAW).
Fourthly: the hadeeth uses the terms 'good' and 'bad', and from what has preceded it is clear that Islaam has already defined in it's totality all that it is good and bad, and if we were to say otherwise we would then be accusing the religion of incompleteness and deficiency. This is why Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee rejected Istihsaan (declaring something to be good that was not already done so by the Sharee'ah) by saying, "whosoever declares something good has declared it part of the Sharee'ah"
courtesy of www.islaam.net)