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Refuting Ibn Fawzans Claim; Taraweeh, Compiling Quran, Books Of Hadith Not Good Innovations – Part Two


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#1 MuhammedAli

MuhammedAli

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 11:45 PM

Introduction:

This article responds to the arguments which Ibn Fawzaan put forward in defense of his belief. Consider this part two of an earlier article. Ibn Fawzan’s argument was based on the word ‘every’ of following phrase of Hadith: “… every innovation is misguidance …” The argument is that ‘every’ is inclusive of absolutely every type of innovation and exclusive of none, which has been responded to, here. Muslims believe Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has taught introducing praiseworthy innovation into religion of Islam will earn reward for one who introduces a praiseworthy innovation and those who follow it. Similarly, one who introduces blameworthy innovation he will be sinful and those who follow it. Contrary to this belief, the anti-Muslim elements propagate every innovation is reprehensible even if it is composed of Islamicly sanctioned practices. Muslims employ evidence from Quran and Ahadith to establish the Islamic position but the opponents of Islam attempt to explain them away with excuses. This article is being dedicated to carefully examining the position of opponents of Islam and refuting such excuses with sound arguments.

Part Two: Saalih Al Fawzaan’s Quote:

“And there is not a proof for them that there is good innovation, except for the statement of Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) regarding the Taraweeh prayer, "What a good innovation this is!" (i.e. نِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ هَذِهِ). […][1] And the statement of Umar (radiallaahu anhu), "What a good innovation", he intended the linguistic sense of word innovation, and not the religious usage of word innovation (i.e. al bida'atush Shar'iyyah). So whatever has an origin in the law, it returns to it (i.e. Islamic law) [therefore Taraweeh is not innovation in Shar’ri sense]. If it is said that it is an innovation, then it is an innovation in linguistic sense and not from perspective of Islamic law because the religious innovation is what does not have an origin in Islam for it to return to [Quran and Sunnah]. Indeed the Prophet (sallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) prayed Taraweeh with his Companions (radiallaahu anhum) nightly. And they (i.e. companions) had fear about appointment [of an Imam for Taraweeh]. The companions (radiallaahu anhum) continued praying in separate groups in the lifetime of the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and after his (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) passing, up until Umar Ibnul Khattaab united them behind one Imam [and they performed Taraweeh] like how they used to be behind the Prophet (sallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and therefore this is not an innovation in the Religion.” [Ref: Clarification Of Doubts Concerning Innovation. Originally taken from; Kitab at-Tawheed, author; Saalih al Fawzaan, page 107/110 Translation; Maaz Qureshi, Amendments; Muhammed Ali Razavi.]

Four Points Raised By Ibn Fawzaan:

i) There is no proof for concept of good innovation except the statement of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu).[2] ii) Hadhrat Umar’s (radiallah ta’ala anhu) saying excellent innovation is in linguistic meaning because there is evidence for Taraweeh from prophetic Sunnah. iii) If it is an innovation then it is an innovation in linguistic sense and not from Shar’ri perspective because Shar’ri innovation does not have origin in prophetic Sunnah for it to be supported by Quran and Ahadith. iv) Companions continued to perform Taraweeh [individually and as] small groups until Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) revived the prophetic Sunnah by unifying all behind a single Imam.

Excellent Innovation Remark Is From Linguistic Perspective:

He said it is linguistic innovation and to justify his position Ibn Fawzaan says: “… and not the religious usage of word innovation (i.e. al bida'atush Shar'iyyah). So whatever has an origin in the law, it returns to it (i.e. Islamic law).” When we all know Taraweeh has an origin in Shari’ah then how can Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) say it is excellent innovation even in linguistic sense? The answer, he introduced something which was not Sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). The prophetic Sunnah for Taraweeh was for three days and after which he stopped leading companions. Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) is accredited with Taraweeh performed for entire month of Ramadhan under leadership a Qari who recites the entire Quran in Taraweeh prayers. These are the innovations on basis of which Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) said Taraweeh is an excellent innovation. I ask; a judgment based on secular humanism is it binding upon a Muslim? The answer is obvious no because a judgment based on Quran and Hadith is it binding upon Muslim because it is part of Shari’ah. It is binding upon a Muslim because it is derived from Quran and Hadith hence judgment is of Shari’ah. Please bare this in mind for the next point. I ask; can a scholar judge something to be good or bad without judging it on basis of Shari’ah?[3] If a scholar cannot judge something to be good or bad without judging on basis of Shari’ah then how can statement Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) be good innovation in linguistic sense when it is apparent that he judged it based on Quran and prophetic teaching? His judgment was based on evidence of Shari’ah, hence his statement; Taraweeh is excellent innovation, is from perspective of Shari’ah. Therefore his statement; نِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ هَذِهِ , is valid proof of good Shar’ri innovation.

Shar’ri Innovation Does Not Have Origin Of Prophetic Sunnah:

Ibn Fawzaan writes Hadhrat Umar’s statement; excellent innovation, is: “… and not from perspective of Islamic law because the religious innovation is what does not have an origin in Islam…” If this is correct, then Taraweeh for entire month under leadership of an Imam and recitation of entire Quran in Taraweeh prayers is without evidence from prophetic Sunnah. Why is that not a Shar’ri innovation [from Islamic perspective, reprehensible innovation]? If you say, companions performed Taraweeh under leadership of an Imam throughout the life of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) hence it is not Shar’ri innovation. I say, companions performed Taraweeh in small groups under leadership of Imams because Hadith records there were many small groups being led by Imams: “… Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abd al-Qari said, "I went out with Umar ibn alKhattab in Ramadhan to the mosque and the people there were spread out in groups. Some men were praying by themselves, whilst others were praying in small groups.” [Ref: Muwatta Malik, B6, H3] “… the people praying in different groups. A man praying on his own, or a man praying [by leading as an Imam] with a little group behind him.” [Ref: Bukhari, B32, H227] The prophetic Sunnah is to collect all people in the Masjid under one Imam and this is even accepted by Ibn Fawzaan: “… and after his (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) passing, up until Umar Ibnul Khattaab united them behind one Imam [and they performed Taraweeh] like how they used to be behind the Prophet (sallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) …” The companions performing Taraweeh in small groups, after Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) abandoned it, itself is an innovation, which became tacitly approved prophetic Sunnah because he did not prohibit it, even after knowing it. Hence Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) not only introduced an innovation he also removed tacitly approved prophetic Sunnah by unifying the people of Masjid under one Imam. Not only performing Taraweeh for entire month of Ramadhan is without of prophetic Sunnah. It also eliminates a tacitly approved prophetic Sunnahs, such as performing Taraweeh in small groups under an Imam and individually.[4] Not finished just yet, Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) remarked regarding his innovation: “On that, 'Umar remarked نِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ هَذِهِ (i.e. what an excellent innovation this is) but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.” [Ref: Bukhari, B32, H227] Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said: "Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good."[5] Considering these points Taraweeh is Shar’ri innovation according Khariji Shaikh’s definition of innovation and methodology.

These Are Matters Of Which There Is Asal In Shari’ah:

Readers must have noted Ibn Fawzaan has repeatedly stated, matters which have origin in Shari’ah are not innovation in legal (i.e. shar’ri) sense. Asal (i.e. origin, foundation) for a matter which has not been explicitly stated in Quran or established from prophetic Sunnah is always implicit/indirect evidence. Indeed matters which have Asal from Shari’ah are not legal/reprehensible innovations rather they are part of religion as praiseworthy innovations. We the Muslims agree there is Asal for Taraweeh prayers but the question is; whatever that has Asal in religion is it prophetic Sunnah? If yes then; is performing Taraweeh under leadership of an Imam for entire month of Ramadhan and reciting entire Quran or more, part of prophetic Sunnah? If you say yes, you have lied because prophetic Sunnah is of three days.[6] If you say; no, then is that innovation or not? Shar’ri innovation is without precedent in Shari’ah and there is no precedent for Taraweeh of entire month under leadership of an Imam hence it is innovation. If you say it is innovation but in linguistic sense. How can something which has origin in religion be innovation in linguistic sense? Do you not see a practice which has origin in religion is reward worthy act because it is praiseworthy practice/innovation, according to religion, and in religion, and it is not compulsory, nor a prophetic Sunnah? Do you not see how the enemy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and his Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam), and this Muslims, the Iblis as clouded your judgment? We thank Allah for the guidance.

Putting The Issue Into Perspective For Readers:

Servant has only employed the entire blade of Salafi sword on the issue of Taraweeh and Ibn Fawzaan chose to tame his regular Salafism regarding this aspect. The only way out of this difficulty is the methodology of Ahlul Islam otherwise you will limit your movements by further entangling yourself. Bottom line is, according to Salafi methodology, Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) is guilty of introducing a Shar’ri innovation according to Salafi definition and methodology. Ibn Fawzaan does not see the action of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) in such light because he wishes to make excuse for Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu). He is applying some of the principles and suspending those with which he chooses to fight against Muslims. What is required from Ibn Fawzaan and his Salafi clan is to establish full Ramadhan month Taraweeh under leadership of an Imam or admit it is Shar’ri innovation according to their own definition and methodology. One, who does confess to it being Shar’ri innovation as per definition of Ibn Fawzaan, is ruined. One, who refuses to do so, is insane and intellectually challenged. The correct course is to re-think the definition of innovation and judge the matter afresh.

Companions Continued To Perform Taraweeh After It Was Abandoned:

It is established from Ahadith that companions continued to perform Taraweeh in small groups lead by Imams as well as individually. Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not discourage them hence the practice became a tacitly approved prophetic Sunnah. It should be pointed out this is not proof of performing Taraweeh, under leadership of a single Imam, for the entire month of Ramadhan, in a Masjid, because the participants were under numerous Imams in same Masjid.

Part Three: Saalih Fawzaan’s Quote:

And they [the Muslims] also say, 'Verily there were things invented and they were not objected to by the Salaf, like the collection of the Qur`an in one book, and the writing of the Hadeeth, and recording them.' So the answer to these is; these are matters which have an origin in the law (i.e. Shar), so they are not newly invented [hence not innovation]. So the collecting of the Qur`an in one book has origin in the law to return to, because the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) had commanded the recording of the Qur`an, but it was written scattered so the Companions collected it into one book for its protection. And the writing of the Hadeeth also has an origin for it in the Law. Indeed the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) commanded the writing of some hadeeths for some of his Companions (radiallaahu anhu), so as to study that from them. And there was warning against writing them on regular paper according to his (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) advice fearing that they would be confused as text of the Qur`an and with that which was not from them. So when the Prophet (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) passed away, this warning was done away with - because the Qur`an was completed, and vowelized before his (sallaahu alayhi wa sallam) passing. So the Muslims recorded the hadeeth after that, preserving it from destruction.[Ref: Clarification Of Doubts Concerning Innovation. Originally taken from; Kitab at-Tawheed, author; Saalih al Fawzaan, page 107/110 Translation; Maaz Qureshi, Amendments; Muhammed Ali Razavi.]

Two Fundamental Points Made By Ibn Fawzaan:

i) Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) commanded the recording of Quran, so the collection of Quran in one book format has origin in prophetic Sunnah. ii) He also instructed some companions to record Ahadith.

The Issue Of Writing Word Of Revelation:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) indeed instructed the companions to record the Quran. Question based on his instruction of writing the revelation down is; is it correct to believe compiling the Quran into a single book is a prophetic Sunnah? So what is it if it is not prophetic Sunnah – an innovation? It is established and none disputed fact that collection of Quran in one book is something which Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not do. And evidence of this claim is here: “Therefore I consider it advisable that you should have the Qur'an collected.' I [Abu Bakr] said: How dare I do something which Allah's Messenger did not do? Umar said: هُوَ وَاللَّهِ خَيْرٌ (i.e. By Allah, it is good).” [Ref: Bukhari, B89, H301] Innovation means something which does not have precedent in linguistic sense and in Shar’ri sense it means something which does not have precedent in Quran or Sunnah. According to Lughvi and Shar’ri meaning of innovation it is clear that collecting Quran into single book is without precedent hence from technical perspective it is an innovation. And according to Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) it should be collected as a single book because it is something good and evidence this is as follows: “Therefore I consider it advisable that you should have the Qur'an collected.' I [Abu Bakr] said: How dare I do something which Allah's Messenger did not do? Umar said: هُوَ وَاللَّهِ خَيْرٌ (i.e. By Allah, it is good).” [Ref: Bukhari, B89, H301] He used the word Khayr because Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) had used the word Khayr in the following Hadith: “Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever starts a سُنَّةَ خَيْرٍ (i.e. good Sunnah) which is followed, then for him is a reward, and the likes of their rewards of whoever follows him, there being nothing diminished from their rewards." [Ref: Tirmadhi, B39, H2675] Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was reminding of prophetic regarding reward for one who starts good Sunnah. Another Hadith explains the quoted Hadith in following words: “He who introduces a فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً (i.e. good Sunnah in Islam), there is a reward for him for this and reward of that also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards …” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] In other words one who introduces Sunnah Khayri/Hasanah in Islam for him and those who follow the innovation introduced in Islam will all receive equal reward. So indeed Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) introduced into Islam an excellent innovation and there is reward for him and those who act upon it.

The Issue Of Collecting Ahadith In Books:

It is true that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) instructed his words to be recorded. Some companions compiled for themselves a small book but this is no proof for compiling books of Ahadith and science of Hadith which we recognize. Scholars developed science of narrators via Ijtihad and there was no explicit instruction from Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). Bukhari, Muslim, and all other collections of Ahadith are innovations which had no explicit sanction from Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). From linguistic meaning of innovation, all books of Ahadith known to us and all related sciences are innovations but these collections of Ahadith are not innovations in legal sense [from perspective of Salafi definition]. In Islamic perspective these are innovations from legal perspective but praiseworthy innovations and there is reward for such innovations according to following Hadith: “He who introduces a فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً (i.e. good Sunnah in Islam), there is a reward for him for this and reward of that also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards …” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] Anyone who claims the collection of books of Ahadith and the science related to Hadith is not innovation is either mentally challenged or foolish.

Conclusion:

We have established that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not perform Tarawih for entire month of Ramadhan and he did not appoint an Imam in his life time to lead companions in Tarawih prayers. It was Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) who instructed the Tarawih to be performed under leadership of a single Imam for entire month of Ramadhan and he deemed his innovation as an excellent innovation. Also Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) is also accredited with inspiring compilation of Quran in a single book and this too was an innovation which he termed as [Sunnah] Khayr (i.e. good). Compilation of Bukhari, Muslim and other books of Ahadith are innovations and are good innovations. Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) had foretold of reward for one who introduces into Islam something good which was not already part of it and for those who follow the newly introduced practice.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi

Footnotes:

- [1] The following material was part of the quote and it was removed: “And they also say, 'Verily there were things invented and they were not objected to by the Salaf, like the collection of the Qur`an in one book, and the writing of the Hadeeth, and recording them.' So the answer to these is; these are matters which have an origin in the law (i.e. Shar), so they are not newly invented.” It was inserted in the beginning of part three for two reasons, i) one it interrupted the flow of discussion regarding Taraweeh and, ii) it fitted in the new place due to the subject being discussed in both parts.

- [2] Even though Ibn Fawzaan says Muslims have no proof for good innovation except statement of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu). His actual position is as follows: The statement of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) in which he states Taraweeh is excellent innovation is in linguistic meaning and therefore there is no proof for concept of good innovation. Also note, this point has already been addressed in this article.

- [3] “Indeed, We sent down the Torah, in which was guidance and light. The prophets who submitted [to Allah] judged by it for the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars by that with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of Allah, and they were witnesses thereto. So do not fear the people but fear Me  and do not exchange My verses for a small price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers.” [Ref: 5:44] It is advised that readers check the commentaries of classical scholar for proper understanding of verse. Scholars have stated one who does not judge by what Allah revealed he is Muslim and is guilty of minor act of disbelief, which is major sin.

- [4] The Salafis argue, every innovation eliminates Sunnah. They argue, commemorating Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) birthday is innovation because commemorated it by fasting on every Monday, you do it your way hence you eliminated a Sunnah. Here with regards to Taraweeh prayer same yardstick was used to judge Hadhrat Umar’s (radiallah ta’ala anhu) action. Abandon the yardstick and adopt proper methodology or judge with it, fairly and without bias. If a Salafi was to judge using his methodology, and judge fairly and without bias, then he would come to understanding; Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) introduced what Ibn Fawzaan termed Shar’ri innovation. As a Muslims, we believe innovation only eliminates prophetic Sunnah when the proponent of an innovation promotes it as an alternative prophetic Sunnah to what actual is prophetic Sunnah. Result of this is, people adopt innovation [which has been disguised as prophetic Sunnah] thus leaving the actual prophetic Sunnah. Hence the argument that commemorating Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) eliminates a prophetic Sunnah is bereft of reason. In short, the Salafi style reasoning was chucked in just for Salafi flavoring against Salafi Shaikh. It has no substance according to Islamic methodology because of mentioned underlined reason and Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was not guilty of eliminating tacitly approved prophetic Sunnahs.

- [5] Ref: “Related by al-Bayhaqee in al-Madkhal ilas-Sunan (no.191) and also Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah (p.24). “Its isnaad (chain of narration) is as authentic as the sun!”

- [6] Note, when they are enquired is Taraweeh a prophetic Sunnah? They reply Taraweeh is prophetic Sunnah. Ibn Fawzaan did not explicitly say; performing Taraweeh for entire month of Ramadhan under leadership of a Qari is prophetic Sunnah. The reason behind this is Ibn Fawzaan and his clan is fully aware; Taraweeh prayer is prophetic Sunnah of three days only. On the fourth day Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not return to lead the companions for Taraweeh prayers. They will not say Taraweeh for entire month of Ramadhan is prophetic Sunnah because that is clearly invalid position. They are familiar with the fact that Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) practiced Ijtihad and instructed performing of Taraweeh under single Imam for entire month. Yet Ibn Fawzaan and his minions will not address actual issue of dispute. When they are asked; is Taraweeh is prophetic Sunnah or innovation? They answer the question from literalist perspective but the questioner is enquiring about the disputed aspect. No sane and educated Muslim doubts Taraweeh being prophetic Sunnah. The dispute is on the issue of performing Taraweeh under leadership of single Imam for entire month of Ramadhan. Yet they do not address the disputed issue when they are questioned. Instead they say; Taraweeh is prophetic Sunnah. The result of this ambiguity is the questioner is misled to believe the disputed aspect which he questioned about is prophetic Sunnah. We lay no blame upon Ibn Fawzaan or upon his clan because the questioners ask in general terms without precisely specifying what the question is about. The questioners should ask; is performing of Taraweeh under leadership of an Imam, for entire month of Ramadhan, reciting entire Quran or more, a prophetic Sunnah? Note, the last three words are important, if the question at the end is phrased as; “… reciting entire Quran or more, an innovation?” then they will say no it is not an innovation because their definition of innovation is different from Islamic definition. So you must ask, as it was originally stated. If you ask the question as instructed, the answer will be negative combined with excuses why it was performed and you should disregard them. Simply ask; if performing of Taraweeh under leadership of an Imam, for entire month of Ramadhan, reciting entire Quran or more is not a prophetic Sunnah then what is it? If there is an ounce of truth in the person he will agree it is an innovation and he will combine his admission with excuses, so disregard them. Judge between his excuses and Islamic position, with what Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has stated: “He who introduces a فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً (i.e. good Sunnah in Islam), there is a reward for him for this and reward of that also who acted according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards …” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] There is reward for Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) for introducing a praiseworthy innovation/practice of Taraweeh for entire month of Ramadhan under leadership of an Imam and the reward is for those who follow his footsteps and those who followed their footsteps.


Note to readers: if you have any question, or would like me to address an argument presented by Khawarij, please contact me on, [email protected].






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