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Responding To Incorrect Understandings Presented By Al Qarni And Al-Ajlan On Hadith Of Good/evil Sunnah.


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#1 MuhammedAli

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 03:08 AM

Introduction:

A Salafi shared with me an explanation of Shaykh Salim Al Qarni and Shaykh Abd Al-Rahman Al-Ajlan on Hadith of good/evil Sunnah. These Salafi Shuyukh provide answers to questions on, IslamToday. Both these Shuyukh are of opinion that the Hadith in question does not substantiate the Islamic position of introducing good innovation into Islam. Shaykh Al-Qarni is of opinion portion of, whosoever introduces into Islam good innovation, refers to someone who takes initiative to do something. Shaykh al-Ajlan is of opinion, good Sunnah, is prophetic Sunnah which has been forgotten and a Muslim who revives it. Islamic understanding is that this Hadith is about innovated good/evil Sunnahs, and reward/sin is regarding which did not already exist in Islam. As part of the package, subject of Mawlid was also discussed by these Salafi Shuyukh. Like it is typical of modern day Khawarij to oppose celebration of Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) birthday, so did these Shuyukh opposed it. They deem it to be [reprehensible] innovation and place blame of sin and issue threat of hell fire for those who practice it. Even though the Salafi brother did not request that I address the matter of Mawlid. I feel compelled to do so because the question and an answer given by Shaykh does mention it explicitly.

Answer Given By Shaykh  Salim Al Qarni:

Q: “I know that practices like celebrating the Prophet's birthday and honoring the 27th of Rajab are innovations. However, there is a group of people who are arguing that they are good innovations and that such practices can be defended by the following hadîth: "Whoever starts in Islam a good practice (sunnah), he gets the reward of it and the reward of all those that act on it. And whosoever starts in Islam an evil practice (sunnah), he gets the evil of it and the evil of all those that act on it." A1: “There is nothing in our religion that is known as a “good innovation” because the word innovation (bid`ah) in Islamic discourse means to introduce into the religion something that is alien to it. On the other hand, there is such a thing as a “good Sunnah” as mentioned in a hadîth that can be found in Sahîh Muslim. [][1] This is talking about the person who takes the initiative to do something that complies with Islamic teachings. Whoever does this will be engaging in a good Sunnah. This is not referring to any sort of innovation. An innovation can never be good, because it is, by definition, something that contradicts with the religion. An innovation is something that neither the Prophet (peace be upon him) did nor the people who followed him. Therefore, innovations would include observing the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday or engaging in special observances on the occasion of his night journey and ascension (al-isrâ’ wa al-mi`râj). May Allah guide us all.” Answered by: Sheikh Salim al-Qarni.

1.0 – Innovation According To Shaykh:

The first, anything which is prophetic Sunnah or Sunnah of companions is not innovation according to Shaykh – underlined: (i) “An innovation is something that neither the Prophet (peace be upon him) did nor the people who followed him.” With regards to second, to introduce into Islam that is alien to it: (ii)  “… because the word innovation (bid`ah) in Islamic discourse means to introduce into the religion something that is alien to it.” Means to introduce into Islam which is unfamiliar to Islam. Shaykhs understanding is for something to be familiar to Islam it has to be prophetic Sunnah or Sunnah of companions (i.e. wa sunnati khulafa ar-rashideen) and if it is not either of the two than it is innovation. This leaves the third, something which contradicts teaching of Islam as stated in the following: (iii) “An innovation can never be good, because it is, by definition, something that contradicts with the religion.” It is important to point out what Shaykh means by, innovation is something which contradicts the religion of Islam. He means, contradicts established religion as demonstrated by prophetic Sunnahs and Sunnahs of those who followed him. In this context the all three are interlinked and and explain each other. There is also possibility that Shaykh did not intend the second and third definitions of innovation to be explanations of the first. And that will be dealt in following sections.

1.1 - Implications Of What Has Been Explained:

In light of how the statements of Shaykh al-Qarni have been interpreted it needs to be pointed; Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) nor the companions gave lessons on Sahih of Imam Bukhari (rahimullah). And Sahih Al Bukhari would be alien to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and his companions. None can deny the fact that Sahih Bukhari did not originate from Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) nor from his companions therefore it does contradict religion of Islam. In this context Sahih Al-Bukhari is an [reprehensible] innovation but its goodness cannot be negated. And this establishes action of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) nor his companions is criteria for a practice/action to be not an [reprehensible] innovation. Rather if something is composed of prophetic teaching, and even if it did not originate as a prophetic Sunnah or Sunnah of companions, it still is not [reprehensible] innovation. And therefore Sahih al-Bukhari and commemorating/celebrate Mawlid of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) cannot be [reprehensible] innovations because they are composed of practices of prophetic Sunnahs.

2.0 – Good Innovation Is In Islam Or No Good Innovation In Islam:

Shaykh Al-Qarni wrote: “There is nothing in our religion that is known as a “good innovation” …” Regarding Taraweeh prayers being performed under a single Imam and for entire month of Ramadhan, the second Khalifah, Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) is on the record for saying:” 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] Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) is reported to have said regarding Salat ad-Duha: “At the time Uthman was killed no-one considered it desirable and the people did not innovate anything that is dearer to me than that prayer.” And in another version he is reported to have said: "It is an innovation and what a fine innovation it is!" It is important to point out that Salat ad-Duha is prophetic Sunnah and it is established from authentic Ahadith. But Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) likely was not aware of this fact. What these two Ahadith establish is that Sahabah believed there are good innovations in Islam. And they acted on these good innovations proving; they deemed good innovations to be acceptable in religion otherwise companions collectively and Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) individually would not have acted nor would have found innovation to be dear/good.

2.1 – Innovation Is Something That Is Alien To Islam:

Shaykh writes:“… because the word innovation (bid`ah) in Islamic discourse means to introduce into the religion something that is alien to it.” The Shaykh is stretching the truth to fit his neo-Hanbali Salafi agenda. The words of Shaykh are clearly against what companions believed. If innovation was something alien/unfamiliar to Islam than why would Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu), re-issue a three day prophetic Sunnah for entire month of Ramadhan, and deem it excellent innovation? Clearly Taraweeh prayers was not alien to Islam otherwise a companion would not declare excellent innovation. And if Hadhrat Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was of innovation is alien to Islam than why would he deem it an excellent innovation? Foolish will say he said it is excellent innovation in linguistic sense. But how can a Muslim judge something to be excellent according to linguisitc usage of innovation when the pronouncement of Taraweeh under leadership of single Qari is regarding an act of worship! Its like saying, Lama is halal linguistically, but at similtaneously the fat Arab Shaykh is stuffing his mouth with Lamian Kebabs. To engage in it requires Shar’ri judgment and if it wasn’t excellent in Shari’ah it would not be practiced by companions.

2.2 – Defining Alien-ness Of Innovation:

If alien-ness of [reprehensible] innovation was defined as, which is composed of non-Islamic practices (i.e. yoga) than it is indeed alien to Islam and [reprehensible] innovation. And believing Yoga is part of religion and expecting reward for engaging in it is sinful, and expecting reward for it is an [reprehensible] innovation. But if alien-ness is defined as; anything which does not have its name/lable mentioned in Quran/Hadith. Or if alien-ness is defined due to absence of intruction from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) to perform it. Or if alien-ness was determined based on lack of prophetic action than such defintion of alien-ness is rejected. The foolish judge innovated Sunnahs to be alien based on the name/label yet when they are directed toward innovations which they deem acceptable they judge its nature on the content and not on label. The name/label given to an innovation maybe alien. Yet all good innovations are composed of prophetic Sunnahs; acts of worship, charity, spreading knowledge, encouraging good, prohibiting sin, or Kufr, or Shirk. Shari’ah judges alien-ness of a [reprehensible] innovation based on what it is composed of and not based on the label/name. Just as Sahih Al Bukhari would be alien to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and his companions yet it is composed of his teachings. Therefore it is not alien to Islam due to its content. Similarly Mawlid name/label is alien but the activities performed in Mawlid are all Islamicly sanctioned therefore it cannot deemed as an alien activity in Islam.

3.0 - Good Sunnah Is Something Which Complies With Islam:

Regarding, whosoever introduces good Sunnah in Islam, Shaykh writes: “This is talking about the person who takes the initiative to do something that complies with Islamic teachings. Whoever does this will be engaging in a good Sunnah.” Shaykh here means, compliance with prophetic Sunnah by performing performing prophetic Sunnah. In other words, who takes the initiative to act on prophetic Sunnah for them is equale reward. Implication of which is that the Hadith is not about good Sunnah which has not been innovated into Islam. Yet the Hadith states: “He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] This indicates the reward being told is for a Sunnah which is not already part of Islam. And innovation is which is alien to Islam like Shaykh has already stated: “… the word innovation (bid`ah) in Islamic discourse means to introduce into the religion something that is alien to it.” Therefore the reward being told for good Sunnah is for an innovated good Sunnah which was not already part of Islam. Yet he negates, whosoever introduces good Sunnah in Islam, is refering to an innovation: “This is not referring to any sort of innovation.” And he said this either due to lack of knowledge, or to conceal the truth, and to misguide a Muslim.

3.1 – Taking Initiative To Do Something That Complies With Islam:

Taking the following words of Shaykh literally and without subjecting them to interpretation in light of his Salafi methodology only weakens his own position: “This is talking about the person who takes the initiative to do something that complies with Islamic teachings. Whoever does this will be engaging in a good Sunnah.” Taking initiative to engage in something which complies with Islam can be understood in two meanings: (i) compliance of an act/custom with Shariah even though there is no prophetic guidance on it in Quran or Hadith, (ii) or taking initiative in performing an act which is a prophetic Sunnah which complies with Islamic teaching [of good, charity, worship]. Incase the Shaykh intended the first position out of two.[2] Shaykh wrote: “This is talking about the person who takes the initiative to do something that complies with Islamic teachings. Whoever does this will be engaging in a good Sunnah.” A innovated Sunnah can comply with Islamic teaching if it is composed of various prophetic Sunnahs and even if holistically it is not a prophetic Sunnah. Ahmad fast during the day, performs Tahajjud, performs ten Nawafil, recites last ten Surahs of Quran, and supplicates Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Even though this entire process is not prophetic Sunnah but it is composed of prophetic Sunnahs and therefore it complies with Islamic teachings. And similarly comemorating/celebrating birthday of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) would comply with Islamic teaching hence it is a good Sunnah and not [reprehensible] innovation.

4.0 – Evil Sunnah Part Does Not Refer To Innovation:

Shaykh writes regarding the portion of Hadith connected with good Sunnah: “This is not referring to any sort of innovation.” If it did not refer to innovation than does the following portion of the Hadith refer to innovation: “And he who introduces a evil precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] According to logic employed by Shaykh al-Qarni the answer would be something like this: This is talking about the person who takes the initiative to do something that contradicts with Islamic teachings. Whoever does this will be engaging in a evil Sunnah. As an explanation of this it would be said, someone who takes initiative to do evil which Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) declared to be evil. Than question is, would this portion of Hadith include pole dancing performed by whores all over the world? If yes, than what explicit/direct proof does the Shaykh have in which Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) prohibited pole dancing? If Shaykh and his supporter deem it to be part of this Hadith than will they not realise pole dancing is an [reprehensible] innovation and an evil Sunnah. Regarding which there was no explicit prohibition but its prohibition was implied from various prohibited/sinful activities such as nakedness in public and dancing. You considered the pole dancing as an evil Sunnah, and deemed its initiator and its actor being equally responsible. But ignored the fact that it has not been prohibited by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) with clear injunction. Instead its prohibition and sinful-ness is implied from various sinful/haram activities. Therefore naturally it is a innovation and to be precise innovated evil Sunnah.

4.1 – Evil Sunnah Is Evil Innovation:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said: “And he who introduces a evil precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] A point to note is; introducing an evil Sunnah in Islam, implies the evil Sunnah is not already part of Islam and this naturally implies innovation. In other words whosoever introduces an evil innovation/precedent into Islam and those who follow it will be equally responsible for acting on it. And this meaning is further attested in the following Hadith, where the Hadith is word for word same part from usage of word innovation: And whoever بِدْعَةً ابْتَدَعَ (i.e. introduces an innovation) that is acted upon, will have a burden of sins equivalent to that of those who act upon it, withot that detracting from the burden of those who act upon it in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H209] Another version has the following words but it agrees with basic meaning of, H209: “Whoever introduces an innovation with which Allah and his Messenger are not pleased, he will have a (burden of) sin equivalent to that of those among the people who act upon it, without that detracting from their sins in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H210] The following Hadith puts it into perspective, the innovation for which there is equal blame for initiator and its actor is evil innovation and in this way it connects the the Hadith of evil Sunnah: “And whoever introduces a  ضَلاَلَةٍ بِدْعَةَ (i.e.reprehensible innovation) with which Allah is not pleased nor His Messenger then he shall receive sins similar to whoever acts upon it without that diminishing anything from the sins of the people." [Ref: Tirmadhi, B29, H2677] Alhasil – the evil Sunnah part of Hadith does refer to evil innovation than indeed the meaning of good Sunnah part is to do with good innovation.

4.2 – Evil Sunnah/Biddah Of Son Of Prophet:

It was stated by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam): “And he who introduces a evil precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] And in following Hadith same is stated about innovation: And whoever بِدْعَةً ابْتَدَعَ (i.e. introduces an innovation) that is acted upon, will have a burden of sins equivalent to that of those who act upon it, withot that detracting from the burden of those who act upon it in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H209] In another Hadith it is explicitly stated the Biddah being mentioned in H209 is evil innovation: “And whoever introduces a  ضَلاَلَةٍ بِدْعَةَ (i.e.reprehensible innovation) with which Allah is not pleased nor His Messenger then he shall receive sins similar to whoever acts upon it without that diminishing anything from the sins of the people." [Ref: Tirmadhi, B29, H2677] So we have so far, evil Sunnah v.s. evil innovation. In an Hadith of Bukhari it is recorded:  “Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Messenger said, "Whenever a person is murdered unjustly, there is a share from the burden of the crime on the first son of Adam for he was the first to start the Sunnah (i.e.tradition) of murdering." [Ref: Bukhari, B55, H552] Did the son of Prophet Adam (alayhis salaam) introduce an evil Sunnah or an evil innovation? Note the words of Hadith of Bukhari use word Sunnah hence natural answer would be evil Sunnah. But if you consider the fact that murder had no precedent prior to his killing his brother than he introduced an innovation. How ever Salafi/Wahhabi plays the game of hide [the truth], insha Allah, we will seek [the truth] what he has hidden behind the wall of distortions. What these Ahadith establish is; Ahadith of evil Sunnah/Biddah give meaning of innovation. In light this it would be logical and correct to conclude the following part of Hadith substantiates good innovation and tells of reward: “He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466]

5.0 – Innovation Not Good, It By Definition Contradicts Islam:

Shaykh writes regarding nature of innovation: “An innovation can never be good, because it is, by definition, something that contradicts with the religion.” Innovation by its very nature is not something that contradicts nature of Islam and proof of this are the words of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu). He re-issued three day prophetic Sunnah of Taraweeh under leadership of a Qari for entire month of Ramadhan and stated it is an excellent innovation. Further more following Hadith itself establishes goodness of innovated Sunnah and reward for initiating and acting on it:“He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] And by nature innovation is act/custom which is initiated and than followed by others. The Hadith states precisely; the initiator and the enactor of good Sunnah will equally earn reward. Indicating they are to be rewarded for innovating a good Sunnah into Islam.

6.0 – Innovation Is Something Which Prophet And Companions Didn’t Do:

Shaykh wrote: “An innovation is something that neither the Prophet (peace be upon him) did nor the people who followed him.” If one takes this defintion of innovation to be authentic than question begs to be asked; did Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) or his companions compiled Sahih of Imam Bukhar, or of Imam Muslim, or Jami at-Tirmadhi, Sunan Abu Dawood? When the obvious answer is in negative than they are innovations. Or did the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) gave lessons on these books of Ahadith and formulated the entire science of Hadith? When the obvious answer is in negative than these acts are innovations. And Shaykh himself wrote: An innovation can never be good, because it is, by definition, something that contradicts with the religion.” This leads to conclusion books of Ahadith and science of Hadith are not good and they contradict religion of Islam. Well do they really contradict the religion of Islam? In reality these sources are foundation for understanding Islam. When a definition of innovation demonises something on which Islam depends and proper understanding of Quran depends than how can it be correct? This demonstrates incapatitibility of this principle of innovation with Islamic teachings and therefore it is invalid.

7.1 – Innovation Is Observance of Mawlid, Isra Wal  Miraj:

If all the words of Shaykh are taken literally without subjecting them to taweel than the following words of Shaykh are nothing but stupidity of elite calibre: “Therefore, innovations would include observing the celebration of the Prophet’s birthday or engaging in special observances on the occasion of his night journey and ascension (al-isrâ’ wa al-mi`râj). May Allah guide us all.” According to literal reading of his definition of innovation, (i) “… because the word innovation (bid`ah) in Islamic discourse means to introduce into the religion something that is alien to it.” (ii) “An innovation can never be good, because it is, by definition, something that contradicts with the religion.” (iii) “An innovation is something that neither the Prophet (peace be upon him) did nor the people who followed him.” Commemorating Mawlid is not alien to Islam because the idea and the practices performed it it are all in accordance with teaching of Islam. Neither does Mawlid contradict any aspect of Islam because it is composed of prophetic Sunnahs, acts of worship, charity, spreading of knowledge, and encouraging good and forbidding evil. Lastly Shaykh defines, innovation to be anything which is not prophetic Sunnah or Sunnah of companions. Yet this defintion of innovation is basless. According to Shaykh for anything not to be innovation it must be either prophetic Sunnah or Sunnah of his companions. If permissibility required that a practice to be prophetic Sunnah or Sunnah of companions than would Sahih Al Bukhari be an innovation? If compiling of it is not Prophetic Sunnah nor learning religion from it is prophetic Sunnah, and nor of his companions, should we than deduce it is innovation just because its not Sunnah? Shaykh should know; permissibility of a practice, or impermissibility of a practice, does not depend on it being prophetic or Sunnah of his companions. Permissibility is judged if a act accords with prophetic teachings indirectly. If it agrees with spirit of Islam. Celebration of Mawlid of RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is absolutely in agreement with prophetic teaching.

7.2 – Methodology Of Hadhrat Ibn Abbas Against Khawarij:

Khawarij fighting against Hadhrat Ali (radiallah ta’ala anhu) believed there is no judgment except of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). And on this ground they stated, Hadhrat Ali (radiallah ta’ala anhu) and those who agreed with arbitration between him and Hadhrat Amir Muawiyah (radiallah ta’ala anhu) have committed Shirk/Kufr. Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallah ta’ala anhu) during debate with Khawarij reasoned with them employing: "O you who have believed, do not kill game while you are in the state of ihram. And whoever of you kills it intentionally - the penalty is an equivlent from sacrificial animals to what he killed, judged by two just men among you as an offering (to Allah ) delivered to the Ka'bah, …” [Ref: 5:95] Ibn Abbas (radiallah ta’ala anhu) reasoned with them to convince them that arbitration between companions was acceptable:“And it is from the judgment of Allah that He delegated men to judge in this matter. If Allah willed, He could have judged in this matter but He allowed men to judge. I ask you by Allah, is it better thatmen judge in something regarding reconciliation in disputes and in preventing bloodshed or regarding the hunting of a rabbit? They said ,“Of course, this is better.” [Ref: The Great Debate Of Ibn Abbas With The Khawarij. Sourced from AlSilsilah Al Sahihah Vol5, Page 12/13, Trans by Abbas Abu Yahya, Page 5/6.] He also quoted the following verse: "And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted (with all things)." [Ref: 4:35] And using this verse he reasoned with them in following verse: "Are not men judging to reconcile disputes and [judging for sake of] the prevention of bloodshed better than men judging regarding the private parts of a woman? Have we finsihed with this point" They replied, "Yes!" [Ref: The Great Debate Of Ibn Abbas With The Khawarij. Sourced from AlSilsilah Al Sahihah Vol5, Page 12/13, Trans by Abbas Abu Yahya, Page 6.] Eventually party of Khawarij realised their error and repented after having their three points being satisfactorily answered. And among these poins was their position, no judgment except of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), being refuted.

7.3 - Methodology Of Ibn Abbas:

From this discussion it is possible to understand the principle on which Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallah ta’ala anhu) solved matters which are not dealt in Quran/Sunnah. In the context of debate, a rightly guided Khalifah Hadhrat Ali (radiallah ta’ala anhu) solving dispute with Hadhrat Amir Muawiyah (radiallah ta’ala anhu) via arbitration and appointing judges. And a there was no explicit evidence in Quran/Sunnah suggesting that a Khalifah should should/can appoint arbitors. The manner in which Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallah ta’ala anhu) demonstrates Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallah ta’ala anhu) had principle, when there is no explicit evidence on y matter and y is greater than what is explicitly stated in Quran/Sunnah, than y is permissible. In this case he substantiated legality of creation being judges and arbitors for a dispute between between two parties of Muslims.

7.4 – Mawlid Festivities Within Bounds Of Shari’ah Are Permissible:

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) narrated the story of Prophet Isa (alayhis salam): "Said Jesus, the son of Mary, "O Allah , our Lord, send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You. And provide for us, and You are the best of providers." [Ref: 5:114] On the request of followers Prophet Isa (alayhis salaam) invoked Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for table of food from paradise and his request was accepted and his followers celebrate this day as Eid. Using the principle of Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallah ta’ala anhu), when there is no explicit evidence on y matter and y is greater than what is explicitly stated in Quran/Sunnah, than y is permissible, we can establish legality celebrating/commemorating birthday of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). If occasion pf receiving table full of food was such a joyous occasion that it is celebrated as a Eid by the followers of Prophet Isa (alayhis salaam) than by comparision the birth of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is greater reason for joy and happiness. And therefore celebrate/commemoration of his birthday as a Eid is of greater merit than celebrating Eid for receiving food of table from paradise. And celebration/commemoration of lesser by default establishes celebration/commemoration of what is greater than it. In this case the Mawlid of RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). A party of the worst in the creation of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) agreed with Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (radiallah ta’ala anhu) yet another one of these worst ones from Najd will not agree with his methodology, nor with Muslims.

7.5 - Mawlid Is Not [Reprehensible] Innovation:

Mawlid is a good Sunnah introduced in Islam for which there is reward for the one who innovated it and those who follow it: “He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] It is innovation in the sense that it originated as a festivity after Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). From perspective of Shari’ah commemorating/celebrating Mawlid of RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is a good innovated  Sunnah for which there is reward and who teaches contrary to it is Iblees incarnate.

Shaykh Abdur Rahman Al Ajlan’s Answer The Question:

Q: “I know that practices like celebrating the Prophet's birthday and honoring the 27th of Rajab are innovations. However, there is a group of people who are arguing that they are good innovations and that such practices can be defended by the following hadîth: "Whoever starts in Islam a good practice (sunnah), he gets the reward of it and the reward of all those that act on it. And whosoever starts in Islam an evil practice (sunnah), he gets the evil of it and the evil of all those that act on it." A2: [][3] A Muslim is obligated to preserve and uphold the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and to eschew innovations. The meaning of “good Sunnah” in this hadîth – and Allah knows best – is to renew a Sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him) that has disappeared, been forgotten, or has become neglected. It does not mean to initiate a new practice that has no basis in Islamic teachings. That would be an innovation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours that is not part of it, then it will be rejected.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]  And Allah knows best.” Answered by: Sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Ajlan.

A.0 – Prophet Taught Concept Of Ijtihad To Address Innovated Matters:

Emphasis is upon following the Sunnahs of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) yet he taught concept of Ijtihad to deal with innovated matters. If all innovations were by default rejected/evil and sinful than there was no reason for Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) to impart teachings which enable the Muslims to carry out Ijtihad in light of Quran/Ahadith to see if an innovated matters is within bounds of Shari’ah. Anyone with ounce worth Deen sense will acknowledge not all innovations by default are to be rejected and avoided. Otherwise the concept of Ijtihad taught by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) would be utterly useless and contradictory. It is recorded in Hadith that Muadh Ibn Jabal was asked by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam): “How will you judge when the occasion of deciding a case arises? He replied: I shall judge in accordance with Allah's Book. He asked: (What will you do) if you do not find any guidance in Allah's Book? He replied: (I shall act) in accordance with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.” The next question indicates, Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is asking about matters which are innovations and have no clear/emphatic discussion in Quran or Sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam): “He asked: (What will you do) if you do not find any guidance in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah and in Allah's Book? He replied: I shall do my best to form an opinion and I shall spare no effort. The Messenger of Allah then patted him on the breast and said: Praise be to Allah Who has helped the messenger of the Messenger of Allah to find something which pleases the Messenger of Allah.” [Ref Abu Dawood, B, H3585] This establish Ijtihad sometimes is carried on matters which have not been directly/explicitly addressed in Quran or Hadith of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). And these matters have to be innovations if they were not innovations than judgment regarding them would be found in Quran/Ahadith. And matters which have not been adressed in Quran/Ahadith they are in judgment of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) as the Muslim Ummah collectively judges them to be: And whatever the Muslims view as good is good in the sight of Allah, and whatever they view as evil is evil in the sight of Allah. And the Companions unanimously chose to take Abû Bakr – Allâh be pleased with him – as the successor (to lead the Muslims after the Prophet).” [Ref: Musnad Ahmad, Mukthireen, Ibn Mas’ud, H3589] Alhasil, Ijtihadi matters by their nature are innovative and require judgment of a qualified expert and even though these matters maybe innovated/innovations they are not by default [reprehensible] innovations and misguidance. If it was the case than there would be no need for any judgment. Any innovated matter would be misguiding innovation and rejected.

A.1 – Muslims Is Obliged To Uphold Sunnah And Avoid Innovations:

Indeed a Muslim is obligated to perserve the Sunnahs of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) but Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) did not instruct to avoid all types of innovations. On the contrary he told of reward for goods Sunnahs which are innovated in Islam. And evidence for this position is the following quoted Hadith: “He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] If Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) permits a detailed explaination of Hadith will follow in forth coming sections.

B.0 – Good Sunnah Refers To Reviving Forgotten/Neglected Prophetic Sunnahs:

Shaykh wrote: “The meaning of “good Sunnah” in this hadîth – and Allah knows best – is to renew a Sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him) that has disappeared, been forgotten, or has become neglected.” Contextually if one reads the Hadith the following rule does not fit into what Shaykh said: “He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] Contextually, a group of poor Muslims came to Masjid Nabvi and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) encouraged the companions to give them charity but the companions were reluctant to do so but eventually a companion initiated it and the rest followed: “Jarir b. Abdullah reported that some desert Arabs clad in woollen clothes came to Allah's Messenger He saw them in sad plight as they had been hard pressed by need. He (the Holy Prophet) exhorted people to give charity, but they showed some reluctance until (signs) of anger could be seen on his face. Then a person from the Ansar came with a purse containing silver. Then came another person and then other persons followed them in succession until signs of happiness could be seen on his (sacred) face.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] In light of this information it is foolish to direct the words of good Sunnah toward  reviving forgotten/neglected Sunnahs because Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) had encouraged them to give Sadaqah (i.e. optional charity) moments before his anger appeared on his face. No sane individual would purpose such distortion of Hadith because the implications of this are; the distorter of Hadith believes, the best of nation (i.e. companions), had the memory capacity of less than an ant, and therefore had forgotten exhortion of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) in an instant.

B.1 – Understanding First Principle In Light Of Second Principle:

Shaykh wrote: “It does not mean to initiate a new practice that has no basis in Islamic teachings. That would be an innovation.” Apart from the obvious, Shaykh indirectly also is implying if good Sunnah was initiating a new practice in Islam which had no basis that would be an innovation. Please bare this in mind because it will help us to determine of good Sunnah is innovation or reviving forgotten/neglected prophetic Sunnahs. Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) stated: “And he who introduces a evil precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acted upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burden.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] And this part is explained by incident of son of Prophet Adam murdering his brother. Hadith states he was the first one to start the Sunnah of murdering and he will be held responsible for every murder committed unjustly on earth: “Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Messenger said, "Whenever a person is murdered unjustly, there is a share from the burden of the crime on the first son of Adam for he was the first to start the Sunnah (i.e.tradition) of murdering." [Ref: Bukhari, B55, H552] Point to note is; an innovation is which does not have precedent in Islam and this is agreed by Shaykh also: “It does not mean to initiate a new practice that has no basis in Islamic teachings. That would be an innovation.” And murder did not have a precedent before son of Prophet Adam (alayhis salaam) killed his brother, therefore he introduced an innovation, something which did not exist prior to the event. Alhasil both Ahadith compliment each other and establish clear understanding that son of Prophet Adam (alayhis salaam) introduced an evil Sunnah/Biddah in Islam and he will be responsible for each and ever murder committed unjustly. And this is also supported with following Hadith: And whoever بِدْعَةً ابْتَدَعَ (i.e. introduces an innovation) that is acted upon, will have a burden of sins equivalent to that of those who act upon it, withot that detracting from the burden of those who act upon it in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H209] When we know the words of Hadith about evil Sunnah are regarding a Sunnah/Biddah which does not already exist in Islam and with which Shaykh agrees: “It does not mean to initiate a new practice that has no basis in Islamic teachings. That would be an innovation.” Than naturally, just as word evil Sunnah mean evil Biddah, the words of good Sunnah mean good Biddah, and to deny it would be rebellion against prophetic guidance: “He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466]

B.2A – Innovated Matter Not From Allah And RasoolAllah Is Rejected:

Shaykh quotes the Hadith: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours that is not part of it, then it will be rejected.” It is stated “A'isha reported Allah's Messenger as saying: "If anyone innovates in our matter something which does not belong to it, [than that matter] will be rejected. [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4266] This Hadith is explained by another Hadith in which the rejected matter is mentioned to be any action which is not of prophetic Sunnah: “A'isha informed me that Allah's Messenger said: “He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4267] In other words, any innovated action [for which reward is believed] is to be rejected if it is not prophetic Sunnah and Sunnah of his companions. And this explains the following Hadith: “And the most evil affairs are the innovations [composed of non-prophetic non-companion Sunnahs]; and every [such] innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] Alhasil any/every innovation which is composed of innovated acts of worship, charity, goodness, and these innovated acts of worship, charity, goodness are not prophetic Sunnahs, or are not Sunnahs of his companions, than ever/any such innovation misguidance and is to be rejected on judgment by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and should be rejected by Muslim Ummah.

B.2B – The Innovation Of Commemorating Mawlid Of RasoolAllah:

In the light of above it should be apparent that Mawlid of RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is not an innovation which is composed of actions which are alien to Islam. In fact the idea of commemorating/celebrating Mawlid is prophetic Sunnah and it is established from the following Hadith: “The tradition mentioned above has also been transmitted by Abu Qatadah through a different chain of narrators. This version add: He said: Messenger of Allah, tell me about keeping fast on Monday and Thursday. He said: On it I was born, and on it the Qur'an was first revealed to me.” [Ref: Abu Dawud, B13, H2420] “Abu Qatada Ansari reported that Allah's Massenger was asked about fasting on Monday, whereupon he said: It is (the day) when I was born and revelation was sent down to me. [Ref: Muslim, B6, H2606] The idea of commemorating/celebrating Mawlid is indeed prophetic Sunnah and none but Iblees would reject it. The methodology which the Ahlus Sunnah engage in it is innovated and it cannot be rejected because it is composed of engaging in all that Islam as deemed good and instructed. Just as the idea of cleaning teeth is prophetic Sunnah. And the prophetic Sunnah for cleaning teeth is Miswak but if anyone cleans teeth with Colgate tooth paste and tooth brush it does not incur any blame. Instead such a person will not earn the reward for the Sunnah of using Miswak but will earn reward for engaging in the idea and action of cleaning teeth. Similarly if one does not fast on Monday but commemorate/celebrate Mawlid every year, and performs other acts of worship, charity, recites  Quran, than he will miss the reward for acting on Sunnah but he still will be rewarded for engaging in the idea and actions of worship, charity – as established from the following Hadith: “He who introduced some good precedent (i.e. Sunnah) in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466]

B.2C – Issue Of Permissibility And Impermissibility:

The permissibility of a non-prophetic innovated Sunnah does not depend upon; the name of non-prophetic innovated Sunnah, the methodology of non-prophetic innovated Sunnah, timing to engage in non-prophetic innovated Sunnah, all be established clearly/explicitly from the prophetic teaching. Rather the permissibility depends upon what the innovated Sunnah is composed of. If it is composed of various prophetic Sunnahs found in Quran/Ahadith than it is permissible. But it does not become a prophetic Sunnah even if it was composed of his Sunnahs. The impermissibility of an non-prophetic innovated Sunnah does not depend upon it being a non-prophetic innovated Sunnah. Rather it is based and judged on if it is composed of all that is prohibited.

B.3 - Shaykh Al-Qarni And Al-Ajlan Contradict Each Other:

Al Qarni believes good Sunnah is to take charge in doing something good something which complies with Islamic teaching: “This is talking about the person who takes the initiative to do something that complies with Islamic teachings. Whoever does this will be engaging in a good Sunnah.” Al-Ajlan is of opinion, good Sunnah, is reviving/reinvegurating prophetic Sunnahs which have been neglected, or forgotten: The meaning of “good Sunnah” in this hadîth (and Allah knows best) is to renew a Sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him) that has disappeared, been forgotten, or has become neglected. Both cannot be right and in this case both maybe not be right at all. They hold to contradictory positions. If they had known the truth and had properly understood the Hadith there would have been agreement in their understandings.

Conclusion:

It has been established from clear texts of Hadith; whoever intrdouces good Sunnah in Islam, does not refer to prophetic Sunnahs, nor does it refer to reinvigurating forgotten or neglected prophetic Sunnahs. Instead the Hadith refers to those Sunnahs which are not already part of Islam. And if the innovated Sunnah is good by its nature, and that’s to say; it is composed of prophetic Sunnahs, than it earns reward for the initiator and its actor. And nature of innovation is that it does not exist but when it originates it is followed by others. In this sense, whoever introduces good Sunnah in Islam, does refer to good innovation, because Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has foretold one who introduces and those who follow the newly introduced good Sunnah.

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi

Footnotes:

- [1] “Jarîr narrates: Some desert Arabs clad in woolen clothes came to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He saw them in a sad plight as they had been in dire need. He exhorted the people to give charity, but they showed some reluctance until (signs) of anger could be seen on his face. Then a person from the Ansâr came with a purse full of silver. Then another person came forth and then others followed suit until signs of happiness could be seen on his face. Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever starts in Islam a good practice (sunnah hasanah) and is emulated by others in doing so will get the reward of it and the reward of all those who act upon it without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And whosoever starts in Islam an evil practice (sunnah sayyi’ah) and is emulated by others will bear the sin of it and the sin of all those who act on it without their burden being diminished in the least.” [Sahîh Muslim,1017]

- [2] I am absolutely certain that Shaykh intended the latter of the two. Remember I am ex-Salafi and I know inner workings and the mind set of people now I am refuting. I have let go believing in Salafism but have not let go of their methodology. I have kept in touch with my ex-Salafism. It is an evil that I have had to maintain so I have better grasp of what these enemies of Islam are saying. And alhamdu lillah it also allows me to pre-empt any counter arguments.

- [3] “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever starts in Islam a good practice (sunnah hasanah) and is emulated by others in doing so will get the reward of it and the reward of all those who act upon it without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And whosoever starts in Islam an evil practice (sunnah sayyi’ah) and is emulated by others will bear the sin of it and the sin of all those who act on it without their burden being diminished in the least.” [Sahîh Muslim, 1017]

 


Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) has blessed me with a son, on Eid day, so I will be off for little while, but in sha Allah I will be back online, within few weeks, please make dua for his good health.






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