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  1. Introduction: Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said, whosoever introduces a good Sunnah into Islam which is followed, the innovator and the follower both will receive equal reward from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). On basis of this Muslims believe Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) created room for introducing innovations into religion of Islam. Anti-Muslim elements argue that in context of Hadith Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) was stating one who revives a Sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and those who follow it will receive equal reward. Note Servant has produced numerous refutations against this claim hence it will not be addressed in here. Rather Servant will utilize the linguistic meaning of بدعة to establish Islamic position. Note, this article continues some aspects which were neglected in the following article, here. Linguistic Meaning Of بدعة In Light Of Quran And Ahadith: Linguistically بدعة means innovation, something which does not have precedent. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) instructed Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) to say: قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنْ الرُّسُلِ (i.e. “Say: "I am not a new thing amongst the Messengers.") (Ref: 46:9). Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is told to say to disbelievers; that his Messenger-ship is not unique/innovative but there are precedents (i.e. Prophet Ibrahim alayhis salaam and others). Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states in another verse He is the: بَدِيعُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ (i.e. “The originator of the heavens and the earth") (Ref: 2:117/6:101) Note Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) created the universe and earth without relying upon a preceding example. Example of innovation without precedent is incident of a son of Prophet Adam (alayhis salaam) killing his brother: “Narrated Abdullah: The Prophet said, "None is killed unjustly, but the first son of Adam will have a part of its burden." Sufyan said: A part of its blood because he was مَنْ سَنَّ الْقَتْلَ أَوَّلاً (i.e. the first to establish the tradition of murdering)." [Ref: Bukhari, B83, H6] Words of Sufyan (rahimullah alayhi ta’ala) are attested in another Hadith: “It was narrated from Abdullah that: The Prophet said: "No person is killed wrongfully, but a share of responsibility for his blood will be upon the first son of Adam, because he was, أَوَّلُ مَنْ سَنَّ الْقَتْلَ (i.e. the first one to set the precedence of killing).” [Ref: Nisa’i, B37, H3990] Shar’i meaning of بدعة is which does not have a precedent in text of Quran or Sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and it is of two types blameworthy and praiseworthy. Depending upon what the innovation is composed of, it can be good or bad. Murder Of Son Of Adam (alayhis salaam) Is Innovation: Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said: “Narrated Abdullah: The Prophet said, "None is killed unjustly, but the first son of Adam will have a part of its burden." Sufyan said: A part of its blood because he was مَنْ سَنَّ الْقَتْلَ أَوَّلاً (i.e. the first to establish the tradition of murdering)." [Ref: Bukhari, B83, H6] “It was narrated from Abdullah that: The Prophet said: "No person is killed wrongfully, but a share of responsibility for his blood will be upon the first son of Adam, because he was, أَوَّلُ مَنْ سَنَّ الْقَتْلَ (i.e. the first one to set the precedence of killing).” [Ref: Nisa’i, B37, H3990] On the basis of Hadith of son of Adam (alayhis salaam) it can be said that Sunna does not require precedent because Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) used the word Sunna for a murder which had no precedent and innovation does not have precedent either in Shari’ah. Hence the word Sunna means innovation and the murderer introduced an innovation. His Sunna should be understood to mean innovation even though Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) used Sunna (i.e. practice). Another proof that he introduced innovation is the principle used to judge his action Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) stated: “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, without that detracting from the burden of those who act upon it in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H209] So therefore the son of Prophet Adam (alayhis salaam) introduced innovation of murdering. Note, Shaikh used the word bad Sunnah even though it is obvious from the text of Hadith that murderous act was committed which was without precedent, hence appropriate translation should have been innovation. Establishing Basis Of Proof On Ahadith Of Good And Bad Sunnah: Sunnah linguistically means, way, precedent and practice. Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) regarding good Sunnah are: “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] "Jarir b. 'Abdullah reported Allah's Messenger as saying: The servant does not introduce سُنَّةً صَالِحَةً (i.e. good Sunnah) which is followed after him. The rest of the hadith is the same." [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6468] Another Hadith establishes that good Sunnah for which the reward is being told is being made part of Islam: “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] Reward being told is of good Sunnah which is not part of Islam but is being made part of Islam. In other words, the Sunnah being introduced into Islam has no precedent in Islam, yet reward for it is guaranteed. Regarding bad Sunnah Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said: “And whoever introduces a سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً (i.e. reprehensible practice) that is followed, he will receive its sin and a burden of sin equivalent to that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H203] Once again, the burden of sin being equally shared is for a bad Sunnah which is not part of Islam but being made part of Islam: “And he who introduces an فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً (i.e. evil precedent 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] Proof That Ahadith Good And Bad Sunnah Are About Innovations: It is established that word بدعة means something new without a precedent and the word سنة is used for Sunnah of first murder which did not have a precedent. Hence it is linguistically possible to use word سنة to mean بدعة. In context of reprehensible Sunnah, the word بدعة is used: “And whoever introduces a سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً (i.e. reprehensible practice) that is followed, he will receive its sin and a burden of sin equivalent to that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H203] "And whoever introduces a بِدْعَةَ ضَلاَلَةٍ (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] “Whoever بِدْعَةً ابْتَدَعَ (i.e. 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] This is proof that both words can be used interchangeably to mean same thing. To further support it, note Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said: “And he who introduces a فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً (i.e. evil precedent 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] That which is not part of Islam via precedent is innovation, therefore evil Sunnah in this Hadith is referring to evil innovations. Continuing, Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said: “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] This means reward is for a Sunnah which is not part of Islam but being made part of Islam. In other words reward is for good Sunnah which does not have precedent in Islam. Considering the meaning of بدعة we have to conclude the reward is for introducing a good innovation and for those who follow it. As proof of Islamic position; innovation can be good, note the words of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) in following Hadith: “… that Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abd al-Qari said, "I went out with Umar ibn al-Khattab in Ramadan 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. Umar said, 'By Allah! It would be better in my opinion if these people gathered behind one reciter.' So he gathered them behind Ubayy ibn Kab. Then I went out with him another night and the people were praying behind their Qur'an reciter. Umar said, نِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ هَذِهِ (i.e. How excellent this innovation is!) But what you miss while you are asleep is better than what you watch in prayer.' He meant the end of the night, and people used to watch the beginning of the night in prayer." [Ref: Muwatta Malik, B6, H3] Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) gathered the people to perform Taraweeh prayer under leadership of a single Imam. His innovation was followed by the companions in month of Ramadhan prompting him to say that his innovation was excellent. Ever since Hadhrat Umar gathering the companions under a single Imam it has been practiced during the entire duration of Ramadhan. This amounts to roughly thirty days, yet prophetic Sunnah is of three days only, therefore he is source of an innovation which has no precedent in prophetic Sunnah. Warning About The Distortion Of Texts Of Islam: Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said that you will follow the way of Jews and Christians: “Narrated Abu Sa`id: The Prophet said, "You will follow the wrong ways, of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a lizard, you too will go there." We said, "O Allah's Messenger! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?" He replied, "Whom else?" [Ref: Bukhari, B55, H662] Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states regarding the Jews: “And verily, among them is a party who distort the Book with their tongues, so that you may think it is from the Book, but it is not from the Book, and they say: "This is from Allah," but it is not from Allah; and they speak a lie against Allah while they know it.” [Ref: 3:78] Do not follow the footsteps of Yahood and distort the texts of Islam by changing the meaning of words, no good will be result of it. It is better for you to submit to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and authority given to his Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) then to rebel against it. The straight path of Islam has been shown to you, so walk upon it. Aspire to be from amongst the Jammah (i.e. group) of Muslims and do not oppose it. Conclusion: Words سنة and بدعة are used interchangeably to mean innovation in Ahadith of equal reward and sin. بدعة means something without a precedent. In the Ahadith of good and bad سنة the reward is being told for Sunnahs which lack a precedent in Islam hence the usage of سنة is in meaning of innovation. Therefore the reward being told is about good innovations and the blame of sin is for bad innovations. Wama Alayna Ilal Balaghul Mubeen Muhammed Ali Razavi
  2. Salam Alayqum In your following article; ‘Refuting Heretical Argument - Innovated Practices Are Innovations …’, under the heading following heading: ‘1.3 - Reprehensible Innovations Are Misguidance.’, you presented following Ahadith - every newly invented matter/affair is innovation and every innovation is misguidance: “And the most evil affairs are the innovations; and every innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] “Avoid novelties, every novelty is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Abu Dawood, B40, H4590] Anyone who reads these two Ahadith would note; the content of these to Ahadith belies your heading. Also the following Hadith records clearly states every innovation is misguidance even if people see good in it: “Abdullaah Ibn 'Umar (radiallah ta'ala anhu) said, "Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good." [Ref: Darimi, B1, H96, Urdu Version] Clearly these Ahadith mean to say ‘every innovation is misguidance’ and not ‘every reprehensible innovation is misguidance’. There is no proof for your Takhsees and you should fear Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). You’re distorting the words of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) to misguide people. Saeed Imtiaz The Evidence For Takhsees and Explaining The Evidence Of Takhsees: First of all the evidence on which Takhsees was made based was quoted in following section: ‘1.2 - Prophetic Criterion Of Determining A [Reprehensible] Innovation.’ Unfortunately you did not contemplate on the previous section or at least not deep enough hence you did not realize the evidence. Assuming you did read the following Hadith but ignored it: “Whoever introduces an evil Sunnah that is followed after him, will bear the burden of sin for that and the equivalent of their burden of sin, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.” [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H207] In the quoted Hadith word Sunnah has been used to mean innovation. Also the following Hadith was quoted: "And whoever introduces an erroneous Biddah 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] This part of the Hadith: “…whoever introduces an erroneous Biddah …” is evidence for Takhsees of reprehensible innovation and the following part goes on to educate how to recognize a erroneous innovation: ”… with which Allah is not pleased nor His Messenger …” In other words the Hadith of Tirmadhi and the words of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) establish; concept of reprehensible innovation is valid and it was due to it Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) pointed how reprehensible innovation is to be recognized – i.e. which does not please Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) are pleased with acts which involve, worship, charity, encouraging good and forbidding wrong, hence anything composed of these cannot be reprehensible innovation. Coming back to the subject, the words: “… with which Allah is not pleased nor His Messenger …” are extra addition and are not fundamental part of Hadith. At the fundamental level the Hadith is stating: "And whoever introduces an erroneous Biddah then he shall receive sins similar to whoever acts upon it without that diminishing anything from the sins of the people.” This is in accordance with Hadith of Ibn Majah already quoted and in also with the following: “And whoever introduces a bad Sunnah that is followed, he will receive its sin and a burden of sin equivalent to that of those who follow it, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.'" [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H203] Hence it is correct to conclude; religiously the concept of reprehensible innovation is valid. ‘Every Innovation’ In Context Of ‘Whoever Introduces An Erroneous Innovation’: It is narrated that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said: "And whoever introduces an erroneous Biddah … 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] According to this Hadith it is clearly established; according to Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) erroneous/reprehensible innovation is sinful and not just any/every innovation and reprehensible innovation is one which does not please Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). Hence it is only correct to interpret the words of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) according to his own words and based on this correct understanding of Ahadith you quoted would be: “And the most evil affairs are the [erroneous] innovations; and every [erroneous] innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] The Hadith of avoiding novelties is to be understood with similar insertion: “Avoid [erroneous] novelties, every [erroneous] novelty is an [erroneous] innovation and every [erroneous] innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Abu Dawood, B40, H4590] Coming to the Hadith of Abdullah Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) in which he is reported to have said, every innovation is misguidance even if the people see good in the innovation, this Hadith should be understood exactly the same way: “Abdullah Ibn Umar said, "Every [erroneous] innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good ." [Ref: Darimi, B1, H96, Urdu Version] Conclusion: The Ahadith of every innovation are about reprehensible innovation and reprehensible innovation is innovation which does not please Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and such innovation is misguidance and sinful and therefore it should be avoided and remains misguidance even if people see good in it. The position of Ahle Sunnat is established from Ahadith which has been explained in detail. Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen. Muhammed Ali Razavi
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