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  1. Introduction: Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) has been quoted as saying in Ahadith, every innovation is misguidance. Muslims believe literally every innovation is not misguidance. Only every reprehensible innovation is misguidance and every reprehensible innovation is composed of components which are violating the prophetic teaching and contradict spirit of Islam. Contrary to Islamic belief, the anti-Islamic elements believe every innovation in literal sense is innovation even if it is composed of Islamicly sanctioned acts of worship, charity, etc. This is due to their literal interpretation of Hadith and their emphasis on qullu (i.e. every). Hence it is important to establish use of ‘every’ is not in respect of every innovation but ‘every’ has been limited and restricted to reprehensible type of innovations. Also the Ibn Fawzaan quoted renowned scholar to aid his position. He stated collection of Quran into a book and writing and collecting Ahadith into books is not a praiseworthy innovation. Part two can be read, here. Saalih Al Fawzaan And Issue Of Translation: Ibn Fawzaan is a prominent scholar in Saudi Khariji State and member of Board Of Senior Scholars And Member Of Permanent Committee For Fatwah And Research. His works carry weight amongst the Khawarij hence it is crucial his writing is addressed from Islamic perspective and lays bare heretical understandings which he has purposed. Secondly, the translation of Ibn Fawzaan’s work by Maaz Qureshi at times was incoherent and bereft of contextual relevance. The points were poorly conveyed and lacked clarity hence original[1] was altered for sake of clarity by adding words and rephrasing sentences. Also discussion regarding Taraweeh prayer was separated into parts. Between which the subject of compilation of Quran was discussed. So material was connected with the relevant discussion and material regarding compilation of Quran was added after Taraweeh prayer discussion. Note, textual criticism skills were employed to reconstruct the message being conveyed in original Arabic and alterations were not result of reading Arabic text of original essay. Hence there is possibility errors might have been made in re-constructing of his point of view. I seek refuge in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) from misguidance of Satan the cursed. In case of errors in representing his view, please do notify me and mistakes will be rectified. Part One: Saalih Al Fawzaan’s Short Essay: “Whoever divides innovation in the religion into good innovation (i.e. bid'ah hasanah), and sinful innovation (i.e. bid'ah Say’yah), then he has committed wrong, and has opposed Prophet’s (sallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) statement, "Every innovation is a misguidance", because the Messenger (sallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) ruled that innovation - all of it - is misguidance, and this says that not all innovation is misguidance, rather there is good innovation. Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab said in his commentary in al Arba'een: 'So his (sallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) statement, “The best discourse is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst of affairs are those which are newly introduced, for every innovation is an error” is a comprehensive statement, nothing is excluded from it. And this is the greatest principle from the principles of the Religion and it is connected with his (sallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) following statement, "Whoever invents in this affair of ours, what is not from it, then it is rejected" So whoever invents things and attributes them to the religion, and it does not have an origin in the religion to return to then it is misguidance, and the Religion is free from those things. And equal to that are matters of beliefs, or actions, or statements whether hidden, or manifest.’ [Ref: Jaami'ul 'Uloom Wal Hikam, p. 233] 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. ni'imatul bida'atu hadhihi).”[2] Ibn Rajab’s Definition Of Innovation: Prior to Ibn Fawzaan’s quoted material Ibn Rajab stated: “Regarding the Holy Prophet’s saying: “Beware of newly introduced matters, for every innovation is a straying.” It is a warning to the community against following innovated new matters. He emphasized that with his words, “every innovation is a straying.” [Such type of] innovations are those things which are newly introduced, having no source in the Shari’ah to prove them.” Ibn Rajab believes any practice/belief which is termed as innovation is by default a Shar’ri innovation, and such innovation has no evidence from Quran or Hadith. Yet from his statement one can glimpse that according to Ibn Rajab, an innovation without evidence of Shari’ah is straying innovation, because he connected Hadith of; every innovation is misguidance, to his following statement: “[Such type of] innovations are those things which are newly introduced, having no source in the Shari’ah to prove them.” Of course this is not his actual position rather an in-depth observation. He also stated; an innovated practice/belief with evidence of Shari’ah is not an innovation from Shar’ri perspective, here: “As for whatever has a source in the Shari’ah, thereby establishing it, then it is not an innovation in the [sense of] Shari’ah, even though it might linguistically be an innovation.” And same was repeated bit later: “As for those things in the sayings of the right-acting first generations where they regard some innovations as good, that is only with respect to what are innovations in the linguistic sense, but not in the Shari’ah.” Here Ibn Rajab is gravely mistaken because the scholars of Islam have always considered good innovations to be from perspective of Shari’ah. Shari’ah defines the goodness and evilness of innovations hence what it judges to be good and bad is part of Shari’ah. Before continuing to next point it is important to state that linguistic meaning of innovation is; which is without precedent. Shar’ri meaning of innovation is; which is without precedent in Islam. The important point in is that those scholars who have divided innovation to be good have done so on basis of following Hadith: “Whoever sets a good precedent in Islam, he will have the reward for that, and the reward of those who acted in accordance with it, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.” [Ref: Nisa’i, B23, H2555] When something is not part of Islam but it is being part of Islam than innovation is being made part of Islam. This is assertion is supported by linguistic and Shar’ri meaning of innovation. Considering this, meaning of the Hadith is when a good innovation which is not part of Islam is made part of Islam then the one who sets a good innovation in Islam [for others to follow] will receive reward and those who follow his good innovated precedent. Four Important Points Made By Saalih Al Fawzaan: There are four main points in the short essay produced by chief of Khawarij and they are as follow: i) One who divides innovation into categories of praiseworthy and blameworthy innovations has wronged teaching of Islam and opposed the statement of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). ii) Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) said: “And the most evil affairs are the innovations; and every innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] Use of وَكُلُّ (i.e. and every) in the relevant Hadith is to include everything and nothing is excluded from it hence all innovations are misguidance. iii) There is no proof for good innovation except the statement of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) regarding Taraweeh prayer. iv) Quote from Jami Ul Uloom Wal Hakim of Ibn Rajab Al Hanbali as quoted by Saalih Ibn Fawzaan. Scholars Always Divided Innovation In Two Main Branches: Early Muslim scholars have always and scholars continue to divide innovation to two main categories. Type one, which is composed of Islamicly sanctioned practices/beliefs. Type two, which is composed of Islamicly prohibited practices/beliefs. Type one, has been termed as, praiseworthy, permissible, righteous, guidance, and even termed it linguistic innovation.[3] Type two, has been stated to be, prohibited, evil, misguiding, sinful, and legal innovation.[4] Then these categories are subdivided into many categories.[5] The chief of Khawarij stated one who divides innovation into good and bad has wronged and opposed the Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) because he believes every newly invented matter, from perspective of Sharia if it is declared as an innovation than it is misguidance. Therefore it is important to point out who according to Ibn Fawzaan’s statement has wronged the religion of Islam and who in Ummah is guilty of opposing the teaching of Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). The Eminent Scholars Who Wronged And Opposed: Imam Shafi (rahimullah) stated innovations are of two types. The type which contradicts the teaching of Quran, the Sunnah, Hadith and Ijma, such one he classed as misguiding innovation. Concerning the type which does not contradict the teaching of Quran, Sunnah, Ahadith, and Ijma, he classed good and quoted Hadith where Hadhrat Umar (radiallah) had said Taraweeh is good innovation. Following is evidence of Imam Shafi (rahimullah) understanding on subject of innovation: “It was narrated to us by Muhammad ibn Musa ibn al-Fadl who had it narrated to him from Abul-Abbas Al-Asam who said Rabi ibn Sulayman narrated to us from Imam ash-Shafi’s that he said, “Innovated matters in religion are of two kinds: 1) Whatever is innovated and is contradicts the Book, or the Sunnah, or a narration, or Ijma – then this is an innovation of misguidance. 2) Whatever is innovated of good and that does not contradict any of these – then this is a novelty which is not blameworthy. And Umar (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) said concerning the night-prayer in the month of Ramadhan: نِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ هَذِهِ (i.e. what a good innovation this is!) meaning something new not previously present, and if done does not rebut anything which existed before.” [Ref: Reported by al-Bayhaqi in Manaqib ash-Shafi'i, 1/469] Imam Al-Ghazali (rahimullah), Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (rahimullah), Imam Nawavi (rahimullah), Imam Qurtubi (rahimullah), Muhammad al-Shawkani (Khariji), Imam Suyuti (rahimullah), and countless others defined innovation into praiseworthy and blameworthy. Even Ismail Dehalvi (the apostate) divided innovation into good and bad in his Tazkira Al Ikhwan.[6] Position Of Muslims About Prominent Scholars: In light of Ibn Fawzaan’s statement it can be concluded that he believes the mentioned scholars and all those who divided innovation into good and bad categories are the ones who have wronged and opposed prophetic teaching. Considering this insolence of Ibn Fawzaan, effort is being made to defend the honor of prominent scholars of Islam from the indirect attack by supporting the definition of Muslims. As Muslims we believe, Imam Shafi (rahimullah), Imam Al Ghazali (rahimullah), Imam Ibn Hajar (rahimullah), and Imam Nawavi (rahimullah) scholars are not the ones who have wronged and opposed the teaching of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). It is Ibn Fawzaan who is opposing the prophetic Sunnah and if Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) wills the charge will be established. Valid Difference Of Opinion Over The Definition: It would be too much to say he was unaware of evidence which establishes the understanding of these scholarly giants but it is just and befitting his caliber to say; he is ignorant of their interpretations. Ibn Fawzaan failed to understand; the difference on definition of innovation is a valid difference of opinion and none from these two definitions is blameworthy because the evidence exists for both versions. As Muslims we believe those scholars whose understanding of innovation agrees with Ijtihad of these luminaries, they are upon the truth, like those who pioneered this understanding of innovation. Those who have pioneered the simple definition of innovation and those who employ it they are closer to the truth but missed the mark of perfection. The pioneers of this definition have erred in their Ijtihad and there is no blame upon them for this but only reward from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) because mistakes of Mujtahid are rewarded. Hadith Of Every Innovation Is Misguidance: Ibn Fawzaan quoted the following Hadith: “And the most evil affairs are the innovations; and every innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] And argued the words وَكُلُّ (i.e. and every) are used in the Hadith therefore nothing is excluded from this statement. There will be five approaches to answer this point: i) logical criticism to solve problem, ii) on usage of وَكُلُّ (i.e. and every), iii) concluding remarks regarding usage of ‘every’, iv) explaining the Hadith of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) with Ahadith which support the positions argued for first and second approach, v) and establishing category of good innovation. Note, out of the four important points of Ibn Fawzaan pointed in the beginning or article, three will be addressed in forth coming material and the last one will be addressed as a separate part. First Approach – The Counter Attack: If Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) had stated; all of innovations are misguidance literally, without restricting/limiting the meaning of ‘every’ to a specific genre of innovations then questions is: Are books of Ahadith (i.e. Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmadhi etc.) included in this ‘every’ or excluded from ‘every’? If you say they are excluded therefore not innovations, then you have eliminated the foundation of your argument because your argument was ‘every’ used in this Hadith is without Takhsees (i.e. specifics) yet you have made Takhsees in ‘every’ to accommodate the books of Ahadith. We Muslims affirm that ‘every’ is connected with a specific type of innovation and it is not to be understood on its generality. The point is; ‘every innovation’ is not in meaning of ‘absolutely every innovation’ but ‘every innovation’ is used to mean ‘every innovation in a specific context’. What that specific context is, if Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) permits will be explained in third approach. Second Approach – The Usage Of Every: Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: "As for the boat, it belonged to certain men in dire want: they plied on the water: I but wished to render it unserviceable, وَرَاءَهُم مَّلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا (i.e. for there was after them a certain king who seized on every boat by force).” [Ref: 18:79] It is stated in the verse that a king has ordered every boat is to be ceased but order was to cease all usable boats. Hence Khidar (alayhis salaam) damaged the boat to prevent the livelihood of boat owner being ceased by inflicting damage which can be repaired with little effort. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: “And [recall] when Moses prayed for water for his people, so We said, "Strike with your staff the stone." And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ (i.e. and every people knew its watering place). "Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption." [Ref: 2:60] The verse states every people knew where to drink water from when Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) struck the rock with his staff. Yet it was not every people in literal sense of the word but every tribe from the twelve tribes of tribe of Israeel. Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) states: “They said, Postpone [the matter of] him and his brother and send among the cities gatherers. Who will bring you every learned magician? يَأْتُوكَ بِكُلِّ سَاحِرٍ عَلِيمٍ (i.e. And the magicians came to Pharaoh). They said, Indeed for us is a reward if we are the dominant." [Ref: 7:111/113] Logistics of undertaking such task at that time would make it impossible to reach every city of earth. Yet the verse says they were sent to every city which is too farfetched. The polytheists in time of Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam) sent for emissaries to every major city or to every city of Egypt to gather the best magicians to compete with Prophet Musa (alayhis salaam). Therefore literal reading of every city is not intended. Please bear with an example which would resonate with readers. Ali is carrying valet full of money, credit card, a brand new mobile phone, wearing on his 50 carat gold ring. Thief strikes and says: Hand over everything you have or you going to die. Does the thief want Ali to hand over all that he doesn’t carry with him as well or just what he is carrying with him? All that Ali is carrying at that moment. Third Approach – Summing Up The Findings: The word ‘every’ even though by itself is not limited/restricted and is inclusive of all but when it is used in a restrictive/limiting context then it is no longer on its natural meaning. Rather it is limited and restricted according to the context. Note the word ‘every’ was used but it was limited restricted by circumstances. Similarly in the verses ‘every’ was limited and restricted according to contextual relevance.[7] Hence it could be said, use of word ‘every’ in the following Hadith is not ‘absolutely every’ but in meaning of ‘every in specific context’, here: “And the most evil affairs are the innovations; and every innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] Just as the context of verses limit and restrict the meaning of ‘every’ to ‘every in specific context’ the words ‘every innovation’ are limited and restricted by other Ahadith of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). Fourth Approach – Explaining Hadith With Ahadith: Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have 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] Linguistically innovation is what does not have precedent in Quran of Sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). What is not part of Islam and is made part of Islam is innovation hence the mentioned Hadith is talking about one who introduces into Islam evil innovation. And tells for him who introduces evil innovation and those who follow his evil innovation will receive equal burden of sin. This understanding of above Hadith is supported by another Hadith found in Tirmadhi, here: "And whoever introduces a بِدْعَةَ ضَلاَلَةٍ (i.e. erroneous 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] In light of this, the following statement of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is not literal: “And the most evil affairs are the innovations; and every innovation is misguidance." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] Rather it should be understood in context of Hadith of ‘evil precedent in Islam’ and ‘erroneous innovation’. Therefore the interpretation of Hadith is as follows: the most evil affairs are the evil precedents and erroneous innovations introduced into Islam and every evil/erroneous innovation is misguidance. Hence the word ‘every’ is restricted and limited in the phrase, “… every innovation is misguidance …” in specific context of evil and erroneous innovations. Now question must arise, how are evil innovations judged to be evil? Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) answered this question by saying: “Aishah reported the Messenger of Allah as saying: if any one introduces into this affair of ours anything which does not belong to it, it is rejected. Ibn Isa said: the prophet said: if anyone practices any action in a way other than our practice, it is rejected.” [Ref: Dawood, B41, H4589] And in another Hadith it is stated: “He who enacted any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf that is to be rejected.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4267] In other words if an innovation is composed of anything which is not from prophetic Sunnah it is evil innovation and it is to be rejected. Fifth Approach – Establishing The Good Innovation: It was previously said, innovation is which does not have precedent in Quran and Sunnah, and following words of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) point to permissibility of, and reward for, introducing good innovation into 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 …”[8] [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] Note, the Hadith states one who introduces into Islam a good Sunnah, if a good Sunnah is being introduced into Islam then it means it is not part of Islam. What is not part of Islam and it is being made part of Islam is, innovation. Hence Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) told of reward for introducing good innovation into Islam. It was based upon understanding of the Hadith of good Sunnah in Islam that Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) declared his gathering of worshipers under leadership of an Imam as an excellent innovation, here: “Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. 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.' He meant the prayer in the last part of the night. (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night." [Ref: Bukhari, B32, H227] These Ahadith establish the position of Muslims that to introduce praiseworthy innovations into Islam is permissible and reward worthy. Conclusion: We have established the prominent scholars of past have divided the innovation into two categories. It has been established those who have divided innovation into good and bad have not erred nor opposed the teaching of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) but rather have employed all evidence available on the topic of innovation to perfect their understanding. And it was minion of Iblis incarnate who actually opposed the teaching of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). The usage of ‘every’ has been explained in detail. The usage of ‘every’ is affected by context, which limits its absolute meaning and restricts it to a specific. The foolish assumption that Muslims do not have any evidence but the evidence related to Taraweeh was shattered with proper explanation of Hadith of introducing good Sunnah into Islam. As for the quote taken from Ibn Rajab it has been explained by the content of first, second and third approach. Ibn Fawzaan position is based on Ibn Rajab's quote and due to which no direct response is required. Instead, Ibn Rajab's understanding of innovation was explored and his error was pointed out in light of evidence of Hadith. Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen. Muhammed Ali Razavi Footnotes: - [1] To find out where the alterations have been made please use MSWord to compare original and revised versions. To see the original quote click, here. - [2] Clarification Of Doubts Concerning Innovation. Originally taken from; Kitab at-Tawheed, author; Saalih al Fawzaan, page 106/110 Translation; Maaz Qureshi, Amendments; Muhammed Ali Razavi. - [3] Those scholars who have labelled type one innovations as linguistic innovation they follow a different definition of innovation. Their definition accords the following principles: Any action/belief of which there is no Asal (i.e. foundation - explicit or implicit evidence) such is innovation. And the opposite was: Any action/belief which can be established from Quran/Sunnah from implicit or from generality of words is not an innovation. They maintain innovation is of two types, linguistic and legal. According to this classification when an innovation is classed as an innovation from legal perspective than it is in meaning of ‘type two’ innovation (i.e. reprehensible - which composed of that which contradicts teaching of Islam). So according to their understanding compiling Quran into a book after death of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and Hadhrat Umar’s (radiallah ta’ala anhu) gathering the people of Masjid to perform Taraweeh under one Qari for entire Ramadhan are not innovations [in legal sense]. And this is because Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) in his life time over saw the writing of revelation (i.e. Quran). Also there is precedent of performing Taraweeh under leadership of Imam because Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) in person led Taraweeh for three days. These scholars agree that these are innovations in linguistic sense. The vast majority of scholars have classified these two practices to be good innovations because of their division of innovation being divided as good and bad. Words of Hadhrat Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) are evidence of Taraweeh being innovation and being good innovation according to this definition: قَالَ عُمَرُ نِعْمَ الْبِدْعَةُ هَذِه.ِ [Ref: Bukhari, B32, H227] Therefore the real difference between the two parties is due to label and not of result. One group labels it linguistic innovation and other considers as good innovation. - [4] From Islamic perspective anti-Muslim element’s legal/Shar’ri innovation’s equivalent is reprehensible innovation. In Islamic terminology, all innovations are legal/Shar’ri innovations, be it praiseworthy or reprehensible. - [5] The details of sub-divisions and explanation of them can be found in the following book, What Is Innovation In Islam, by Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan Naeemi (rahimullah alayhi ta’ala). - [6] If Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) permits an article will be written on subject of innovation containing writings of these scholars. - [7] The word ‘every’ in its natural meaning cannot be used for creation without warranting major Shirk. The natural meaning of ‘every’ which is unlimited, unrestricted can only truly be used for Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). When the word ‘every’ is used for creation of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) it is always used with certain constraints implied from context or implied from inability of creation for whom it was used for. - [8] “Narrated Ibn Jarir bin 'Abdullah: from his father that the Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever starts a good tradition 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] “It was narrated that Abu Juhaifah said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'Whoever introduces a good practice that is followed after him, will have a reward for that and the equivalent of their reward, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest.” [Ref: Ibn Majah, B1, H207]
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