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Innovations Are Misguidance Even If The People See Good In Them.

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Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) is reported to have said: “Avoid novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is an error." [Ref: Abu Dawood, B40, H4590] and in another hadith similar statement: “And the most evil affairs are the innovations; and every innovation is error." [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] Anthropomorphic Wahhabiyah as well as off-shoots of Wahhabi sect distort the meaning of these ahadith of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) in order to refute the existence of biddah hasanah (i.e. good innovation). They argue the word qullu (i.e. every, all) used in the ahadith is evidence against existence of praiseworthy innovations in deen and evidence against definition of Ahle Sunnat. Which divides innovations into two categories praiseworthy innovations and blameworthy innovations. To strengthen their position they quote state of Abdullah Ibn Umar (radi allahu anhu):"Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good."[1]


Praiseworthy Innovations Established From Ahadith:


Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) has stated: “He who introduced some good practice 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 in another hadith Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) is reported to have said: He who called (people) to righteous (i.e. innovation), there would be reward (assured) for him like the rewards of those who adhered to it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6470] Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) said: I enjoin you to fear Allah, and to hear and obey even if it be an Abyssinian slave, for those of you who live after me will see great disagreement. You must then follow my sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs.” [Ref: Abu Dawood, B40, H4590] Here the fallowing of Sunnah rightly-guided Khulafah means innovations, practices of rightly-guided Successors after Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam).


The Of Abdullah Ibn Umar In Context Of Prophet's (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) Teaching:


Mother of Momineen Aysha (radiallah ta'ala anha) narrates the types of innovations Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) termed misguidance and error: “He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4267] The misguiding, erroneous innovation is further defined in another hadith: "If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected." [Ref: Bukhari B49, H861] Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) explains further: “He who innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason) and these are to be rejected.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4266] So every action, custom, practice, belief which is not in harmony of principles of deen such as worship, Tawheed, encouraging good, forbidding evil, halal, haram is to be rejected because its a evil innovation. Also if there is no explicit permission from; Allah (subhana wa ta'ala), RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) and does not have valid reason in form of sharaee ijtihadi evidence then such innovation is to be rejected. Every such innovation is a error, a most evil affair, and as such: "Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good." Hence the one who innovates a misguiding, reprehensible, evil innovation, practice; Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) has informed he is to bear the burden of his innovation: And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden." [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] as well as those he misguided: “And he who called (people) to error, he shall have to carry (the burden) of its sin, like those who committed it, without their sins being diminished in any respect." [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6470]




The statement of Abdullah Ibn Umar (radi allahu ta'ala anhu): "Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good." is about evil, reprehensible, blameworthy, innovations which contradict teaching of deen. Not about those praiseworthy, good, righteous innovations, which have valid reason as well as are based on what has been explicitly sanctioned by Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) and RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). And not about those innovations which are in harmony with principles of deen; worship, Tawheed, Shirk, encouraging good, forbidding evil, as well as haram, halal.


Wama alayna ilal balaghul Mubeen.

Muhammed Ali Razavi




- [1] Ref:“Related by al-Bayhaqee in al-Madkhal ilas-Sunan (no.191) and also Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah (p.24). Its isnaad (chain of narration) is as authentic as the sun!” The hadith has been referenced to these sources by Wahhabi forums, websites and I was unable to verify the sources or strength of the hadith. Servant has started writing with assumption; the hadith does exist and its chain is strong enough to be used as evidence in matters of deen. Allah knows better.

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