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Understanding Hadith Of Good & Evil Sunnah In Light Of Ahadith Of Reprehensible Innovation.


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Understanding Hadith Of Good & Evil Sunnah In Light Of Ahadith Of Reprehensible Innovation.

 

Introduction:

 

Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) has defined what a [reprehensible/shar'aee] innovation. He also gave clear guiding principles on which we can judge the novelties to determine if they are [reprehensible/shar'aee] innovations or not. These principles validate many novelty practices in the time of RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) which the companions practiced without direct instruction from Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). And serve as measuring tools of right and wrong for the rest of Ummah for the practices which originated after his departure from this world. And when these guiding principles are understood properly in light of ahadith of RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) they aid the ahlul ilm in determining what is evil and what is good of matters which are not mentioned clearly in Qur’an or hadith.

 

Guiding Principles For Reprehensible Innovations:

 

Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) is reported to have said; that most evil affairs are innovations because they are misguidance, error:

 

Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Hadith 1885: “... and he would join his forefinger and middle finger; and would further say: "The best of the speech is embodied in the Book of Allah, and the beet of the guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. And the most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is error." He would further say:, I am more dear to a Muslim even than his self; ...”

 

And he has explained what a innovation is by saying every novelty is an innovation:

 

Abu Dawood, Book 40, Hadith 4590: “... You must then follow my sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs. Hold to it and stick fast to it. Avoid novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is an error.”

 

A novelty is something new, unusual, and unnecessary. Implications of novelty on the definition of innovation are clear. Innovations which are unusual, unnecessary are [reprehensible/shar'aee] innovations and this understanding is supported the statement that a innovation which has no valid basis to exist as part of deen is to be rejected:

 

Sahih Muslim, Book 18, Number 4266: “'A'isha reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason) (commits sin) and these are to be rejected.”[1]

 

Hadhrat Aysha (radiallah ta'ala anha) narrates that Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) has stated that if anyone performed a innovated act for which there is no sanction from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) or His beloved Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) it is to be rejected:

 

Sahih Muslim, Book 18, Number 4267: “Sa'd b. Ibrahim reported: I asked Qasim b. Muhammad about a person who had three dwelling houses and he willed away the third part of every one of these houses; he (Qasim b. Muhammad) said: All of them could be combined in one house; and then said: 'A'isha informed me that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected.”

 

In another hadith it is stated that if a person introduces a novelty which does not conform the the spirit of Qur’an as well as Sunnah it is to be rejected because it is then a innovation:

 

Sahih Bukhari, Book 49, Hadith 861: “Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle said, "If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected."

 

Ahadith Of Good & Evil Sunnah In Right Perspective:

 

These rules of judging novelty practices/beliefs inform the believer that the innovations should be rejected because they are errors. The specific reason for errors to be rejected is mentioned in another hadith recorded in Sunan Nisa'ee: “... and every error is misguidance; ...” and why should misguidance be avoided is answered: ”... and every misguidance will lead to the hell fire.”[2] and why does every misguidance leads to hellfire, because they are sin, and one who calls to misguidance calls to sin, one who acts on misguidance acts on sin.

 

Allah's beloved Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) defined [reprehensible/shar'aee] innovation, gave principles to judge novelties, he told that innovations are errors, he told they are misguidance, and he also told they take to hellfire. What he had not informed the believers was of how will Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) judge them. Would Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) accept a excuse? Would Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) hold the creator of innovation more responsible then the one who fallowed it? Would Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) excuse the one who in ignorance called people to innovation? And in the ahadith of good & evil Sunnah beloved Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) answers these questions so no doubt remains in the heart of believers and innovators:

 

Sahih Muslim, Book 34, Hadith 6468: “Jarir b. 'Abdullah reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The servant does not introduce good practice which is followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.”

 

Sahih Muslim, Book 34, Number 6466: “... Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: 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. And He who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without theirs being diminished in any respect.”

 

Sahih Muslim, Book 34, Number 6470: "Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who called (people) to righteous, there would be reward (assured) for him like the rewards of those who adhered to it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. 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."

 

He informs the believers that one who creates a innovation, and one who fallows the innovation will get equal amount of sin written in their book of deeds without diminishing a single sin. And goes on to inform the companions that one who calls people to error (i.e. innovation - “... every innovation is error.”) for him is the equal amount of sins.

 

Conclusion:

 

Every novelty which does not conform to teaching of Qur’an and Sunnah, is not sanctioned by Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) or RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam), it does not have valid reason is innovation, and every such innovation is error, a misguidance, a sin, which leads to fire of hell: “Nay, those who seek gain in evil, and are girt round by their sins,- they are companions of the Fire: Therein shall they abide (For ever).” [ref: Surah 2:81] One who innovates something which leads to hellfire and one who fallows which leads to hellfire, about them Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) said: “He who introduced some evil practice in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without theirs being diminished in any respect.” The one who invites to sinful, evil, innovation, and one who responds to the one calling to hellfire, about them Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) said: “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."

 

From this we can safely conclude that the ahadith of praiseworthy & blameworthy innovation are connected with ahadith of [reprehensible/shar'aee] innovations because they fill the gaps of information as well as their unambiguous reference to reprehensible innovation.

 

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.

Muhammed Ali Razavi

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Footnotes:

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- [1] Every novelty is innovation and if a innovator innovates in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason) (commits sin) and these are to be rejected.

 

- [2] I have not read this hadith in Sunan Nisa'ee, I am only quoting it because its widely circulated among the knowledgeable Muslims, and I have heard it from numerous individuals belonging to different sects. So on this I based my assumption that it has some basis and its authenticity is agreed upon by all groups. Judging according to Qur’an the content of hadith it is in agreement with its teachings the chain of narrators may have weakness or may not.

 

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