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Explaining The Hadith Of Praiseworthy & Reprehensible Practices

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Explaining The Hadith Of Praiseworthy & Reprehensible Practices

 

Introduction:

 

The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah are of the belief that there are two type of innovations; praiseworthy innovations for which there is reward, and reprehensible innovations for which there is punishment. The heretical Wahhabiyah, Deobandi and their sub sects are of belief that every innovation is reprehensible no matter how virtuous it may be in practice.[1] And both sides have evidences from Qur’an and Ahadith to prove their definitions. The real issue is whose ijtihad on definition of innovation is firmly established from Qur’an and Ahadith? For that servant holds to opinion that definition of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah is fully upon the Qur’an, as well as Ahadith, and the definition of innovation of heretical Wahhabi's is half truth.

 

One of the key evidences used to establish the definition of praiseworthy innovation and its rewards, and blameworthy innovation and it's punishment is often distorted by the Wahhabi's and vast majority of them will never get to read it. And those who do get to read it are fed on the lies and distortions by their 'scholar' and due to lack of knowledge as well as and trust which the 'scholar' has earned of his followers he is obeyed without question or second thought or further investigation.

 

Aim of this article is to explain the meaning of Hadith so people who sincerely seek the guidance from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) can light a candle of lightness in darkness of their hearts.

 

Hadith Of Praiseworthy & Blameworthy Innovation:

 

Sahih Muslim, Book 034, Number 6466: "Jarir b. Abdullah reported that some desert Arabs clad in woolen clothes came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). 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. 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."

 

Part One – A:

 

A group of Bedouin Arabs visited Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) they were dressed in woolen clothes and from their appearance it seemed to Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) that they were poor. On noting this beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) encouraged the Sahabah (alayhi ridwan) present in the gathering to give sadqa to them, but the Sahaba (alayhi ridwan) showed signs of reluctance as a result he signs of anger were visible on his beautiful face: “... Then a person from the Ansar came with a purse containing silver.” and he gave them sadqa then another Sahabi who was fallowed by few more came forward and gave sadqa to the poor Bedouins: ... until signs of happiness could be seen on his (sacred) face.” After this beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) said to his companions: “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.” which if understood in the context of hadith means that the Sahabi (radiallah ta'ala anh) who came forward with purse of silver and all those who fallowed in his foot steps by giving sadqa to the poor Bedouins will get reward from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala).

 

Part One – B:

 

Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) exhorted the companions to give sadqa: “He saw them in sad plight as they had been hard pressed by need. He (the Holy Prophet) exhorted people to give charity, ...” in this context the fallowing statement of Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam): 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. Is to be understood in meaning he (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) was the creator of this good Sunnah, and the first companion who came with the purse of silver as the ones who fallowed him will get equal amount of reward from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala), meaning as much as Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam).

 

Part One – C:

 

Prophet's (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam)statement regarding reprehensible Sunnah: “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." is to be understood in the same context to mean that he wanted to assure them that if he was to create a reprehensible Sunnah for him as well as those who fallow him there will be equal amount of sin on the day of judgment. This was said to inform the companions of equality in sight of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) for the sinners, and for the righteous. More importantly to assure them that he would not encourage them to practice evil, nor be source for a evil. This is because every reprehensible Sunnah would be a novelty, and every novelty is sinful innovation, and every such innovation is misguidance. The Messenger of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) does not invite to misguidance but guidance because he fears Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) and knows if he was to create a reprehensible Sunnah in Islam and if it was fallowed after him: “... he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this (evil practice) without theirs being diminished in any respect."

 

Part One – D:

 

Beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) goes on to say: “And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam ...” even though from the context its clear that, no evil, reprehensible, blameworthy practice was introduced in Islam in presence of beloved Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam). The question comes to mind why would beloved Messenger (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) state something which isn’t required according to the context of events? The answer is clear to the people of knowledge that RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) have given two general principles to aid his followers. So when his followers introduce in Islam a praiseworthy practice they know there will be reward for them. And warned them from introducing reprehensible practices into Islam by telling them that their burden of sin would increase with diminishing for the one who introduces it as well as the one who fallows it. Also RasoolAllah (sallalahu alahi was'sallam) made his statement in singular: “He who introduced ... after him ... he would be assured of reward like one who followed it,...” (in the second part) “And he who introduced evil … he would be required to bear the burden like that of one who followed this ..." had his statements been only for the event he would have made the statements in plural as well as used word/words to restrict the meaning to the event only for example: 'Those who today introduced ... after them ... they would be assured of reward like one who followed it, …'

 

Part One – E:

 

And 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 ..” it means that he who introduces a reprehensible practice in Islam from him and from who fallows the reprehensible practice ,Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) will not accept the excuse of ignorance[2] and excuse of good intention[3]. Instead Allah(subhana wa ta'ala) will add to their other sins the burden of sin of following reprehensible practice, and the sins of acting on the reprehensible practice without deducting any sin.

 

Conclusion:

 

There are three[4] interpretation of the hadith; one, that RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) wanted to inform the companion of reward who initiated the act of giving sadqa to the poor and those who fallowed him in doing so. Two, that RasoolAllah (sallalahu alayhi was'salam) gave two guiding principles for Muslims on the basis which we can make ijtihadi innovations as part of Islam and expect reward from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala). Also to let his followers know that no excuse on the day of judgment will be accepted by Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) if his followers were to fallow evil innovations and Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) will most certainly add to sins of his followers the sins of fallowing a reprehensible practice. Three, to inform them his companions will get equal reward from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) if they fallow his Sunnahs which are praiseworthy by their nature.

 

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.

Muhammed Ali Razavi

=================

 

Foot Notes:

 

- [1] The difference of definitions is not very important, because if both of these definitions are learns properly, and then used to understand innovative practices the result will be same. Wahhabi's will label it '[shara'ee] Innovation' and the Sunni's will label is 'Reprehensible Innovation' or Wahhabi's may label a innovative practice to be 'Linguistical Innovation' and Sunni's will label it 'Praiseworthy Innovation'.

 

- [2] Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) will not accept the excuse of ignorance: 'O Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) I didn't know it was innovation.' because Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) has made it clear in the Qur’an: "And Allah is not one to misguide a people after He has guided them, until He explains to them that which they should avoid." [ref: 9:115] in another verse: "And whoever contends with the Messenger after the guidance has been made clear to him, and he follows a path other than the path of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Jahannam, an evil refuge" [ref: 4:115]

 

- [3] Even though Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) had stated: “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, ...” [ref: Bukhari, B86, H85] Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) will not accept excuse of good-intention: 'O Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) I did not fallowed him into reprehensible practice with good intention of pleasing You.' therefore Prophet (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) made it clear to Ummah that your practicing reprehensible practices will be judged as the reprehensible. Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) will not accept you good intentions as a valid excuse therefore he will add your to your sins the sins of fallowing a reprehensible practice.

 

- [4] Three are mentioned only in this thats why I have concluded with specific three, in my other articles on same hadith more interpretations [I think two more] are given of the same phrase. And it would be best to accept all of them without rejecting any of them due to jawami al kalim (i.e. shortest expression bearing widest meaning) nature of Prophet's (sallalahu alayhi was'sallam) speech.

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