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Innovation Argument: If Ibn Umar’s Comments were About Salat ad-Duha Of Congregation Then Your Principle Voids Your Belief In Good Innovations.By MuhammedAli
Two principles were derived in an attempt to explain what would be linguistic and what would be legal innovation in an article responding to argument; Ibn Umars (radiallah ta’ala anhu) made statements, Salat ad-Duha is excellent/fine innovation, in linguistic sense, here. And it was argued that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) did not believe Salat ad-Duha was Prophetic Sunnah hence he made the statements in legal (i.e. Shar’ri sense). Later after careful consideration it was realised these statement, Salat ad-Duha is fine/excellent innovation, was made in context of Salat ad-Duha of congregation. And this prompted me to rectify my understanding, here. My opponent in the light of lattest readjustment has responded to me in the hope of refuting Islamic position – Islam has made provisions via which good innovations can be made part of Islam.
An Email Arguing Against Islamic Position:
In your lattest post you have acknowledged statements of Abdullah Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) regarding Salat ad-Duha are in context of congregation, in Masjid other than Haram/Quba, and a day on another than Saturday. This means you take the Ahadith in which Salat ad-Duha has been stated to be good/fine innovation and dear innovation to be referring to performing of Salat ad-Duha in congregation, in Masjid other than Haram/Quba, and a day on another than Saturday. And this implies you believe Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) performed Salat ad-Duha in congregation and Abdullah Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was unaware of this. Your admission changes the dimensions of the discussion because it is stated in Hadith that Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) performed Salat ad-Duha in congregation: “Bilal replied in the affirmative. I said, 'Where)?' He replied: 'Between these two pillars and then he came out and offered a two rak`at prayer in front of the Ka`ba.' "Abu `Abdullah said: Abu Huraira said, "The Prophet advised me to offer two rak`at of Duha prayer. " Itban (bin Malik) said, "Allah's Messenger and Abu Bakr, came to me after sunrise and we aligned behind the Prophet and offered two rak`at." [Ref: Bukhari, B21, H268] And your own principle states: “Knowing y is Quranic/Prophetic teaching but despite this saying y is excellent/fine innovation. In this context, the y practice which is being called innovation is in Lughvi (i.e. linguistic) sense.” This establishes that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) deemed Salat ad-Duha in congregation to be linguistic innovation. All I demand is, you to establish that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was unaware of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) performing Salat ad-Duha in Masjid, in congregation, and in public. If this is established by you my argument [against Islam allowing good innovations] stands refuted and if you fail your argument [of Islam permitting good/fine innovations] stands refuted.
Assumption – He Was Aware Of ad-Duha In Congregation Is Prophetic Sunnah:
It is heart warming to see you employ my own principle to refute Islamic arguments and this points you have granted the principle a degree of credibility. The problematic aspect is that you have assumed Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was aware of Salat ad-Duha performed in congregation is Prophetic Sunnah and despite having this knowledge he went on to Salat ad-Duha in congregation is excellent/fine innovation.You have claimed my principle substantiates your position; Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) made the statement Salat ad-Duha in congregation being linguistic innovation. For your argument to be valid you must establish Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was aware of Salat ad-Duha in congregation being prophetic Sunnah. Merely establishing it is Prophetic Sunnah cannot proof of, and is not proof, Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) being aware of Salat ad-Duha in congregation being Prophetic Sunnah.
Ibn Umar Wasn’t Aware Of It Being Prophetic Sunnah:
The notion that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was aware of Salat ad-Duha in congregation being Prophetic Sunnah is senseless. The evidence establishes; Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) did not perform Salat ad-Duha which he termed innovation: “Narrated Muwarriq: I asked Ibn `Umar: "Do you offer the Duha prayer ?" He replied in the negative. I further asked …" [Ref: Bukhari, B21, H27] And he believed Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) and his first two Khulafah did not perform it: “. I further asked, "Did `Umar use to pray it?" He (Ibn `Umar) replied in the negative. I again asked, "Did Abu Bakr use to pray it?" He replied in the negative." [Ref: Bukhari, B21, H27] Naturally Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) would and will have no reason to object to or to not to perform Salat ad-Duha in congregation if he believed it was Prophetic Sunnah. And if he believed it was Prophetic Sunnah why would he say it was not performed by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam)! And why would he himself not perform it if he believed it was Prophetic Sunnah?
Considering The Impossible – He Was Aware Of It Being Sunnah:
Here we suppose he was aware that Salat ad-Duha in congregation was Prophetic Sunnah. Will this establish his statements about Salat ad-Duha being excellent/fine innovation were made in linguistic sense? One word answer: No! Hadith of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) not performing and his first two Khulafah not performing Salat ad-Duha would go on to force conclusion that the scholarly opinion about Ibn Umar’s (radiallah ta’ala anhu) statements (i.e. Salat ad-Duha is excellent/fine innovation are with regards to Salat ad-Duha of congregation) is incorrect. The reason being for this is; otherwise if the Ahadith are understood in context of Salat ad-Duha of congregation than Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) is made to say a Prophetic Sunnah was not performed by two Khulafa and himself, and by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam), which would be complete non-sense. And this contradictory non-sense naturally would force the scholarship to reconcile the difficulty by forming another opinion which would lead to conclusion that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was reffering to another aspect of Salat ad-Duha as excellent/fine innovation – not Salat ad-Duha of congregation. Alhasil there is no way out of Islamic position. Only slight modification - such as Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala ahu) deemed xyz aspect of Salat ad-Duha to be fine/excellent innovation [and believed Salat ad ad-Duha of congregation to be Sunnah] would result in refutation of your position. Hence it would be in your interest to conform to following the majority aspect of Prophetic teaching because there is no alternative way out of Islamic position – i.e. Islam allows good innovations to be made part of it.
Islamic Scholarship Said Ahadith Are About Ad-Duha Of Congregation:
You have stated for me to refute your position all needs to be established is that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was unaware of Salat ad-Duha in congregation being Prophetic Sunnah. Note Islamic scholarship has stated that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) made the following statements about Salat ad-Duha performed in congregation [with two other reasons]: “Narrated Muwarriq: I asked Ibn `Umar: "Do you offer the Duha prayer [in congregation]?" He replied in the negative. I further asked, "Did `Umar use to pray it [in congregation]?" He (Ibn `Umar) replied in the negative. I again asked, "Did Abu Bakr use to pray it [in congregation]?" He replied in the negative. I again asked, "Did the Prophet use to pray it [in congregation]?" Ibn `Umar replied, "I don't think he did." [Ref: Bukhari, B21, H27]“Narrated Mujahid: Urwa bin Az-Zubair and I entered the Mosque (of the Prophet) and saw Abdullah bin Umar sitting near the dwelling place of Aisha and some people were offering the Duha prayer [in congregation]. We asked him about their prayer and he replied that it [in congregation] was an innovation.” [Ref: Bukhari, B27, H4] "It is an innovation [in congregation] and what a fine innovation it is [in congregation]!" [Ref: Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Kitab Of Prayer – Salat ad-Duha, 3] "At the time Uthman was killed no-one considered it desirable and the people did not innovate anything that is dearer to me than that prayer [in congregation]." [Ref: Musannaf Abd Razzaq, Vol3, Pages 78/79] If understanding of Islamic scholarship is correct and your position; Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was aware of Salat ad-Duha in congregation being Prophetic Sunnah than there is contradiction between what you assert and what is established from these Ahadith. And based on the Prophetic teaching of following Jamhoor (i.e. majority), and Sawad al Azam (i.e. group of great majority) these Ahadith are proofs as requested and they refute your position.
If He Was Unaware Of It Being Prophetic Sunnah:
He is reported to have stated; he does not perform Salat ad-Duha, nor did Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam), nor did Abu Bakr (radiallah ta’ala anhu) and not his father – Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radiallah ta’ala anhu) performed Salat ad-Duha. And if he made this statement about Salat ad-Duha in congregation than why would he consider it Prophetic Sunnah? Do you believe Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) will state a Prophetic Sunnah was not acted on by Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) when he is all too well informed that it is indeed a Prophetic Sunnah? He is a Sahabi and not a Wahhabi that he will lie or distort his religion. He is from the best of Ummah and by Ijmah of Jammah of Muslims a righteous Muslim and he is above such deception. Therefore only logical conclusion can be that he genuinely did not believe Salat ad-Duha of congregation as Prophetic Sunnah.
He Learnt It Was Sunnah Latter In Life:
You may attempt to argue; he deemed it Salat ad-Duha of congregation as fine/excellent innovation at one stage but later learnt it was Prophetic Sunnah. Even though the assertion that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) during later period of life found out Salat ad-Duha of congregation is Prophetic Sunnah, is unestablished but I feel compelled to address it. Even if this was true you cannot interpret his earlier period position with latter awareness. Suppose a child at the age of three believed Santa Claus was real but later in his teenage years realised it wasn’t the case. Would it be correct to reinterpret his three years of age’s understanding in light of when he was fifteen? Point being made is that if Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) believed in his latter life, it was Prophetic Sunnah, even then his early lifes statements cannot be reinterpreted to conform to his latter lifes understanding. Rather those statements should be and would be understood in context of his knowledge/belief when he made the statements. In other words Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) statement, Salat ad-Duha is excellent/fine innovation, will be interpreted in his early lifes understanding when he made them. And if he was unaware of them being Prophetic Sunnah than as per the principle his statement was made in Shar’ri sense.
Instructs Earlier Statements To Be Interpreted In Light Of Latter:
Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was unaware and then learnt Salat ad-Duha of congregation was Prophetic Sunnah latter in his life. And he changed his position and he then instructs everyone: Interpret my earlier statements in such a way that they conform to my latter position. This is hypothetical scenario. Will this mean Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) does not believe in Islam permitting good innovations, or Islam allowing innovation to be introduced into it? Ofcourse not because he has retracted from his erroneous position regarding Salat ad-Duha and has not rejected, disowned the basis (i.e. Islam has created room to allow good innovations to be made part of) on which he made the judgment regarding Salat ad-Duha in congregation being good innovation.
Interpreting The Statements In light Of Earlier And Latter Position:
Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) said regarding Salat ad-Duha of congregation that it is fine/excellent innovation: “Ibn Ulayyah narrated to us, Jarir narrated, al-Hakim bin A'raj narrated; I asked Muhammad about Salat ad-Duha, while he was sitting near the house of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). He said: It is an innovation and what a fine innovation it is!" [Ref: Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Kitab Of Prayer – Salat ad-Duha, 3] And out of all the innovations which originated Salat ad-Duha was most beloved to him: "At the time Uthman was killed no-one considered it desirable and the people did not innovate anything that is dearer to me than that prayer [of Salat ad-Duha in congregation]." [Ref: Musannaf Abd Razzaq, Vol3, Pages 78/79] If his statements are interpreted in light of latter life and his instruction, which I hypothised, then his statements would be in linguistic sense in light of my principle: “Knowing y is Quranic/Prophetic teaching but despite this saying y is excellent/fine innovation. In this context, the y practice which is being called innovation is in Lughvi (i.e. linguistic) sense.” And if his statements are interpreted in light of ealier life during which he believed Salat ad-Duha was not Prophetic Sunnah then it was Shar’ri judgment and this would be in accordance with my other principle: “Believing y is not Prophetic Sunnah and then termining it a good innovation is legal ruling [or in other words, Shar’ri judgment] about an innovation.” And fact is that Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) changing his position would not refute the Islamic understanding because it merely establishes he rectified his erroneous which he had about Salat ad-Duha. In other words he still held to the notion Islam allows good innovations to be incorporated into it. And even if he had disavowed the notion that Islam allows good innovation he cannot overrule the Prophetic teaching in this regard:“He who introduces a 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]
It is not logical to assume, Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) was aware Salat ad-Duha is Prophetic Sunnah, when there is no evidence to establish it and the only ‘evidence’ on which is is assumed establishes nothing other than; it is Sunnah of Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). If Ibn Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) had changed his opinion later in his life regarding Salat ad-Duha of congregation not being innovation even then his earlier judgment would be based on Islamic understanding; Islam allows and has introduced provisions to incorporate good innovations into it. And there was/is no evidence that he disavowed this teaching of Islam. And if the, impossible, strikes than the Prophetic principle telling of reward for introducing good Sunnah in Islam is suffient proof against him.
Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi
-  “Narrated Mujahid: Somebody came to the house of Ibn Umar and told him that Allah's Messenger had entered the Ka`ba. Ibn Umar said, "I went in front of the Ka`ba and found that Allah's Messenger had come out of the Ka`ba and I saw Bilal standing by the side of the gate of the Ka`ba. I said: 'O Bilal! Has Allah's Apostle prayed inside the Ka`ba?' Bilal replied in the affirmative. I said: 'Where?' He replied: 'Between these two pillars and then he came out and offered a two rak`at prayer in front of the Ka`ba.' "Abu Abdullah said: Abu Huraira said: "The Prophet advised me to offer two rak`at of Duha prayer." Itban (bin Malik) said: "Allah's Messenger and Abu Bakr came to me after sunrise and we aligned behind the Prophet and offered two rak`at." [Ref: Bukhari, B21, H268]
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.
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 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).”
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. Type two, has been stated to be, prohibited, evil, misguiding, sinful, and legal innovation. Then these categories are subdivided into many categories. 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.
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. 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 …” [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.
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
-  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.
-  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.
-  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.
-  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.
-  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).
-  If Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) permits an article will be written on subject of innovation containing writings of these scholars.
-  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.
-  “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]