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Understanding Ahadith Of; Every Innovation Is Misguidance In Context Of Ahadith Of Good/Evil Sunnah.


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  Introduction:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) has defined what is an innovation is and the types of innovations there are. He also gave clear guiding principles on which we can judge the novelties to determine if they are reprehensible innovations or righteous innovations. These principles validate many novelty practices in the time of RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) which the companions practiced without direct instruction from Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam). And serve as measuring tool 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 (sallallahu alayhi was'sallam) they aid the Ahlul Ilm (i.e. people of knowledge) in determining what is evil and what is good of matters which are not mentioned clearly in Qur’an or Hadith.

Guiding Principles For Innovations:

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi was'sallam) is reported to have said; that most evil affairs are innovations because they are misguidance, error: “... 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; ...” [Ref: Muslim, B4, H1885] “... 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.” [Ref: Dawud, B40, H4590] A novelty (i.e. muhdatha) is something new, unusual, and unnecessary. Implications of novelty on the definition of innovation is clear; innovation is not needed. Innovations which are unusual/unnecessary are 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: “'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) and these are to be rejected.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4266] 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: “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." [Ref: Bukhari, B49, H861] Hadhrat Aysha (radiallah ta'ala anha) narrates; Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) has stated that if anyone performed a innovated act for which there is no sanction from Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) or His beloved Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) it is to be rejected: “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.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4267]

Ahadith Of Good And Evil Sunnah In Right Perspective:

Their rejection is because they are evil innovations and one who introduces such reprehensible innovation and those who follow will be equally sinful: “He said: "That indeed whoever revives a Sunnah from my Sunnah which has died after me, then for him is a reward similar to whoever acts upon it without diminishing anything from their rewards. And whoever introduces an erroneous innovation which Allah is not pleased with, 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, B39, H2677] “And he who introduced some evil Sunnah in Islam which had been followed subsequently (by others), he would be required to bear the burden ..." [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6466] And every evil innovation in Islam is misguidance and leads to hell-fire as per the following Hadith: “The worst of things are those that are newly invented; every newly-invented thing is an innovation and every innovation is going astray, and every going astray is in the Fire.” [Ref: Nisai, B19, H1579] Note the Takhsees of generality of qullu/every is underlined.

Evil Innovation Composed Of What Is Against Islam:

Allah's beloved Messenger (sallalahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam) defined innovation, issued principles to judge innovations, he told; innovations are errors, he also told they take to hellfire. And made Takhsees of every/qullu in context of innovations which are evil/erroneous.  They are those innovations which do not agree with Islam, do not please Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and his Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). In other words evil innovations are those which are composed of sinful, Kufr, or Shirk, or acts of worship which haven’t been legislated are erroneous/evil therefore they do not agree with Islam. Thus negating absolute generality of; every innovation is misguidance; to mean every evil/erroneous innovation is misguidance.

Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) On Good Innovation:

Earlier Ahadith which state every innovation is misguidance was explained to mean; every innovation which is composed of [explicitly] prohibited, Kufr, Shirk, or acts of worship which have no sanction from prophetic teaching are innovations and it was explained they are evil innovations. There maybe doubt in hearts of Muslims who have been exposed to heretical understanding of anti-Islam element about understanding; literally every innovation is not evil/erroneous. Therefore other side of the coin has to be shown to Muslims to they believe firmly upon teaching of Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam). This other side of the coin often is ignored by anti-Islam elements. Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) is reported to have said: “Jarir b. 'Abdullah reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The servant does not introduce good Sunnah (i.e. practice, way, precedent, tradition) 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.” [Ref: Muslim, B34, H6468] “... Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He who introduced some good Sunnah (i.e. practice, way, precedent, tradition) 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] What is already part of Islam none can re-introduce into Islam because it is part of Islam is prophetic Sunnah or instruction from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) in Quran. A practice/Sunnah that can be introduced into Islam is one which is not part of Islam and foundation would be innovation and it can be made part of Islam via Ijtihad. In other words innovated good Sunnahs can be made part of Islam and there is no sin/blame for them. Following Hadith establishes Umar (radiallah ta’ala anhu) held to this methodology because he improved three day Taraweeh Sunnah and made it for whole month of Ramadhan and said it was excellent innovation: “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.” [Ref: Bukhari, B32, H227] This establishes absolutely every innovation, including 26/27 day addition to Taraweeh, is not misguiding innovation and that companions introduced innovations and deemed them to be good. In addition Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam) informed the believers that one who creates an innovated Sunnah and one who fallows the innovated Sunnah will get equal amount of reward.

Conclusion:

From this we can safely conclude that the Ahadith of; every [evil/erroenous] innovation is misguidance are connected following Ahadith because they fill the gaps of information: “He who innovates things in our affairs for which there is no valid (reason) and these are to be rejected.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4266] “He who did any act for which there is no sanction from our behalf, that is to be rejected.” [Ref: Muslim, B18, H4267] Therefore every novelty which does not: conform to teaching of Qur’an/Sunnah, does not please Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was’sallam); or it is not composed of what was sanctioned by Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) or RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wa aalihi was'sallam); it does not have valid reason and every such innovation is misguidance which leads to fire-hell. 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/erroneous 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."

Wama alayna ilal balaghul mubeen.
Muhammed Ali Razavi

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