In the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
|Rabee'ul-Awwal 1417H / August 1996CE||
Innovation is Misguidance
By the Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee 1
|The people of knowledge, from the Companions, the
taabi'een (their followers) and the Imaams of the Muslim who followed in
their footsteps; whose excellence has been testified to, are all agreed upon the blameworthiness of bid'ah (innovations) and
their evil, and that one should be free from innovations and those connected to it. There was no doubt about this from any
of them, nor any withholding from that.
So here are some authentic sayings reported from them, as examples of their living and clear actions. So if we take some examples from the level of the Companions, we find that which brings delight to the heart of one who seeks to follow his Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, whilst also refuting the opinion of the innovators:
'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood radiallaahu 'anhu said:
'Abdullaah ibn 'Umar radiallaahu 'anhu said:
And if we look at their actions we will see that they were in total agreement with their sayings:
So 'Amr ibn Salamah narrated:
So this excellent narration encompasses many great principles, which are not known except to those who follow the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, those who do not put anything before Allaah and His Messenger, but rather say: We hear and we obey.
So from the principles are:-
Firstly: That the One who prescribed the ends, did not Forget to prescribe the means. So when Allaah prescribed For His servants the dhikr (rememberance of Allaah), He did not forget to prescribe the means and the way to do this. So Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to count the tasbeeh (glorifications of Allaah) upon his right hand 5 and he said that they (i.e., the fingers) will he questioned and would speak. 6
Secondly: That al-bid'ah al-idbaafiyyah is misguidance. And al-bid'ah al-idbaafiyyah is: that type of innovation which is based upon a proof with regards to its foundation, but it has no proof with regards to the manner or the form. That is why it is called idbaafiyyah (something added on). And this type of innovation is, from one angle, directly against correct guidance, and from another angle, it is in agreement with it. So these people did not say something which is kufr (disbelief), nor did they do something which was in itself evil, rather they were remembering Allaah - and this is something which is prescribed by Revelation. However, the manner in which they performed this action went against the guidance laid down by Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and so the Companions opposed them and told them to count this amongst their evil actions instead.
Thirdly: Allaah - the Most Perfect, the Most High - is not to be worshipped, except by what He prescribes. So He is not to be worshipped according to desires, customs or innovations.
Fourthly: That innovations kill off the Sunnah. So this group of people innovated a new way of performing dhikr (remembering Allaah), which was not reported from Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. So in doing this, they killed off the guidance of Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. And this is a principle which the Salafus-Saalih (Pious Predecessors) well understood, and they knew for certain that innovations and the Sunnah cannot unite together:
Hassaan ibn 'Atiyyah (d.120H)- rahimahullaah - said: "No people introduce an innovation into their religion, except that its like from the Sunnah is ripped away from them." 7
Fifthly: That innovations are the cause for destruction, since it leads to abandoning the Sunnah, and this causes tremendous misguidance. The noble Companion 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood radiallaahu 'anhu said: "If you were to abandon the Sunnah of your Prophet then you would go astray." 8 So if the Ummah goes astray then it is destroyed. Therefore 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood said to that group: "O Ummah of Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam! How quickly you head into destruction."
So the particular relevance of Ibn Mas'ood's understanding is reflected in the context of the above narration. So Abu Moosaa al-Ash'aree radiallaahu 'anhu did not criticise them, rather he waited for the view or the order of 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood radiallaahu 'anhu. And this stance was not merely taken out of love or out of displaying false affection to Ibn Umm 'Abd (i.e. to Ibn Mas'ood). Rather Abu Moosaa was pleased for himself with what Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam was pleased with for his Ummah, since he sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "l am pleased for my Ummah with what Ibn Umm 'Abd is pleased with for it." 9
Also in the narration is a proof that all of the Companions were agreed in opposing this action, since 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood radiallaahu 'anhu used as a proof the fact that the Companions radiallaahu 'anhum were wide spread (and therefore could easily be asked).
Sixthly: Innovations quickly lead to kufr (disbelief). This is because the innovator has set himself up as one who is able to legislate and prescribe things; and thus set himself up as a partner to Allaah, adding things to the rulings laid down by Allaah, thinking that he is on a religion of better guidance than the Religion of Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam.
Seventhly: That innovations open the doors widely for disagreements to occur, and this is a door to misguidance. So whosoever lays down an evil way in Islaam, then he bears the sin of it and the sin of those who act upon it, until the Day of Judgement, without their sin being reduced by anything. And this is because the one who guides to an evil action is like the one who does it.
Eighthly: Not giving importance to the matter of shunning innovations, leads to evil and sins. Do you not see that these people came to be amongst the ranks of the deviated group called the Khawaarij on the day of Nahrawaan, fighting against the Companions radiallaahu 'anhum, who were led by the Leader of the Believers 'Alee radiallaahu 'anhu, who cut-off this deviated group, on that memorable day.
Imaam al-Barbahaaree (d.329H)- rahimahullaah - said: "Beware of small innovations, because they grow and become large. This was the case with every innovation introduced into this Ummah. It started as something small, bearing a resemblance to the truth, which is why those who entered into it were misled, and then were unable to leave it. So it grew and it became the religion which they followed, so they deviated from the Straight Path and thus left Islaam. May Allaah have mercy upon you! Examine carefully the speech of everyone you hear from, in your time particularly. So do not act in haste, nor enter into anything from it, until you ask and see: Did any of the Companions of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam speak abou t it, or any of the (early) Scholars? So if you find a narration from them about it, cling to it and do not go beyond it for anything, nor give precedence to anything over it and thus fall into the Fire." 10
Ninthly: Righteous actions are only according to righteous intentions, and a good intention does not make something which is futile correct. This is because intentions alone cannot make an action correct, but rather complying with the Sharee'ah (Prescribed Laws) must be added to that. 11
Finally: Adding to something good is not good, because addition in good is evil, and this is something that is witnessed in everything. Thus, a matter, when it goes beyond its limits, changes to its opposite. So bravery, when it is added to, turns into rashness, and if it is decreased from , then it becomes cowardice. And generosity, if its limits are exceeded, then it becomes wastefulness, and if it is fallen short of, then it becomes miserliness. So the best of the affairs are the justly-balanced ones.
And 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood radiallaahu 'anhu was not alone amongst the Companions in condemning innovations. So here we find 'Abdullaah ibn 'Umar radiallaahu 'anhu, who was one of severest from the Companions in condemning innovations and abandoning the innovators. So once he heard a man sneezing and saying: Praise be to Allaah and may the salaah and salaam (the praises of Allaah and blessings of peace) be upon Allaah's Messenger. So he said to him: What is this? This is not what Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam taught us, rather he said: "When one of you sneezes then let him praise Allaah. " And he did not say: And also send salaah (blessings of peace) upon Allaah's Messenger. 12
Likewise was the practice of the taabi'een (those who met the Companions and clung to their way). So in this regard there is what is reported from Sa'eed ibn al-Musayyib (d.90H) rahimahullaah, that he saw a man praying after the appearance of dawn, more than two rak'ahs, making many rukoos (bowings) and sajdahs (prostrations), so he forbade him from this. So the man said: O Abu Muhammad (i.e. Ibn al-Musayyib)! Will Allaah punish me for my Prayer? So he said: "No! But He will punish you for opposing the Sunnah (Prophetic guidance)." 13
And these narrations contain many good points of benefit, so from them:-
[i] The Companions rebutting everyone who went against the au thentic Sunnah, sometimes being very severe in their rebuttal, even if it was against their own fathers and sons.
[ii] That bid'ah at-tarkiyyah is misguidance: And this type of bid'ah (innovation) is one for which there is a proof to establish the action, except that the people deliberately leave the action, thinking that it is a part of the Religion, or something similar to it. For example, some of the Soofees who abandon marriage in order to emasculate themselves. The proof for this being misguidance is from Allaah - the Most High's - saying:
So this aayah (verse) is concerned with a single meaning, which is: making forbidden that which Allaah has allowed from the good and pure things, and doing so as a matter of religion. And Allaah has forbidden this, and considered it as going beyond the limits, since it is transgressing upon Allaah's right, in that He alone has the right to prescribe and legislate. And Allaah does not love those who transgress the limits. Then Allaah affirmed the allowance of these things with an even greater emphasis by His saying:
Then he ordered them to have taqwaa (piety and obedience to Him). So this shows that the forbiddance of what Allaah has made lawful, in any form, is outside the bounds of taqwaa. Therefore, the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said to those three men who came to the houses of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, asking about his worship and then on being informed about it, considered their own worship to be very little, so they said: What a great difference there is between us and the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, whose previous and latter sins have been forgiven by Allaah. So one of them said: I will always Pray during the night. The other one said: I will always fast during the day and not break my fast. And the third of them said: I will keep away from women and never get married. Then Allaah's Messenger came to them and said: "Are you the people who said such and such? By Allaah! I am the one who is the most knowledgeable about Allaah amongst you, and the one who has the most taqwaa of Him. Yet I fast and break my fast, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. So whosoever turns away from my Sunnah (guidance) is not from me." 14
So if the Companions radiallaahu 'anhum left for us words of deep insight and which clearly enlighten the hearts, then men after them, who likewise attained the truth from this light, have also left for us words which are almost like the words of the Companions. And this is because they were those who very closely followed in the footsteps of the Companions - and the likes of their sayings have already preceded. However we add here a final example of their stance of truth:
Thus, a man came to Imaam Maalik (d.179H)- rahimahullaah - and said: O Abu 'Abdullaah! Where shall I enter the state of ihraam (the dress for one intending to do Pilgrimage)? So Imaam Maalik replied: "From Dhul-Hulayfah, where Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam entered the state of ihraam." The man then said: But I wish to enter the state of ihraam at the mosque by his grave. So Imaam Maalik said: "Do not do that, for I fear for you the fitnah (trial)." So the man said: What fitnah are you referring to, since it is only a few extra miles: So Imaam Maalik said: "And what fitnah can be greater than for you to think that you have attained some virtue, which Allaah's Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam fell short of. Have you not heard the saying of Allaah:
1. Al-Bid'ah wa Atharuhus-Sayyi