Verily, all praise belongs to Allâh alone, we praise Him, seek His aid and His forgiveness. We repent to Him and seek refuge in Him from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allâh guides there is none to misguide and whomsoever He misguides there is none to guide. I bear witness that there is no diety worthy of worship except Allâh alone and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. Allâh sent him with the guidance and the true religion and he conveyed the message, fulfilled the trust, advised the ummah and strove for Allâh as He ought to be strived for until there came to him the certainty. He left his ummah on a pure and clear path, whose night is like its day and none deviates from it except one who is destroyed.
He explained (in this clear path) everything which the ummah is in need of in all of its affairs (to such an extent) that Abu Dharr (ra) said:
| “The Messenger ﷺ did not even leave a bird flapping its wings in the sky except that he mentioned to us knowledge regarding it.”
Also a man from among the mushrikûn (pagans) said to Salmân al-Farsî (ra):
|“Your Messenger teaches you (so much), even toilet manners.” So Salmân replied: “Yes! He has also forbidden us to face the qiblah while passing water or excrement or that we clean ourselves with less than three stones, or that we clean ourselves with the right hand or that we clean ourselves with dung or bones.”
You will see that Allâh the Exalted has explained in this Great Qur’ân the fundamentals of the religion and its branches. He has explained Tawhîd with all its types, the etiquette of meeting in gatherings, and seeking permission to enter peoples houses.
The Exalted said:
|O you who believe! When you are told to make room in the gatherings then make room (spread out). Allâh will (in turn) make ample room for you.
And He also said:
|O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own until you have sought permission and saluted its inhabitants. That is better for you, in order that you may remember. And if you find none in the house then do not enter until permission has been given to you. If you are asked to go back then go back. That is more pure for you and Allâh has full knowledge of all that you do.
He has also explained the manners of dress.
He the Exalted said:
|The elderly women who do not desire marriage, there is no blame upon them if they put aside there outer garments without making a display and show of beauty .
| O Prophet. Say to your wives, your daughters and the women of the
believers that they should put their outer garments over themselves (their bodies). That will be better in order that they may be known as such (free and respectable women) and not be harmed or abused.
|And that they should not strike their feet so that what they hide from their beauty becomes known.
|And it is not righteousness that you enter the houses from the rear but righteousness is the (quality of the) one who fears (Allâh. So enter houses through their proper doors.
And other such numerous verses by which it is made clear that this
complete and comprehensive religion is not in need of any addition just like it is not permissible to make any decrease in it. This is why
Allâh the Exalted said in describing the Qur’ân
|And We have revealed to you the Book (O Muhammad) , as a clarification and explanation for every single matter.
There is no such thing which mankind is in need of in their life and
livelihood except that Allâh has explained it in His Book whether it is by the text (itself), or by an indication, or by something made explicit or something which is understood from the text (but is not in the text).
My dear Brothers, there are some amongst the people who explain the speech of Allâh:
| There is no creature upon the earth or bird in the sky which flaps it
wings except that it forms part of communities just like yourselves. We have not left anything out of the Book and then to your Lord will you be gathered.
They explain: “We have not left anything out of the Book…”, by saying that the Book referred to is the Qur’ân. What is correct however, is that the Book is the Preserved Tablet.
As for the Qur’ân, Allâh has described it in a way which is more deep
and profound than what has been mentioned in the above verse about the preserved tablet by negating the ommission of anything from it.
|And We have revealed to you the Book, as a clarification and explanation for every single matter
This is more profound and clear than His speech:
|We have not left anything out of the Book.
Perhaps someone may say: “Where can we find the number of the five prayers in the Qur’ân? And the number of (rakahs) for every prayer in the Qur’ân. And how can it be correct if we cannot find in the Qur’ân a description of the number of rakahs in every prayer while
|And We have revealed to you the Book, as a clarification and explanation for every single matter
The answer is that Allâh the Exalted has made it clear to us in His Book that it is obligatory upon us to take whatever the Messenger of Allâh has said and whatever he has directed us to.
The Exalted said:
|Whoever obeys the Messenger has indeed obeyed Allâh
|And whatever the Messenger gives to you take it and whatever he forbids you from then refrain from it.
Whatever the Sunnah explains then the Qur’ân has (by default) indicated and directed to it because the Sunnah is one of the two types of revelation which Allâh revealed to His messenger and taught him, just as
Allâh has said:
|And Allâh has revealed to you the Book and the Wisdom.
Therefore, based upon this is that whatever comes in the Sunnah has also came in the Book of Allâh Azzawajall.
My brothers, now that this matter has been settled, did the Prophet ﷺ die while something from the religion which draws one closer to Allâh the Exalted remained which he did not explain?
Never! Since the Messenger ﷺ explained the whole of the religion either by his speech, his action or his (silent) approval, whether that was initiated of his own accord or whether it was due to a response to a question. Sometimes Allâh would send a bedouin from the furthest region of the desert in order to ask the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ a thing from among the matters of the religion which the Companions, who stuck by the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ did not ask him. This is why they used to rejoice when a bedouin would come and ask the Prophet ﷺ about certain affairs.
That the Prophet ﷺ did not leave anything which the people are in need of in their worship, their dealings with one another and their livelihood without having explained it is proven to you by His speech,
| This day have I perfected for you your religion and have completed My
favour upon you and have chosen for you Islâm as a religion
When this matter has been explained – O Muslim – know that every one who Innovates something in the religion of Allâh even if it is with a good intention, then his innovation, along with it being misguidance, will be considered a defamation of the religion of Allâh Azzawajall and will be considered a denial and rejection of
Allâh the Exalted in His speech:
|This day have I perfected for you your religion
Since this innovator who innovated a matter into the religion of Allâh which is not from the religion of Allâh is saying silently that the religion has not been completed because this matter which was left out, and which he innovated, can be used to draw closer to Allâh Azzawajall.
It is amazing that a person will innovate something related to Allâh’s Essence, His Name’s and Attributes and then say that in doing so he is exalting and magnifying his Lord, that he is freeing his Lord from any imperfections and faults and that he is obeying
His speech the Exalted:
|So do not set up equals or partners to Allâh
You will be amazed by this person. He makes this innovation in the
religion of Allâh which is related to Allâh’s Essence, and which the
Salaf from this Ummah were not upon and nor its leaders, and then says that he is freeing Allâh from defects, magnifying Him and is giving obedience to His speech,
|So do not set up equals or partners to Allâh
and that whoever disagrees with that is someone who makes resemblances for Allâh and likens Him to His creation.
Just like you will be amazed by a people who innovate in the religion of Allâh something which is related to the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ and which does not belong to the religion of Allâh. Then they call out and claim by this innovation that they are lovers of the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ, that they are exalting the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ. And that whoever does not agree with them in this innovation of theirs is a hater of the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ and other such bad names which they give to whoever does not agree with them in their innovation.
It is amazing also that the likes of such people say ‘We are the ones who exalt and magnify Allâh and His Messenger. In reality when they innovate into the religion of Allâh and His Sharî’ah which the His Messenger ﷺ came with something which does not belong to it they are without a doubt putting themselves ahead of Allâh and His Messenger.
Allâh Azzawajall has said:
|O you who believe! Do not put yourselves ahead of Allâh and His Messenger and fear Allâh. Indeed Allâh is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.
My brothers, I ask and adjure you by Allâh Azzawajall, and I would like the answer to be from your hearts not from your sentiments and emotions, from what your religion necessitates and not your blind-following: What do you say about those who innovate into the religion of Allâh something which does not belong to it whether it is related to Allâh’s Essence, His Names and Attributes or whether it is related to the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ and then say ‘We are exalting and magnifying Allâh and His Messenger’. Are these more deserving of being those who exalt and magnify Allâh and His Messenger?
Or is it those people who do not deviate even a fingertips length from Allâh’s Sharî’ah, who say with regard to what has come in the Sharî’ah ‘We believe and treat as true that with which we have been informed and we hear and we obey with regard to that which we have been commanded’ and who say about that which the Sharee’ah did not come with ‘We desist and refrain, it is not for us to put ourselves ahead of Allâh and His Messenger and it is not for us to say about the religion of Allâh something which is not found in it.’ Which of these two are more worthy of being those who love Allâh and His Messenger and who exalt Allâh and His Messenger?
There is no doubt that it is the ones who say ‘We believe and accept (as true) that with which we have been informed and we hear and we obey with regard to that which we have been commanded’ and who say ‘We hold back and refrain from that which we have not been commanded’ and who say‘We are the least able in placing something in the Sharee’ah of Allâh something which is not in it’. There is no doubt that these are the ones who know and acknowledge their own limit and power and the power of their creator. These are the ones who magnify Allâh and His Messenger and they are the ones who demonstrate the truthfulness of their love for Allâh and His Messenger.
It is certainly not those who innovate into the religion of Allâh
something which does not belong to it, in terms of belief, speech or
action. You will surprised at a people who know the saying of the
Messenger of Allâh ﷺ:
| “Beware of the newly-invented matters, for
every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is
misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.”
They know that his speech “…every innovation …” is general, comprehensive and complete, being enclosed and surrounded with the strongest particle that can be used for generalisation and inclusion and that is “…kullu (every)…” and that the one who spoke this comprehensive speech ﷺ knows the sense and meaning of this word. That he is the most eloquent of the whole of creation, the greatest adviser of the creation to the creation, who does not speak except with something the meaning of which he (certainly and definitely) intends and desires.
Therefore, when the Prophet ﷺ said: “Every innovation is misguidance” he knew what he was saying and he knew the meaning of what he said. These words came from him out of the perfection of (his) advice to the ummah.
Whenever these three matters come together in speech – the perfection of advice and will, the perfection of speech and discourse and the perfection of knowledge and acquaintance – it indicates that what is desired or intended by the speech is the actual meaning which it indicates and refers to. After this comprehensiveness is it correct that we divide innovations into three types or five types? Never! This is not correct.
The claim of some of the scholars that there is Bid’ah Hasanah (good
innovation) falls into one of two situations (and is explained in one of two ways):
1. It is not an innovation in reality but a person considers it an innovation
2. That it is an innovation, which makes it evil, however a person does not know about its evil
Therefore, this is the answer to everything which is claimed to be a
bid’ah hasanah. Built upon this, there is no way for the people of
innovation to make from among their innovations something which is a
bid’ah hasanah. In our hands is this sharp sword from the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ:“Every innovation is misguidance”. Verily, this sharp sword was manufactured in the factories of prophethood and messengership. It has not been made in the fragile and feeble factories (of people) but rather, it has been made in the factories of prophethood. The Prophet ﷺ designed it into this fine and efficacious art. It is not possible for anyone to challenge the one in whose hand is this sharp sword with any innovation, saying it is a bid’ah hasanah while the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ says:“Every innovation is misguidance”.
It is as if I feel in your souls a whispering which says: What do you say about the saying of Ameerul-Mumineen Umar ibn Al-Khattâb (ra) the one who was always in agreement with the truth when he ordered Ubayy bin Ka’b and Tameem ad-Dâree to stand and lead the people in prayer during Ramadân and when he went out to the mosque while the people were all united behind one imâm:
|“What a good innovation this is. But the prayer which they do not perform but sleep at its time is better than the one they are performing.”
The answer to that is from two aspects:
The First: It is not permissible for any person to contradict and oppose the words of the Messenger ﷺ with any other words. Not with the words of Abu Bakr who is the most superior person of the ummah after its prophet, nor the words of Umar who is the second best of this ummah after its prophet, nor the words of Uthmân who is the third best of this ummah after its prophet and nor the words of Alee who is the fourth best of this ummah after its prophet and nor the words of anyone besides them because
Allâh the Exalted said:
|Let those beware who withstand his (the messenger’s) order that a trial will befall them or that a painful punishment will touch them.
Imâm Ahmad (rh) said:
|“Do you know what the trial is? The trial is Shirk.
Maybe when he rejects some of the words of the Prophet ﷺ deviation and corruption falls into his heart so he is destroyed.”
And Ibn Abbâs (ra) said:
| “It is almost as if stones from the sky will
fall upon you, I say to you the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ said this and you say Abu Bakr and Umar said that”.
The Second: We know with certain knowledge that Ameerul-Mu’mineen Umar ibn Al-Khattâb (ra) was among the greatest of people in respecting and exonerating the words of Allâh the Exalted and His Messenger ﷺ. He was well known for standing by the limits (hudûd) of Allâh the Exalted to such an extent that he was described as a guardian of the words of Allâh the Exalted.
Umar never transgressed the limits of Allâh and so it does not befit Umar (ra) to oppose and differ from the words of the leader of mankind, Muhammad ﷺ and that he should say about an innovation “What an excellent innovation this is” and this innovation being the same one which the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ meant by his speech “Every innovation is misguidance”. Rather it is necessary that this innovation about which Umar said: “What an excellent innovation this is” is placed with the type of innovation which does not fall under the intent of the Prophet ﷺ in his speech: “Every innovation is misguidance”.
Umar (ra), by his speech, was referring to the gathering of people behind one imâm after they had been separated and dispersed. The basis for the prayer (in congregation) during Ramadân was from the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ. It is established in the two saheehs from the hadeeth of Aa’ishah (ra) that the Prophet ﷺ led the people in prayer for three nights and then remained behind from the people on the fourth night and said to them: “Indeed I feared that this may be made obligatory upon you and that you may not be able to perform it (due to its burden).”
Therefore, praying at night during Ramadân in congregation is from the Sunnah of Allâh’s Messenger ﷺ and Umar (ra) named this an innovation considering that when the Prophet ﷺ abandoned praying with the people the became separated. One man would pray by himself and another would pray with another and yet another would be praying with two people. There would be groups of people praying in the mosque praying by themselves.
Then Umar ﷺ saw, with his sharp and correct vision that he should
unite the people behind a single imâm. This action in itself is an
innovation when one considers that the situation before was one of
separation and dispersal. This (kind of) innovation is a relative one and has a precedence and it is not an absolute innovation which has been initiated (without any former example or model). Umar (ra) reinstated this because this sunnah was present in the time of the Messenger ﷺ.
Therefore, this is a sunnah but it was abandoned since the time of the Messenger ﷺ until Umar (ra) returned it. With this rule it is not possible, ever, for the people of innovation to find a passage or outlet from the words of Umar (ra) for what they sanction and approve of from among their innovations.
Someone may say:‘There are innovated things which the muslims have
accepted and have acted upon yet these things were not known during the time of the Messenger ﷺ such as schools, composition of books and whatever resembles that. These are innovations which the muslims have considered to be good, acted upon them and see them as being from the best of actions. How then can you reconcile between this which is almost unanimously agreed upon by the muslims and between the speech of the leader of the muslims, the prophet of the muslims and the Messenger of the Lord of all the Worlds ﷺ: “Every innovation is misguidance.”
The answer: We say that this in reality is not an innovation. Rather it is a means to something which has been legislated (in the Sharee’ah). The means differ from place to place and time to time. It is from the established principles (in the Sharee’ah) that the means have rulings related to their intent or purpose. Therefore, ways and means for achieving something legislated are also legislated and permissible. Means and ways for things which are not legislated are also not legislated and means and ways to things which are unlawful are forbidden. Even good, when it is a means towards evil is also evil and as such is forbidden. Listen to the words of
| And do not revile or curse those whom they call upon besides Allâh so
that they also revile and curse Allâh out of enmity without knowledge.
Reviling the gods of the pagans is not wrong rather it is true and
justified however reviling the Lord of all the Worlds is improper,
unjustified and constitutes enmity and oppression. That is why when the praiseworthy reviling of the gods of the pagans is a clear and open cause for reviling the Lord of all the Worlds it is unlawful and prohibited. I have presented this as a proof to show that the ways and means have rulings related to their intent and purpose. Therefore, schools, writing down of knowledge and authorship of books while they may be innovations, not being found in the era of the Prophet ﷺ in this manner, are not the sole intent and purpose (i.e. sought in themselves). Rather they are of the means and ways which have the same ruling as the intent and purpose behind them, which in this case is to teach and spread knowledge.
This is why if a person was to build a school for the purposes of teaching knowledge which is forbidden, the building of the school is also forbidden and if he was to build the school for the purposes of teaching the Sharee’ah the building of this school is legislated and would be permissible.
If one was to say: How would you respond to the saying of the Prophet
ﷺ: “Whoever enacted in Islâm a good sunnah would have its reward and the reward of whoever acted upon it till the day of Judgement.”
The answer: The one who said: “Whoever enacted in Islâm a good sunnah…” is the same one who said: “Every innovation is misguidance” and it is not possible that a saying should arise from the truthful and believed one (the Messenger) which makes another of his sayings false. It is not possible that the words of the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ should ever contradict. Nor is it ever possible to reject one meaning when there is a contradiction. Whoever thinks that the words of Allâh or the words of His Messenger ﷺ are contradictory should look again. This suspicion only arises either out of incapability or negligence. It is not possible for a contradiction to be found in the words of Allâh the Exalted or the words of His Messenger ﷺ.
When that is the case the explanation of the lack of contradiction between the hadeeth: “Every innovation is misguidance” and the hadeeth: “Whoever enacted in Islâm a good sunnah” is that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever introduced in Islâm” and innovations are not from Islâm. He also said: “hasanah (good)”and innovation is not hasanah (good). There is also a difference between reviving and innovating.
There is also another answer in which there is no fault: That the meaning of “man sanna (whoever enacted)” is: Whoever revived a sunnah which used to exist and then it became non-existent (disappeared). Built upon this, “enacting” is a relative addition just like when one revives a sunnah after it had been abandoned is considered as an innovation (in relation to its previous non-existence).
There is also a third answer which indicates the context of the hadeeth and that is the story of the small band of people who came as a delegation to the Prophet ﷺ and who were in very straitened and difficult circumstances. The Prophet ﷺ called the people to bestow out their free will for these people. A man from the Ansâr came with a bag of silver which was very heavy in his hands. He placed it in front of the Messenger ﷺ and the face of the Prophet ﷺ began to rejoice out of delight and happiness and he said: “Whoever enacted in Islâm a good sunnah would have its reward and the reward of whoever acted upon it till the day of Judgement.” Here the meaning of enacting is the introduction of an action in terms of its execution/performance and not in terms of legislation. Therefore the meaning of: “Whoever enacted in Islâm a good sunnah” is the one who acted upon it effecting it, and actualising it, not legislating it because legislation is forbidden since: “Every innovation is misguidance.”
Know my brothers that a person’s following of the Messenger ﷺ is not proper and correct except when the action is in accordance with the Sharee’ah with respect to six matters:
The First : When a person worships Allâh with an act of worship linked to a cause or reason which is not legislated this is an innovation which is rejected from the one who performs it. An example of that is when people awaken on the seventeenth night of the month of Rajab with the proof that it was the night in which the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ ascended to the heavens. The tahajjud prayer is indeed an act of worship but when it is linked to this reason it becomes an innovation because it is based and constructed upon a reason which is not established from the Sharee’ah. This description – the agreement of the act of worship with the Sharee’ah in terms of its reason and cause – is an important matter by which the innovatory nature of many things thought to be from the sunnah, when in reality they are not, are made clear.
The Second: Type or Kind: It is also vital that the act of worship agrees with the Sharee’ah in its type. If a person was to worship Allâh with an act of worship whose type or mode has not been legislated, it would not be accepted. An example of that is when a man sacrifices a horse, his sacrifice would not be correct because he has opposed the Sharee’ah in its specification of the type. Sacrifice is not performed except with lamb, cattle, sheep and camels.
The Third: Quantity: If a person desired to increase the prayer (with respect to the number of rakahs) this would become an innovation which is not acceptable since it opposes the Sharee’ah in terms of quantity. If a person was to pray Dhuhr with five rakahs for example, his prayer would not be correct by unanimous agreement.
The Fourth: Manner of Performance: If a person was to perform wudhû by washing his feet first then wiping his head then his hands and then the face we would say: His wudhû is void as it is in opposition to the Sharee’ah in the manner of its performance.
The Fifth: Time: If a man was to sacrifice an animal in the first days of Dhul-Hijjah the sacrifice would not be accepted due to its opposition to the Sharee’ah with respect to time. I have heard that some people sacrifce sheep during the month of Ramadân seeking nearness to Allâh with this sacrifice. This action is an innovation with respect to time because there is nothing by which a person draws nearer to Allâh with sacrificing except the sacrifice of Adhâ, Aqeeqah and that which is given as a gift. As for sacrificing in the month of Ramadân while believing that there is a reward for this sacrifice similar to the sacrifice on Eedul-Adhâ then that is an innovation. And as for sacrificing merely for the meat then that is permissible.
The Sixth: Place: If a man was to perform I’tikâf in other than a mosque his I’tikâf would not be correct. This is because I’tikâf is not to be performed except in the mosques. If a woman was to say: I wish to perform I’tikâf in the place of prayer in the house, her I’tikâf would not be correct due its opposition to the Sharee’ah in terms of time. Another example of this is when a man wishes to perform Tawâf but finds that it has become constricted (due to the many people) and the area around him has become narrow and constricted so he begins to perform Tawâf from behind the mosque. His Tawâf would not be correct because the place for Tawâf is the House (Ka’bah)
Allâh the Exalted said to Ibraheem the Khaleel:
|Purify my House for those who perform Tawâf
Therefore Ibâdah is not considered to be righteous action except when two conditions are present:
The First: Ikhlâs (Sincerity)
The Second: Following and Adherence and this is not correct except by the six abovementioned matters.
I say to those who have been put to trial with innovations and whose
intentions were (no doubt) good, desiring good when you desire good but we do not know, by Allâh, a path better than the path of the Salaf may Allâh be pleased with them.
My brothers bite onto the Sunnah of the Messenger ﷺ with the molars and travel upon the path of the Salaf us-Sâlih. Be upon whatever they were upon and then look and see: Will that will injure or hurt you in any way?
I say – and I seek refuge in Allâh that I say something about which I
have no knowledge – I say: You will find that many amongst these people who are eager and zealous in innovations are weak and feeble in carrying out those matters whose legislation has been established and whose correctness from the sunnah has also been established. When they finish and depart from these innovations they face the established acts of sunnah with laxity.
All of this is from the evil effects of innovations upon the heart. The evil effects of innovations upon the heart are very great (and severe) and their dangers towards the religion are immense (and significant). Never do a people make an innovation into the religion of Allâh except that they neglect from the Sunnah its like or even greater than it, as some of the people of knowledge from the Salaf have mentioned.
Conversely, when a man feels (and knows) that he is following (and
adhering) and not legislating he will obtain, as a result of that, the perfection of awe, submission, humility and worship of the Lord of all the Worlds, and the perfection of following and adherence to the Imâm of the Allâh-fearing, the chief of the messengers and the Messenger of the Lord of all the Worlds, Muhammad ﷺ
I direct this advice to all my muslim brothers who consider anything from among the innovations to be good, whether they are related to the Essence of Allâh, His Names and Attributes or to the Messenger of Allâh ﷺ and exalting him, that they should fear Allâh and turn away from that. Furthermore, they should make their affair built upon adherence and imitation and not innovation, upon sincerity and not association of partners (in Allâh’s worship), upon the Sunnah and not upon Bid’ah, upon what ar-Rahmân loves and not upon what Shaytân loves. Then they should look at the security, life and tranquility that their hearts will obtain and also the ease and comfort of their condition.
I ask Allâh that He makes us guides who are guided and leaders of the
righteous. That He enlightens our hearts with faith and knowledge and that He does not make the knowledge we have aqcuired harmful to us. That He travels with us upon the path of His believing servants and that He makes us from among His close friends who have fear of him and among His party of the succesful ones. May Allâh send prayers and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.