DANGERS OF INNOVATION

 

Most things in life follow an order, and once the order is maintained life proceeds on a stable course. But once the order is altered, then what was a stable sequence of events becomes unstable and chaos reigns, and life itself is threatened. When you buy a car, you receive instructions on where to put the battery, the fuel, the oil, the water and the amount to put in each place. No one in his right senses will say, "Hey, since this car needs fuel, water oil, l am going to put oil where water is supposed to be, fuel where oil is supposed to be e.t.c."

Follow the other of things. No doubt, the car would not move an inch and not only that, it might even be damaged. And this is what we do; day- in, day-out in; our worldly affairs (or at least we try to do): follow the order of things and expect a good result. Is this what we do in our deen? Do we observe and follow the order of things? Allaah says:

"Will you inform Allaah about your religion? While Allaah knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allaah is All-Aware of everything." (49:16).

In this verse (and amongst its other meanings), Allaah is telling us that in this deen, He is the one to inform us, to teach us, to order us about our religion. And why won’t that be so, He is the only one who knows all that is in the heavens and the earth. He is our creator, he says,

"Should not He Who has created know?"(67:14).

Also, Allaah says,

"Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of your Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks." (43:32).

Then, He made some of His creations messengers to others of His creations. He says:

"AIlaah knows best with whom to place His Message." (6:124) 

What we Can deduce from the above are as follows:

One, Allaah is the one to inform us of the religion.

Two, Allaah chooses whoever or whatever He wishes out of His creation for honour, high station etc based on His perfect knowledge and wisdom.

Three, He has messages for the rest the creations and Four, He decides on who out of His creations would be His Messenger.

This message from Allaah has been completely delivered to us without leaving us in doubt on any issue. If you are in doubt about any issue, all you need to do is ask those who know and they would clarify the matter for you. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

"There is nothing that Allaah ordered you with except that I have ordered you with it and there is nothing that Allaah forbade you from except that I have forbidden you from it." (al-Bayhaqee).

He also said,

"There is nothing that will take you closer to paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you and there is nothing that will take you closer to hell but that I have warned you from it" (Musnad ash-Shaafiee).

Getting Clearer now

Allaah confirms this by informing us that He has perfected the religion and that His Messenger has delivered the message completely, He says:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion" (Q5:4)

So far, so good; and things would have been nice if this order is maintained by us. But what do we find ; people break up this nice order of things and claim what they should not. If Allaah had wished to address all creations at once and pass the guidance to each of them, He could have done so. Rather, He sent Messengers from amongst ourselves to convey His Messages to us. So how could someone who is not one of the Messengers of Allaah now assume that position and start informing or ordering people on things that would bring them closer to Allaah, things that Allaah loves etc?

It should be getting clearer now!

Knowledge about acts of worship is from only one source: Allaah, and it is conveyed to us through only one source, His Messenger. It is when people fail to acknowledge, and understand this fact that they fall into the evil practice of innovating in the deen of Allaah. Allaah says He has perfected this deen, so of what use is the addition, subtraction or changing something that has already been perfected, except that it corrupts it. That is precisely what innovation does to the deen; it corrupts it. The innovated act is needless, useless and is not accepted by Allaah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

"I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion) and every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and eve/} misguidance is in the Hellfire. "(an-Nasaaee)

What Is Innovation?

A newly invented way (in beliefs and actions) in the religion, in imitation of the Shareeah, by which nearness to Allaah is sought, not being supported by any authentic proof, neither in its foundations nor in the manner in which it is performed." [al-Itisaam 1/231 of ash-Shaatibee] Innovations are detested in matters of the religion (deen) but they are accepted in other things such as in science etc. Why? This is because the deen is by revelation not by discovery or otherwise. Allaah says:

"And when it is said to them: "Follow that which Allaah has sent down", they I  say: "Nay,we shall follow that whIch we found our fathers (following). "" (Q31:21).

Rafi bin Khadij reported that Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) came to Madina and the people had been grafting the trees. He said: "What are you doing?" They said: We are grafting them, whereupon he said: "It may perhaps be good for you if you do not do that". So they abandoned this practice (and the date-palms) began to yield less fruit. They made a mention of it (to the Prophet), whereupon he said: I am a human being, so when I command you about a thing pertaining to religion, do accept it, and when I command you about a thing out of my personal opinion, keep it in mind that I am a human being. "(Muslim).

Once again, the detested innovation is that which is brought into the religion as an act of worship, expecting acceptance and reward from Allaah for such act. Some of the Evils of Innovation Splitting the ummah: The evils of innovations are numerous and they are even worse than some other sins that people do commit. This is because some of those sins affect only those who commit them while the least of innovation (if there is anything like that) affects the Muslim community.

The first apparent sign of the evil of innovation is the split it brings into the fold of Islam. Let us imagine a society that have always adhered to the Sunnah, then there comes someone with one action that is not from the Sunnah. The first thing that happens is that some people join this innovator in the new thing he has brought, while the remaining people stay on the old correct path. Thus the people of Islaam are divided into two just by one single act.

You can now imagine when we now have more than one single act. Splitting the ummah of Islaam is one of the greatest crimes one can commit. Allaah warns against it, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) also warned against it. It weakens the community, so how can we progress as a community when we are divided amongst ourselves. Allaah commanded that we should be united and He forbids us from being divided. So whoever divides the Muslim by introducing an innovation is going against the word of Allaah. Allaah says:

"And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah, and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allaahs Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith)" (Q3:103).

And He says:

"And obey Allaah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart." (Q8:46)

Innovations are the worst evil. Allaah Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

"The best speech is that embodied in the Book of Allaah, and the best guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. The most evil affairs are the innovations; and every innovation is an error." (Muslim)

He also said, "I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion) and every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire. " (an-Nasaaee)

Denied from drinking f-rom al-Kautbar

Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

"I will greet you at (the fountain of) Kauthar. Anyone who comes to me will drink from it and will never be thirsty afterwards. A group of people whom I will know and who will know me will try to approach me to drink from it, but there will be a barrier between them and me. When I will plead for them, it will be said, You certainly do not know what innovations they Introduced after you. Then I will declare, Be gone, be gone all of those who made innovations (in Islam) after me. "(Muslim)

He caries the sins of those who follow him Allaah Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

"He who revives a Sunnah out of my Sunan, which has died after me, for him is the reward like the reward of those who acted upon it, without any decrease in that reward. He who introduces some evil innovation which Allaah and His Messenger did not approve has (a burden of sin upon him) like the sins of one who acted according to it, without their sins being mitigated thereby in the least." (Tirmidhi)

Repenting from Innovation is difficult Sufyaan ath-Tahawri said, "Innovation is dearer to Iblees than sin, because a person may repent from sin but he cannot repent from innovation." Repenting from innovation is difficult because the person involved thinks that he is upon something good, so how can one repent from doing good. But as for other sins most people know they are sins and would not wish to perpetuate their crime. Innovation, are from little beginnings.

Imaam al-Barbahaaree (RAH) said, ."All major innovations and deviations begin small and insignificant. Beware of small innovations because they grow until they become large. This is the case with every innovation introduced in this Ummah. It began as something small, bearing resemblance to the truth which is why those who entered it were misled and then were unable to leave it. So it grew and became the religion which they followed and thus deviated from the Straight Path ... " Just think about the following story: Amr ibn Salmah said: We used to sit by the door of Abdullah ibn Masood (RA) before the Morning Prayer, so that when he came out we would walk with him to the mosque.

(One day) Abu Moosaa al- Asharee (RA) came to us and said, "Has Abu Abd ar- Rahmaan come out yet?" We replied, "No." So he sat down with us until he came out. When he came out, we all stood along with him, so Abu Moosaa said to him, "O Abu Abd ar-Rahmaan! I have just seen something in the mosque which I deemed to be evil, but all raise is for Allaah, I did not see anything except good." He enquired, "Then what is it?" (Abu Moosaa (RA)) replied, "If you live you will see it. I saw in the mosque people sitting in circles awaiting the Prayer. In each circle they had pebbles in their hands and a man would say repeat Allaahu Akbar a hundred times. So they would repeat it a hundred times. Then he would say, say Laa ilaaha illallaah a hundred times. So they would say it a hundred times.

Then he would say, say Subhaanallaah a hundred times. So they would say it a hundred times." (Ibn Masood (RA)) asked, "What did you say to them?" (Abu Moosaa (RA)) said, "I did not say anything to them. Instead I waited to hear your view or what you declared." (Ibn Masood (RA)) replied, "Would that you had ordered them to count up the evil deeds they acquired and assured them that their good deeds would not be lost!" Then we went along with him (Ibn Masood) until he came to one of these circles and stood and said, "What is this which I see you doing?" They replied, "O Abu Abd ar-Rahmaan! These are pebbles on which we are counting takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh." He said, "Count up your evil deeds. I assure you that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, O Ummah of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)! How quickly you go to destruction! These are the Companions of your Prophet and who are widespread. 

There are his clothes which have not yet decayed and his bowl which is unbroken. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Either you are upon a Religion better guided than the Religion of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) or that you are opening the door of misguidance." They said, "O Abu Abd ar-Rahmaan! By Allaah, we only intended good." He said, "How many there are who intend good but do not achieve it. Indeed Allaahs Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said to us: "A people will recite the Quraan but it will not pass beyond their throats. By Allaah! I do not know, perhaps most of them are from you." Then he left them. Umar ibn Salmah (the sub-narrator) said: "We saw most of those people fighting against us on the day of Nahrawaan, along with the Khawaarij." (ad-Darimi)

Some Warnings against innovation from the Imams of Sunnah Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan (RA) said, "Do not perform any act of worship that was not practiced by the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah." Abdullah ibn Masud (RA) said, "Whoever wants to follow an example, let him follow the example of those who have passed away, the Companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

They were the best of this ummah, the purest in heart, the deepest in knowledge, the least in sophistication. They were people whom Allaah chose to be the Companions of His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and to convey His religion, so imitate their ways and behaviour, for they were following the straight path." Umar ibn AbdulAzeez said, "Stay within the limits of the people (meaning, the Companions) because they stayed within the limits on the basis of knowledge ... If there was any virtue in going beyond the limits, they could have done that if they had wanted to ... Whoever tries to outdo them, is going to extremes and whoever falls short in that is lacking."

Weapon against Innovation

The only weapon one can use to defend himself against the evil of falling into innovation is to adhere to the Sunnah. This is what the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings be upon him) advised his Companions with. Irbad bn Sariyah (RA) said, "One day the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) led us in prayer, then faced us and gave us a lengthy exhortation at which the eyes shed tears and the hearts were afraid.

A man said: Messenger of Allah! It seems as if it were a farewell exhortation, so what injunction do you give us? He then said: I enjoin you to fear Allah, and to hear and obey even if it be an Abyssinian slave, for those of you who live after me will see great disagreement. 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." (Abu Dawud)

 

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

 

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