QUESTION: What is the reward of those who bring up innovations that has been widely accepted because of ignorance?
Answer: All praise is due to Allaah the Lord of the worlds. We seek His blessings on Muhammad. The issue of innovation is something that Allaah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has warned us against. It is one of the things that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never stopped warning his companions against. Anytime he wanted to give a khutbah (a religious speech), he would start by praising Allaah then he would say :
"Verily the best of speech is the word of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. And the worst of affairs are those innovated (by the people), for every innovated matter is bidah (prohibited innovation), and every misguidance that (whoever initiated it) will reside in the Fire." (Muslim)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) has made it clear to us that innovating into the religion is one of the worst things that anyone can do. He also warned us that innovations will eventually lead to the Hell Fire (May Allaah protect us from that). Apart from the fact that it leads to Hell Fire (which is the greatest punishment), there are some other things that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also informed us about people who innovate into the religion. He informed us that for anybody who innovates anything into the religion, he will have a share in the sin that the people that follow it are committing.
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Some desert Arabs clad in woolen clothes came to Allaahs Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He saw them in a sad plight as they had been hard pressed by need. He exhorted people to give charity, but they showed some reluctance until (signs of) anger could be seen on his face. Then someone from the Ansar came with a purse containing silver. Then came another person and then other people followed them in succession until signs of happiness could be seen on his (sacred) face. Thereupon Allaah's Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"He who introduced some good practice in Islam, which was followed after him (by people), will be assured of a reward like those who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam, which was followed subsequently (by others), he will be required to bear the burden like that of those who followed this (evil practice) without theirs being diminished in any respect. "(Muslim)
This shows that innovating into the religion is something very grievous. Apart from the fact that one is committing a sin, he will also bear the burden of those who follow it. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also informed us that such deeds will not be accepted. He said:
"Whoever innovates anything into this religion that which is not part of it, it will be rejected" (Muslim)
we can see from the above narrations that innovating into the religion is something that every Muslim should stay away from.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited