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  Innovation in Light of the Perfection of the Shari'ah
Author: Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaimeen
Source: Eng. Trans. By Abu 'Iyad as-Salafi
Article ID : BDH020003  [27186]  
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O you who believe! Do not put yourselves ahead of Allaah and His Messenger and fear Allaah. Indeed Allaah is All-Hearing and All-Knowing.

My brothers, I ask and adjure you by Allaah 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 Allaah something which does not belong to it whether it is related to Allaah's Essence, His Names and Attributes or whether it is related to the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and then say 'We are exalting and magnifying Allaah and His Messenger'. Are these more deserving of being those who exalt and magnify Allaah and His Messenger?

Or is it those people who do not deviate even a fingertips length from Allaah's Sharee'ah, who say with regard to what has come in the Sharee'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 Allaah and His Messenger and it is not for us to say about the religion of Allaah something which is not found in it.' Which of these two are more worthy of being those who love Allaah and His Messenger and who exalt Allaah 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 Allaah 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 Allaah and His Messenger and they are the ones who demonstrate the truthfulness of their love for Allaah and His Messenger.

It is certainly not those who innovate into the religion of Allaah 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 Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) : "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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) : "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 (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) 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 Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) says: "Every innovation is misguidance".


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