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(Innovation in Ibadah [worship, i.e. all acts of submission to Allah, as defined in Qur'an and Sunnah])

According to Quran and Sunnah


Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee, rahimahullaah, said,

"That a servant meets Allaah with every sin except Shirk
is better than meeting Him upon any of the innovated beliefs."  

Reported by al-Baihaqee in al-I'tiqaad (p.158)

The Noble Qur'an Al-Hijr 15:9

Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Qur'an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).

The Noble Qur'an An-Nisa' 4:171

O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)!  Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth.  The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and Allah's Word, ("Be!" -- and he was) which Allah bestowed on Mary and a spirit (Ruh) created by Allah; so believe in Allah and Allah's Messengers.  Say not: "Three (trinity)!"  Cease! (it is) better for you.  For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), Glory be to Allah (Far Exalted is Allah) above having a son.  To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.

Hadith - Muslim, Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah

When Allah's Messenger delivered the sermon, his eyes became red, his voice rose, and his anger increased so that he was like one giving a warning against the enemy and saying: "The enemy has made a morning attack on you and in the evening too." He would also say: "The last Hour and I have been sent like these two," and he would join his forefinger and middle finger. He would continue: "The best speech is that embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. The most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is an error." He would add: "I am dearer to a Muslim than even his self. He who has left behind property, that is for his family, and he who dies in debt or leaves children (in helplessness), the responsibility (of paying his debt and bringing up his children) lies on me."

Hadith - Bukhari 9:391, Narrated Abu Huraira

The Prophet said, "Leave me as I leave you, for the people who were before you were ruined because of their questions and their differences over their prophets. So, if I forbid you to do something, then keep away from it. And if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can."

Hadith - Bukhari 9:396, Narrated Anas

We were with 'Umar and he said, "We have been forbidden to undertake a difficult task beyond our capability (i.e. to exceed the religious limits, e.g., to clean the inside of the eyes while doing ablution)."

Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi #1306, Narrated AbuMusa al-Ash'ari , Transmitted by Ibn Majah.

Allah's Messenger said, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious looks down on the middle night of Sha'ban and forgives all His creation except a polytheist or one who is mushahin (innovator in religion and out of the main stream of the community).

Hadith - Abu Dawud, Narrated Ali ibn Abu Talib

The Prophet said, If anyone introduces an innovation in the religion, he will be responsible for it. (Good or bad). If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in the religion) he is cursed by Allaah, by His angels and by all the people.

Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi #5142, Narrated AbuBakr as-Siddiq

You people recite this verse, "You who believe, care for yourselves; he who goes astray cannot harm you when you are rightly guided." I heard Allah's Messenger SAAWS say, "When people see something objectionable and do not change it, Allah will soon include them all in His punishment."  [Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi, who declared it to be sahih, transmitted it.]

Hadith - Bukhari and Muslim, Narrated Abu Sa'id, r.a.

The Prophet SAAWS said, "Surely, you will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, in everything as one arrow resembles another, (i.e. just like them), so much so that even if they entered a hole of a sand-lizard, you would enter it."

    They said, "O Allaah’s Messenger! Do you mean to say that we will follow the Jews and the Christians?"

    He SAAWS replied, "Whom else?" (By meaning the Jew and Christians)

Noble Qur'an - Al-Imran 3:103

And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur'an) and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another, but Allah joined your hearts together, so that, by Allah's Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith) and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and Allah saved you from it.  Thus Allah makes Allah's Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.

Noble Qur'an - An-Nur 24:54

Say: "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (Messenger Muhammad ) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allah's Message) and you for that placed on you.  If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance.  The Messenger's duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)."

Hadith - Abu Dawud, Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar

Mujahid reported: I was in the company of Ibn Umar. A person invited the people for the noon or afternoon prayer (after the adhan had been called). He said: Go out with us (from this mosque) because this is an innovation (in religion).

Hadith - Bukhari 1:561, Narrated Muawiya

You offer a prayer which I did not see being offered by Allah's Apostle when we were in his company and he certainly had forbidden it (i.e. two Rakat after the Asr prayer).

The only good sunnah is a revived sunnah, not a newly invented one...

Hadith - Sahih Muslim

He who starts a good sunnah will be rewarded for it, in addition to receiving rewards equal to the rewards of those who follow him into it. Whereas he who starts a bad sunnah will be burdened with it, in addition to receiving burdens equal to the burdens of those who follow him into it.

Hadith - Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 49, Number 861. Narrated Aisha, r.a.

Allah's Apostle SAAWS said, "If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected."

Hadith - Abu Dawud, Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib

Qays ibn Abbad and Ashtar went to Ali and said to him: Did the Apostle of Allah give you any instruction about anything for which he did not give any instruction to the people in general? He said: No, except what is contained in this document of mine. Musaddad said: He then took out a document. Ahmad said: A document from the sheath of his sword. It contained: The lives of all Muslims are equal; they are one hand against others; the lowliest of them can guarantee their protection. Beware, a Muslim must not be killed for an infidel, nor must one who has been given a covenant be killed while his covenant holds. If anyone introduces an innovation, he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people. Musaddad said: Ibn AbuUrubah's version has: He took out a document.

Hadith - Abu Dawud, Narrated Irbad ibn Sariyah

AbdurRahman ibn Amr as-Sulami and Hujr ibn Hujr said: We came to Irbad ibn Sariyah who was among those about whom the following verse was revealed: "Nor (is there blame) on those who come to thee to be provided with mounts, and when thou saidst: "I can find no mounts for you." We greeted him and said: We have come to see you to give healing and obtain benefit from you. Al-Irbad said: One day the Apostle of Allah 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: Apostle 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.

The Noble Qur'an: Al'Imran 3:7

It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad ) the Book (this Qur'an). In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book [and those are the Verses of Al-Ahkam (commandments etc.), Al-Fara'id (obligatory duties) and Al-Hudud (legal laws for the punishment of thieves, adulterers, etc.)]; and others not entirely clear.  So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials etc), and seeking for its hidden meanings, but none knows its hidden meanings save Allah.  And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord." And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Tafsir At-Tabari).

Do not sit with the people of bid'a (deviation)

Hadith - Reported by Ibn Abee Ya'laa in Tabaqaatul-Hanaabilah (1/60) with a saheeh isnaad and by Ibn Muflih in al-Aadaabush-Shar'iyyah (1/263).

Abu Daawood as-Sijjistaanee said: I said to Abu' Abdullaah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, 'If I see a man from Ahl us-Sunnah sitting with a man from the people of innovation, should I abandon speaking to him?' He said, "No, you should first inform him that the one whom you saw him with is a person of innovation.  Either, he will cease speaking to him, so then continue speaking to him or if not, then regard him to be like him.  Ibn Mas'ood said:  A person is like his friend."

Hadith - Reported by Ibn Battah in al-Ibaanatul-Kubraa (no. 486)

Ibn 'Awn, rahimahullaah, said, "Whoever sits with the people of innovation is worse than them."

Hadith - Reported by Ibn Abee Ya'laa in Tabaqaatul-Hanaabilah (1/223-234) in the biography of 'Alee ibn Abee Khaalid

'Alee ibn Abee Khaalid said: I said to Ahmad, "This old man -referring to an old man who was present with us and was a neighbour of mine - I have warned him against a person, but he would like to hear your saying about him.  haarith al-Qaseer (meaning Haarith al-Mahaasibee) and you saw me with him many years ago and you said to me, 'Do not sit with him and do not speak to him.' I have not spoken to him from then until now, but this old man sits with him.  What do you say about him (i.e. the innovator)?"  I saw that Ahmad became red, his veins and his eyes swelled.  I have never seen him like that before.  Then he shuddered and said, "That is one to whom Allaah has done such and such.  No one knows that except one who is fully acquainted with him.  Alas! Alas! Alas! He is one not known except to one fully acquainted with him.  He was the one whom al-Maghaazilee sat with and Ya'qoob and so and so.  He lead them to having the views of Jahm.  They were destroyed through him."  So, the old man said, "O Abu' Abdullaah!  He narrated hadeeth, displays dignity and fearfulness.  He is such and such."  Abu 'Abdullaah became angry and said, "Do not be fooled by his fearfulness, nor his gentleness.  Do not be fooled by how he droops his head. He is an evil person.  This will not be known except by one well-acquainted with him.  Do not sit with him, for there is no honour for him.  Will you sit with everyone who narrated the ahaadeeth of Allaah's Messenger (saaws) and is an innovator?!"

Narration - Reported by al-Laalikaa'ee (no. 263) and Ibn Battah (no. 439). Saheeh isnaad

Al-Fudayl ibn 'Iyaad said, "Whoever sits with a person of innovation has not been given wisdom."

Masbahah (Prayer Beads)

Shaykh Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani said in Al-Silsilat al-Da’eefah (1/110), where he quotes the (weak) Hadith “What a good reminder is the subhah [masbahah]":

”In my view, the meaning of this hadeeth is invalid for a number of reasons: Firstly, the subhah [masbahah (prayer beads)] is bid’ah and was not known at the time of the Prophet (SAW). It happened after that, so how could he (SAW) have encouraged his Sahabah to do something that was unknown to them?

The evidence for what I have said is the report narrated by Ibn Waddaah in Al-Bid’ wa’l-Nahy ‘anhaa from al-Salt ibn Bahraam, who said: ‘Ibn Mas’ood passed by a woman who had a [masbahah] with which she was making tasbeeh, and he broke it and threw it aside, then he passed by a man who was making tasbeeh with pebbles, and he kicked him then said, “You think you are better than the Sahabah, but you are following unjustified bid’ah! You think you have more knowledge than the Companions of Muhammad (SAW)!”’ Its isnaad is saheeh to al-Salt, who is one of the trustworthy (thiqah) followers of the Taabi’een.

* Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (rahmatullahi alay) said in al-Fataawa (22/187): “Some of them might show off by putting their prayer-mats over their shoulders and carrying their masbahahs (prayer beads) in their hands, making them symbols of religion and prayer. It is known from the mutawaatir reports that neither the Prophet (SAW) nor his Companions (RU) used these as symbols. They used to recite tasbeeh and count on their fingers, as the hadeeth says: “Count on your fingers, for they will asked, and will be made to speak.” Some of them may count their tasbeeh with pebbles or date stones.

The Noble Qur'an: Al-Baqarah 2:256

There is no compulsion in religion.  Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break.  And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

Action Items for the Muttaqun:

  • Recognize that the Qur'an is preserved in accuracy and is free from corruption.

  • When presenting Islam to someone, present Qur'an, not your opinion.  

    • Said Mujahid, "We were in a meeting in the mosque with the companions of Ibn 'Abbas (Tawus, Sa'eed ibn Jubair and 'Ikrimah). When he stood to pray, a man came in and said, 'Is there one who can give a legal verdict?' We said, 'Ask your question.' He said, 'Whenever I urinate, a liquid always follows it.' We asked, 'Is it the type of liquid that gives birth to children?' He said, 'Yes.' We said, 'Then you have to perform ghusl.' The man went away. Ibn 'Abbas hurried to finish his prayer, after which he told 'Ikrimah to bring the man back. He turned to us and said, 'Is your verdict found in the Book of Allah?' We said, 'No.' He asked, 'Is it based on the sayings of the Prophet, upon whom be peace?' We said, 'No.' 'Then from what?' We said, 'From our opinion.' He said, 'That is why the Messenger of Allah said that one learned man is more difficult for Satan than a thousand worshippers.' The man came and faced Ibn 'Abbas, who said to him, 'When that happens, is it owing to any stimulation?' He answered, 'No.' Ibn 'Abbas asked, 'Do you feel any numbness in your body?' He answered, 'No.' Said Ibn 'Abbas, 'That is from the cold. Ablution is sufficient."'

  • Do not engage in cultural activities that contradict the instructions of Qur'an and Sunnah.

  • The only good sunnah is a revived sunnah and not a newly invented one.

  • Stop making excuses for your laziness..... if you don't feel that you want to follow any particular command of Qur'an, don't try to twist the meaning to reflect your feelings.  Be honest and take responsibility for your choices.  Qur'an is simple and straight-forward.

  • Some examples of bid'a (innovation):

    • Denying or declaring void, any of the five pillars of Islam, which are:.

      • To testify La ilaha ill Allaha wa anna Muhammad-ur-Rasul-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, swt, and that Muhammad, saaws, is Allah's Messenger).

      • To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly (Iqamat-as-Salat)

      • To pay Zakat

      • To perform Hajj (i.e. pilgrimage to Makka) [if physically able]

      • To observe fast during the month of Ramadan [if physically able]

    • Denying any of the six articles of Faith, which are:

      • Belief in Allah, swt.

      • Belief in Allah's angels

      • Belief in Allah's Messengers

      • Belief in Allah's revealed Books

      • Belief in the Day of Resurrection

      • Belief in Al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments i.e. whatever Allah swt has ordained must come to pass)

    • Not dressing your daughters in hijab at the fixed time

    • Misinterpreting hijab (covering)

      • The neck should not remain exposed

      • The arms should not be exposed (3/4 length sleeves don't cut it!)

      • The hijab should be worn at all times around non-mahram men and around non-Muslims - not just when praying or attending the Masjid!

    • Neglecting wudu

    • Hanging up pictures/images

    • Dating (absolutetly no dating is permitted in Al-Islam) (see Qur'an 5:5 as one example)

    • Drinking alcohol, even if just as "an occasional drinker"

    • Making a tradition out of giving salutations to the Prophet saaws after the adhan or other such phrases before or after the adhan.

      • Ibn Hajr says in al-Fatawa al-Kubra, "Our shaikhs and others have given a legal verdict about the prayers and salutations for the Prophet after the adhan and how the callers to prayer do it. Their verdict is that (the prayers for the Prophet) has its root in the sunnah, but the manner in which they perform it is an innovation." Muhammad 'Abduh was asked about saying the prayers and salutation for the Prophet subsequent to the adhan and he said, "The adhan, as mentioned in al-Khaniyyah, is only for the prescribed prayers. It consists of fifteen phrases, the last being La ilaha illal-lah. Whatever is mentioned before or after it is an innovation. It has been introduced for rhythm, and nothing else. There is hardly a scholar who has allowed it, nor does it make any sense to say that it is a good innovation, for every innovation in matters of worship is evil. Whoever claims that it is not for melody is lying."

    • Fasting on only Friday (see Bukhari 3:205), on the day of breaking the Ramadan fast (see Bukhari 3:211), or the first day of 'Id ul Fitr and 'Id ul-Adha (see Bukhari 3:211, 213)

    • The use of dhikr beads when doing dhikr

      • The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded them (the women emigrants) to be regular (in remembering Allah by saying): "Allah is most great"; "Glory be to the King, the Holy"; "there is no god but Allah"; and that they should count them on fingers, for they (the fingers) will be questioned and asked to speak. [Dawood 1496, Narrated Yusayrah, mother of Yasir]

    • Placing trust in witchcraft

    • Eating donkey meat (see Bukhari 5:511), or animals with fangs (see Bukhari 7:672)

    • Drinking out of a gold or silver cup, or eating on a gold or silver plate (see Bukhari 7:337, 722)

    • Males wearing silk (see Bukhari 7:718)

    • Making du'a while facing a grave (i.e. intentions to seek help in any way from the deceased, whether a prophet or not)

    • Celebrating the dunya's holidays

    • Celebrating the Prophet saaws' birthday, i.e. Milaad

    • Declaring haram (forbidden) something that is not declared haram in the Qur'an or Sunnah

    • Combining images with Al-Islam.  For example, you may not use images of a person to teach Al-Islam, such as watching videos that teach how to perform salah.  The religion is meant to be taught in the ummah, not in private quarters where there is no contact with other muslims.  In the event that no muslims live nearby, this is still no excuse for using images in the religion.  We should not capture pictures of our brothers and sisters performing salah, especially not for media releases in which the kuffaar view the muslimah's back side.  Simply put, do not use images of persons or animals to teach Islam or spread dawah.

Remember... Allah, subhana watala, sees everything we do!

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