Staying Away from Innovations


We shouldn’t deal with issues we have no knowledge about, because the hearing, the sight, the heart, what you think about, your niyyah will all be questioned. We don’t want to misrepresent the Deen of Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa. No one is perfect and no one is a scholar. So if anyone hears something that is said wrongly or if a weak hadith is narrated they have all the rights to speak up and correct me and not feel shy for whatever reasons. We all should cooperate with each other in righteousness, in fearing Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa. The Deen is Naseehah.

The famous statement of Imam Malik in which the man said to him “O Abu Abdullah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa says in the Qur’an “Ar-Rahman alal Arsh Istawa”, and the man asked, how did Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa rise over His throne?” and Imam Malik (rahimuhumullah) became very angry at the question to a point that his sweat began to drip down his brow indicating how serious the question was and how disturbed he was on being asked such a question. He gave the principle, that “al-Istiwa gayroo majhoo”l, that means the Istiwa is not unknown but how (the kaif) Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa rose is unknown and to believe in it is wajib (obligatory) and to ask about is an innovation. And he said get this man out of my majlis (gathering). Here, this principle can be applied to other of Allah’s Attributes also. Like, the heart of a person is in between the two fingers of Allah and he changes it as He Wishes. So to ask how Allah does that is wrong, we are required to only believe in it to be true. To question how Allah’s fingers are is an innovation. Similarly, how Allah descends down etc. It is a tremendously important aspect in Aqeedah (theology).

In a hadith, it is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be silent most of the time and laugh less. It is from the Sunnah to speak less and whenever talking, talk beneficial things. The Prophet’s duty was to explain the message of Islam, which he did in the best way, as when he spoke, though he spoke little, there was a lot of barakah (blessing) in it. From some narrations we learn that his Jumu’ah khutbah (Friday sermon) would be smaller than the Jumu’ah Salah (Friday prayer), whereas now it is the opposite. The best Speech is the speech of Allah and the best guidance is the guidance with which the Prophet (peace be upon him) was sent. We need to keep reminding ourselves that whenever we speak we should have something beneficial to convey like, giving naseehah, doing Dhikr of Allah, reminding people, pleasant things etc. Also, as we know that one of the things for which people will be punished most is the tongue, so we should always speak good or keep silent.

Omnipresence
Just as some people have the misconception that Allah is present everywhere (this concept is wrong because Allah is above all of His creation, He is transcendent), there are also some who believe that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is present everywhere, that he is “hadhir nadhir”. The Barelwis have this belief that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is omnipresent. This is attributing to him something that he is not. In Surah ale Imran, after mentioning about the birth of Maryam (peace be on her), about Zakariyyah (peace be on him) that whenever he would enter into the room he would ask “ya Maryam from where did you get this rizq (provision)”, she would say “this is from Allah”, all of these similar kind of narrations regarding the earlier Prophets and the earlier communities are from the matters of the Unseen as Allah says “This is from the knowledge of the Unseen that We reveal to you”. The point here is that if the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was everywhere, or that he was the first one to be created from the “Noor of Allah” or that he has knowledge of everything, Why would Allah Say, you weren’t there when the lots were drawn, nor were you there when they were arguing amongst themselves? Hence, this belief is a deviation and an innovation in the religion of Islam and a clear misguidance. Some people argue that he is hadhir nadhir for everything that is happening now, but this is clearly wrong, as we have ahadith (reports) and ayat (Quranic verses) that show that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not, is not, has never been, will never be omnipresent or omnipotent, nor was or is any other human being. Only Allah is omnipotent that means has the power to do everything.

From the Ulema of the Barelwi – Tahir Qadri
There is a consistent pattern of taking ayat (verses) out of context. Even if the hadith is authentic, it is either misinterpreted or taken out of context. They have concept of the Prophet (peace be upon him) being created from the Noor of Allah, where is the daleel (proof) for that? No daleel, rather a fabricated hadith which is not acceptable. There is an authentic hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the place between my mimbar and my house is a garden which is from the garden of Jannah. So if you pray on that place, then you’ve prayed in one of the parts of the gardens of Jannah. We have to believe that. There are no virtues in specifically praying behind his grave, so if one can avoid doing that then he can, even though your niyyah (intention) is to not pray to him, but just so as to close the doors of Shirk. The barelwis give this hadith in support of their claim that Rasoolullah (peace be upon him) is created from the Noor of Allah.

What is the connection between this hadith and their false claims? Nothing! There is no link at all.

How can one even come up with that sort of an interpretation from the text of this hadith?! It’s not reasonable. They do takalluf and give the interpretation that if between his house and his mimbar is a piece from Jannah, and Jannah is Noor, Jibreel (peace be on him) came and took dirt from this area and since his house is on one side and the mimbar on the other he is created from the Noor of Allah. Makes no sense. It is all khurafaat. We love and honor the Prophet (peace be upon him) but not by doing excess in the religion, rather true love that which is exemplified in our actions by following the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Not just in our kalam. There is a thing in Arabic that is known as at-tamanni (to simply desire) and amani, Allah tells, “This religion is not based upon your wishful thinking nor the wishful thinking of the Ahlul Kitab (People of the Book)” If someone tells something about you that doesn’t mean that it is as they say, like if someone says that person will go to Jannah or that person will go to Hell, it won’t be as they say but according to what Allah wills. If a person claims to love the Prophet (peace be on him) by doing certain acts like being excessive in praising him and attributing to him divine qualities or by celebrating mawlid etc, it won’t work that way, his wishful thinking won’t avail him anything, in fact by doing innovation he would be disobeying Allah and His Rasool (peace be on him). Truly loving the Prophet (peace be on him) is believing in everything that he brought, doing what he commanded and keeping away from what he forbade, repenting for our sins and to practice our Deen (religion) to the best of our ability following the Prophet (peace be on him) and not being of the people who are just the people of tamanni (whishful thinking) or amani.

Q&A

1) You said that Mihrab is an innovation, but there is a mihrab in Masjid un-Nabawi?

The great scholar that we mentioned, Imam Malik; he was the Imam of Daar ul-hijrah, Madinah. Unlike many of the Ulama of his time, he didn’t migrate to other places, people came to him. Bukhari, Muslim, Imam Ahmad travelled all the way to Yemen, and other places and even other scholars of his time travelled to many places but he went nowhere and stayed only in Madinah. One of his opinions in his madhab was that something becomes halal or haram; something has a hujjah or daleel based upon the Quran, the Sunnah, Ijma, the statements of the Shabah and the practices of the people of Madinah. Some scholars rejected the last one whereas some accepted. Though, he proved his point logically. He asked a group of people of different backgrounds to get a sa’ measurement of something and so all the people did as he said. When they returned with their measurement of a sa’ (a unit of measurement used in those times) of something he compared it with a sa’ that he had which was from the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which belonged to someone of his time. And, compared it with the sa’s that the rest had brought, all of them differed. So he said, this is the reason, I accept anything coming from the people of Madinah as opposed to other places.
The Turkish people held the last remnants of the khilafah (caliphate) of Islam. When they were in charge of Makkah and Madinah, they let a lot of things to happen; they let a lot of innovations to creep into the religion, a lot of Shirk. They were the ones who built the Qubba the green dome over the grave of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the dome cost money, and wastage of money is not from Islam, then what was the need of doing so? They also put the Mihrab in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) masjid; they also built the large extravagant mimbar, the elevated place for the muezzin, a form of social discrimination. Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) didn’t have a mimbar. One of the signs of the hour is that people will extravagantly beautify the masjid, when in fact the masjid should be simple so that the purpose will be best fulfilled.

2) Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah will send a reviver at the beginning of every one hundred years in order to revive the religion for the people” The word “tajdeed” or reviving itself means a kind of innovation, so what’s the correct interpretation of this hadith?

The one to be considered the first mujaddid in Islam was Umar ibn abdul Azeez. The hadith mentioned by the brother is an authentic hadith. To interpret it to mean innovation is a misunderstanding, because Allah mentioned in the Quran about the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said to the Quraysh, “I’m not the first messenger to come to the earth” Bid’ah is different. It is only one kind in Islam that is what is astray that a person innovates in religion in order to get closer to Allah. The reviver is sanctioned by Allah and we cannot look at it as an innovation. Whatever the Prophet (peace be upon him) said and did and commanded us to do is a part of the religion of Islam. An innovation is something new which was never sanctioned by Allah or the Prophet (peace be upon him) and is invented by any person which has no daleel for it, who has the intention of getting close to Allah thinking that his innovation will take him closer to Him. “Anyone who introduces anything in our religion will be rejected. “ [hadith]
There is nothing as bid’ah hasana or a good bid’ah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned the people saying, “Beware those who live longer, after me, you will see a lot of ikhtilaf (differences), so hold on to the Sunnah with your molars and beware of innovations”

Every innovation starts off small and grows into big. There is a narration that during the time of the companions, there were some people who were making dhikr with the pebbles, sitting in circles, so one man among them would say, say “Allahu Akbar” a hundred times, so the other men in the circle would say it counting till hundred, and so on. Abdullah ibn Mas’ood saw them and said, “What is it that you are doing?” He said, you people are doing innovation, either you are more guided than the Sahabah or you are on innovation. The people replied, O Abu Abdur Rahman, we only wanted good, we only want to get closer to Allah. He said how many people want good but they don’t hit the good? The narrator of the hadith said, “On the day when Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him), as the Khalifa (caliph), was fighting the Khawarij (a deviant group – not Muslim) he said they were those people who were counting the stones that day in the masjid” So, it started off with a pebble and ended up in a sword fighting the companions and telling bad about them. The celebration of the mawlid is a similar example.

3) Making the Adhan inside, why is it done in some places?

To do the Adhan outside is the Sunnah. To give the Adhan inside is what they call “tahseel al hasil”. The purpose of the Adhan is to call all the creatures to worship Allah. So when the muezzin makes the adhan, everything that hears it, rocks, birds, trees, ants, insects, every human being, Muslim and non-Muslim, everyone who hears the call of the muezzin will be a witness on Yawm al-Qiyamah (the Day of Judgment). There is a lot of reward in giving the adhan. So if one gives it inside then only the people inside would be able to hear it and it wouldn’t reach a large number of people so lesser witnesses. But in non-Muslim lands where the government restricts the Muslims from making the adhan outside or loudly then they are being forced to adapt to the circumstances or else they would be penalized, it would complicate the matter, dispatches and stuff that’s why in some places the adhan is made inside.

4) Is getting barakah (blessings) from the hair strands of the Prophet (peace be upon him) authentic?

I don’t believe that there are still remnants of the hair of the Prophet (peace be upon him). But, if it really is the hair of the Prophet (peace be upon him) then there is nothing wrong in getting barakah from it. Because the Sahabah (companions) use to seek barakah from the water of the Prophet (peace be upon him), from his sweat, his clothes etc. But we won’t go overboard in believing and doing anything related to that. Like, pay money to get it, miss Salah to stand in line to get it, or go overboard in believing that the strand of hair will take you to Jannah etc. But we know that the Sahabah did tabarruk with his belongings, but we know that his clothes are not remaining, his sandals are not there, his hair isn’t remaining so we should avoid believing that a particular thing belongs to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him). As for touching his grave, the partition that is put up, there is no barakah from that.

 – Transcript of the lecture “Staying Away from Innovations” by Shk. Abu Usamah At-Thahabi.

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