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Is Speaking Out Against Innovators Hateful, Destructive, and a Waste of Time?

By claiming that refuting innovators is a waste of time, the Ikhwān al-Muslimūn have caused some Muslims to fall prey to misguidance. It is important to clarify the condition of innovations, and warning against them is a communal obligation.

From the effects that the Ikhwān al-Muslimūn has had on the people is their claim that refutations are a fruitless pursuit that absorbs the Muslim’s time with something that hardens the heart and brings about no benefit. This viewpoint, which wasn’t shared by the Imāms of the Salaf, has penetrated the hearts of some of the Muslims causing them to ignore or even hate warnings against innovation and innovators, not realising, that by this, they have opened themselves up to the calls to misguidance.

It is a key focus of those who mix amongst Ahl al-Sunnah intending to bring the believer away from the manhaj of the Salaf. They utilise emotional arguments and convincing, bedazzling speech to convince him of their approach. Compare and contrast their ideas with that of the great Imām, Ibn Taymīyyah.

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah, raḥimahullāh, said:

And the likes of the Imāms of innovations from the people of statements which contraḍīct the Book and the Sunnah or acts of worship which contraḍīct the Book and the Sunnah, clarifying their condition and warning the Ummah against them is obligatory by agreement of the Muslims. This is to the point that it was said to Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal:

‘Is it more beloved to you that a man fasts, prays, and makes iʿtikāf or speaks about the people of innovations?’

He said:

If he stands and prays and makes iʿtikāf, then it is only for himself. If he speaks concerning the people of innovations, then it is for the Muslims; so this is better.

So he clarified that the benefit of this is general for the Muslims in their religion, and it is from the perspective of jihād in Allāh’s path. Hence, (innovation brings about) the purging of Allāh’s path, His religion, His methodology, and His legislation. Warding off the injustice of these (innovators) and having enmity towards them due to that, is a communal obligation by agreement of the Muslims. Were there not one who Allāh establishes to defend (the religion from) the harms of these people then the religion would have been corrupted and its evil would have been greater than the evil of being seized by the enemy from the people with whom there is war. For these people, when they seize, they do not corrupt the hearts and that which they contain from the religion except at the end. As for those (innovators), they corrupt the hearts from the onset.

Source: Majmūʿ al-Fatāwá, 28/231-232.
Translation by Raha Batts

Published: August 15, 2012
Edited: April 8, 2023

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