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The Implicit and Explicit Prohibition of Innovation in Islām

Imām ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Nāṣir al-Saʿdī

A warning against those who promote that which is not from the Book of Allāh or the Sunnah. The actions of the innovators will be condemned and rejected by Allāh.

‘Whomever innovates in our matter [of Islām] that which is not from it will have [that which he innovated] rejected [by Allāh]’ or ‘whomever executes an action [of worship] that is not from our matter [of Islām] will have that [innovated action] rejected [by Allāh],’

Prophet (ﷺ) in the ḥadīth of ʿĀʾishah

Imām ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Nāṣir al-Saʿdī [d. 1376 AH] said:1

it denotes both an explicit and implicit meaning.

As for its explicit meaning of the ḥadīth

It unequivocally proves that any act of innovation devised in this dīn, for which there exists no basis in the Book [of Allāh] or the Sunnah, whether it be from verbal innovated discourse [of an opinion or ideology] such as al-Tajahhum [Jahmiyyah ideology], al-Rafḍ [the ideology of the Rawāfiḍ], or Iʿtizāl [Muʿtazilī ideology] or other than it [from innovated postulations], or if it be from innovated acts such as [claiming to] worship Allāh with actions that were not legislated by Allāh and His Messenger (ﷺ), then verily all such [ideologies and actions] will be completely rejected and dismissed for those who carry them out.

Moreover, those [innovators] have consequently [made themselves] blameworthy. Their blame correlates with [their degree] of innovation and the resultant magnitude of their removal from this dīn. So whomsoever relates to another [concerning this dīn] that which has not been related by Allāh and His Messenger (ﷺ), or adopts a way of worshipping for which Allāh and His Messenger [may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him] have not granted permission, nor legislated; then he is an innovator. Likewise, anyone who makes ḥarām ḥalāl, or permits worship according to other than this sharīʿah, would be termed an innovator.

As for the implicit meaning of the ḥadīth

Whoever carries out an action upon which the command of Allāh and His Messenger (ﷺ) exists; which is to worship Allāh possessing sound creed with actions of righteousness whether they be from that which is obligatory or recommended, then his actions will be accepted [by Allāh], his work considered fruitful and rewarding.

This ḥadīth can also be used to prove that any action [of worship] carried out in a way that is prohibited is indeed a corrupt act, for it lacks the command of the legislator. Prohibition will always denote corruption [of the prohibited act]. Just as any act that has been forbidden by the legislator is termed a nonsensical waste and as such will not be regarded [by Allāh].

Endnotes:

[1] Bahjah Qulūb al-Abrār: 19
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: September 6, 2022
Edited: February 2, 2023

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