Some of the Serious Violations Which the Innovator Falls Into


الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد


Shaikh Ahmad bin Yahyaa an-Najmee (rahimahullaah) said:


“Bid’ah (innovation) is to newly invent into the religion and to make reparation upon the most noble of the Messengers, the one that by way of whom Allaah perfected for us the religion, and it is to belie Allaah, Lord of the creation in His notification that the religion has been perfected, and that it is not to be considered in need of anyone to perfect it or to make additions within it.

He, The Most High, said:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

((This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion)) (Al-Maa-idah: 3)


Ibn Katheer stated in the tafseer of this ayah: ‘‘Ali bin Abee Talhah stated from Ibn ‘Abbaas who said:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ 

((This day I have perfected for you your religion))


It is Islaam, Allaah has informed His Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) as well as the believers that He has perfected Al-Eemaan for them, so it is never in need of addition, and that He has completed it so it can never be diminished, likewise He has approved of it so it can never bring about His displeasure.’


Imaam ash-Shaatibee (rahimahullaah) said: ‘It is not hidden that innovation; in terms of its conception – the intelligent one knows of its dispraise, because the following of it is an exit from the straight path and a casting into ignorance. The clarification of that is from an aspect of consideration as well as general legislative account, as for that of consideration; then it is from several aspects:


Firstly: It is known through the prevailing aura of experience and know-how throughout the world from the commencement of the world until today; that the intellects are not independent (self-governing) in their matters of beneficial interests – out of acquisition of them, or its corruptions – out of averting them, because they are either worldly or relating to the Hereafter.

As for the worldly, then it cannot be independent with discernment of it in detail at all, not in the beginning of its placement first of all nor in correction of what may well present itself in its path either in that which is foregoing or either in the appendages, because its placement from the beginning cannot be except by way of instruction from Allaah, The Most High, because Aadam (‘alaihis salaam) when he was sent down to the earth, he was taught how he could procure the beneficial interests of his worldliness, since that was not something that was from his perceived cognizance to begin with.

As for the beneficial interests of the Hereafter, then it is even further from the channels of the intellects on the part of placement (laying down) of its factors, and they are for example the acts of worship. For indeed the intellect has no perceptiveness of it in general, let alone knowledge concerning it in detail.


Secondly: The legislation came complete; it has no potentiality (of the imposition) of addition or omission, because Allaah, The Most High, said regarding it:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

((This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islaam as your religion)) (Al-Maa-idah: 3)


There occurs in the hadeeth of Al-‘Irbaad bin Saariyah: The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) gave us an admonition which caused the eyes to shed tears and caused the hearts to be afraid, so we said: “O Messenger of Allaah, this is a farewell speech, so what do you enjoin upon us?” He said:

تَرَكْتُكُمْ عَلَى الْبَيْضَاءِ لَيْلُهَا كَنَهَارِهَا لا يَزِيغُ عَنْهَا بَعْدِي إِلا هَالِكٌ ، وَمَنْ يَعِشْ مِنْكُمْ فَسَيَرَى اخْتِلافًا كَثِيرًا فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِمَا عَرَفْتُمْ مِنْ سُنَّتِي وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ مِنْ بَعْدِي

((I have left you upon [a clear path of] whiteness; its night is like its day. No one deviates from it after me except one who is destroyed. Whoever lives among you then he will see a great deal of differing. So upon you is [to adhere to] what you know of my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs after me.)) The hadeeth.[1]


It is established that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did not die until he came with all that is required in the affair of religion and worldliness, and this is something that has no contravener over it from the people of the Sunnah. So if it is as such, then the innovator – the essence of his statement through his expression of state (his state which speaks for itself) or his verbal expression is that the legislation has not been completed, and that there remain things from it whose reparation is necessary or recommendable.[2]

Ibn Maajishoon said, I heard Maalik say: ‘Whoever innovates in Islaam an innovation which he sees it to be agreeable, then he has indeed claimed that Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was disloyal to the message, because Allaah, The Most High, says:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ 

((This day I have perfected for you your religion))


So whatever was not to be deemed religion on that day, then it cannot be deemed to be religion today.’


Thirdly: That the innovator is obstinate to the legislation and schismatic to it, because The Legislator has indeed designated specific ways upon specific modes for the requirements [sought] from the servant, and has restricted the creation to them with command and prohibition as well as promise and threat. Likewise He has informed that good is in them, and that evil is in overstepping it to other than them, because Allaah Knows and we do not know, and He sent the Messengers as a mercy to the creation. Yet the innovator is a rejecter of all of this, for he claims that there are other paths, and that which The Legislator limited is not actually restricted, nor that which He designated with designation, and it is as if he says: ‘The Legislator Knows and we know.’

Rather; from his reparation, a rap of The Legislator may be understood, in that he knows that which The Legislator does not know; and this – if it is the intent of the innovator then it is kufr (unbelief) of the legislation and The Legislator, and if it is not the intent then it is clear misguidance.


Fourthly: That the innovator has lodged himself to the position of being similar to The Legislator, because The Legislator placed the religious laws and made the progression upon its Sunan a necessity for the creation. So He is alone with that, because He has judged between the creation in that which they differed concerning.

Otherwise, had the legislations have been from the realizations of the creation; the religious laws would not have been revealed, and differing between the people would not have occurred, nor would they have stood in need of some of the Messengers (‘alaihimus-salaam).

So this individual who has innovated in the religion of Allaah has rendered himself as an equal and being similar to The Legislator in that he has legislated along with Him, and has opened a door to disagreement and has repulsed the intent of The Legislator in being alone in (the passing of) the legislation – and sufficient is that as an evil.


Fifthly: It is the following of desires, because the intellect; if it does not adhere to following the legislation, then there remains nothing for it except desires and covetous wish. You know what is found in following the desires and that it is clear misguidance, do you not see the saying of Allaah, The Most High:

يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسَابِ

((O Dawood, indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth and follow not desire, for it will mislead you from the Path of Allaah. Verily; those who go astray from the Path of Allaah; for them is a severe punishment for having forgotten the Day of Reckoning.)) (Saad: 26)


So He restricted the verdict to two affairs – there is no third for them with Him, and it is the truth and desires, together with the seclusion of logical rationality to that of isolation, since as a rule; nothing besides that is feasible.

He, The Most High, said:

وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ

((And obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance and who follows his desire)) (Al-Kahf: 28)


Thus He made the affair to be limited between two affairs; following the remembrance and following desires, the like of that is His saying, The Most High:

وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ بِغَيْرِ هُدًى مِّنَ اللَّهِ

((And who is more astray than one who follows his desire without guidance from Allaah?)) (Al-Qasas: 50)


Ponder over this aayah, for it is clear in that whoever does not follow the guidance of Allaah, because of his own desires, then there is no one more astray than him, and this is the state of the innovator. For he followed his own desire without guidance from Allaah, and the guidance of Allaah is the Qur’aan and that which has been made clear by the legislation.’”


The Solution and Way Out From Innovations


Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:

“Indeed the Sunnah; by its very essence eradicates bid’ah (innovation) and does not sustain it, and if its sun rises in the heart of the believer then the fog of every innovation is sundered from his heart, and the darkness of every misguidance is eliminated.

Since; there can be no ascendancy of darkness along with the ascendancy of the sun, and so the servant cannot see the difference between the Sunnah and bid’ah (innovation) and of being aided upon escape from its darkness to the light of the Sunnah except through following and migrating with his heart at all times to Allaah by way of seeking aid and being sincere and having truthful recourse to Allaah, and migrating to His Messenger with an ardency of arriving at his statements and his actions and his guidance and his Sunnah.

Thus; whosoever’s migration is to Allaah and His Messenger, then his migration is to Allaah and His Messenger, and whoever migrated to other than that; then it is his allotment and his share in the (life of this) world and the Hereafter.”



(Abridged from Al-Mawrid al-Adhb az-Zulaal p.272 and p.275-278 and Al-I’tisaam vol 1 p.57-65 and Madaarij as-Saalikeen vol 1 p.379)



[1] Reported by Ahmad (4/126-127) and Abu Dawood (no.6407) and At-Tirmidhee (no.2676) and Ibn Maajah (no.43 and others, all with variations in wording between them. At-Tirmidhee said the hadeeth is Hasan Saheeh, and Shaikh Al-Albaanee said it has an authentic chain of narration in As-Saheehah (no.937).

[2] In the original work, Imaam ash-Shaatibee went on to explain the reason for this by saying: “This is because had he been of the belief of its perfection and its completion from every aspect; he would not have innovated nor would he have made reparation over it, and the one who speaks with this is astray from the straight path.” (See: Al-I’tisaam vol 1 p.62)

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