Shaikh al-Albaani

Translations From His Works

Tag: innovations

Innovations | 4 | The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم Censured Innovation Universally, All Innovation in the Religion

Continuing from the the last post.

“The point from this hadith is that it gives us a new benefit which was not mentioned in the previous one, and this is how it is obligatory on every researching faqeeh of the Sunnah to collect and gather all of the hadiths reported concerning an issue so that by doing so he has a complete case without any deficiency.

[So] here the Prophet عليه السلام tells us by saying, “For surely, he who lives from amongst you will see much differing,” … it’s as though someone asked [him a question] but the reality is that no-one did … because Allaah عز وجل inspires His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to answer before someone asks … it’s as though a questioner said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! When we see this differing which you are informing us about by your saying that, “For surely, he who lives from amongst you will see much differing,” what should we do, O Messenger of Allaah, when we see this much differing, what should we do?’

So he عليه الصلاة والسلام answered them without being asked as we just said, [saying], “It is upon you to be upon my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs,” to the end of the hadith.

Thus, salvation from any division and from any difference which occurs between the Muslims is to turn back to the path of the first believers, since he عليه السلام said in a clear, Arabic tongue, that when you see the differing, “It is upon you to be upon my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs.

So do the Muslims who fall into a disputed issue today go back and comply with this order of his عليه السلام and other [such orders] that have been mentioned in the Quraan and the Sunnah? [That] when you see some differing, “It is upon you to be upon my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs,” [do the Muslims comply with this today?]

Unfortunately, the answer is that few are the ones who [actually] do that amongst the Muslims, and they are the ones who greatly aspire after two things which cannot be split or separated, and they are, firstly, knowing the Sunnah which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was upon and then, secondly, to crave after implementing it themselves and then amongst those who[se company] they enjoy and then those who live around them and so on.

[So] now we are discussing one issue which is that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم censured innovation universally, all innovation in the religion–so have the Muslims stood by this universal censure of every innovation connected to worship in Islaam or have they differed concerning it?

The reality is that they have differed, because I believe that the students of knowledge amongst you, in fact, even those of you who listen to knowledge [being imparted even though you may not be dedicated students of knowledge and who do so] in compliance with the narration reported from Mu’aadh ibn Jabal, may Allaah the Most High be pleased with him, who said, ‘Be a scholar, or a student, or someone who listens to knowledge, but don’t be the fourth and end up being destroyed.’

So you are either students of knowledge or at the very least you are from those people who sit in the gatherings of knowledge so you must have someday heard that statement that is made on such occasions, ‘Whatever the Muslims hold to be good is good,’ and in addition to that some of them say, ‘No, my brother, in Islaam there are good innovations, so how can you say that, ‘Every innovation is misguidance?’

It is obligatory that the Muslim who really wants to comply with the verse we are in the middle of explaining [understands] this point, [the verse being], “So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord, let him do righteous work …” [Kahf 18:110]–so the innovations which are foreign/have been added to Islaam have nothing whatsoever to do with Islaam, and [thus] naturally, have nothing whatsoever to do with righteous work [as mentioned in the verse].

So a Muslim who tries to get closer to Allaah عز وجل with something Allaah has not legislated on the tongue of His Messenger [should know that] that action is not righteous and as a result it is an action which you cannot hope to be saved by on the Day of Resurrection.”

Continuing from the Same Tape | 12 | True Mujtahid Scholars who Fall into Innovations Unintentionally are Rewarded

The Meccan Man: If you allow us, as a completion of this discussion [to discuss the following example], some of the people of knowledge whose usool are correct [may] see that a certain issue is an innovation because the basis whih the ruling [he made] is dependent on is reliable in his opinion, and another scholar does not see it as such because the basis for his ruling is reliable in his opinion [too], [this could be] because of the difference [that occurs between them] in declaring a hadith to be authentic or weak or for reasons other than that, so is it possible for us to term this as, ‘interpretative innovation [bid’ah ijtihaadiyyah]?’

Al-Albaani: I previously mentioned that if a man from the people of knowledge and ijtihaad [namely, someone who comes to an Islamic ruling through his interpretation of the texts] falls into an innovation then he is not blamed due to that, just like if he were to declare something haraam to be halaal–and this is something which is even more important than innovations: maybe a scholar will declare something that Allaah has forbidden to be permissible but through ijtihaad and without intending to [make something haraam, halaal].  So do we now say that what he says is halaal is [in fact] halaal because the ruling came from a mujtahid who is qualified to make ijtihaad?  We say no, the haraam  is haraam, and the halaal is halaal–but this mujtahid scholar … and he is not rebuked for having made a mistake for he is rewarded whatever the case … but [at the same time] this does not mean that we declare his ruling to be correct while in reality it is a total mistake.

And maybe it is more pertinent for me to say that when a mujtahid scholar falls into an innovation and in doing so opposes the Sunnah without intending to, I say that he has [indeed] fallen into an innovation but that he is rewarded for what has emanated from him, because it was based upon ijtihaad.

The Meccan Man: Maybe we can say, based upon what you just stated, that there are three conditions, in fact one condition, but maybe for elaboration [we can say that]: he has to be from the people of knowledge, and from those capable of doing ijtihaad, or that he has correct usool …

 Al-Albaani: … but is not from the people of knowledge …

The Meccan Man: … or that the basis for his rulings is correct, likewise he will not be from the people of knowledge unless the basis for his rulings is correct.

Al-Hudaa wan-Noor, 785.

Al-Albaani asked about Sayyid Qutb | 11 | Primary and Secondary Innovations

Al-Albaani referring to the previous interjector’s mention of Imaam ash-Shaatibi’s name says …

Al-Albaani: You reminded me of a statement of ash-Shaatibi, [he had a term], ‘… additional/secondary innovations [al-bidah al-idaafiyyah].’

From this man’s knowledge and understanding of Islaam is that he came up with a precise, scholarly categorisation of innovations, i.e., innovations which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم would universally declare to be misguidance in his khutbahs by saying, ‘… and every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire.’

He divided innovations into real/primary innovations [al-bid’ah al-haqiqa] and additional/secondary innovations [bid’ah idaafiyyah], and he explained what was intended by both.

So he said, obviously in meaning [and not word for word], that primary innovations are those which openly oppose the Book and the Sunnah or either one of them. He gives some examples of that like the false aqidah of the Jabariyyah for example, and [also the false aqidah] of i’tizaal and khurooj, which have no basis at all in the Book and the Sunnah in any way whatsoever, these are real/primary innovations.

Additional/secondary innovations are those which if looked at from one angle are found to be legislated, and when you look at them from another you will see that they are not. It is in this way that additional/secondary innovations differ from real/primary ones.

I will explain this partially, but [before that] we must stop [to note a point] here: [when someone] goes against what has been prohibited in the Sharee’ah it is not called an innovation but a sin. Many people call cinemas or the new places of entertainment that are found nowadays, which contain lewdness and sins, innovations. It is not allowed to call these places innovations, these are rather forbidden sins, [the only way we can call them innovations is if we stretch it and] go far away from [talking about] innovations in the sharee’ah and said that linguistically these cinemas were not present–but [normally] a person who says that such places/things are misguided innovations does not mean [this linguistic meaning when he says that, and thus should not call them innovations].

[Going back to the categorisation of innovations] all innovations in the religion are blameworthy and they are of the two types just mentioned: either real/primary innovations which have no basis in the Book or the Sunnah, but which [rather] oppose the Book and the Sunnah–like those examples mentioned earlier [of the Jabariyyah etc.]–or secondary innovations which, as we said, if you look at them from one angle you will find them to be legislated but if looked at from another you will find that they are not … and most of the innovations present in the Islamic world today are of this type.

Ash-Shaatibi gives some very clear examples of this, like that of seeking forgiveness after prayer. Seeking forgiveness after prayer is established in Sahih Muslim, he صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم used to seek Allaah’s forgiveness when he would give salaam.  Ash-Shaatibi says that this is a sunnah–but [people] raising their voices together [whilst doing so] is an innovation. So by looking at the fact that this seeking of forgiveness has a basis [in Islaam], then it is a Sunnah, [but] by looking at the unlegislated method of doing it which has been added to this Sunnah, it has become an additional/secondary innovation, and thus it [i.e., the innovated way of doing it], has fallen under those hadith which warn against innovations.

Likewise, he gives another example in which he seeks to put right an issue which it seems was prevalent in his time and about which he relates his [own personal] account. [He said that] an Imaam was appointed in a mosque [where he prayed] and the people had become accustomed to the Imaam turning to face them after he had given salaam and then he would prompt/get them to repeat the words of remembrance and would then raise his hands and supplicate while they would say aameen. Ash-Shaatibi said, ‘So I was perplexed at this predicament, should I … [tape recording unclear here, the word could be ‘follow’] … the people and oppose the Sunnah? Or follow the Sunnah even if the people become hostile towards me?’ And that is what he did, and indeed the arrows of criticism and disparagement and slander were shot at him from every angle.

So he was saying that supplicating after giving salaam does have a basis in the legislation but doing so in this fashion, in unison, making it lengthy and expansive and in unison–these are additions that have been added to the basis of supplication and it has thus become an innovation, something unlegislated.

Like I said, the innovation which is prevalent amongst the Muslims today and is the easiest thing for them, the one they call, ‘A good innovation [al-bid’ah al-hasanah].’ What is their proof? They looked at the [action’s] foundation … [so] for example, adding [the sending of salutations on the Prophet] at the beginning or the end of the call to prayer, they will say, ‘My brother, sending salutations upon the Prophet … the Prophet said that whoever sends prayers upon me once, Allaah will send prayers upon him ten times [so that’s why we add it to the adhaan] …’

But they are ignorant of the fact that these additions have been added to this legislated action and have thus made it misguidance and an innovation and it is not permissible to seek closeness to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, through it.

This is what ash-Shaatibi, may Allaah have mercy on him, meant by additional/secondary innovations.

The Shaikh’s Life in his Own Words … 18


Our Call

1) To return to the Book and the authentic Sunnah, understanding it according to the methodology of the Pious Predecessors, may Allaah be pleased with them all.

2) To inform and make the Muslims acquainted with their religion of Truth, calling them to practising what it instructs and orders, to adorn themselves with its virtues and manners which will ensure that they earn the pleasure of Allaah, and will make happiness and glory a reality for them.

3) Warning the Muslims from associating partners with Allaah (shirk) in all its forms, from innovations and foreign ideologies, from munkar and fabricated hadiths which have disfigured the beauty of Islaam and has prevented the Muslims from progressing.

4) Reviving free Islamic thinking within the boundaries of the principles of Islaam, removing that rigid thinking which has pervaded and taken hold of the intellects of many of the Muslims and distanced them from the pure Islamic sources.

5) Striving to revive an Islamic way of life, establishing an Islamic society implementing the law of Allaah on earth. This is our call, and we call all the Muslims to support this trust that will raise them and spread the abiding message of Islaam.

Purification and Cultivation

From an ideological and knowledge-based perspective I regard the situation of the Muslims to be better than that of thirty to forty years ago. A quarter of a century ago we used to complain about the lack of Muslims studying modern sciences, it was what the reformers used to talk about.

Then the result of this movement was that the next generation turned to these sciences but at the same time almost totally turned away from the other side, and I mean by that the Islamic sciences, and that has many dangers on the fate of that generation.

As for the remedy to this predicament, then I believe that it rests on two points: purification and cultivation. By purification I mean cleansing Islaam from every thing foreign and all defects. The way to achieve that is firstly to purify the Sunnah from the fabricated and weak things that have penetrated it, and then to interpret the Quraan based upon this authentic Sunnah and the understanding and thinking of the Pious Predecessors.

By that I do not mean that we stop as regards tafseer at the limit the Salaf reached, but rather that we adhere to their methodology in tafseer, and in doing so there is a unity of direction and an obstruction to becoming separated.

This purification that I am referring to includes purifying that which has reached us as regards Islamic sciences and ideologies, so that we eject everything from it which opposes the sound methodology. It also includes purifying the Islamic ideology from all foreign defects which have crept into the ideology of present day Muslims by way of western education, especially the philosophy and educational training and skills,  fields through which it is possible to inject a great amount of poison into the Islamic ideology.

By cultivation I mean nurturing a generation upon the correct, authentic Islamic creed taken from the Book and the Sunnah. I make special mention of the nurturing of young children upon worship without excessive talk about the material benefits of worship as some do. So if such material benefits must be mentioned then they should be the last thing that it is fitting to mention.

I do not forget to mention Islamic legislation here, what I see fit is that this subject should be studied upon the foundation of complete submission to the order of Allaah and total trust in His Wisdom without too much mention of its material benefits, and by so doing the student is provided with an invincibility from all plots and an immunity from all poison.

Concerning this, I recall the incident of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and the importance of submitting to the judgement of Allaah and His Messenger.

His Eagerness to Implement the Sunnah

When I performed umrah during Ramadaan last year I went up to the top floor of the building in Madeenah in which I had gone to visit one of my friends to check the time for sunset since I was fasting. So the call to prayer was not given except thirteen minutes after sunset! As for Jeddah, then I went to the top of the building in which one of my in-laws lived so the sun had hardly set when I [immediately] heard the call to prayer and so I thanked Allaah for that.

Some of the Sunnahs he revived

The Sermon of Need (Khutbatul-Haajah):

Then Allaah, the Most High, granted me the ability such that I started using this khutbah in my lessons and my books, and I was able to spread it in the Islamic world through the treatise I wrote concerning it.  Many of those who loved the Sunnah responded to it, and all praise is for Allaah, especially the khateebs [preachers] in the mosques, since it had been abandoned before that.

Praying the Eed prayer in the Musallaa

From that was that the prayer of the two eeds was established in an outside area [musallaa] in Damascus, then our brothers in Aleppo revived it there, and then in other cities in Syria, and this Sunnah continued to spread until some of our brothers in Amman, Jordan revived it there too.

A funny story yet sad at the same time

I led the people in prayer for Fajr prayer on a Friday once in one of the villages of az-Zubdaani.  So after reciting al-Faatihah I read what I was able to from Surah al-Kahf [the Cave], because my memorisation of Surah as-Sajdah was not firm.  So when I said the takbir [i.e., Allaahu Akbar] for the bowing [rukoo] all of the people went straight into prostration!  Since they thought that I had in fact said the takbir for the prostration for recitation which occurs in Surah Sajdah [since the normal Imaam would read that Surah and that is what they were used to.]  But those who were immediately behind me noticed that I was bowing so they got up and joined me in that.

As for the ones who were behind the minbar and who could not see me, they remained in prostration until they heard me say, “Allaah has heard the one who praises him …” [Sami’allaahu liman hamidah] and so they broke their prayer and a clamour broke loose.  After I made the tasleem [i.e., said salaam to end the prayer] I admonished and reminded them of the obligation upon them to have khushoo [humility] in the prayer and to pay attention to what is being recited to them from the aayaat of [the Book of Allaah] and that their attention is not distracted in it to [their worldly things such as] farming or milking the animals!

Hayaatul-Allaamah al-Albaani, rahimahullaah, bi qalamihi, pp. 41-46.

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