Good Innovation

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Good Innovations

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan hafidhahullaah

Whoever divides innovation [in the religion] into good innovation (bid’ah hasanah), and sinful innovation (bid’ah sayyi’ah), then he has committed wrong, and has opposed his sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “Every innovation is a misguidance”, because the Messenger sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ruled that innovation – all of it – is misguidance, and this says that not all innovation is misguidance, rather there is good innovation. Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab said in his commentary to al Arba’een: ‘So his sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “Every innovation is misguidance” is from the all encompassing word, not excluding from it anything. And it is the greatest principle from the principles of the Religion. And it is associated with hissallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “Whoever invents in this affair of ours, what is not from it, then it is rejected” So whoever invents things and attributes them to the religion, and it does not have an origin in the religion to return to, then it is misguidance, and the Religion is free from those things. And equal to that are matters of beliefs, or actions, or statements whether hidden, or manifest.’
[end] [Jaami’ul ‘Uloom Wal Hikam, p. 233]
And there is not a proof for them that there is good innovation, except for the statement of ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu regarding the taraaweeh prayer, “What a good innovation this is!”
(ni’imatul bida’atu hadhihi).
And they also say, ‘Verily there were things invented, and they were not objected to by the Salaf, like the collection of the Qur`aan into one book, and the writing of the Hadeeth, and recording them.’ So the answer to these is that these are matters which have an origin in the law (shar’), so they are not newly invented. And the statement of ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu “What a good innovation”, he desires the linguistic innovation, and not the religious innovation (al bida’atush Shar’iyyah). So whatever has an origin in the law, returns to it. If it is said that it is an innovation, then it is an innovation in language, and not in Islaamic Law. So the religious innovation is what does not have an origin for it to return to. So the collecting of the Qur`an into one book has for it an origin in the law to return to, because the Prophet sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had commanded the recording of the Qur`aan, but it was written scattered so the Companions collected it into one book for it’s protection. Indeed the Prophet prayed taraaweeh with his Companions radiallaahu ‘anhum nightly, and they had preferable fear about it in the appointment [of an Imaam], and the continuing of the Companions radiallaahu ‘anhum in praying in separate groups in the lifetime of the Prophet and after his sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing, up until ‘Umar Ibnul Khattaab united them on one Imaam like how they used to be behind the Prophet sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and this is not an innovation in the Religion. And the writing of the Hadeeth also has an origin for it in the Law. Indeed the Prophet sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded the writing of some hadeeths for some of his
Companions radiallaahu ‘anhu, so as to study that from it.
And there was warning against writing it on regular paper according to his sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advice fearing that there would get mixed with the Qur`aan, that which was not from it. So when the Prophet sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away, this warning was done away with – because the Qur`aan was completed, and vowelized before his sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing. So the Muslims recorded the hadeeth after that, preserving it from destruction. And may Allah reward Islaam and the Muslims with good when they preserve the Book of their Lord, and the Sunnah of their Prophet sallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from destruction, and the mockery of the scornful.