Hadith 5. Innovations Part A

On the authority of the mother of the faithful Um Abdillah A’isha (radiyaAllahu ‘anha) who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

“He who innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e. Islam] that which is not of it will have it rejected [by Allah]”.

Reported by Bukhari and Muslim

In one narration by Muslim, it reads: “He who does an act which we have not commanded will have it rejected (by Allah)”.

Brief Commentary:

  • This is one of the main ahadith that the religion revolves around
  • The first hadith from the 40 nawawi dealt with internal aspects of acceptance of deeds, and this hadith deals with external aspects of acceptance
  • Without fulfilling both internal AND external aspects of acceptance of deeds, then the deed will not be accepted, hence this hadith is essential as it is not sufficient to just have a good intention for the action to be accepted
  • Najm Al-deen Al-Tufi said it covers half of the proofs of this religion, because proofs are either used for validity or invalidity of actions, and this hadith deals with invalidity of actions
  • Allah says in Surah Al-Maidah, [5:3] {…Today I have completed your religion for you…}, so by the religion being complete, we know that Allah has not left any good or bad except that He told us about it
  • Allah says in Surah Al-Nahl, [16:89] {…And we have brought down the Qur’an to you explaining everything…}, therefore we understand that this religion is comprehensive
  • Ibn Al-Qayyim said about Islam:
    • The message is directed to the whole of mankind
    • The message is sufficient, remedial, and general
  • Similarities between a sin and an innovation:
    • Both despised and warned against
    • Both sins, but every innovation is a sin whilst not every sin is an innovation
    • Both have different levels e.g. major, minor etc
    • Both destructive to the religion
  • Differences between a sin and an innovation:
    • A sin has a particular evidence for its prohibition, but the evidences against an innovation are more general
    • An innovation is attributed to the religion, but a sin is not
    • A sinner usually repents from his sin, but the innovator does not
  • The linguistic meanings of بدعة  are:
    • Newly invented
    • Fatigueness
  • The shar’i (Islamic) meaning for بدعة  is derived from the hadith and composes of 3 parts:
    • Newly invented (He who innovates)
    • Ascribed to the religion (in this matter of ours)
    • No basis in this religion (that which is not of it)
  • For something to be considered as an innovation, it must fulfil all the 3 components of innovation as mentioned above


Benefits and action points:

  • Appreciate Allah’s blessings over us by completing the religion for us so that we do not need to look elsewhere to get closer to him
  • Be grateful to Allah that every possible way to get closer to Him has been defined, so we can get closer to Him in the best way possible
  • Avoid falling into innovations as they can be more destructive than sins because a sinner repents, but an innovator doesn’t as they don’t know they are sinning
  • Understand what an innovation is so as to correctly avoid it (More details on innovations will be given in Part 2 of the hadith inshallah)

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