|"He who innovates something that is not in agreement with our matter (religion), will have it rejected." [Al-Bukharee and Muslim]|
This is because innovation in religion is an opposition to Islaam; it implies that our religion is incomplete and imperfect with regards to the matters of worship. Shaikh Ibn 'Uthaimeen says: "Innovation entails the adoption of dangerous ways":
Most people who were preoccupied with innovation, neglected the Sunnah. The Salaf (our predecessor Muslims) who were adherents to Islaam, said: "Whenever a people introduce a Bid'ah (an innovation), they destroyed its counterpart in the Sunnah."
|"The principles of innovation were based on the refutation of Sunnah principles using doubt and whims, like Iblees (Satan) when he doubted Allaah's commands according to his whims." (Majmoo' Al-Fataawa, 3/286-287)|
Peculiar to the innovators are their ignorant view of Allaah, increasing divisions and severe hatred. Ibn Al-Qayyim, rahimahu Allaah, said about the innovators:
|"If you look at innovators you will find that they are different, divided into sects and as far as worshipping is concerned, you will not find that two of them are adopting the same method. They would introduce innovations to each other. More than that, you will find that their innovations culminate into disbelief. For instance, you will find the son accusing his father of disbelief, the brother accusing his brother of disbelief, and the neighbour accusing his neighbour of disbelief. They are in constant conflict and hate each other, their differences cost them their lives and their discourse has never been common." (Mukhtasar Al-Sawaa'iq Al-Mursalah, 2/425).|
Therefore, their divisions paradoxically unites them on the hatred of the Sunnah and its people, so woe to the innovators in what their hands have earned. Their evil deeds overshadow all evil, and the damage they have inflicted upon the Muslim Ummah is bigger than that caused by sinners. Shaikh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah says:
|"The leaders of innovation inflict more damage upon the Ummah than sinners. That is why the Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, ordered the killing of the Khawaarij and warned against the killing of the unjust followers." (Majmoo' Al-Fataawa 7/284)|
With the foregoing in mind, we must confront the innovators, point out their deviations and protect the Ummah from their evil acts by spreading the religious science and the principles of Ahlus-Sunna Wal-Jamaa'ah's 'Aqeedah (creed) and by advising people how to acquire it (i.e. 'Aqeedah) from its people. 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood says: "seek knowledge before it is seized, and it's seizure means the disappearance of scholars. Do not delve deeply into knowledge, do not innovate and stick to the old (i.e. the authentic)." [Ad-Daarimee]
However, it is not fair to label anything new as innovation because it might be unknown or misinterpreted. This has been explained by Shaikh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah: "what has been proved abominable, based on the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, whether it be innovations or non- innovations, when said or practised by a person, this person may have some excuse due to his Ijtihaad (individual judgment over a matter, if he is a scholar) or permissible Taqleed (imitation) of a scholar when this person is an 'Aaammee (Islaamically uneducated) (Majmoo' Al-Fataawa, 10/371-372).
We should bear in mind that innovators are not equal in knowledge, ignorance, competence, approval, belief and hypocrisy. This has been explained by Shaikh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah:
|"Among the innovators, there are the hypocrite and the atheist; these are non-believers. This type of people is found more among the Rafidites (a Shiate sect) and Al-Jahamiyyah (a sect who denies Allaah's attributes, among other serious deviations). Their leaders were known to be hypocrites and atheists. However, among those who innovate is that who is a believer but has some degree of ignorance and injustice which has led him to deviate from the Sunnah. Such person is not a Kaafir (a disbeliever) nor a hypocrite. He may be sinful or disobedient but he might as well be forgiven and excused because he has mistakenly misinterpreted the issue." (Majmoo' Al-Fataawa 3/353)|