The people do not introduce an innovation, except that they lose its like from the Sunnah – Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 08 : Point 05
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

The author Imam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said,

“And know that the people never introduce an innovation, until they abandon its like from the Sunnah. So beware of forbidden matters, for every new introduction is an innovation (bid`ah) and every innovation is misguidance, and misguidance and its people will be in the Fire.”

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The Explanation (Transcription of above Audio):

This is a tremendous point of wisdom and it is something reported as a saying from the Salaf, that they said, “The people do not introduce an innovation, except that they lose its like from the Sunnah.” [01] Because the Sunnah and innovation cannot be combined, except that one of them will expel the other, so a person cannot be an innovator and a person of Sunnah. Rather either he will be an innovator or a person of the Sunnah, they cannot both be combined in him. So one of them will necessarily expel the other, and this is from the harmful effects of innovation.

And this point of wisdom narrated is confirmed by experience, and the witness for this and its proof is, that you will find the people of innovation having hatred for the authentic ahaadeeth [02], and having hatred for the matters of the Sunnah (sunan). And the worst enemy to them and the most hateful thing that they can hear, is that it is said, “Such and such hadeeth prohibits such and such.” or, “It forbids such and such.” They do not want to hear the hadeeth and the sunan which contradict what they are upon. So this is a sign that the Sunnah and innovation cannot come together.

As for the person who is upon the Sunnah, then if he hears a hadeeth from Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam then he becomes happy with that. And he adds something good to the good which he already possesses. And he adds knowledge to his knowledge. The person of Sunnah he is happy with the ahaadeeth of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. Whereas the person of innovation he has aversion for the ahaadeeth of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. This is something very clear in the innovators. And they wage war in the matters from the Sunnah, because these things put an end to the innovations which they are upon. And this is a deterrent against innovation, and that they also cause matters of the Sunnah to pass away, and they cause love of matters of the Sunnah to pass away from the hearts.

His saying, “So beware of forbidden matters.” Because forbidden matters have no good in them, whether these forbidden matters relate to shirk [03] or kufr [04] or matters of sin, because Allaah will not forbid something and there is good in it. He will only forbid something which is purely evil, or something which the evil of it outweighs the good or an evil which is equal. So if good and evil come together in something, then if the evil is more or equal then you should avoid it, and if the good is more then there is no harm in taking hold of it. And a slight evil found in it along with the greater good is excused.

His saying, “For every new introduction is a bid`ah (an innovation) and every innovation is misguidance.” – this is the textual wording of the hadeeth of al-`Irbaad ibn Saariyah radiyAllaahu `anhu who said, “Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam gave us an admonition from which the hearts trembled and the eyes shed tears, so therefore we said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, it is as if it is the admonition given by one who is departing (a farewell admonition), so therefore advise us.’ So he, sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, I council you with being dutiful to (having taqwaa/ being fearful of) Allaah, and with hearing and obeying, even if a slave is appointed over you.’”

And in one narration, “an Abyssinian slave whose head is as if it is a raisin.”

“`For whoever lives long amongst you, then he will see very great differing. So adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided orthodox Khulafaa after me. Cling onto it and bite onto it with your premolar teeth. And beware of newly introduced affairs.’”

This is a warning, “iyyaaka”, “beware of”. It is a word of warning.

“`Beware of newly introduced affairs, for every newly introduced affair is a bid`ah (an innovation) and every innovation is misguidance.”” [05]

And in one narration there occurs the wording,

“and every misguidance will be in the Hellfire.” [06]

Every newly introduced affair is a bid`ah, an innovation, and what is meant by a newly introduced affair is: in the Religion. As for newly introduced affairs with regards to customs/everyday habits and with regard to worldly benefits and with regard to types of food and drinks and clothing, then these are innovations in the language sense. They are not innovations in the legislated sense, but rather newly introduced affairs in the Religion, they are the forbidden innovations.

And this contains a refutation of those who divide innovations into categories, dividing them into good innovations and bad innovations, and permissible innovations. And they say that they fall under the five rulings [07]; then this is a mistake, because innovations, bida`, in the Religion, all of them are misguidance, by the textual statement of the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam, that he said, “For every new introduction is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance.”

And I think that what they have done is to enter those things which are an innovation with regards to the language, and they call these things good innovations. And innovations in the linguistic sense are permissible, for example, building schools and building accommodation buildings for students of knowledge and such as putting vowel points on the mus.hafs, (the written copy of the Qur·aan) and the like of that. They call these good innovations, but these are not innovations, these are matters that follow on from the sunnahs and are revival of the sunnahs. So building schools and building accommodation buildings for students of knowledge and printing the mus.hafs and putting vowel points on them, all of these are an aid upon knowledge, so they are something good and they are sunnahs. So these people are either taking good practices and calling them innovations, or they are calling matters of custom innovations when they do not enter into the Religion, because they are from the affairs of this world, so they do not enter into the Religion.

His saying, “And misguidance and its people will be in the Fire.” – as occurs in the hadeeth, “and all misguidance will be in the Fire.”

And as occurs in the hadeeth of the different sects (that Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said), “And this nation will split into seventy-three sects, all of them in the Fire except for one.” [08]

So this is a proof that the people of innovation will be in the Fire and they vary in level. From them are those who will be in the Fire because of their disbelief, and some of them will be in the Fire because of his sin and from them will be those who remain in the Fire forever, and from them will be those who do not remain forever in it; but rather the ruling of such a person will be the same as the ruling of the people of the major sins. [9] [10]

Points discussed by Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah:

  • Introducing innovation into the Religion leads to abandoning its like from the Sunnah
  • The people of innovation have hatred for the authentic ahaadeeth (narrations) and matters of the Sunnah
  • The People of the Sunnah are happy with the narrations and increase in knowledge
  • Allaah forbids only that which is purely evil, or its evil outweighs its good or an evil that is equal
  • Slight evil found in something along with the greater good is excused
  • Every innovation is misguidance and its proof
  • What is meant by the word ‘bid`ah’ or ‘innovation’ in the Legislation
  • What is not included in the legislative meaning of ‘bid`ah’
  • Some of the people of innovation will be in the Fire forever and some will not remain there forever
  • Some of the people of innovation will be in the Fire for their disbelief and some of  them will enter it due to their sin


[01] It has already preceded that this was the saying of Hassaan ibn `Attiyah rahimahullaah…

Translator’s side point: As for this report, that it is reported from him that he said, “No people introduce an innovation in their Religion except that Allaah removes from their Sunnah its like, then He does not return it to them until the Day of Resurrection.” This report is mentioned as the saying of Hassaan ibn `Attiyyah, reported by ad-Daarimee and al-Laalikaa·ee and declared authentic by Shaykh al-Albaanee in his checking of al-Mishkaat. Shaykh Al-Albaanee said in al-Mishkaat (no. 188), “And it is also related as being a saying of Aboo Hurayrah reported by Abul-`Abbaas al-Asam in a hadeeth.”

(Refer to the continuation of the footnote in the Maktabatur-Rushd edition of this book for a quote from Shaykhul-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah on this point with regard to the people of innovation).

[02] Editor’s note: plural of the Arabic word ‘hadeeth’
[03] Editor’s note: polytheism
[04] Editor’s note: disbelief

[05] This (hadeeth of al-`Irbaad ibn Saariyah) has preceded.

Translator’s side point: It was reported by Imaam Ahmad and Aboo Daawood and At-Tirmithee and Ibn Maajah. This hadeeth was declared saheeh (authentic) by Shaykh Al-Albaanee.

[06] Translator’s side point: This particular wording occurs in a hadeeth of Jaabir ibn `Abdillaah radiyAllaahu `anhumaa reported by an-Nasaa·ee as hadeeth 1578, in the Book of the Two `Eed prayers, Chapter 22, How The Khutbah is Given; also reported by Ibn Khuzaymah, where he mentioned Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam used to give a khutbah (an address) and he would praise Allaah and repeat words of praise upon Him as He deserves, and then he would say, “Whomever Allaah guides then none can misguide him, and whomever He misguides, then none can guide him. And the truest speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best way is the Way of Muhammad. And the worst of affairs are the newly introduced affairs, and every newly introduced affair is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire.Shaykh alAlbaanee declared that narration saheeh (authentic) also.

[07] Translator’s side point: What they meant was the five rulings of Islaam, the five rulings of all affairs, meaning: 1. those things which are obligatory, 2. those things which are recommended, 3. those things which are permissible 4. those things which are disliked and 5. those things which are forbidden.

[08] The checking for this has preceded.
Translator’s side point: Reported by at-Tirmithee and al-Haakim, and declared hasan (good) by Shaykh al-Albaanee.

[09] Translator’s side point abridged from the explanation of Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee rahimahullah on the same point as the author, “And know that the people do not introduce innovation until they leave its like from the Sunnah”: He mentions the seriousness of this matter of introducing innovations, that when a person does that, he does two forbidden things. A person introduces an innovation into his Religion, then he has introduced an innovation which is forbidden and he will have abandoned a matter of the Sunnah which is also something forbidden. Then he gives some evidences for that; some aayahs from Sooratul-Anfaal the 24th and 25th aayahs; Sooratun-Noor, the 24th soorah, aayahs 48-50; and Sooratun-Nisaa·, aayah 115; and he explains those aayahs. Then he says at the end of the discussion,

“So there is a threat upon the person who abandons matters of the Sunnah and introduces innovations, there is a tremendous threat away from it…” And he mentions more of these aayahs. “…And likewise as occurs in His Saying, He the Most High,

And whoever contends with the Messenger after the Guidance has been made clear to him, and follows others than the way of the Believers, then We will land him in the path he has chosen and We will burn him in the Fire of Hell, and what an evil destination.(Sooratun-Nisaa· (4), aayah 115)

And just as occurs in the saying of the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa salaam,

‘All of my nation will enter Paradise, except for those who refuse.’ So they said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah and who would refuse?’ So he said, ‘Whoever obeys me he will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me then he has refused.’ (Hadeeth reported by al-Bukhaaree, no. 7280)

“The person of innovation is one who is disobedient to Allaah and his Messenger. He is following his desires, venerating his own self, claiming by his condition that his opinion and his desires are better than that which the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam came with. So therefore beware from being from those people, such that you will have the threat of the Fire upon you, and Allaah’s refuge is sought. And Allaah is the One who grants success.”

(Irshaadus-Saaree fee Sharhis-Sunnati lil-Barbahaaree, pp 50-52)

[10] Translator’s side point: Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee hafizahullaah mentioned in his explanation the famous saying of Imaam Sufyaan Ath-Thowree rahimahullaah, “Innovation is more beloved to Iblees (the devil) than sin, because a person may repent from sin, but a person does not repent from innovation.” (Reported by al-Laalikaa·ee in Sharh Usool I`tiqaad Ahlis-Sunnah).

Transcribed by Umm `Abbaas Zaynab `Abdullah. Download PDF of Lesson 08

Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

Listen to the full Audio Series of Sharhu Sunnah
Sharh-us-Sunnah – Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan – Dawood Burbank [Audio|En]

Visit : Book Study of Sharhu Sunnah – Imam Barbaharee

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