The Obligation of Adhering to the Sunnah and a Caution against Innovation

 perfected
the blessing on us and chose Islam as our religion. May the blessings and peace
be upon His servant and Apostle, who called upon people to obey his Lord and
cautioned against extravagance, innovation and disobedience; And may Allah
bless his posterity, his companions and those who follow his footsteps till the
Day of Judgment.

I
have reviewed with the article published in the first page of the weekly magazine
“Idaarat” of the Kanpur, Industrial city of Utter Pradesh in India.
The writer alleges that the creed of the Salaf (Early adherents to Islam) does
not agree with the Sunnah. By this, the writer aims at creating division
amongst Ahl-us-Sunnah[1]
and encouraging innovations and superstitions. This attitude, no doubt, is most
abominable and dangerous, and it aims at offending the Religion of Islam and
spreading innovations and deviations from the truth. Furthermore, the article
concentrates clearly on the subject of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday  as
an excuse to discuss the creed of others. Therefore, I consider it necessary to
enlighten the People on this subject. So seeking help of Allah, I say [the
following]
:


 In
fact, this act must be prevented, as it is an innovation in the religion. The
Apostle of Allah (ﷺ‬) neither celebrated it, nor did he commanded
others to do so, whether in his commemoration, in any of the previous Prophets,
in his daughters, his wives, or his other relatives. The Khulafaa´-ur-Raashidoon,
the Sahaabah, and the Tabi‘oon who rightly followed them did not celebrate this
event, nor did any of the Muslim scholars in the centuries before.

They
knew the Sunnah of the Prophet  best, they loved him more, and followed the Shari‘a better than those who came after them. If celebrating his birthday was a good deed,
they would have done it.

This
is because of the perfection of the Islamic religion and the Sufficiency of
what Allah and His Messenger have given us and are accepted by Ahl-al-Sunnah
wal-Jama’ah- The Muslim community of the companions and those who followed them
in the best way.

“He who innovates something in this
matter of ours that is not of it, will have it rejected.”
(Transmitted by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

“Whoever does an act which is not in
agreement with our matter, will have it rejected.”

“You must keep to my Sunnah and of the Sunnah
of the rightly-guided Caliphs, cling to it firmly… Beware of newly invented
matters, for every new matter is an innovation and every innovation is misleading.”

“The best discourse is the Book of Allah
and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad the Apostle of Allah, and the
worst matter is that of innovation and every innovation is misleading.”

Thus,
these traditions contain a strong caution against innovations and a warning
that such an act is a deviation from the right course. The Prophet  warned the
people of the gravity of these innovations and of their bad consequences. There
are many traditions adduced in this connection.

“…And whatsoever the messenger (Muhammad
ﷺ‬)
gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids
you, abstain ( from it)…”
(59:7)

“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s
(ﷺ‬) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah: legal way, orders,
acts of worship, statements, etc.)
, (from among the sects) beware, lest some
Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a
tyrant, etc.)
befall them of a painful torment be inflicted on them.”
(24:63)

Allah,
the Almighty said.

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah
(Muhammad, ﷺ‬) you have a good example to follow for him who
hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.”
(33:21)

And
Allah the Almighty said:

“And the first to embrace Islam of the
Muhajiroon (those who migrated from Makkah to al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the
citizens of al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhajiroon)
and also who
followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are
well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow
(Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.”
(9:100)

And
Allah, the Almighty said:

“This day, I have perfected your religion
for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your
religion.”
(5:3)

His
Prophet (ﷺ‬) passed
away only after he had imparted the complete message of Allah to the Ummah as
well as his legislations concerning sayings and deeds. He also stressed that
all things invented by people and then attributed to the religion of Islam are
innovations and to be rejected, even if their inventors did so in good faith.

It
is established that the Companions of the Prophet  and the righteous successors
after them warned the people against innovations as they add to Islam and
legislate what is not permitted by Allah, in line with the enemies of Allah
such as the Jews and the Christians who added to their religion and innovated
what was not allowed by Allah. Moreover, to admit innovation is to say that
Islam is incomplete and imperfect. Such a belief is not only an evil but
contradicts the following verse:
“This day, I
have perfected your religion for you…”
as well as the sayings of the
Prophet which warn us against innovations.

To
celebrate the birthday of Prophet (ﷺ‬) and others
means that the Religion has not been perfected by Allah (I) for this Ummah, and the Apostle
(ﷺ‬) did not
impart to the people what was necessary regarding their religious duties, till
these late ones appeared and invented in the religion what is not permitted by
Allah, thinking that this would bring them nearer to Allah.

Undoubtedly,
this is a great danger and is tantamount to criticizing Allah the Almighty and
the Prophet (ﷺ‬):
whereas Allah the Almighty has already completed the religion and perfected His
grace, and the Prophet (ﷺ‬) has
conveyed the message openly and informed the Ummah of all such ways that will
lead them to the Paradise and save them from Hellfire.

According
to an authentic Hadith, on the authority of Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As the Messenger
of Allah (ﷺ‬) said:

“Allah Ta’ala (the Almighty) did not send
a Prophet but obliged him to lead his people to the best way which is known to
him, and warn them against the worst which is known to him.”
(Transmitted by
Muslim)

It
is well-known that our Prophet (ﷺ‬) is the
best of all the prophets, the last and the most perfect of them regarding the
way he conveyed the message and advised his people.

Had
the celebration of the Milaad (birthday of the Prophet ﷺ‬) been an act of the Religion which
Allah is pleased and has chosen for His servants, the Prophet (ﷺ‬) would have either explained it
to his nation, he would have celebrated it during his life, or his Companions
would have done it. As this did not happen, it becomes clear that Islam has no
concern with Milaad. On the contrary, it is one of the innovations against
which the Prophet has warned his people as mentioned earlier.

A
host of scholars have not only rejected the celebration of Milaad but have
warned against it in view of the evidences given above.

According
to the rule of the Islamic Shari‘a, all matters regarding legalization or
prohibition and all disputes among the people, should be referred to the Book
of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (ﷺ‬) in accordance
with the saying of Allah:

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey
the Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ‬), and those of you (Muslims)
who are in authority. And if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer
it to Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ‬) if you believe in Allah
and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.”

(4:59)

And
Allah The Almighty said:

“And in whatsoever you differ, the
decision thereof is with Allah (He is the Ruling Judge).”
(42:10)

Referring
this issue back to the Book of Allah, we find it ordaining upon us to follow
the Messenger of Allah  (ﷺ‬) in his
Commandments and warns us against what ever he prohibits. Furthermore it tells
us that Allah has perfected the religion for the people. So, as long as Milaad
is not among the teachings of the Prophet (ﷺ‬), it cannot be a part of the religion which Allah
has perfected for us and asked us to adhere to by following the Prophet (ﷺ‬).

Again
when we refer this issue back to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ‬), we do not find either the
Prophet (ﷺ‬) or the
Companions doing it by themselves or asking others to do it. So it becomes
evident that Milaad is not a part of religion, but rather that it is one of innovations
and blind imitation of the people of the book, i.e. the Jews and the Christians
in their festivals. With this argument in mind, it becomes crystal clear for
everyone having the least insight and inclination towards truth and justice,
that celebrating any birthday has nothing to do with Islam. It is rather among
the innovations which Allah and His Messenger  (ﷺ‬) warned against emphatically.

A
wise man must not be deceived by seeing a large number of people doing it
throughout the world because the truth is known and recognized by the evidences
of Shari‘a and not by the acts of a great number of people.

“And they say, ‘None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.’ These are their own desires. Say (Muhammad ﷺ‬) ‘Produce your proof if you are truthful.’ ” (2:111)

And
the Almighty also said:

“And if you obey most of those on earth,
they will mislead you far away from Allah’s Path. They follow nothing but
conjectures, and they do nothing but lie.”
(6:116)

Most
of these innovations, in addition to their innovatory nature, also do not
usually escape from a number of other evils, such as mixed gatherings of men
and women, songs accompanied by musical instruments. drinking intoxicants,
narcotics and the like. They may also involve the worst thing i.e. the Greater
Shirk, through showing exaggeration in the Messenger of Allah  and other saints
and through praying to him, invoking his help or believing that he knows what
is hidden and all similar claims which render a believer as an infidel. It is
authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ‬) has said:

“Beware of extravagance in the Religion; it
has caused the people before you to perish.”

He
also said:

“Do not lavish praise on me as the
Christians did with the son of Maryam. I am just a bondman. So Simply say: ‘The
bondman of Allah and His Messenger.”
(Transmitted by Bukhari)

It
is curious to note that a great many people participate most actively in these
celebrations and defend them vehemently, while they sit back from attending the
obligatory forms of worship such as daily and Friday prayers. They are not even
ashamed of this, nor do they realize that they are committing a great evil.

Undoubtedly,
this shows the weakness of their faith, their short-sightedness, and the deeply
ingrained rust on their hearts because of sins and disobedience. We ask Allah’s
protection for us and for all the Muslims.

It
is even more astonishing to note that some people believe that the Messenger of
Allah (ﷺ‬) is
present at Milaad. Consequently they stand to greet and Welcome him. That is
not only a sheer lie but a worst form of ignorance, as the Prophet (ﷺ‬) shall neither come out of his
grave before the Day of Resurrection, nor shall he meet the people or attend
their meetings. Instead, he shall remain in his grave till the Day of
Resurrection while his soul rests at the highest of the high with his Lord in
the most exalted and highest place.

Allah
(I) says:

“After that, surely, you will die. Then
(again), you will be resurrected on the Day of Resurection.”
(23:15-16)

The
Prophet  (ﷺ‬) said:

“I am the first one to rise from the
grave on the Resurrection Day, I will be the first intercessor, and the first
one whose intercession is to be accepted.”

The
aforesaid evidences from the Qur`an and Hadith prove beyond doubt that the dead
people will come out of their graves only on the Day of Resurrection. All the
scholars of Islam agree upon this. A Muslim should be aware of these things and
must not be easily misled by the innovations and the superstitions created by
the ignorant people with no authority from Allah at all.

As
for offering the blessings and greetings (Salaat and Salam) to the Prophet (ﷺ‬), they are among the most preferred
and virtuous deeds, in accordance with the saying of Allah:

“Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His
angels [as well ask him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to
confer]
blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace. (33:56)

The
Prophet (ﷺ‬) said:

“Whosoever sends blessings on me one
time, Allah sends blessings on him ten times.”

 It
is held obligatory at last Tashshahud of each prayer by most of the scholars.
It is strongly required at a number of occasions such as immediately after
Adhaan, at the mention of the name of the Prophet (ﷺ‬), during the day of Friday and
the night preceding it according to a host of Ahadith.

This
is what I wanted to emphasize regarding this issue. I hope it will satisfy
everyone whom Allah has shown the light.

How
sad it is to see some devoted Muslims, known for their strength of faith and
love for the Prophet (ﷺ‬)
organizing such innovatory celebrations.

Let
us ask such people: “Tell us, if you belong to Ahl-us-Sunnah and follow the
Prophet (ﷺ‬),
whether he himself or one of his Companions or their Successors did this or is
it no more than a blind following of the enemies of Islam from among the Jews
and the Christians and the like?”

The
love of the Prophet (ﷺ‬) is not
reflected by the celebration on his birthday, but by obeying him, believing in
his teachings, keeping away from what he prohibited and by worshipping Allah in
the way he prescribed for us.

It
is also reflected through offering Salaat and Salam to him from time to time,
particularly at the mention of his name and during prayers.

The
Wahhabiyyah, as the writer tends to put it, are not new in rejecting all such
innovations. Their creed is to hold fast to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of
His Messenger (ﷺ‬): to
follow his footsteps and those of his rightly guided successors: to believe and
practice what was propounded by the virtuous predecessors and the Imams of
learning and guidance who were capable to issue religious injunction concerning
the knowledge of Allah, and His attributes of perfection and dignity as shown
in the Glorious Book and the authentic traditions of the Prophet (ﷺ‬) and as wholeheartedly accepted
by his companions. The Wahhabiyyah believe in them, the way they are reported
without any alteration, personification, or giving example or negation of such
attributes. They stick to the way of successors and their followers from among
the people of learning, faith and piety. They believe that the foundation of
the faith is to bear witness that there is none to be worshipped except Allah
and that Muhammad (ﷺ‬) is the
Messenger of Allah. To them, this is the root of faith and one of its most
exalted branches as well.

They
know in accordance with the consensus of the Muslims, that this root requires
knowledge, acknowledgement and practice.

It
implies that none is to be worshipped except Allah the Almighty. Who has no
associates at all. It further implies the negation of worshipping any other
except Him. It shows why jinn and mankind were created; why the Messengers were
sent and why the Books were revealed.

In
addition, ‘Ibadah (worship) is not only complete submission and love but also
complete obedience and veneration as well. Islam is the only religion
prescribed by Allah and disseminated by the prophets and nothing, save it, is
acceptable to Allah whether in the past or the present. The one who submits his
will to Allah as well as to someone else beside Him is a Mushrik (polytheist).
The same is true for the one who prays to Allah and someone else beside Him. As
for the one who does not submit to Him, he is arrogant concerning his duties
towards his Creator. Allah the Almighty Says:

“And verily, We have sent among every
Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allah (alone),
and avoid (or keep away from) Taghoot (all false deities etc).’ ”
(16:36)

Thus
the creed of the Wahhabiyyah is based upon fulfillment of witnessing that
Muhammad (ﷺ‬) is the
Messenger of Allah and completely abandoning all innovations, superstitions and
whatever goes against the Shari‘a.

This
is what Shaikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab – may Allah have mercy upon him –
believed and invited others to believe. Whoever accredits to him anything
contrary to it, does not only lie but commits a great sin and claims what is
totally unfounded. He will, no doubt, receive what Allah has promised to all
the fabricators of lies.

The
Shaikh has shown – through a series of his well-known treatises and scholarly
books on the topic of the Declaration of Unity:
La ilaha ill-Allah. – that no
one deserves worship except Allah the Almighty and that this type of worship
should be devoid of all sorts of Shirk (associating partners with Allah)
whether big or small. Anyone who is aware of these writings, his way of
preaching and calling people to Allah and of the way of his pupils and
disciples, can easily find out that his approach was not different from that of
our virtuous predecessors, the great Imams of learning and guidance. Indeed, he
has propounded what they did throughout their lives concerning the worship of
Allah Alone and leaving all innovations and superstitions aside.

It
is in no need of any addition after what Allah and His Prophet have ordained
and what the Ahl-al-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah, from among the Companions, the
Successors and their followers have already received. To forbid celebrating the
birthday of the Prophet (ﷺ‬) due to
its innovative nature in addition to the signs of extravagance and Shirk
normally associated with it, is not un-Islamic, nor is it or derogatory to the
Prophet (ﷺ‬).
Instead, it is an act of obedience as the Prophet (ﷺ‬) himself said:

“Beware of the extravagance in matters of
religion. Those before you have perished because of extravagance in the matters
of religion.”

Again
he (ﷺ‬) said:

“Do not lavish praise on me as the
Christians did with the son of Maryam. I am but a bondman. So simply say: ‘Slave
of Allah and His Messenger.’ ”

This
is what I wanted to point out regarding the aforesaid article.

May
Allah help us and all the Muslims to understand His religion, to continually
confirm us on it, stick to Sunnah and keep away from the innovation. Indeed He
is Generous and Kind.

And
May Allah Shower His blessings and mercy upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family
and his Companions.

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