Adding To Something Good Is Not Always Good
Righteous actions are only according to righteous intentions, and a good intention does not make something which is futile correct. This is because intentions alone cannot make an action correct, but rather complying with the Sharee’ah (Prescribed Laws) must be added to that. [Refer to Madaarijus-Saalikeen (1/85) of Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah)]
This article is an excerpt from “Al-Bid’ah wa Atharuhus-Sayyi fil-Ummah” (pp.22-36) by Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee, with slight editing.
Adding to something good is not good, because addition in good is evil, and this is something that is witnessed in everything. Thus, a matter, when it goes beyond its limits, changes to its opposite. So bravery, when it is added to, turns into rashness, and if it is decreased from , then it becomes cowardice. And generosity, if its limits are exceeded, then it becomes wastefulness, and if it is fallen short of, then it becomes miserliness. So the best of the affairs are the justly-balanced ones.
We all are familiar with this hadeeth :
‘Amr ibn Salamah narrated:
We used to sit at the door of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood before the morning Prayer, so that when he would come out we would walk with him to the mosque. One day Abu Moosaa al-Ash’aree came to us and said: Has Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan (i.e. Ibn Mas’ood) come out yet? We replied: No! So he sat down with us until he came out. When he came out we all stood along with him, so Abu Moosaa said to him: O Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan! I have just seen something in the mosque which I deemed to be evil, but – and all praise is for Allaah – I did not see anything except good. Ibn Mas’ood inquired: “What did you see?”
Abu Moosaa replied: If you live, you too will see it. In the mosque I saw people sitting in circles awaiting the Prayer. In each circle they had pebbles in their hands and a man would say: repeat Allaahu Akhar a hundred times. So they would repeat it a hundred times. Then he would say: repeat Laa ilaaha illallaah a hundred times. So they would repeat it a hundred times. Then he would say: repeat SubhaanAllaah a hundred times. So they would say it a hundred times.
Ibn Mas’ood then asked: “What did you say to them?” Abu Moosaa said: I did not say anything to them. Instead I waited to hear your view, or what you declared. Then we went along with him, until he came to one of these circles and stood up and said: “What is this I see you doing?”
They replied: O Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan! These are pebbles upon which we are counting takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh.
He said to them: “Rather, count up your evil deeds. For I assure you that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe be to you O Ummah of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! How quickly you head into destruction! These are the Companions of your Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and who are widespread. There are his clothes which have not yet decayed, and his bowl which is unbroken. By Him in whose Hand is my soul! Either you are upon a religion better guided than the Religion of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or you are opening the doors of misguidance.”
They said: O Abu ‘Abdur-Rahmaan! By Allaah! We only intend good. He said to them: “How many there are who intend good, but do not achieve it. Indeed Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to us: “A people will recite the Qur’aan, but it will not pass beyond their throats.” By Allaah I do not know, but perhaps most of them are from you.”
Then he left. Amr ibn Salamah said: We saw most of those people fighting against us on the day of Nahrawaan, alongside the Khawaarij.
[Related by ad-Daarimee in his Sunan (1/79), at-Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer (9/126) and Abu Nu’aym in Hilyatul-Awliyaa (4/381). It was authenticated by al-Haythamee in Majma’uz-Zawaa’id (1/181)]
And ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood radiallaahu ‘anhu was not alone amongst the Companions in condemning innovations. So here we find ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu, who was one of severest from the Companions in condemning innovations and abandoning the innovators.
So once he heard a man sneezing and saying: Praise be to Allaah and may the salaah and salaam (the praises of Allaah and blessings of peace) be upon Allaah’s Messenger. So he said to him: What is this? This is not what Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam taught us, rather he said: “When one of you sneezes then let him praise Allaah. “ And he did not say: And also send salaah (blessings of peace) upon Allaah’s Messenger. [Related by at-Tirmidhee (no.2738) and al-Mizzee in Tahdheebul-Kamaal (no.552-553). The isnaad is good.]
Likewise was the practice of the taabi’een (those who met the Companions and clung to their way). So in this regard there is what is reported from Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib (d. 90H) rahimahullaah, that he saw a man praying after the appearance of dawn, more than two rak’ahs, making many rukoos (bowings) and sajdahs (prostrations), so he forbade him from this. So the man said: O Abu Muhammad (i.e. Ibn al-Musayyib)! Will Allaah punish me for my Prayer? So he said: “No! But He will punish you for opposing the Sunnah (Prophetic guidance).” [Related by al-Bayhaqee is as-Sunanul-Kubraa (2/466) and the isnaad is authentic]
Points Of Benefits
And these narrations contain many good points of benefit, so from them:-
[i] The Companions rebutting everyone who went against the au thenticSunnah, sometimes being very severe in their rebuttal, even if it was against their own fathers and sons.
[ii] That bid’ah at-tarkiyyah is misguidance: And this type of bid’ah(innovation) is one for which there is a proof to establish the action, except that the people deliberately leave the action, thinking that it is a part of the Religion, or something similar to it. For example, some of the Soofees who abandon marriage in order to emasculate themselves. The proof for this being misguidance is from Allaah – the Most High’s – saying:
“O you who Believe! Do not make haraam (unlawful) the good things that Allaah has made halaal (lawful) to you, and do not transgress. Indeed Allaah does not love the transgressors. And eat of the things that Allaah has provided for you, lawful and good, and have taqwaa(fear and obedience) of Allaah in Whom you believe.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:87-88].
So this aayah (verse) is concerned with a single meaning, which is: making forbidden that which Allaah has allowed from the good and pure things, and doing so as a matter of religion. And Allaah has forbidden this, and considered it as going beyond the limits, since it is transgressing upon Allaah’s right, in that He alone has the right to prescribe and legislate. And Allaah does not love those who transgress the limits. Then Allaah affirmed the allowance of these things with an even greater emphasis by His saying:
“And eat of the things that Allaah has provided for you, lawful and good, and have taqwaa (fear and obedience) of Allaah in Whom you believe.” [Soorah al-Maa’idah 5:87-88].
Then he ordered them to have taqwaa (piety and obedience to Him). So this shows that the forbiddance of what Allaah has made lawful, in any form, is outside the bounds of taqwaa.
Therefore, the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to those three men who came to the houses of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, asking about his worship and then on being informed about it, considered their own worship to be very little, so they said: What a great difference there is between us and the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whose previous and latter sins have been forgiven by Allaah. So one of them said: I will always Pray during the night. The other one said: I will always fast during the day and not break my fast. And the third of them said: I will keep away from women and never get married. Then Allaah’s Messenger came to them and said: “Are you the people who said such and such? By Allaah! I am the one who is the most knowledgeable about Allaah amongst you, and the one who has the most taqwaa of Him. Yet I fast and break my fast, I pray and I sleep, and I marry women. So whosoever turns away from my Sunnah (guidance) is not from me.” [Related by al-Bukhaaree (9/104) and Muslim (9/175)]
So if the Companions radiallaahu ‘anhum left for us words of deep insight and which clearly enlighten the hearts, then men after them, who likewise attained the truth from this light, have also left for us words which are almost like the words of the Companions. And this is because they were those who very closely followed in the footsteps of the Companions – and the likes of their sayings have already preceded. However we add here a final example of their stance of truth:
Thus, a man came to Imaam Maalik (d.179H)- rahimahullaah – and said: O Abu ‘Abdullaah! Where shall I enter the state of ihraam (the dress for one intending to do Pilgrimage)?
So Imaam Maalik replied: “From Dhul-Hulayfah, where Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered the state of ihraam.“
The man then said: But I wish to enter the state of ihraam at the mosque by his grave.
So Imaam Maalik said: “Do not do that, for I fear for you the fitnah (trial).“
So the man said: What fitnah are you referring to, since it is only a few extra miles:
So Imaam Maalik said: “And what fitnah can be greater than for you to think that you have attained some virtue, which Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam fell short of. Have you not heard the saying of Allaah:
“Let those beware who oppose the command of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, lest they are afflicted with fitnah (trial), or lest they are afflicted with a painful punishment.” [Soorah an-Noor 24:63].”
[Related by Imaam ash-Shaatibee in al-I’tisaam (1/132)]
End of Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee’s words.
Shaykh-ul-Islaam Ibn ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullaah) said:
“If bid’ah only consisted of Lies, then it would not have been accepted and everybody would even hurry to condemn it and refute it. And if it only consisted of Haqq (truth), then it would not have been a Bid’ah, rather, in agreement with the Sunnah, but it (Bid’ah) consist of both truth and lies in which the truth is clothed with lies.” [as-Sawaa’iq al-Mursalah (3/925)]
So if we take some examples from the level of the people of knowledge, from the Companions, the taabi’een (their followers) and the Imaams of the Muslim who followed in their footsteps; whose excellence has been testified to, we find that which brings delight to the heart of one who seeks to follow his Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whilst also being free from innovations and those connected to it.