Al-Albaani asked about Sayyid Qutb | 11 | Primary and Secondary Innovations

by The Albaani Blog

Al-Albaani referring to the previous interjector’s mention of Imaam ash-Shaatibi’s name says …

Al-Albaani: You reminded me of a statement of ash-Shaatibi, [he had a term], ‘… additional/secondary innovations [al-bidah al-idaafiyyah].’

From this man’s knowledge and understanding of Islaam is that he came up with a precise, scholarly categorisation of innovations, i.e., innovations which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم would universally declare to be misguidance in his khutbahs by saying, ‘… and every innovation is misguidance, and all misguidance is in the Fire.’

He divided innovations into real/primary innovations [al-bid’ah al-haqiqa] and additional/secondary innovations [bid’ah idaafiyyah], and he explained what was intended by both.

So he said, obviously in meaning [and not word for word], that primary innovations are those which openly oppose the Book and the Sunnah or either one of them. He gives some examples of that like the false aqidah of the Jabariyyah for example, and [also the false aqidah] of i’tizaal and khurooj, which have no basis at all in the Book and the Sunnah in any way whatsoever, these are real/primary innovations.

Additional/secondary innovations are those which if looked at from one angle are found to be legislated, and when you look at them from another you will see that they are not. It is in this way that additional/secondary innovations differ from real/primary ones.

I will explain this partially, but [before that] we must stop [to note a point] here: [when someone] goes against what has been prohibited in the Sharee’ah it is not called an innovation but a sin. Many people call cinemas or the new places of entertainment that are found nowadays, which contain lewdness and sins, innovations. It is not allowed to call these places innovations, these are rather forbidden sins, [the only way we can call them innovations is if we stretch it and] go far away from [talking about] innovations in the sharee’ah and said that linguistically these cinemas were not present–but [normally] a person who says that such places/things are misguided innovations does not mean [this linguistic meaning when he says that, and thus should not call them innovations].

[Going back to the categorisation of innovations] all innovations in the religion are blameworthy and they are of the two types just mentioned: either real/primary innovations which have no basis in the Book or the Sunnah, but which [rather] oppose the Book and the Sunnah–like those examples mentioned earlier [of the Jabariyyah etc.]–or secondary innovations which, as we said, if you look at them from one angle you will find them to be legislated but if looked at from another you will find that they are not … and most of the innovations present in the Islamic world today are of this type.

Ash-Shaatibi gives some very clear examples of this, like that of seeking forgiveness after prayer. Seeking forgiveness after prayer is established in Sahih Muslim, he صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم used to seek Allaah’s forgiveness when he would give salaam.  Ash-Shaatibi says that this is a sunnah–but [people] raising their voices together [whilst doing so] is an innovation. So by looking at the fact that this seeking of forgiveness has a basis [in Islaam], then it is a Sunnah, [but] by looking at the unlegislated method of doing it which has been added to this Sunnah, it has become an additional/secondary innovation, and thus it [i.e., the innovated way of doing it], has fallen under those hadith which warn against innovations.

Likewise, he gives another example in which he seeks to put right an issue which it seems was prevalent in his time and about which he relates his [own personal] account. [He said that] an Imaam was appointed in a mosque [where he prayed] and the people had become accustomed to the Imaam turning to face them after he had given salaam and then he would prompt/get them to repeat the words of remembrance and would then raise his hands and supplicate while they would say aameen. Ash-Shaatibi said, ‘So I was perplexed at this predicament, should I … [tape recording unclear here, the word could be ‘follow’] … the people and oppose the Sunnah? Or follow the Sunnah even if the people become hostile towards me?’ And that is what he did, and indeed the arrows of criticism and disparagement and slander were shot at him from every angle.

So he was saying that supplicating after giving salaam does have a basis in the legislation but doing so in this fashion, in unison, making it lengthy and expansive and in unison–these are additions that have been added to the basis of supplication and it has thus become an innovation, something unlegislated.

Like I said, the innovation which is prevalent amongst the Muslims today and is the easiest thing for them, the one they call, ‘A good innovation [al-bid’ah al-hasanah].’ What is their proof? They looked at the [action’s] foundation … [so] for example, adding [the sending of salutations on the Prophet] at the beginning or the end of the call to prayer, they will say, ‘My brother, sending salutations upon the Prophet … the Prophet said that whoever sends prayers upon me once, Allaah will send prayers upon him ten times [so that’s why we add it to the adhaan] …’

But they are ignorant of the fact that these additions have been added to this legislated action and have thus made it misguidance and an innovation and it is not permissible to seek closeness to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, through it.

This is what ash-Shaatibi, may Allaah have mercy on him, meant by additional/secondary innovations.