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Innovations of Guidance in Islam

Imam Muslim related from the route of Jarir Ibn ^Abdullah, that the Prophet said:

«من سنَّ في الإسلام سنة حسنة فله أجرها وأجر من عمل بها إلى يوم القيامة، لا ينقص من أجورهم شىء ومن سنَّ فِى الإسلام سنة سيئة فعليه وزرها ووزر من عمل بها إلى يوم القيامة لا ينقص من أوزارهم شىء»

This hadith of the Prophet means: <<The one who innovates a good innovation in Islam has its reward and a reward similar to those who follow him in it--until the Day of Judgment--without lessening their reward. The one who innovates an innovation of misguidance would be sinful for it and has sins similar to those who follow him in it--until the Day of Judgment--without lessening their sins.>>

This hadith, which is confirmed and of the sahih classification, is a foundation for proving the validity of the good innovations in Islam. The good innovation is called the 'liked innovation'. The saying of the Prophet in the hadith refers to the good innovation as opposed to the bad innovation signifying that it includes those innovations that comply with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

Every innovation innovated by the people of knowledge that complies with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet is a good innovation, as indicated by the above-mentioned hadith of the Prophet: <<The one who innovates a good innovation in Islam has its reward and the reward of those who practice it until the Day of Judgement, without lessening the rewards of those who practice it>>.

The Prophet mentioned this hadith in relation to a specific incident which occurred when a group of very poor people came to the Prophet. They were so poor that they could not afford an article of clothing for both the upper and lower part of their bodies. Out of their poverty, they covered their bodies by wearing a sheet of material with an opening cut in it for the head. These people were not inhabitants of al-Madinah, though they had come there out of their love and desire to meet the Prophet. When the Prophet saw their state of poverty, the expression on his face changed to sadness. The Prophet urged the Muslims to contribute and pay in charity to those needy people what would be enough to lift their sadness and their need. One man stood up, came forward, and put something between the hands of the Prophet as a contribution to those people. Another came forward with a contribution, then a third, and a fourth. One brought food and another clothing--until a large quantity gathered between the hands of the Prophet. At that time, the face of the Prophet expressed happiness, and he said: <<The one who innovates a good innovation in Islam has its reward and the reward of those who practice it until the Day of Judgement, without lessening the rewards of those who practice it>>.