Imam Nawawi and Hadith 5: Allah Rejects Innovators in Religion
I have been studying the ahadith compiled by al-Nawawi, a highly respected Sunni Muslim scholar (631 – 676 A.H. / 1234 – 1278 A.D.). I would explain the ahadith in the following way:
- Muslims believe the Qur’an is the Word of God.
- Muslims believe the ahadith are the words of the prophet Muhammad.
- Muslims do not believe the words of men are the Word of God; whereas, Christians believe God the Holy Spirit has inspired men to speak God’s Word (2 Samuel 23:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Here is the fifth hadith compiled by Nawawi, first in Arabic and then in English,
عن ام المؤمنين أم عبد الله عـائـشة رضي الله عنها ، قالت : قال رسول الله صلي الله صلى الله عليه وسلم (من أحدث في أمرنا هـذا مـا لـيـس مـنه فهـو رد ). رواه الـبـخـاري [ رقم : 2697 ] ، ومسلم [ رقم :1718 ].
وفي رواية لمسلم : ( مـن عـمـل عـمـلا لـيـس عـلـيه أمـرنا فهـو رد
On the authority of the Mother of the Faithful, Umm `Abdillaah `Aaishah (radi Allaahu ‘anhaa) , who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaau alayhi wa sallam) said:
“He who innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e. Islam] that is not of it will have it rejected [by Allah]”.
[Related by al-Bukhari (صحيح البخاري) and Muslim (صحيح مسلم)]
In one version by Muslim it reads:
He who does an act which we have not commanded, will have it rejected [by Allah].
[Related by al-Bukhaari and Muslim (صحيح مسلم)]
Note the above textual variation. Textual variations are found in hadith, found in the Bible, but Muslims do not believe they are found in the Qur’an.
Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa’s Teaching About Hadith 5
As I discuss below, I am trying to get a non-Western and Muslim interpretation. To do this I have been listening to Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt. Listen to the Ali Gomaa teach about hadith 5,
Ali Goma’a spends the first few minutes talking about epithets with a focus on “Mother of the Faithful” or “Mother of the Believers”.
Ali Gomaa refers to Muhammad as “The most eloquent of Arabs and the master of creatures.”
Ali Gomaa discusses the meaning of “innovation” and he interprets this hadith to mean that there can be change in Islam, but it must come from within according to the manners and customs of Islam. Islam is not a backward religion.
“This religion exceeds time and place and thus it is inevitable to have new things to achieve legitimate aims and interests. These things have to be from this religion.” In accordance with the manners and rules of this religion…Whoever wants the religion to remain rigid, and confined solely to the Prophet’s era, violates Allah’s and his Prophet’s aim; and reverses the cause.”
Islam, An Innovative Religion?
One of the questions this hadith raises in my mind: Isn’t Islam an innovation in religion? By this I mean that Islam has rejected what God previously revealed. This is most evident in Islam’s rejection of Jesus’ death on the cross and the Quran’s teaching about the primordial covenant. Rejection of Jesus’ death on the cross is not only innovative, but irrational and ungodly as I have demonstrated in my book, “Is the Qur’an the Word of God?“ I invite you to read the sample chapter: Jesus’ Death on the Cross and the Quran.