In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Allâh’s Beautiful Name: Al-Badee:
In this lecture, we will be explaining the thirty-first of Allah’s Beautiful Names, “Al-Badee’” (The Innovator), which is mentioned in Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran, in this Verse:
“(Allah is) The Innovator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: ‘Be!’ and it is.”
In other words, it is Allah, All Mighty, Who innovated the heavens and the earth, i.e. He made them according to no former example and without getting help or information from anyone. As for man, he, willy-nilly, makes things according to former examples, i.e. whenever he desires to make anything; he imitates or follows former examples. A submarine, for example, is a mere unsuccessful imitation of a fish, just as an airplane is an unsuccessful copy of a bird.
In this context, I have recently read a book about birds. In the introduction to the book, the writer says that the best airplane a man has ever made is by no means comparable to a bird. Not only that, but also all man-made things are mere imitations or copies of things existing in the universe, which is nothing but one of the countless creatures of Allah, All Mighty. It is only Allah, All Mighty, Alone, Who created the whole universe according to no former example. Who said that the Earth should be round? Who said that the earth should go round itself and round the Sun? Who created light? Who made the Sun a source of light and warmth? Who gave water its properties? Who gave the air its properties? Who gave each and every element its properties? If all solids melted at the same temperature, and if all substances had the same properties, the whole universe would be a gigantic mass of gas, liquid or solid. In the whole universe, with all its stars, planets, galaxies, and other heavenly objects, with their movements and distances among them: the entire universe with all the things therein and the earth with all things thereon; no two leaves are like each other. This means that Allah, All Mighty is All-Embracing and All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, and His Creativity is Infinite. Also, no human being can imagine or draw a leaf that does not exist in the world, simply because there are innumerable kinds, forms, shapes and colors of leaves of trees. That is why one of the knowledgeable religious scholars, said, “If two leaves were similar to each other, Allah’s Creativity would not be Infinite.”
Another example of Allah’s Infinite creativity is the amazing multitude of people’s human faces. In the whole world, and among the 6,000,000,000 human beings, are there two human faces 100% alike? That is impossible! Also, it has been recently found out that each human being has a special smell. This is how police dogs can trace criminals. In other words, no two human beings have the same smell of body. Each human being has his/her own smell, voice, iris, fingerprint, blood plasma, and tissue. They have so far discovered 2.5 billion types of tissues. This means that in the whole world, only one human being has the same type of tissue as yours; and it might also be discovered that each human being has his/her own type of tissue. Medical doctors depend on types of tissues to explain why a certain body accepts or rejects a kidney transplanted from another person. Are not human tissues a token of Allah’s Infinite Creativity?!
Allah’s Divine Creativity and Innovation are Infinite, while human creativity is both limited and imitational. For example, a human artist may draw a number of different faces, but then the fountain of his creativity dries up. The same thing applies to car designers, who innovate different types of designs but in the end their creativity ends up. But Allah’s Divine Creativity and Innovation are Infinite and endless, for He, All Mighty, is Infinite and All Wise. In the past, people thought that only fingerprints distinguished one human being from another, but now they have found lots of things that distinguish people from one another. This shows clearly that Allah, All Mighty, is “Badee’” (the Innovator) of the heavens and the earth.
Another very important thing is that there are amazingly great numbers and kinds of fishes. The most recent calculations show that there are one million kinds of fishes of different shapes and forms: fishes that are round like balls, fishes in the shape of a sword, transparent fishes, Phosphorus fishes, fishes with fringes, fishes with legs, fishes in the form of vases, fishes that defend themselves by sending off ink-like substance in order to hide from enemies, fishes that fight back their enemies by giving them electric shocks, large whales, tiny gold fishes, …etc. In fact, the world of fishes is amazingly vast. Also, the world of birds, with their innumerable different kinds, shapes, and forms. The same thing goes for colors, roses, flowers, and bulbs. Some people say that there are three thousand kinds of wheat; and in the district of Damascus, there are three hundred kinds of grapes. There are also thousands and thousands of different kinds of trees and plants. This is but a manifestation of Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Badee’” (the Innovator).
Once, I visited the museum of insects in Cairo, a large building full of samples of innumerable kinds of insects, none of which is like another: amazingly and incredibly great varieties of species. This is but a manifestation of Allah’s Words, “Innovator of the heavens and the earth”.
Leaves of trees, kinds of trees, kinds of timbers, kinds of plants, kinds of perfumes and odors, kinds of fishes, kinds of birds, kinds of fruits, crystals of snow and ice, none of which is like another. Is not this marvelous creation the Work of Allah, All Mighty, The Innovator of the heavens and the earth?
In fact, one of the meanings of the Arabic word “Badee’” is “Unique”, which means that nothing is like Allah, All Mighty. It also means that Allah, All Mighty, is the One Who created and innovated the whole universe with no former example and with no helper or teacher. Allah is also Unique in His Divine Attributes and Acts. In other words, Allah, All Mighty, is Unique in His Creativity, in His own Divine Self, and in His Divine Acts.
Linguistically speaking, the word “Badee’” is derived from the verb “Abda’a” (to innovate), i.e. “to do or create something unprecedented”. In religion the word “Bid’ah” (innovation or heresy) is called as such because it refers to something innovated and introduced into religion. Religiously speaking, there are two kinds of innovations: good and acceptable innovations, and evil and censured ones. If someone invents or innovates something for the benefit of religion and devotional observances, like, for example, introducing air-conditioning into mosques, providing good modern services and utilities to worshippers, or solving some social problems, this is fairly good and acceptable, provided that such facilities or services do not clash with basics of Islamic religion. Such are laudable acceptable innovations. But evil censured innovations are those that clash with the basics of Islamic Religion, such as making lawful the things that Islam considers as unlawful. In other words, religiously speaking, innovations are of three kinds: good, evil, and use-specific. Which innovations are good, which are evil, and which are use-specific? A newly invented apparatus, such as a radio or TV set is a use-specific innovation, depending on how you use it. If you use a TV to display good useful things, for example, it is considered as good and acceptable; but if you use it to display indecent or immoral films, it is considered as evil and, hence, unacceptable. If you use a camera for taking pictures of the beautiful landscape or for the purpose of scientific research, it is considered as good and acceptable. But if you use it for taking pictures of indecent or immoral things, it is considered as evil and censured. All kinds of similar innovations are use-specific, i.e. they are considered as acceptable or unacceptable according to the way they are used.
There are also a fourth kind of innovations, namely neutral innovations. If you invent a new kind of food, for example, if you add certain spices to food, or if you make a new unprecedented dish, this is neither lawful nor unlawful, it is simply permissible, i.e. a neutral innovation. Forbidden and unlawful innovations are those that clash with the basics of Islamic religion. For example, it is a forbidden and unlawful innovation in modern weddings that the groom should sit beside his bride, surrounded with lots of indecently dressed women, simply because this clashes with Islamic principles that have to do with lowering of gaze at indecent or unlawful things. But good modern innovations, such as providing mosques with air-conditioners or central heating systems, …etc, are both good and acceptable, simply because they do not clash with basics of Islam.
However, innovation in the sense of introducing new heretical ideas or principles to the religion of Islam is definitely forbidden and unlawful. This is because in His Divine Book, the Holy Quran, Allah, All Mighty, says
“This day, I perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and chose for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin, then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
The above Quranic Verse shows clearly that Islamic religion is complete and perfect and needs no additions, omissions or amendments, whether from the viewpoint of quantity or quality. In other words, the number of issues tackled by Islamic religion is complete, and, therefore, it accepts no new issue; and also, the way Islamic religion tackled issues is perfect and needs no change or amendment whatsoever. Once again:
“This day, I perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and chose for you Islam as your religion. Bu as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin, then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Therefore, it is definitely forbidden and unlawful to innovate anything in religion: whether in theology, worships, transactions, or manners. To this effect
Jabir Bin Abdillah narrated that Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), used to say in his sermons, after having extolled Praises and Glories of Allah as dully as befits His Divine Honor: “He whom Allah guides: none can lead astray; but he whom Allah leads astray: none can ever guide. Verily, the most truthful Word is Allah’s Book, and the best Guidance is that of Muhammad. And the worst of all (religious) issues are innovated heretic ones therein. Every innovated issue (in religion) is a heresy; every heresy is a deviation; and every deviation is in the Fire.” Then, he (PBUH) would say, “I have been sent with the Hour like these (joining his forefinger and middle finger together). Whenever he (PBUH) mentioned the Hour, his cheeks would blush and his voice would grow louder in anger, as if he were an army herald giving warnings of the near advent of enemies. Then, he (PBUH) would say, “He who leaves behind (upon death) wealth, it is for his family; but he who leaves behind debts or lost (orphans), they are for me (I take care of them). And I am more entitled to them.”
Yes, indeed! Every innovated issue in religion is a heresy; every heresy is a deviation; and every deviation will be in Hell-Fire on the Day of Judgment. Here we have a very important issue, namely that religions can be forged, and so can principles, and doctrines. But what guarantees a religion that is communicated just as it was first revealed by the Lord, Allah, All Mighty? The answer is: Three things: First, nothing should be added to it; second, nothing should be omitted from it; and third, it should not be interpreted in a way different from its original meanings in which it was first revealed. In other words, if we omit evil interpretations, if we omit innovations and heresies, and if we omit all additions and omissions, we guarantee that religion continues to remain just as it was first revealed.
As you know, dear readers, man’s share of Allah’s Beautiful Name “Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem” (the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) is to be merciful. Therefore, when we invite someone to be forbearing, merciful, just, and knowledgeable,..etc, we actually invite him/her to adopt Allah’s Attributes. But with respect to this Divine Name, “Al-Badee’” (The Innovator), we should invite man to be exactly the opposite, i.e. not to innovate anything in religion, worship, behavior, or call for Allah. This is because whenever someone innovates something new in religion, it would be at the expense of the basic principles of religion, which are both perfect and complete, and it would be at the expense of Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, which are also perfect and complete. In other words, a true believer is confined by Prophetic Sunna and is not attracted by “Al-Bid’ah” (innovation in religion or heresy). That is why religious scholars define “Al-Bid’ah” (innovation in religion or heresy) as: “Anything that is not originally found in Allah’s Book (the Holy Quran), Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, or consensus of the whole Muslim nation.” For example, insertion of a metal prong or bolt across your body does not belong to the religion of Islam or the call for it. Before you try to call people to Islam by doing such a thing, or anything else, you should ask, “Did Allah’s Messenger ever do that? Is that mentioned in Allah’s Book, the Holy Quran? Is that mentioned in Prophetic Sunna and Tradition? Did the Prophet’s venerable Companions do that? Is that unanimously agreed upon by the whole Muslim nation?” If the answer is, “No”, this means that such a thing is a mere innovation and heresy. Such way of calling people to Islam must be avoided! Once again: an innovation or heresy is: “Anything that is not originally found in Allah’s Book (the Holy Quran), Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, or consensus of the whole Muslim nation.” In this context, Allah, All Mighty, says
“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some trial should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.”
“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some trial should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.”
In other words, if you deviate from, or disobey, the Messenger’s commandments, you fall in innovation or heresy. That is why the venerable Companion and Caliph, Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, may Allah be pleased with him, used to say, “I am a follower; I am not an innovator.” Knowledgeable religious scholars also say, “Follow and do not innovate; be humble and not arrogant; a pious person is never haughty.” Extravagance, wastefulness, and spendthrift are qualities of disbelievers; but true believers are always moderate in earning and spending their money:
“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s commandment beware, lest some trial should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.”
Allah, All Mighty, says
“If you obey him (Allah’s Messenger), you are rightly guided.”
“Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example (to follow).”
The words “good example” in the foregoing Verses mean “following the holy Prophet’s Sunna and Tradition”. We should follow the Prophet’s model in each and every thing, and in each and every issue, of our life, in all places and times. This is because those who follow Prophetic Sunna and Tradition in word and deed, those who speak of wisdom, and those who adopt the Prophet’s good example are the Prophet’s real followers. But those who follow their own desires and caprices are mere innovators and heretics. That is why heretics are called “people of desires and caprices”. In other words, in your life, you follow either the Prophet’s Sunna and Tradition or your own desires and whims. If you follow your own desires and whims, this means that you are a mere heretic and deviant from the Prophet’s Right Path. But if you follow the Holy Prophet’s Sunna and Tradition in your actions, words, and lifestyle, this means that you are a real follower of Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH). Do not forget that
Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), advised the venerable Companion, Anas Bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, “O son! If you can get up in the morning and go to bed in the evening with no fraud in your heart for anyone, do! This is my Sunna; and whosoever revives my Sunna loves me, and whosoever loves me will be with me in the Garden of Paradise.”
Remember the Holy Prophet’s words:
“Whosoever revives my Sunna loves me, and whosoever loves me will be with me in the Garden of Paradise.”
Some knowledgeable religious scholars say, “Our religion (of Islam) is based on three fundamental things: following the Holy Prophet, Muhammad, (PBUH), in word and deed, earning lawful living, and sincerity of intentions in all works.” And in Allah’s Divine Words
“And He (Allah) teaches him the Book and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel.”
the Word “Wisdom” means “Prophetic Sunna”. In other words, “The Book” is Allah’s Divine Revelation, and “Wisdom” is Prophetic Sunna, i.e. the way the Holy Prophet applied Divine Revelation. With respect to Allah’s Words
“To Him ascends the goodly speech, and the righteous work does exalt him (it).”
In interpretation of this Quranic Verse, some religious scholars hold that “righteous work” means “adoption of Allah’s Messenger’s good example”. In the same context, some religious scholars say, “A little work in Prophetic Sunna is better than lots of work in heresy.”
Allah, All Mighty, is the Innovator of the heavens and the earth and the One Who created the heavens and the earth according to no former example and with no helper or teacher. It is He, Glory to Him, Who innovated the essences, properties, qualities, sizes, shapes, forms, colors, movements, …etc, of all things, including mankind, animals and plants. In other words, everything in the entire universe shows clearly that Allah, All Mighty, is the “Badee’” (Innovator) of the heavens and the earth, that He, Glory to Him, is “Badee’” (Unique) in Himself, i.e. nothing is the like of Him, whether in His Divine Self, Attributes, Acts, or Creativity.
Once again, I would like to reiterate that man’s share of this Divine Name “Al-Badee’” (The Innovator) is not to be a heretic or an innovator as regards religious issues. But here is a very delicate point that I would like to make clear: in the sight of Allah, man is an honored creature in the sense that Allah, Glory to Him, has made man a unique creature and allowed him to legislate and make laws. This is made clear by the Quranic Verses that do not have a certain definitive meaning but rather a number of possible meanings. In this way, religious scholars have the chance to understand and interpret such Verses, which bear several meanings. It seems that Allah, All Mighty, has honored human beings by allowing them to use their minds and to legislate. He also honored them by giving them a free will, whereby they make their own choices, for which they are held responsible in front of Allah. Of Allah’s honor to mankind is that He, All Mighty, gave them the ability to create and innovate new things. Take, for example, hybrid or mongrel plants. There are certain labs in which biologists can produce new hybrid plants that are far better than the original ones. This is a kind of human innovation. I have heard of mongrel cows, hybridized from Syrian and Dutch ones, the one of which can produce more than sixty kilos of milk a day! Is not this a kind of innovation and creativity? As regards certain things, like animals, trees and plants, Allah, All Mighty, has allowed man to create and innovate new kinds. This is all due to Allah’s Divine Honor to mankind. In all fields of life, it is permissible for man to create, innovate and even develop new things, except for Allah’s Divine Revealed Religion. In other words, it is by no means permissible for man to add, omit, or alter one single fundamental rule or principle of Allah’s Divine Revealed Religion, simply because it is not only Revelation-specific but also perfect and complete. That is why Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says
“Every innovated issue (in religion) is a heresy; every heresy is a deviation; and every deviation is in the Fire.” He (PBUH) also says, “He who deviates one inch from the (Muslim) group takes the noose of Islam off his neck (i.e. is no longer a Muslim).”
As regards Allah’s Divine Revealed Religion, no innovation is considered as permissible or lawful. To this effect, Allah, All Mighty, says
“And whoever contradicts (and opposes) the Messenger after the Right Path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the way of believers, We shall keep him in the path that he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil end.”
Therefore, whosoever deviates even one single inch from the Muslim group is no longer a Muslim. In this context, the venerable Companion, Ibn ‘Abbas, said: “Every year, people introduce a new innovation or heresy into it (Islam) and abrogate a Prophetic Sunna of it (Islam).” This simply means that there may come a time when Allah’s Religion becomes mere innovations and heresies, while its reality may be known only to a few! We take refuge with Allah from that! Nowadays, you sometimes meet people who dance in long flowing costumes with special tarbooshes (kinds of hats); is this of Allah’s Revealed Religion?! Whenever a person passes away, they bring a Mawlawiayh group in order to dance for him/her. Meetings of Thikr (special meetings where Muslims sit together remembering Allah) now abound in innovations and heresies that displease Allah, All Mighty. Did Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH) do anything like that?! Sometimes, religion is turned into mere songs, dances, odd movements and actions, meaningless murmurs, and idle talks; is this Islamic religion?!
Wisdom necessitates that we should seek religion from its original fountains and sources, namely Allah’s Book, i.e. the Holy Quran, and Prophetic Sunna and Tradition. Anything that comes from outside these two sources is a mere innovation and heresy. Therefore, we should be very careful where to get our religion, and we should always remember that our final Return is to Allah, Who will requite us for our choices and deeds. So, we should be very careful!
In his Divine Book, the Holy Quran, Allah, All Mighty, says
“And stop them! Verily, they shall be questioned!”
The questioning in front of Allah, All Mighty, on the Day of Judgment, is by no means easy; and the standing in front of Allah, All Mighty, on the Day of Recompense, is also by no means easy. Moreover, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), says
“He who goes to a heretic in order to dignify him helps to destroy Islam.”
Ayyoub quoted Abu Qilabah as saying:
“Do not sit with people of caprices, and do not argue with them, lest they should get you involved in their deviations and deform your knowledge.”
Yes, indeed! You should never sit with capricious heretics, who introduce into Allah’s Religion innovations that do not belong to it. In this context, Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), described the venerable Companion and Caliph, Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, may Allah be pleased with him, saying
“If Abu Bakr’s Faith were compared to the Faith of all mankind, it (Abu Bakr’s Faith) would overweighs.”
Jabir Bin Abdillah quoted Omar Bin Al-Khattab as addressing Abu Bakr: “You are the second best one of all mankind after Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH).” Abu Bakr replied, “Since you have said that, (I would like to tell you that) I have heard Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), say: ‘The Sun has never risen over a man better than Omar.’”
“The Sun has never risen over a man, except for a holy Prophet, better than Abu Bakr”
Nevertheless, that venerable Companion and Caliph, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, says, “I am but a follower; I am not an innovator. I have been given authority over you although I am not the best one of you. Therefore, if I do well, help me; but if do evil, correct me. Verily, I am but a follower; I am not an innovator.”
Therefore, we should always follow the perfect model of Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH), and we should watch our behavior. We should by no means accept any new innovation or heresy that ignorant or malicious people try to introduce into our Islamic Religion. In this context, religious scholars say, “Allah, All Mighty, deprives those who compromise heretics of the pleasure of following Prophetic Sunna (i.e. true Faith).” Yes, indeed, Allah will withhold His Divine Light from those who sit with, befriend, compromise, give ear to, or even smile in the face of, a heretic that introduces new innovations into the religion of Islam by adding, omitting, concealing, overestimating, underestimating, or altering anything of it.
Once again, I reiterate: We should strive to adopt all of Allah’s Beautiful Divine Names and Attributes, except for this one, “Al-Badee’” (The Innovator), i.e. we should by no means try to introduce into Allah’s Revealed Religion of Islam any innovation or heresy, simply because Allah’s Religion is perfect and complete. All we have to do is follow strictly its laws and principles, which are all revelation-specific. It is permissible to innovate in all aspects of human life and science, such as agriculture, botany, physics, biology, zoology, industry, …etc, but it is not permissible at all to innovate or introduce new heresies into Allah’s Divine Revealed Religion. In this context, religious scholars say, “If someone neglects his religious obligations, Allah sends to him a heretic that tells him false things that cast suspicion into his heart.”
In the end:
“Say: ‘If you (really) love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive your sins for you. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
When dealing with other fellow humans, it is permissible to be suspicious or unconfident of their intentions, words or sayings, but with Allah’s Divine Revelation, i.e. the Holy Quran, and authentic true Prophetic Sunna, there is no falsehood or suspicion whatsoever: These two sources are perfect and complete, and, therefore, they should be taken as they are with no addition, omission or alteration.
Once again: In your human life, you have three kinds of texts: Allah’s Divine Revealed Book (the Holy Quran), Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, and words and sayings of other fellow humans (common people, scholars, scientists, Sheikh, cleric, reformer, …etc.). With respect to Allah’s Divine Revealed Book, the Holy Quran, all you have to do is understand and apply its commandments, simply because it is definitive and undisputable, i.e. true and authentic. As regards Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, first of all, you have to make sure whether the Prophetic Hadith or Tradition is true and authentic, and then you have to understand and apply it. Concerning the third source of texts, i.e. words and sayings of other fellow human beings, whoever and whatever the person might be, you have, first of all, to check whether the text is true and authentic; then, you have to try to understand the text producer’s intentions and meanings; and, after that, you have to judge validity and correctness of the text by comparing and contrasting it to Allah’s Book (the Holy Quran) and Prophetic Sunna and Tradition. I hope I have made things clear enough.
To wrap up, in the foregoing pages I have tried to explain Allah’s Beautiful Divine Name “Al-Badee’” (The Innovator): Allah, All Mighty, is “Al-Badee’” in the sense that He, Glory to Him, is the Only One Who innovated, i.e. created, the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, according to no former example and with no helper or teacher. Allah, All Mighty, is also “Al-Badee’” in the sense that He, Praise to Him, is Unique in His Divine Self, His Divine Attributes, His Divine Acts, and His Divine Legislation. It is permissible for man to innovate and invent new things with respect to all aspects of human life and technology: industry, agriculture, economy, science, …etc; but it is by no means permissible or acceptable to introduce into Allah’s Revealed Religion any innovations or heresies, simply because it is perfect and complete, and because every innovation that is introduced into Allah’s Religion is a heresy, every heresy is a deviation, and every deviation will be in Hell-Fire on the Day of Judgment. I have also tried to differentiate between the linguistic and religious meanings of “Al-Bid’ah” (innovation). In this context, I would like to put forward this Prophetic Hadith: Narrated Al-Munthir Bin Jareer on authority of his father that Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH) said
“He who innovates a good innovation that people adopt will be well rewarded for it and for those who adopt it, with no diminution of their good reward. And he who innovates an evil innovation that people adopt will be badly rewarded for it and for those who adopt it after him, with no diminution of their evil reward.”
As for innovations or heresies in Allah’s Religion, whether in theology, worships, transactions, or Prophetic Sunna and Tradition, they are absolutely and completely forbidden.