Quranic Verses That Point To The Lack Of Association With The People Of Innovation

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The following is a compilation of some Quranic verses that illustrate the prohibition of association with the people of innovation, I believe it is of great importance to the Salafi to know and understand these verses especially since many among us when asked, “Why should we stay away from the people of innovation?” They reply with imam so and so said, or sheikh so and so said yet an imam or sheikh’s statements are not proof, the proof is the Quran and Sunnah, and this prohibition is found in both. Thus I seek Allah’s aid and assistance in presenting some of the verses that point to this and I hope Allah makes it a source of benefit for my brothers and sisters from Ahlus Sunnah. 

1: Ali-Imran: 7

هو الذي أنزل عليك الكتاب منه آياتٌ محكماتٌ هن أم الكتاب و أُخر متسابهاتٌ فأما الذين في قلوبهم زيغٌ فيتبعون ما تشابه منه ابتغاء الفتنة وابتغاء تأويله و ما يعلم تأويله إلا الله

It is He Who has revealed to you the Book (Al-Quran), therein are verses that are clear and or distinct (in meaning), they are the mother of the book, yet others (i.e. verses) that are not as clear. As for those who have within their hearts deviation they follow that which is not explicitly clear seeking (by way of it) trials (confusion) and seeking (false) interpretation, but none knows its meanings except Allah….

Ibn Kathir said, “The Exalted mentions that within the Quran are explicitly clear verses that are the mother of the book, i.e. plain and evident meaning with no obscurity therein for anyone. Likewise therein are other verses that have within them dubiousness as it pertains to their meaning with an abundance of people. Thus whoever refers what is unclear back to the distinct of it, holding the opinion about the unclear by use of the clear consequently is guided, and whoever does the opposite achieves being opposite/reversed, for this reason the Exalted says, ‘They are the mother of the book i.e. its foundation in which it is returned to during confusion (as it pertains to other verses therein). -Yet others that are not clear- i.e. its meaning potentially being in accordance with the explicitly clear (verse), or less likely meaning something else with respect to the expression and construction (of the phrase and or sentence) but not with regards to the intent.”

He also said about Allah’s statement, -As for those who have within their hearts deviation- “i.e. straying and or departing from the truth to falsehood.” -They follow that which is not explicitly clear- “i.e. from it (the Book) they only take the unclear that which is possible for them to alter to their corrupt meanings and they refer it (the verse) to the corrupt interpretation due to the probability of its expression. As for the explicitly clear, there is no opportunity for them with regards to it (i.e. alteration thereof) because for them it is a repellent, and proof against them. On account of this Allah the Exalted says, -seeking (by way of it) trials- i.e. the misleading of their followers by deceiving them as if they use the Quran as an argument to support their innovation whereas it is a proof against them not for them.

Similar to if the Christians use the Quran due to the fact that it mentions that Esa is Allah’s spirit and word imposed upon Mary and a spirit from Him, yet abandon usage of His statement:

إن هو إلا عبد أنعمنا عليه

He is nothing more than a servant whom We bestowed Our favor on

And His statement:

إن مثل عيسى عند الله كمثل آدم خلقه من تراب ثم قال له كن فيكون

Indeed the likeness of Esa with Allah is like the likeness of Adam. He created him from dirt then said to him be and he was.

And other than that from the explicitly clear verses that indicate that he is a creature from Allah’s creation, a servant and messenger from Allah’s messengers. The Exalted’s statement, -and seeking (false) interpretation- i.e. altering it to fit what they desire.” 

Ibn Kathir has clearly highlighted those intended by Allah’s speech concerning they in which whose hearts there is deviation, they are as Allah says those who follow the verses that are unclear in meaning and intent due to the intent having multiple possibilities. Thus they cling to these types of verses and throw behind their backs the other verses that make clear Allah’s intent in order to substantiate their clashing with the text. This undoubtedly is a characteristic of every person of innovation. In light of this, the question remains, “How is this used as proof to disassociation with the people of innovation?” For the answer one must turn to the sunnah of Allah’s messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam.   

It is recorded within the authentic collections of both Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim a narration on the authority of Ayesha, therein she stated that the Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam recited this verse and thereafter said, “If you all see those who follow that which is not explicitly clear, they are those whom Allah has named (as having deviation) so beware of them!” Imam An-Nawawi said, “Contain within this narration is the warning from intermingling with the people of deviation, innovation, and whomsoever follows the uncertain for the purpose of trouble (fitna).” Al-Haafidh mentions similar as he said, “The intent is the warning from hearkening towards those who follow the unclear verses of the Quran.” In further illustration of this point he said, “The first to demonstrate this in Islam was the Khawaarij insomuch that it is reported from Ibn Abbas that he interpreted this verse to mean them.” Thus this is a prophetic directive from our Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- on how the verse is understood and applied, it is a warning and or prohibition from association with the people of innovation.

2: Al-An’am: 68

وإذَا رأيت الذين يخوضون في آياتنا فأعرض عنهم حتى يخوضوا في حديثٍ غيره و إما ينسينك الشيطان فلا تقعد بعد الذكرى مع القوم الظالمين

And whenever you see those who speak blasphemously about Our verses, shun them until they change the topic of discussion. If the Shaitan causes you to forget, do not sit with, subsequent to remembering, with an oppressive people. 

Ibn Kathir said, “The intent is that every individual, from the tens of thousands of this nation, is not to sit with those that deny by way of altering Allah’s verses and placing them in other than their (proper) place. If anyone sits with them forgetfully -do not sit with, subsequent to remembering- i.e. after recollection -with an oppressive people.

Sheikh Abdur Rahman ibn Naasir As-Sa’idi said, “The intent of speaking blasphemously about Allah’s verses is the speaking with that which opposes the truth, i.e. beautification of false statements, inviting to it, praising its people, shunning the truth, and belittlement of it (the truth) and its people. Hence Allah order His Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- fundamentally, and his nation subsequently to shun and be absent from the gatherings of those who speak with falsehood whenever they see someone blasphemously speaking about Allah’s verses, in addition to being persistent with regards to that until they discuss and or converse about something else. If the speech is regarding something else, the aforementioned prohibition ceases.”

Imam Ash-Shawkani said, “Therein is a tremendous admonition for he who is lenient with regards to the social gatherings of the innovators those who alter Allah’s speech and play games with His Book and the sunnah of His Messenger. They refer these two back to their astray desires and corrupt innovation. Thus if he does not disapprove of them and change what they’re indulging in, then at the very minimum he can abandon their social gatherings as that is easy for him and not difficult.”

3: Al-Kahf: 28

واصبر نفسك مع الذين يدعون ربهم بالغدوة و العشىى يريدون وجهه ولا تعد عيناك عنهم تريد زينةَ الحياةِ الدنيا ولا تطع من أغفلنا قلبه عن ذكرنا واتبع هواه و كان أمره فرطا

Be patient with those who invoke their Lord  during the morning and afternoon sincerely seeking His Face, and do not allow your eyes to overlook them desiring the adornments of the worldly life, furthermore do not obey he whose heart We caused to be negligent with regards to Our remembrance and who follows his desires as his affair has been wasted.

Sheikh Abdur Rahman ibn Naasir As-Sa’idi said, “He neglected Allah, as a consequence Allah caused him to be negligent with regards to His remembrance. -and who follows his desires- He becomes pursuant to his desires wherein whatsoever it desires he does. So he puts forth efforts in obtaining it (the desired) even if within that thing is his destruction and loss, he consequently has taken his desires as his lord, just as the Exalted said:

“Have you not seen he who has taken his desires as his lord? And Allah knowingly left him astray…” [Al-Jaathiyah: 23]

-and his affair- Meaning; the matter of his religion and worldly affairs -has been wasted- lost and or nullified. Thus this is he whom Allah has forbade obedience, due to obedience to him leading to following him and he not inviting to anything except that with which he is described (i.e. heedlessness to Allah’s remembrance, following desires, etc).”

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymin said, “The Exalted said -do not obey he whose heart is negligent with regards to Our remembrance- his remembrance of Us or the remembrance which We have sent down. So with regards to the first (suggested meaning), its intent is that a person remembers Allah with his tongue but not with his heart. The intent of the second is that Allah has caused the man’s heart to be heedless of the Quran, thus he does not raise his head for it (i.e. he does not care), nor does he view any harm in (being in) opposition towards it.” [تفسير القرآن الكريم سورة الكهف]

This verse was revealed as a result of the request by notables from among the idolaters. They wanted the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- to expel whom they considered to be of lesser class from a gathering between him -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- and them, hence Allah referred to them as having hearts negligent to His remembrance, followers of their desires, and their affair being wasted. Thus some may ask how this verse, with its specific reason for being revealed, be applicable to the people of innovation? The answer is the following principle:

العبرة بعموم الألفاظ لا بخصوص الأسباب

The Consideration Is In The Generality Of The Text, Not In The Specified Reason (why it was revealed) 

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymin said, “If a verse was revealed for a specified reason yet its verbal expression is general, its ruling encompasses that reason and all of what its verbal expression includes because the Quran was sent down as a general(ly applied) legislation for the entire Islamic nation, as a result the consideration is in the generality of the text, not the specified reason (of its revealing). [شرح أصول في التفسير]

Therefore this verse is justifiable applicable to the people of innovation due to their hearts being heedless of the Quran may standing in opposition towards it, by way of utilizing the unclear verses and preferring them over the clear, manifest, distinct, and unambiguous ones. Due to them being severe followers of their desires despite the truth being made clear to them, and due to their innovated practices being null and void, consequently bearing them no fruit, thus their affair is wasted. 

4: Al-Jaathiyah: 18

ثم جعلناك على شرية من الأمر فاتبعها ولا تتبع أهواء الذين لا يعلمون

Then We have placed you upon a path/way from (Our) command so follow it, and do not follow the desires of those who don’t know.

Imam At-Tabari said, “Do not follow what the ignorant invite you to as it relates to Allah, they who do not know truth from falsehood. As a result (of following them) you enact it (that which they instruct), and consequently become ruined if you enact it.”

Sheikh Abdur Rahman ibn Naasir As-Sa’idi said about the verse, “Then We prescribed for you a complete path that invites to all good and prohibits all evil, all of which being from Our legislative command. -so follow it- Undoubtedly the result of following it is everlasting bliss and success. -and do not follow the desires of those who don’t know- Those whose desires are not pursuant to knowledge nor trailing behind it, on the contrary they are every individual whose want and desire opposes the Messenger’s -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- legislation. Therefore it is from the desires of those that know not.” 

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Amin Ash-Shinqeeti said, “The Quranic evidence makes clear that although the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- is the one being addressed, the intent is it being a prescribed law for his nation. This is within the previously cited verse of Bani Israel (i.e. Al-Israa: 22) and is included within this verse of Al-Jaathiyah from the prohibition of following their desires as it is clearly reported in an abundance of verses..”

5: Al-Mujaadilah: 22

لا تجد قومًا يؤمنون بالله واليوم الأخر يوادون من حادَّ الله و رسوله و لو كانوا ءاباءهم أو أبناءهم أو إخوانهم أو عشيرتهم

You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day befriending those who oppose Allah and His Messenger, even if they be their fathers, sons, brothers, or kinfolk….

Imam At-Tabaraani said, “It means; you will not find a people who affirm the oneness of Allah, and resurrection after death consoling and seeking affection from whomsoever opposes Allah and His Messenger -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- in the religion, even if it’s their relatives by lineage. Thus without doubt disavowal from the opponents of Allah is obligatory.

Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “Imam Maalik used this verse as proof for hatred towards the Qadariyyah and abandonment of their social gatherings. Ashab quotes Maalik where he said, ‘Do not sit with the Qadaris and have hate for them for Allah’s sake due to the Exalted’s statement -You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day befriending those who oppose Allah and His Messenger-‘ ” Thus the intent concerning the people of qadr is every people of oppression and wrong doing.”   

And Allah knows best.
Compiled by Najeeb ibn Yusuf Al Anjelesi

All statements from Imam At-Tabari, Imam At-Tabaraani, Imam Al-Qurtubi, Imam Ash-Shawkani, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Amin Ash-Shinqeeti, and Sheikh Abdur Rahman ibn Naasir As-Sa’idi are taken from their well known, famous, and highly depended upon tafsirs of the Quran. 


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