All perfect praise is for Allaah alone. We beseech His peace and blessings upon Muhammad (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Al-Imaam al-Barbahaareey (rohimohuLlaah) said in his Sharhu ssunnah, “May Allaah have mercy upon you! Examine carefully the speech of everyone you hear from in your time particularly. So do not act in haste and do not enter into anything from it until you ask: Did any of the Companions of the Prophet (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) speak about it or any of the scholars? So if you find a narration from them about it, cling to it, do not give precedence to anything and thus fall into the fire.” These golden statements are indeed very important in times of trials and tribulations for a suspecting Muslim not to fall into innovations and extremism. We ask Allaah to grant us well-being.
Muhammad bn ‘Aliyy Jabata, the Nigeria based Khoorijee who innovated and calls to the principle of “every bid’ah is a major disbelief”, uses as one of his misgrounded conceits, the hadeeth, “Verily Allaah does not accept the repentance of an innovator until he stops the innovation”. Before exposing his misconceptions regarding this hadeeth, I would like to mention some of the scholars who related the hadeeth and the difference of opinion which exists as to its authenticity.
This hadeeth was related by at-Tobaroonee in al-Awsaat (4360), and authenticated by Al-Mundhiree in (At-Targheeb, 1/45), Ad-Diyaa’ (2054, 2055), Al-Haitamee (Az-Zawaajir, Kabeerah 51: Tark-us-Sunnah), Al-Ghumaaree (Al-Mudaawee, 2/262-263), Al-Albaanee (As-Saheehah (1620), 4/154; Zilaal-ul-Jannah, 37; Saheeh-ut-Targheeb, 54; Saheeh-ul-Jaami’, 1699; Al-Manaasik, p.44; Hajjat-un-Nabee, p.130; Al-I’tisaam, 1/162, 2/782), Al-Halabee (‘Ilm Usool-il-Bid’ah, p.33), Mashhoor Salmaan (Al-I’tisaam, 1/212, 112; Al-Mujaalasah, 6/398-399) and others.
As for the difference of opinion which occurs regarding its authenticity; Shaykh Amroo ‘AbdulMun’im Saleem (hafidhohuLlaah) mentioned some defects of this hadeeth in his book ‘usool al-llati ba’ada ghulaatu fee modhabahum fee tabdee’. From the defects he mentioned are, the presence of Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdirrahmaan Al-Khushayree in its chain, a person regarded as matrook (rejected), and his narrations are weak; its different versions are contradictory; a mudalis, Humady at-Taawee, is present in the chain and he used a word ‘an’ which is inappropriate for his status. Other details are mentioned in the book. In addition Shaykh ‘Abdil’Azeez bn ‘AbdiLlaah bn Baaz (rohimohuLlaah) was asked about the authenticity of the hadeeth, “Verily, Allaah does not accept the repentance of an innovator until he stops the innovation.” He responded, ‘the chain of narration of this hadeeth needs to be properly checked.’ [Sharh Fadlul Islaam of Shaykh Ibn Baaz, page 193]
I will proceed to relate the explanation of some scholars regarding this hadeeth to prove that the understanding of Muhammad bn ‘Aliyy Jabata regarding this hadeeth has no basis. The following is the explanation of Shaykh ‘Abdil’Azeez bn Baaz (rohimohuLlaah).
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (rohimohuLlaah) was asked about the authenticity of the hadeeth, “Verily, Allaah does not accept the repentance of an innovator until he stops the innovation.” He responded, the chain of narration of this hadeeth needs to be properly checked. But, what this hadeeth is saying is that, we are afraid for the innovators regarding their innovations; what happens mostly to them is that they think their bid’ah is good, (and that is why) they are always upon their bid’ah. We ask Allaah for wellbeing. If not (that is, if the hadeeth is interpreted to mean that Allaah will never forgive them), we see a lot of innovators who repented and Allaah accepted their repentance. If this hadeeth is authentic, it means this hadeeth is in the book of vowing punishment and warning (baabu al-wa’eed). We ask Allaah for wellbeing. This is similar to what the Messenger of Allaah (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said in Madinah, “whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator then upon him is the curse of Allaah, His Angels, and the whole of mankind. Allaah will not accept his compulsory and optional good deeds on the day of qiyaamah…” All these are in the book of vowing punishment, otherwise anyone who repents, it is obligatory that Allaah accepts his repentance.
Also, Shaykh answered (a question) in one of his lectures regarding this hadeeth and its explanation saying, “This is the truth; Allaah does not accept the repentance of an innovator until he stops the innovation means that the innovator would see the innovation as good and he would think he is correct. For this reason, what is most common is that the innovator dies upon his innovation. We ask Allaah to save us from this. This is because the innovator will think he is right unlike a sinner who knows himself as a sinner, and knows he is a criminal and a wrong doer. The sinner will then repent from his sins and Allaah would accept his repentance, but the innovator is in evil because he will continue to see the bid’ah as something good, and will follow his desires. For this reason, he is in a great evil. Allaah then makes it difficult for him to repent because he sees the bid’ah as a good thing, and he thinks he is upon the right path, and beliefs that he is upon the truth. But, if Allaah guides him and his vision becomes open and he repents, Allaah will accept his repentance likewise all other sins, if a servant repents from them, Allaah will accept his repentance and even shirk which is bigger than bid’ah. If a servant repents from kufr, Allaah will accept his repentance, even the kuffar of Quraysh and other than them, when they repented, Allaah accepted their repentances, and also when the magicians of the time of Fir’aun repented, Allaah accepted their repentance. This is the case with the innovator, if Allaah opens his vision and he repents from his innovations, Allaah will accept his repentance. This hadeeth is (from the ahadeeth) in the book of vowing punishment (for the transgressors), just like the authentic hadeeth, “whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator then upon him is the curse of Allaah, His Angels, and the whole of mankind. Allaah will not accept his compulsory and optional good deeds on the day of qiyaamah…” This is in the book of vowing punishment. (Sharhu Fadlul Islaam of Ibn Baaz, Page 193 Maktabatu Haadi Muhammadi)
From the clear explanations of Shaykh Ibn Baaz (rohimohuLlaah) above, he refuted the innovated principle that led Muhammad bn ‘Aliyy Jabata astray with his statement, “But, if Allaah guides him and his vision becomes open and he repents, Allaah will accept his repentance likewise all other sins, if a servant repents from them, Allaah will accept his repentance and even shirk which is bigger than bid’ah.” The point of reference here is where Shaykh said ‘even shirk which is bigger than bid’ah’. Muhammad bn ‘Aliyy Jabata believes that there is no difference between shirk and bid’ah, that is, every bidah is a major shirk. We ask Allaah to guide him. Shaykh ‘AbdiLlaah al-Bukhooree said, ‘this statement (affirming that every bid’ah is a major shirk) contradicts the evidences of the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and the way of the Salaf from the first Salafs till now. This statement is an innovation.’
Moreover, Shaykh Saleem bn ‘Eid al-Hilaalee (hafihohuLlaah), a scholar of hadeeth who holds that the hadeeth is authentic also gave similar explanation to that of Shaykh Ibn Baaz via an audio message in Shawwal 1437. He buttressed the fact that these people (Muhammad bn ‘Aliyy Jabata and his students) who use this hadeeth as evidence to declare every innovator as a kaafir have done a great crime upon themselves, upon the Qur’aan, and upon the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He also explained that the manhaj of Muhammad bn ‘Aliyy Jabata resembles that of the Khowaarij. He said, ‘These people who insisted on their transgressions after establishing evidences against them, by Allaah, they are not from Salafiyyah at all.’
The foregoing has however made it clear that Muhammad bn ‘Aliyy Jabata has no predecessor upon his usage of the aforementioned hadeeth to establish that all innovators are disbelievers. It is only a misgrounded conceit meant to douse the truth. We ask Allaah to keep us steadfast upon the truth and guide these transgressors to the truth.
I beseech Allaah to show us the truth as being the truth and to grant us its following, and to show us falsehood as falsehood and to make it easy for us to abstain from it. May prayers and peace be upon Muhammad (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his respected households and companions, and on the generality of the Muslims till the end of time.
Written by Aboo ‘Aa’ishah Al Odeomeey