Question:
Can innovation be acceptable?

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Answer:
When a person interferes with religion issues, reduces and adds in divine law of Islam and faith and does not make distinction among prayers, transactions and policies, his act -which is innovation- has just one kind and that is bad innovation. But sometimes it involves two kinds; good innovation and bad innovation. This word -which was derived from the word of Caliph ‘Umar Ibne Khattaab- has been mentioned by Shafe’ii, Ibne Hazm, Ghazaali, Dehlavi and Ibne Athir. In the year 14th Hejira, in Ramazaan month he forced people to perform recommendatory prayer by Imamat (leadership) of Aby Ibne Ka’ab, and then he said: “it is a good innovation”. It should be said that if the recommendatory (Mustahab) prayer was performed in congregation, it would have one of the following two forms: Performing recommendatory (Mustahab) prayer in congregation or by Qaari (who recites Quran) was mentioned in Quran and Sunna, so Caliph would revive the tradition which had been abandoned. So the word of ‘Umar Ibne Khattaab -“it is a good innovation”- was not appropriate, because his act is not considered as interfering in divine law of Islam. (This matter has been mentioned in some of narratives). Or performing recommendatory (Mustahab) prayer in congregation was not mentioned in Quran and Sunna -not in congregation and nor by Qaari -, and since caliph did not like people to perform recommendatory prayer dispersedly, forced them to perform prayer in congregation or altogether with a same Qaari. So his act is considered as an unlawful (Haraam) and bad innovation. More explanation: interfering, reducing and adding in religious matters and divine law of Islam are all innovation, to which has been indicated in Quran and Sunna. This kind of innovation is unlawful and abominable. So it is explicit that this innovation does not have a good kind. In religion and non-religion, innovation lexically has good and bad kinds. A good innovation is something new which is useful for the life, such as habits and customs, it is not unlawful and has no relevance to religion. In fact, it is something new and useful for the community. Here are some examples in this regard; commemorating the national Independence Day, gathering for expressing hatred of enemies and celebrating the birthday of a hero. So when something innately is lawful (Halal), people can make a tradition out of it and apply it in its appropriate time, it is a lexical innovation. Sometimes there is something unlawful (Haraam) which is accepted as a prevalent custom among people, in this case, that innovation is innately unlawful, and it is a prevalent sin. Such as the women who have no Hijab (a headscarf worn by Muslim women; conceals the hair and neck) and wear heavy makeup and attend in mixed celebrations.

Refrence:

1. The aspects of shi’ite’s creed, p. 278 ------------------------------ Ref: www.makarem.ir


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