Following in Religious Matters and Innovation in Worldly affairs
The Civilized Figh considers following as an essence of religion, whereas, innovation is the essence of life. Allah has perfected for us His Religion, and completed His Grace on us through it. Thus this Religion is invulnerable for additions or subtractions. For Allah says:
There Are Two Fundamental Bases For Allah's Worship:
First, one must worship Allah alone and anything that people worship besides Allah is falsehood, whether it was a star in the sky, an idol on earth, a plant, an animal or a human being. All Allah's prophets upheld this basis for Allah says:
Secondly, one must worship Allah in the lawful way that is ordained by Allah in His Book, and spelt out by the Prophet in his Sunnah. Whoever dares to invent or insert anything that is not in accordance with Allah's Book or the Prophet's Sunnah is doomed to rejection. The Authentic hadiths states:
Thus the Prophet (Peace be upon him) protected religion from the novelties and innovations that had been inserted and introduced into the former religions perverting words from their meaning through additions, making the easy difficult, turning the Haram into Halal and the Halal into Haram.
For instance, the Christians invented cruel monasticism and tried to forbid Allah's instinctive religion which He has created in mankind. Therefore, they declared that marriage, Allah's ornaments and the good things which He has provided for His slaves as forbidden. Some of them went so far to say that cleanliness itself is forbidden. They even believe that the filth and stench of their bodies bring them closer to their Lord and that the cleanliness of their bodies bring them closer to Satan. For instance, a monk of the Middle Ages in Europe, said bitterly there were times where one on the clergy spent his entire life without touching water but we alas live at the time when people become used to bathrooms. [Note: See, Abu Al-Hassan Al-Nadawi, Islam and the World, Madha Khasira Al-`A lam Binhtat Al-Muslimin]
It seems that the habit of "Frequenting bathrooms" was taken from Muslims in Andalusia!
The Sunnah warned Muslims against overburdening themselves. Anas reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
In this respect, Allah says:
This overburdening of one's self and Strict adherence to religion was contrary to the easy and mild attitude through which they dealt with life so much so that they welcomed every attempt towards creativity and innovation in worldly matters.
Undoubtedly, the Prophet urged Muslims to create for the good of life in general and to invent new styles of architecture and construction. In addition, he directed them to wards continuous improvement, and innovation in science, work and art. The Authentic Hadith reported that the Prophet said:
This was the way the early Companions and Muslims conducted their lives. They did not hesitate to pass judgments concerning certain issues that were non-existent in the Prophet's time, or were not tackled or even dealt with before. They craved what was in the best interest of the Islamic Nation, for instance, they wrote the Qur'an and made copies of it, based Caliphate on mutual consultation (Shura), established the mint, built prisons besides other things upon which the scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence based their defense of the necessity of continuous observance of public interest. [Note: See, Al-Qarafi, SharhTanqih Al-Fusul, p.199]
Most of these innovations took place during the Caliphate of `Umar (May Allah he pleased with him) for he was the first to write down accounts of poor, army, etc., built cities and establish Islamic calendar. Those who followed him, followed his traces during the good and prosperous centuries of the Islamic Nation.
Naturally, they fought evil novelties concerning faith, rejected evil innovations in worship, kept the essence of religion intact and unblemished. Moreover, they created sciences that serve religion such as grammar, morphology and rhetoric, they compiled language dictionaries and developed the sciences of Fiqh, interpretation and Hadith; and satellite science so as to secure, clarify and set the bases for those who attempt to learn them. For instance, they established the science of Principles of Jurisprudence, Hadith Methodology, and Qura'nic studies.
They even went so far as to translate the sciences of other nations. Therefore, they borrowed, adapted and added to them. There were numerous instances of genius among Muslims in all fields such as: medicine, astrology, physics, chemistry, optics, mathematics, geography and other fields of knowledge as well.
Alas, when Muslims fell into the abyss of backwardness, (i.e. lack of adherence to Islamic principles) this bright image was blurred by their evil innovations in religious studies and their stagnancy towards the development of life.