IMAM SHAFI`S EXPLANATION OF THE ABOVE HADITH
Kullu bida`tin daiala: "Every innovation is a misguidance"? Doesn`t the term "every" include all innovations?" Such an objection stems from the misinterpretation of the term kull ("every") in the Hadith to be all encompassing without exception, whereas in Arabic it may mean "Nearly all" or "the vast majority." This is how al-Shafi`i understood it or else he would have never allowed for any innovation whatsoever to be considered good, and he is considered a hujja or "Proof," that is, reference without peer for questions regarding the Arabic language. The stylistic figure of meaning the part by the whole, or nechdoche in English is in Arabic: `abbara `an al-kathratf bi at-kulliyya. This is illustrated by the use of kull in the following verse 46:25 of the Quran in a selective or partial sense not a universal sense:
"Destroying all things by commandment of its Lord. And morning found them so that naught could be seen save their dwellings". Thus, the dwellings were not destroyed although "all" things had been destroyed. "All" here means specifically the lives of the unbelievers of `Ad and their properties except their houses.
ARE THERE GOOD OR BAD INNOVATIONS IN ISLAM?
Prophetic saying as stated in Sahih Muslim is known even to common Muslims, let alone scholars: "He who inaugurates a good practice (sanna fil-islam sunnatun hasana) in Islam earns the reward of it, and of all who perform it after him, without diminishing their own rewards in the least. " Tirmizi, Page 92.
Imam Nawawi said in Sahih Muslim (6-21):
"The Prophet`s saying `every innovation is a general-particular and it is a reference to most innovations. The linguists say, `Innovation is any act done without a previous pattern, and it is of five different kinds."` Imam Nawawi also said in Tahzeeb al Asma`wal Sifaat, "Innovation in religious law is to originate anything which did not exist during the time of the Prophet, and it is divided into good and bad." He also said, "al-muhdathat (pi. for muhdatha) is to originate something that has no roots in religious law. In the tradition of religious law, it is called innovation, and if it has an origin within the religious law, then it is not innovation. Innovation in religious law is disagreeable, unlike in the language where everything that has been originated without a previous pattern is called innovation regardless of whether it is good or bad."
Sheikh al-Islam lbn Hajar Al Asqalani, the commentator on al-Bukhari, said, "Anything that did not exist during the Prophet`s time is called innovation, but some are good while others are not."
Abu Na`eem, narrated from Ibrahim al-Junaid, said, "I heard Ash-Shafi`i saying, `Innovation is of two types: praiseworthy innovation and blameworthy innovation, and anything that disagrees with the Sunnah is blameworthy."
Imam al Bayhaqi narrated in Manaqib Ash-Shafi`i that he said, "Innovations are of two types: that which contradicts the Quran, the Sunnah, or unanimous agreement of the Muslims is an innovation of deception, while a good innovation does not contradict any of these things."