Shaykh Khaalid ‘Uthmaan Al-Misree (hafidhahullaah)
The point is that it is upon he who desires safety in his religion to beware of innovations, both small and large; and he should not belittle any innovation. As an example, there are those who make light of the innovation of Tasbeeh¹ upon Dhikr beads. Had the companions saw these Dhikr beads they would have repudiated them sternly; as Ibn Mas’ood criticized the people counting out the Takbeer², the Tahleel³, the Tasbeeh, and the Tahmeed with the stones. There is no difference between the one who makes Tasbeeh with stones and the one who does so with the Dhikr beads. This one is an innovation and that one is an innovation.
The Dhikr beads is a small innovation in the eyes of some, and they think that it is only disliked and that it (simply) opposes that which is better. But the strongest view is that it is prohibited. The prohibition is from two perspectives:
The First Perspective: It is from the newly invented matters in Dhikr which neither the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did nor did anyone from his companions.
The Second Perspective: The verifiers have affirmed that these Dhikr beads were taken from the Christians and the Hindus. He who enters into the churches of the Christians will find these Dhikr beads. As will he who enters into the temples of the Hindus. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“He who imitates a people is from them.”
So it is not permissible to resemble the polytheists in their practices. This is a great prohibited matter which could lead to Kufr.
Due to this, to use Dhikr beads to make Tasbeeh, Tahleel, and Tahmeed4 is a prohibited innovation; and he who does it is on the verge of falling into a larger innovation. This is the case of many people. You find him making light of an innovation, then after that you find him falling into big innovations; from Khurooj, which is the Manhaj of the Khawaarij that is based upon declaring the sinners from the Muslims to be disbelievers and deeming their blood to be permissible; as was the case of those people who were making Tasbeeh with the stones. Their end result was the same.