Linguistically Bid’ah (innovation) means ‘a newly invented matter’.

The Sharee’ah definition of Bid’ah

Prophet Muhammad (Saw) said,

Every newly Invented matter (in the religion) is bid’ah and every bid’ah is dalaalah (going astray) and every dalaalah is in the Fire,” {Saheeh – narrated by at-Tirmidhee (no. 2676)}.

Every innovation (in the religion) is misguidance and going astray” { Abu Daawood (no. 4607)}

“I warn you of the newly invented-matters (in the religion), and every newly-invented matter is an innovation,  and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.” Reported by an-Nasaa’ee (1/224)

First two hadiths declared sahih by Ibn Hajr and authenticated it Takhreej Ahaadeeth Ibn ul-Haajib (1/137) and third hadith declared sahih by Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ ul-Fataawaa (3/58).

Imaam Ash-Shaafi’i, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “A Bid’ah is anything that has no basis in the Qur’aan, Sunnah or sayings of any of the companions.”

Ibn Al-Jawzi, may Allaah have mercy upon him,said: “A Bid’ah is any form of worship that did not exist (at the time of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his companions) then later it was innovated.”

Ibn Rajab said in Sharh al-Arba’een, ‘The saying of Allah’s Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam), ‘Every Bidah is misguidance’ is a comprehensive word, which does not exclude anything (of the Bidah) and it is a great fundamental of the Deen, like his (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) saying, ‘Whosoever innovates in our religion, which is not from it will have it rejected.’ [Saheeh al-Bukharee (3/167/2697) Fath al-Baree (5/355)] So everyone who innovates and ascribes it to the religion and it does not have any basis in the religion, then it is an innovation and the religion is free from it, whether it is from the issues of Aqeedah (beliefs), outward/inward actions or statements.’

He also said (in Jami’ al ‘ulum wal Hikam) : ‘Sunnah is a followed path ; it includes  what  the Prophet (Saw)  and his rightly- guided  Caliphs adhered to from creedal beliefs, observance of prac tices, and sayings… this is the complete Sunnah.”

Ash-Shaatibee said in al-i’tisam ,”A newly invented way [beliefs or action] in the religion, in imitation of the Sharee’ah (prescribed Law), by which nearness to Allaah is sought, [but] not being supported by any authentic proof – neither in its foundations, nor in the manner in which it is performed.”

Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah explained the meaning Bidah saying, ‘Linguistically Bidah is everything that is carried out for the first time without a similar example in the past and Bidah in the Sharee’ah is everything that does not have any proof from the Sharee’ah.’

Classification in bid’ah

The innovators and enemies of islam try to divide islam by creating bid’ah and they also use some hadith to ligalize bid’ah hasanah (good bid’ah !). [We have been refuted them in another article (of this series), Read – SWORD AGAINST BID’AH {PART-3} ]

Before going there,lets understand the reality of classification in bid’ah (in the deen).

“…every bid’ah…” are complete, comprehensive and universal, being encompassed by the strongest grammatical particle used to make a noun universal and all-encompassing, i.e., kullu (which means everything), and the one who used this word, may Allaah’s salawaat and salaam be upon him, knew what this word indicated and he was the most eloquent of all (in the Arabic language) and he was the sincerest of the creation towards the creation. Hence he would not use a word unless its meaning was that which he intended. Hence (they know that) when the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “… every Bid’ah leads astray …” he knew what he was saying and he knew its meaning and this saying of his eminated as a result of complete sincerity and concern for the Ummah.

When these three characteristics were all present in his words, i.e., complete sincerity and good wishes, complete clarity and eloquence and complete knowledge and understanding -then it is clear that what he said was what he wanted to say in order to convey his desired meaning.

So it is extremely easy to understand that how can be bid’ah classified in catagories (in the deen)?

Let’s look two hadith that what our prophet (Saw) said about bid’ah (in the deen) :

‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “He who does something which is not according to what we (i.e., the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his companions) are upon then it is rejected.” (Bukhaari & Muslim).

“…and the best speech is the speech of Allaah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the worst of all affairs are the newly-invented matters (in the religion).” [Muslim]

Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee said, “Whosoever considers an innovation to be good has corrected the Prophet (Saw).” [Bulghul Maraam of Ibn Hajar p190 footnote 2].   (And all that has been related from him that contradicts this statement, regarding innovation as being of two types is either weak or baseless as al-Haafidh adh-Dhahabee and others from the scholars of hadith state.)

Ibn Taymiyyah says in ‘Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqeem’ that it is not Halaal for someone to contradict this comprehensive statement of Allah’s Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam), ‘Every Bidah is misguidance’ by depriving the statement of its generality and claiming that not every innovation is an astray because by doing this you are closer to opposing the Messenger of Allah than to misinterpreting (his statement).

The subject of wordly innovation

Worldly innovations, which have no relation to the  Deen, such as inventions  and the like. It is not called ‘Bid’ah’ , even though it is considered  as such from a linguistic perspective. The Prophet (Saw) did  not warn  and caution people from this type of  ‘Bid’ah’ . All customs, worldly affairs and transactions are lawful, as long as there are no proofs that point to its prohibition. This category is not considered a ‘religious innovation’ because they are not considered as acts of worship.

Raafi ibn Khadeej reported that “The Prophet of Allaah (Saw) came to Madeenah and found the people fertilising the date-palm trees. He said: ‘What are you doing?” They said: ‘We are fertilising the trees.’ Whereupon he said: ‘Maybe it would he better for you if you were not to do that.’ So they abandoned the practice and their harvest decreased. They made mention of that to (the Prophet) whereupon he said: “I am a human being, so if I command you about something which pertains to your Deen, accept it and if I command you about something from my own raa’y (then bear in mind-not about deen ) I am a human being.’ ” (Saheeh – narrated by Muslim).

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2 thoughts on “SWORD AGAINST BID’AH {PART-1}

  1. Pingback: Understanding bid'ah

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