What is Bid’ah ?


Linguistically meaning:

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


The Shari’ah definition of Bid’ah:

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said,

“Every newly Invented matter (in the religion) is Bid’ah and every Bid’ah is dalalah (going astray) and every dalalah is in the Fire.” (Tirmidhi – hadith 2676)

“Every innovation (in the religion) is misguidance and going astray.” (Abu Dawud – hadith 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.” (Nasa’i – hadith 1/224)

First two hadiths declared Sahih by Imam Ibn Hajr and authenticated it Takhrij Ahadith Ibn ul-Haajib (1/137), and third hadith declared Sahih by Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmu al-Fatawa (3/58).


Ibn Taymiyyah explained the meaning Bid’ah saying, “Linguistically Bid’ah is everything that is carried out for the first time without a similar example in the past, and Bid’ah in the Shari’ah is everything that does not have any proof from the Shari’ah.”

Imam ash-Shafi’ said, “A Bid’ah is anything that has no basis in the Qur’an, Sunnah or sayings of any of the companions.”

Ibn al-Jawzi said, “A Bid’ah is any form of worship that did not exist [at the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and companions], then later it was innovated.”

Ibn Rajab said in Sharh al-Arba’in, “The saying of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) – ‘Every Bid’ah is misguidance’ –  is a comprehensive word, which does not exclude anything (of the Bid’ah) and it is a great fundamental of the Deen, like his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) saying – ‘Whosoever innovates in our religion, which is not from it will have it rejected.’ (Bukhari ). 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 (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) rightly-guided Caliphs adhered to from creedal beliefs, observance of practices, and sayings … this is the complete Sunnah.”

Ash-Shatibi said in al-I’tisam , “(Bid’ah is) a newly invented way (beliefs or action) in the religion, in imitation of the Shari’ah (prescribed Law), by which nearness to Allah is sought, (but) not being supported by any authentic proof – neither in its foundations, nor in the manner in which it is performed.”


Is there any good Bid’ah ?

The innovators and enemies of Islam try to divide Islam by creating Bid’ah and they also use some hadith to legalize “Bid’ah hasanah” (good Bid’ah).We refuted them in another article of this series.

Before going there, lets understand the reality of classification in Bid’ah in the Deen al-Islam.


“…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”).

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) knew what this word indicated and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) was the most eloquent of all in the Arabic language and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) was the sincerest of the creation towards the creation. Hence he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) would not use a word unless its meaning was that which he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) intended.

Hence when the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “… every Bid’ah leads astray …”, he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) knew what he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) was saying and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) knew its meaning, and this saying of his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) emanated as a result of complete sincerity and concern for the Ummah.

When these three characteristics were all present in his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) words, i.e., complete sincerity and good wishes, complete clarity and eloquence, complete knowledge and understanding  –  then it is clear that what he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said was what he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) wanted to say in order to convey his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) desired meaning.

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


Our prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said about Bid’ah in the deen :

“He who does something which is not according to what we [i.e., the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and companions] are upon, then it is rejected.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

“… and the best speech is the speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), and the worst of all affairs are the newly-invented matters (in the religion).” (Muslim)

Imam ash-Shafi’ said, “Whosoever considers an innovation to be good has corrected the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam).” (Bulghul Maram of Ibn Hajar p190 footnote 2].

And all that has been related from Imam ash-Shafi’ that contradicts this statement, regarding innovation as being of two types is either weak or baseless as al-Hafidh adh-Dhahabi and others from the scholars of hadith state.

Ibn Taymiyyah says in ‘Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqeem that it is not Halal for someone to contradict this comprehensive statement of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) – “Every Bid’ah 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 (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) than to misinterpreting [his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) 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 (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) 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.

Rafi ibn Khadij reported: The Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) came to Madinah and found the people fertilising the date-palm trees. He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “What are you doing?” They said, “We are fertilising the trees.” Whereupon he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Maybe it would be 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 (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)] whereupon he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) 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 ra’y (then bear in mind-not about deen ) I am a human being.” (Muslim).



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

  1. Pingback: Understanding bid'ah

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