SWORD AGAINST BID’AH {PART-3}


REFUTING THE CLAIMED EVIDENCE

 

Claimed Evidence – 1

When Umar ibn Al-Khattab was the Khalifah, he ordered Ubay bin Ka’b and Tamim ad-Dari to stand and lead the people in prayer during Ramadan. When he went out to the mosque while the people were all united behind one Imam, watching this he said, “What a good bid’ah this is. But the prayer which they do not perform but sleep at its time is better than the one they are performing .” (Bukhari)

 

Refutation:

(a) Firstly, it becomes necessary to explain the context of what happened.  When the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) first emigrated to Madinah, the Muslims prayed tarawih individually, and then for three nights they prayed in congregation behind the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). After this, he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) stopped them doing so saying, “I feared that it would become obligatory upon you.”

So after this, the Muslims would pray individually or in small congregations throughout the rule of Abu Bakr and the beginning of Umar’s rule.  Then Umar came to the masjid and saw the Muslims praying in small groups behind different Imam, so he collected them together in one congregation behind one Imam and made the aforementioned statement. (Bukhari)

 

So how can this action of Umar be understood to be a new act of worship when the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) did it during his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) lifetime?

 

Secondly, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) gave the reason why he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) stopped the congregational prayer, because revelation was still descending, and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) feared that praying in congregation might become obligatory upon his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) Ummah and hence make the religion hard upon them.

After the death of the Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), revelation ceased so this concern was no longer necessary.  Hence Umar reinstated the tarawih prayer in congregation during his rule because he knew that his action could not be made obligatory upon the Ummah.

 

Thirdly, all the companions agreed upon this action of Umar, thus there was a consensus (Ijma) on it. And the scholars of Usul (fundamental principles) have stated that Ijma cannot occur except when there is a clear text for it in the Shari’ah.

 

So what is the correct understanding of Umar’s words – “a good bid’ah” ?

The word bid’ah here is to be understood in its linguistic sense – “something new”, because tarawih in one congregation was not present during the rule of Abu Bakr and the beginning of Umar’s rule, hence in that sense it was something new. The Shari’ah sense (defined earlier) cannot be understood here because it does not fulfil the conditions of being a new act of worship.

So don’t say that Umar did a “good bid’ah” (may Allah prtotect us from misunderstanding about sahaba) rather the reality is he revived the sunnah of tarawih prayer.

 

(b) Abu Yusuf said, “I asked Abu Hanifah about the tarawih and what Umar did.” He said, “The tarawih is a stressed Sunnah, and Umar did not do that from his own opinion, nor was there in his action any innovation, and he did not enjoin it except that there was a foundation for it with him and authorisation from the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam).” (Sharh Mukhtar)

 

(c) Imam Ibn Rajab said, “Any words from the Salaf considering something as a good bid’ah were meant in the linguistic and not the Islamic sense, such as the saying of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), when he saw people praying tarawih in congregation, he said – ‘This is a good bid’ah.’ ”

 

(d) Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said that if Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) in his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) lifetime points towards an action to be recommended (mustahab) or obligatory but it is not acted upon until his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) death then such an action is linguistically called bid’ah because it is a new action.

Ibn Taymiyyah further explained that during the life-time of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), people used to establish the Qiyam of Ramadan in Jama’ah but on the third or fourth night Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) explained that nothing prohibited him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) from coming out to pray with the companions except the fear that tarawih might be made obligatory upon the Ummah. So, the excuse of not coming out to pray was the fear of obligation and it is established that if there was no such fear then Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) would have come out.

Such a fear was non-existent at the time of Umar (because the revelation was completed) and so Umar gathered the people behind one Imam and the Masjid was lit up (with the people who joined in the Jamaah) and this (delightful) atmosphere came into existence. So, this action of gathering in the Masjid behind one Imam, was not performed by the people before and thus, Umar called it a bid’ah because it is a new action in the linguistic form. And it is not a bid’ah in the Shari’ah because the Sunnah has established that it is a righteous action if there was no fear of obligation, and this fear vanished with the death of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam).

Ibn Taymiyyah also says that, Salat tarawih is not a bid’ah in the Shari’ah, rather it is a Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) performed it, and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Allah has made the fasts of Ramadan obligatory upon you and made Qiyam a Sunnah.”

Also praying it in the Jama’ah is not a bid’ah because Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) is known to have performed this prayer in Jama’ah in the beginning of the Ramadaan for two nights, rather three nights. He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) also established this Salaat many times during the last ten days and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “If a man prays behind the Imam until he (the Imam) completes his prayer then the reward of performing Qiyam during the whole night will be recorded for him.”, this saying of his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) is an encouragement to perform Qiyam behind the Imam and it further establishes that Qiyam is a Sunnah and people used to pray in groups during his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) time and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) approved of them and his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) approval is a Sunnah. (Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqim)

 

Claimed Evidence – 2

Jarir Ibn Abdullah Al-Bujali narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Whoever introduces a good practice (a good sunnah) in Islam will get the reward of performing it and that of all those who perform it until the Day of Resurrection; Whoever introduces a bad practice in Islam will get the punishment of performing it and that of all those who do it until the Day of Resurrection.”(Muslim)

 

Refutation:

Firstly, Imam ash-Shatibi answered those who attempt to use this Hadith as evidence of the permissibility of innovating by saying, “Using this Hadith as an evidence (to innovate) implies that different evidences (Ahadith) contradict one another (because in other Ahadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) unequivocally warned against innovating).”

Then he said, “The context of this Hadith is that, it was said in a situation where charity was being given, and charity is something already legislated. The proof of this is actually to be found in the very same Hadith, if you were to read it all, as Jarir Ibn Abdullah Al-Bujali (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

We were with the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) (in the Masjid) just after dawn one day when some people entered barefooted and clad in woollen matting (or covered with sleeveless woollen blankets) with their swords hung around their necks. Most of them belonged to the tribe of Mudhar. The face of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) turned pale due to their wretched condition. Then, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) went into his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) house, re-emerged and commanded Bilal to call the Adhan, and the Iqamah and then he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) led the prayer.

After the prayer, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) stood up and addressed people saying-

‘O mankind! Fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.’ (Surah An-Nisa, 4 : 1)

‘O you who have believed! Fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.’ (Surah al-Hashr, 59 : 18)

Then, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, ‘Give in charity from (what you possess of) Dinars (gold coins), Dirhams (silver coins), a Saa’ (a small measure of weight) of wheat or even a Saa’ of dates.’ until he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, ‘Give, even if it as little as half a date.’

Thereupon, a man from the Ansar (residents of Madinah) came with a bag of food which was so heavy that it was difficult for him to carry. Thereafter, people came successively until I saw two huge piles of food and clothes, and the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)’s face was bright as a glittering golden coin (due to his happiness).

Then the Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, ‘Whoever introduces a good practice in Islam, will get the reward of performing it and that of all those who perform it until the Day of Resurrection; Whoever introduces a bad practice in Islam will get the punishment of performing it and that of all those who do it until the Day of Resurrection.’ (Muslim).

Therefore, it is obvious that this Hadith refers to deeds that are already legislated and proven to already exist in the religion, which in this case was charity given by a certain companion of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam).

So the statement of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) ‘a good sunnah’ was said at a time when the people were reluctant to give charity, so one man started to give the charity and others followed him in it.  Thus, he revived a Sunnah at a time when the people were reluctant to practice it, and this is the meaning of ‘a good sunnah.’ ”

 

Secondly, the word ‘Sunnah’ which is used in this hadith cannot be understood to mean the Sunnah of Rasulallaah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), because that would imply that there is something bad in the Sunnah; rather it is to be understood in its linguistic meaning of ‘practice’.

 

Thirdly, the hadith uses the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and the Shari’ah has already defined in its totality all that is good and all that is bad.

This is what is pointed to in the statement of Imam ash-Shafi’ in his refutation of Istihsan (declaring something to be good) when he said, “Whoever declares something to be good, he has declared it part of Shari’ah.” (ar-Risala)

 

Claimed Evidence – 3

The collection of the Qur’an into one book after the death of Rasulallaah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and the statement of Abu Bakr, “How can we do that which was not done by the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) ?” (Bukhari)

The proof, according to them, being that the companions collected the Qur’an in a book form after the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) without his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) enjoining it – hence it being an innovation which the companions agreed upon as being good.

 

Refutation:

Gathering the Qur’an has basis in the Shari’ah (read- The written compilation of the Qur’an) because the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) approved and ordered writing of the Qur’an, though it was inscribed in the dispersed form. The Sahabah collected it in one book in order to preserve it and it was an Ijma of the Sahaba to compile the Qur’an.

 

Claimed Evidence – 4

Documenting the hadith.

 

Refutation:

Documentation of the Hadith also has roots in the Shari’ah. Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) ordered writing of some Ahadith for some Sahabah upon request. (read- Compilation of hadith) The documentation was prohibited in general at the time of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) fearing that something might be added to the Qur’an which was not from it.

After the death of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), the cause (behind this prohibition) ended, because the Qur’an had been completed and the arrangement of verses were also determined. So, the Muslims wrote down the Sunnah in order to preserve it from being lost.

 

Claimed Evidence – 5

Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “What the Muslims see as good is good in the sight of Allah and what they see as bad is bad in the sight of Allah.” (Musnad Ahmad)

 

Refutation:

As-Sindi said, “It is obvious that he was referring to the companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and he was talking exclusively about those things that they had aunanimous consensus on, it does not include others.”

One thought on “SWORD AGAINST BID’AH {PART-3}

  1. Pingback: SWORD AGAINST BID’AH {PART-1} | AL BASAIR ISLAMIC MEDIA

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