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The following articles are on Bida'ah (meaning innovation).

The importance of sticking to the Sunnah and the reality of Bida'ah

The Religion is complete

Allah says:  "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." [5:4]

This verse embodies a clear statement that the religion has been completed and so has no need of addition and deletion, and our noble Messenger () said, "There is nothing that Allah ordered you with except that I have ordered you with it, and there is nothing that Allah forbade you from except that I have forbidden you from it" (al-Bayhaqee and others).

And he () said, "There is nothing that will take you closer to paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you, and there is nothing that will take you closer to hell but that I have warned you from it" (Musnad ash-Shafi'ee and others). So the Prophet Muhammad () fulfilled the trust placed upon him by Allah completely, explaining the religion to the people in it's inward and outward form, making clear the lawful from the prohibited, the encouraged from the discouraged, even to the extent that he taught us the manners of going to the toilet, the manners of having sex with our wives etc. Allah says in His Book,


"And We have revealed to you a Book explaining everything." [16:89]..and He says, "We have neglected nothing in the Book." [6:37]


So in the Qur'an is explained the principles of the religion, Tawheed in all it's various categories, even to the extent that it teaches us the manners of sitting in circles, visiting other peoples houses, the correct clothing etc..

The Importance of Sticking to the Sunnah

Allah says, "Indeed you have in the Messenger () of Allah an excellent example for the one who hopes in Allah and looks to the Last Day." [33:21]

He also says, "So if you obey him (i.e. Muhammad (), then you will be guided." [25:54]

The Messenger () of Allah said, "I have left behind me two things, if you cling to them you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." (al-Haakim)

And he () also said, "..and you will live to see great difference, so cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs after me, even if it be with your teeth." (Bukhari)

The Taabi'ee, the Imam, az-Zuhree commented, "Clinging to the Sunnah is to be saved, as Imam Malik said, `like the Ark of Noah', he who embarked upon it was saved, and he who did not was destroyed." (ad-Daarimee)

In these narrations is clear evidence that the way of salvation and safety is to closely follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (), and not to deviate from his path, not accepting the guidance of another individual, nor accepting a corrupted form of the Sunnah. 

Allah says, "and whosoever contends with the Messenger () after guidance has been made clear to him, and follows a way other than the way of the believers, We shall leave in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell, what an evil destination!"

The Sunnah shall become corrupted

We are taught in the revelation that the Sunnah shall become corrupted and this corruption would become the norm, so much so that the people who follow the Sunnah would become as strangers, and those that call to purifying the Sunnah would be slandered and reviled. The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Islam began as something strange, and it shall return as something strange as it began. So Tooba (a tree in paradise) to the strangers." It was asked, "who are the strangers?" He replied, "those that purify and correct what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah." (Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer [6/202])

And what is this corruption? It is none other than innovation, introducing into the pure religion of Allah new ways of worshipping Him that He has not taught, blemishing His religion with our whims and desires, something that Allah Himself condemns,

"Or do they have partners that legislate some religion which Allah has not given permission for?" [42:21]

The Companion, Abdullah ibn Mas'ud laments, "How will it be when the trials overcome you, in which the young grow old and the old grow senile. And the people take the Bida'ah as the Sunnah, and when it changes they say: `The Sunnah has changed.'" It was said: "When will this be O Abu Abdur-Rahman?" He replied: "When your speakers are many and your scholars are few, and the wealthy ones are plenty and the trustworthy ones are few." (ad-Daarimee)

How true this statement is today, that the innovations have become so widespread in the religion that the people have taken then to be the Sunnah. And when the true scholar speaks out against these innovations he is labeled as a 'wahhabi' by the people because to them it seems that he is changing the Sunnah. To Allah we complain of the ignorance of our times!

Only Allah has the right to tell us how to worship Him:

"Follow that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and do not follow as Friends and Protectors other than Him" [7:3]

From the tafseer of this verse we learn that this verse embodies a categorical statement that the privilege to tell people how to worship Allah belongs to Allah Alone. And how could it be otherwise when the true meaning of Ibadah is to worship Allah in a way which He is Pleased with and not according to our desires,

"And who is more astray then the one who follows his own whims and desires devoid of revelation?" [28:50]

In this regard the Prophet () said, "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 every misguidance is in the Hellfire." (an-Nasaa'ee)

And he () used to say at the beginning of his lectures, "...and the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (), and the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters (in the religion)." (Muslim) ..and he () commanded us, "Whosoever does an action which we have not commanded then it must be rejected." (Muslim)

The Prophet () also said " he follows my Sunnah has been guided, and he who follows the innovations has been destroyed." (Ahmad) ..and again, "Whosoever introduces into this religion of ours that which is not part of it then it must be rejects." (Ahmad)

Ibn Rajab said in his Jaami al-Ulum (1/120) : "And in this Hadith is a clear evidence that every action which is not legislated in the Shari'ah must be rejected."

So every Bida'ah that is introduced in the religion has to be rejected because only Allah and His Messenger () have the right to legislate in the Shari'ah of Islam.

"Hence in the light of what has preceded we can now give the formal Shari'ah definition of Bida'ah: "a newly invented way (in beliefs and actions) in the religion, in imitation of the Shari'ah, by which nearness to Allah is sought, not being supported by any authentic proof, neither in it's foundations nor in the manner in which it is performed." [al-I'tisaam 1/231 of ash-Shaatibee]

And in what has preceded is ample evidence for any fair-minded Muslim that all Bida'ah is blameworthy, and in fact a major sin. But unfortunately the Muslims are in such a state today that the words of Allah and His Messenger () are no longer enough to convince them. And certain groups of people have come up with a new belief to assist them with the destruction of Islam. The belief of `Bida'ah hasanah', i.e. a good Bida'ah, meaning that a scholar can introduce a new action of worship in Islam which can be considered to be good as long it does not contradict any of the principles of Islam. A belief that has absolutely no foundation in Islam at all. So we resort to the sayings of the Companions and the Imams to illuminate the road ahead of these people.

 Sayings of the later Imams about Bida'ah

bulletImam Abu Haneefah said, "Stick to the narrations and the way of the salaf, and beware of the newly invented matters for all of it is innovation." [Sawnul Muntaq of as-Suyutee pg.32]
bulletImam Malik said, "He who innovates an innovation in Islam regards it as something good, has claimed that Muhammad has betrayed his trust to deliver the message as Allah says,

"This day have I perfected for you your religion".  And [al-I'tisaam]

Compare this above statement of Imam Malik with the sayings of the Murabbitun Movement. The Murabbitun movement, at it's head being the Sufi leader Abdul-Qadir as-Sufi al-Murabbit is one of those ardently in support of Bida'ah Hasanah. The Murabbitun follow strictly the Maliki Madhab, being its ardent and staunch supporter. Yet, how is it that they claim to follow Imam Malik, but when such statements of Imam Malik condemning Bida'ah hasanah are rehearsed to them, they deny and make excuses for it? That is nothing but pure denial of the truth. By Allah, all the people who proclaim Bida'ah Hasan, when proofs such as these are provided to them, yet do not change, these are those amongst the group that will be turned away from the Pool of the Prophet () in Paradise; may Allah save me and you from such an end. Indeed, it is as Imam Malik had said, "How evil are the People of Innovation, we do not give them salaam." [al-Ibaanah of ibn Battah (d.387) no.441]


bulletImam Ahmad said, "The fundamental principles of the Sunnah with us are: "..avoiding innovations and every innovation is misguidance." [Usul as-Sunnah of Imam Ahmad pg.1]
bulletAs for the narrations from Imam ash-Shafi'ee in which he categorizes Bida'ah into two, then it is weak as all of it's chains of narrations depend upon unknown narrators. [al-Bida'ah of Sheikh Saleem al-Hilaalee, al-Masaabeeh fee Salaatit Taraaweeh of as-Suyutee with Alee Hasan's footnotes]. Not only this but in his Risalah he rejects the concept of istihsaan because "the person doing so has legislated in the Shari'ah" i.e. without permission from Allah. So there no proof that Imam ash-Shafi'ee condoned Bida'ah hasan or its like. Rather, many scholars have commented that Imam ash-Shafi'ee was amongst the most strictest in ordering his people to follow the Sunnah. Such narrations from him are numerous.
Imam Bukhari said, "I have met more than a thousand scholars."  Then he mentioned the names of the more prominent in each of the lands that he traveled in and I found that they all agreed on the following points: they all used to prohibit Bida'ah - that which the Prophet () and his Companions were not upon, because of the saying of Allah,

"..and hold fast to the rope of Allah and do not separate."

[Imam Bukhaaree's article on belief as quoted in Sharh Usul I'tiqaad 1/170. From amongst the scholars he met were: Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abu Ubaid al-Qaasim, ibn Ma'een, ibn Aasim, ibn Abee Shaybah.]


bulletAl-Fudayl ibn `Iyyaad said (concerning the ayah):

"That He (Allah) may try you as which of you best in deed." [67:2]

.."The best deed is that which is most devoted and most proper". The people asked, "O Aba `Alee! How should it be most devoted and most proper?" He said, "For if the deed was devoted but was not proper it would not be accepted, and if it was proper but was not devoted it would not be accepted; devoted is to be for Allah Alone, and the proper is to be in compliance with the Sunnah."


bulletImam al-Barbahari said in his Sharh-us-Sunnah (no.7): "Beware of small innovations because they grow until they become large. This is the case with every innovation introduced in this Ummah. It began as something small, bearing resemblance to the truth which is why those who entered it were mislead and then were unable to leave it. So it grew and became the religion which they followed and thus deviated from the Straight Path and left Islam."


bulletIshaq ibn Raahawayah (d. 238): "If you were to ask the ignorant people about as-Sawaadul A`dham (the Great Majority), they would say: "The majority of people". They do not know that the Juma'ah is the Scholar who clings to the narrations from the Prophet () and his way. So whosoever is with him and follows him, then he is the Juma'ah."

Imam ash-Shaatibee (d. 790) said in al-I`tisaam (2/267): "So consider what he (Ishaq ibn Raahawayah) quotes and it will then be clear to you the error of those who think that the Juma'ah is the main body or majority of people, even if there is no Scholar amongst them. This is the understanding of the common people - not the understanding of the Scholars. So the person who desires right guidance in this matter should firmly plant his feet in those places where slips occur, so that he does not deviate from the correct way - and there is no well-being and correct guidance except from Allah."

Sayings of the Companions about Bida'ah

bulletAbdullah ibn Umar states, "Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people regard it as good." (ad-Daarimee)

This narration is enough to demolish the concept of 'a good Bida'ah', for you have amongst the most knowledgeable companions of Muhammad () saying the exact opposite. So who do you choose to follow, ibn Umar or these modern day Sheikhs and Mullahs who are Imams of their own whims and desires. The next narration is an even stronger enforcement of the general rule that all Bida'ah are dalalah, even if people consider them good.


bulletReported by ad-Daarimee in his Sunan (1/79):

'Amr ibn Salmah said: "We used to sit by the door of 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood before the Morning Prayer, so that when he came out we would walk with him to the mosque. (one day) Abu Moosaa al-Ash'aree came to us and said, "Has Abu 'Abd ar-Rahmaan come out yet?"" We replied, "No." So he sat down with us until he came out. When he came out, we all stood along with him, so Abu Moosaa said to him, "O Abu 'Abd ar-Rahmaan! I have just seen something in the mosque which I deemed to be evil, but all praise is for Allah, I did not see anything except good." He enquired, "Then what is it?" (Abu Moosaa) replied, "If you live you will see it. I saw in the mosque people sitting in circles awaiting the Prayer. In each circle they had pebbles in their hands and a man would say 'repeat Allahu Akbar a hundred times.' So they would repeat it a hundred times. Then he would say, 'say Laa ilaaha illallaah a hundred times.' So they would say it a hundred times. Then he would say, 'say Subhaanallaah a hundred times.' So they would say it a hundred times." (Ibn Mas'ood) asked, "What did you say to them?" (Abu Moosaa) said, "I did not say anything to them. Instead I waited to hear you view or what you declared." (Ibn Mas'ood) replied, "Would that you had ordered them to count up the evil deeds they acquired and assured them that their good deeds would not be lost!"

Then we went along with him (Ibn Mas'ood) until he came to one of these circles and stood and said, "What is this which I see you doing?" They replied, "O Abu 'Abd ar-Rahmaan! These are pebbles upon which we are counting takbeer, tahleel and tasbeeh." He said, "Count up your evil deeds. I assure you that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, O Ummah of Muhammad ()! How quickly you go to destruction! These are the Companions of your Prophet () and who are widespread. There are his clothes which have not yet decayed and his bowl which is unbroken. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul! Either you are upon a Religion better guided than the Religion of Muhammad () or that you are opening the door of misguidance." They said, "O Abu 'Abd ar-Rahmaan! By Allah, we only intended good." He said, "How many there are who intend good but do not achieve it. Indeed Allah's Messenger () said to us 'A people will recite the Qur'an but it will not pass beyond their throats.' By Allah! I do not know, perhaps most of them are from you." Then he left them.

Umar ibn Salmah (the sub-narrator) said: "We saw most of those people fighting against us on the day of Nahrawaan, along with the Khawaarij." [Authenticated by Sh. Saleem al-Hilaalee in al-Bid'ah (pp. 26-29).]


bulletAbdullah ibn Abbaas said, "Do not sit with the people of innovation, for verily their sittings are a sickness for the hearts." [ash-Shari'ah pg 65 of al-Aajurree (d.360)]


bullet"A man said to Abdullah ibn Umar: "Najdah (a man from the Khawaarij) says such and such". So Ibn Umar prevented himself from listening for fear that some of it should enter his hearts". [Related by al-Laalikaaee no.199]


bulletMu'aadh bin Jabal used to say, whenever he sat in a circle of knowledge, "And I warn you of what is innovated, for all that is innovated is misguidance." [ash-Shari'ah pg.55, also Abu Dawood with similar wording]


bulletAbdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "Follow the Sunnah of Muhammad and do not innovate, for what you have been commanded is enough for you." [ad-Daarimee]


bulletHudhayfah bin al-Yaman said, "Every act of worship that the Companions did not do, do not do it." [Abu Dawood]

Is this not enough? That the Companions tell us to follow the way of Muhammad () and not to make up new ways of worship? "whomsoever Allah guides to the truth, none can misguide him, and whomsoever Allah misguides, none can guide"! [Muslim]


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By Sh. Jalladin Muhammad Salah

1888 Wilson Ave West, upper level, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9M 1A7
Phone  (416) 744-1479 FAX (416) 744-0227

  [Note: This article was published in the magazine Al Manar. Insh'allah this article will be useful to the brothers and sisters. For the brothers information the Sheikh graduated with a PhD from Madina University, College of Aqida, after completing 20 years of study. At present he teaches at Al Muntada Al Islami. Also,. the translation in places was very difficult so if there are any errors in the text this is from the translators not from Sh. Jalladin.]

Innovation in Islam is the invention, creation or addition of any religious matter which was not (originally) found in Islam. Therefore, Islam warns against it and invalidates any religious deed which does not originate from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Prophet Mohammad () says in this respect: "He who innovates something that is not in agreement with our matter (religion), will have it rejected." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This is because innovation in religion is an opposition to Islam; it implies that our religion is incomplete and imperfect with regards to the matters of worship. Sheikh Ibn 'Uthaimeen says: " Innovation entails the adoption of dangerous ways":

1. It entails the refutation of Allah's words; "this day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." Therefore, any innovation introduced into the religion implies that Islam is imperfect and incomplete.

2. It necessitates the slandering of the Shari'ah (Islamic Law); that is, it was incomplete and the innovator has therefore completed it.

3. It requires the slander of Muslims who are not innovators, since by implication whoever came before these innovations, their religion is incomplete; and this is dangerous.

4. Most people who were preoccupied with innovation, neglected the Sunnah. The Salaf (our predecessor Muslims) who were adherents to Islam, said: "Whenever a people introduce a Bida'ah (an innovation), they destroyed its counterpart in the Sunnah."

5. These innovations also, bring about division among Muslims because the innovators believe that they are the ones who carry the truth and that those who do not follow them are mislead. However, the people of truth claim: "you are the ones (the innovators) who are on the wrong path and hence this is their division".

There are serious deviations which result from innovation, for innovation is connected with 'a rotten mind and flawed religion'. (Al-Muhaadaraat As-Saniyyah on the interpretation of Al-'Aqeedah Al-Wasitiyyah, 2/713).

The Emergence of Innovation

Innovation (in Islam) was initiated as a result of bad intention, for a man opposed the Prophet, (), and said to him 'be fair because you were not'. Consequently, several men followed this man and became dissidents (Al-Khawaarij). Shaikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in this respect: "The principles of innovation were based on the refutation of Sunnah principles using doubt and whims, like Iblees (Satan) when he doubted Allah's commands according to his whims." (Majmoo' Al-Fatawa, 3/286-287)

Peculiar to the innovators are their ignorant view of Allah, increasing divisions and severe hatred. Ibn Al-Qiyam, rahimahu Allah, said about the innovators: "If you look at innovators you will find that they are different, divided into sects and as far as worshipping is concerned, you will not find that two of them are adopting the same method. They would introduce innovations to each other. More than that, you will find that their innovations culminate into disbelief. For instance, you will find the son accusing his father of disbelief, the brother accusing his brother of disbelief, and the neighbor accusing his neighbor of disbelief. They are in constant conflict and hate each other, their differences cost them their lives and their discourse has never been common." (Mukhtasar Al-Sawaa'iq Al-Mursalah, 2/425).

Therefore, their divisions paradoxically unites them on the hatred of the Sunnah and its people, so woe to the innovators in what their hands have earned. Their evil deeds overshadow all evil, and the damage they have inflicted upon the Muslim Ummah is bigger than that caused by sinners. Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says: "The leaders of innovation inflict more damage upon the Ummah than sinners. That is why the Prophet, (), ordered the killing of the Khawaarij and warned against the killing of the unjust followers." (Majmoo' Al-Fatawa 7/284)

With the foregoing in mind, we must confront the innovators, point out their deviations and protect the Ummah from their evil acts by spreading the religious science and the principles of Ahlus-Sunna Wal-Jamaa'ah's 'Aqeedah (creed) and by advising people how to acquire it (i.e. Aqeedah) from its people. 'Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood says: "seek knowledge before it is seized, and it's seizure means the disappearance of scholars. Do not delve deeply into knowledge, do not innovate and stick to the old (i.e. the authentic)." [Ad-Daarimee]

However, it is not fair to label anything new as innovation because it might be unknown or misinterpreted. This has been explained by Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah: "what has been proved abominable, based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah, whether it be innovations or non- innovations, when said or practiced by a person, this person may have some excuse due to his Ijtihaad (individual judgment over a matter, if he is a scholar) or permissible Taqleed (imitation) of a scholar when this person is an 'Aaammee (Islamically uneducated) (Majmoo' Al-Fatawa, 10/371-372).

We should bear in mind that innovators are not equal in knowledge, ignorance, competence, approval, belief and hypocrisy. This has been explained by Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah: "Among the innovators, there are the hypocrite and the atheist; these are non-believers. This type of people is found more among the Rafidites (a Shiite sect) and
Al-Jahamiyyah (a sect who denies Allah's attributes, among other serious deviations). Their leaders were known to be hypocrites and atheists. However, among those who innovate is that who is a believer but has some degree of ignorance and injustice which has led him to deviate from the Sunnah. Such person is not a Kaafir (a disbeliever) nor a hypocrite. He may be sinful or disobedient but he might as well be forgiven and excused because he has mistakenly misinterpreted the issue." (Majmoo' Al-Fatawa 3/353)

Renouncing the innovators and boycotting their innovation

In safeguarding the interests of the Muslim community against the damages of the innovators, Islam approved and legalized the renouncement and boycotting of the innovators. The Salaf, () adopted this method in the fight against innovation and renounced the innovators in order to safeguard the Shari'ah. However, in order not to fight an innovation with another, their renouncement was based on faith and adherence to the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
"Renouncement should not be adopted unless there is reasonable grounds for it and this entails the following:

a. To be sure of the existence of innovation and avoid hearsay. This is to say that one should listen to what the innovator says or does, or read what he has written, particularly in our era which lacks piety.

b. To fight the type of innovation which is agreed upon. This is to say that matters on which the scholars have different views whether they are innovations or not should not be renounced.

c. To clarify the issue to the person who says or practices an innovation before calling him an innovator. This person may be excused because he was not aware of the evidence he is opposing, or may have understood it mistakenly. This clarification can only be achieved through advising him and calling him to the Qur'an and the Sunnah with kindness." [Haqeeqatu Al-Bida'ah Wa Ahkaamuhaa (The Reality of Innovation and Its Principles, 2/339)]

How Do We Know What Is and
What Is Not a Bida?

[Taken from 'Ilm Usul al-Bida'ah' of Sheikh Alee Hasan (pp. 75-90, Chapter 2: Kayfa Na'rifu al-Bida'ah)]

Translated by Abu Rumaysah

 This is a very important point which when discussed clarifies detailed principles under the light of which an action can be known as to whether it is a Bida'ah or not. "This is because Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, will not accept an action until two conditions are fulfilled:
  1. That it be done sincerely seeking the Face of Allah, Azza wa Jalla.
  2. That it be righteous, and it cannot be righteous until it is in conformity to the Sunnah, not in contradiction to it."

['Hujjah an-Nabee' (pg. 100) of our Sheikh al-Albaanee, may Allah preserver him. I say and it was upon these two principles that Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah based his superb book 'al-Uboodiyyah' on.]

Our Sheikh, al-Albaanee, may Allah preserve him, said in his book 'Ahkaam al-Janaa'iz' (pg. 242),

"Indeed the Bida'ah which the Shari'ah has textually stated to be misguidance is (of a number of types):

  1. Everything that contradicts the Sunnah, be it in actions, sayings or beliefs even if this arise out of ijtihaad."

I say: as-Suyutee said in 'al-Amr bi al-Ittibaa' (pp. 92-93),

"This differs in accordance to the different circumstances and to the extent in which it contradicts the Shari'ah. Sometimes this leads to that which would necessitate forbiddance and sometimes it does not exceed the bounds of detestability. It is possible for every skilled legal jurist to differentiate between the two types especially if he has deep-rooted knowledge and faith.

[FN. Rather all innovations in the religion are forbidden].

This category of vile innovation is sub-divided into two:

  1. In matters of belief that lead towards misguidance and loss.

    The adherents to the deviated sects are of six types, and each type is further divided into 12 sects - this making the 72 sects about which the Prophet () informed would be in the Fire. We are not, at this juncture, going to detail them but the one who sticks to the Sunnah and the Juma'ah and steers clear of the foundations and offshoots of these innovations will be from the Saved Sect by the Permission of Allah.

  2. In the actions and these are further sub-divided into two:


  1. The type that is known by everyone, the elite and the general masses, to be a Bida'ah, be it forbidden or detested.
  2. The type that the majority think to be actions of worship and means of drawing close to Allah and a Sunnah.

So from the first type [i.e. (i)] is what a group of the ignoramuses fell into - those that left following the Imams of the Religion - those who belong to Faqr whose reality is to be impoverished of faith by befriending women and being alone with them.

This is forbidden by the agreement of the Muslims and the one who considers this to be lawful is a disbeliever. The one who does this, considering it of little importance is a sinner, misguided and misguiding, having deserted the religion and split off from the Juma'ah of the Muslim - may Allah distance the one who does it - for indeed looking at women who are haraam for him to look at and being alone with them and listening to their words is haraam upon every mature person unless he be of the ties of kinship. Haraam according to the Book, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Muslims.

This is not the place to detail the evidences concerning this, rather the purpose is to clarify what constitutes Bida'ah and what constitutes evidence and this is not hidden from a Muslim."

Then he said (pg. 153),

"As for the second type that people think to be obedience to Allah and a means of drawing close to Him while it is not so, or leaving it is better then enacting it - then this is what the Legislator has commanded to be done in a specific form, at a specific time or in a specific place. Examples of this would be fasting during the day and circumambulating the Ka'bah. Or what has been ordered to a specific person such as the things specific to the Prophet () such that the ignoramus would find analogy with himself and thereby do them while being forbidden from doing them, or he makes analogy between one form of worship to another while not taking into consideration time and place."

Then our Sheikh said,

  1. "Every matter by which nearness to Allah is sought but the Messenger of Allah () has forbidden."

    I say: such as fasting continuously, or specifying the day of Jumu'ah for fasting or praying the night and the likes of these. This is because in and of themselves they are matters which draw one close to Allah from the point of view that the basis of them is worship but they do not draw one close to Allah due to their being done in this forbidden way.

    As-Suyutee said in 'al-Amr bi al-Ittibaa' (pg. 152) while mentioning Bida'ah,

    "… And this occurs in some of them due to their desire to perform a great deal of worship and actions of obedience, so their desire leads them to do this at times and in places that the Shari'ah has forbidden them from doing so.

    From these are those that are forbidden and those that are disliked. Ignorance and the adornment of Shaitan puts these people in a dilemma by them saying: These are actions of obedience, it is established that they were done at other times so we shall do them continuously, for Allah will never punish us for actions of obedience irregardless of when we perform them!"

    Then our Sheikh said,

  2. "Every matter for which it is not possible to be legislated except by a text and there is no text for it then this is a Bida'ah with the exception of that which is reported from a Companion from whom that action was repeatedly done with no one objecting."

    I say: Abu Sulaymaan ad-Daaraane said,

    "It is not upon the one receives inspiration (ilhaam) that something is from the good actions to enact it until he hears it from a text. So when he hears it from a text he should enact it and praise Allah for making what is in his heart conform to the text."

    ['al-Baa'ith' (pg. 108) of Abu Shaamah.]

    And there was nothing said that was more beautiful than the saying of al-Imam Ibraaheem an-Nakha'ee,

    "If the Companions had wiped over their finger nails then I would not have washed them due to the great virtue of following them"

    ['al-Ibaanah' (no.254) of ibn Battah. A similar narration was reported by ad-Daarimee in his 'Sunan' (1/72)]

    Ibn Abee ad-Dunya reports in 'Kitaab al-Iyaal' (no.56) that Ataa said,

    "I asked Aa'ishah about Aqeedah saying, 'what is your opinion of the one who sacrifices a slaughter camel?' She replied, "the Sunnah is better and more excellent."

    I say: And what is their that is better to be followed!!

    Taqee as-Subkee was asked in his 'Fatawa' (2/549) about a newly invented matter that was performed by some of his contemporaries to which he replied,

    "All praise is due to Allah. This is a Bida'ah without any doubt and none should have any doubt concerning this. It is sufficient to state that it was not known in the time of the Prophet () and neither in the time of the Sahaabah, and it is not known from any of scholars of the Salaf."

    These are golden words that cement what has preceded that the Shari'ah is sufficient and complete and that the right of legislation belongs to Allah. It is not permissible to overstep its limits or to invent new things in it.

    From the examples of this is what al-Haakim says in his 'Mustadrak' (1/370) adding a comment to the Hadith that is reported concerning the prohibition of writing in graves [the basis of which is in 'Sahih Muslim' (no. 970)],

    "This Hadith is not to be acted upon! For indeed the Imams of the Muslims from the east to the west have words written on their graves, this being an action that the khalaf took from the Salaf!"

    Adh-Dhahabee followed this statement up by correcting it and saying,

    "What you say is of no consequence! We do not know of a single companion who did this rather it is something that was introduced by some of the taabi'een and those who came after them because the prohibition did not reach them."

    A detailed discussion concerning this follows later.

    Then our Sheikh said,

  3. "Those things that are taken as worship but are actually from the habits of the disbelievers."


    I say: as-Suyutee says in 'al-Amr bi al-Ittibaa' (pg. 141),

    "And from the Bida'ah and evil actions is resembling the disbelievers and joining in with and agreeing to their Eids and accursed festivities as is done by many of the ignorant Muslims…"

    Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah says in 'Iqtidaa as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem' (pg. 214),

    "The generality of these actions that are taken from the Christians and others that are not reported (in our Religion) - then Satan has adorned them and made them seem attractive to those that claim Islam and he has made their hearts accept them and have a good opinion of them. So these (Muslims) have added to some and taken away from others, they have put some forward and delayed others just as they used to change some aspects of the True Religion. But due to these days and their likes having been specified while the Shari'ah has not done so, and that making them special in the Religion is false and invalid rather the basis of their being special comes from the religion of the disbelievers, then this specification is actually resembling them.

    And it is not possible that some ignoramus think that by changing these aspects that they have derived from the disbelievers they have succeeded in opposing them as occurred in the case of fasting on the Day of Ashura. This is because the basis of this fast was legislated for us and they used to perform it but the form of our fast differs from theirs. As for that which is in no way part of our Religion, rather it is from their innovated, abrogated religion then it is not for us to resemble it - neither in its basis nor its description."

    I say: One of the clearest examples of this that has been invented in the past by many ignorant Muslims is the yearly celebration of the Mawlid of the Messenger (). In this they are resembling the Jews and Christians who do the likes of these celebrations in their Eids and festive seasons!!

    I have refuted the doubts that these people raise in my introduction to the book, 'al-Mawrid fee Amal al-Mawlid' by Taaj al-Faakihaanee and all praise is due to Allah.

    Then our Sheikh says:

  4. "What some of the scholars, especially the later ones, have textually stated to be recommended while there is no evidence for this."

    I say: Unfortunately the examples of this are abundant.

    From them is what an-Nawawee, may Allah have mercy upon him, quotes from Abu al-Hasan al-Qazwaynee in 'al-Adhkaar' (pg. 276) that he said,

    "It is recommended for the one on a journey recite 'li Eelaafi Quraysh' because it would safeguard him from every evil"!

    And an-Nawawee endorsed this!!

    Our Sheikh, al-Allaamah al-Albaanee followed this up in 'Silsilah ad-Da'eefah' (1/374) by saying,

    "This is legislating something in the Religion for which there is no evidence apart from mere claim, so from where does he get that this would secure him from every evil?! Indeed these sort of opinions for which nothing occurs in the Book or the Sunnah would have been from the means of changing this Religion via ways that are not known had Allah not Promised to safeguard it."

    As-Sakhaawee said in 'Ibtihaaj bi Adhkaar al-Musaafir wa al-Haaj' (pg. 17),

    "I have not come across a Hadith concerning this."

    Then our Sheikh says:

  5. "Every action of worship whose manner of performance has only come via a weak or fabricated Hadith."

    I say: He also said in 'Hajjah an-Nabee' (pg. 102) while numbering the difference aspects of Bida'ah,

    "It is not permissible to depend upon weak Hadith or to attribute them to the Prophet () and in our opinion it is not permissible to act upon such Hadith. This is the opinion of a group of the scholars such as ibn Taymiyyah and others…

    As for the Hadith that are fabricated or have no basis then this fact about them was not known by some of the legal jurists and hence they based legal rulings upon them! These are from the core of Bida'ah and newly invented matters."

    An example of this is the 'Salaah ar-Raghaa'ib' which is prayed on the first Friday of Rajab. As-Suyutee says in 'al-Amr bi al-Ittibaa' (pg. 166),

    "Know, may Allah have mercy upon you, that exalting this day and night as invented in Islam after the 4th century, and the Hadith concerning it is fabricated by agreement of the scholars. The contents of this Hadith concern the excellence of fasting on that day and praying during that night and they have called it 'Salaah ar-Raghaa'ib'!

    As for what the researching scholars are upon - then it is to forbid the singling out of this day for fasting and to forbid praying during the night with this invented prayer and from everything that would contain exaltation of this day such as feasts and displaying adornments etc. with the purpose that this day become of the same level as others (normal) days."

    [Refer to: 'Iqtidaa as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem' (pg.283), 'al-Fatawa al-Kubraa' (1/177), 'al-Baa'ith' (pg. 39), 'Tabyeen al-Ajab' (pg.47), 'al-Madhkal' (1/293), 'Masaajilah Ilmiyyah' of ibn Salaah and al-Izz bin Abd as-Salaam. Refer also to 'al-Mawdoo'aat' (2/124) and 'al-Laa'ee al-Masnoo'ah' (2/57).]

    Then our Sheikh said:

  6. "Going to excesses in worship."

    I say: Allah censured the disbelievers for their extremism in their religion by saying, "O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes in your religion and do not say about Allah except the truth." (4/171)

    The Messenger of Allah () warned from this by saying,

    "I warn you of extremism in the Religion for indeed those that came before you were destroyed due to their extremism in the religion."

    [Reported by an-Nasaa'ee (5/268), ibn Maajah (no. 3029), Ahmad (1/215, 347) with a saheeh sanad.]

    Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah says in 'Iqtidaa Siraat al-Mustaqeem' (1/72),

    "Furthermore going to excesses with regards to the Prophets and righteous has occurred amongst some groups of the worshippers and Sufis to the extent that many of these intermingled this with the belief of incarnation and ittihaad that ended being more vile than the saying of the Christians or sometimes similar to it or sometimes stopping short of it."

    All of this falls under the meaning of going to excesses in worship.

    The meaning of excess (gulu) is to transgress the proper bounds. From the examples of this excess is what some people say in praise of the Prophet ():

    Indeed the delight and harm of the world is yours to bestow

    From your knowledge is the knowledge of the Preserved Tablet and Pen

    Can there be any excess more extreme then this?!

    Imam ash-Shaatibee said in 'al-Muwaafaqaat' (2/242),

    "In the time frames set by the legislator for the employment of the actions of worship, the obligatory and recommendations, to certain known times for apparent or not so apparent reasons lies enough to cause certainty that the reason behind the legislation is to keep the actions ongoing and constant.

    It is said concerning the saying of Allah, "they did not observe it in the way they should have done"[57:27] that indeed the lack of their observing it lay in their abandoning it after starting it and continuing in it (for a short time.)

    At this juncture we can derive a ruling for what the Sufis have committed themselves to with regards to performing certain rituals and statements of dhikr (wird) at certain set times…."

    I say: at this point is would be good to mention the book published by al-Luknawee Abu al-Hasanaat, 'Iqaamah al-Hujjah alaa anna al-Ikthaar min at-Ta'bbud Laysa bi Bida'ah.' He declares to be good what has been reported from some of the scholars and Imams with regards to exerting oneself to the utmost in worship such as staying up the whole night for prayer, or reciting the whole Qur'an in one Rak'ah, or performing 1000 Rak'ah!

    The vast majority of these narrations are reported by isnaads that cannot be depended upon! So are these quotes from the actions legislated by the Shari'ah or from the newly invented innovations?!

    I say: there is no doubt in the eyes of one who understands the meaning of Sunnah and the correct meaning of Bida'ah, and whose heart has adorned for him the continuous following of the Sunnah and made ugly the following of Bida'ah that these ways and mannerisms and setting of limits are all in opposition to the Sunnah of the Prophet (), in fact falling into that which has been forbidden from - going to excesses in the religion and despicable innovation.

    Imam adh-Dhahabee says in his amazing book 'Sitar al-Agleam an-Nebula' (3/84-86) after mentioning the saying of the Prophet () to Abdullaah bin Umru, "…then recite the Qur'an in seven days and do not go beyond this."

    [Reported by Muslim]

    "It is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allah () that this was reduced to 3 nights and he forbade that the Qur'an be recited in less than this.

    [Reported by Abu Dawood (no. 1394), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2950), ibn Maajah (no. 1347), al-Baghawee (4/498) from Abdullah bin Umru that the Prophet () said, "the person who recites the Qur'aan in less than three (nights) has not understood it."]

    This was in regards to the amount of Qur'an that had thus far been revealed, and then after this saying of the Prophet () the remainder of the Qur'an was revealed. The least level of the meaning of prohibition is that it is reprehensible to recite the whole Qur'an in less than three nights. There is no understanding or contemplation on the part of one who recites it in less than three nights. If it was read and recited in a week and this was done constantly then this would be an excellent action and the religion would be easy.

    By Allah reciting one seventh of the Qur'an during tahajjud, along with preserving the prescribed supererogatory prayers, and the prayer of Duhaa and the prayer of entering the Mosque, along with preserving the remembrances which are authentically reported, the supplications upon sleeping and waking and at the ends of the prescribed prayers and opening the fast, along with learning beneficial knowledge and busying oneself with it sincerely for the sake of Allah, along with enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, guiding the ignorant and teaching him, reprimanding the sinner and similar things, along with performing the obligatory actions and staying away from the major sins, being frequent in supplication and seeking forgiveness and giving charity, joining the ties of kinship, humility, and sincerity in all of what has been mentioned - indeed of all this is a great activity. This is the station of the People of the Right and the God-fearing Awliyaah of Allah, for all of what has been mentioned is desired.

    Therefore when the servant busies himself with trying to finish the whole Qur'an in one night, the he has opposed the Upright Religion and becomes unable to do much of what we have mentioned and he has not contemplated what he has recited.

    Here is the master, the servant, the Companion who used to say when he grew old, "woe to me if only I had accepted the leeway given by the Messenger of Allah ()"

    [As is reported by Bukhari]

    This because it was said to him by the Prophet () concerning the optional fast, he kept on reducing (the time between fasts) to the point that he said, "fast one day and break fast one day, this is the fast of my brother Dawood (AS)."

    [The same Hadith as above]

    And he () ordered that part of the night should be slept in by saying, "but I pray the night and I sleep, I fast and I break the fast, I marry women and I eat meat, therefore the one who turns away from my Sunnah is not of me."

    [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim].

    May Allah inspire us and you to follow in the best of ways and make us to keep away from desires and opposing (the Sunnah)."

    Then our Sheikh said:

  7. "Every action of worship that the Shari'ah has generalized but the people have put some restrictions to it such as a specific place, time, description or number."

    I say: Imam Abu Shaamah said in 'al-Baa'ith' (pg. 165),

    "It is not permissible to specify an action of worship to a time that has not been specified by the Shari'ah, rather all the actions of righteousness are applicable to all times, there is no specific time that is better than another with the exception of what the Shari'ah has declared to be so such as fasting the day of Arafah and Aashurah, praying in the depth of the night and performing Umrah in Ramadaan.

    And from the places are those that the Shari'ah has declared to be better to perform actions of worship in such as the 10 days of Dhul al-Hijjah, Laylatul Qadr which is better than a thousand months…

    In summary: it is not upon the servant to specify rather this is for the Legislator (), and this was the description of the worship of the Messenger of Allah ()"

    [Refer to 'Iqtidaa' (pg. 308-309)]

    And the scholars, the dead and the living, have established the principle that "what the Legislator () has generalized is to be acted upon in its general way and it is not permissible to restrict it or limit it."

    ['al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Ilmiyyah li Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah' (pg. 73) of al-Ba'lee]

    I say: ibn al-Qayyim said in 'Igaatha al-Lufhaan' (pg. 371),

    "…And from these is that the Sunnah has declared to be reprehensible is the singling out of Rajab and Jumu'ah for fasting so that this may not be taken as a means of innovating in the religion by way of specifying a time that the Shari'ah has not specified for worship."

    Our Sheikh said in 'Hajjah an-Nabee () (pg. 103),

  8. "Habits and superstitions that have no proof in the Shari'ah, and neither does the intellect testify to them even if some ignoramuses may enact them making them to be part of their legislated law and even if there be some people present who aid them in this having a claim to knowledge."

I say: the examples of this are too many to enumerate, this depicts the condition of many of the children of this time who are following their desires and the way of the Khalaf. So upon this "it is not permissible to depart from the way of the Salaf for it is the best and most complete of ways."

['Ikhtiyaaraat al-Ilmiyyah' (pg. 54) of ibn Taymiyyah].

It is necessary to distance oneself from those who oppose the salaf for it is the most misguided and ignorant.

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