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
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 (PBUH)
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 (PBUH) 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 (PBUH) 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
"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
"Indeed you have in the Messenger (PBUH) 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 (PBUH), then you will be
The Messenger (PBUH) 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
And he (PBUH) 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 (PBUH), 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 (PBUH) 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
"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 (PBUH) 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 (PBUH) 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 (PBUH),
and the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters (in the
religion)." (Muslim) ..and he (PBUH) commanded us, "Whosoever does an action which we have not commanded then it
must be rejected." (Muslim)
The Prophet (PBUH) also said "..so 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
So every Bida'ah that is introduced in the religion has to be rejected
because only Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) 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
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
(PBUH) 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
|Imam 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]
|Imam 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 (PBUH) 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]
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 (PBUH) and his Companions were not upon, because of the saying of Allah,
|Imam 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]
|As 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.
"..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.]
|Al-Fudayl ibn `Iyyaad said (concerning the ayah):
"That He (Allah) may try you as which of you best in
.."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."
|Imam 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."
|Ishaq 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 (PBUH) and his way. So whosoever is with him and follows him, then he is the
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
Sayings of the Companions about Bida'ah
|Abdullah 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
|Reported 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 (PBUH)!
How quickly you go to destruction! These are the Companions of your
Prophet (PBUH) 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
(PBUH) 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 (PBUH) 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
|Abdullah 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)]
|"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]
|Mu'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]
|Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "Follow the Sunnah of Muhammad and do
not innovate, for what you have been commanded is enough for you."
|Hudhayfah 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 (PBUH) 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
T HE REVIVAL O F I ISLAMIC DA'WAH
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, salla
Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, 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
2. It necessitates the slandering of the Shari'ah (Islamic Law);
that is, it was incomplete and the innovator has therefore completed
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
The Emergence of Innovation
Innovation (in Islam) was initiated as a result of bad intention, for
a man opposed the Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, 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, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, 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'
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, Ridwanu
Allaahi 'Alaihim, 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
"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
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:
- That it be done sincerely seeking the Face of Allah, Azza wa Jalla.
- 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):
- 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.
"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
This category of vile innovation is sub-divided into
- 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 (SAW) 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.
- In the actions and these are further sub-divided into two:
- The type that is known by everyone, the elite and the general
masses, to be a Bida'ah, be it forbidden or detested.
- 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 (SAW) 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,
- "Every matter by which nearness to Allah
is sought but the Messenger of Allah (SAW) 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,
- "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
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
['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
['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
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 (SAW) 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
Then our Sheikh said,
- "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'
"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
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
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 (SAW). 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:
- "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
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
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
Then our Sheikh says:
- "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 (SAW) 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:
- "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 (SAW) warned from this by
"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 (SAW):
Indeed the delight and harm of the world is yours
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'
"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
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
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
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 (SAW), in fact falling into that which has been
forbidden from - going to excesses in the religion and despicable
Imam adh-Dhahabee says in his amazing book 'Sitar
al-Agleam an-Nebula' (3/84-86) after mentioning the saying of the
Prophet (SAW) 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 (SAW) 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 (SAW) 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
(SAW) 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 (SAW)"
[As is reported by Bukhari]
This because it was said to him by the Prophet
(SAW) 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 (SAW) 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
Then our Sheikh said:
- "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.
"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
In summary: it is not upon the servant to specify
rather this is for the Legislator (SAW), and this was the description
of the worship of the Messenger of Allah (SAW)"
[Refer to 'Iqtidaa' (pg. 308-309)]
And the scholars, the dead and the living, have
established the principle that "what the Legislator (SAW) 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'
"…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 (SAW) (pg.
- "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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