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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bidah - Innovation in the religion of Islam



What is Bidah ?

Innovation in Islam is the invention, creation or addition of any religious matter which was not originally found in Islam.

It is not innovation in general life....like the invention of cars, planes, electricity etc.

For aspects of worship or ritualistic behaviors in Islam there must be something in the Quran or the Hadith to explain and confirm its practice.

Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "...and the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters (in the religion)" [Sahih Muslim]


Evidence against Bidah

Prophet Mohammad, (peace be upon him) 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] 

Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning of the Quran that "This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion"
[Quran 5:3] 

Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:"...Verily he among you who lives [long] will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Khalifahs - cling to them stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray, and every going astray is in Hell-fire."
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]

How to identify Bidah

It is something that specifies doing something in a specific time, place or manner which does not have evidence to support it.

For example fasting on the 15th of Shaaban and the other rituals that go along with it. Where is the evidence ?

An example of evidence for other days of fasting ...Messenger of Allah said: "Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. Fasting the day of Ashura is an expiation for the year preceding it."
[Related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi] 

Reasons Bidah exists:

1) Ignorance
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 
"Allah does not erase knowledge (from earth) by erasing knowledge from slaves (hearts). Rather, He erases knowledge through the death of scholars. When He leaves (earth) without scholars, people will take the ignorant as leaders (and scholars). They (the ignorant) will be asked and then give Fatawa without knowledge. Then, they will be lead, and will lead astray." [Ahmad]

2) Following desires
Allah says: "But if they answer you not O Muhammad, then know that they only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray then one who follows his own lust (desires) without the guidance from Allah" [Noble Quran 28:50] 

"Have you seen him who takes his own desires as his god, and Allah knowing (him as such) left him astray, sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah." [Noble Quran 45:23]

3) Blind Following
Allah said what translated means: 
"Follow what Allah has sent down." They say: "Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following. Even though their fathers did not understand anything, nor were they guided."
[Noble Quran 2:170]

4) Imitating the disbelievers - 
Adopting their celebrations and practices. 
An example in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when the companions asked him to give them an "Anwar Tree" and Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 

"Allahu Akbar! It is the Sunan (traditions of the Mushrikun). You said by He Who has my soul in His Hand, what the children of Israel said to Moses: "Make for us gods as they have gods. He said: 'Verily! You are a people who know not." [7:138]

and he (peace be upon him) said: You will follow the traditions of those before you (Jews and Christians)" [at-Tirmidhi]

Dangers of Bidah:

1) Thinking you are getting closer to Allah - 
Allah accepts the actions of those who make their intentions for Him alone and according to His ways.

Shaytan loves Bidah because people rarely repent from it thinking they are on the right path getting closer to Allah.

2) Dividing the Ummah - 
Allahs Messenger (peace be upon him) said: 

"...my Ummah will be fragmented into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in Hell Fire except one sect. They (the Companions) said: Allah's Messenger, which is that? Whereupon he said: It is one to which I and my companions belong." [At- Tirmidhi] 

A Muslim of the Sunnah will be forced to stay away from the practice of Bidah and will therefore be separated from other Muslims

3) Destruction of the Sunnah - 
Ibn Abbas said, "When Bidah is created then the Sunnah dies and this continues until that Bidah is living and the Sunnah is dead." 

And also, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Islam began as something strange, and it shall return as something strange as it began. So give glad tidings 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" [at-Tabarani] 

This corruption is Bidah, where people have changed the religion of Allah until the Sunnah has become corrupted.

4) Committing Shirk - 
An example from one Muslim country when they lay the foundation of a new house they put up a flag pole and raise a piece of cloth like a scarf or something to protect the house from the evil eye during the time it is being built. Some even place a tire (yes a car tire) on the pole to protect them. They also dip their hand in henna and make a hand print with the henna on the new walls of the house to protect it from the evil eye. This is Shirk!!

5) Damaging the image of Islam - 
For the Ummah as a whole, Bidah hurts the spreading of Islam and Dawah for the sake of Allah. Honour killings (the killing of a daughter for committing fornication) is an example. There is nothing in Islam that allows a family to execute the Islamic Shariah their own way. There is a process for dealing with adultery, and for the unmarried person it is in fact 100 lashings, not death. People, ignorant of Islam believe that this is how our religion is and those guilty of this form of Bidah, in fact guilty of one of the worst of major sins, taking the life of a Muslim, are harming the way the non Muslims view Islam.

6) Bidah is the cause of Fitnah or severe punishment for this Ummah –
As Allah says: "For those people who are differing from the commands of Prophet, there will come to them either a Fitnah (test or trial from Allah) or a severe punishment." [NobleQuran 24:63] 

And you can look in the Muslim countries where Bidah is rampant.

- Celebrating the Prophets Birthday
- Reading Quran for the dead e.g. Chapter Yasin or celebrate 40 days after a persons died
- Putting head stones or monuments over the grave
- Asking the dead to make Duaa for them or relay the message to Allah

7) Bidah is a stepping stone to disbelief - 
Allah says: 
"The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray."
[Noble Quran 1:7] 

This verse refers to the Christians and the Jews. They introduced new laws into the religion and this took them away from the true message of the Prophets Musa and Issa (peace be upon them). They took to rulings of their priests and rabbis over the words of Allah and his Messengers.

8) Individually, Bidah destroys the Hereafter of the person –
Narrated Ayshah: Allah's Apostle said, "If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected."

9) May lead to lying on Allah and His messenger - 
The Prophet said: 
"Whoever knowingly lie upon me, then let him occupy his seat in the Fire (of Hell)". [Bukhari, Muslim & others] 

People will twist or fabricate Hadiths or references from the Quran in order to justify their actions. This is known to be one of the things that can take you out of Islam!!

Conclusion

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

- Prophet (peace be upon him) 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-Hakim] 

and

"...so cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs after me, even if it be with your teeth" [Bukhari]

Khadejah Jones
Share Islam Team
ShareIslam.com


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