WHAT IS BID’AT
by Maulana Ahmed Yar Khan
Translated by Ayoob A. Sattar
1.1 The word Bid’at as mentioned in the Holy Quran
1.2 The two types of Bid’at
1.2.1 Bid’at I’tiqaadi (Innovation in Belief)
1.2.2 Bid’at Amali (Innovation in Action):
- Bid’at Hasana and
- Bid’at Sai’yya
2.1 Types of Bid’at and their status in the Shari’ah
2.2 Definition of the Categories of Bid’at and their Characteristics
- Bid’at Ja’iz
- Bid’at Mustahab
- Bid’at Wajib
- Bid’at Makruh
- Bid’at Haraam
2.3 Bid’at in our daily religious activities
2.4 Expostulations on the definition and categorisation of Bid’at – The definition of Bid’at Amali (innovated action)
3.1 Two objections raised on the definition of Bid’at
3.1.1 First Objection
3.1.2 Second Objection
Bismillah Hir Rahmaan Nir Raheem
1.1 THE WORD BID’AT AS MENTIONED IN THE HOLY QURAN
The literary meaning of “Bid’at” (in the dictionary) is “innovation; novelty.” In the following lines we see where in the Holy Quran this word has been used, and the meaning with which it is associated:
Says the Holy Quran:
Qul ma kuntu midu’a minar Rusuli
“Say I am no Bringer of New Fangled Doctrine among
the Apostles.” (XLVI: 9)
and it says:
Badi’us samawaati wal ard
“The Originator of the Heavens and the Earth.” (II: 117)
and it says:
Warahbaaniyatan ibtadaooha ma katabnaha alaihum
“But monasticism (which) they invented – We ordained
it not for them.” (LVII: 27)
In these Ayahs from the Holy Quran the word Bid’at has been used in it’s literary meaning. It’s definition in the technical language of the Shari’at is different. In the Holy Quran it has been used to mean “to invent” and “to create a new thing”, whereas it’s technical meaning is as written in the book Mirqat (under Babul I’tisaam bil Kitaab was-Sunnah) – “that belief or action which was not in practice during the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) but was introduced after him.” From this we see that Bid’at is of two kinds:-
A. Bid’at I’tiqaadi (innovation in belief)
B. Bid’at Amali (innovation in action)
1.2 THE TWO TYPES OF BID’AT
Now let us see the difference between Bid’at I’tiqaadi and Bid’at Amali.
1.2.1 BID’AT I’TIQAADI (INNOVATION IN BELIEF)
Is that new belief (which is in contradiction with the Holy Quran and Sunnah) which found its way into Islam after the blessed age of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Christianity, Judaism, Zoroasterism and Polytheism are not Bid’at I’tiqaadi as these beliefs were in practice before and during the blessed time and also because they do not claim themselves to be Muslims whereas the Jabriyya, Qadriyya, Batiniyya, Bahaaism, Qadyanism, etc. are Bid’at I’tiqaadi (innovations in belief) because they come into being after the blessed age and also came themselves to be Muslims. (See Endbliss Bliss, Vol. 2, Waqf Iklah Publications, for a brief history of some of these sects).
BID’AT-E-HASANA: and its evidence from the Holy Quran.
Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:
“And We placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those
who followed him (Jesus), but Monasticism they invented –
We ordained it not for them – only seeking Allah’s pleasure,
and they observed it not with right observance.” (LVII: 27)
and then He says:
“So We gave those of them who believe their rewards.” (LVII: 27)
From this we see that the believers of Hazrat Isa (alaihis salaam) invented Bid’at Hasana, i.e. Monasticism, and Allah Ta’ala raises them and also promises them reward. But those who did not foster it (Monasticism) with right observance were reproved:
“And they observed it not with right observance.” (LVII: 27)
Note that those who invented this Bid’at are not reproved but those who did not observe it rightly were reprimanded. This proves that Bid’at-e-Hasana is a good thing and has an incentive for reward.
The first Hadith of Miskhaat-ul-Masabih under Babul-I’tisaam is “Whosoever introduces a new belief in our religion which contradicts with it is rejected.” We have translated the word “Ma” in the Hadith as “belief” because another name for religion is belief, and not as actions as actions are subsidiary and take the secondary place. Let’s take an example: A person who does not pray the daily Salaah will be sinful but not as a disbeliever (Kafir), while a person whose beliefs are in contradiction with the beliefs of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat will either be of the misguided (stray) ones or a disbeliever. This shows that were the word Bid’at is mentioned it means innovation in belief and not action.
The same book Miskhat under Kitab-ul Imaan says that when Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radi Allahu anhuma) was told that some person had given him Salaams, he said, “I have had news that he (the person who has given Salaams) has become a Bid’ati, if it is so then don’t return him my Salaams.” How did he become a Bid’ati? It is said that he had become a (*) Qadriyya. Such a person is called a Bid’ati.
(*) Qadriyya is that sect which believes that man has got full power to do whatever he wishes and that he himself creates his actions. They also disbelieve in destiny. While the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat believe that man opts (intends) for a thing and Allah Ta’ala creates it. The Creator of everything, including man’s actions, is Allahu Ta’ala.
Durr-e-Mukhtar (Babul-Imaamat) says, “It is Makruh to pray behind an Imam who is a Bid’ati. Bid’at is that belief (I’tiqaad) which contradicts that which has been conveyed to us from Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).”
This shows that new fangled beliefs are Bid’ats and wherever the Hadiths have mentioned about punishments for Bid’atis these punishments are meant for those who practice Bid’at in beliefs, i.e. those beliefs which are in contradiction with Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. A Hadith says, “He who exalts those people who commit Bid’ats has helped in demolishing Islam.”
Fatawa Rashidiyya (considered as authentic by scholars of Deoband) writes in it’s first volume (page 90) under Kitabul Bid’at: “Such threats of punishments for Bid’ats are meant for those who have innovated a belief (Aqeedah) which contradicts with that of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, for example, the Rawafidh, the Khawarij, the Mu’tazila, etc.”
1.2.2 BID’AT AMALI (INNOVATION IN ACTION)
Is that action which came into practice after the blessed period of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) be it secular or religious, in the eye of the Sahaaba-Kiraam or after it. Mirqat Babul-I’tisaam says, “In the Shari’at, Bid’at is that innovation which was not there in the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).” The book, Ashi’atul Lam’at under the same chapter says, “Bid’at is that which came into being after the blessed period of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).”
So from the above definitions of Bid’at we see that a Bid’at Amali (innovated action) can be religious or secular but it has to be after the blessed period of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and i.e. even that action which was introduced into Islam in the age of the respected Sahaba will be considered a Bid’at.
NOTE: If the innovation was brought into practice in the age of the Sahaba then we should not call it Bid’at but Sunnat of the Sahaba as it is respectful to call it so, though it is Bid’at-e-Hasana. Because the word Bid’at is mostly understood to mean Bid’at-e-Sai’yya (vile innovation).
Hazrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) in the time of his Caliphate, called the people to perform Tarawih prayers in congregation (Jamaat), whereas it used to be prayed individually in the time of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and commented on seeing the Jamaat, “This is a very nice Bid’at.”
Bid’at Amali (innovated action) is classified in two:-
A. Bid’at-e-Hasana (praiseworthy innovation)
B. Bid’at-e-Sai’yya (offensive innovation)
Is that action which does not contradict with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah and was brought into practice after the time of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) for example, to construct religious institutions, to print the Holy Quran in the press, to hold gatherings of Maulid, to eat nice food and to put on attractive clothes, etc. Bid’at-e-Hasana is not only permissable (Ja’iz) but at times it can be appreciable (Mustahab) and even essential (Wajib) as you will see later on.
Is that action which was not in practice in the blessed age of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and which contradicts with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, for example, to say the Khutba of Eid or Jum’a in a language other that Arabic, etc.
Bid’at-e-Sai’yya can be Makruh Tanzhi or Makruh Tahrimi or even Haraam.
The first volume of Ashi’atul Lam’aat (Babul I’tisaam) says about Bid’at Hasana and Sai’yya under the Hadith: “Every Bid’at is a delusion (misleading),” that any Bid’at which is in accordance with the principles, the canons of Islamic Law and the Sunnah and has been deduced analogically from the Quran or Sunnah (through Qiyas) is Bid’at-e-Hasana and that which is in contrasts to the above definition is Bid’at-e-Sai’yya.
A Hadith in Miskhat under Babul-I’lm says: “He who sets a good precedent in Islam, there is reward for him for this (act of goodness) and a reward for him also who acts according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards and he who sets in Islam an evil precedent there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acts upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burdens.” From this Hadith we see that to introduce a nice way in Islam which is in accordance with the Holy Quran and Sunnah will induce rewards and to do vice versa will provoke punishment.
In the preface of the book, Shami, under Faza’il Imam Abu Hanifa (radi Allahu anhu), it says: The scholars say these Ahadith are the canons of Islam and that is whoever introduces a bad way in Islam, he will get the burden of the sins of all those who act upon it and whoever introduces a nice way he will get reward of all those who act upon it till the Day of Judgement.
An offensive Bid’at is that which contradicts with the Sunnah. Mishkat Babul I’tisaam says: “Whoever introduces something in our religions which is not of it (i.e. not in accordance with it) is rejected.” The book Ashi’atul Lam’aat under the commentary of the same Hadith says, “It means that thing which is not in accordance with Islam or which will alternate the religion.” A Hadith in Miskhat Babul I’tisaam in the third chapter says, “No people introduce a Bid’at but a Sunnat of its kind is erased from them, so to hold on to Sunnat is better that introducing a Bid’at.” Under the commentary of this Hadith, the book Ashi’atul Lam’aat says, “So if by introducing a Bid’at a Sunnat is removed from among the people, then surely holding fast to the Sunnat will lead to the annihilation of every Bid’aat.”
NOTE: By this Hadith and its commentary we come to know that an offensive Bid’at is that which will annihilate a Sunnat. For example, it is Sunnat to say the Friday or Eid Khutba in Arabic, but if someone says that it in some other language then it is Bid’at-e-Sai’yya because he has obliterated the Sunnat of saying it in Arabic. So to hold gatherings of Maulid Shareef wherein the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is praised is not Bid’at because no Sunnat has been erased because of it. Likewise you may compare other things like Fatiha, Khatam Shareef, Isaal-e-Thawab, etc, with this principle and see for yourself if they are Bid’ats or not. The difference between an offensive Bid’at and appreciable Bid’at should be well understood because this is where many get confused.
2.1 TYPES OF BID’AT AND THEIR STATUS IN THE SHARI’AH
We have seen that Bid’at is of two kinds, viz. Bid’at Hasana (appreciable innovation) and Bid’at Sai’yya (offensive innovation).
Bid’at Hasana is divided in three categories:
- (A) Bid’at Ja’iz (permissable)
- (B) Bid’at Mustahab (appreciable)
- (C) Bid’at Wajib (essential)
- Bid’at Sai’yya is categorised in two:
- (A) Bid’at Makruh (abominable)
- (B) Bid’at Haraam (prohibited)
In substantiation, we present the words of the book Mirqat Babul I’tisaam bil Kitaab was Sunnah: Bid’at is either Wajib, for example to learn Nahv (Arabic syntax) and to gather the principles of Fiqh, etc. or it is Haraam for example, the introduction of new beliefs like the sects Jabriyya, Qadriyya, etc. or it is Mustahab for example, to construct religious institutions and every good thing which was not there in the first era of the Islamic century or to make congregation in the Tarawih prayers, etc. or it is Makruh for example, to vie in the decoration of mosques (with the intention of ostentatious pomp and pride) or it is Ja’iz for example, to shake hands after the (Fajr) prayers or to partake of nice food and drink, etc.
The book Shami (First Vol.) Kitaabus Salaat, Babul Imamat says: “It is Makruh to perform Salaah behind an Imam who perpetrates a Bid’at which is Haraam, but otherwise Bid’at is sometimes Waajib, for example, to furnish proof in defence of Islam (against stray sects) and to learn the knowledge of Nahv (Syntax), and it is sometimes Mustahab, for example, to construct caravanserais and madressas and all those favourable things which were not there in the first era, and sometimes it is Makruh for example to vie in the decoration of mosques with a sense of pride and sometimes it is Mubah (Ja’iz), for example, to partake in nice food and drink and wear nice clothes.” The book Jam-e-us-Sagheer says the same thing.
It is now clearly understood that Bid’ats is of five categories and every Bid’at is not Haraam.
2.2 DEFINITION OF THE CATEGORIES OF BID’AT AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS
We have seen that a Bid’at which does not contradict with the Holy Quran and Sunnah is Bid’at Hasana and that which contradicts with the Holy Quran and Sunnah or leads to an annihilation of a Sunnah is Bid’at Sai’yya.
Bid’at is divided into five categories and the characteristics of each is given below.
A. BID’AT JA’IZ : is that action which the Shari’at prohibited and which is done without expecting any reward or punishment for it. For example, partaking in a variety of delicious dishes or wearing nice and attractive clothing, etc.
B. BID’AT MUSTAHAB : is that act which is done with an anticipation for earning reward, for example to pray the Milad-un-Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) or to pray Fatiha for the souls of deceased Muslims, etc. If is done with the intention of gaining rewards, he will gain reward for it, and if one does not do it, he will not be reprimanded for omitting it.
Mirqat Bad-ul I’tisaam says, “Hazrat Abdullah ibn-e Mas’ood (radi Allahu anhu) has narrated from the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) that, ‘What the Muslims consider as good then it is also considered as good by Allah.’ Another Hadith which is Marfu’ says, ‘My Ummah will not agree upon a thing which is misleading.'” In the first pages of Miskhat there is a Hadith, “Verily actions depend upon intentions and a man will get whatever he intends for.”
The book of Fiqh Darr-e-Mukhtaar (Vol.1) under the chapter of Mustahabs of Ablutions says, “A Mustahab action is that action which the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) at times did and at times omitted and also that which the Muslims preceding us thought to be good.”
The book Shami (Vol. 5) under the chapter of Qurbani says, “Verily good intentions change habits into worship.” It is also written similarly in the book Mirqat under the chapter of Intentions.
From these Hadiths and quotings from different books of Fiqh we come to know that whatever permissable action done with an intention of anticipating rewards or that which the Muslims consider as reward earning is also considered as rewarding in the Judgement of Allah Ta’ala. Muslims are witnesses of Allah Ta’ala and whatever they witness to be good is good and whatever they witness to be evil is evil.
C. BID’AT WAJIB : is that new action which has not been prohibited in the Shari’at but to omit it will lead to critical complications in the religion. For example, to put the expressions (I’raab) in the Holy Quran such as Fatha (Zabar), Kasra (Zer) and Dhumma (Pesh), to construct madressas for teaching the Holy Quran and Hadith and to learn and teach the knowledge of nahv (Arabic syntax), etc. are all Bid’at Wajib. Let’s take an example of the complication which the Muslims will face if one of these things was to be omitted. Supposing the expressions of the Holy Quran were to be erased, then millions of Muslims who are not familiar with the Arabic syntax (Nahv – the learning of which is also Bid’at Wajib) will not be able to read the Holy Book correctly and will be sinful for reading it incorrectly.
D. BID’AT MAKRUH : Is that innovation the performing of which will lead to the annihilation of a Sunnah. If a Ghaiyr Mu’akkidah Sunnah is annihilated then it is Makruh Tanzihi and if a Mu’akkidah Sunnah is annihilated then it is Makruh Tahrimi. For example, to pray the Eid Khutba in a language other than Arabic, etc. is Bid’at Makruh Tahrimi.
E. BID’AT HARAAM : Is that innovation which will lead to the annihilation of a Wajib. For example, the introductions of beliefs which are in contradiction with the Kitab and Sunnah, such as Qadriyya who believe, that man has got all the power to do whatever he wishes, and Jabriyya, who believe that man has got no power at all and all actions are done under compulsion, whereas the belief of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat is that man has been given option in some things and is under compulsion in some. So to believe as the Qadriyya or the Jabriyya will lead to the annihilation of a Wajib which is Haraam. Many sects have been introduced into Islam after the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “My Ummah will be divided into seventy three sects and all will be in Hell except one. That upon which I and my Sahaba are.”
2.3 BID’ATS IN OUR DAILY RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES
We will now see that no worship in Islam is void of Bid’at-e-Hasana.
IMAAN: Every Muslim child is taught Imaan-e-Mujmal and Imaan-e-Mufassal whereas no such categories or names for Imaan were in practice in the age of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) or the three blessed generations after him.(*)
(*) By the three blessed generations we mean the ages of the Sahaba, the Tabe’een and the Tab’e Tabe’een.
KALIMAH: Every Muslim memorises six Kalimahs. These six Kalimahs, their enumeration and their sequence that, this is the first Kalimah, this the second, etc. are all Bid’ats which were not there in the commencing period of Islam.
QURAN: To divide the Holy Quran into thirty Paras (sections) and to divide the Paras into Rukus, to put the I’raab (expressions such as Zabbar, Zer, Pesh) in the Holy Quran and to have the Holy Book printed by offset in the press are Bid’ats which could not be traced in the commencing era of Islam.
HADITH: To collect the Hadith in book form and state the chain or narrators and to characterise the Hadiths by saying this is Sahih, this is Hassan or Da’if, Mu’addaal or Mudallas, etc. and to establish the commands with the help of Hadith such as Makruh, Mustahab, etc. are all appreciable Bid’ats which were not in practice in the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
PRINCIPLES OF HADITH (USUL-E-HADITH): This whole branch of knowledge along with its rules is itself Bid’at Hasana.
FIQH: Now a days all the matters in our daily life depend upon this knowledge because it contains the rules and commands for everything which may come across our lives, but this field of knowledge also is Bid’at Hasana.
USUL FIQH AND I’LM-E-KALAAM: These two branches of knowledge too, along with their principles and injunctions are all Bid’at Hasana.
SALAAT: It is Bid’at-e-Hasana to intend for praying Salaat by proclaiming the intention loudly or to pray the 20 Rakaah Tarawih prayer in congregation during the Holy Month of Ramadaan.
FASTING: At the time of breaking fast (Iftaar) to say the Du’a: “O Allah, for Thee have I Fasted and in Thee I believe and upon Thee I trust and with the food given by Thee I open my fast” and to intend for fasting by saying this Du’a audibly at the time of Sehri: “O Allah, I intend to fast for Thy sake tomorrow” are all Bid’at Hasana.
ZAKAAT: To give Zakaat with the currency which is currently used such as coins and paper notes is Bid’at because these were not in vogue in the commencing centuries of Islam.
HAJJ: To perform Hajj by travelling in aeroplanes, ships, cars, lorries, buses and to go to the field of Arafaat by car or bus are all Bid’ats because such conveyances had not been invented in that age.
When Bid’at has been introduced in such things as Imaan and Kalimah then how will we succeed in abstaining from it. So we will have to agree that all Bid’ats are not Haraam and only those Bid’ats are Haraam which contradict the Kitaab and Sunnah.
BID’AT IN WORDLY AFFAIRS: Now a days we see around us such new inventions that could not be found in the first three centuries of Islam and we got so much accustomed to them that life would be very difficult without them. Everyone is compelled to use these things such as trains, cars, aeroplanes, watches, electricity, and hundreds of other things, without which we cannot imagine how life would be. But all these things are Bid’ats and cannot be traced back to the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) or the Sahaba.
2.4 EXPOSTULATIONS ON THE DEFINITION AND CATEGORISATION OF BID’AT – THE DEFINITION OF BID’AT AMALI (INNOVATED ACTION)
Is that action which came into practice after the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) be it in the religious field or secular. If it was innovated in the age of the respected Sahaba even then it will be considered to be a Bid’at. We will not call that action innovated in the time of the respected Sahaba a Bid’at, but in the terminology of the Shari’at it is called Sunnah of the Sahaba. Because mostly the Bid’at is used to mean Bid’at Sai’yya (vile innovation) and it is not respectful to assign such a word towards the respected Sahaba.
This is the definition of Bid’at.
There are two well known objections regarding this definition and we will answer them one by one.
3.1 TWO OBJECTIONS RAISED ON THE DEFINITION OF BID’AT
3.1.1 FIRST OBJECTION
Bid’at is that innovation in religious matters which was brought into practice after the blessed age of Rasullullah (salall laahu alaihi wasallam) and if any novelty is introduced in worldly matters it will not be called a Bid’at. So Maulid, Fatiha are Bid’ats (because they are considered as religious activities) and things such as telegrams, telephones and other inventions will not be called Bid’ats because they have nothing to do with religion. The Hadith says, “Whosoever innovates a new thing in our religion is rejected.” The word “in our religion” in the Hadith proves that any new thing which is introduced in religion will be Bid’at and not that which is secular. And Bid’at in religious matters is Haraam, and lastly, there is nothing like Bid’at-e-Hasana because the Hadith says that all types of innovations are rejected.
ANSWER TO FIRST OBJECTION
Bid’at is not confined to matters concerning religion only because the Sahih Hadiths and the sayings of the Ulama, Fuqaaha and Muhadditheen are against this. A Bid’at is that innovation which came into practice after the blessed age of the Prophet (salall laahu alaihi wasallam) be it worldly or religious. A Hadith in the book Miskhat (Babul I’tisaam) says, “Every new thing is a Bid’at.” There is no restriction of Bid’at being religious or worldly and we have also quoted the statements from the books Ashi’atul Lam’aat and Mirqaat in the preceding pages which say that Bid’at is not restricted to religious matters only.
The chapter, “Types of Bid’at and their Status in Shari’at,” in this book, we have quoted from the books Mirqaat and Shami that to partake of good food and drink and to wear nice clothes in Bid’at Ja’iz. These are worldly affairs but they have been mentioned as Bid’ats which are permissable (Ja’iz), therefore this restriction of Bid’at to matters religious only is wrong and baseless.
Let us, for a moment, suppose that Bid’at is restricted to religious matters only. Now what can be called a religious matter? The answer will be that thing which induces Thawaab (Reward). Mustahab, Nafil, Wajib, Fardh, etc. are all religious affairs which are done to gain reward and any worldly action done with a good intention will surely induce reward. It is said in a Hadith that “to meet a Muslim brother with a cheerful face is equal to giving Sadaqa (charity) in Allah’s way.” Likewise, it is rewarding to foster one’s children with a good intention. A Hadith says, “Even that morsel of food you put in your wife’s mouth is rewarding.” Therefore, a Muslim’s every action, be it religious or secular is rewarding because it is done with the intention of pleasing Allah Ta’ala.
We will now list a few things which were not during the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) but were innovated afterwards and made part and parcel of religion.
(i) Construction of Madressas
(ii) Dividing the Quran into thirty parts
(iii) Marking the expressions on the Holy Quran, viz. fatha, Kasra, Dhamma (Zabbar, Zer, Pesh)
(iv) Printing the Holy Book and other religious books in the press.
(v) The compilation of I’lm-e-Hadith and Fiqh
(vi) To put down the Holy verses of the Quran in paper form, etc.
All the above mentioned things are Bid’ats which were not in the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) but are considered religious. Those who say that Maulid and Fatiha are Bid’ats because those religious affairs which were innovated after the blessed age of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) should have a look at the above list and show us which of these two things are not included in the religion and which was there in the blessed age?
The Hadith: “Whosoever invents a new thing in our religion is rejected” which you have presented in your objection means that whoever innovates a new belief or whoever innovates a new action which is in contradiction with the Kitaab and Sunnah will be rejected.
In the last part of the objection, you say that all Bid’ats are Haraam and there is nothing like Bidat’-e-Hasana. Such a statement contradicts with the Hadith which says that: “Whoever sets a good precedent in Islam will be rewarded and whoever sets a bad precedent in Islam will be punished.”
We have also quoted from the books Shami and Mirqaat that Bid’at is of five categories, viz. Ja’iz, Wajib, Mustahab, Makruh and haraam. According to your statement, we will have to omit many things which are known to be part and parcel of religion but were innovated after the blessed age of Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) such as the Masaa’ils of Fiqh, the four Madhabs, viz. Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki, Hanbali; the Tariqas, viz. Nashbandiyya, Qaderiyya, Chistiyya, Shuhruwardiyya, Alwiyya, etc.; the denominations of the Sufiyya-Ikraam; the categorisation of the six Kalimahs, Imaan-e-Mujmal, Imaan-e-Mufassal; the division of the Holy Quran into 30 parts; the compilation of the knowledge of Hadith and the categorisation of Hadiths, i.e. Sahih, Da’if, Hassan, Mu’addal, etc.; the construction of madressa and arrangement of their syllabuses; and to set a course for achieving the degree of Aalim and Qari and to present certificates on the completion of the course to the respective students, etc. will all be Haraam according to your statement that all Bid’ats are Haraam and there is nothing like Bid’at-e-Hasana.
In fact, there is no act of Shari’at or Tariqat which is void of Bid’at. Then how much will you try to avoid such a Haraam (as you say) when it is surrounding you whole religious activity. So you will have to take back your word and agree that all Bid’ats are not Haraam but only those which contradict with the Kitaab and Sunnah.
3.1.2 SECOND OBJECTION
(i) Those things which are innovated in the time of the Sahaba, the Tabe’een and Tabe Tabe’een are not Bid’ats but they are Sunnats. A Hadith in the book Mishkat (Babul I’tisaam) says, “It is necessary upon you to cling on to my Sunnat and the Sunnat of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs.” In this Hadith the actions of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs have been mentioned as Sunnat and we have been commanded to follow them, so their actions cannot be called a Bid’at but they are Sunnat.
(ii) The book Mishkat (Babul Faz’ailus Sahaba) has the Hadith which says, “The best of my Ummah is my generation, then those next to them, then those next to them, then there would come a people whose evidence will precede their oaths and their oaths will precede their evidence.” (i.e. they will not be trustworthy). From this we see that the best three generations are those of the Sahaba, then the Tabe’een and then the Tabe Tabe’een. So whatever was innovated in these three generations is Sunnat and whatever was innovated after them is Bid’at.
(iii) “My Ummah will be divided into seventy-three groups, all of them will be in Hell, except one.” The respected Sahaba enquired of the group which will be in Paradise, the reply came, “That upon which I and my Sahaba are.” From this we see that to follow the respected Sahaba will lead to salvation and that is why their innovations are not Bid’ats but Sunnats.
(iv) The book Mishkaat (Babul Fazailus Sahaba) has the Hadith which says, “My Sahaba are like stars whomsoever you follow you will be rightly guided.” Even from this we see that to follow the respected Sahaba will lead one to the right guidance, thus the actions innovated in their age will not be called Bid’ats but Sunnats because a Bid’at is deluding and misleading and the respected Sahaba are the most rightly guided and have been protected from delusion.
ANSWER TO SECOND OBJECTION
Even this objection is baseless. We defined Bid’at at quoting from the books Mirqaat and Ashi’atul Lam’aat that it is that innovation which came after the blessed age of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and not in the age of the Sahaba or the Tabe’een.
Secondly, in the book Mishkat, Babul Qiyam Shahr-Ramadaan, it is written that Hazrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) ordered for the congregation in Tarawih prayers during his Caliphate and on seeing the congregation remarked, “This is a very nice Bid’at.” Hazrat Umar (radi Allahu anhu) called his own action a nice Bid’at.
Thirdly, to pray the Tarawih prayers individually is Sunnat and to form a regular congregation in these prayers is Bid’at-e-Hasana as we have quoted in the preceding pages from the book Mirqaat under the chapter of Bid’at.
Fourthly, the second volume of Bukhari Shareef (Kitabul Faza’il-ul-Quran; Bab Jam’ul Quran) says that when Hazrat Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) ordered Hazrat Zaid bin Thabit (radi Allahu anhu) to collect the verses of the Holy Quran and compile them in a” book form, he replied, “How will you do such a thing which the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) did not do?” Hazrat Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) said, “By Allah this is a good project.” Hazrat Zaid’s (radi Allahu anhu) conversation shows that he thought the compilation of the Holy Quran was a Bid’at but Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (radi Allahu anhu) reply was that though to compile the Holy Quran is a Bid’at, but it is a nice Bid’at shows that the innovations of the Sahaba are Bid’at Hasana.
(i) In the objection, this Hadith is quoted, “It is necessary upon you to cling to my Sunnat and the Sunnat of the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs.” The acts and the statements of the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs have been mentioned as Sunnat in this Hadith. But “Sunnat” here means “tariqa (mode, manner)”, likewise the Hadith which says, “Whosoever sets a good Sunnah in Islam will be rewarded for it …” shows that “Sunnah” means “a mode.” Even the Holy Quran says:
Sunnatil laahil lati qadkhalat fi ibadihi
“This is Allah’s method which hath ever taken
course for His bondsmen.” (XL: 85)
Sunnata man qad arsalna qablaqa mir Rusulina
walatajidu lisunatina tahweela
“(Such was Qur) method in the case of those whom
We sent before thee (to mankind), and thou will not
find for Our method aught of power to change.” (XVII: 77)
The Sunnat of Allah Ta’ala here means the method of Allah Ta’ala likewise the Sunnat of Ambiya means the method and mode of the Ambiya.
Under the same Hadith, “It is necessary upon you to cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen.” The book Ashi’atul Lam’aat says: “The Sunnah of the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs is actually the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), but because it was not common in the Holy Prophet’s (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) time and came to be known in the time of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, it is called the Sunnat of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen.”
So, the Sunnat of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen is that which is actually the Sunnat of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) but was not widespread in his blessed time and the Khulafa-e-Rashideen were the ones to circulate it and make it known so it is was called the Sunnat of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen.
Fifthly, the Muhaditheen and the Fuqaha have said that the works of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen are appended to the Sunnat, i.e. they are not Sunnat but are contiguous to the Sunnat. Had the deeds of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen been Sunnat, the Scholars would not have mentioned the word “contiguous to Sunnat.”
In the beginning of the book Noor-ul-Anwar, it is written that: “The actions and statements of the Sahaba in matters related to reason are based upon analogy and in matters not related to reason that are based on Sunnat.” So we see that every act of the Sahaba is not a Sunnat but some acts have been deducted through analogy also.
But it is seemliness and a show of respect to refer to those which have been innovated in the time of the Sahaba a Sunnat of the Sahaba and not Bid’at of the Sahaba because the word Bid’at is mostly used to mean Bid’at Sai’yya (vile innovation).
The book Ashi’atul Lam’aat says regarding this: “Every command and deed of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen even that based on analogy (Qiyas) and Ijtihaad is in accordance with the Sunnat of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and the word Bid’at should not be used for them.”
(ii) The Hadith, “The best of my Ummah is my generation then those next to them, then those next to them …” shows that in these three generations more good deeds will be committed and the people will be more righteous that the generation to follow. It doesn’t mean that any innovation invented in this age will become a Sunnat! Secondly, there is no mention of Sunnat in this Hadith.
If it is as you say then the misguided sects such as the Jabriyya and the Qadriyya were innovated in this period and even the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (radi Allahu anhu) and the oppressions of Hejaz occurred in this period, then would you say (Allah forbid!) that all these acts are Sunnat?
(iii) & (iv) The Hadith, “My Ummah will be divided into seventy-three sects …” and the Hadith, “My Sahaba are like stars, whomsoever you follow you will be guided,” shows that by following the respected Sahaba one is rightly guided and to disagree with them leads one astray. And this is what every Muslim believes. But even these Hadith do not prove that every deed of the respected Sahaba is a Sunnat of the Shari’at. It could be Bid’at Hasana. And those Bid’at Hasana innovated by the blessed Sahaba should be followed by every Muslim. A Hadith in the book Mishkat Babul I’tisaam says, “Adhere to the Sawaad-e-Azam (great majority). Whoever isolates from it, isolates himself to Hell,” and also “that thing which the Muslims see as good is considered good by Allah Ta’ala also,” and also “whoever drifts a span away from the majority will have lifted the rope of Islam from his neck.” Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:
“And followeth other than the Believer’s way, we appoint
for him that unto which he himself hath turned and expose
him unto Hell – a hapless journey’s end.” (IV: 115)
From these Ayats and Hadiths we see that it is the duty of every Muslim to stick to the path followed by the majority of the Muslim mass (Sawaad-e-Azam) and whoever drifts away from it will have drifted himself towards Hell.
But it is not necessary that every new thing innovated by the Muslims is a Sunnat. It will be a Bid’at – Bid’at Hasana (sound innovation).
Just as the innovations of the Sahaba are called Sunnat-e-Sahaba, likewise the innovations of the Salaf-e-Saliheen should be called Sunnat of the Salaf (approved mode of the Salaf).
Those people who say that every Bid’at is Haraam should understand the meaning of this universally accepted principle that the origin of everything is Mubah (permissable), i.e. everything is permissable unless a Hukm (command) has come in it’s prohibition which will make it Haraam. Every novelty is not prohibited on the grounds that it is something new but the prohibition comes if the novelty is in contradiction with the Holy Quran or the Sunnat.
The Ayats of the Holy Quran along with hadith and the statements of the Fuqaha (Jurisprudents) have approved of this principle. The Holy Quran says:
“O you who believe, ask not of the things which if
disclosed to you may annoy you, and if you ask them
while the Quran is being revealed, they will be disclosed
to you, Allah has pardoned that, and Allah is
Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.”
From this blessed Ayat we see that all those things about which no command or prohibition has come have been pardoned. That is why the Holy Quran says regarding those women with whom Nikah is prohibited:
“Lawful unto thee are all beyond those mentioned.”
and it says,
“While he has surely mentioned to you in detail what he has forbidden you.”
We see that all things in general are permissable except those which have been forbidden in the Holy Quran and hadith.
A Hadith in Mishkat, Babul Adabu-Ta’aam, says, “Permitted is that which Allah Ta’ala has made permissable in His Book, and prohibited is that which Allah Ta’ala has prohibited in His Book and that about which nothing has been mentioned is pardoned.” From this Hadith we see that things are of three categories. Firstly, that which is permissable and it’s permissibility has been established from the Holy Quran. Secondly, that which is impermissible and it’s impermissibility is established in the Holy Quran. Thirdly, that about which the Holy Quran is silent and these are pardoned.
The book Shami (Vol. 1, Kitabut-Taharat under the definition of Sunnat) says: “According to the Hanafis and the Shafi’is this is the accepted principle that the origin of every action is permissable.” Even in the books of Tafseer such as Khazin, Ruhool Bayan and Khaza’inul Irfaan it is written the same that the origin of everything is permissable unless it has been made impermissible by the Holy Quran.
Some people ask this question – “Show us where it is written that Maulid Shareef is permissable or that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) ever performed the Maulid or the respected Sahaba or the Tabe’een performed it?” This question is deceiving and misguiding. It is upon those who say that maulid is Haraam to show us which Ayat or Hadith has prohibited Maulid and to bring us the evidence which supports their words.
How can they say something to be Haraam and that too, Maulid Shareef wherein the praises of the Beloved Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) are sung and his blessed biography and actions are mentioned to freshen the minds and give calmness to the soul when Allah Ta’ala has not made it Haraam nor has any hadith come in it’s prohibition?
The Holy Quran’s silence on this subject and the Hadith not having anything against it indicate that Maulid Shareef is permissable.
Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Quran:
“Say: I find not which is revealed unto me aught prohibited to an eater that he eat thereof, except it be carrion or blood poured forth or swineflesh – for that verily is foul.”
and He says:
“Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which he has brought forth for his bondmen and the things clean and pure (which he has provided) for sustenance?”
This proves that not to get any indication towards a thing’s impermissibility is enough as evidence for it to be permissible.
Compiled by the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy South Africa