WHAT IS BID’AH
by Hakeemul Ummat Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khan t
IMAM AHMED RAZA ACADEMY
DURBAN. SOUTH AFRICA
Rajab 1422 A.H. (October 2001)
Ahmed Raza Academy
Floor, 20-22 Lorne Street
(27) (31) + Number
1.1 The word Bid’ah as mentioned in the Holy Quran
1.2 The two types of Bid’ah
1.2.1 Bid’ah I'tiqaadi (Innovation in Belief)
1.2.2 Bid’ah Amali (Innovation in Action):
A. Bid’ah Hasana and
B. Bid’ah Sai'yya
2.1 Types of Bid’ah and their status in the Shari'ah
2.2 Definition of the Categories of Bid’ah and their
2.3 Bid’ah in our daily religious activities
2.4 Expostulations on the definition and categorisation
of Bid’ah - The definition of Bid’ah Amali (innovated action)
3.1 Two objections raised on the definition of Bid’ah
3.1.1 First Objection
3.1.2 Second Objection
AL-SALIK" - RELIANCE OF THE TRAVELLER
is indeed very distressing and disappointing to see within our society certain
groups of “scholars” who are continuously slandering true and sincere
Muslims by labelling them as “Bid’atis”, “grave-worshippers”,
proponents of Shirk and other derogatory terms that do not befit true Muslims.
These true and sincere Muslims belonging to the Ahle Sunnah School of Thought
have been practising certain aspects of the Deen over a long period, many of
which could be traced to earlier sources in Islamic history and culture and
which were never in dispute.
the term “Bid’ah” has been attached to these very actions. The frequency
with which this term has been used and is used creates uncertainty in the minds
of individuals who are not informed of the reality.
There exists, therefore, a dire need to explain in
simple terms what “Bid’ah” means and what acts constitute Bid’ah and
what acts do not. This book, the origin of which was in Urdu, and written by a
great Islamic scholar or Aalim, Hakeemul Ummat, Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khan t,
purports to explain in great detail the concept of Bid’ah and thus clear the
minds of Muslims.
There are two types of Bid’ah:
Hasana (appreciable innovation) and
Sai’yya (offensive innovation).
These two Bid’ahs are called Bid’ah Amali
(innovation in action). Bid’ah I’tiqaadi (innovation in belief) is also
explained in detail. This book serves the need to differentiate between the
various types of Bid’ah – those that are acceptable and those that are not.
Many of the objections posed by the opposition have
also been answered with great authencity. It is highly recommended to read this
book and understand the contents of this book to avoid a feeling of uncertainty
about the behaviours and some practices of the Muslims.
May Allah Y, Most Merciful, grant the author of the book the
highest stages of Jannatul Firdous. May Allah Y Guide us on the Straight Path and save us from the
mischievousness of the misguided and save us from His Wrath and displeasure.
(Educationist and former Lecturer)
11 Rajab 1422 A.H.
29 September 2001
1.1 THE WORD BID’AH AS MENTIONED IN THE HOLY QURAN
The literary meaning of “Bid’ah” (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 Almighty Allah Y in the Holy Quran:
the Apostles.” (al-Ahqauf: 9)
and He Y
“The Originator of the Heavens
and the Earth.” (al-Baqarah: 117)
and He Y
“But monasticism (which) they
invented - We ordained
it not for them.” (al-Hadid: 27)
In these Ayahs from the Holy
Quran the word Bid’ah has been used in it's literary meaning. It's definition
in the technical language of the Sharee’ah 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 Rasoolullah
r but was introduced after him." From this we see that Bid’ah
is of two kinds:-
A. Bid’ah I'tiqaadi (innovation in belief)
B. Bid’ah Amali (innovation in action)
1.2 THE TWO TYPES OF BID’AH
Now let us see the difference
between Bid’ah I'tiqaadi and Bid’ah Amali.
1.2.1 BID’AH 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 r. Christianity, Judaism, Zoroasterism and
Polytheism are not Bid’ah 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’ah I'tiqaadi (innovations in belief) because they come into being after
the blessed age and also claim themselves to be Muslims. (See Endbliss
Bliss, Vol. 2, Waqf Iklah Publications, for a brief history of some of these
BID’AH-E-HASANA: and its evidence from the Holy
Allah Ta'ala Y 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.” (al-Hadid: 27)
and then He Y
“So We gave those of them who
believe their rewards.” (al-Hadid: 27)
From this we see that the
believers of Hadrat Isa u invented Bid’ah Hasana, i.e. Monasticism, and Allah
Ta'ala Y raises them and also promises them
reward. But those who did not foster it (Monasticism) with right observance were
“And they observed it not with
right observance.” (al-Hadid: 27)
Note that those who invented this Bid’ah are not reproved but those who did not observe it rightly were reprimanded. This proves that Bid’ah-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 (Kaafir), while a person
whose beliefs are in contradiction with the beliefs of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat will either be of the misguided (astray) ones
or a disbeliever. This shows that were the word Bid’ah is mentioned it means
innovation in belief and not action.
The same book Miskhat
under Kitab-ul Imaan says that when Hadrat Abdullah bin Umar t
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’ahi, if it is so then don't return him my Salaams." How
did he become a Bid’ahi? It is
said that he had become a Qadriyya.
Such a person is called a Bid’ahi.
Durr-e-Mukhtar (Babul-Imaamat) says,
"It is Makruh to pray behind an Imam who is a Bid’ati. Bid’ah is that
belief (I'tiqaad) which contradicts that which has been conveyed to us from
This shows that new fangled
beliefs are Bid’ahs and wherever the Hadiths have mentioned about punishments
for Bid’atis these punishments are meant for those who practice Bid’ah in
beliefs, i.e. those beliefs which are in contradiction with Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat. A Hadith says, "He who exalts those people who commit Bid’ahs has helped in
Fatawa Rashidiyya (considered as authentic by
scholars of Deoband) writes in it's first volume (page 90) under Kitabul
Bid’ah: "Such threats of
punishments for Bid’ahs are meant for those who have innovated a belief
(Aqeedah) which contradicts with that of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat, for
example, the Rawafidh, the Khawarij, the Mu'tazila, etc."
1.2.2 BID’AH AMALI (INNOVATION IN ACTION)
Is that action which came into
practice after the blessed period of Rasoolullah r
it secular or religious, in the eye of the Sahaaba-Kiraam t or after it. Mirqat
Babul-I'tisaam says, "In the
Sharee’ah, Bid’ah is that innovation which was not there in the blessed age
of Rasoolullah r." The book, Ashi'atul
Lam'at under the same chapter says, "Bid’ah
is that which came into being after the blessed period of Rasoolullah r."
from the above definitions of Bid’ah we see that a Bid’ah Amali (innovated
action) can be religious or secular but it has to be after the blessed period of
the Holy Prophet
i.e. even that action which was introduced into Islam in the age of the
will be considered a Bid’ah.
NOTE: If the innovation was brought into practice in
the age of the Sahaba t
we should not call it Bid’ah but Sunnah of the Sahaba t as it is respectful to call it so, though it is
Bid’ah-e-Hasana. Because the word Bid’ah is mostly understood to mean
Bid’ah-e-Sai'yya (vile innovation).
t 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 r and commented on seeing the
Jamaat, "This is a very nice
Bid’ah Amali (innovated action)
is classified in two:-
A. Bid’ah-e-Hasana (praiseworthy innovation)
B. Bid’ah-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 r for example, to construct
religious institutions, to print the Holy Quran in the press, to hold gatherings
of Meelad, to eat nice food and to put on attractive clothes, etc.
Bid’ah-e-Hasana is not only permissible (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 r and which contradicts with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, for example,
to say the Khutba of Eid or Jum’ah in a language other that Arabic, etc.
Bid’ah-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’ah Hasana and Sai'yya under the
Hadith: "Every Bid’ah is a delusion (misleading)," that any
Bid’ah 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’ah-e-Hasana and that which is in contrasts to the above
definition is Bid’ah-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
In the preface of the book, Shaami,
under Faza'il Imam Abu Hanifa t, it says: The scholars say these
Ahaadith 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’ah is that
which contradicts with the Sunnah. Mishkaat
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’ah but a Sunnah of its kind is erased from them, so to
hold on to Sunnah is better that introducing a Bid’ah." Under the
commentary of this Hadith, the book Ashi'atul
Lam'aat says, "So if by
introducing a Bid’ah a Sunnah is removed from among the people, then surely
holding fast to the Sunnah will lead to the annihilation of every
NOTE: By this Hadith and its commentary we come to
know that an offensive Bid’ah is that which will annihilate a Sunnah. For
example, it is Sunnah to say the Friday or Eid Khutba in Arabic, but if someone
says that it in some other language then it is Bid’ah-e-Sai'yya because he has
obliterated the Sunnah of saying it in Arabic. So to hold gatherings of Meelad
Shareef wherein the Holy Prophet r is praised is not Bid’ah because no Sunnah has been erased
because of it. Likewise you may
compare other things like Fateha, Khatam Shareef, Esaale-Thawaab, etc. with this
principle and see for yourself if they are Bid’ahs or not. The difference
between an offensive Bid’ah and appreciable Bid’ah should be well understood
because this is where many get confused.
2.1 TYPES OF BID’AH AND THEIR STATUS IN THE SHARI'AH
We have seen that Bid’ah is of
two kinds, viz. Bid’ah Hasana (appreciable innovation) and Bid’ah Sai'yya
Bid’ah Hasana is divided into three categories:
(A) Bid’ah Ja'iz (permissible)
(B) Bid’ah Mustahab (appreciable)
(C) Bid’ah Wajib (essential)
Bid’ah Sai'yya is categorised in two:
(A) Bid’ah Makruh (abominable)
(B) Bid’ah Haraam (prohibited)
In substantiation, we present the
words of the book Mirqat Babul
I'tisaam bil Kitaab was Sunnah: Bid’ah is either Waajib, 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 Taraweeh 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 Shaami (Vol. 1) Kitaabus Salaat, Babul Imamat says: "It
is Makruh to perform Salaah behind an Imam who perpetrates a Bid’ah which is
Haraam, but otherwise Bid’ah 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 Jaame’us-Sagheer says the same thing.
It is now clearly understood that
Bid’ahs is of five categories and every Bid’ah is not Haraam.
2.2 DEFINITION OF THE CATEGORIES OF BID’AH AND THEIR
We have seen that a Bid’ah,
which does not contradict with the Holy Quran and Sunnah, is Bid’ah Hasana and
that which contradicts with the Holy Quran and Sunnah or leads to an
annihilation of a Sunnah is Bid’ah Sai'yya.
Bid’ah is divided into five
categories and the characteristic of each is given below.
A. BID’AH JA’IZ: is that action which the
Sharee’ah 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’AH MUSTAHAB: is that act which is done with an
anticipation for earning reward, for example to pray the Meelad-un-Nabi r
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 Bab-ul I'tisaam says, "Hadrat Abdullah ibn-e Mas'ood t has
narrated from the Holy Prophet r 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 r at times did and at times omitted and also that which
the Muslims preceding us thought to be good."
The book Shaami (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 quotations from different books of Fiqh we come to know that whatever permissible 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 Y. Muslims are witnesses of Allah Y and whatever they witness to be good is good and whatever they witness to be evil is evil.
C. BID’AH WAJIB: is that new action which has not
been prohibited in the Shari’ah 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’ah 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’ah Wajib) will not be able to read
the Holy Book correctly and will be sinful for reading it incorrectly.
D. BID’AH 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’ah Makruh Tahrimi.
E. BID’AH 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 Kitaab 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
Sunnah 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 r. Rasoolullah r 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’AHS IN OUR DAILY RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES
We will now see that no worship
in Islam is void of Bid’ah-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 r or the three blessed generations 
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’ahs 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’ahs 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’ahs which were not in practice in the blessed age of Rasoolullah r.
PRINCIPLES OF HADITH (USUL-E-HADITH): This whole branch of knowledge
along with its rules is itself Bid’ah Hasana.
FIQH: Nowadays 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’ah Hasana.
USUL FIQH AND I'LM-E-KALAAM: These two branches of knowledge
too, along with their principles and injunctions are all Bid’ah Hasana.
SALAAT: It is Bid’ah-e-Hasana to intend for praying
Salaah by proclaiming the intention loudly or to pray the 20 Rakaah Taraweeh
prayer in congregation during the Holy Month of Ramadaan.
FASTING: At the time of breaking fast (Iftaar) to say the
Dua: "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 Dua audibly at
the time of Sehri: "O Allah, I intend
to fast for Thy sake tomorrow" are all Bid’ah Hasana.
ZAKAAT: To give Zakaat with the currency which is
currently used such as coins and paper notes is Bid’ah 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’ahs because such conveyances had not been invented in that age.
When Bid’ah 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’ahs are not Haraam and only those
Bid’ahs are Haraam, which contradict the Kitaab and Sunnah.
BID’AH IN WORDLY AFFAIRS: Now 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’ahs and cannot
be traced back to the blessed age of Rasoolullah r or the Sahaba t.
2.4 EXPOSTULATIONS ON THE DEFINITION AND CATEGORISATION
OF BID’AH - THE DEFINITION OF BID’AH AMALI (INNOVATED ACTION)
Is that action which came into
practice after the blessed age of Rasoolullah
r be it in the religious field or
secular. If it was innovated in the age of the respected Sahaba t even then it will be considered
to be a Bid’ah. We will not call that action innovated in the time of the
respected Sahaba t a Bid’ah, but in the terminology of the Shari’ah it is called Sunnah
of the Sahaba t. Because mostly the Bid’ah is used to mean Bid’ah Sai'yya (vile
innovation) and it is not respectful to assign such a word towards the respected
This is the definition of
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’AH
3.1.1 FIRST OBJECTION
Bid’ah is that innovation in
religious matters which was brought into practice after the blessed age of
Rasoolullah r and if any novelty is introduced in worldly
matters it will not be called a Bid’ah. So Meelad and Fateha are Bid’ahs
(because they are considered as religious activities) and things such as
telegrams, telephones and other inventions will not be called Bid’ahs 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’ah and not that which is secular.
And Bid’ah in religious matters is Haraam, and lastly, there is nothing like
Bid’ah-e-Hasana because the Hadith says that all types of innovations are
ANSWER TO FIRST OBJECTION
Bid’ah 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’ah is that
innovation, which came into practice after the blessed age of the Prophet r, be it worldly or religious. A
Hadith in the book Miskhat (Babul
I'tisaam) says, "Every new thing is a
Bid’ah." There is no restriction of Bid’ah 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’ah is not restricted to religious matters
The chapter, "Types of
Bid’ah and their Status in Shari’ah," in this book, we have quoted from
the books Mirqaat and Shaami
that to partake of good food and drink and to wear nice clothes in Bid’ah
Ja'iz. These are worldly affairs but they have been mentioned as Bid’ahs,
which are permissible (Ja'iz), therefore this restriction of Bid’ah to matters
religious only is wrong and baseless.
Let us, for a moment, suppose
that Bid’ah 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 Y.
We will now list a few things
which were not during the blessed age of Rasoolullah r but were innovated afterwards
and made part and parcel of religion.
Construction of Madressas.
Dividing the Quran into thirty parts.
Marking the expressions on the Holy Quran, viz. Fatha, Kasra, Dhamma
(Zabbar, Zer, Pesh).
Printing the Holy Book and other religious books in the press.
The compilation of I'lm-e-Hadith and Fiqh.
To put down the Holy verses of the Quran in paper form, etc.
All the above-mentioned things
are Bid’ahs which were not in the blessed age of Rasoolullah r but are considered religious.
Those who say that Meelad and Fateha are Bid’ahs because those religious
affairs which were innovated after the blessed age of the Holy Prophet r 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’ahs 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 Shaami and Mirqaat
that Bid’ah 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 Rasoolullah r 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’ahs are Haraam and there is nothing like Bid’ah-e-Hasana.
In fact, there is no act of
Sharee’ah or Tareeqah which is void of Bid’ah. Then how much will you try to
avoid such a Haraam (as you say) when it is surrounding your whole religious
activity? So you will have to take back your word and agree that all Bid’ahs
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’ahs but they are Sunnahs. A
Hadith in the book Mishkaat (Babul
I'tisaam) says, "It is necessary upon
you to cling on to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the four Rightly-Guided
Caliphs." In this Hadith the actions of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs
t have been mentioned as Sunnah and we have been commanded to follow them,
so their actions cannot be called a Bid’ah but they are Sunnah.
(ii) The book Mishkaat
(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 t, then the Tabe'een t and then the Tabe Tabe'een t. So whatever was innovated in
these three generations is Sunnah and whatever was innovated after them is
Ummah will be divided into seventy-three groups, all of them will be in Hell,
except one." The respected Sahaba t enquired of the group which
group 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 t will lead to salvation and that is why their innovations are not
Bid’ahs but Sunnahs.
(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 t will lead one to the right
guidance, thus the actions innovated in their age will not be called Bid’ahs
but Sunnahs because a Bid’ah is deluding and misleading and the respected
Sahaba t are the most rightly guided and
have been protected from delusion.
ANSWER TO SECOND OBJECTION
Even this objection is baseless.
We defined Bid’ah as quoting from the books Mirqaat and Ashi'atul Lam'aat
that it is that innovation which came after the blessed age of the Prophet r and not in the age of the Sahaba t or the Tabe'een t.
Secondly, in the book Mishkaat,
Babul Qiyam Shahr-Ramadaan, it is written that Hadrat Umar t ordered for the congregation in Taraweeh prayers
during his Caliphate and on seeing the congregation remarked, "This
is a very nice Bid’ah." Hadrat Umar
t called his own action a nice
Thirdly, to pray the Taraweeh
prayers individually is Sunnah and to form a regular congregation in these
prayers is Bid’ah-e-Hasana as we have quoted in the preceding pages from the
book Mirqaat under the chapter of
Fourthly, the second volume of Bukhari
Shareef (Kitabul Faza'il-ul-Quran; Bab Jam'ul Quran) says that when Hadrat
Abu Bakr t ordered Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit t
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 r did not do?" Hadrat Abu Bakr t said, "By Allah this is a good project." Hadrat Zaid's t conversation shows that he
thought the compilation of the Holy Quran was a Bid’ah but Hadrat Abu Bakr's
t reply was that though to compile
the Holy Quran is a Bid’ah, but it is a nice Bid’ah shows that the
innovations of the Sahaba t are Bid’ah Hasana.
(i) In the objection, this Hadith is quoted, "It
is necessary upon you to cling to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Four
Rightly-Guided Caliphs." The acts and the statements of the Four
Rightly-Guided Caliphs t have been mentioned as Sunnah in
this Hadith. But “Sunnah” 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:
“This is Allah's method which
hath ever taken
course for His bondsmen.” (al-Mo’min: 85)
“(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.” (Bani Isra’eel: 77)
The Sunnah of Allah Y
here means the method of Allah Y
likewise the Sunnah of Ambiya u means the method and mode of the
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 r, but because it was not common in the Holy Prophet's r time and came to be known in the time of the
Khulafa-e-Rashideen, it is called the
Sunnah of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen."
So, the Sunnah of the
Khulafa-e-Rashideen t is that which is actually the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet r but was not widespread in his
blessed time and the Khulafa-e-Rashideen t were the ones to circulate it
and make it known so it is was called the Sunnah of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen t.
Fifthly, the Muhaditheen and the
Fuqaha have said that the works of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen t are appended to the Sunnah, i.e.
they are not Sunnah but are contiguous to the Sunnah. Had the deeds of the
Khulafa-e-Rashideen t been Sunnah, the Scholars would not have mentioned the word
"contiguous to Sunnah."
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 Sunnah." So we see
that every act of the Sahaba t is not a Sunnah 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
t a Sunnah of the Sahaba t and not Bid’ah of the Sahaba t because the word Bid’ah is
mostly used to mean Bid’ah 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 Sunnah of the Holy
Prophet r and the word Bid’ah 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 than the generation to follow.
It doesn't mean that any innovation invented in this age will become a Sunnah!
Secondly, there is no mention of Sunnah 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 Hadrat Imam Hussain t
and the oppressions of Hejaz
occurred in this period, then would you say (Allah forbid!) that all these acts
(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 t 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 t is a Sunnah of the Sharee’ah.
It could be Bid’ah Hasana. And those Bid’ah Hasana innovated by the blessed
Sahaba t should be followed by every
Muslim. A Hadith in the book Mishkaat 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."
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." (al-Nisaa: 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 Sunnah. It will be a Bid’ah -
Bid’ah Hasana (sound innovation).
Just as the innovations of the
Sahaba t are called Sunnah-e-Sahaba t, likewise the innovations of the
Salaf-e-Saliheen should be called Sunnah of the Salaf (approved mode of the
Those people who say that every
Bid’ah is Haraam should understand the meaning of this universally accepted
principle that the origin of everything is Mubah (permissible), i.e. everything
is permissible 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 Sunnah.
The Ayahs 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
From this blessed Ayah 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,
has forbidden you."
We see that all things in general
are permissible except those, which have been forbidden in the Holy Quran and
A Hadith in Mishkaat, Babul Adabu-Ta'aam, says, "Permitted is that which Allah Y
made permissible in His Book, and prohibited is that which Allah Y
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 permissible 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 Shaami (Vol. 1, Kitabut-Taharat under the definition of Sunnah)
says: "According to the Hanafis and
the Shafi'is this is the accepted principle that the origin of every action is
permissible." 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 permissible unless it
has been made impermissible by the Holy Quran.
Some people ask this question - "Show
us where it is written that Meelad Shareef is permissible or that the Holy
Prophet r ever performed the Meelad or the respected Sahaba t or the Tabe'een t performed it?" This question is deceiving and
misguiding. It is upon those who say that Meelad is Haraam to show us which Ayah
or Hadith has prohibited Meelad and to bring us the evidence, which supports
How can they say something to be
Haraam and that too, Meelad Shareef wherein the praises of the Beloved Prophet r
are sung and his blessed
biography and actions are mentioned to freshen the minds and give calmness to
the soul when Allah Y
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 Meelad
Shareef is permissible.
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."(al-An’am:145)
and He Y
"Say: Who has forbidden the
adornment of Allah Y which he
has brought forth for his bondmen
and the things clean
and pure (which he has provided)
This proves that not to get any
indication towards a thing's impermissibility is enough as evidence for it to be
“UMDATUL AL-SALIK” - RELIANCE OF THE
TRAVELLER - BY AHMAD IBN NAQIB AL-MISRI (SECTION W29.0)
In light of the Prophetic Hadith:
" ... Beware of matters newly begun, for every matter newly begun is
innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in
The discussion centres around
1. Scholars say that the above Hadith does not refer to
all the new things without restrictions, but only to those, which nothing in
Sacred Law attests to the validity of. The use of the word every in the Hadith does not indicate an absolute
generalization, for there are many examples of similar generalizations in the
Quran and Sunna that are not application without restriction, but rather are
qualified by restrictions found in other primary textual evidence.
2. The Sunnah and the way of the Prophet r was to accept new acts initiated
in Islam that were of the good and did not conflict with established principles
of Sacred Law, and to reject things that were otherwise.
3. New matters in Islam may not be rejected merely because
they did not exist in the first century, but must be evaluated and judged
according to the comprehensive methodology of Sacred Law, by virtue of which it
is and remains the final and universal moral code of all peoples until the end
And in Section w29.3 of the above
book explains the Hadith:-
The Prophet r said, " ... Beware of matters newly begun, for every innovation is
Beware of matters newly begun
yourselves and be wary of matters newly innovated that did not previously
exist," i.e. things invented in Islam that contravene the Sacred Law,
for every innovation is misguidance
meaning that every innovation is the opposite of the truth, i.e. falsehood, a Hadith that has been related elsewhere as:
for every matter newly begun is
innovation, every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in hell.
meaning that everyone who is misguided, whether through himself or by
following another, is in Hell, the Hadith referring to matters that are not good
innovations with a basis in Sacred Law.
The Imam Ahmed Raza Academy is an organisation
that was established on the 5th of July 1986 (1406 A.H.) in South Africa with
the sole purpose of serving the Muslim community and to provide some form of academic and spiritual direction to the
The organisation has been named after the great Muslim scholar and
Saint, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Bareilvi
t,who lived in India between 1856
and 1921, and was popularly known as
"Ala’ Hadrat" in the Islamic world. Ala’ Hadrat Imam Ahmed
Raza Al-Qaadiri t
the status of a versatile scholar and obtained a high distinction in over 50
branches of learning. On his visit to Makkatul Mukarramah and Madinatul
Munawwarah, Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaadiri t
treated with great dignity and was conferred the title of "Imam-e-Ahle-Sunnah" by eminent Ulema. He was also
hailed as the Mujaddid or Revivalist
of the Century. He acted as a shield against those who wanted to assault the
principles of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah.
As a devout Sufi, Ala’ Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza t was awarded the Ijaazah
and Khilafat (Certificate of Spiritual Successorship) in the Qaaderiya
Silsila (Order), as well as in 13 other branches of Sufism. As an
author, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Al-Qaadiri
t has left to his credit more than a 1 000 books on 50
different subjects ranging from Tafseer, Logic, Grammar, Literature,
Islamic Jurisprudence, Education, Sociology, Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics,
History, Science of History, Engineering, Biographies, Philosophy, Mysticism to
Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi Literature.
The key aim of the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy is to promote and
propagate the teachings of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah.
In order to achieve this key objective we have dedicated ourselves to
translate, compile, publish and distribute useful Islamic literature, books,
magazines, brochures, periodicals, newsletters, pamphlets, etc. with special
reference to the teachings of Ala’ Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaadiri t and his Successors t in this age of immorality and
emergence of corrupted Sects claiming to be the beacons of salvation, it is our
responsibility to save our society from such wickedness and adopt the correct
perspective of Islam based on the teachings of the Ahle Sunnah. A vital
ingredient in this work is the publication of Sunni literature in English
– to which we have committed ourselves.
are presently offering a variety of services to the community on a daily basis,
from being a centre for imparting Islamic education for our children - to
issuing Fatawa (Legal Islamic Decrees). At the same time, in the last few
years, we have also developed as an organisation laying emphasis on the
publication of Sunni literature for the community and have thus far to
our credit a regular newsletter – “Raza” and numerous titles of
authentic Sunni books, and we will,
Insha-Allah, be adding more titles each year. We have already
designed a set of madressa textbooks that are being implemented locally
and, we are proud to add that these textbooks have gained international repute.
We have also developed a web site (www.raza.co.za)
which is highly information based and is continually being updated.
We need your help not only to retain but promote our Ahle Sunnah Aqaa’id
at a time when we are surrounded and bombarded by non-Sunni publications,
which have corrupted our Aqeeda and have made deep inroads in the minds
of the youth. All such activities in Islam that helps in promoting Islam
constitute an act of Jihad for which there will be an enormous reward. The celebrated Saint, Hadrat
Sheikh Sirri Saqti t said, “That person can never become perfect until he does not give
preference to Deen over his personal desires.”
The Imam Ahmed Raza Academy is an organisation that relies solely
on the assistance and Wasila of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah r
and the Fuyooz and Barakaat
of the Awliya Allah, and
the support of our well-wishers. Our vision for the future and our dedication to
the mission of Al’a Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaadiri t
a significant contribution to be made locally and in the world - a world in
which, we pray, that Sunni Islam dominates. Insha-Allah!
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 Sunnah Wal Jamaat believes that man opts (intends)
for a thing and Allah Y
it. The Creator of everything, including man’s actions, is Allah Y.
 By the three blessed generations we mean the ages of the Sahaba, the Tabe’een and the Tab’e Tabe’een.