Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 19 - Bid'ah (Innovations in Deen)

Discourse 19 - Bid'ah (Innovations in Deen)

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نحمده و نصلي على رسوله الكريم

أعوذ بالله من الشيطن الرجيم    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

Allah Ta‘ala declares in the Quraan-e-Kareem:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

“Today I have perfected and completed your religion for you and I have completed my favour upon you and I am pleased with Islam as your religion.” (al-Maa’idah: 3)

When Allah Ta‘ala has completed our deen, then no one has the right to make further additions to deen. It is mentioned in the hadeeth:

من أحدث في ديننا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد

Whoever makes any additions to this deen of ours, which does not form part of it, is rejected and not worthy of acceptance.

Are your actions supported by the Quraan and hadeeth?

Therefore, if anyone presents an action before you, claiming that it is part of deen; that it is a means of gaining Allah Ta‘ala’s pleasure and entrance into Jannat, as well as a means of salvation from Jahannum, then it is necessary that such an action be supported by the Quraan or hadeeth.

One should ask such a person: “Brother, if this is part of deen, then it should be found in the Quraan, since the Quraan has declared that Allah Ta‘ala has completed our deen. If it is not found in the Quraan or if it was, but Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not convey it to us (Na’oozu billah – may Allah forbid!), then this will terminate the reliance of prophethood. Allah Ta‘ala has ordered Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ

“O Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), convey to the people whatever has been revealed to you from your Sustainer. And if you do not do so, then you have not conveyed His message.” (al-Maa’idah: 27)

Thus, we find that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) conveyed the deen which he had been ordered to convey to the ummah. If Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had not conveyed the deen then it will mean that he had not discharged the amaanat (trust) that he was entrusted with, which is an extremely serious accusation. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) conveyed this deen to us in the exact manner that he had received it. For one to think that this act is in the Quraan, but Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had not conveyed it causes one to lose his reliance on Rasulullah’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) prophethood.

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) neither had the choice of concealing anything that he had been instructed to convey, nor did he have the power of fabricating something and presenting it to the people as deen.

وَلَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا بَعْضَ الْأَقَاوِيلِ ﴿٤٤﴾ لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِالْيَمِينِ ﴿٤٥﴾ ثُمَّ لَقَطَعْنَا مِنْهُ الْوَتِينَ

“And if he [Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)] had to fabricate anything regarding Us, We would surely seize him by the right hand and thereafter cut off his life artery.” (al-Haaqqah: 44-45)

If that person professes that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had conveyed the entire Quraan to the ummah, but it is not found in the Quraan, then he should know that there are the ahaadeeth, which are the statements of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). This is also a type of wahi (revelation). Like the Quraan is a direct revelation, the hadeeth is also a type of a revelation.

Prostrating to graves

For example, people prostrate to graves claiming that this action is supported in deen. If this claim is correct, then it has to be established in the Quraan or sunnat. Is it found in the Quraan or sunnat? No, it is not. Was it revealed, but Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not convey it to the ummah? This cannot be so because one is labelling Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as unreliable (Na’oozu billah).

If Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) told the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) about it, but did not attribute it to the Quraan, then can it be found in any hadeeth? There is not a single moment of the 23 years of Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) prophethood, which has not been recorded by the muhadditheen. They had searched for information regarding Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) from every nook and cranny of the world and had it recorded. They did not allow a single hadeeth to be destroyed and lost to the ummah.

If it cannot be found in any hadeeth, then perhaps the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) understood it from a hadeeth and practised upon it? Just as Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) commanded us to practise on his sunnat:

عليكم بسنتي

Hold firmly to my sunnat,

 He has also instructed us to practise on the sunnat of the Khulafaa-e-Raashideen:

عليكم بسنتي و سنة الخلفاء الراشدين

Hold firmly to my sunnat and the sunnat of the rightly guided Khulafaa.

Was this practice prevalent in the lives of the Khulafaa-e-Raashideen? No. It cannot be found in their lives. Perhaps it may be found in the lives of the other Sahaabah. Regarding the Sahaabah, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has stated:

أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

My Sahaabah are like guiding stars. Whomsoever you follow, you will be rightly guided.

Did any Sahaabi make sajdah to a grave? No. It cannot be found in the life of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Perhaps it may be found in the lives of the A’immah-e-Mujtahideen (the four imams) who had extracted countless masaa’il from the Quraan, hadeeth and statements of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and presented it to the ummah. If Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and the A’immah-e-Mujtahideen did not make sajdah to the graves, then how can it be part of deen?

If someone proclaims that it is correct to make sajdah to graves, to a peer, or to anyone or anything besides Allah Ta‘ala, he is objecting to one of three aspects:

1) He is objecting to the Quraan. Fourteen hundred years ago, it was declared in the Quraan:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ

“Today I have completed your deen for you.” (al-Maa’idah: 3)

By making this bold claim, he is actually saying that this announcement of the Quraan is incorrect and he does not accept it. May Allah Ta‘ala save us! (Aameen)

2) He is objecting to the honesty of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not convey the entire deen which Allah Ta‘ala had entrusted upon him and commanded him to convey to the ummah. In this way, he is casting doubts on the trustworthiness of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and does not rely on his (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) traditions. (Na’oozu billah!).

3) He is objecting to the honesty of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). He is implying that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) conveyed the complete deen, but the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) did not practise upon it and they did not convey it to others. Whereas, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed the Sahaabah:

بلغوا عني ولو آية

Convey to others (everything that has reached you) from me even if it be one aayah.

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) adhered to this advice to such an extent that if a Sahaabi did not narrate a hadeeth due to some sound reason then, when it was time for him to depart from this world, he made sure that he had narrated it. For example, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned that whosoever recites ‘Laa ilaaha illallah’ would enter Jannat.

Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) on hearing this hadeeth exclaimed, “O Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Do not announce this to the people lest they become complacent. Let them carry on striving to do good.” Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) agreed and that hadeeth was not related to the people in that era. Thereafter, before passing away, this Sahaabi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) narrated the hadeeth to the people.

It is necessary that narrations relating to actions be practically demonstrated in order to verify their authenticity. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) numbered approximately 124 000. Some of them lived for a very short period and even passed on in infancy or childhood, while others lived for a very long period. Many narrated ahaadeeth and many did not.

Now, this person is claiming that this great number of Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), whose truthfulness and trustworthiness cannot even be doubted, did not convey to the ummah the complete deen from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!

If anyone lays an objection on the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), there is then no way that the deen can progress, for Allah Ta‘ala had sent the revelation to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who in turn had passed it on to the Sahaabah. If the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) cannot be trusted and relied upon, then how did deen reach the taabi’een and the tab-’e-taabi’een? There is no other avenue for deen to have reached them. It is therefore incumbent to rely on the message conveyed by Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

الصحابة كلهم عدول

 Every sahaabi is reliable.

Never did a single sahaabi fabricate a hadeeth and attribute it to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Any type of criticism levelled against any sahaabi is totally impermissible and incorrect.

Sahaabah’s (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) practice of disseminating hadeeth

It was the practice of Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that on a Friday, he would place his hand on the handhold of the mimbar (pulpit) of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) whilst narrating ahaadeeth and acknowledging that he had heard this hadeeth from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):

سمعت صاحب هذا القبر صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول

 I have heard the inmate of this grave, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), saying …

Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) conducted a majlis (session) once a week and explained the hadeeth to the people. Hadhrat Abu Darda (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) used to also teach hadeeth to the people.

Once Imran bin Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was explaining hadeeth when a person said: “Do not explain hadeeth to us. Rather, explain to us aayaat of the Quraan wherein there is no doubt.”

It seemed as though this person was refuting the ahaadeeth. Historically, this was the beginning of the refutation of the ahaadeeth.

“Tell me!” demanded Imran bin Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). “If you and those who think like you, are given a Quraan, will you be able to show me (in the Quraan) why salaah is to be performed five times a day? Can you show me in the Quraan why Fajr Salaah is two rakaats, Maghrib Salaah is three rakaats and Esha is four rakaats? Can you show me in the Quraan that after every two rakaats of salaah is a qa’dah (sitting)? Can you show me in the Quraan that a surah is to be recited only in the first two rakaats of a fardh salaah? Can you show me in the Quraan what is the zakaat nisaab of gold, silver, cattle and sheep? Can you show me in the Quraan when can the hand of a thief be cut off? What amount is the minimum amount of theft for his hand to be cut off? Will his hand be cut off from the wrist or from the elbow or from the shoulder? Will you be able to show all of this to me in the Quraan? Can you show me in the Quraan that a single tawaaf consists of seven circuits around the Ka’bah? Additionally, is it in the Quraan that one must walk seven times between Safa and Marwa? Pay attention! Listen to the ahaadeeth and understand it. If you practise on the ahaadeeth you will be rightly guided. If you do not, you will be led astray.”

Harms of bid’ah

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had gathered and collected the myriad of ahaadeeth of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, to prostrate to graves or to anyone else besides Allah Ta‘ala, is not proven in the Quraan, hadeeth, and the lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), and neither did any of the A’immah-e-Mujtahideen extract this law from some source. So how can this be part of deen?

That person who states that making sajdah to anyone besides Allah Ta‘ala is part of deen and, furthermore, that one will be rewarded for it, is openly denying the Quraan. He is actually saying that the Quraan’s announcement:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ

“Today I have perfected your deen for you.” (al-Maa’idah: 3)

is a lie. Na’oozu billah!

How can a person who calls the Quraan a liar ever gain salvation? What is the state of his Imaan? Or is it that he is raising an objection against Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam); that it was revealed in the Quraan, but Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not convey it to the ummah and thus did not practise on the verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ

“O Messenger! Convey whatever has been revealed to you from your Sustainer.” (al-Maa’idah: 27)

Na’oozu billah!

Is he possibly objecting to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) conveyed it to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), but they did not practise on it nor did they guide the ummah?

Or is he trying to snatch away the mantle of prophethood for himself; that just as Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) explained that certain actions are part of deen and whoever practises upon it will gain entrance into Jannat, he too has the power to do the same (by introducing something new as a means of gaining entrance into Jannat)!

It is recorded in Ibnu Majah:

لايقبل الله لصاحب بدعة صلاة ولا صوما ولا صدقة ولا حجة

Allah Ta‘ala does not accept the salaah, fast, sadaqah and hajj of a person who is involved in bid’ah.

It is mentioned in another narration that he (the innovator) comes out of the fold of deen just like how an arrow comes out of a body. In this technologically advanced world, it may be difficult to understand the example of an arrow. To understand the example of a bullet is easier. Shoot a buck and observe how the bullet penetrates the body! Therefore, to accept an action which is not deen as an injunction of deen is a very dangerous state of affairs.

Shaitaan’s vow to mislead man

It is mentioned in a hadeeth that when Allah Ta‘ala sent Aadam (‘alaihis salaam) to the earth, he also sent Iblees with the collar of a curse around his neck.

وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ لَعْنَتِي إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

“Indeed My curse is upon you till the Day of Qiyaamah.” (Saad: 78)

Iblees said: “O Allah, because of Aadam (‘alaihis salaam) you banished me from Jannat with the collar of a curse around my neck. Now I will not allow his progeny to enter Jannat.”

Do you understand the significance of this statement? Shaitaan had promised Allah Ta‘ala that he will not allow the progeny of Aadam (‘alaihis salaam) to enter Jannat. He will involve them in sin.

Allah Ta‘ala then said: “Very well! You will involve them in sin and I will give them the taufeeq (ability) to repent and I will forgive their sins.”

“In that case I will involve them in bid’ah,” replied Shaitaan.

This is Shaitaan’s objective. A person repents from such actions which he believes to be sinful. Those actions that he believes to be acts of worship, will he ever repent from them? Bid’ah are those actions that are understood to be deen, whereas they are not part of deen. Did you ever see anyone repenting from fulfilling the obligations of salaah, zakaat, and hajj? Taubah is made for sins, but a person engaged in bid’ah, thinks that he is performing a great act of ibaadat. So why will he repent from it?

Consequently, our seniors have categorically declared bid’ah to be the most dangerous of all sins. A person commits zina (fornication), such a heinous sin such that the Quraan has stated:

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَى

“Do not come close to zina.” (Bani Isra’eel: 32)

If one goes close to zina, it will entice him to do the action itself. When someone is committing zina, he no longer remains a mu’min. Sins are verified by two witnesses, but verification of zina requires four witnesses. The sin of zina is so serious that if the adulterer is a muhsan (has the qualities of a chaste person), then he will be stoned to death.

However, bid’ah is a more serious sin than zina because if a person commits zina knowing it to be sinful, he can be given the taufeeq of repenting, but when an act of bid’ah is committed, understanding  it to be an act of reward, such a person will not even think about making taubah from such an action. That is why bid’ah is the most serious of sins. It is therefore imperative to abstain from bid’ah. May Allah Ta‘ala save us from bid’ah. Aameen.

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