Class 8 – Bidah

Class – 8



Q1 What is Bid’ah?

A. The definition of Bid’ah (linguistically): an innovation, novelty: anything originated, invented, or innovated which did not exist before, and not after the similitude of anything pre existing, of this are the words of Allah, describing Himself: He is the originator of the heavens and the earth.” (2:117)

That is, He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth, for the first time without pre existing model, and as Allah says: Say, ‘I am no new Messenger.” (46:9)

Meaning, I am not the first who came with a message from Allah to mankind, rather I am preceded by many Messengers. And when it is said: “So and so innovated a Bid’ah”, means that he has initiated a method preceded by none before.

Q2 What are the types of Bidah?

A. Ibtida’ (innovation) is of two categories: 

  1. Ibtida’ in terms of customs, such as innovating modem invention, and this is lawful because originally all customs are lawful.
  1. Ibtida’ in terms of religion which is unlawful because religious rights are originally prohibited except for those legitimized by the Law maker: Allah, the Exalted, or His Messenger. The Prophet said: “He who introduces any ritual which is not substantiated, it shall be rejected.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

In another version he said: He who performs an act of worship which is not substantiated by our deen, it shall be rejected.” (Muslim)

Q3 What are the levels of Bidah?

A. The first, Verbal Bid’ah, which is related to creed (Aqqdah), such as the assertions of the Jahmites [1], the Mu’tazilites [2] and the Rafidah, and the rest of the beliefs of the deviant sects. 

The second, the Bid’ah in acts of worship, such as worshipping Allah by rituals which He does not sanction.

[1] Jahmites, the followers of Jahm bin Safwan (d. 128 745), a radical heretic. Among other things, they deny that Allah, the Exalted, is above its ‘Arsh, and they allege that He is everywhere

[2] Mutazilites, the secedes, a deviant sect which believes that a committer or a major sin is neither a believer nor a non believer, but in between the two conditions

This level of Bid’ah is of four kinds:

  1. Which is relevant to the basic acts of worship, that is, to innovate an act of worship which has no base in Islam, such as innovating a prayer which is not legitimate, or observing fasting which is not originally legitimate, or illegal festivals or feasts such as the celebration of birthdays or the like.
  2. To introduce an extra act of worship to a legitimate one such as adding a fifth Rakah in Zuhr or Asr prayer, for instance.
  3. A Bid’ah which is related to the format of legitimate acts of worship; to perform it, for instance in a different manner, such as reciting the legitimate formulas of the remembrance of Allah, chanting it in congregation or by over burdening one’s own self and performing acts of worship to the extent of exceeding the Sunnah of the Messenger.
  4. Which is related to timing of a legitimate act of worship which the Prophet did not designate; such as dedicating the day and night of the middle of Sha’ban for praying and fasting. In this case, fasting and night prayer are legitimate acts of worship, but to do so at certain times for observing them without a textual proof, is Bid’ah.

Q4 Are there good innovations in the religion (Islam)?

A. No, there are no good innovations in matters of faith, the proof is Allah’s Saying: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as you religion  (V.5:3)

The Prophet ﷺ  said: “Beware of new things (in matters of faith) for every new thing (in faith) is innovation, every innovation is darkness (error), and darkness (error) leads to Hell-fire.” (An-Nasa ‘i)

Q5 What is innovation in the religion (Islam)?

A. An innovation in matters of faith is anything not based on evidence from Islamic Law (Shari 4ah).  

Allah said in rebuke of the innovations of the idolaters:

Or have they partners with Allah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed..“(V.42:2 1)

The Prophet ﷺ  said:

Whoever adds some new things to our matters (religion Islam) which was not part of it, it will be rejected” (that is, it will not be accepted by Allah).” (Bukhari and Muslim)

There are many different types of Bid’ah (innovations), among them are:

  1. (Mukaffarah). Innovations which are rejection of the faith of Islam: Such as praying to the dead or those who are not present and seeking their help, such as invoking them by saying, “0 so- and- so help me.
  • (Mahrramah): Forbidden innovations: Such as Asking Allah’s favor through the intercession of deceased saints, praying at graveside or taking oaths there, and building tombs over them.
  • (Makruhah): Disapproved innovations: Such as praying Zuhr (the noon prayer) after praying Jumu’ah, praying aloud for blessings upon the Prophet …. . after the call to prayer etc.

Q6 Is there such a thing as Sunna Hasanah in Islam?

A. Yes, there is. Sunna Hasanah are good practices (such as giving charity) which are sanctioned by the sources of Islam.

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ  said:

Whoever introduces a good practice into Islam will have the reward for it, and the reward of those who follow his practice thereafter, yet they will lose nothing of their reward”. (Muslim)

Q7 What are the reasons of the Prevelance of Bidah?


1. Ignorance of the rulings of Islam

The further away time separates the Muslims from the era of the Prophethood, the less the knowledge becomes, and the more ignorance prevails. This was emphasized by the Prophet who said: Those of you who will live long will see great variance. Therefore, adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs.” (Abu Dawood and others) 

And he said: “Allah does not remove knowledge by snatching it from his slaves. He does so, by collecting scholars (by death) until when no scholar is left, people will take for themselves ignorant leaders who will be consulted, and they will issue Fatawa (religious answers) without knowledge, and will misguide people and they themselves will be misguided.”(Agreed upon)

2. Following whims

He who turns away from the Book and the Sunnah, follows his whims, as Allah, the Exalted, says: But if they do not respond to you, then know that they only follow their own evil inclinations. And who is more erring than he who follows his evil inclinations without any guidance from Allah? (28:50)

And He says: Do you see the one who tool his whims for a god without guidance from Allah, and whose ears and whose heart Allah sealed, and placed covering on his eyes? Who, other than Allah will guide him?” (45:23)

The Bid’ah are only the fabric of whims.

3. Fanatic adherence to opinions and men

Fanatic adherence prevents man from following the evidence and recognizing the truth. Allah, the Exalted, says: And when it is said to them, ‘Follow what Allah sent down, they say: ‘Rather, we follow what we found our fathers following.” (2:170)

This is typical of the fanatics today among some members of Sufi orders, and grave worshippers. When they are invited to follow the Book and the Sunnah, and discard what they are adhering to, they stick to their orders and Sheik, fathers and forefathers as an argument.

4. Simulating the infidels

This is one of the worst causes of falling into Bid’ah, as signified by the Hadith which is narrated by Waqid al Laithi who said: “We went with the Messenger of Allah to Hunain, when we had just embraced Islam. There was a Lote tree to which Pagans used to tie their weapons, which was called Dhat an-Waat. When we passed by a Lote tree, we said: ‘Messenger of Allah ! Assign for us Dhat an-Waat, just as the pagans have Dhat an Waat.’

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

Allahu Akhar, these are the ways. By the One in Whose hand is my life, you have said what the Jews said to Musa: They said, ‘O Moses, make for us a god just as they have gods.’ Musa said, ‘Surely, you are an ignorant people. The Prophet said: You certainly shall follow the ways of those before you. (At Tirmidhi)

This Hadith signifies that simulating the infidels motivated the Israelites to make that horrible request to Musa, that is, to assign gods for them to worship. That was the same motive which made some of the Companions of the Prophet ask him to assign a tree to seek its blessing, aside from Allah. The same is happening today, for the majority of Muslims imitate the infidels in practicing Bid’ah and polytheistic rituals such as, celebrating the birthday of the Prophet, designating days or weeks for certain religious occasions, mourning functions, or other funeral Bid’ah, erecting graves and memorial monuments and statues, and the like.

Q8 What should be our response to the innovators?

A. Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah continue to refute the claims of the innovators, denounce their innovations, and prevent them from practicing their innovations. The following are some examples 

1. Umm ad-Darda’ said: “One day Abu Darda’ came in angry. I asked him, ‘What was the problem?’ he said: I recognized nothing of people’s practices which belong to Muhammad except that they pray together.” [Bukhari. Abud-Darda’ meant that people amidst who he was, practiced many innovations that he objected]

2. Umar b. Yahya said: “I heard my father reporting that his father said: “While we were sitting by the door of Abdullah bin Mas’ood before Fajr prayer, waiting for him to come out, in order to walk him into the Masjid. Then Abu Musa al Ash’ari’ came in and asked: ‘Has Abu Abdurrahman come out yet? (meaning Abdullah bin Mas’ood). We said no. Then he sat with us. When Abdullah came out, we stood up ready to accompany him to the Masjid. Abu Musa said: ‘O Abu Abdurrahman! I have seen something in the Masjid which did not seem normal to me, although I saw only good things, praise be to Allah. Ibn Mas’ood asked: ‘What was it’?’ Abu Musa said: “If you live long enough you shall see.” He said I saw in the Masjid people sitting in circles, waiting for prayer, in every circle there was a man and a heap of pebbles, and that man was instructing the group saying, ‘Say, Allahu Akbar 100 times,’ and they would say it, (counting by pebbles) ‘Say La ilaha ill Allah 100 times,’ and they would say it. ‘Say Subhan’Allah 100 times,’ and they would say it. Abdullah bin Mas’ood asked Abu Musa, ‘What did you say to them?’ Abu Musa said: “I said nothing, waiting for your instructions.” Abdullah said: “Why did you not tell them to count their sins, and I would guarantee that none of their good deeds will be wronged.” Then he went to the Masjid, and we followed him until he reached one of those circles, and stood by it and said: “What are you doing`’ Count your sins and I guarantee that none of your good deeds will be lost. Woe to you, the Unzmah of Muhammad! How fast is your destruction? The Companions of the Prophet are still around, and his clothes are not warn out yet (meaning the Prophet’s) and his utensils are not broken yet. By the One in Whose hand is my life, you are either following a religion better than the deen of Muhammad, or charging into a gate of deviation.”

They said: “By Allah, O Abu Abdur Rahmaan, we only intended to do good. He said: “How many who intend to do good, but never accomplish it.” The Messenger of Allah told us that there are some people who read the Qur’an but it never passes beyond their throats. By Allah the majority of you belong to those people.” Then he left them. Amr bin Salamah commented: “We saw the majority of those people fighting against us with the Khawarij in the battle of Nahrawan.” (Ad-Darimi)

3. A man came to Imam Malik bin Anas, may Allah grant him His mercy, and asked: “Where am I supposed to put on the lhram?” Imam Malik said: “In the Meeqat, which is designated by the Messenger of Allah, in which he put on his Ihram.” The man further asked: “What if I put on my Ihram before reaching the Meeqat?” Imam Malik said: “I do not approve of this.” The man asked: “Why don’t you like it?” Imam Malik said: “I dislike that you undergo a Fitnah (the temptation of Shaitan)” The man said: “What Fitnah will there be in gaining more goodness?” He said: “Allah, the Exalted, says:

So let those of you who disobey His command beware lest a trial afflict them or receive a grievous punishment.” (24:63)

Then Imam Malik further said: “What Fitnah is greater than thinking that you have been distinguished with a merit with which the Prophet was not distinguished!” (Abu Shama, al-Ba’ith ala Inkar al-Bid’ah wal Hawadith pp. 14)

The foregoing are only some examples of the response of Ahlus-Sunnah to the people of Bid’ah.

The scholars are still denouncing the practices of the people of Bid’ah in every age due to the mercy of Allah.

Q9 When will Muslims be victorious?

A. Muslims will achieve victory when they apply the Qur’ân and Sunna again in their lives, spread the teachings of TauhId, avoid all the different forms of Shirk, and confront their enemies with everything at their disposal.

Allah said: “0 you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.” (V.47:7)

Allah also says: “Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me “(V.24:55)

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Strength is archery”.