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Sunday, March 20, 2022

Beware of Bid'ah (Innovation) in Islam (Scholars' viewpoint)

We have been sharing views of the eminent scholars of Islam on various important issues that needed to be answered. Today we select a topic that has been confusing the mind of most of the Muslims for many additions have been made in Islam which were never part of the lives of earlier Muslims. Yet down the timeline, scholars interpreted various verses of Qur'an, Sunnah and life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ differently as per their own understanding and many such interpretations have been misleading, mainly based of weak (Dha'ief) hadiths (sayings of the Prophet of Allah). These additions are called Bida'ah or innovations in Islam and Muslims must shun such innovations lest they are misled.

Abu Dawud Tirmidhi, one of the Kutub al-Sittah (six major hadith collections), has been reported as saying:
"Beware of the newly-invented matters, for every such matter is a bid'ah and every bid'ah leads astray, and everything that leads astray is in the Fire," 

Now let us first see what does word Bida'ah means: The root of the word bid’ah (بدعة‎‎) in Arabic means initiating something without any precedent. In the terminology of shariah, bid’ah means something that has been introduced into the religion of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى‎) that has no general or specific basis to support it, i.e. there is no evidence from the Quran or Sunnah to support it. Unlike other religions, Islam is based upon the principle that its tenets and any form of worship can only be based upon what Allah (سبحانه و تعالى‎) has revealed in the Quran or was informed to us by His Messenger ﷺ in his Sunnah, so it is not possible, based upon good intentions or opinions, to worship Allah (سبحانه و تعالى‎) in a way that has not been legislated in Islam.  

In early Islamic history, bidʻah referred primarily to heterodox doctrines. In Islamic law, when used without qualification, bidʻah denotes any newly invented matter that is without precedent and is in opposition to the Quran and Sunnah.

Imām Mālik (رحمه الله), an Arab Muslim jurist, theologian, and hadith traditionist, is reported to have said: "He who innovates an innovation in Islam regarding it as something good, has claimed that Muhammad has betrayed his trust to deliver the message as Allah says, "This day I have perfected for you your religion." And whatsoever was not part of the religion then, is not part of the religion today." [Al-I'tisam] He also said, "How evil are the people of innovation, we do not give them salaam." [Al-Ibanah of Ibn Battah (d. 387H), no. 441] 

Abd Allah ibn Abbas, a companion and cousin of the Prophet and early Islamic scholar also said: "Indeed the most detestable of things to Allah are the innovations."[21] Sufyan al-Thawri, a tabi'i Islamic scholar, Hafiz and jurist, mentions: "Innovation is more beloved to Iblees than sin, since a sin may be repented for but innovation is not repented for."[22] He also said, "Whoever listens to an innovator has left the protection of Allāh and is entrusted with the innovation."

Since most of the innovations made after Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ have generally been in good faith, therefore Muslims tended to follow them, disregarding the commandments of Allah and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

One of the most contested innovation is the birth of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Despite the general understanding of standing scholarly disagreements (ikhtilaf), the notion of lawful innovation is a polarizing issue in the Islamic world. A practical example of this is the debate over the permissibility of the mawlid or commemoration of Muhammad's birthday. All scholars agree that such celebrations did not exist in the early period of Islamic history, and yet mawalid commemorations are a common element in Muslim societies around the world. Even so, Sunnis' scholars are divided between emphatic unconditional condemnation  and conditional acceptance of the celebration with the former insisting it is a bidʻah and thus automatically unlawful, while the latter argues it nonetheless is contextually permissible.

We are sharing below a useful video on the subject by Ismail ibn Musa Menk (إسماعيل إبن موسى منك), generally known as Mufti Menk (born 27 June 1975), is a Zimbabwean Islamic Scholar. He is widely known internationally. Menk has been named one of The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in Jordan in 2013, 2014 and 2017, which may clarify the topic of Bid'ah in Islam


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video above are that of the concerned scholar . We have shared these view as added information in better understanding of Islam. The reader may or may not agree with the view owing to their own perception. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 

For more Scholarly views and videos, please read our reference page: Scholars' Viewpoint on Important Issues Related to Islam.

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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