Compiled by SeekingIlm Staff
Imām Ash-Shāfi’ī said,
[Abu Nu'aym's Al-Hilya, Ibn Rajab's Jaami' Al-'Ulum wal Hikam (Arnaa'ut stated "Sahih" in his edition), Ibn Hajr in Fat-h-ul Baari, Shawkaani in Qawl Al Mufid]
To read a defense and proven authentication of these words from Imam Ash-Shafi’i read here.
Imām Al-Jurjānī states in At-Ta’rifāt,
Ibn Hajr Al-Haytamī said, “Bida’ah in terms of the law is everything innovated in contravention of the Lawgiver’s command and the latter’s specific and general proof.” [At-Tabyīn fī Sharh Arba’īn]
Ibn Al-Jawzī defined misguided bida’ah as,
Qadhī Ibn Al-‘Arabī stated,
وإنما يذم من البدعة ما خالف السنة
Al Hafith Ibn Hajr Al-’Asqalaani stated in his Fat-hul-Baari Sharh Sahih Al Bukhaari when explaining the famous statement of ’Umar ibn Al-Khattab: ‘What an Excellent Bida’ah this is!’;
قال عمر نعم البدعة في بعض الروايات نعمت البدعة بزياة تاء والبدعة أصلها ما أحدث على غير مثال سابق وتطلق في الشرع في مقابل السنة فتكون مذمومة والتحقيق أنها أن كانت مما تندرج تحت مستحسن في الشرع فهي حسنة وأن كانت مما تندرج تحت مستقبح في الشرع فهي مستقبحة وإلا فهي من قسم المباح وقد تنقسم إلى الأحكام الخمسة
[Fat-hul Baari Sharh Sahih Al Bukhaari]
Notice that most jurists define bida’ah dhalālah (misguided) as an act or dogma that contradicts the Sunnah and has no foundation in Islām. So if an act does not contradict the pure Sunnah and does have a basis in law, it is not an evil bida’ah but a good bida’ah.
All of these definitions are derived from many actions of the Sahābah during and after the life of the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). If one reads through the works of hadīth they will find numerous examples of the Sahābah doing acts of worship without the prior recommendation or consent of the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Our opponents will argue that due to the fact the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) approved these actions the actions are thus ‘ok’ or even recommended. The problem with this view is that the Sahābah knew the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) had warned against misguided bida’ah, yet they still innovated acts of worship without the blame of our beloved Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Thus it is clear that the Sahābah believed if the act did not contradict the established laws of the shari’ah, the act was a good bida’ah.
Some examples of innovations within the life of the Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam):
1) Bilāl (Radhiya Allāhu ‘Anhu):
Abu Hurairah reported that Rasūlullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam), upon whom be peace, said to Bilal, “O Bilal, tell me what good deed you have done in Islam that I hear the sound of your footsteps in Paradise?” Bilal said, “That after I purify myself during the day or night, I pray with that purification as much as Allah has destined for me.” (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. It is also reported by Buraydah Al-Aslamī with minor differences in Tirmithī and Hākim’s Mustadarak)
2) Rifa’a ibn Rāfi’ Az-Zuraqī:
One day we were praying behind the Prophet. When he raised his head from bowing, he said, “Sami’a-l-lahu Liman hamida.” A man behind him said, “Rabbana walaka-l hamd hamdan Kathiran taiyiban mubarakan fihi” (O our Lord! All the praises are for You, many good and blessed praises). When the Prophet completed the prayer, he asked, “Who has said these words?” The man replied, “I.” The Prophet said, “I saw over thirty angels competing to write it first.” Prophet rose (from bowing) and stood straight till all the vertebrae of his spinal column came to a natural position.
[Reported in Sahīh Al-Bukhārī, the Muwatta’, Nasā’ī, Ahmad]
Al-Hāfith Ibn Hajr states after this hadīth, “From this hadīth the permissibility of innovating [jawāz ihdāth] an invocation inside Salāh, other than what was received from the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) can be inferred, as long as it does not contradict what is received from the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam).” [Fat-hul Bārī]
3) Innovated Takbirah: Abdullah ibn ‘Umar narrates that a man came late to Salāh. Upon arriving to the line he started his prayer with the following words,
“Allāhu Akbaru Kabīran wal-hamdulillahi kathīran wa subhān Allahi bukratan wa asīlā”
The Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam), after completing the prayer, asked the people who had said this. The man said, “Oh Rasūlullah! I did not intend by it other than good!” The Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said, “I saw the gates of heaven open because of those words.” Ibn ‘Umar added, “I never ceased saying these words since hearing the Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) say that.”
[Muslim, Tirmithī (hasan Sahīh Gharīb), An-Nasā’ī with two chains, and Imām Ahmad with several chains.]
4) The appointed leader reciting Surat-Ikhlās multiple times in Salāh.
There is no need to repeat this story as I would hope every Muslim knows it. This companion (Radhiya Allāhu ‘Anhu) invented reciting Surat Ikhlās multiple times in one prayer. The Sahābah became upset at this and eventually the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) told him, “Tell him that Allāh loves him.”
Shaykh Yūsuf Ar-Rifā’ī stated,
5) The famous incident of the companion using the verses of Fātihah as Ruqya for the chieftain and receiving payment for that. The Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) said regarding this,
6) The additional words, “As-Salātu Khayrun Min An-Nawm” [Prayer is better than sleep]. To the fajr adhān.
This was originally added by Bilāl and the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) thus accepted it. This is reported by Ibn Mājah and Imām Ahmad via hasan chains.
There are many more examples. Some will say that this is restricted to the life of the Nabī (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Their assumption, in our view, is discarded.
Ibn Al Mubarak narrates in his Az-Zuhd that a man married the widow of Abdullah ibn Rawāha (Radhiya Allāhu ‘Anhu). The man asked her, “Do you know why I married you? I married you so that you would tell me how Abdullah behaved in his house! She said to him, “He used to pray two raka’ahs before going out, and two raka’at before coming in. He never omitted doing this.” [Ibn Hajar narrates it in Isabah and Adh-Dhahabī in his Siyar. The chain is authentic.]
Women innovated, starting with Fātimah (alayhas-salām), placing women in caskets for dislike of their shapes showing. [See Talkhīs Al-Habīr of Ibn Hajr, Abū Nu’aym’s Al-Hilya, Ibn Abdul Barr’s Isti’āb and other works.]
Numerous companions fasted every day, save ‘Eid, after the Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam)’s death. This is authentically narrated from ‘Umar (ibn Kathir’s Bidāyah), ‘Uthmān (Abū Nu’aym’s Al-Hilya), Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, Abū Talhah, and ‘Ā’ishah (Al-Mughnī of Ibn Qudāmah).
Praying all night without sleep, which is not a sunnah of the Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). This was done by Shaddād ibn Aws and many others (Abu Nu’aym’s Al-Hilya and others).
Singing after Salāh. Ibn As-Sim’ānī reports in his Kanz al-‘Ummal (8944) that a the people came to Umar ibn Al Khattab (Radhiya Allāhu ‘Anhu) and told them of a man who sings after Salāh. So Umar went with them and after hearing the lines he sang, Umar himself repeated the last line, “My soul! You and your lusts are nothing! Fear Him! Fear Him! Fear Him!” then said, “Whoever of you must sing, let him sing such things!”
Another example is using the masbahah/Subha, either rocks, or date stones etc. See: http://seekingilm.com/archives/12 for further explanation.
Is Every (kullu) Bida’ah Misguided?
The statement of the Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam)
Pseudo-Salafism interprets this hadīth to mean “Every bida’ah without exception.” Linguistically, this is not necessarily sound. Many times in the language, especially in Islāmic literature, “kull” is used to mean “most” or “very many”.
Allāh ta’alā says,
تُدَمِّرُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ بِأَمْرِ رَبِّهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا لَا يُرَى إِلَّا مَسَاكِنُهُمْ كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ“
Everything (kulla) will it destroy by the command of its Lord!” Then by the morning they – nothing was to be seen but (the ruins of) their houses! Thus do We recompense those given to sin!” (46:25)The exceptions to the “everything” being The Mountains, the heavens, the angels etc.Another example is the story of the hoopoe and the Nabi Sulaymān (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Read: “But the Hoopoe tarried not far: he (came up and) said: “I have compassed (territory) which thou hast not compassed, and I have come to thee from Saba with tidings true. “I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite (وَأُوتِيَتْ مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ); and she has a magnificent throne…”
Yet, Saba (Sheba) was not provided with every shay (thing). Rather, she did not have the throne of Sulaymān.
There are many other examples in the Qur’ān and the Sunnah that state all-inclusiveness yet imply exceptions.
The claim of all-inclusiveness is thus shown, by the evidences we have presented here, to be an incorrect understanding of the hadīth.
Starting a Good Sunnah!
فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ سَنَّ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً فَعُمِلَ بِهَا بَعْدَهُ كُتِبَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا وَلَا يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْءٌ وَمَنْ سَنَّ فِي الْإِسْلَامِ سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً فَعُمِلَ بِهَا بَعْدَهُ كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِ مِثْلُ وِزْرِ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا وَلَا يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَوْزَارِهِمْ شَيْءٌ
“Whoever institutes a good practice in Islam has its reward and the reward of all those who practice it until the day of judgement without lessening the rewards of the latter. And whoever institutes a bad practice in Islam beards its onus and the onus of all those who practice it until the Day of Judgment without lessening the onus of the latter.”
The term Sanna (translated here as institutes) means to start an act without precedent. This definition is proven in other authentic narrations. Mainly the hadīth that is ‘agreed upon’ that states the first to commit murder was the son of Ādam (awwalu man sanna al-qatl. Pseudo-Salafism argues that the above hadīth context. The context being spending for Allah’s sake. This is easily refuted by the generality of the words of the Nabi (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Amongst the principle foundations of Islām is the maxim, “The import of evidence derived from the generality of the statement, not the context in which it took place.” If this wording were to be understood restrictedly then one must produce specific proof to restrict it. Furthermore, consensus amongst the earliest scholars would be necessitated to fulfill one’s claim. With Allah is supreme success!