Where did we go wrong? Part 2
In the name of Allah:
There they were, under the scorching heat on the plains of Mount Arafat, more than 124’000 companions all assembling around him. All listening and giving an attentive ear, as this was the last time they would. That same day, that same time, our religion was completed and nothing more or nothing less was required.
“…This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (5:3)
When this verse was revealed, it was the last time that our beloved Messenger (may peace be upon him) would perform Hajj with his companions. He delivered a sermon that triggered the hearts of the believers. So much so, upon hearing the verse above, Umar Ibn Khaatab (may Allah be pleased with him) cried and when he was asked “what makes you cry?” his answer was, “Nothing succeeds perfection but imperfection.” (al-Raheeq al-Makhtum, P.236).
“Follow, [O mankind], what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow other than Him any allies…” (7:3)
So the religion was complete. Nothing more was needed. Just like a full glass of water, adding anymore would do it no benefit. Rather it would cause the complete opposite. Our religion is exactly like that. Perfect in every sense. Neither intellect nor intervention would do it any good.
“Beware of the newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and EVERY innovation is misguidance and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.” (Ahmed, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, declared authentic by al-Albaani)
One of the biggest diseases to have hit this Ummah (nation) of Muhammad is the evil and wicked newly-invented matters, which have been introduced into Islam. Bid’a, which is also known as innovation, is something that the Prophet foresaw and warned us about. As the Hadith above states, Bid’a is nothing more than a misguidance. It misguides people away from the straight path of Islam and the straight path of the Prophet’s prophetic Sunnah. Ibn Masood narrates that the Messenger of Allah once drew a line for them and then said,
“This is Allah’s Straight Path.’ Then he drew lines to its right and left, then he said, ‘These are paths, upon every one of them there is a devil calling towards it.” (Ahmad)
He then recited the following verse,
“And this is my path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This He has instructed you that you may become righteous.” (6:153)
For us to get a real understanding of the reality of Bid’a, we must understand the term itself. Bid’a is taken from the root verb, (bada’a) and like all religious words, it can have a Luqha’ (linguistic) meaning and a Sharia (Islamic) meaning.
The scholars of the Arabic language state that the Luqha’ meaning is, “to originate something”, “to innovate something” or “to invent something” without a previous example to proceed it. (Hans Wehr, p.57).
“Say, ‘I am not something original among the messengers…” (46:9)
This verse above shows the term Bid’a being used by Allah informing the Messenger to tell the people, that he was not new with regards to the message. Many previous Messengers were sent before him all calling to Tawhid (oneness of Allah). So he did not start something new thus demonstrating the linguistic meaning.
As for the Sharia meaning, Sheik Uthaymeen states,
“It is something that has been added into the religion, which opposes that which the Messenger or his companions came with, whether in belief or in action.” (Lum’atul I’tiqaad, P.15)
And the evidence he gives in his book can be found in both the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah (may he be glorified and exalted) says,
“And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers - We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination.” (4:115)
Likewise the Messenger of Allah says,
“And beware of newly-introduced matters for every newly introduced matter is a Bid’a (innovation) and every innovation is misguidance” (Muslim)
This Hadith above clearly shows the great danger of innovations. It also refutes those people who say, ‘there is a Bid’a hasana’ (a good innovation). How can somebody possibly say this when Abdullah Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) once said,
"Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people regard it as good.” (Ad-Darimi)
Those that say, ‘there is a Bid’a hasana’ often quote and use Umar Ibn Khaatab as an evidence when he said regarding the Taraweeh (voluntary prayers in the month of Ramadan), “what a good Bid’a this is. ” The scholars of Islam totally refute this speech of theirs by stating that the Taraweeh was not something that was introduced and new! Rather it was something, which was practised by our beloved Messenger thus resulting that Umar’s speech was merely meant linguistically and not Islamically.
In another powerful narration, Aaisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah said,
“Whoever does an action in our affair (Islam) which is not part of our religion, will have it rejected.” (Muslim)
Sheikh Fawzaan emphasises on this point further by commenting on the above narration,
"This Hadith proves that every type of Bid’a in the religion is rejected. It also refutes the one who says, ‘There is a Bid’a hasana’. Because the Messenger of Allah said in another narration, “every newly introduced matter is a Bid’a and every innovation is misguidance”. So when people say, ‘there is a Bid’a hasana’, this opposes the saying of the Messenger of Allah. Thus there cannot be a Bid’a that is good, rather every Bid’a is a sin and it is rejected as it says in the textual statement. But those people go around justifying Bid’a and try to beautify it by saying ‘there is a Bid’a hasana’ like for example, the Bid’a of Mawlid (celebrating the Prophet’s birthday). They say it is a ‘Bid’a hasana’ because it proves the love of the Messenger of Allah. So, then if that is the case, Abu-Bakr, Umar, Othman, Ali and the Sahaba do not love the Messenger because they never established Mawlid, they never acted-out Mawlid. Likewise, the golden-generation do not love the Messenger of Allah because they never acted-out Mawlid. Therefore, Bid’a cannot be an evidence for the love of the Messenger of Allah rather Bid’a is an evidence for the hatred of the Messenger of Allah! Because the one who loves the Messenger, he is the one who follows his path and doesn’t oppose it nor does an action of Bid’a.” (Taken from his explanation of Arba’een an-Nawawi)
With the evidences above and many more, we can easily decipher the actual ruling concerning all types of Bid’a in Islam. Bid’a is not allowed in Islam, it is Haram! Bid’a is the second deadliest weapon Iblees (Satan) uses against mankind. In fact, Iblees treasures Bid’a more than sins! Imam Sufyaan al-Thawri once said,
“Innovation is more beloved to Iblees than sin, since a sin may be repented from but innovation is not repented from.” (Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee no.238)
Why? You may ask. Well, we all know the danger and consequences of sins thus we repent from them. But as for innovation, those that indulge in them perceive it to be a good thing, assuming that they will get some sort of reward from Allah and get closer to him. However, in actual fact they are sinning more greatly so.
Abdullah Ibn Masood said once said,
“Follow the Sunnah of Muhammad and do not innovate, for what you have been commanded is enough for you.” (Ad-Darimi)
From the teaching of our beloved Messenger and the understanding of his righteous companions, we know that Islam is complete and already perfect. Nothing needs to be added. Imam Malik once said,
“Whoever introduces an innovation into Islam thinking that it is good is implying that Muhammad betrayed his mission because Allah says, ‘This day I have perfected for you your religion…’ (5:3) So whatsoever was not part of the religion on that day, cannot be part of the religion today” (ash-Shaatibi, al-I’tisaam)
So whenever we do an act pertaining to Islam, we should know why we are doing that act. We should know the proofs from the Qur’an and the Sunnah to save ourselves and to better educate people. Never do an act of worship that has not been prescribed by Allah or his Messenger. Everything has been made clear for us from the religion; all praise is due to Allah!
“…So he who follows my Sunnah has been guided, and he who follows the innovation has been destroyed.” [Ahmad]
I ask Allah to keep us firm upon the Sunnah and protect us from anything that opposes it. And Allah knows best.