الابتكار في ضوء القرآن الكريم وأحاديث
The Word Bid'at As Mentioned in the Holy Qur'aan
The literary meaning of Bid'at (in the dictionary) is innovation, novelty. In the following lines we will see where in the Holy Qur'aan this word has been used and with which meaning
Says the Holy Qur'aan
- "Say; I am no Bringer of New Fangled Doctrine Among the Apostles" (Al-Ahqaf - 9)
- "The Originator of the heavens and The Earth" (A-Baqara-117)
- "But Monasticism (which) they invented - We ordained it not for them" (Al-Hadeed-27)
In these ayahs from the Holy Qur'aan the word Bid'at has been used in its literary meaning. Its definition in the technical language of the Shari'at is different. In the Holy Qur'aan it has been used to mean to invent and to create a new thing, whereas its technical meaning is as written in the book Mirqat (under Bab-ul I'tisaam bil Kitab Was-Sunnah) "that belief or action which was not in practice during the blessed age of Rasul Allah(SAW) but was introduced after him". From this statement we can ascertain that Bid'at is of two kinds.
- Bid'at I'tiqaadi (Innovation in Belief)
- Bid'at Amali (Innovation in Action)
Now let us see the difference between Bid'at I'tiqadi and Bid'at Amali.
Is that new belief (which is in contradiction with the Holy Qur'aan and Sunnah) which found its way into Islam after the blessed age of the Holy Prophet( SAW). Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Polytheism are not Bid'at I'taqaadi as these beliefs were in practice before and during the time of the Prophet(SAW) and also because they do not claim themselves to be Muslim. Whereas, the Jabriyya, Qadriyya, Batiniyya, Bahaism, Qadyanism, etc., etc., are Bid'at I'taqaadi (innovations in belief) because they came into being after the blessed age of the Prophet (SAW) and also claim themselves to be Muslims.
- Bid'at-e-Hasana (Evidence from the Holy Qur'aan)
Allah Ta'ala says in the Holy Qur'aan :
"And we placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him(Jesus), but Monasticism they invented We ordained it not for them- only seeking Allah's pleasure and they observed it not with the right observance" (Al-Hadeed-27)
and then He says:
"So We give those of them who believe their Rewards" (Al-Hadeed-27)
From the above verses we see that the followers of Hadhrat Isa(AS) invented Bid'at Hasana i.e. Monasticism and Allah Ta'ala raises them and also promises them reward. But those who did not foster it (Monasticism) with right observance were reproved.
Note: that those who invented this Bid'at are not admonished, but those who did not observe it rightly are reprimanded; This proves that Bid'at-e-Hasana is a good thing and has an incentive for reward.
The first Hadith of Mishkaat-ul-Masabih under Bab-ul-i'tisaam says "Whosoever introduces a new belief in our religion which contradicts with it is rejected". We have translated the word 'MA' in the Hadith as belief because another name for religion is belief, and not as actions as actions are subsidiary and take the secondary place.
Lets take an Example; A person who does not pray the daily Salaat will be sinful but not a disbeliever(Kafir) while a person whose beliefs are in contradiction with the beliefs of Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat will either be of the misguided (stray) ones or a disbeliever. This shows that where the word Bid'at is mentioned it means innovation in belief and not action. Again in the book Mishkat under Kitab-ul-Imaan it says that when Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Omer(RA) was told that some person had given him salaams he said, "I have had news that he (the person who has given salaams) has become Bid'ati, if it is so than don't return him by salaams". How did he become Bid'ati? It is said that he had become a Qadriyya. Qadriyya is that sect which believes that man has got full power to do whatever he wishes and that he himself creates his actions. They also disbelieve in destiny. Such a person is called a Bid'ati.
Durr-e-Mukhtar(Bab-ul-Imaamat) says,"It is Makruh to pray behind an Imam who is a Bid'ati. Bid'at is that belief(I'tiqaad) which contradicts that which has been conveyed to us from Rasul Allah(AS)".
This shows that new fangled beliefs are Bid'ats and wherever the Hadiths have mentioned about punishments for Bid'atis these punishments are meant for those who practice Bid'at in beliefs i.e. those beliefs which are in contradiction with Ahl-us-Sunnat Wal Jamaat. A Hadith says, "He who exalts those people who commit Bid'ats has helped in demolishing Islam".
Fatawa Rashidiyya (considered as authentic by the scholars of Deoband), writes in its first volume(Page 90) under Kitabul Bid'at: "Such threats of punishments for Bid'atis are meant for those who have innovated a belief (aqeedha) which contradicts with that of the Ahle-us-Sunnat Wal Jamaat for e.g.. the Rawafidh, the Khwarij, the Mutazila etc."
- Bid'at Amali (Innovated Actions)
Is that action which came into practice after the blessed period of Rasul Allah(SAW) be it secular or religious, in the time of the Sahaba-Kiraam or after them. Mirqat Bab-ul-I'tisam says, "In the Shariat Bid'at is that innovation which was not there in the blessed age of Rasul Allah (SAW)". The book Ashi'atul Lam'aat under the same chapter says, "Bid'at is that which came into being after the blessed period of Rasul Allah(SAW).
So, from the above definitions of Bid'at we see that a Bid'at Amali (innovated action) can be religious or secular but it has to be after the blessed period of the Holy Prophet(SAW) and even that action which was introduced into Islam in the age of the respected Sahaba will be considered Bid'at.
NOTE: If the innovation was brought into practice in the age of the Sahaba then we should not call it Bid'at but Sunnat of the Sahaba as it is respectful to call it so, though it is a Bid'at-i-Hasana. Because the word Bid'at is mostly understood to mean Bid'at-e-Sai'iyya (vile innovation).
Hadhrat Omar(RA) in the time of his caliphate, called the people to perform Tarawih prayers in congregation(Jamaat), whereas it used to be prayed individually in the time of the Holy Prophet(SAW) and commented on seeing the Jamaat, "This is a very nice Bid'at".
Bid'at Amali (innovated action) is classified in two:
- Bid'at-e-Hasana (praiseworthy innovation)
- Bid'at-e-Sai'iyya (Offensive innovation)
Bid'at-e-Hasana is that action which does not contradict with the Holy Qur'aan and the Sunnah and was brought into practice after the time of the Holy Prophet(SAW). For example, to construct religious institutions, to print the Holy Qur'aan in the press, to hold gatherings of Maulid, to eat nice food and to put on attractive clothes etc. etc., Bid'at-e-Hasana is not only permissible (Jaiz)) but at times it can be appreciable (Mustahhab) and even essential (Wajib) as you will see later on.
Bid'at-e-Sai'iyya is that action which was not in practice in the blessed age of the Holy Prophet(SAWS) and which contradicts the Holy Qur'aan and the Sunnah for example to say that Khutba of Eid or Jum'a in a language other than Arabic. Bid'at-e-Sai'iyya can further be classified as Makruh Tanzihi or Makruh Tahrimi or even Haraam.
The first volume of Ashi'atul Lam'aat (Babul I'tisaam) says about Bid'at-e-Hasana and Bid'at-e-Sai'iyya under the Hadith "And every Bid'at is a delusion (misleading)" that any Bid'at which is in accordance with the principles, and canons of Islamic Law and the Sunnah and has been deduced analogically from the Qur'aan or Sunnah(through Qiyas) is Bid'at-e-Hasana and that which contrasts to the above definition is Bid'at-e-Sai'iyya.
A Hadith in Mishkat under Babul-'Ilm says, "He who sets a good precedence in Islam, there is a reward for him for this act of goodness and a reward for him also who acts according to it subsequently, without any deduction from their rewards and he who sets in Islam an evil precedent there is upon him the burden of that, and the burden of him also who acts upon it subsequently, without any deduction from their burdens". From this Hadith we deduce that to introduce a nice action in Islam which is in accordance with the Holy Qur'aan and the Sunnah will induce rewards and to do vice-versa will provoke punishment.
In the preface of the book Shami, under Faza'il Imam Abu Hanifa(RA) it says, "The scholars say these Ahadith are the canons of Islam, that is to say, whoever introduces a bad way in Islam he will get the burden of sins of all those who act upon it and whoever introduces a nice way he will get the reward of all those who act upon it until the day of judgement".
An offensive Bid'at is that which contradicts with the Sunnah. Mishkat Babul I'tisaam says, "Whoever introduces something in our religions which is not of it (i.e. not in accordance with it) is rejected". The book Ashi'atul Lam'aat under the commentary of the same Hadith says; "It means that a thing which is not in accordance with Islam or which will alternate the religion". A Hadith in Mishkat Babul I'tisaam in the third chapter says, "No people introduce a Bid'at but a Sunnat of its kind is erased from among them, so to hold on to Sunnat is better than introducing a Bid'at." Under the commentary of this Hadith the book Ashi'atul Lam'aat says "So if by introducing a Bid'at a Sunnat is removed from among the people then surely holding fast to the Sunnat will lead to the annihilation of every Bid'at.
Note: By this Hadith and its commentary we come to know that an offensive Bid'at is that which will annihilate a Sunnat. For example it is Sunnat to say the Friday or Eid Khutba in Arabic but if someone says it in some other language then it is Bid'at-e-Sai'iyya because he has obliterated the Sunnat of saying it in Arabic. So to hold gatherings of Maulid Shareef where in the Holy Prophet(SAW) is praised is not Bid'at because no Sunnat has been erased because of it. Like wise you may compare other things like Fatiha, Khataam Shareef, Isal-e-thawab etc. with this principle and see for yourself if they are Bid'ats or not. The difference between an offensive Bid'at and appreciable Bid'at should be well understood because this is where many get confused.
Types of Bid'at and their status in the Shariah
We have seen that Bid'at is of two kinds viz. Bid'at Hasana(appreciable innovation) and Bid'at Sai'iyya(offensive innovation).
Bid'at Hasana is divided into three categories:
- Bid'at Jaiz (permissible)
- Bid'at Mustahhab (appreciable)
Bid'at Sai'iyya is divided into two categories:
- Bid'at Makruh (abominable)
- Bid'at Haraam (prohibited)
In substantiation we present the words of the book Mirqat Babul I'tisaam bil Kitaab Was-Sunnah:
"Bid'at is either Wajib, for example to learn Nahv (Arabic syntax) and to gather the principles of fiqh etc. Or it is Haraam, for example the introduction of new beliefs like the sects Jabriyya, Qadriyya etc. Or it is Mustahhab, for example to construct caravansera'is & religious institutions, to make congregation for the Tarawih prayers and every good thing which was not there in the first era of Islam. Or it is Makruh, for example to vie in the decoration of mosques(with the intention of ostentatious pomp and pride). Or it is Jaiz, for example to shake hands after the Fajr prayers and to partake of nice food and drink etc.
The book Shami (Vol. 1) under Kitaabus Salaat Babul Imamate, says "It is Makruh to perform Salaat behind a Imam who perpetrates a Bid'at which is Haraam, but otherwise Bid'at is sometimes Wajib for e.g.. to furnish proof in defense of Islam (against stray sects) and to learn the knowledge of Nahv (Syntax) and it is sometimes Mustahhab for example to construct caravansera'is and Madrassas and all those favorable things which were not there in the first era, and sometimes it is Makruh for example to vie in the decoration of mosques with a sense of pride and sometimes it is Mubah (Jaiz) for example to partake in nice food and drink and wear nice clothes". The book Jam-e-us-Sagheer says the same thing."
It is now clearly understood that Bid'at is of five categories and every Bid'at is not Haraam.
Definition of the categories of Bid'at and their characteristics
We have seen that a Bid'at which does not contradict with the Holy Qur'aan and the Sunnah is Bid'at Hasana and that which contradicts with the Holy Qur'aan and Sunnah or leads to the annihilation of a Sunnah is Bid'at Sai'iyya. These two Bid'ats are further divided into five categories and the characteristic of each are given below.
This is that action which the Shariat has not prohibited and which is done without expecting any reward or punishment for it. For example partaking in a variety of delicious dishes or wearing nice and attractive clothing etc.
This is an act which is done with an anticipation for earning reward, for example to pray Milad-un-Nabi(SAW) or to pray Fatiha for the souls of the deceased Muslims etc. If it is done by someone with the intention of gaining rewards, they will gain rewards for it and if one does not do it he will not be reprimanded for omitting it.
Mirqat Babul I'tisam says, "Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn- e-Mas'ood(RA) has narrated from the Holy Prophet(SAW) that, "What the Muslims consider as good then it is also considered as good by Allah". Another Hadith which is Marfu' says, "My Ummah will not agree upon a thing which is misleading". In the first pages of Mishkat there is a Hadith "verily actions depend upon intentions and a man will get whatever he intends for". The book of Fiqh Durr-e-Mukhtaar (Vol. 1) under the chapter of Mustahhabs of Ablution says, "A Mustahhab action is that action which the Holy Prophet(SAW) at times did and at times omitted and also that which the Muslims preceding us thought to be good". The book Shami (Vol. 5) under the chapter of Qurbani says, "verily good intentions change habits into worship". It is also written similarly in the book Mirqaat under the chapter of intentions.
It is conclusive from the above Hadiths and commentaries from books of fiqh, that, whatever permissible action done with an intention of anticipating rewards is also considered as rewarding in the sight of Allah Ta'ala. Muslim are witness of Allah Ta'ala and whatever they witness to be good is good and whatever they witness to be evil is evil.
This is an action which has not been prohibited in the Shariat but to omit it will lead to critical breakdown in religious practices. For example to put expressions (I'raab) in the Holy Qur'aan such as Fatha(Zabar), Kasra(Zer) and Dhumma(Pesh), to construct Madrassas for teaching the Holy Quran and Hadith and to learn and teach the knowledge of Nahv(Arabia syntax) etc., are all Bid'at Wajib. Let's take an example of the complication which the Muslims will face if one of these things was to be omitted. Supposing the expressions on the Holy Quran were to be erased, then millions of Muslims, who are not familiar with the Arabic syntax (Nahv, the learning of which is also Bid'at Wajib) will not be able to read the Holy Book correctly and will be sinful for reading it incorrectly.
This is an innovation, performing of which will lead to the annihilation of a Sunnah. If a Ghaiyr Mukkidah Sunnah is annihilated then it is Makruh Tanzihi and if a Mukkidah Sunnah is annihilation then it is Makruh Tahrimi. For example to pray the Eid Khutba in a language other than Arabia etc., is Bid'at Makruh Tahrimi.
This is an innovation which leads to the annihilation of a Wajib. For example, the introduction of beliefs which are in contradiction with the Holy Qur'aan and Sunnah, such as Qadriyya who believe, that man has got all the power to do whatever he wishes and the Jabriyya, who believe that men has got no power at all and all his actions are done under compulsion, whereas the belief of Ahle-us-Sunna Wal Jamaat is that men has been given options in something's and is under compulsion in some. So, to believe as the Qadriyya or Jabriyya will lead to the annihilation of a Wajib, which is Bid'at Haraam. Many sects have been introduced into Islam after the Holy Prophet(SAW) and the Prophet(SAW) said "My Ummah will be divided into seventy three sects and all will be in hell except one. That upon which I and my Sahaba are".
Bid'at in our Daily Religious Activities
We will now see that no worship in Islam is void of Bid'at-e-Hasana.
Every Muslim child is taught Imaan-e-Mujmal and Imaan-e-Mufassal, whereas no such categories of Imaan existed in the time of the Holy Prophet(SAWS) or in the three blessed generations after him.
Every Muslim memorizes six Kalimahs. These six Kalimahs, their enumeration and their sequence i.e. 1st, 2nd etc are all Bid'at Hasana which were not there in the commencing period of Islam.
The division of the Holy Qur'aan into thirty paras (sections) and the divisions of the paras into rukus, to put the I'raad (Fatha, Zabar etc) in the Holy Qur'aan and to have the Holy Book printed by offset printing are Bid'at Hasana which could not be traced in the commencing era of Islam.
To collect the Hadith in book form and state the chain of narrators and to categorise the Hadith into Sahih, Hassan, Dha'eef etc., and to establish the commands with the help of Hadith such as Mukruh, Mustahhab etc., are all appreciable Bid'ats which were not in practice in the blessed age of the Holy Prophet(SAW).
Principles of Hadith (Usul-e-Hadith)
This whole branch of knowledge along with its rules and regulations is itself a Bid'at-Hasana.
Nowadays all matters in our daily lives depend upon this knowledge because it contains the rules and commands for every thing which may come across in our daily lives, but this field of knowledge also is a Bid'at Hasana.
Usul Fiqh and Ilm-e-Kalaam
These two branches of knowledge too, along with their principles and induction's are all Bid'at Hasana.
It is a Bid'at-Hasana to intend for praying Salaat by proclaiming the intention audibly or to pray the 20 rak'aat Tarawih prayer in congregation during the Holy month of Ramadhan.
At the time of breaking fast (Iftaar) to say the dua, "O Allah for Thee have I fasted and in Thee I believe and upon Thee I trust and with the food given by Thee I open my fast" and to intend for fasting by saying this dua audibly at the time of Sehri "O Allah I intend to fast for Thy sake tomorrow" are all Bid'at Hasana.
To give Zakat with the currency which is currently in use today such as coins and paper notes is Bid'at because these were not in vogue in the commencing centuries of Islam.
To perform Hajj by travelling in aeroplane, ships, cars, lorries, buses and to go to the field of Arafat by car or bus are all Bid'ats because such conveyances had not been invented in that age.Nowadays we see around us such new inventions that could not be found in the first and subsequent centuries of Islam and we have got so much accustomed to them, that life would be very difficult without them. Everyone is compelled to use these things such as trains, cars, aeroplane watches, electricity, and hundreds of other things, without which we cannot imagine how life would be. But all these things are Bid'ats and cannot be traced back to the blessed age of the Prophet(SAW) or the Sahaba.
When Bid'at has been introduced in such thing as Imaan and Kalima then how will we succeed in abstaining from it. So, we will have to agree that only those Bid'ats are Haraam, which contradict the Holy Qur'aan and the Sunnah.
Bid'at in Worldly affairs
Expostulations on the Definition and Categorization of Bid'at.
The Definition of Bid'at Amali(Innovated Action)
It is that action which came into practice after the blessed age of Rasul Allah(SAW) be it religious or secular. If it was innovated in the age of the respected Sahaba, even then it will be considered to be a Bid'at. However, we will not call that action innovated in the time of the respected Sahaba a Bid'at, but in the terminology of the Shariat it is called Sunnah of the Sahaba. Since, generally the word Bid'at is used to mean Bid'at Sai'iyya(vile innovation) and it is not respectful to assign such a word towards the respected Sahaba.
This then concludes the definition of the term Bid'at and its five categories. It is essential that the readers acquaint themselves with this knowledge in order to eradicate false and general application of the term Bid'at as propagated by Wahhabis, Deobandis and members of the Tableegh Jamaat.
Many a Sunni Muslim have gone astray and abandoned their true Islamic beliefs simply because they have been misinformed deliberately about the true meaning of Bid'at according to the Islamic shari'ah. We pray that this humble effort will enlighten all Muslims and bring them back to the true and correct beliefs of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. Ameen.
Bid'at is that innovation in religious matters which was brought into practice after the blessed age of Rasul Allah(SAW) and if any novelty is introduced in worldly matters it will not be called a Bid'at. So, Maulid, Fatiha are Bid'at(because they are considered as religious activities) and things such as telegrams, telephones and other inventions will not be called Bid'ats because they have nothing to do with religion. The Hadith says, "Who so ever innovates a new thing in our religion is rejected". The word 'in our religion' in the Hadith proves that any new thing which is introduced in religion will be Bid'at in religious matters is Haraam and lastly there is nothing like Bid'at-e-Hasana, because, the Hadith says that all types of innovations are rejected.
Bid'at is not confined to matters concerning religion only because the Sahih Hadiths and the sayings of the Ulama, Fuqaha and Muhaddatheen are against this. A Bid'at is that innovation which came into practice after the blessed age of the Prophet(SAW) be it worldly or religious. A Hadith in the book Mishkat (Babul I'tisaam) says, " Every new thing is a Bid'at". There is no restriction of Bid'at being religious or worldly and we have also quoted the statements from the books Ashi'atul Lam'aat and Mirqaat in the preceding pages which say that Bid'at is not restricted to religious matters only.
In the Chapter 'Types of Bid'at' and their status in Shari'ah in this book we have quoted from the books Mirqaat and Shami that to partake of good food and drink and to wear nice clothes is Bid'at Jaiz. These are worldly affairs, but they have been mentioned as Bid'at which are permissible(Jaiz). Therefore this restriction of Bid'at to matters religious only is wrong and baseless.
Let, us, for a moment, suppose that Bid'at is restricted to religious matters only. Now what can be called a religious matter? The answer will be: that thing which induces thawaab(reward). Mustahhab, Nafl, Wajib, fardh etc. are all religious affairs which are done to gain reward and any worldly action done with a good intention will surely induce reward. It is said in a Hadith that "to meet a Muslim brother with a cheerful face is equal to giving sadaaqa(charity) in Allah's way". Likewise it is rewarding to foster one's children with a good intention. A Hadith says, "Even that morsel of food you put in your wife's mouth is rewarding". Therefore, a Muslim's every action, be it religious or secular is rewarding because it is done with the intention of pleasing Allah Ta'ala.
We will now list a few things which were not there during the blessed age of Rasul Allah(SAWS) but were innovated afterwards and made part and parcel of the religion.
- Construction of Madrassas
- Dividing the Holy Qur'aan into thirty parts
- Marking the Vowel signs on the Holy Qur'aan viz.;Fatha, Kasra, Dhumma (Zabbar, Zer & Pesh)
- Printing the Holy Book and other religious books in the printing press.
- The compilation of Ilm-e-Hadith and Fiqh
- To put down the Holy verses of the Qur'aan in paper form, etc.
All the above mentioned things are Bid'ats which where not there in the blessed age of Rasul Allah(SAW) but are considered religious. Those who say that Maulid and Fatiha are Bid'ats because they are those religious affairs which were innovated after the blessed age of Rasul Allah(SAW) should have a very close look at the above list and show us which of these things are not included in the religion and which were there in the blessed age?
The Hadith: "Who so ever invents a new thing in our religion is rejected" which you have presented in your objection, really means, that whoever innovates a new belief or who ever innovates a new action which is in contradiction with the Holy Qur'aan and Sunnah will be rejected.
In the last part of the objection you say that all Bid'ats are Haraam and there is nothing like Bid'at-e-Hasana. Such a statement contradict with the Hadith which says that, "whoever sets a good precedent in Islam will be rewarded and who ever sets a bad precedent in Islam will be punished".
We have also quoted from the books Shami and Mirqat that Bid'at is of five categorise viz., Jaiz, Wajib, Mustahhab, Makruh and Haraam. According to your statement we will have to omit many things which are known to be part and parcel of religion but were innovated after the blessed age of Rasul Allah(SAW) such as the Masa'ils of Fiqh, the four Madhabs viz., Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki, Hanbali. The Tariqats viz., Naqshbandiyya, Qadriyya, Chistiyya, Surwardiyya, Alwiyya etc., the devotions of the Sufiyya ikram. The categorisation of the six Kalimas, Imaan-e-mujmal and Imaan-e-Mufassal. The division of the Holy Quran into thirty parts, the compilation of the knowledge of Hadith and the categorisation of Hadith i.e. Sahih, Dha'eef, Hasana Mu'addal etc. The construction of Madrassas and arrangement of their syllabuses and to set a course for achieving the degree of Alim and Qari and to present certificates on the completion of the course to the respective students etc., etc., will all be Haraam according to your statement that all Bid'ats are Haraam and there is nothing like Bid'at-e-Hasana.
In fact there is no act of Shariah or Tariqat which is void of Bid'at. Then how much will you try to avoid such a Haraam (as you say) when it is surrounding your whole religious activity.
So you will have to take back your words and correct your beliefs, and agree that all Bid'ats are not Haraam, but only those Bid'ats are Haraam which contradict with the Holy Quran and Sunna.
Objection No. 2
- Those things which were innovated in the time of the Sahaba, the Tabe'een and the Taba-e-Tabe'een are not Bid'ats they are Sunnats. A Hadith in the book Mishkat Babul-I'tissaaam says, "it is necessary upon you to cling on to my Sunnat and the Sunnat of the four rightly guided Caliphs". In this Hadith the actions of the four rightly guided Caliphs have been mentioned as Sunnat and we have been commanded to follow them, so their actions cannot be called a Bid'at but they are Sunnat.
- In the book Mishkaat Babul Faz'ailus Sahaba there is a Hadith which says, " The best of my Ummah is my generation, then those next to them, then those next to them, then there would come a people whose evidence will precede their oaths and their oaths will precede their evidence" (i.e. they will not be trustworthy). From this we see that the best three generations are those of the Sahaba then of the Tabe'een and then the Tabe Tabi'een. So whatever was innovated in these three generations is Sunnat and whatever was innovated after them is Bid'at.
- "My Ummah will be divided into seventy three groups, all of them will be in hell except one. The respected Sahaba enquired of the group which will be in paradise, the reply came 'That upon which I and my Sahaba are'". From this we see that to follow the respected Sahaba will lead to salvation and that is why their innovations are not Bid'at but Sunnats.
- The book Mishkat Babul Fazailus Sahaba has the Hadith which says: "My Sahaba are like stars whomsoever you follow you will be rightly guided". Even from this we see that to follow the respected Sahaba will lead one to the right guidance, thus actions innovated in their age will not be called Bid'ats but Sunnats because a Bid'at is deluding and misleading and the respected Sahaba are the most rightly guided and have been protected from delusion.
Answer No. 2
- Even this objection is baseless. We defined Bid'at quoting from the books Mirqaat and Ashi'atul Lam'aat that it is that innovation which came after the blessed age of the Prophet(SAW) and not in the age of the Sahaba or the Tabi'een. Secondly, in the book Mishkaat Babul Qiyam Shahr-Ramadhan, it is written that Hazrat Umar(RA) ordered for the congregation in Tarawih prayers during his Caliphate and on seeing the congregation remarked "This is a very nice Bid'at". Hazrat Umar(RA) called his own action a nice Bid'at. Thirdly, to pray the Tarawih prayers individually is Sunnat and to form a regular congregation in these prayers is Bid'at-e-Hasana as we have quoted in the preceding pages from the book Mirqat under the chapter of Bid'at. Fourthly, the second volume of Bukhari Sharif(Kitabul-Fazail-ul-Quran, Bab Jam'ul Quran) says that when Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA) ordered Hazrat Zaid ibn Thabit(RA) to collect the verses of the Holy Quran and compile them in a book form , he replied, "How will you do such a thing which the Holy Prophet(SAW) did not do?" Hazrat Abu Bakr(RA) said, "By Allah this is a good project", Hazrat Zaid's conversation shows that he thought the compilation of the Holy Quran was a Bid'at but Hazrat Abu Bakr's reply was that, though to compile the Holy Quran is a Bid'at but it is a nice Bid'at, shows that the innovations of the Sahaba are Bid'at Hasana.
- In the objection the following Hadith was quoted "It is necessary upon you to cling to my Sunnat and Sunnat of the four rightly guided Caliphs". The acts and statements of the four rightly guided Caliphs have been mentioned as Sunnat in this Hadith. But Sunnat here means Tariqa (Mode, manner) likewise the Hadith which says, "who ever sets a good Sunna in Islam will be rewarded for it..." shows that Sunna here means a mode.
Even the Holy Qur'aan says:
"This is Allah's method which hath ever taken course for His bondsmen." (SXL-85).
and "(such was Qur) method in the case of those whom We sent before thee (to mankind), and thou will not find for Our method aught of power to change. (SXVII-77)
The Sunnat of Allah here means that the method of Allah likewise the Sunnat of Ambiya means the method and mode of the Ambiya.
Under the same Hadith, "It is necessary upon you to cling to my Sunnat and Sunnat of the four rightly guided Caliphs", the book Ashi'atul Lam'aat says:
"The Sunnah of the four rightly guided Caliphs is actually the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet(SAW) but because it was not common in the Holy Prophet's(SAW) time and came to be known in the time of the four Caliphs it is called the Sunnat of the four Caliphs".
So, the Sunnat of the four caliphs is that which is actually the Sunnat of the Holy Prophet(SAW) but was not widespread in his blessed time and the four Caliphs were the ones to circulate it and make it known, so it is called the Sunnat of the four Caliphs.
Fifthly, the Muhadithin and the Fuqaha have said that the works of the four Caliphs are appended to the Sunnat i.e. they are not Sunnat but are continues to the Sunnat. Had the deeds of the Caliphs been Sunnat the scholars would not have mentioned the word "continues to the Sunnat".
In the beginning of the book Noor-ul-Anwer it is written that, "The actions and statements of Sahaba in matters related to reason are based upon analogy and in matters not related to the reason they are based upon Sunnat". So we see that very act of the Sahaba is not a Sunnat but some acts have been deducted through analogy also.
But it is seemliness and a show of respect to refer to those actions which have been innovated in the time of the Sahaba as Sunnat of the Sahaba and not Bid'at of the Sahaba because the word Bid'at is mostly used to mean Bid'at Sai'iyya (Vile innovation).
The book Ashi'atul Lam'aat says regarding this, "Every command and deed of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, even that based on analogy (Qiyas) and ijtihaad, is in accordance with the Sunnat of the Holy Prophet(SAW) and the word Bid'at should not be used for them".
- The Hadith "The best of my Ummah is my generation then those next to them ...." shows that in these three generations more good deeds will be committed and the people will be more righteous then the generations to follow. It doesn't say that any innovation which is invented in this age will become a Sunnat! Secondly, there is no mention of Sunnat in this Hadith.
If it is as you say then the misguided sects such as the Jabriyya and Qadriyya were innovated in this period and even the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain(RA) and the oppression of Hajjaj occurred in this period, then would you say (Allah forbid!) that all these acts are Sunnat?
- The Hadith "My Ummah will be divided into seventy three sects...". And the Hadith "My Sahaba are like stars, who so ever you follow you will be rightly guided," shows that by following the respected Sahaba one is rightly guided and to disagree with them leads one astray. And this is what every Muslim believes. But even these Hadith do not prove that every deed of the respected Sahaba is a Sunnat of the Shariah. It could be Bid'at Hasana. And those Bid'at Hasana innovated by the Sahaba should be followed by every Muslim. A Hadith in the book Mishkat Babul-I'tisaam says "Adhere to the Sawad-e-Azam (great majority). Whoever isolates from it isolates himself to Hell" and "that thing which the Muslims see as good is considered good by Allah Ta'ala also" and also "whoever drifts a span away from the majority will have lifted the rope of Islam from his neck".
Allah says in the Holy Qur'aan:
"And followeth other than the believer's way, We appoint for him that unto which he himself hath turned and expose him unto hell, a hapless journeys end" (SIV-115)
From these ayahs and Hadith we see that it is a duty of every Muslim to stick to the path followed by the majority of the mass (Sawad-e-Azam) and whoever drifts away from it and starts contradicting with it will have drifted himself towards hell. But it is not necessary that every new thing innovated by the Muslims is a Sunnat. It will be a Bid'at; Bid'at Hasana. Just as the innovations of the Sahaba are called Sunnat-e-Sahaba, likewise the innovation of the Salaf-e-Saliheen should be called Sunnat of the Salaf.
Those people who say that every Bid'at is Haraam should understand the meaning of this universally accepted principle that the origin of everything is Mubah(permissible) i.e. everything is permissible unless a Hukm(command) has come in it's prohibition which will make it Haraam. Every novelty is not prohibited on the grounds that it is something new but the prohibition comes if the novelty is in contradiction with the Holy Qur'aan or the Sunnah.
The ayahs of the Holy Qur'aan along with Hadith and the statements of the Fuqaha(jurisprudents) have approved of this principle. The Holy Qur'aan says:
"O you who believe ask not of things which if disclosed to you may annoy you, and if you ask them why the Qur'aan is yet being revealed, they will be disclosed to you, Allah had pardoned that, and Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Forbearing".
From this blessed ayat we see that all those things about which no command or prohibition has come have been pardoned. That is why the Holy Qur'aan says regarding those women with whom nikah is prohibited:
"Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned".
and it says,
"While he was surely mentioned to you in detail what he has forbidden you".
We see that all things in general are permissible except those which have been forbidden in the Holy Qur'aan and Hadith.
A Hadith in Mishkat, Babul Adobe-ta'aam says, " Permitted is that which Allah has made permissible in His Book, and prohibited is that which Allah has prohibited in His Book and that about which nothing has been mentioned is pardoned". From this Hadith we see that things are of three categories. Firstly, that which is permissible and its permissibility has been established from the Holy Qur'aan. Secondly, that which is impermissible and its impermissibility is established in the Holy Qur'aan. Thirdly, that about which the Holy Qur'aan is silent and these are pardoned.
The book Shami(Vol. 1, Kitabul Taha'rat under the definition of Sunnat) says:
"According to the Hanafis and Shafis it is the accepted principle, that, the origin of every action is permissible". Even in the books of Tafseer such as Khazin, Ruhool Bayan and Khazaainaul-Irfaan it is written the same, that, the origin of everything is permissible unless it has been made impermissible by the Holy Qur'aan.
Some people ask this question "Show us where is it written that Maulid Sharif is permissible or that the Holy Prophet(SAW) ever performed the Maulid or the respected Sahaba or the Tabi'een performed it?
This question is deceiving and misguided. It is upon those who say that Maulid is Haraam to show us which ayah or Hadith has prohibited Maulid and to bring us evidence which supports these words.
How can they say something to be Haraam and that too, Maulid Shareef wherein the praises of the beloved Prophet(SAW) are sung and his blessed biography and actions are mentioned to freshen the minds and give calmness to the soul. When Allah has not made it Haraam nor has any Hadith come in it's prohibition? The Holy Qur'aan's silence on this subject, and the Hadith not having anything against it, indicates that Maulid Shareef is permissible.
Allah says in the Holy Qur'aan:
"Say: I find not in that which is revealed unto him aught prohibited to an eater that he eat thereof, except it be carrion or blood poured froth or swine flesh for that verily is foul"
and He says:
"Say: who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He had brought froth for His bondsmen and the things clean and pure (which He has provided) for sustenance?"
This proves that not to get indication towards a thing's impermissibility is enough as an evidence for it to be permissible.
Therefore, all these objections are based on the lack of true knowledge of those who make these weak objections. Instead of making these objections these people should concentrate on acquiring true and accurate knowledge from the blessed Alims of the Ahle Sunnat Jamaat. May Allah give us all the opportunity to acquire true knowledge and mend our ways. Ameen.
The above Article is a translation of the Chapter on Bid'at from the Book Ja'a al-Haqqa Wa Zahaqal Batil by Mufti Ahmed Yar Khan (Rahimahumullah), translated in English by Ayoob Abdul Sattar.