In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Danger of Bidah [innovations in the religion]
The Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said: [وشر الأمور محدثاتها – The worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters [in the religion]. He [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said this whilst there was no Mubtadi [innovator in the religion] to be found. He warned against it because Allaah informed him that many [people] from this Ummah [Islamic Nation] will be misguided, split [into sects] and follow the [misguided] ways of those who came before them [i.e. the misguided Jews and Christians].
Allaah informed the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] and he conveyed these realities to the Ummah [Muslim Nation]. So due to the Prophet’s [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] enmity towards bidah [innovation in religious matters], his hatred for it and due to fearing for his Ummah regarding it, he warned them against it in every or most of his khutbahs. He described it as the worst of all affairs [in the religion] وشر الأمور محدثاتها -The worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters [in the religion]. [Ref 1: Source: الذريعة إلى بيان مقاصد كتاب الشريعة للإمام المحدث أبي بكر محمد بن الحسين الآجري – vol 1. Page: 219]
A Principle Regarding Supplications And Acts of Worship In Islaam
Supplication is a great act of obedience to Allaah and a lofty act of worship, which a Muslim [performs] within the confines of the Noble Messenger’s [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] guidance and adherence to his Sunnah, because the best and perfect guidance is the guidance of Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam]. Indeed, the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] used to say – on every Jumu’ah- whilst addressing the people, “To proceed; indeed the most truthful speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam]; the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters [in the religion], for every newly invented matter [in the religion] is Bidah [i.e. innovation in religion]; every Bidah is misguidance and every [act of misguidance will lead to the] fire”. Therefore, it is obligated on a Muslim that he is very careful of the newly invented matters in the religion, and that he adheres to the guidance of the leader of the Prophets and Messengers [i.e. Muhammad (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam)].
The guidance of the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] in affairs related to supplications is a perfect guidance and there’s no difficiency [or shortcoming] in it. The Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] did not leave any good and benefit related to supplications; rather he [clarified and explained] the affair perfectly and fulfilled its obligation, just as he did in all aspects of the religion. He did not die until Allaah revealed [the Aayah]: [ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ وَأَتۡمَمۡتُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعۡمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلۡإِسۡلَـٰمَ دِينً۬اۚ – This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion]. [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 3]
Whoever contemplates on the guidance of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] in affairs related to supplications, he will find that it is a perfect guidance- sufficient and perfect, and there is no difficiency [or shortcoming] in it. He [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] clarified and made known – to the Ummah- supplications that are to be performed at specific times, specific places and in specific circumstances. He made very clear the distinction between those supplications that can be performed – in general – without any restriction to a specific time, place or situation, and those ones that are restricted to specific times, places and situations.
The established and authentic supplications of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] deals with all the circumstances of the people – in times of happiness, sorrow, physical wellbeing, illness, bliss, calamity, when one is travelling or not travelling, and other than that. He [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] guided his nation – in this affair- to all good and to that which they should say in all circumstances. He did not abandon any supplication that would get a person close to Allaah – that which will lead a person to happiness in this Dunyaa and Aakhirah; rather, he clarified and made it known to his Ummah – completely and perfectly. How can this not be the case when it is the fact that he [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said, “Allaah did not send a Prophet except that it was obligated on him to guide his followers to what he knew was good for them and warn them against what he knew was bad for them”.
Indeed, it is amazing that some of the common people abandon the authentic supplications that are gathered in many of the books – the well-known books that are considered to be authentic by the upright scholars of the Ummah- and then accept the supplications that are newly invented, innovated [in the religion] and initiated by some of the Mutakallifeen [i.e. those who pretend and fabricate things] and written by some of the Mutakharriseen – [i.e. those who lie, engage in falsehood through which they seek to obliterate the truth and speak about Allaah without knowledge]- without relying on the Qur’aan and the Sunnah; and without giving consideration to the guidance of best person in this Ummah [i.e. Muhammad (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam)]. So, they preoccupy the people with this, turn them away from the Sunan [i.e. authentic path of the Prophet] and plunge them into Bidah. And regarding this affair, some of the Salaf [i.e. pious predecessors] said, “A people do not innovate a Bidah in their religion, except that Allaah removes something similar to it from their Sunnah, and then it does not return to them until the day of judgement”.
How can it be permissible for a Muslim who knows the virtue of the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], his status and sincere advice to the Ummah, but then he abandons the Messenger’s [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] guidance and his great and blessed supplications, and then accepts the supplications and the books of these Mutakharriseen and Mutakallifeen. Allaah [The Most High] said: [ادْعُوا رَبَّكُمْ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ – Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors]. [Soorah al-A’raaf Ayah 55]
Regarding the statement of Allaah: [إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ – He likes not the aggressors], Imaam Al-Qurtubee [rahimahullaah] – in his Tafseer – mentioned a number of different types of aggression in this subject matter, and one of them is when one supplicates by way of that which is not found in the Qur’aan and the [authentic] Sunnah – words that are deficient and are in the form of rhymes, and found in pamphlets, which neither have any origin [in the Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah] nor founded [on the Qur’aan and Sunnah]. Then he [i.e. the initiator or innovator of these supplications] takes them as his slogan and abandons that which the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] used as supplications. All this prevents the response to supplications.
And the severest and most dangerous this affair can be, is that some of these supplications are mixed with wordings that are tantamount to disbelief and polytheism.
Indeed, what is obligated on every Muslim is that he is extremely careful of the likes of these supplications which have been invented by some of the misguided Shaikhs and the leaders of misguidance, and thus they hinder people – by way of them – from the guidance of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and turn them away from his Sunnah. So, they go astray and deviate many people, and deviate from the right path. Indeed, the smart Muslim should pose a question in this affair regarding that which led these people to innovate these supplications and fabricated these acts which they devote themselves to permanently, despite the fact that they contain misguidance and falsehood. One will not find an answer, except that what these people want is to eat the wealth of the people unlawfully, increase their followers and devotees. Mu’aadh Bin Jabal [radiyallaahu-anhu] said: “In the times after you there would be trials in which wealth would be abundant and the Qur’aan would be easy so much so that every believer, hypocrite, man, woman, young, grown up, slave and free man will learn it. Then a man might say, ‘What happened to the people that they do not follow me while I read the Quran? They are not going to follow me until I innovate for them other than it’. So, beware of that which is innovated (in religion), for whatever is innovated is misguidance’”. [Abu Dawud. Number 4611]
Therefore, it is obligated on the Muslim to be extremely cautious of these people, adhere to the Sunnah and follow the path of its followers, for in that there is safety and success. [Ref 1]
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Madkhali hafidhahullaah] said: Ibnul Jawzi said, Abul Wafaa Ibn Aqeel Al-Faqee said, our Shaikh Abul Fadl Al-Hamdaani said, “The innovators (in) Islam and the fabricators of Hadeeth are worse than the Mulhiddoon [i.e. the heretics (Ref 2)], because the heretics aim to corrupt Islam from the outside, whilst these [people] want to corrupt it from within. They [i.e. the innovators and the fabricators of hadeeth] are similar to the people of a country who try to corrupt its state of affairs and the heretics are similar to those who lay a siege from the outside; so the ones from within [i.e. the innovators and fabricators of hadeeth] open the fortress. Therefore, they are more harmful to Islam than those who do not [attribute] themselves to it outwardly”.[Ref 3]
Imaam Ahmad [rahimahullaah] said, “There is none more harmful on the people of Islaam than the Jahmiyyah; they do not desire except to nullify the Qur’aan and the ahaadeeth of the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]”. [Ref 4]
Al-Haafifh Abdul Ghaniyy Al-Maqdisee [rahimahullaah] said, “Know-may Allaah have mercy upon you-that Islaam and its people are undermined by three groups; and the group that rejects the [authentic] ahaadeeth about the Attributes [of Allaah] and belie its narrators are more harmful to Islaam and its people than the disbelievers”. [Ref 5]
Ibn Aqeel [rahimahullaah] said, “There is none more harmful on the sharee’ah than the innovators of the people of kalaam [i.e. the people of philosophical rhetoric] and the ignorant soofees”. [Ref 6]
Abu khaythama narrated to us, (saying): Jareer related to us from Mansoor from Abu Ad-Duhaa from Masrooq, (who) said: “Once we were sitting with Abdullaah (Ibn Mas’ood) whilst he was reclining; then a man came to him and said: “O Abu Abdir-Rahmaan! Verily there is a storyteller at the doors of Kinda claiming that the portent of the Smoke will come along and snatch the breaths of the disbelievers (i.e. take their souls away) and the believers will get something like a cold from it.” So Abdullaah said while sitting up and he was angry, “O people fear Allaah! Whoever amongst you has knowledge of something, then he should speak with what he knows; and whoever does not know, then he should say, “Allaah knows best”; because it the best of knowledge for one of you to say, “Allaah knows best” with regards to things he has no knowledge of. Indeed, Allaah (The Most High) said to His Prophet (alayhis-salaam): ”Say (O Muhammad): [قُلْ مَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ وَمَا أَنَا مِنْ الْمُتَكَلِّفِينَ – No wage do I ask of you for this (the Qur’aan), not am I one of the Mutakallifun (those who pretend and fabricate things which do not exist)]. [Soorah Saad. Ayah: 86] [Ref 7]
Imaam Ibnul Jawzi [rahimahullaah] stated: When it is the case that addressing the (people) through exhortations is mostly (directed at) the common people, the ignorant story tellers found a way of reaching their goals. Their bidah did not cease until the affair reached alarming proportions, so they brought about evil [through their] deeds, statements and goals. [Ref 8]
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Fiqh Al-Ad’iyah Wal Adkaar. Vol 3, pages up363-366. By Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr (hafidhahullaah). Slightly paraphrased]; [Ref 2] Ilhaad: Complete Il-haad is to turn away from Islaam completely and that is Major Il-haad, which exits a person from the fold of Islaam, such as the Il-haad of the communists, the idol worshippers and those similar to them. And Minor Il-haad does not exit a person from the Religion of Islaam, such as turning away from some actions. Allaah (The Most High) said: [وَمَن يُرِدْ فِيهِ بِإِلْحَادٍ بِظُلْمٍ نُذِقْهُ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ – And whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong, him We shall cause to taste a painful torment] [22:25] For further details, see link:
[Ref 3] [Quoted by Shaikh Rabee (may Allaah preserve him) in his Book titled: Al-Mahajjah Al-Baydaa Fee Himaayati As-Sunnati Al-Gharraa’i Min Zallaati Alhlil Akh’taa Wa Zayghi Ahlil Ahwaa’ page: 47]; [Ref 4]: Tabaqaat Al-Hanaabilah 1/47; [Ref 5]: Al-Iqtisaad Fil I’tiqaad page: 223; [Ref 6]: As-Sawaa-iq Al-Mursalah Alal Jahmiyyah Wal-Mu-attilah 4/1346; [Ref 7: Source: Kitaabul Ilm of Abu Khaythama with the checking of Imaam Al Albaanee, page19. Narration number 67]; [Ref 8: Source: كتاب القصاص والمذكرين- page 290]