In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Sahaabah and The Upright Scholars Warn Against Bidah (Innovation In Religious Affairs)
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “Follow (i.e. the Qur’aan, the authentic Sunnah and the understanding of Muhammad’s companions) and not innovate (in religious affairs), because you have been sufficed”. (1)
Mu’aadh Bin Jabal [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “Beware of that which is innovated (in the religion) because what is innovated is misguidance”. (2)
Ibn Mas’ood [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “You will find people who claim that they are calling to the Book of Allaah whilst they have placed it behind their backs. So, adhere to knowledge and beware of innovations in religious affairs, going beyond bounds and delving too much into affairs (without a justified reason”. (3)
Imaam Al-Hasan Al-Basri [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The Sunnah -by the One besides whom there is none worthy of worship except Him (i.e. Allaah)- is between the one who exceed the limits and the one who falls short, so be patient upon it-may Allaah have mercy upon you; for indeed Ahlus Sunnah were the fewest people in the past and shall be the fewest people (from those to) come- [الّذين لم يذهبوا مع أهل الإتراف في إترافهم -those who did not go with the people of transgression and corruption in their transgression and corruption; [ولا مع أهل البدع في بدعهم -nor with the people of Bidah in their Bidah]; rather they (exercised) patience upon the Sunnah until they met their Lord (i.e. passed away). Likewise-InShaaAllaah- you be (the same)”. (3.1)
Imaam Al-Barbahaaree [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: “Beware of small innovations (i.e. religious innovations) because they grow until they become large”. (4)
Imaam Ibn Aqeel [may Allah have mercy upon him] said, “If the truthful ones were to keep silent and the falsifiers speak, then the creation would have relinquished what they have witnessed [of truth] and reject what they have not witnessed. So when the devout ones desire to revive the Sunnah, the people would reject it and think that it is bidah”. (4.1)
Celebrations and Official Holidays
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Everything that is taken as a day of day of celebration [Festival and Annual Celebrations], repeated every week and every year and is not legislated in Islaam, then it is a Bidah [i.e. religious innovation]. The evidence is because the One Who [i.e. Allaah] legislates everything [i.e. either in the Qur’aan and the authentic Prophetic Tradition] has legislated the “Aqeeqah” for the newly born baby and did not legislate anything after that. So, taking these celebrations [festivals] that are repeated every week or every year means that they [i.e. the people who do so] have likened them to Islamic festivals [days of celebrations, days set aside for religious observance] and this is forbidden- not permissible. There is nothing in Islam related to festivals [celebrations or days set aside for religious observance] except for the three: Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, and Eidul Usboo, which is Friday. (5)
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: All of this is Munkar [i.e. considered evil in the Islamic legislation], whether for the person, his mother, his daughter or son. All this that has been newly invented – nowadays – is an imitation of the Christians or the Jews [i.e. those amongst them who changed the religion after the departure of their Prophets]. It has no basis nor a foundation [i.e. in the Islamic legislation]. Mother’s day, Father’s Day, Uncle’s Day, the day for a particular person (as celebration or congratulation), or the day for his daughter or son, then all of this is Munkaraat [considered evil in the Islamic legislation]. All of it is an innovation in religious affairs, an imitation of Allaah’s enemies and nothing from it is permissible. (6)
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: National day Celebration is an innovation in religious affairs [i.e. because only the two Eeds have been legislated for that purpose]. As for “Week of the Scholars”, it is not a religious innovation. During this week, their books are presented and it is not a religious innovation. It is a week in which books are presented, so it is said, “The week for the book of such and such person, the week thereafter the book of such and such, and the week after it, the book of such and such”. This is not a religious innovation. This is a presentation of books, a clarification of what such and such person has authored and the those books of his that have been printed. If it is said, “This is Muhammad’s week, this is Shaikhul Islaam’s week, this is the week of Izz Bin Abdis Salaam and Al-Qurtubee’s week, in which their books are presented, then this is not a newly invented matter into the religion, (rather) it is to present their books openly, sell and distribute them amongst the people. As for National Day and celebrating National Day on any day or celebrating the night of Raghaa’ib, then all of this is an innovation in religion and an imitation of Allaah’s enemies. (7)
The Imaam [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also said: This National Day (celebration is tantamount to) an imitation of Allaah’s enemies. The National Days of celebration are an imitation. It may have occurred due a good intention and based on a judgement made by some after striving to reach the correct verdict in an affair; but what is apparent to us is that it is not legislated and it is not from that which is befitting; rather imitation of Allaah’s enemies is found within it, even if worship is not intended by way of it. As for if worship was intended by way of it, then it would be an innovation in religion, but worship is not intended by way of it; rather what is intended is to congratulate, manifest what the country has established and done, therefore, this is considered to be similar to the other days initiated by the Jews and Christians [i.e. those amongst them who changed the religion after the departure of their Prophets] for remembrance or for other reasons. So, it is not befitting [or not permissible] to imitate them- neither in this affair nor in other than it [i.e. those affairs which the Islamic legislation has neither allowed nor legislated]. (8)
Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated: There is no doubt that the Israa Wal Miraaj are from Allaah’s Great Signs, which is shows the truthfulness of His Messenger Muhammad [peace and blessings of Alaah be upon him], the greatness of his status in the Sight of Allaah [The Mighty and Exalted], as well as evidence of Allaah’s Magnificent Power and His Exaltation above His Creation [Mankind, Jinn etc]. Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] said:
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَى بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّه هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ
Glorified (and Exalted) be He (Allah) [above all that (evil) they associate with Him], Who took His slave (Muhammad ) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) to the farthest mosque (in Jerusalem), the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. [Surah Al-Israa. Verse 1]
It has been transmitted by way of Tawaatur -[i.e. an authentic narration transmitted by numerous narrators to the extent that such narrators cannot all agree on a lie]- from Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] that he was taken up to the heavens and its gates were opened for him until he went past the Seventh Heaven. Then his Lord [Allaah (Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections)] spoke to him regarding what He willed and obligated the five daily prayers on him. Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] obligated fifty daily prayers on him at first, but our Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] did not cease going back to Allaah and asking Him to reduce the obligation, until Allaah made it five – five obligatory prayers but their reward is equal to fifty. That is because (one) good deed carries ten rewards. Therefore, all praise and thanks be to Allaah for all His blessings [i.e. all the blessings bestowed on His servants].
This night -in which the Israa Wal Miraaj took place- has not been transmitted in the authentic narrations that it took place-specifically-in the month of Rajab or other than it. All that has been narrated about the specific (month in which) it took place is not transmitted from the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] with authentic chains of transmission according to the scholars of Hadeeth. And with Allah is Perfect Wisdom [free from all weaknesses, shortcomings, deficiencies, faults] as to why He made the people forget [the specific night the Israa and Miraaj took place].
And even if the specific night it took place was established, then still it would neither be permissible for the Muslims to specify any act of worship in relation to it nor celebrate it. That is because the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] and his companions [may Allaah be pleased with them] neither celebrated it nor did they carry out any specific acts of worship on such a night. Had it been that celebrating it is legislated (in the religion), the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] would have made it known to the Ummah-either by way of speech or action. And if anything was practiced, then it would have been known and widely known and his companions would have transmitted it to us, for indeed, they have transmitted – from our Prophet- everything that is needed by the Ummah. They did not neglect anything in the religion; rather they were foremost in practicing every righteous act. Therefore, if celebrating on this night was legislated (in Islaam), they would have preceded us in such an act. The Prophet is (was) the most sincere adviser to the people [i.e. in both their religious and worldly affairs], conveyed the message perfectly and fulfilled the trust [which Allaah entrusted on him]. If exalting this night and celebrating it was something (legislated) in the religion, then neither would the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] have neglected nor concealed it.
Therefore, when it [is it the case that nothing has been transmitted from the Prophet’s speech or actions, and from his companions] about this, then one knows that celebrating and exalting this night has nothing to do with Islaam, for indeed Allaah has perfected the religion for this Ummah, completed His favour upon them and censured the one who legislates in the religion that which is not part of it. Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He] said: [الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلامَ دِينًا – 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. Verse 3]
Allaah said: [أَمْ لَهُمْ شُرَكَاءُ شَرَعُوا لَهُمْ مِنَ الدِّينِ مَا لَمْ يَأْذَنْ بِهِ اللَّهُ وَلَوْلا كَلِمَةُ الْفَصْلِ لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ – Or have they partners with Allah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed. And had it not been for a decisive Word (gone forth already), the matter would have been judged between them. And verily, for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers), there is a painful torment. [Surah Ash-Shura. Verse 21]
And it has been transmitted from Allaah’s Messenger in the authentic narrations that he warned against innovations in religion and stated explicitly that it is deviation in order to warn the Ummah about the great danger of religious innovations and to keep them away from acting on it. It was transmitted from Aa’isha [may Allaah be pleased with her] that the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: [من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد – Whoever innovates something in this affair of ours [i.e. the religion of Islaam], it will be rejected].[Saheeh Al-Bukhaari 2697]
[من عمل عملاً ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد – Whoever performs (an act of worship) which not in accordance with our affair [i.e. the religion of Islaam], it will be rejected]. [Saheeh Muslim 1718]
The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said:
أُوصِيكُمْ بِتَقْوَى اللَّهِ وَالسَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَةِ وَإِنْ عَبْدًا حَبَشِيًّا فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ يَعِشْ مِنْكُمْ بَعْدِي فَسَيَرَى اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِسُنَّتِي وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الْمَهْدِيِّينَ الرَّاشِدِينَ تَمَسَّكُوا بِهَا وَعَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَمُحْدَثَاتِ الْأُمُورِ فَإِنَّ كُلَّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ
I command you to fear Allaah and to listen and obey [the Muslim ruler in what is good] even if a slave is a leader over you. Certainly, the one who will live among you will see lots of differences, so adhere to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the right-guided Khulafaa [i.e. Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan and Ali]. Bite onto that with your molar teeth [i.e. adhere firmly to it] and beware of the newly-invented matters in the religion, because every newly invented affair in the religion is a Bidah [religious innovation] and every bidah is misguidance. [Sunan Abu Dawud 4607]
The narrations that convey the meaning of this affair are many. And it has been transmitted from the companions of Allaah’s Messenger and the pious predecessors [i.e. the first three generations of Islaam] after them that they warned against religious innovations and [gave advice to the people in order to make them fearful of practicing religious innovations]. That is because such practices are additions [i.e. acts that are not legislated by Allaah and His Messenger] and [practicing them] is tantamount to legislating something in the religion, which Allaah has not ordained. It is tantamount to belittling the religion of Islam and accusing it [of imperfection] after it was perfected.
And when it is the case that Allah has obligated on Muslims to give advice to another and explain what He has legislated for them in the Religion, and forbade one from concealing knowledge, I saw that I should notify (or warn) my Muslim brothers about this religious innovation, which has spread to many regions, to the extent that some people think that it is something related to the religion. (9)
The Festival “Chaharshanbeh Suri”
This is a festival celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday before the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, a so called ritual cleansing ceremony. So, people demand that the fire takes all away their yellowing (Yellow = Zard in Farsi), their ailments and problems, and replace them with redness, warmth and power. The festival has some connection with Zoroastrianism [Religion of The Fire Worshippers], but they held that jumping from the top of fire is not good. On this last Wednesday of the year, before sunset on Tuesday, people kindle fires outside their houses. Both adults and children jump from the top of the fire flames and say, “Zardi-e Man Az To, Sorkhi-e To Az man,” to give all of last year’s sadness and problems to fire in order to begin the new year with happiness and ease etc. You’ll also find other myths related to this celebration, but it is enough to know that it has some connection with the polytheism of the Zoroastrians (Fire worshippers)- a Jaahiliy festival (Pre-Islamic Festival). The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “The most hated people to Allaah are three: a person who deviates from right conduct [i.e. an evil doer] in the Haram [sanctuaries of Makkah and Medeenah], a person who seeks that the traditions of the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance should remain in Islam and a person who seeks to shed somebody’s blood without any right”. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari 6882]
Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “These three deeds are from the major sins. The first major sin is Al-Ilhaad Fil Haram [i.e. deviating from right conduct in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah]. Ilhaad means to deviate from the truth (and enter into) falsehood, and supporting falsehood in order to obliterate the truth. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] censured the Mulhideen Fil Haram [i.e. those who deviate from right conduction in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], saying:
[وَمَن يُرِدۡ فِيهِ بِإِلۡحَادِۭ بِظُلۡمٍ۬ نُّذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬ – And whoever intends evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practice polytheism and leave Islamic Monotheism), We shall make him taste a painful torment]. [Surah Al-Hajj. Aayah 25]
Allaah promised them (a severe punishment) due to the mere fact they intend evil actions therein [i.e. in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], then how about perpetrating such deed! Indeed that would be a more severe sin, a more frightening state and a more severe punishment. This is a proof regarding the virtue of the sanctuaries of the Haram- that it is a sacred land chosen by Allaah and He made it a place where virtuous acts of worship are performed, (such as) the Hajj which is one of the pillars of Islaam. Allaah gave this place virtues that cannot be enumerated, such as the increased reward attached to good deeds [performed in Makkah and Madeenah] and gave this land virtue over all other lands of the earth.
The second major sin is committed by the person who wants that the pre-Islamic traditions should remain in Islaam, as if he gives precedence to the pre-Islamic traditions – the evil customs that were followed during that period and the misguided deeds- over the Islamic practices, Eemaan, Ihsaan, their virtue and virtue of the Sunnah. He is guilty of committing a major sin, and this includes giving precedence to religious innovations over (the authentic) Sunnah that guides to the straight path.
The third major sin is to seek to shed somebody’s blood without any right – meaning: seeking to shed the blood of a Muslim without right and doing so based on oppression and animosity. Shedding the blood of a Muslim is a great crime, just as the Prophet said, “The extinction of the whole world is less significant to Allaah than killing a Muslim [i.e. unlawfully]”. And he [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] stated regarding the rights of the Ka’bah, “How great you are and how great is your sanctity! But the sanctity of a believer is greater than yours in the sight of Allaah”. It is not permissible to transgress against the Muslims and the believers – males and females- in the sanctuaries of [Makkah and Madeenah] or in other places due to the great sin and punishment which results from that. (10)
Read: Aashooraa_Some Great Lessons and Signs to Ponder Upon
[Ref 1: Sharh Usool Al-I’tiqaad 1/86]
[Ref 2: Sharh Usool Al-I’tiqaad 1/89]
[Ref 3: Al-Bidah Wan-Nahiy Anhaa. page 59]
[Ref 3.1: Ighaatha Al-Lahfaan 1/70]
[Ref 4: Translation of Sharhus Sunnah by Shaikh Abu Talhah- Dawud Burbank- (May Allaah have mercy upon him and his wife). point number 7. page 28)]
[Ref 4.1: Shifaa As-Sudoor Fee Ziyaaratil Mashaahid Wal-Quboor page: 148]
[Ref 5: Sharh Kitaab at-Tawheed 1/382]
[Ref 9: http://www.binbaz.org.sa/article/24%5D paraphrased]
[Ref 10: At-taleeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah. Vol 1. Pages 429-430. Slightly paraphrased]