In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
What is bidah?
Al-Allaamah Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad [may Allaah preserve him] said: Two conditions must be fulfilled for an act of worship to be accepted. The first condition is that the act of worship must be carried out sincerely for Allaah, and secondly the act of worship must be in agreement with the Sunnah of the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. This is what the Shahaadah (لا إله إلا الله محمدا رسول الله) necessitates; because (لا إله إلا الله) necessitates that acts of worship must be carried out sincerely for the sake of Allaah alone, and (محمدا رسول الله) necessitates that acts of worship must be carried out in conformity with what was revealed to the noble Messenger. Therefore, Allaah is not to be worshipped with bidah, newly invented matters in Religion and evil deeds; rather acts of worship must be in agreement with the Sunnah of the noble Messenger. If any of these two conditions or both of them are not fulfilled, then indeed the act of worship will be rejected by Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic]. Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَقَدِمۡنَآ إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُواْ مِنۡ عَمَلٍ۬ فَجَعَلۡنَـٰهُ هَبَآءً۬ مَّنثُورً – And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust] [Soorah Al-Furqaan. Ayah 23]
And the noble Messenger said: [مَنْ أَحْدَثَ فِي أَمْرِنَا هَذَا مَا لَيْسَ مِنْهُ فَهُوَ رَدٌ- He who innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected]. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 2697] [Saheeh Muslim. Number 1718]
And in another wording of this hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim the Prophet said: [مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلًا لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرُنَا فَهُوَ رَد – He who does an act (of worship) that is not in accordance with our affair (i.e. Islam) will have it rejected].
The Prophet said:
فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ يَعِشْ مِنْكُمْ فَسَيَرَى اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا، فَعَلَيْكُمْ بِسُنَّتِي وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ الْمَهْدِيينَ، عَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ، وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَمُحْدَثَاتِ الْأُمُورِ؛ فَإِنَّ كُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلَالَةٌ
Verily he lives long among you will see a lot of differing, so you must adhere to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafaa Ar-Raashidoon [the rightly guided caliphs (AbuBakr, Umar, Uthmaan and Ali)]. Adhere to it with your molar teeth (i.e. adhere to it firmly). And beware of newly invented matters (in the religion), because every newly invented matter (in the religion) is a bidah (innovation in the religion), and every bidah is misguidance. [Abu Dawood. Number 4607] [Tirmidhee. Number 2676]
Imaam Maalik [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The latter part of this Ummah (i.e. those who will come after the pious predecessors) will not be rectified except by way of that which rectified it’s earlier part (i.e. the pious predecessors)”. And he said, “Whoever innovates a bidah in Islaam and considers it to be something good, then indeed he has claimed that Muhammad betrayed the Risaalah (i.e. the message he was entrusted with); because Allaah said: ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ – This day, I have perfected your religion for you]. Therefore, what was not part of the religion at that time [i.e. during the time of the Messenger] cannot be part of the religion today (i.e. after his departure from this world)”. [Al-Itisaam of Imaam Shaatibee 1/28] (1)
The Types of Bidah: All religious innovations are evil, but there are those that exit a person from the fold of Islaam (Bida’atul Mukaffirah) and those that do not exit a person from the fold of Islaam (Bida’atul Mufassiqah). Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah preserve him] was asked whether there is a difference between Bidah Al-Mukaffirah and Bidah Al-Mufassiqah; so he replied that there is Bidah Mukaffirah, such as rejecting the Ruyah (i.e. denying that the believers will see Allaah in the afterlife); rejecting Allaah’s Uluww [i.e. denying that Allaah is above his creation – Allaah ascended over the Throne in a way that benefits his majesty)]; invoking (or supplicating to) other than Allaah; offering slaughtered sacrifice (i.e. animals) to other than Allaah etc. These are affairs of Bidah Al-Mukaffirah (the bidah that is tantamount to disbelief); but we do not expel (from the fold of Islam) the people who commit this type of Bidah until we establish the proofs against them. That is because some of them (i.e. the people who fall into these affairs) carry doubts and are far away from the era of Prophethood and its light (i.e. guidance). So they fall into the likes these innovations. Rejecting the Ruyah is disbelief; rejecting Allaah’s Uluww is disbelief; the saying that the Qur’aan is created is disbelief-major disbelief; but this person, -[who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allaah, and he prays, observes fasting, wants paradise and believes in that] -received the doubts of the people of falsehood, so he falls into the likes of these affairs (i.e. these innovations that are tantamount to disbelief). So we say to him, “You have fallen into disbelief and the evidence is this and this, and we clarify for him. So if Allaah blesses him and he returns to the truth, then all praise is due to Allaah; but if not, we declare him a disbeliever after establishing the proofs against him. (see footnote a) As for Bidah Al-Mufassiqah it is other than this (i.e. it is not at the level of that which is tantamount to disbelief)…(2)
Therefore, a sensible person – after being acquainted with this very important affair – would not harbour any doubt that none – regardless of their status in the religion or in a worldly affair – is allowed to innovate an act of worship in Islam or change the manner in which an act of worship is to be performed, as Imaam Maalik [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Whoever innovates a bidah in Islaam and considers it to be something good, then indeed he has claimed that Muhammad betrayed the Risaalah (i.e. the message he was entrusted with); because Allaah said: ٱلۡيَوۡمَ أَكۡمَلۡتُ لَكُمۡ دِينَكُمۡ – This day, I have perfected your religion for you]. Therefore, what was not part of the religion at that time [i.e. during the time of the Messenger] cannot be part of the religion today (i.e. after his departure from this world)”. [Al-Itisaam of Imaam Shaatibee 1/28]
So, we say to the Tijaaniyyah Soofiyyah and their ilk amongst the innovators in religious affairs and the proponents of superstitions: Neither the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] nor his companions recommended this Salaatul Faatihah of yours; rather it was a bidah initiated by Ahmad Tijaanee. Al-Allaamah Abdur Rahmaan Al-Afreeqee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated. “Ahmad Tijaanee said in Jawaahir Al-Ma’aanee, ‘Indeed a single utterance of Salaatul Faatiha is equal to every ‘Tasbeeh’ (i.e. to say Subhaanallaah) that takes place in the ‘kawn’ (i.e. the entire existence or universe)'”. [Source: Jawaahir Al-Ma’aanee page: 96.طبع مطبعة التقدم العلمية الطبعة الأولى] Then Al-Allaamah Abdur-Rahmaan responded to the above false and absurd claim of Ahmad Tijaanee as follows: “I think the one who uttered this speech (i.e. Ahmad Tijaani) is not really aware who Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is! He is not really aware of what Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] was sent with and why Muhammad was sent. Indeed the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) definitely fulfilled the trust he was entrusted with, conveyed the message and strove in the path of Allaah until he passed away. He is the seal of the Prophets and the legislation (in belief and acts of worship) he conveyed abrogates every other law until the day of judgement. There is no human being who has ever brought anything similar to what the Messenger Muhammad brought after he left this world. Whoever claims that there is a revelation or that he has received revelation after Muhammad, then indeed this is the greatest lie against Allaah. Allaah (The Most High) said:
وَلَا تَقُولُواْ لِمَا تَصِفُ أَلۡسِنَتُڪُمُ ٱلۡكَذِبَ هَـٰذَا حَلَـٰلٌ۬ وَهَـٰذَا حَرَامٌ۬ لِّتَفۡتَرُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡكَذِبَۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَفۡتَرُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ ٱلۡكَذِبَ لَا يُفۡلِحُونَ
مَتَـٰعٌ۬ قَلِيلٌ۬ وَلَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ۬
And say not concerning that which your tongues put forth falsely: “This is lawful and this is forbidden,” so as to invent lies against Allah. Verily, those who invent lies against Allah will never prosper. A passing brief enjoyment (will be theirs), but they will have a painful torment.’’ [Surah An-Nahl. Aayaat 116-117]
The Prophet said:
وخير ما قلت أنا والنبيون من قبلي: لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك وله الحمد وهو على كل شيء قدير
And the best thing said by me and the previous prophets is: “There is no deity worthy of worship other than Allaah, who is alone, having no partner. His is the dominion, and to Him belongs all praise. He is, of everything, All-Capable”. [Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. Number: 1503]
Therefore, would anyone with a sound intellect affirm that a single utterance of Salaatul Faatiha is better than a single Dhikr that has been transmitted from the Prophet with an authentic chain of transmission, let alone all the Adhkaar (supplications) that take place in the Kawn (i.e. the entire existence or universe)? Do you not use your intellects?! O people! Did they [Adam, Nuh, Musaa, Eesaa and Muhammad (peace be upon them)] not used to remember Allaah? So is the innovator of this Tareeqah Tijaaniyyah better than these Prophets?
He (i.e. Ahmad Tijaani) stated in Al-Ifaadah (page: 80): “Whoever does not believe that it (i.e. Salaatul Faatihah) is from the Qur’aan will not receive a reward from it [i.e. he or she will not be rewarded for reciting Salaatul Faatihah]”.
Al-Allaamah Abdur Rahmaan responded to the above false and absurd claim of Ahmad Tijaanee as follows: “Whoever believes that (Salaatul Faatihah) is from the Qur’aan, then indeed he has committed clear disbelief because revelation is not sent down except to a Prophet. We do not find this (Salaatul Faatihah) in the Qur’aan; rather not even in a fabricated hadeeth attributed to Allaah’s Messenger. Is the one to whom ‘Salaatul Faatihah’ was revealed a Prophet or a Wali? If he is a Wali, then revelation is never sent down to a Wali. The people in this Tijaani path are two types of people: The first group: If they believe that ‘Salaatul Faatihah’ is from the Qur’aan, then indeed they have exited the fold of Islaam. (see footnote aI) The second group: If they believe that ‘Salaatul Faatihah’ is not from the Qur’aan, then indeed they have exited from their Tijaani path because there is no reward in it. (3)
Finally, we urge the African Muslims upon this bidah to neither allow bigotry nor blindly following forefathers to prevent them from submitting to Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah. Be warned against blindly following forefathers, as Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] stated: “Indeed, polytheistic (acts and beliefs) has become rife in this Ummah due to the people being distanced from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah- due to blindly following their forefathers without guidance, exaggerating the status of the dead people (i.e. either pious people or those whom they consider to be pious) and building (shrines and tombs over their) graves; and due to being ignorant of the true Islaam, which Allaah commanded His Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] to convey, just as Umar Ibnul Khattaab [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, ‘Verily, the firm foundations of Islam will be destroyed one after the other when arises in Islam a people who do not know what Jahiliyyah is [i.e. the acts and beliefs that were prevalent during the pre-Islamic era]. And likewise, polytheistic practices and beliefs have become rife in the Ummah due to the spread of Shubhah [i.e. doubts that are made to resemble the truth but are falsehood in reality] and stories that have misguided the majority of the people. And among these [Shubhah- doubts made to resemble the truth but are falsehood in reality] is what the people of Shirk of the past and those within this Ummah at present utilise as proof – that they follow the path of their fathers and ancestors, and that they inherited this creed [i.e. polytheistic beliefs and practices] from them, just as Allaah [The Most High] said: Az-Zukhruf Ayah 23]
[وَكَذَٲلِكَ مَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ فِى قَرۡيَةٍ۬ مِّن نَّذِيرٍ إِلَّا قَالَ مُتۡرَفُوهَآ إِنَّا وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا عَلَىٰٓ أُمَّةٍ۬ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰٓ ءَاثَـٰرِهِم مُّقۡتَدُونَ – And similarly, We sent not a warner before you (O Muhammad) to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: “We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow their footsteps”].
Everyone who is unable to establish proofs for his claim returns to this proof, even though it is a useless proof that has no weight in the arena of sound discussion, because indeed those ancestors they blindly follow were not upon upright guidance. Therefore, whoever (is upon such a state of affairs), it is not permissible to follow him and take him as an example. Allaah [The Most High] said: [أَوَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡلَمُونَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَہۡتَدُونَ – Even though their fathers had no knowledge whatsoever and no guidance]. [Surah Al-Maa’idah’ Aayah 104]
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَلَوۡ كَانَ ءَابَآؤُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا وَلَا يَهۡتَدُونَ- Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?] [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 170]
Therefore, following ancestors is only praiseworthy if they were upon the truth. Allaah [The Most High] said that Prophet Yusuf [peace be upon him] said:
وَٱتَّبَعۡتُ مِلَّةَ ءَابَآءِىٓ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ وَإِسۡحَـٰقَ وَيَعۡقُوبَۚ مَا كَانَ لَنَآ أَن نُّشۡرِكَ بِٱللَّهِ مِن شَىۡءٍ۬ۚ ذَٲلِكَ مِن فَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيۡنَا وَعَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَڪۡثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَشۡكُرُونَ
“And I have followed the religion of my fathers , – Ibrahim (Abraham), Ishaque (Isaac) and Ya’qub (Jacob), and never could we attribute any partners whatsoever to Allah. This is from the Grace of Allah to us and to mankind, but most men thank not (i.e. they neither believe in Allah, nor worship Him). [Surah Yusuf’ Aayah 38]
Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّبَعَتۡہُمۡ ذُرِّيَّتُہُم بِإِيمَـٰنٍ أَلۡحَقۡنَا بِہِمۡ – And those who believe and whose offspring follow them in Faith, to them shall We join their offspring [i.e. in paradise]. [Surah At-Tur’ Aayah 21]
This doubt was embedded in the souls of the polytheists and they utilised it to oppose the call of the Prophets [peace be upon them]. Allaah [The Most High] informed us about Nuh and His people:
وَلَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا نُوحًا إِلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦ فَقَالَ يَـٰقَوۡمِ ٱعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنۡ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيۡرُهُ ۥۤۖ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ
فَقَالَ ٱلۡمَلَؤُاْ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن قَوۡمِهِۦ مَا هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا بَشَرٌ۬ مِّثۡلُكُمۡ يُرِيدُ أَن يَتَفَضَّلَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَنزَلَ مَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةً۬ مَّا سَمِعۡنَا بِہَـٰذَا فِىٓ ءَابَآٮِٕنَا ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ
And indeed We sent Nuh (Noah) to his people, and he said: “O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him (Islamic Monotheism). Will you not then be afraid (of Him i.e. of His Punishment because of worshipping others besides Him)?” But the chiefs of those who disbelieved among his people said: “He is no more than a human being like you, he seeks to make himself superior to you. Had Allah willed, He surely could have sent down angels; never did we hear such a thing among our fathers of old. [Surah Al-Muminoon’ Aayaat 23-24]
So, they used as proof that which their ancestors were upon to oppose that which their Prophet Nuh brought. Allaah informed us that the people of Saaleh said to him: [أَتَنۡهَٮٰنَآ أَن نَّعۡبُدَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَا – Do you (now) forbid us the worship of what our fathers have worshipped?] [Surah Hud’ Aayah 62]
And Allaah said that the people of Prophet Shu’aib said to him: [أَصَلَوٰتُكَ تَأۡمُرُكَ أَن نَّتۡرُكَ مَا يَعۡبُدُ ءَابَآؤُنَآ – Does your Salat (prayer) (i.e. the prayers which you offer has spoiled your mind, so you) command that we leave off what our fathers used to worship]. [Surah Hud’ Aayah 87]
And Allaah informed us about Prophet Ibraaheem [peace be upon him] and his people when he silenced them with clear proofs:
مَا تَعۡبُدُونَ قَالُواْ نَعۡبُدُ أَصۡنَامً۬ا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَـٰكِفِينَ
قَالَ هَلۡ يَسۡمَعُونَكُمۡ إِذۡ تَدۡعُونَ
أَوۡ يَنفَعُونَكُمۡ أَوۡ يَضُرُّونَ
قَالُواْ بَلۡ وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا كَذَٲلِكَ يَفۡعَلُونَ
“What do you worship? They said: “We worship idols, and to them we are ever devoted. He said: “Do they hear you, when you call (on them)? “Or do they benefit you or do they harm (you)?” They said: “Nay, but we found our fathers doing so. [Surah Ash-Shu’araa’ Aayaat 70-74]
This is the nature of disbelief! Its people do not have any proof by way of which to repel the truth except these flimsy proofs. (4)
We ask Allaah to protect us and guide those who completely submerged in the misguidance of the Soofees and other deviated groups Aameen.
Footnote a: Principles regarding Takfeer (i.e. the principles applied by upright scholars before removing a Muslim from the fold of Islam due to deviation).
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from أثر العبادات في حياة المسلم pages4-31]
[Ref 2: http://www.rabee.net/ar/questions.php?cat=26&id=484 paraphrased]
Ref 3: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Anwaar Ar-Rahmaaniyyah Li-Hidaayah Al-Firqah At-Tijaaniyyah. Pages 14-16]
[Ref 4: An Excerpt from Muhaadaraat Fil Aqeedah Wad-Da’wah’ page 18-20. slightly paraphrased]