Bid’aah – Don’t Do it, Forbid it, & Warn Against It

Compiled from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah Websites
By Abdullah ibn AhmadIn the name of Allaah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

All praise is due to Allaah. We praise Him, seek His aid, and His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evils of our souls and the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allaah guides, none can misguide. And whomsoever Allaah allows to go astray, none can guide him. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, Alone and without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

Imagine that o­n the Day of Judgment, when the sun will be o­ne mile away and we will be submerged in sweat according to our sins, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) invites us Muslims to drink from the river of Al-Hawd, o­ne drink from which quenches o­ne’s thirst forever. 1Then as we approach the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), some will be taken away, and the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) will say, “They are my followers, they are my followers.” He will then be told, “You do not know what innovations (in the religion) they made after you.” 2

Khatibs around the world warn their listeners, as did the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) warn the companions (radiallaahu anhuma) not to commit bid’ah, a word many justifiably hate, but an act we can’t seem to shake free from or care enough about to forbid.

So what is bid’ah? The Shari’ah definition of bid’ah is: “A newly invented way [beliefs or action] in the religion, in imitation of the Shari’ah (prescribed Law), by which nearness to Allaah is sought, [but] not being supported by any authentic proof – neither in its foundations, nor in the manner in which it is performed.”

Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “There is nothing that will take you closer to paradise but that I have enjoined it upon you, and there is nothing that will take you closer to hell but that I have warned you from it. 4

The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also advised us, “I warn you of the newly invented matters (in the religion), and every newly invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire” 5

Some ask, “What’s the big deal? We have bigger problems to tackle.” Some claim it’s between them and Allaah (‘azza wa jall). And some claim their intention is “good.”
To those who stated there are bigger problems, please understand there is no bigger problem than failing to protect the purity of Islam and failing to stop the division we suffer from. What bigger problem could there possibly be than the dilution of Islam and the deterioration of the deen Allaah chose and perfected for us? And these are just a few of the consequences of bid’ah, as you’ll soon read, inshaAllaah, along with their proofs.

If we are among these disgraced people, we would o­nly have ourselves to blame, as we are warned of committing bid’ah every Friday at the outset of Khutbat-il-Jum’a (Friday Sermon), as we are warned by Allaah (the Exalted) in the Holy Qur’an, and are warned by Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in the plentiful authentic hadith.In other words, bid’ah is inventing a new way to get closer to Allaah – a way that is unsupported by either the Holy Qur’an or the authentic hadith.

As we sit before khatibs today, the companions (sahaabah) sat before the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) 14 centuries ago and heard him say, “And the best speech is the Speech of Allaah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters (in the religion)” 6

Notice that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described bid’ah as “the worst of all affairs.” (May Allaah separate us from bid’ah. Ameen.)

Those who claim it’s between them and Allaah are mistaken because their fellow worshippers, or their family may witness them and imitate them, starting/continuing a chain of innovation that may spread for generations upon generations of Muslims who take bid’ah as Sunnah or even fard (obligatory). Imaam Al-Awzaa’ee (rahimahullaah) said, “When innovations emerge and the People of Knowledge do not show rejection against them, they become the sunnah [in the mind of the ignorant].” 7

And know that Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said in a long hadith narrated by Jarir bin ‘Abdullah, “…And whosoever introduces an evil practice in Islam, will shoulder its sin and the sins of all those who will act upon it, without diminishing in any way their burden.” 8

And those who claim their intention is good need to read the following Qur’anic ayah and commentary carefully and sincerely.

Allaah (‘azza wa jall) says in Surat Al-Kahf, “So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” {18:110}

Commenting o­n the ayah, Imaam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullaah) wrote, “So for an action to be acceptable, it has to fulfill two conditions. Firstly, it must be sincere for Allaah alone. Secondly, it must be correct in accordance with the Shari’ah. So if the action is sincere, but not correct, it will not be acceptable.” 9

Preceding Ibn Katheer in his statement was Al Fudayl bin Iyaad, a famous taabi’ee (successor of the companions) who said, “The religion of Allaahis the most sincere of it and the most correct of it.” It was said, “O Abu ‘Ali, what is the most sincere of it and the most correct of it.” He (rahimahullah) said, “If an action is sincere and it is not correct then it will not be accepted, and if it is correct and it is not sincere then it will not be accepted, until it is sincere and correct, and it will be sincere if it is (done) for Allaah, and it will be correct if it is done upon the Sunnah.” 10

The second requirement for a deed to be accepted by Allaah is that deed’s support via authentic proof (the Holy Qur’an or authentic hadith). So even with ikhlas (sincerity) and add to that tears and kushu (humility), the deed will not be accepted by Allaah (‘azza wa jall) if Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) didn’t do it, command us with it, or allow it.

Allaah says in Surat Al-An’am, “We have neglected nothing in the Book.” {6:37} In Surat An-Nahl, Allaah says, “And We have revealed to you a Book explaining everything.” {16:89}

Some sects such as Sufis insist upon bid’ah, not for analytical reasons, but because they think they’re special and are upon special conditions, and are therefore allowed special ways (tariqas). However, they fail to grasp two major factors: Islam is for everyone, and secondly, which worshipper of Allaah is more special than Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)?

Allaah (‘azza wa jall) says, “Or do they have partners that legislate some religion which Allaah has not given permission for?” {42:21}

And the seal of all prophets (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “There is nothing that Allaah ordered you with except that I have ordered you with it, and there is nothing that Allaah forbade you from except that I have forbidden you from it. 11
These innovators overlook that the deen has already been completed and perfected.
Imaam Maalik (rahimahullaah) said, “He who innovates an innovation in Islam regarding it as something good, has claimed that Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has betrayed his trust to deliver the message as Allaah says, ‘this day I have perfected for you your religion’. And whatsoever was not part of the religion then, is not part of the religion today.” 12

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) said, “Therefore, the innovations, in reality are indirect criticisms of the Shari’ah; because they necessitate the implication that the Shari’ah is incomplete and that the innovation is a more perfect form of worship to seek nearness to Allaah as the innovator claims.


Allaah says in Surat Alee-‘Imran, “Say (O Muhammad [sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam]): ‘If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me (follow Qur’an and Sunnah), Allaah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.'” {3:31}

As you can see, the matter has been made easy for us. The religion is complete; all we have to do is obey. Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud (radiallaahu anhu) said, “Verily, we emulate and do not initiate, and we follow and do not innovate.” 14

Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah) said, “Stick to the narrations and the way of the salaf, and beware of the newly invented matters for all of it is innovation” 15

Some people will yet insist, clinging to the words “good bid’ah.”

Abdullaah ibn Umar (radi Allaahu ‘anhuma) states, “Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people regard it as good.” 16

In a long narration you may have already read, ibn Mas’ud (radiallaahu anhu) came upon some gathered in dhikr circles, counting their dhikr with stones inside the masjid. He asked: “What is this that you are doing?” They said: “Oh! Abu Abdur Rahmaan, these are pebbles to count the number of times we say Allaahu Akbar, La ilaaha Illallaah, and Subhaanallaah.”

Ibn Mas’ud then told them, “Count your evil deeds, and I assure you that you are not going to lose anything of your rewards (Hasanat). Woe unto you, people of Muhammad, how quickly you go to destruction! Those are your Prophet’s companions available, these are his clothes not worn out yet, and his pots are not broken yet. I swear by Whom my soul is in His Hands that you are either following a religion that is better than the Prophet’s religion or you are opening a door of misguidance.”

They said: “We swear by Allaah Almighty, oh, Abu Abdur Rahmaan, that we had no intention other than doing good deeds.” Ibn Mas’ud said: “So what? How many people wanted to do good deeds but never achieve them? The Prophet of Allaah has told us about people who recited the Qur’an with no effect o­n them other than the Qur’an passing through their throats. I swear by Allaah, I am almost sure that most of you are from that type of people.”

Then he left them. Umar Ibn Salamah (the sub narrator) said: “We saw most of the people of those circles fighting against us with the Khawaarij in the battle of An-Nahrawan.” 17 [The Khawaarij are people who deserted Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah and were the cause of the first division in Islam, during the caliphate of ‘Ali, radiallaahu anhu, whom they made takfir o­n. Before that, there was no division because all the Muslims adhered to the Sunnah, and had the same ‘aqida.]
Inevitably, the person will say, “What about taraweeh? Umar (radi Allaahu ‘anhu) called it a ‘good bid’ah’.” About that, Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan, o­ne of the leading scholars in the world today (hafidhahulla), said, “What a good bid’ah this is’, then his intent with that – and Allaah Knows best – was the linguistic meaning of an innovation not the Shari’ah (legislative) innovation. This is because legislative innovations are prohibited in Islam, and the proof is based upon what we mentioned: that he intended by it the Taraweeh prayer – and the Taraweeh prayer is not an innovation – rather it is a Sunnah.”

No o­ne has the right to invent Shari’ah. The constitution of Shari’ah is the exclusive Right of Allaah (‘azza wa jall). 18

The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whosoever does an action which we have not commanded, then it must be rejected.” 19

One of the reasons why bid’ah is spreading and doesn’t seem to be slowing down is the ignorance of some of our leaders who insist o­n allowing bid’ah for what they claim is “the sake of unity.” These people fail to realize that it is our duty to protect the purity of the deen of Islam; perhaps our children and our grandchildren can at least have the opportunity to worship Allaah in the manner the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded us. And secondly, bid’ah along with shirk and sins are the very reason we are divided.

The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allaah will send a punishment o­n you from Him. Then, you will supplicate to Him, but He will not accept your supplication.”20

These afflictions, calamities and trials are Allaah’s punishment o­n us as a result of our shirk, bid’ah and sins.The very reason these leaders say they’re not preventing bid’ah is the very reason we are not united. SubhanAllaah! May Allaah unite us o­n the haqq (truth) and the straight path. Ameen.

Bid’ah is way more serious and destructive than our current leaders are telling us. Sheikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said, “In fact, the kufr of Jews and Christians is because of bid’ah. They introduced new things into the religion and those things took them completely away from the true message of Musa (Moses) and ‘Eesa (Jesus) alaihumma salam.”

Some of these leaders are themselves guilty of allowing bid’ah, whereas the scholars of the past struggled in the cause of Allaah to fight bid’ah.

Imaam Bukhari (rahimahullaah) said, “I have met more than a thousand scholars (then he mentioned the names of the more prominent in each of the lands that he traveled to) and I found that they all agreed o­n the following points: they all used to prohibit bid’ah – that which the Prophet and his Companions were not upon, because of the saying of Allaah, ‘and hold fast to the rope of Allaah and do not separate.’ ”


As we can see, the scholars made it a point – rather a priority – to stop bid’ah and teach those committing the innovations. And o­nly after the innovator (mubtadi’) refused did the scholars warn against him for the sake of Allaah and the benefit of the Ummah. Obviously, this is not to be confused with pointing out others’ mistakes, or revealing flaws of others. That should be clear.

Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said, “The o­ne who refutes the innovators is a mujaahid.” And Ibn al-Qayyim said, “The jihaad with decisive proofs [from the Book and the Sunnah] and the tongue takes precedence over the jihaad with the sword and the spear.” 22

Nasr bin Zakariyaa (rahimahullaah) said I heard Muhammad bin Yahyaa adh-Dhuhlee (rahimahullaah) saying, I heard Yahyaa bin Yahyaa (rahimahullaah) saying, “Defense of the Sunnah is more superior than jihaad in the path of Allaah.”

So I said, “A man spends his wealth, tires his body and strives (in jihaad), so is this o­ne (still) better than him?

He said, “Yes, by many times!”


Regarding the difficulty of criticizing innovators, Ibn Taymiyyah also relayed the following: “When some people said to Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah) that they felt uneasy about criticizing people, he replied, ‘If you remain silent and I remain silent, then who will make the ignorant person aware of the authentic from the defective?’ ” 24

About that, Al-Hasan Al-Basree said, “There is no backbiting with regard to (talking about) the innovator or the sinner who openly professes his evil. 25

Sadly, when Allaah wills some sincere and knowledgeable brother or sister to warn the people with hikma (wisdom, Sunnah), inevitably he/she gets evil stares, cursed, labeled a “trouble-maker”, or “kafir”, or “munaffiq”, gets mocked, perhaps even gets banned from the masjid and, in essence, becomes a stranger among his/her own people.

When these concerned brothers and sisters see no o­ne else – like the imaam – opposing the rampant bid’ah, and these brothers and sisters try to advise with hikma, they’re usually rejected and talked into believing their act of “looking for mistakes” separates the Ummah, and they would be better off just focusing o­n their prayer and Qur’an.

Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal disagreed with this and said, “When he fasts and prays and secludes himself, then he does so for the benefit of his own self. However, when he speaks out against the innovators, he does so for the benefit of the Muslims in general, and this is more virtuous.”

Blaming those who enjoin good and forbid evil seems to be a diversional tactic by the innovators and their accommodators to remove the focus from the bid’ah, and Allaah knows best. As a result, the innovators get their way and the naive are fooled into never addressing the bid’ah, ignoring Allaah’s frequent Qur’anic command of enjoining good and forbidding evil (al-amr bil ma’ruf wa nahi ‘an al-munkar).

The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Islam began as something strange, and it shall return as something strange as it began. So Toba (a tree in paradise) to the strangers.” It was asked, “Who are the strangers?” He replied, “Those that purify and correct what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah.” 26

In another hadith, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Ahead of you there lie days of patience, during which being patient will be like grasping a hot coal. The o­ne who does good deeds then will have a reward like that of fifty men who do such deeds. And someone else added – They said: O Messenger of Allaah, the reward of fifty of them? He said: “The reward of fifty of you.” In some reports of the hadeeth, it reads, “They are the o­nes who will revive my Sunnah and teach it to the people.”27

Imaam Abu Haneefah, Imaam Maalik, and Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaahuma) were belted, beaten and tortured by Muslims – yes, Muslims – for sticking to the Shari’ah and Sunnah. Imaam al-Barbahaaree (rahimahullaah) – the leading imaam of his time – died while hiding from his own people. Sheikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) was imprisoned twice by Muslims for enjoining good and forbidding evil. Imaam Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab (rahimahullaah) is still slandered today by the haters of Tawheed and Sunnah among the kufar and ignorant Muslims, who’d rather label him “extremist” than learn the truth, which was that he spent his life trying to revive the dormant Sunnah amongst Muslims who had ignored it, and chosen the way of shirk and superstitions instead.

During the time of Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullaah), a man named Bishr al-Mareesee had innovated the idea that the Qur’an was created and therefore was flawed, and Muslims fell prey to this kufr-based deviation. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, of course, advised those Muslims the Qur’an is the Speech of Allaah (an attribute of Allaah) and is therefore not created. He also warned of sitting with al-Mareesee. For warning against this bid’ah that takes o­ne out of the fold of Islaam, Ahmad ibn Hanbal became the target of verbal abuse, and was jailed and tortured for well over two years.

The khalifa, Al-Mutasim, sided against Hanbal’s fatwa, and threatened those who disagreed. The other scholars changed their fatwa in accordance with the deviated khalifa, leaving Ahmad ibn Hanbal and a scholar named Muhammad bin Nuh (rahimahullaahuma) o­n a deserted island of truth.

Abu Bakr Al-Ahwal asked Imaam Ahmad, “Oh, Abu ‘Abdullah! If you are faced with the sword, will you answer (accept)? He said, “No.” 28

Al-Mutasim severely flogged Imaam Ahmad in public, but died before he could inflict more harm to Imaam Ahmad. Muhammad ibn Nuh (rahimahullaah) died during the lengthy oppression. Al-Wathiq (who succeeded Al-Mutasim) did not flog Imaam Ahmad, because he saw that the whipping increased the imam’s stature amongst the people. Al-Wathiq instead banned Imaam Ahmad from associating with (and teaching) the people, and from living in the same town as him. So Imaam Ahmad hid until Al-Wathiq died. 29

Imaam Ahmad, who didn’t sell his deen, didn’t want to misguide the sincere people, who were eager to follow Imaam Ahmad’s opinion. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal compared the punishment at the hands of the khalifa to that of having the wrong answer to Allaah o­n the Day of Judgment, and he chose the whip and the sword.

For standing up in the cause of Allaah, Allaah raised Imaam Ahmad in status and made him the symbol of the Sunnah, so much so that 800,000 men and 60,000 women attended his janaza (funeral). 30 And if you include the people o­n the rooftops and diverse localities, the number was more than a million. 31
May Allaah grant Jannatal Al-Firdaus to Imaam Ahmad and all those who stand up for Allaah, ‘azza wa jall. Ameen.

Compare the aforementioned imaams of yesterday (mashaAllaah) to today’s imaams, who overlook bid’ah and remain quiet when shirk is committed in their presence for the lowly gain of a bi-weekly paycheck or political prominence.

‘Aisha (radiallaahu anha) narrated, “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying, ‘If anyone seeks Allaah’s satisfaction at the expense of people’s anger, Allaah will be pleased with him and will cause people to be pleased with him. However, if anyone seeks people’s satisfaction at the expense of Allaah’s anger, Allaah will be angry with him and will cause people to be angry with him.’ ” 32
Sheikh Al-Fawzan said, “It is obligatory for o­ne to endure harm for the sake of Allaah.” 33

Allaah (‘azza wa jall) says in Surat Al-‘Ankabut, “Of mankind are some who say: “We believe in Allaah,’ but if they are made to suffer for the sake of Allaah, they consider the trial of mankind as Allaah’s punishment, and if victory comes from your Lord, (the hypocrites) will say: ‘Verily! We were with you (helping you).’ Is not Allaah Best Aware of what is in the breast of the ‘Alameen (mankind and jinns).” {29:10}

Sheikh Al-Fawzan said about the above aya: “That person who is harmed by people because of his adherence to Islam considers such a harm as severe as the punishment that will be inflicted o­n him by Allaah due to renouncing the religion. Regrettably, his wrong thought leads him to escape from suffering the harm caused to him by humans to face Allaah’s punishment that will be inflicted o­n him because of apostasy.” Fawzan went o­n to add:

“In this verse, Allaah, ‘azza wa jall, informs us of a class of people who adopt the religion of Islam without seeking the religious knowledge that provides them with firm belief. o­nce any o­ne of such a class is subjected to such afflictions as those which usually harm the messengers and their followers at the hands of their opponents, he abondons his faith and compares this temporary punishment of man to the eternal punishment of Allaah from which the believers strive to flee. Accordingly, such a person flees from the torture received at the hands of the foes of Allaah by renouncing his religion. He is thus similiar to the o­ne who flees from the excessive heat and seeks refuge in the fire…” 34

While Allaah does not make it obligatory o­n us to choose death and endure the physical torture Imaam Ahmad received (as long as we don’t express kufr in the heart), 35 Allaah does command us to hate bid’ah, abstain from bid’ah, and forbid bid’ah. It is an evil, for which the action is rejected and because of which punishment o­n the Day of Judgment becomes due unless Allaah (‘azza wa jall) pardons it.

About those whose innovations do not include apostasy, a committee of scholars concluded based o­n the proofs, “Each shall be tortured in accordance to [his] innovations, and deviation, except for those whom Allaah pardons, and forgives. Their final abode will be Paradise. The o­nly sect that will be safe is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, who adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and hold fast to what he and his companionship, radiallaahu anhuma, were holding. …As for those whose innovation casts them out of Islaam, they belong to the Ummah of invitation (mankind at large), not the Ummah of response. They shall remain in Hell-Fire forever, and this is the most valid opinion.” 36

If the potential of hellfire doesn’t put fear into the heart, perhaps nothing will. And Allaah knows best.

A person who commits the bid’ah does not become a mubtadi’ until he is shown that his bid’ah is proven to have no foundation in the Shari’ah and Sunnah, and he insists o­n that bid’ah.

Read what sheikh-ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) had to say. “Any innovator who has the proof established against him, it is required for him to undergo punishment. And if not, then still, his innovative and forbidden actions are fruitless and contain no reward in them. Rather, they subtract from his good deeds, reduce from his reward and serve as a means for lowering his honor and status. This is the ruling concerning those who are misguided and their recompense. And Allaah rules with equity and justice; He does not wrong anything, not even an atom.” 37
Allaahu Akbar! If that, along with the ayat of Allaah (‘azza wa jall), and the warnings of our Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) don’t terrify us, then perhaps we should sit down and examine our intention. Is our intention to worship Allaah the way Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) taught us, or is our intention to follow our own desires? We must be honest with ourselves.
So what do we do?

Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prophesied this dilemma in a hadith narrated by al-‘Irbad bin Sariyah. The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “…I admonish you to fear Allaah, to listen and obey even if an Abyssinian slave is appointed as your leader, because whosoever among you shall live after me will see much discord. So hold fast to my Sunnah and the examples of the rightly-guided Caliphs who will come after me. Adhere to them and hold to it fast. Beware of new things (in deen) because every bid’ah is a misguidance.” 38
The solution is: Hold o­n to the Sunnah, and beware of bid’ah.
Prophet Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not command us to allow the bid’ah for the sake of unity. No, he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded us to beware of bid’ah.

Allaah (‘azza wa jall) says in Surat Ra’d, “Verily! Allaah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allaah). ” {13:11}

Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud (radiallaahu anhu) lamented, “How will it be when the trials overcome you, in which the young grow old and the old grow senile. And the people take the bid’ah as the Sunnah, and when it changes they say, ‘the Sunnah has changed.’ It was said, ‘when will this be O Abu Abdur-Rahmaan?’ He replied, ‘when your speakers are many and your scholars are few, and the wealthy o­nes are plenty and the trustworthy o­nes are few.’ ” 39

In most masaajid, you’ll find the same brother who advises others to grow a beard, “like the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)”, turn around and, almost in the same breath, invite others to “chilla or jawla for 40 days.” Or you might find the same imaam who gives a khutba o­n following the Sunnah then turn around and invite others to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or the martyrdom of ‘Ali (radi Allaahu ‘anhu). Strange things are going o­n, brothers and sisters, and we must be knowledgeable of the Sunnah, and learn how to enjoin good and forbid evil, and then follow that up with action. It’s important to note that acting before seeking the required knowledge o­n the topic could cause more harm than good, so seek knowledge first then act for the sake of Allaah. (May Allaah increase us in useful knowledge, and support those who enjoin good and forbid evil. Ameen.)

The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever among you sees an evil action, then let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” 40

The warning of committing bid’ah applies to each Muslim; no o­ne is exempt. We should take stock of all acts of worship that we perform and find its daleel (evidence) either in the Qur’an or in an authentic hadith. Imagine that you unknowingly perform this bid’ah your whole life and, o­n the Day of Judgment, you see no reward for it – in fact the opposite, a bunch of sins. Think of how many acts according to the Sunnah you could be substituting in the place of this bid’ah.
Hassan ibn ‘Atiyyah (rahimahullaah), said, “A people never introduce a bid’ah into their religion except that Allaah takes away its like from their Sunnah and then does not restore it to them until the Day of Resurrection.” 41

Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said: “That a person meets Allaah with every sin except shirk is better than meeting Him upon any o­ne of the innovated beliefs.”


Ahmad ibn Sinaan Al-Qattaan (rahimahullaah) said, “There is no innovator in this world except that he detests Ahlul-Hadith (the People of Hadith). So when a man innovates (into the religion), the sweetness of the hadith is removed from his heart.” 43

We seek refuge with Allaah from such hatred and misguidance!
The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “So he who follows my Sunnah has been guided, and he who follows the innovations has been destroyed.” 44
Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiallaahu anhuma) said, “Indeed the most detestable of things to Allaah are the innovations.” 45

And, obviously, if the bid’ah is despised by Allaah (‘azza wa jall), then know with surety that shaytan (we seek refuge with Allaah from shaytan the outcast) is pleased with it.

Sufyaan ath-Thawree (rahimahullaah) said, “Innovations are more beloved to shaytan than sin, since a sin may be repented from but an innovation is not repented from.” 46

Of course, some people will stick to their bid’ah because their father did it or their sheikh taught them. Remind them that those who opposed the prophets (alaihumma salam) said similar things. Allaah, ‘azza wa jall, says in Surat Luqman, “And when it is said to them: ‘Follow that which Allaah has sent down’, they say: ‘Nay, we shall follow that which we found our fathers (following).’ (Would they do so) even if shaytan invites them to the torment of the Fire?” {31:21}

When advising fellow Muslims to perform mut’ah of hajj, Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiallaahu anhuma) used a statement of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as daleel. Someone then argued that Abu Bakr and Umar (radiallaahu anhuma) said something different. To which, Ibn ‘Abbaas replied, “Stones are about to fall o­n you from the sky (as a punishment). I say, ‘The Prophet said so and so’, and you say, ‘but Abu Bakr and ‘Umar said (something different).’ “

If we cannot take the words of Abu Bakr and Umar over the words of the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), then how can we take the word of anyone else over the Prophet’s?

One’s father or sheikh gathering the family 40 days after the death of a relative does not make that gathering a Sunnah. An “elder” spending an hour a day repeating the word “Allaah” does not make it Sunnah. Whipping o­ne’s self and prostrating o­n sharp objects to inflict injury to o­neself are other bid’ahs that not o­nly dilute the deen but also curtail the spread of Islam. Imagine someone interested in Islam being taken to a Shi’a masjid (I seek refuge in Allaah from this) and seeing people literally belt themselves and other’s foreheads gushing with blood. Even worse is listening to a Shi’a explain why they do this.

A “pious” grandmother making tawaf around the grave doesn’t make it a Sunnah; in fact, it’s shirk. Making a du’aa to other than Allaah (even the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is shirk, which entitles the offender to hellfire forever.

In other words, we shouldn’t take for granted that an act is a Sunnah, because someone we respect does it. We should learn our deen, and bite o­nto the Sunnah with our back molars, as the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) commanded us.
Allaah says in Surat Al-A’raf, “Follow that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and do not follow as Friends and Protectors other than Him.” {7:3}

And we learn from the following hadith that ignoring the injunctions of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) out of pride is a serious offense and can endanger even the faith of a Muslim.

Salamah bin Al-Akwa’ (radiallaahu anhu) reported: My father said that a person ate in the presence of Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with his left hand. He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Eat with your right hand.” [The man] said, “I cannot do that.” Thereupon he (the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “May you never do that.” It was pride that prevented him from doing it. And he could not raise it (the right hand) up to his mouth afterwards. 47
Furthermore, Sheikh al-Fawzan (hafidhahulla) said bid’ah impairs and taints perfect monotheism. 48

Allaah (‘azza wa jall) says in Surat An-Nisa, “But no, by your Rubb, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad [sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam]) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” {4:65}

The people of bid’ah deserve our concern and need to be told that it is better to be a follower of good than a leader of evil. Know that Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (radiallaahu anhu) – the best man after the Prophet among the nation of Muhammad (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) – said, “Indeed, I am a follower and I am not an innovator.” 49
So what do we do if we know such an innovator who refuses to give up his/her bid’ah?

The Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) warned against Ahl-il-bid’ah, from befriending, supporting or taking from them, saying: “Whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator, then upon him is the curse of Allaah, His Angels and the whole of mankind.” 50

Qaadee Aboo Ya’laa (rahimahullaah) said, “There is consensus (Ijmaa’) among the sahaabah and the taabi’een as regards dissociating and cutting-off from the innovators.” 51

Imaam Al-Baghawee (rahimahullaah) instructed a Muslim to treat an innovator thusly: “…Thus, he does not greet him with Salaam when he encounters him nor does he respond to him if he is greeted initially. He is to continue doing this until that individual abandons his innovation and returns to the truth. As for the forbiddance of abandoning (i.e. making hijrah from) o­ne’s brother for more than three days, then that is in regards to a disagreement that occurs between two people in respect to matters of companionship or family ties. It is not in regards to the religion, for indeed, abandoning the people of vain desires and innovations is unending, until they repent.” 52

Imaam Maalik (rahimahullaah) said: “How evil are the people of innovation? We do not [even] give them salaam.” 53

SubhanAllaah. If all the ayat of Allaah (‘azza wa jall), the ahadith of the Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the statements of the companions (radiallaahu anhuma) don’t illustrate the hatred for bid’ah and their innovators, then ponder for a moment that even salaam is forbidden to give to them. This coming within a deen that promotes unprecedented brotherhood, love, and all-out honor for a fellow Muslim. [Some scholars such as Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) mentioned that the sunnah of shunning the innovators is not to be applied when the people of bid’ah are the majority, because the purpose of shunning the innovator is so the innovator abandons his innovation and returns to the jama’ah. In other words, if the people of bid’ah are the majority, shunning the innovator won’t make him more likely to return to the jama’ah. And know that the jama’ah is those o­n the haqq, even if the jama’ah is o­ne.]

“Sheikh Muwaffiq-ud-Deen (i.e. Ibn Qudaamah) has mentioned the forbiddance of looking into the books of innovators and he stated: ‘The Salaf used to forbid others from sitting with the innovators, looking into their books and listening to their speech.’” 54

Of course, the “salaf” (u-salih) that Imaam Abu Haneefah and Sheikh Muwaffiq-ud-Deen refer to are the righteous predecessors, or the first three believing generations after the revelation of the Qur’an. Specifically, the salaf are the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and the sahaabah, and also, in the opinion of some scholars, the taabi’een and the tabi’ taabi’een (successors of the successors).

During the sickness, from which he died, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to his daughter Fatima, “So fear Allaah and have patience. And I am the best salaf for you.” 55

Followers of the salaf are those who adhere to and understand the Qur’an and Sunnah the way the sahaaba adhered to and understood the Qur’an and Sunnah from the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). May Allaah make us followers of the salaf. Ameen!

We know, of course, from the famous hadith of the 73 sects that Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (also called the salafis or Ahl-il-Hadith) is the o­nly sect saved from the hellfire. Regarding Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “A group of my Ummah shall remain steadfast o­n the truth, victorious, and unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until death or until the Day of Resurrection.” 56

Avoiding bid’ah is o­ne of the great foundations and principles of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah. This involves: having hatred for bid’ah; keeping away from it; warning the people about it; and, for scholars alone, refuting the innovators. 57
And beware that bid’ah are new matters not just in acts of worship, but also in beliefs or principles, such as the aforementioned infamous claim that the Qur’an was created. Some other examples of innovated beliefs are: Ikhwaanul-Muslimeen’s cultivation for rebelling against Muslim rulers, Hizb it-Tahreer’s insistence o­n establishing the khalifa when Allaah clearly orders us to establish Tawheed, and the Khawaarij’s permissibility of forbidding evil with the sword.

A taabi’ee himself, Imaam Az-Zuhree said, “The people of knowledge who came before us used to say, ‘Salvation lies in clinging to the Sunnah.’ ” 58
Imaam Maalik said, “The Sunnah is like the Ark of Nuh. Whoever embarks upon it reaches salvation and whoever refuses is drowned.”


Sheikh Mohammed Sharoot, an author o­n bid’ah, summarized the dangers of bid’ah as follows: bid’ah causes disunity in the Ummah; bid’ah is the cause of fitna (test or trials) or severe punishment for this Ummah; bid’ah is the source of fasad (evils) in the Ummah; bid’ah causes the Sunnah to die and creates hatred for Sunnah; bid’ah is a stepping stone to kufr; for the Ummah as a whole, bid’ah hurts the spreading of Islam and da’wa for the sake of Allaah; and individually, bid’ah destroys the akhira of the person.

My dear brothers and sisters in this perfect deen of Islam, for the sake of Allaah, have hatred for bid’ah, avoid it, and warn against it. And o­nly fear Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic Who chose this deen for us.

All praise is due to Allaah. May Allaah guide the Muslims to The Straight Path, correct our ‘aqida, join us upon the Qur’an and Sunnah, grant us patience, and have mercy o­n us all, for Allaah is The Most Merciful. Ameen.


1- (Muslim; the Arabic word used for mile is meel. Sulaim b. Amir, o­ne of the narrators of this hadith, said, “By Allaah, I do not know whether he meant by “meel” the mile of the earth or an instrument used for applying collyrium to the eye.)
2- (Muslim)
3- Al-I’tisaam of ash-Shaatibee (1/37)
4- (Musnad ash-Shaafi’ee and others)
5- Reported by an-Nasaa’ee (1/224) from Jaabir bin Abdullaah and it is saheeh as declared by Sheikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ ul-Fataawaa (3/58).
6- (Muslim)
7- [Tahdheeb Sharaf Ashaabul-Hadeeth of al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee, p.46]
8- (Muslim)
9- Tafsirul-Qur’anil ‘Adheem (3/114)
10- Narrated by Ibn Abi Dunya in his book “Al-Ikhlaas wan Niyyah” p. 50-51, and by Abi Na’eem in “Al Hilyah” v.8 p. 95.
11- (Al-Bayhaqee and others)
12- [al-I’tisaam]; and Allaah’s statement is from the third ayah of Surat Al-Ma’ida {5:3}
13- [Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasaa’il – Volume Two, Number 345]
14- Al-Laalikaa’ee in Usoolul-I’tiqaad (1/86)
15- [Sawnul Muntaq of as-Suyutee]
16- (ad-Daarimee)
17- (ad-Daarimee, Abu Na’eim); authenticated by Saleem al-hilaalee
18- [Riyad-us-Saliheen, chapter 19, in commentary o­n hadith number 171]
19- (Muslim)
20- (Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi)
21- [Imaam Bukhari’s article o­n belief as quoted in Sharh Usul I’tiqaad 1/170. From amongst the scholars he met were: Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abu Ubaid al-Qaasim, ibn Ma’een, ibn Aasim, ibn Abee Shaybah.]; the Qur’anic ayah is from Surat Alee-‘Imran {3:103}
22- al-Jawaab as-Saheeh of Ibn Taymiyyah (1/237)
23- [Dhammu al-Kalaam of al-Harawee]
24- Majmoo’-ul-Fataawaa of Ibn Taimiyyah (28/231)
25- Al-Laalikaa’ee (1/140, no: 279)
26- (Muslim; Ad-Daanee; Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer [6/202]); [About this hadith of the strangers, Imaam Al-Awzaa’ee (rahimahullaah) said: “As for this, then it does not mean that Islaam will go away, rather it means that Ahlus-Sunnah will go away, up to the point that there will not remain any from them in a land except o­ne person.” This insightful statement can, inshaAllaah, be found in Kashf-ul-Kurbah fee wasfi Haali Ahlil-Ghurbah – Alleviating Grievances in Describing the Condition of the Strangers – written by the great Imaam Al-Haafidh Zayn-ud-Deen Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee, rahimahullah.]
27- Narrated by Abu Dawood (4341); al-Tirmidhi (3085) and he said: it is a hasan hadeeth. It was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (494)
28- [The Biography of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, pg. 53]
29- [The Biography of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, pg. 58]
30- Tareekh Al-Islam; [The Biography of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal by Salahuddin ‘Ali Abdul Mawjood, Darussalam]
31- [Manaqib Al-Imam Ahmad by Ibn Jawzi, p. 558]
32-(Ibn Hibban in his Sahih book)
33- [Concise Commentary o­n The Book of Tawhid, pg. 262]
34- [Concise Commentary o­n The Book of Tawhid, pg. 261-62]
35- The proof of this point is Allaah’s saying in Surat An-Nahl, “Whoever disbelieved in Allaah after his belief – except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith – but such as open their breasts to disbelief, o­n them is wrath from Allaah, and theirs will be a great torment.” {An-Nahl 16:106} Ibn Katheer, in his tafseer, wrote about this aya, “The scholars agreed that if a person is forced into disbelief, it is permissible for him to either go along with them in the interests of self-preservation, or to refuse, as Bilal did when they were inflicting all sorts of torture o­n him, even placing a huge rock o­n his chest in the intense heat and telling him to admit others as partners with Allaah. He refused, saying, “Alone, Alone.” And he said, “By Allaah, if I knew any word more annoying to you than this, I would say it.” May Allaah be pleased with him.
36- [Fataawa Islamiyah, vol.1, p.20, DARUSSALAM]
37- Ar-Radd ‘alaa Al-Akhnaa’ee
38-(Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)
39- (ad-Daarimee)
40- (Muslim)
41- (ad-Daarimee); declared saheeh by Sheikh al-Albaanee in al-Mishkaat (1/66/no.188).
42- Reported by al-Bayhaqee in al-I’tiqaad (p.158)
43- (This has been reported by al-Khateeb in Sharh Ashaabil-Hadeeth, p. 73 from the way of al-Husain ibn ‘Alee and said, ‘Its chain of narration is authentic.’ Ad-Dhahabee also mentioned it in At-Tadhkirah, 2/521 and also in As-Siyar 12/245.)
44- (Ahmad)
45- al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunan al-Kubraa (4/316)
46- [Sharh Usul I’tiqaad of al-Laalikaa’ee, no. 238]
47- (Muslim); [Riyad-us-Saliheen, chapter 16, in commentary o­n hadith number 159]
48- [Concise Commentary o­n The Book of Tawhid, pg. 1]
49- Kitaabus-Sifaat of Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee (chapter of Fee Fadaa ‘ilil-Ittibaa)
50- Reported by Bukhari and Muslim
51- (Hajarul-Mubtadi, p. 32)
52- Sharh-us-Sunnah (1/227)
53- Reported by al-Baghawee in Sharh us-Sunnah (1/234)
54- Al-Adaab-ush-Shara’eeyah (1/232)
55- (Muslim)
56- (Bukhari)
57- [Foundations of The Sunnah, pg. 9]
58- (ad-Daarimee)
59- Quoted by Sheikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah in Majmoo’ ul-fataawaa (4/57)


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Boricua Muslimah

Graduate from Rutgers Newark. Journalist, photographer and videographer.

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