Reply to a Question regarding common doubts about people of Bidaa
This article was written in response to a question forwarded to Dar Alarqam in regards to some of the common doubts that people of Bidaa always flag:
Salamu Alykum Br In Islam
This text you have sent me to examine carries pure misguidance, and a well known attempt to confuse and penetrate the minds of those who have no/very little knowledge in Shariat. It is the typical use of text of some Imams and twist it to suit the intended conclusion; as all Ahlul Bidaa did, and still do all over history.
First; we have to understand that not every text from Imam(s) is a Daleel. Some times, a text is taken out of context, or used in its Linguistic capacity while it should be used in its Shariat Capacity, or visa versa. Such use constitutes what is called “Shubhat Daleel”, i.e. “simulated Daleel”. This is the trick that those who use such text use.
I will reply to each section and clear out the simulated Daleels that they present InshaAllah (In Red). The original text will be in (Black).
I hope Allah swt will give you the patience to concentrate and read every word of it, as learning real knowledge is hard
Dr Tariq Abdelhaleem
The provided text reads:
“The definition that Bid'a Dhalala refers to everything that was not present at the time of the Prophet is problematic and full of loopholes”.
First, such Problems and loopholes only exist in the writer’s head. To Ahlul Sunnah, no problems or loopholes exist, but only coherent and comprehensive understanding of All Shariat Daleel.
This is not the definition of Bidaa that was reported by any scholar! I don’t know who reported such definition! This person is creating a definition and fighting his own creation! (over simplification of the opponent argument is another trick!).
The most comprehensive and well recognized definition of Bidaa is the one that Imam Al-Shatibi الشاطبي provided in his unique Book about Bidaa; titled “Al-I’etisam” الإعتصام:
“A Method in “Religion”, that is “Innovated”, and Similar to the “Authentic Method” intended to make the innovator “closer” to Allah SWT.
طريقة في الدين مخترعة تشابه الطريقة الشرعية، يقصد بالسلوك عليها التقرب إلى الله سبحانه (وفي التعريف الآخر له: يقصد بالسلوك عليها ما يقصد بالطريقة الشرعية).
This was explained by many Imams, however, Al-Shatibi, as noted by Imam Mohamad Abu Zahra, has reached a level that is not reachable in his two books; Al-I’etesam and Al-Muwafaqat. However, it seems these two books are way above the level of comprehension of those who write such simulated Daleels!
I will outline the meaning of each part of this definition, in few words, as the full extent of explanation would cover a whole chapter.
Bidaa Definition: A Method in “Religion”, that is “Innovated”, and Similar to the “Authentic Method” intended to make the innovator “closer” to Allah SWT.
Prohibition of an act is EITHER because it’s a sin (hence is Dhalaalah ضلالة), or because it has no origin in shariat at all. The second section is what we call Bidaa as it is merely copying shariat in specifying or giving a special status to specific “Time” or “Person”, “Place” or “Format of religious Act”.
Allah SWT, is the only One Who chooses to alleviate a status of a human being over others (as He swt did with the Prophets), or a time over other time, such as Ramadan over the rest of the months of the year, or a place over other locations such as Mecca over every place on earth, or a format of religious acts, such as the way of performing Salat, as it could have been in any other format or shape. Those who interfere in this and simulate the rights of Allah swt merely try to strip Him swt from His own Status an Illah, as these characteristics of Allah swt constitutes His Authority over humans. Understanding these concepts is in the heart of understanding Tawheed.
- A Method of “Religion: this excludes the matters related to Dunya أمور الدنيا; (time and ways to plant crops, or how to eat; on the floor or on a table…etc), or those which are covered by “Public Interest” Maslaha Mursalah, such as writing the Quran in one document, and collecting the hadith of the Prophet PBUH.
- Innovated”: means has no specific خاص proof in shariat (and this by default excludes what have general proof and categorized under the Maslaha Mursalah; Public interest) it.
- Similar to (or simulates) the “Authentic Method”: this is the heart of the matter, as it has similarities with the Sunnah methods, having covered by a general text. This similarity is in specifying a time, place or format to make it a property of Allah swt as noted above.
- “Closer” to Allah SWT: the intention of the innovator is always to be closer to Allah SWT. This is how the devil presents it to him. On the contrary, as our good predecessors said: The more the innovator performs the Bidaa, the more the innovator becomes even further away from Allah”.
In The provided text reads:
reality even those who do state that Bida' is "kul" (all) in the literal sense of the word do not strictly follow the definition.
Statement without a Proof! Presumptuous argument…drawing conclusion without stating the proof…false and weak offensive against Ahlul Sunnah!
The provided text reads:
All the hadith mentioned in the first post, their Sharhs have one thing in common. They all state:
أريد بها ما ليس له أصل في الدين
I have shown that the definition of Bidaa is more comprehensive and complicated than what the writer wants to address; either intentionally to mislead readers, or ignorantly as he merely does not understand the subject as a whole…The statement that he put here: has no origin in religion, is only a part of the definition…and has to be addressed within the comprehensive understanding of Bidaa and how it related to Sunnah, and to Maslaha Mursalah.
The provided text reads:
what about a matter that agrees with the fundamental principles (Usul) of the religion?
Yes.. what about the matter that agrees with the fundamental principles (Usul) of the religion? It is known as Maslaha Mursalah in Usool Alfiqh; Public Interest. The difference between Bidaa and Maslaha Mursalah covers:
- The Intention المقاصدof Bidaa as opposed to Maslaha Mursalah
- The consequence النتائج of the Bidaa as opposed to Maslaha Mursalah
- The Means الوسائل of the Bidaa as opposed to Maslaha Mursalah
I outlined below, in short, the differences between both:
We have to distinguish between the concept of Bida'a and the concept of what is known as "Public Interest" (المصلحة المرسلة). This subject is very important; however it can only be understood by those who have extensive studies in Usool Al-fiqh. In 1984, I wrote a research paper, in Arabic, to distinguish between three confusing, though distinguishable concepts: Bida'a, Maslaha Mursalah (المصلحة المرسلة) and blocking the means (سـدّ الذريعة). I will InshAllah summarize the main distinguishing factors between Bida'a and Public Interest.
The interests’ المصالح that Shariah brings about to people are of three types:
a. Interest that the Shariah specifically considered: This is without a doubt acceptable to follow; such as punishment to preserve lives.
b. Interest that the Shariah specifically did NOT consider: This is without a doubt NOT acceptable to follow; such as the enjoyment of intercourse through adultery.
c. Interests that were not specifically mentioned in Shariah: This type has two sections:
i. Interests that are proven to have no evidence in Shariah that they were being considered under any general principle, which was observed in other incidents. An example of this is the case of a relative who kills a person to get his share of the will, then the killer is denied any access to the inheritance. The principle here is to treat him against what he wished for. However, this principle of treating against the aim of the action was never considered in Shariah except in this hadith. That is why scholars limited it to this ruling and never used it in other rulings.
ii. Interests that evidences in Shariah have shown that they are considered under a general principle, which was observed in many other incidents and rulings of Shariah. This is what is known as "Maslaha Mursalah" or 'Public Interest' (although the translation is not quite reflective of the Arabic meaning).
The definition of Maslaha Mursalah then is "a matter that is not an Ibadah “ritual” عمل عادي لا عبادي which Shariah neither approve nor reject in a specific text, and was found to be considered under a general principle of Shariah that is very widely used in other rulings".
Examples of that are:
1. Collection of the Quran: the principle of "Preservation of Shariah" is proven throughout Quran and Sunnah in countless ayas and hadiths. So, although there is no specific ayah or hadith that approves or rejects such an action, it can be approved as it comes under the general umbrella of the aforementioned principle.
2. Killing the group for the individual: In this matter, Umar and the companions upheld the principle of "Al-Qasaas" or punishment to kill the killer. If a group collaborated to kill one person and they got away with it, then the principle of Saving Lives would not be observed:
ولكم في القصاص حياة يا أولي الألباب
"In the Law of Equality there is (saving of) Life to you, O ye men of understanding; that ye may restrain yourselves.". This means that the principle of preserving life is also not observed. So, if people know that they would get away with murder, it would then encourage group murder.
The verse of Quran "freeman for a freemen, and slave for a slave and female for a female" does not constitute killing one for one. It merely corrects what was in Jahiliyah, where a freeman would not be killed for a slave, and a man would not be killed for a woman. So, in this ayah, Allah SWT decreed that all souls are equal.
There are many examples of the Maslaha Mursalah that can be analyzed as was done by scholars of Ahlul Sunnah (refer to قواعد الأحكام للعز بن عبد السلام، الإعتصام للشاطبي، الفروق للقرافي المالكي وغيرها كثير من كتب أصول الشريعة).
Now, we have discuss two additional points: the conditions and limitations of Maslahah Mursalah, and the difference between Maslahah Mursalah and Bida'a since it's always a source of confusion.
A. Limitation and Conditions:
1. Maslaha (Interest) should be real not imaginary: such as those who elect representatives of secular parties on the hope that they will help them! It never happens, and will never happen since it is against what Allah SWT decreed about the relationship between Muslims and others in the matter of Wala'a.
2. Maslaha (Interest) should not contradict a text of Quran or Sunnah: as in the definition of the Maslaha Mursala that no text suggests its acceptance or rejection. Some ignorant people think that the ruling of Umar to stop carrying out the punishment of theft during the starvation period is a Maslaha (interest) that is being considered against the text. This is totally wrong! The understanding of this ruling is as follows:
a. The "Hadd or punishment" of theft is set in Shariah to be carried out with many conditions attached to it; such as the amount of the property, the place, access to it, etc. So, it is a general rule which allows for specifying terms and condition; as oppose to an absolute general rule (refer to the chapter on General and Specific of Usool Al-fiqh).
b. The hadith of the Prophet PBUH "Put off punishments for doubts" makes it very clear that in such circumstances, doubts are paramount. So it is just following Sunnah to stop applying a punishment in such an environment. It is the absolutely fine understanding of the companions of the Shariah that we have to follow.
3. Maslaha (Interest) should not prevent a bigger Maslaha or allows for a harm that is even bigger than that interest: That is why Imam Malik gave the fatwa to the kahlifa Abu Jafar Al-Mansour Al-Abassi not to force all Muslims to follow the book of Muwata (الموطأ) that he put together in Hadith, since it will cause chaos and spread differences and divide Muslims. Imam Malik considered that the interest of having Muslims follow a united book of Fiqh is of the level of "Need" (حاجة) and preserving Muslims from being divided is an interest of the level "Necessity" (ضرورة) to preserve Deen. His judgment was to neglect the need for the necessity. This point can be expanded to compare between the different levels of interest. However, this is beyond the scope of this article.
B. The difference between Maslaha and Bida'a:
· Maslaha Mursalah: Applicable in Mu’amalat معاملات as transaction. However, Bidaa is applied in Ibadat; such as The Bidaa Zikr of Sufis and the Crazy Sofi dancing
· Maslaha Mursalah: Applies in Means الوسائل such as collection of Quran (this is not a ritual; it is a mean to preserve Deen, and can be compared to saving Quran on a CD in our time..). Bidaa is relevant to Intentions المقاصد; such as the intention to make more Zikr of Allah by falsified Tasbeeh.
· Maslaha Mursala is relevant to and supported by the aims of Shariah; as in the definition, and considered under the umbrella of an acceptable Principle. Bida'a is not substantiated by any aim مقاصد of Shariah. On the contrary, it actually works against the aims of Shariah; such as intentionally torturing the body in seeking reward, or entering desert without food and water, with the false claim that this makes one closer to Allah! although the aim of Shariah is to bring ease on Human beings, Allah swt said in Quran:
وما جعل عليكم في الدين من حرج
"And He did not impose any hardship on you".
Such torture is merely superficial as Ahlul Bida'a actually neglects Sunnah and make such claims of being hard on themselves to delude the common Muslim.
The provided text reads:
Shaykh Ibn Hajar 'Asqalani discussed the above matter briefly, or made mention to it in his Fath Al Bari Sharh Sahih Al Bukhari, Bab Iqtida' bi Sunan RasulAllah. He mentioned:
قال الشافعي " البدعة بدعتان : محمودة ومذمومة , فما وافق السنة فهو محمود وما خالفها فهو مذموم "
أخرجه أبو نعيم بمعناه من طريق إبراهيم بن الجنيد عن الشافعي , وجاء عن الشافعي أيضا ما أخرجه
البيهقي في مناقبه قال " المحدثات
ضربان ما أحدث يخالف كتابا أو سنة أو أثرا أو إجماعا فهذه بدعة الضلال
وما أحدث من الخير لا يخالف شيئا من ذلك فهذه محدثة غير مذموم
- Shafi'i said: "Bida' is of two types. Praiseworthy and blamewrothy. Whatever is in accordance with the Sunna is praiseworthy and what is against it is blameworthy." (s: This narration) has come from Abu Na'im with its meaning from Ibrahim ibn Junayd from Shafi'. And it has come from Shafi' also from Bayhaqi in his Manaqib that he said, "New matters are of two types. What is against the Book and the Sunna or the effects or consensus. This is Bida' Dhalala. And what occurs from the good which is not against these things (s: i.e. the Qur'an Sunna, Ijma' etc) it is a matter that is not blameworthy. "
- Ibn Hajar says:
. والمراد بقوله " كل بدعة ضلالة " ما أحدث ولا دليل له من الشرع بطريق خاص ولا عام
-- And the meaning of his saying "all innovation is misguidance" is what is invented without evidence from the shariah specifically not generally.
He (Ibn Hajar) said:
وقال ابن عبد السلام : في أواخر " القواعد " البدعة خمسة أقسام " فالواجبة " كالاشتغال بالنحو الذي يفهم به كلام الله ورسوله لأن حفظ الشريعة واجب , ولا يتأتى إلا بذلك فيكون من مقدمة الواجب ,وكذا شرح الغريب وتدوين أصول الفقه والتوصل إلى تمييز الصحيح والسقيم " والمحرمة " ما رتبه من خالف السنة من القدرية والمرجئة والمشبهة " والمندوبة " كل إحسان لم يعهد عينه في العهد النبوي كالاجتماع على التراويح وبناء المدارس والربط والكلام في التصوف المحمود وعقد مجالس المناظرة إن أريد بذلك وجه الله " والمباحة " كالمصافحة عقب صلاة الصبح والعصر , والتوسع في المستلذات من أكل وشرب وملبس ومسكن . وقد يكون بعض ذلك مكروها أو خلاف الأولى والله أعلم
-- And Ibn 'Abd Al Salam said at the end of his Al Qawa'id: "Bida' is of five types.
The obligatory: [skipped the examples].
Forbidden: What is against the Sunna from the Qadiriyya, Murjiyya and anthropomophists (all misguided sects).
Praiseworthy: Each perfection that did NOT exist at the time of the Prophet such as gathering for tarawih, building a school, and the speech of the praised Sufis...
Permissible: Such as shaking hands after the prayer of Fajr or 'Asr....
And as for the hadith that says that every innovation is in the hellfire, we need to look at it more closely.
WRONG! The saying of Ibn Hajar can now be understood in the light of the principles that were stated above, as in Bidaa rather than Maslaha Mursalah.
In order to understand why some scholars; although not best serve the shariat intention as stated by other scholars, have divided Bidaa to Good and Bad; we have to understand the limitations of the Linguistic meaning of Bidaa as opposed to the Shariat meaning that is provided in the Hadith of the Prophet PBUH.
Words hold three distinct meanings:
a. The Shariah meaning المعنى الشرعي: where the meaning of the word is defined or re-defined by Shariah to reflect a specific meaning; such as Salat which used to mean making Dua'a (دعاء). Shariah changed the linguistic meaning of Salat to the act of prayer as we know it.
b. The Linguistic meaning المعنى اللغوي: where the meaning of a word is understood linguistically; such as in the word Zakat, which linguistically means purification. Whereas in Shariah, Zakat is the portion of money to pay on yearly basis. It was used in Quran and Sunnah in both senses of the word, as Allah SWT said: قد أفلح من تزكّى (But those will prosper who purify themselves).
c. The customary meaning المعنى العرفيّ : where a word gets its meaning based on the customs of the people using it; such as the word Al-Sa'a (الصاع), a certain volume measure which means the specific volume that the people of Medinah used to use at the time of the Prophet PBUH. That is why Imam Malik had the custom of Ahlul Madinah as a Daleel "evidence" of rulings in his Usoul.
Having said that, the word Bida'a can be understood in the two senses:
1. The Linguistic, where it means "introducing a new matter without pre-existence of a similar one" as in the ayah ""بديع السموات والأرض To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth;
2. Shariah meaning, where Bida'a means introducing something that is opposed to Sunnah, which is meant in the Hadith of the Prophet PBUH. In the Hadith, the Prophet PBUH specified every Bida'a (in its Shariah sense) is astray.
Umar used the word Bida'a in its linguistic sense when he described the Taraweeh prayer. He said: "it is a Bida'a, and a good Bida'a it is". This answer of Umar implies that the companion(s) who commented on his action understood the Bida'a in its Shariah sense and considered Taraweeh as a Bida'a in that sense. However, Umar explained that this is not a newly introduced Sunnah, as the Prophet himself used to do it but stopped doing it for a specific reason (which is to ensure that it will not be obligatory on his Ummah).
Those scholars, such as Al-Shafie, and Ibn Abdel-Salam has generalized the use of Bidaa to extend to the Linguistic meaning. They, hence ditinguisehed between the Good Bidaa, that is derived from the Linguistic meaning, and the Bidaa that is derived from the Shariat meaning, which is Always Dhalalah and bad. We note two things: first, that Ibn Abdel-Salam and Ibn Hajar are both Shafie’s, so, they followed Al-Shafie in his way to distinguish the Linguistic bidaa from the Shariat. Secondly, both views of Bidaa lead to the same applications being correct or Dhalalah, when applied in the right context. This is evident in the examples that Ibn Abdel-Salam provided above. He merely categorized all actions of Human beings under the five categories of Hukm الأحكام الشرعية.
For example, under the recommended Bidaa, he mentioned establishing schools which is categorized under the other view as Maslaha Mursalah. This is obviously the use of the word Bidaa in its linguistic capacity. Carzy dancing of Sofis and the falsified zikr they create has nothing to do with establishing schools or building bridges. As of the “Good Tasawoof” that Ibn Hajar mentioned, this needs another article to distinguish between the early methods of purifying the soul in the time of the followers and the successors of the followers. It has nothing to do with the Kufr practices and mysticism of Unity of Existance وحدة الوجود of Ibn Arabi ابن عربي, or the Incarnate and Unity الحلول والإتحاد by Al-Hallaj الحلاج
Using such text of Sunni scholars, and confusing it with the Bidaa that The Prophet PBUH stated in crystal clear words that it is “Dhalalah”, is only an act of deceit by stray innovators.
The provided text reads:
 Shaykh Ibn Taymiyya stated that the last phrase "all misguidance is in the hell fire" is not sound. He says:
ولم يقل: وكل ضلالة في النار
-- And he (the Prophet) did not say "Every misguidance is in the fire." (Vol 19)
 Imam Suyuti in his commentary on Nasa'i states:
What does this points mean?! The extension of “Every misguidance is in the fire” reported by Al-Termizie and was categorized by many Hadith scholars as Hasan. However, Ibn taymiyah did not accept the extension as part of the Hadith. This does not mean that Ibn Taymiyah accepts Bidaa that is described by the Prophet PBUH, nor does it mean that Hdalalah is not bad as it is not in hellfire!!!! Dhalalah is Dhalalah; period. If the words of the extension is nor proven to be said by the Prophet that does not make Dhalalah is good. There are enormous proofs other than this extension that Dhalalah is in Hellfire…it is merely wether these specific words were said by the Prophet PBUH in that text or not.
The provided text reads:
قال النووي هذا عام مخصوص , والمراد غالب البدع قال أهل اللغة البدعة كل شيء عمل على غير مثال: سابق قال العلماء : البدعة خمسة أقسام : واجبة ومندوبة ومحرمة ومكروهة ومباحة ; فمن الواجبة نظم أدلة المتكلمين للرد على الملاحدة المبتدعين وما أشبه ذلك ومن المندوبة تصنيف كتب العلم وبناء المدارس والربط وغير ذلك ومن المباحة التبسط في ألوان الأطعمة وغير ذلك والحرام والمكروه ظاهران وإذا رف ذلك علم أن الحديث وما أشبهه من العام المخصوص يؤيده قول عمر في التراويح : نعمت البدعة ولا يمنع من كون الحديث عاما مخصوصا قوله كل بدعة بكل بل يدخله التخصيص مع ذلك كقوله تعالى تدمر كل شيء
-- Imam Nawawi said: "This is the general (in the) specific. What is intended is prevalent
innovations ." The Ahl al-lughat said it is any new action which has no prior example. The Ulema
said, "Bida' is of five types: Wajib, Praiseworthy, Forbidden, Makruh and Permissible.
Thus we can see that the construct of the Arabic language shows that what is meant by the term "kul" is something that is prevalent, and this is used for "emphasis".
Imam Nawawi says (as Suyuti also cited above) in his Sharh Sahih Muslim:
وقد أوضحت المسألة بأدلتها المبسوطة في تهذيب الأسماء واللغات , فإذا عرف ما ذكرته علم أن الحديث من العام المخصوص
-- And verily the issue has been clarified in Tadhib Asma' Wal-lughaat (s: Imam Nawawis own book).
What is mentioned in it is the knowledge that the Hadith is from the general (s: in the) specific.
Then Imam Nawawi gives the example:
كقوله تعالى : تدمر كل شيء
-- For He most high said: Destroying all (Kul) things".
What Imam Nawawi is getting at is the fact that "Kul" here does not mean "All" because the earth was not destroyed, neither the heavens, nor the mountains, not the planets etc.
Thus the general word 'all' is actually "specific".
This Para is another deceitful tactic, where words of scholars used to falsely proof a point that is wrong, and to create the delusion of scholarly work.
First, again, Al-Nawawi is Shafie in Mathhab, and he followed the view of Al-shafie in extending the use of the word to cover the linguistic meaning of it. As we explained above, this view has the same consequence of the rst of Ahlul Sunnah view. In other words, if we looked at the word Bidaa in its Liguistic capacity, it includes Maslaha Mursalah, within its Usool definition. And if we limit it to the shariat use, which the hadith strongly suggests, it means the Bidaa that opposes Sunnah. But in both views, nothing supports the crazy dancing/singing or the stray mysticism.
However, the use of the word “every” كلّ in the context of Hadith that Al-Nawawi used to support the Shafie view of the linguistic can be refuted as presented by other Ahlul Sunnah. I present hereunder, analysis of the use of the word “every”.
It is crucial to understand that the word 'Every' which is كل in Arabic signifies what is called "General" in Usoul Al-fiqh (Principles of Jurisprudence). The rule is that any "General" text can not be specified or limited to some of its subjects unless it is specified by another text. This is because specifying a text and limiting it to part or some of its subjects would be like making a new Shariah. Imam Shafie himself said: "whoever specifies a general, he has makes up a Shariah" (من خصص فقد شرّع). Based on that, the word 'Every' in that hadith, is considered in its general sense by the scholars of Ahlul Sunnah. So, when the Prophet PBUH says: "Every Bida'a is Dhalalah (misguidance)", he literally means Every Bida'a, not Bad Bida'a is Dhalalah and Good Bida'a is not Dhalalah. If we re-word the hadith to be: "every good Bida'a is good, and every bad Bida'a is bad"; it would not make any sense. Moreover, it is not up to the standard by which the Prophet PBUH speaks. The word Bad or Bida'a would then be redundant. It would aslo signify a low capacity in literature "Balagha" (بلاغة), besides it would have no value in terms of meaning.
As for the Ayat of “For He most high said: Destroying all (Kul) things, with the permission of its Lord", it was specified in the completion of the same Ayah, where Allah swt said” “…then by the morning they, nothing was to be seen but (the ruins of) their houses”. Al-Ahqaf 25. So, the word “every” here in this Ayah although does not represent the general sense, Allah swt Has specified it Himself, no man did. If Allah swt did not say the rest of the Ayah, no one could have specified it as we noted of Al-shafie himself. In the Hadith, there was no specification from the Prophet PBUH. Opening the door of Speciying a general without Shariat Daleel might lead to great stray. Al-Nawawi mentioned that this Ayah is “a specified general عام مخصوص he meant it was specified by Shariat; another text. The Bidaa that was referred to In the Hadith ought to be used in its shariat capacity; Dhalalah.
However, it is elementary that scholars, no matter how great they are, can and had made mistakes. Any one who denies that falls into the worship of Humans. The view of the scholars of Al-Shafies الشافعية in this respect, regarding classifying Bidaa in its linguistic and shariat meanings under the word Bidaa, although it does not support the applications of crazy sofis, nor it does derive any results other than Ahlul Sunnah’s, is not the correct one.
وآخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العالمين