Biddha was-Sunnah

Compiled From the lecture by Shaykh Abu Baseer at-Tartousi

Before we look into Islam’s position towards Bid’ah we need to have understanding or certain related principals before we enter the subject itself.


First Principal

The first thing we need to understand is that Islam is a Deen which is complete, everything which brings us close to Allah (swt) and towards Jannah has been explained, and everything which distances someone from Jannah has been elaborated by Allah (swt). Everything which a person needs for the Deen and Dunya has been elaborated upon, there is nothing which will bring you benefit except that the Deen clarifies what it is, and the evidences for this principal are many.  


This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.


And We have sent down to you the Book (the Quran) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allah as Muslims).


Tibyanali kulhi shay, is general verse incorporates everything, and the one who knows what that is, knows it, the one who is ignorant, is ignorant of that. The person who thinks that there is no solution he is an ignorant person, he does not know where that solution lies.


The Prophet saw said: There is not anything, which will bring you closer to Jannah, except I ordered you to do that thing, there is nothing bring u to hellfire except I prohibited that action.


Second Principal


Everything is permissible in Islam, every material thing is this Dunya is permissible, so the person who wants to claim that anything is prohibited, the onus is upon him to prove that prohibition. Everything is permissible unless there is text saying that something is prohibited, all types of drinks are permissible but the text of Quran and Sunnah says alcohol is prohibited therefore it is Haram. If someone says where is the evidence that apple juice is allowed, he has asked wrong question as he needs to bring evidence to state it is prohibited.


As for ritual actions, every ritual action is prohibited unless there is Daleel (evidence) stating its permissibility and how that action is carried out, it is not allowed for a person to carry out action which he thinks is ritual, unless he has evidence to do it and how to carry it out. So naturally then if someone wants to do certain act of worship we need to have evidence for that, because the principal of worship is different to things, the complete opposite, if he cannot bring evidence to support his stance we know what he is doing is Baatil (falsehood) and this action does not bring you closer to Allah (swt). This is the second important principle we should bear in mind.


Third Principal


Any act of worship is not accepted unless two conditions are fulfilled, the first being any action has to be sincerely for the sake of Allah (swt) and the second being that the action has to be in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah. So any ritual action in which both of these conditions are not fulfilled, they are invalid, both conditions have to be fulfilled, that is why Allah (swt) says in the Quran Whoever wishes and is keen to meet his lord, let him do a pious and correct actions and worship anyone other then Allah (swt)


In terms of what is a good or pious action the ulema say, that which is in accordance with the Shariah and he is sincere. Allah (swt) says in Quran he has created you to see which of you is the best in action.


The Ulema again have said in explaining that verse, that action which is closest to the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and is sincere for the sake of Allah (swt) as well. This third  principal will also facilitate our understanding in relation to Bid’ah.


What Is Bid’ah


The linguistic meaning of Bid’ah is to initiate something which has no example previously.  The Shariah meaning is to invent a new action which has no basis in the Deen at all or to worship Allah (swt) in a way which he has not permitted. So via this definition we can say that Bid’ah is two types, that which is related to worldly matters, technology and administrative etc. We need to remember important principle as long as they do not contradict anything in the Quran and Sunnah, businesses for example they are permissible, trade during Jummah, and Maghrib time or any Salaat will make that permissible thing Haram, so just to summarise, the principal of dunya things is that they are permissible in condition that they do not contradict anything that is established in the texts.


The second type of Bid’ah is that which has relationship to ritual acts. As for this type of Bid’ah all of it is misguidance and all of it is dispraised and discouraged and all of it is in hellfire, any innovation that is in Deen is something we need to reject, and all of that hadeeth which talk about Bid’ah apply  to this type of Bid’ah, this is why the Prophet (saw) used to say, the best speech is the speech of Allah (swt) and the best guidance is that of the Prophet (saw), the most evil actions are those which are innovated into Deen.


And in another hadeeth the Prophet (saw) said, Whoever amongst you lives after me will see a lot of Ikhtilaaf, and the Sahaaba said what is the way out, and he (saw) said, follow the Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Sahaabah and the Khulufah Rashideen, and those after me, and hold onto the guidance with your teeth, and do not go away from the guidance. Then the Prophet (saw) said, be careful of newly invented matters for every newly invented matter is astray, when he said kul it’s a’am general and encompasses any new action to do with the Deen. In another Riwayah he (saw) said, Be careful of newly invented matters and everything which is astray is in the hellfire. And the hadeeth concerning this subject are so many, slightly different in format but they all indicate one thing.




If it is from the Deen of al-Islam we accept the action if it is not we reject it, if its any action which is based upon the teaching of the Prophet (saw) and his companions this is something that we accept immediately, as for an action which is not based upon the teachings of the Prophet (saw) and the Sahabah, whatever his rank is amongst the people it is something we reject, we do not say this is big scholar, this is big Shaykh accept what he is saying. This is a criteria that we use to analyse their opinions statements etc, if not we reject it whoever the person is. The people of the book previously when they began to make an error in this principal they went astray, they began to accept newly invented matters, and Allah (swt) revealed in the Quran concerning them that they began to take their priests and rabbis as lords besides Allah, how did they take them as lords? when they began to take the statements of their clergy above the statements of Allah (swt) and his messenger (saw) and he (saw) explained that their deviation was when their religious people made the halal the haram and the haram the halal.   


A time will come after me where people will extinguish the Sunnah and will invent new things delay the Salaah from its time and Ibn Masoud asked what should I do if I meet these people, the Prophet (saw) replied, there is no obedience to these people if they disobedience to Allah (swt).  Indeed the obedience in only in Marouf, in goodness, and Omar Ibn Khattab (ra) said, all innovated things are astray even if people think there is goodness in them. Because Shaytan can beautify Bid’ah, so some people think it is appropriate to pray 100 Rakah’s Isha a night. Ibn Masoud (ra) said, follow the people who came previously and do not make ibtidiaa, because it is enough for you know that each innovation is astray, its enough for you that everything in the Shariah has been explained, when do people make Bid’ah? when they have a bad impression in the Deen, they think there is something missing in it, so they have to fill things up, just to add people who are engaged in innovation it effects their life, one of the ways it effects their life is that the Sahabah said, whoever a respects a person of innovation has been complicit in the destruction of Islam. So another negative impact is that there is a certain Sunnah that is negated because of that innovation, this is why the Prophet (saw) said, there is not a person who innovates except that one Sunnah is taken away from him, another effect is a persons Tawbah is not accepted as long as he is engaging in innovation, the Prophet (saw) said, Indeed Tawbah is not accepted when person has hand in innovation.


So he is going against the first principal that we established that the Deen is complete, as for the one who is engaged in innovation, practically speaking he is nullifying the fact that Islam is complete and because of his Bid’ah the true Islam becomes Ghareeb (strange), Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamma’ah are the strange people and one of the causes of strangeness is the innovation.


Someone may ask there are some hadeeth which indicate Bid’ah Hassana? how do we respond to this? What is meant by a good Sunnah is that an action which is in accordance with the Shariah even if it is in a Dunya issue, a bad Sunnah is that if someone open s a pub, and he gets sin for doing that and any one who follows he gets sin for that as well, so let us now study some of the hadeeth of the Prophet (saw) where the good and the bad Sunnah are mentioned so we have understanding.


A group of people came to the Prophet (saw) and they had an unusual type of dress on , and they had swords with them, his (saw) face became red with anger when he saw them, the Prophet (saw) got Bilal (ra) to make Adhaan, they prayed Dhuhr then the Prophet (saw) went on the minbar, after praising Allah (swt) he (saw) said, Give charity before your situation arises where you are unable to give it, the Prophet (saw) encouraged people to give all types of things, different people gave different things, so some of the Sahabah where not responding immediately and where hesitant, and he (saw) became angry and it was manifested in his face, one man gave with a large amount of gold so much that he was not able to carry it, so the Prophet (saw) took it from him wile he was on the Minbar and the person said, O messenger of Allah, this is for you, and he (saw) accepted it, and then Abu Bakr Sideeq (ra) came and gave a large a amount, then Umar Ibn Khattab (ra) came, then the Ansaar, then the Muhajireen, then groups of people started to come to give, whatever people had and possessed they began to give, so the narrator of the hadeeth, Jareer Ibn Abdillah (ra) said, I saw so many people give charity and the Prophet (saw) start to become happy and smile, but one of the Ansaar  was the person who encouraged all this action, the Prophet (saw) said, whoever invents a good Sunnah, has all of its reward, and those who do it after him, he has their reward as well.


One of the brothers may say I know a family who is need and one brother comes forward and gives Sadaqa and because of that person who encouraged everyone, he will get the reward for all the other people giving as well, someone who opens a clinic, a charity, etc, all of these things come under Sunnah al-Hassanah, then the Prophet (saw) said, whoever does an evil Sunnah gets the sin of it and all of those who participate in it as well.


As for the Sunnah al Sayyah that is in the worldly issues, as for those types of innovations in the Deen all of them are false, all the Sunnah are good, but this is where you say a Sunnah is god or bad, then the Prophet (saw) read the famous verse in the Quran, all the good actions are rewarded for them and all of the what he left behind as well that is recorded as well


And this is the meaning of good Sunnah & Bid’ah, someone may say if you look to the books of knowledge they used terms like good Sunnah and good Bid’ah, this is what they are meaning, Sunnahtul Hassanah and Sunnatul Sayyah, this is the context which we understand what they said, if we assume that they mean a good Bid’ah in the Deen then we reject their sayings whoever they maybe, because they contradict all the evidences principals we mentioned previously.  And whoever reads their works and gets the impression from them that they get good Bid’ah, then we reject what we say.


Another example so we can understand this issue clearly, in Jihad there is an army facing a row of kuffar, one mujahid from the Muslims encourages everybody to go forth, he is the one who encourages them, he will get all the reward for the others going forward as well, just to turn the example on its head, again on the battle field one Mujahid is a coward, he runs away so the others run away as well, so all of them run away, he will get the sin of himself and the whole other army who runs away as well, so have you understood how we put this Sunnahtul Hassanah and Sunnatul Sayyah in context. As for the person who wants to do ritual action to remember Allah (swt) or to do any ritual worship that there is no evidence and says this is Bid’ah Hassanah we say to him you have lied, this is a sufficient introduction to the subject and the remaining time we have we will open to questions inshallah Ta’aalah.


Question: We have hadeeth in Bukhari and in muslim that the Prophet said, I have left amongst you two things if you hold them you will never go astray, m the book of Allah and the sunnah, and in other narration, the book of Allah and Ahlul Bayt. This causes confusion as two different sources are mentioned, please elaborate


There is a third hadeeth where he (saw) leaves behind the guidance of the Khulufah  al-Rashideen, there is no contradiction in the hadeeth obviously, the A’alim puts things together, so we follow all of them, we should not accept one hadeeth and reject another, those are people of hypocrisy and misguidance, there is another famous hadeeth, after me follow my two companions Abu Bakr and Umar (ra), can we understand form that, that we reject the other two Sahabah Uthmaan and Ali (ra)? the answer is No.


What is Worship?


Worship or Ibadah is a comprehensive noun for anything which pleases Allah (swt) from actions which are internal and external examples of which are Charity, Hajj,  Siyam, Salaah, Jihad, Commanding Marouf and Forbiding Munkar, looking after other families. Allah (swt) says say that my life death and everything is for you the lord of the worlds. Even to sit in a circle of Ilm, this is Ibadah, to ask questions to clarify matters of the Deen is Ibadah. One of the most appalling mistake that occurs is worship is limited to ritual actions like Rukuh and Sujoud, they say that is the only thing which is worship, according to their perverted understanding, someone who is in rukuh and Sujoud even though he loves Taghout, this is because they limited the understanding of worship, even in the American army, they are Muslims and they pray but when they go to kill Muslims that is not and that has got nothing to do with worship.


Difference Between Mu’amalaat and Ibaadah


Both things come under the topic of worship, if you go to books of fiqh, Jihad, buying selling, all of these come under one major umbrella, this comes under the Ibadaat. Mu’amalaat, ritual action is between you and Allah (swt), Mu’amalaat are between you and other people, and even Mu’amalaat you do in accordance with the Shariah they are considered as worship as well.


The Sahabah have no permit to make Bid’ah, all of the innovation is rejected whoever does it, the Sahabah where exception because they have special rank, the minimum thing we can say about them its their Ijtihaad, in which case one or two rewards, in any case they are successful.


Is standing forward to give Sadaqah (Sunnah Hassana) not Riyah (Showing off ?


Obviously we cannot say absolutely for the person, each individual person knows his situation the best, he knows what is in his heart the best, one of the tricks of Shaytan is don’t do this because you may think its showing off, he is trying to prevent you from doing good deed, it is best to ignore him, obviously may Allah (swt) not allow this situation for anyone, if he is doing that to show off then that is Riyah, each person knows what he is doing, whenever you doing sincere action do not let Shaytan come to you and say you doing it out of Riyah, do the good action for the sake of Allah (swt).







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