Allah sent the final revelation of the Quran about Islam to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the last of the Prophets. Allah accepts only Islam’s religion, which is binding on all of mankind. Moreover, Allah has already perfected Islam for us, as He tells us in Surah Al-Ma’idah. As Islam is complete and flawless, there is no room for introducing anything new (Bid’ah) in the religion.
The Prophet (PBUH) condemned Bid’ah (innovation) in the Sunnah. Believers must follow the Quran and Sunnah without changing the religion’s teachings. Bid’ah causes deviation in the faith and corrupts its original teachings. Since Allah already revealed His complete final message to His last Prophet, adding something new to the religion implies that Islam is deficient, incomplete, and imperfect. Hence, one who does so is guilty of a grave sin.
Let’s discuss what is Bid’ ah and why is it dangerous?
What is Bid’ ah?
Bid’ah is the introduction of new practices or innovations into Islam that have no basis in the Quran or Sunnah. It is a major sin in Islam and can lead to misguidance, division, and the loss of one’s reward in the afterlife.
Difference between Bid’ah and Ijtihad
Bid’ah is any religious innovation that has no basis in the Quran or Sunnah. It is considered to be a major sin in Islam. Ijtihad, on the other hand, is the process of deriving rulings from the Quran and Sunnah on new issues that arise. It is a legitimate and necessary process in Islam, for the possible issue that may arise, and are not mentioned in the Quran or Sunnah.
However, there are some important differences between Bid’ah and Ijtihad.
- First, Bid’ah is always wrong, while Ijtihad can be right or wrong.
- Second, Bid’ah is always introduced by someone who is not a qualified scholar, while Ijtihad is only performed by qualified scholars.
- Third, Bid’ah is always done with the intention of innovating in religion, while Ijtihad is done with the intention of following the Quran and Sunnah.
The Prophet (PBUH) strongly condemned Bid’ah
In a Sahih hadith in Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) declares that one who introduces something new in Islam will not have his innovation accepted.
Therefore, one who invents something new in Islam, which was not originally a part of the faith, will have his innovation rejected. It will not be of any use to him in the worldly life or the Hereafter.
Similarly, in a hadith in Sunan Abi Dawud, the Prophet (PBUH) once again denounces innovations. In the hadith, he says to follow His and the rightly guided caliphs’ Sunnah. The Prophet (PBUH) says to firmly stick to the Sunnah and stay away from novelties, which are all Bid’ah.
Moreover, every Bid’ah is an error. This makes it abundantly clear that every innovated matter in the religion violates the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), which is the path every believer must follow.
Furthermore, the Prophet (PBUH) stated in a hadith in Sunan An-Nasai, that every Bid’ah is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the fire of Hell. Hence, the final Prophet of Allah, who conveyed the last revelation to humankind, strongly condemned Bid’ah.
Obedience to him is compulsory, and every believer should pay heed to his explicit warnings against innovations in Islam.
Types of Bid’ah
There are two main types of Bid’ah:
Bidáh in acts of worship :
This includes any act of worship that is not prescribed in the Quran or Sunnah, such as celebrating the Prophet’s birthday or asking dua from him.
Bidáh in Beliefs
This includes any belief that is not supported by the Quran or Sunnah, such as the belief that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is omniscient
Dangers of Bid’ah
Bid’ah is dangerous for a number of reasons.
- First, it can lead to misguidance and division in the Muslim community. When people start innovating in religion, it leads to a diversity of practices and beliefs, which can make it difficult for Muslims to unite around a common core.
- Second, Bid’ah can lead to the loss of one’s reward in the afterlife. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever innovates in this matter of ours (Islam) something that is not a part of it, it will be rejected.” (Sahih Bukhari)
- Third, Bid’ah can lead to shirk (associating partners with Allah). For example, if someone starts to believe that a saint or scholar can intercede with Allah on his behalf, this is a form of shirk.
- It was narrated that Hudhaifah said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Allah will not accept any fasting, prayer, charity, Hajj, ‘Umrah, Jihad, or any other obligatory or voluntary action from a person who follows innovation (Bid’ah). He comes out of Islam like a hair pulled out of dough.”
How to deal with people who practice Bid’ah
If you see someone practicing Bid’ah, the first thing you should do is try to advise them gently and kindly. Explain to them why their practice is wrong and provide them with evidence from the Quran and Sunnah. If they refuse to listen, then you should distance yourself from them.
It is important to be patient and understanding when dealing with people who practice Bid’ah. Remember that they may be sincere in their beliefs, even if they are wrong. It is also important to avoid arguing or being confrontational. Instead, focus on gently explaining why their practice is wrong and providing them with evidence from the Quran and Sunnah.
Here are some additional tips for dealing with people who practice Bid’ah:
- Be respectful and avoid name-calling or insults.
- Be patient and understanding. It may take time for them to change their beliefs.
- Make dua for them and ask Allah to guide them to the truth.
If you are unsure about how to deal with someone who is practicing Bid’ah, it is always best to consult with a qualified scholar or take traditional or online classes related to Islam
Examples of Bid’ah
Here are some examples of Bid’ah:
- Celebrating the Prophet’s birthday
- Making dua to the dead
- Reciting certain prayers or supplications a specific number of times
- Believing that the Prophet (peace be upon him) is omniscient
- Believing that the Prophet (peace be upon him) can be seen in dreams
- Believing that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has the power to intercede with Allah on behalf of believers
- Visiting the graves of saints or scholars and seeking blessings from them
- Constructing shrines or tombs over the graves of saints or scholars
- Performing rituals at the graves of saints or scholars, such as reciting prayers, making dua, or offering sacrifices
- Celebrating religious holidays that are not prescribed in the Quran or Sunnah, such as Mawlid al-Nabi (the Prophet’s birthday) and Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power)
Bid’ah is a serious issue, but it is important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. If you see someone practicing Bid’ah, the best thing to do is to approach them with kindness and compassion. Try to understand why they believe what they believe, and then gently explain to them why their practice is wrong. Provide them with evidence from the Quran and Sunnah, and be patient if they do not listen right away. It may take time for them to change their beliefs.
Remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Islam. We should always strive to treat each other with respect, even if we disagree.