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Bid`ah 101 (Hadith No. 2359)


Ahadith 2357 – 2358 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.

Volume 3, Book 49, Number 859 :
Narrated by Aisha (radiallahu `anhaa)
The following Verse: If a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part (i.e. the husband notices something unpleasant about his wife, such as old age or the like, and wants to divorce her, but she asks him to keep her and provide for her as he wishes). (4.128) “There is no blame on them if they reconcile on such basis.”

Volume 3, Book 49, Number 860 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani (radiallahu `anhumaa)
A bedouin came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)! Judge between us according to Allah’s Laws.” His opponent got up and said, “He is right. Judge between us according to Allah’s Laws.” The bedouin said, “My son was a laborer working for this man, and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife. The people told me that my son should be stoned to death; so, in lieu of that, I paid a ransom of one hundred sheep and a slave girl to save my son. Then I asked the learned scholars who said, “Your son has to be lashed one-hundred lashes and has to be exiled for one year.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “No doubt I will judge between you according to Allah’s Laws. The slave-girl and the sheep are to go back to you, and your son will get a hundred lashes and one year exile.” He then addressed somebody, “O Unais! go to the wife of this (man) and stone her to death” So, Unais went and stoned her to death.

See 817 in this post.

Today’s Hadith:

Volume 3, Book 49, Number 861 :
Narrated by Aisha (radiallahu `anhaa)
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected.”

1.    Definition of bid’ah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “According to sharee’ah, the definition is ‘Worshipping Allaah in ways that Allaah has not prescribed.’ If you wish you may say, ‘Worshipping Allaah in ways that are not those of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his rightly guided successors (al-khulafaa’ al-raashidoon).’”

The first definition is taken from the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not ordained?” [al-Shooraa 42:21]

The second definition is taken from the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said:

“I urge you to adhere to my way (Sunnah) and the way of the rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-raashidoon) who come after me. Hold fast to it and bite onto it with your eyeteeth [i.e., cling firmly to it], and beware of newly-invented matters.”

So everyone who worships Allaah in a manner that Allaah has not prescribed or in a manner that is not in accordance with the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa’ al-raashidoon), is an innovator, whether that innovated worship has to do with the names and attributes of Allaah, or to do with His rulings and laws.

With regard to ordinary matters of habit and custom, these are not called bid’ah (innovation) in Islam, even though they may be described as such in linguistic terms. But they are not innovations in the religious sense, and these are not the things that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was warning us against.

And there is no such thing in Islam as bid’ah hasanah (good innovation).”

(Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, vol. 2, p. 291)

2. Categories of bid’ah

Bid’ah may be divided into two categories:

(i)        bid’ah which constitutes kufr

(ii)       bid’ah which does not constitute kufr

If you ask, what is the definition of bid’ah which constitutes kufr and that which does not constitute kufr?

The answer is:

Shaykh Haafiz al-Hukami (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “The kind of bid’ah which constitutes kufr is when one denies a matter on which there is scholarly consensus, which widely-known, and which no Muslim can have any excuse for not knowing, such as denying something that is obligatory, making something obligatory that is not obligatory, or making something haraam halaal, or making something halaal haraam; or believing some notion about Allaah, His Messenger and His Book when they are far above that, whether in terms of denial of affirmation  – because that means disbelieving in the Qur’aan and in the message with which Allaah sent His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Examples include the bid’ah of the Jahamiyyah, who denied the attributes of Allaah; or the notion that the Qur’aan was created; or the notion that some of the attributes of Allaah were created; or the bid’ah of the Qadariyyah  who denied the knowledge and actions of Allaah; or the bid’ah of the Mujassimah who likened Allaah to His creation… etc.

The second category, bid’ah which does not constitute kufr, is defined as that which does not imply rejection of the Qur’aan or of anything with which Allaah sent His Messengers.

Examples include the Marwaani bid’ahs (which were denounced by the greatest Sahaabah who did not approve of them, although they did not denounce them as kaafirs or refuse to give them bay’ah because of that), such as delaying some of the prayers until the end of the due times, doing the Eid khutbah before the Eid prayer, delivering the khutbah whilst sitting down on Fridays, etc.

(Ma’aarij al-Qubool, 2/503-504)

3- The ruling on one who commits bid’ah – is he regarded as a kaafir or not?

The answer is that it depends.

If the bid’ah constitutes kufr, then the person is one of the following two types:

(i)              Either it is known that his intention is to destroy the foundations of Islam and make the Muslims doubt it. Such a person is definitely a kaafir; indeed, he is a stranger to Islam and is one of the enemies of the faith.

(ii)             Or he is deceived and confused; he cannot be denounced as a kaafir until proof is established against him, fair and square.

If the bid’ah does not constitute kufr, then he should not be denounced as a kaafir. Rather, he remains a Muslim, but he has done a gravely evil action.

If you ask, how should we deal with those who commit bid’ah?

The answer is:

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “In both cases, we have to call these people – who claim to be Muslim but who commit acts of bid’ah which may constitute kufr or may be less than that – to the truth, by explaining the truth without being hostile or condemning what they are doing. But once we know that they are too arrogant to accept the truth – for Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning), ‘And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) worship besides Allaah, lest they insult Allaah wrongfully without knowledge.’ [al-An’aam 6:108] – if we find out that they are stubborn and arrogant, then we should point out their falsehood, because then pointing out their falsehood becomes an obligation upon us.

With regard to boycotting them, that depends upon the bid’ah. If it is a bid’ah which constitutes kufr, then it is obligatory to boycott the person who does it. If it is of a lesser degree than that, then it is essential to examine the situation further. If something may be achieved by boycotting the person, then we do it; if no purpose will be served by it, or if it will only make him more disobedient and arrogant, then we should avoid doing that, because whatever serves no purpose, it is better not to do it. And also in principle it is haraam to boycott a believer, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘It is not permissible for a man to forsake [not speak to] his brother for more than three [days].’”

(Adapted from Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, vol. 2, p. 293)

Taken from IslamQA

Further reading: innovation (bid’ah) and consideration of public interest (maslahah mursalah).


Taraweeh: Individual or Congregational? (Hadith No. 1722)


Volume 3, Book 32, Number 227:

Narrated Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu):

Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever prayed at night the whole month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” Ibn Shihab (a sub-narrator) said, “Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) died and the people continued observing that (i.e. Nawafil offered individually, not in congregation), and it remained as it was during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (radiallaahu `anhu) and in the early days of ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)’s Caliphate.” ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Abdul Qari said, “I went out in the company of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (radiallaahu `anhu) one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) said, ‘In my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)’. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka’b (radiallaahu `anhu). Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) remarked, ‘What an excellent Bid’a (i.e. innovation in religion) this is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.’ He meant the prayer in the last part of the night. (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night.”

al-Bukhaari (2010) narrated that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Abd al-Qaari said: I went out with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) to the mosque one night in Ramadaan, and the people were scattered, each man praying by himself. Some men would pray and have groups of people behind them following them. ‘Umar said: “I think that if I unite all these people with one reader, it will be better. Then he resolved to gather them behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b.

al-Haafiz said:

Ibn al-Teen and others said that ‘Umar based this decision on the Prophet’s approval of those who prayed with him on those nights. Although he disliked that for them, that was based on the fear that it might be made obligatory for them. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died, there was no longer any fear of that happening, and ‘Umar thought, because of the potential division that might arise from people praying separately, and because uniting them behind one reader is more motivating for many people. The majority agreed with ‘Umar’s decision. End quote from Fath al-Baari.

Al-Nawawi said in al-Majmoo’, 3/526:

Praying Taraweeh is Sunnah according to scholarly consensus… It is permissible to offer this prayer alone or in congregation, but which is better? There are two well-known opinions on this matter. The correct view according to the consensus of our companions is that praying it in congregation is better. The second view is that it is better to pray it individually.

Our companions said: The difference of opinion has to do with one who has memorized the Qur’aan; there is no fear that he may become lazy and neglect it if he prays on his own, and the congregation in the mosque is not going to be affected if he stays away.  But if one of these factors is absent, then praying in congregation is better, and there is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point.

The author of al-Shaamil said:

Abu’l-‘Abbaas and Abu Ishaaq said that praying Taraweeh in congregation is better than praying it individually, because of the consensus of the Sahaabah and the consensus of the scholars of the regions on this point. End quote.

Ibn al-Mubaarak, Ahmad and Ishaaq favoured praying with the imam during the month of Ramadaan.

It says in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi:

In the book on night prayer (qiyaam): it was said to Ahmad ibn Hanbal: Do you prefer a man to pray with the people in Ramadaan or on his own? He said: He should pray with the people. He said: And I prefer that he should pray with the imam and pray Witr with him. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man prays qiyaam with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the rest of the night (in prayer).” Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “He should pray with the people until he prays Witr with them, and he should not leave until the imam leaves. Abu Dawood said: I saw him (Imam Ahmad) – in the month of Ramadaan, praying Witr with his imam, except on one night when I did not attend. Ishaaq (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I said to Ahmad: Is praying qiyaam in Ramadaan in congregation dearer to you or praying on one’s own? He said: I prefer that this prayer should be offered in congregation, so as to revive the Sunnah. And Ishaaq said the same. End quote.

See al-Mughni, 1/457.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said in Majaalis Shahr Ramadaan, p. 22:

At first the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray Taraweeh in congregation in the mosque, then he stopped because he feared that it might be made obligatory upon his ummah…

Then he quoted the two ahaadeeth quoted above. Then he said:

No man should keep away from Taraweeh prayer lest he misses out on the reward for it. And he should not leave until the imam finishes Taraweeh and Witr, so that he may attain the reward of spending the whole night in prayer. End quote.

Al-Albaani said in Qiyaam Ramadaan:

Rather it (praying Taraweeh in congregation) is better than praying it alone, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did it himself and explained its virtue.

Rather he did not lead them in praying it in congregation for the rest of the month because he feared that praying at night during Ramadaan might be made obligatory for them, and they would be unable to do that, as it says in the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah which is narrated in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere. This concern no longer applied after the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) died and Allaah had completed Islam. Hence the reason for not praying in congregation when offering night prayers in Ramadaan was no longer present, and the previous ruling remained in effect, which is that it is prescribed to offer this prayer in congregation. Hence ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) revived it, as it says inSaheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere. End quote.

It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (27/138):

From the time of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and the Muslims regularly offered Taraweeh prayer in congregation. ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) is the one who united the people in offering the prayer behind a single imam.

Asad ibn ‘Amr ibn Abi Yoosuf said: I asked Abu Haneefah about Taraweeh and what ‘Umar did. He said: Taraweeh is a confirmed Sunnah, and ‘Umar did not base his decision on speculation and he was not introducing bid’ah (an innovation). He did not enjoin it except because of what he knew from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). ‘Umar introduced this and gathered the people behind Ubayy ibn Ka’b and he offered this prayer in congregation, at the time when the Sahaabah – the Muhaajireen and Ansaar – were still alive, and no one among them objected to that, rather they helped him and agreed with him, and also enjoined it. End quote.

Myths, Omens & Superstitions (Hadith No. 1553)


Volume 3, Book 27, Number 30:

Narrated Abu Ishaq:

I heard Al-Bara’ (radiallaahu `anhu) saying, “The above Verse was revealed regarding us, for the Ansar on returning from Hajj never entered their houses through the proper doors but from behind. One of the Ansar came and entered through the door and he was taunted for it. Therefore, the following was revealed: —

“It is not righteousness That you enter the houses from the back, But the righteous man is He who fears Allah, Obeys His order and keeps away from What He has forbidden So, enter houses through the proper doors.” (2.189)

The ayah in Arabic:

 وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى وَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَبِهَا وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back, but Al-Birr is from Taqwa. So enter houses through their proper doors, and have Taqwa of Allah that you may be successful.)

Ibn Kathir says:

Al-Bukhari recorded that Al-Bara’ said, “During the time of Jahiliyyah, they used to enter the house from the back upon assuming the Ihram. Thereafter, Allah revealed (the following Ayah):

﴿وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَـكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى وَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَبِهَا﴾

(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr is from Taqwa. So enter houses through their proper doors.)

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded the same Hadith from Al-Bara’ but with the wording; “The Ansar used to enter their houses from the back when returning from a journey. Thereafter, this Ayah (2:189 above) was revealed…”

Al-Hasan said, “When some people during the time of Jahiliyyah would leave home to travel, and then decide not to travel, they would not enter the house from its door. Rather, they would climb over the back wall. Allah the Exalted said:

﴿وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُواْ الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا﴾

(It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness) that you enter the houses from the back,).”

Allah’s statement:

﴿وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ﴾

(…and have Taqwa of Allah that you may be successful.) Have Taqwa of Allah, means to do what He has commanded you and refrain from what He has forbidden for you,

﴿لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ﴾

(that you may be successful.) tomorrow when you stand before Him and He thus rewards you perfectly.

This generally proves two things:

  1. Not all things common in society/culture conform with Islam and its practices. It’s wise to check authenticity of all norms and myths, lest you commit bid`aat thinking you’re collecting great reward.
  2. Omens are baseless. And so are superstitions. True taqwa and piety are not judged by actions like entering one’s house from front or behind. Instead, it’s judged by the level of obedience to Allah’s commands. (It goes without saying that Allah alone is the Judge for it.)

Palm Leaf-Stalks or Flowers on Graves? (Hadith No. 1142)



Volume 2, Book 23, Number 443:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The Prophet once passed by two graves, and those two persons (in the graves) were being tortured. He said, “They are being tortured not for a great thing (to avoid). One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other was going about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends). He then took a green leaf of a date-palm tree split it into two pieces and fixed one on each grave. The people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why have you done so?” He replied, “I hope that their punishment may be lessened till they (the leaf) become dry.”

These two persons were getting punishment of the grave not because they committed some huge crimes, but just because one wasn’t very careful regarding his cleanliness and purity, and the other kept himself busy making enmity between friends.
Why are we so sure that our grave will be a spacious one? That the Earth will welcome us warmly? That the insects and worms won’t harm us? That the amount of time we spend lying in our graves (however long that may be) will be a ‘good’ time? What makes us so sure?

Coming to the part where Prophet (SAW) put leaves of the palm tree over the graves, hoping that their punishment will be reduced. Know, that we’re not supposed to do it. One, we don’t know who’s getting punished in their graves and who isn’t. Two, companions didn’t do it, so we won’t either.

Not sure what good these flowers will do to the person inside, but they definitely could’ve been put to a better use. Like a vase? Or just a gift for someone? :P

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said:

That is not prescribed in Islam, rather it is bid’ah (an innovation), because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) only placed the palm-leaf stalk on the two graves of the people whose torment he was made aware of; he did not place them on any other graves. From that we know that it is not permissible to put them on graves, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it, will have it rejected.” According to a version narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does anything that is not part of this matter of ours (Islam), will have it rejected.”

Similarly, it is not permissible to write on graves or to place flowers on them, because of the two hadeeth quoted above, and because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade plastering over graves, erecting structures over them, sitting on them and writing on them.

Majallat al-Buhooth al-Islamiyyah, 68/50.

Read more here.



That Thing About Turning From One’s Right Side.. (Hadith No. 811)


Volume 1, Book 12, Number 811:

Narrated ‘Abdullah:

You should not give away a part of your prayer to Satan by thinking that it is necessary to depart (after finishing the prayer) from one’s right side only; I have seen the Prophet often leave from the left side.

Bid`ah busted. (y)
Now you know it’s not Sunnah to turn from one’s right side only. Keep it cool. ;)


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