THE CONTROVERSY ABOUT BID’AH STILL DIVIDE ISLAMIC SCHOLARS
NEW HERETICS BRING THE CULTURE OF EXTREMISM INTO ISLAM
“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e. the Islamic Creed] that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.”
Prophet Mohammad (s.a.v.s.)
There are many terms today which have a power to change the balance in our societies and to redefine our political and security streams. Political abuse of Religion or religious mistreat of Politics is something we must count on in the time ahead us. It is so easy to judge when we do not know or when we have wrong knowledge. The ignorance is always the worst enemy to everyone, the evil step mother without any ethics. In short term, ignorance can help someone somewhere, in long period of time, it harms everyone everywhere.
The meaning of Bid’ah is deeper than we could maybe think. This Islamic concept is very controversial and reason of long debates among many Muslim scholars who try to reply on Bid’ah challenge or to set the adequate way of thinking towards it. It is stated that Bid’ah is one of the most debated terms in modern Islamic science but still not enough analyzed and explained to the public.
What is the simplest approach to the Bid’ah phenomena? How we can understand it and how we can process its consequences nowadays? There are so many questions regarding that but the answers are always up to the researcher’s interpretative potential.
Literally, Bid’ah is innovation, something which is made up, added and definitely not the part of the basic Islamic religion as it was created at the time of Prophet Mohammad(s.a.v.s.). Bid’ah means all actions which are not made to please Allah(swt) and His Prophet(s.a.v.s.) but to displease. However, this is just a beginning of “hot topic” success because there are colors in addressing the Bid’ah place in Islam today:“Qadi Shawkani writes ‘In Islam there are two kinds of Bid’ah: Bid’ah Say’iah and Bid’ah Hasana. If a new thing opposes the Qur’an and Sunnah then it is Say’iah, but if it is not against the Shari’ah then it is Hasanah.” Hafidhh ibn Rajjab writes that Bid’ah could be easily understood through the distinction: if it has ground in Holy Qur’an or Sunnah or if it doesnt have. If it has any evidence in those two, it will be considered only as Bid’ah Logaviyya (linguistic innovation, verbal change ). Obvisly, the scholars agree about the fact that Bid’ah can be good (Hasanah), when it is not directed against Islam and bad, when it is directed against Islam and then it is reprehensible innovation. There are some Islamic thinkers who strictly believe that any innovation is bad in its nature and that shouldn’t be even discussed. Bid’ah Hasanah is welcomed in Islam because it covers all good things which havent been in Prophet Mohammad’s(s.a.v.s.) time but which contribute positively to religion. According to Islam, person who does Bid’ah Hasanah will be rewarded as well as those who adopt it.
So, I believe we must only focus on defining of Bid’ah Say’iah because in current years, we are witnessing how Islamic religion is fighting with many Bid’ah Say’iah and each of them is pretending to be the right one and to overtake the core of religion. I am not referring here that Islam is divided and that Muslims dont know who or what to follow but I want to underline the high alert of importance of demystifying the terms and its outcomes. This is very significant when it comes to the growth of sectarians attacks within Islam and even their poisoning of other religious groups, out of Islam.
Bid’ah Say’iah is innovation regarding the religion which is not supported by anything from Holy Qur’an or Sunnah (Prophet Mohammad s.a.v.s. own way ):“Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim write that there was some companions talking and the Prophet was listening. One of them said: ‘I will make prayers (Salaah) all night long.’ The second said: ‘I will fast (sawm) all the time.’ The third said: ‘I will never marry.’ When our Prophet [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace]heard them say this he said: ‘I am the most God conscious of Allah (Ta`ala) than any of you. I pray (Salaah,) I fast (sawm) as well, and I do marry woman too. And who so turns his face from my Sunnah, cannot be of my Ummah’. ” In other words, anything which is not based on those two is considered as kind of bad Bid’ah, Bid’ah Say’iah or a road for a Muslim to become a Murtad(non-believer):”A few examples of innovations, which cause a person to become Murtad:- A person claiming to be a Prophet, deny giving Zakaat. Perform Haj at a place other than the Ka’ba, or to introduce any other new belief which is in opposition to Qur’an or A hadith.”
There are scholars who make categories of innovations like Ibn ‘Abd us-Salaam (رحمه الله), a Shaafi’ scholar who wrote in his Qawaa’id about five types of Bid’ah:”
- Al-Waajibah: Such as the study of ‘Arabic syntax which helps to understand the speech of Allah and His Messenger because the preservation of the Shari’ah is obligatory [waajib] and nothing comes to us except by that being from the foremost rank of the waajib. Such is the much needed explanation of what is difficult to understand, the codification of the science of Fiqh [Usul ul-Fiqh] and working to distinguish between the authentic and rejected traditions.
- Al-Muharramah: Whatever opposes the Sunnah such as the false innovated beliefs introduced by the Qadariyah, Murji’ah, and the Mushaabihah [and any other astray sect that has innovated something into the creed]
- Al-Mandub: Every excellent goodness that was not established during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet [for example], the gathering for the Taraweeh prayers, the building of schools, spiritual retreats, speeches regarding the praiseworthy aspects of tassawuf… and anything else done purely seeking the Face of Allah.
- Al-Mubah: Such as the shaking of hands after the Fajr and ‘Asr prayers, having an abundance of assorted foods, drinks, clothes, and a wide house…
- However some of the mentioned Mubah things can also fall into the 5th category which is disliked [Makruh] or even not preferred [Khilaaf ul-Awlaa]”
The Bid’ah concept in Islam today deserves great attention therefor it can determine the reasons for so many different views and divisions within Islamic Religion in a modern age. Some of them are even offering aggressive teaching, justifying it by Holy Qur’an and Sunnah and it is far away from both mentioned but typical Bid’ah Say’iah.
It is happening every day that Islam is corrupted by those who claim that only them have the knowledge of Islam as it should be. We need to remember one thing what Prophet Mohammad (s.a.v.s.):“…my Ummah will be fragmented into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in Hell Fire except one sect. They (the Companions) said:Allah’s Messenger, which is that? Whereupon he said: It is one to which I and my companions belong.” [At- Tirmidhi]
The symbolic of corruption of basic Prophet Mohammad(s.a.v.s.) teaching is something which will move real Muslim from the core of his real faith and that is found in so many sectarians attempts to radicalize the concept of Islam generally. Those who state that they know Shari’ah Law and how it should be implemented are usually those who ruin and damage the picture of Islam:” For the Ummah as a whole, Bid’ah hurts the spreading of Islam and Dawah for the sake of Allah. Honour killings (the killing of a daughter for committing fornication) is an example. There is nothing in Islam that allows a family to execute the Islamic Shari’ah their own way. There is a process for dealing with adultery, and for the unmarried person it is in fact 100 lashings, not death. People, ignorant of Islam believe that this is how our religion is and those guilty of this form of Bid’ah, in fact guilty of one of the worst of major sins, taking the life of a Muslim, are harming the way the non Muslims view Islam.” It is not death but it is almost like a death, 100 lashings is not something which is easy to survive and I believe that some scholars must start looking ways to implement positive modifications which will contribute to Islam because old ways of dealing with adultery arent applicable in 21st century either. Regarding those questions, it must be done something which could be accepted as Bid’ah Hasanah.
The occurring of many sects which call themselves Islamic is also nothing else but bad innovation. The first example is Wahhabism which pretend to be pure expression of Islam as it used to be in the first 3 generations of Muslims. They base their understanding of Islam on Holy Qur’an and Sunnah but still they adopted a lot of Bid’ah in their religious practice. Actually, they are Bid’ah Say’iah by themselves:“The major difference between them is that Wahabis believe that Prophet Muhammad should be praised only as a human being whereas Sunnis show extra special care and respect towards the Prophet of Islam.Sunni Muslims celebrate the birthday of the Holy Prophet and arrange Meelaad. Meelaad is a form of gathering in which the Sunni Muslims get together and praise the Holy Prophet. The birthdays of Sufi saints are also celebrated with much dedication and enthusiasm. The day of their deaths are commemorated in the form of Urs. Wahabi Muslims do not believe in celebrating and practicing all these events which are very strongly rooted in Islam. Wahabis call these practices of events as unlawful and wrongful innovations. Wahabis also believe that this is as close as to shirk or polytheism and Sunnis follow the ways of infidel Hindus.Sunni Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is Nur and still present in this world. Whereas Wahabis do not believe in using pious individuals as intermediaries when asking Allah as they consider it shirk or polytheism. “
However we look at, Wahhabism is a sect and that further means Bid’ah. The range of their extremism which seems to be a pattern for some sort of terrorism is showing to all Sunni Muslims how they shouldnt follow this radicalized power-oriented group what claims it is based on pure Islam. It has been predicted that there will be sects in Islam and that Muslims will be opposed to each others at one moment but the core of religion will remain the same no matter how many Bid’ah will be down the road.
I believe that political and security landscape dictate the shape of religious activity. The all conflicts start with lack of knowledge or with the semi-knowledge.There will be always innovations, that’s how the world is going forward but as long as they are positive, they should be incorporated and accepted and absolutely rejected if they are cruel and oriented to denial of meaning of religion: love and peace.
The conditions for extremism are present in every single religion and any single sect. It is all about who interpret and with which purpose. Abused religion is the curse of our civilization, the sign that God didnt teach us to abstain from sins. But, we still have a chance to reject bad Bid’ah and to embrace good one for a sake of the whole world. We are all in this together.