MUJADDID ALF-E-THAANI ON BID'AH
'The happiest, the most fortunate person is he who recovers one of the forgotten sunnats and annihilates one of the widespread bid'ats in a time when irreligiousness is on the increase. We are now in such a time when a thousand years have elapsed after the Best of man kind [Hadhrat Muhammad], As we get farther from the time of happiness of our Prophet, the sunnats are gradually being covered and, lies being on the increase, the bid'ats are spreading. A hero is needed who will uphold the sunnats and stop, expel the bid'ats. To spread bid'ats is to demolish Islam. To respect those who make up and commit bid'ats, to deem them great will cause Islam to perish. It is declared in a hadith, "He who says 'great' about those who commit bid'ats has helped the demolition of islam". The meaning of this should be given die consideration on. Utmost energy should be spent in striving for uncovering one Sunnat and annihilating one bid'at. For strengthening Islam any-time, especially when Islam has become so weak, it is necessary to spread the sunnats and demolish the bid'ats. The former Islamic savants, having seen maybe some beauty in the bid'ats, gave some of them the name of hasana [beautiful]. But this faqir [Imaam-Rabbini means himself] do not follow them in this respect; I do not regard any of the bid'ats as beautiful. I see all of them as dark and cloudy. Our Prophet declared: "All bid'ats are aberration, deviation from the right way". In such a time as this when Islam has become weak, I see that salvation and escaping Hell is in holding fast to the Sunnat; and destruction of the din is, no matter how, in falling for any bid'at. I understand that each bid'at is like a pickaxe to demolish the building of Islam and all sunnats are like brilliant stars to guide you on a dark night.
May Allahu ta'ala give enough reasonableness to the hodjas of our time so that they will not say that any bid'at is beautiful or permit any bid'at to be committed. They should not tolerate bid'ats even if they seem to illuminate darknesses like the rising of the sun! For, the satans do their work easily outside the sunnats. In the early times, Islam being strong, the darknesses of bid'ats were not conspicuous, but, maybe, along with the world-wide powerful light of Islam, some of those darknesses passed as bright. Therefore they were said to be beautiful. Whereas, those bid'ats did not have any brightness or beauty, either. But now, Islam having become weak and disbelievers' customs and even the symptoms of disbelief having become settled [as fashion] among Muslims, each bid'at has displayed its harm, and Islam, without anyone noticing it, has been slipping away. Our hodjas should be most vigilant in this respect, and they should not pioneer the spreading of bid'ats by saying, "it is permissible to do so and so", or "such and such things is not harmful", and putting forward the old fatwas. Here is the place for the saying, 'The din will change in process of time". It is wrong for disbelievers to use this saying as tongs for demolishing Islam and settling the bid'ats and disbelief. The bid'ats having covered all the world, this age roosts like a dark night. The sunnats being on the decrease, their lights blink like fire-flies flying here and there in dark night. As the committing of bid'ats increases, the darkness of the night has been increasing and the light of Sunnat has been decreasing. But the increasing of the sunnats would decrease the darkness and increase the light. He who wishes may increase the darkness of bid'at, thus strengthening the devil's army! And he who wishes may increase the light of Sunnat, thus strengthening the soldiers of Allahu ta'ala! Know well that the end of the devil's army is calamity, loss. He who is in the army of Allahu ta'ala will attain endless bliss."
The above excerpt very adequately states the viewpoint of Hadhrat Mujaddid on the question of practices dubbed bid'ah hasanah.
Extracted from Moulood and the Shariah by Majlisul Ulama of South Africa