A Bida' is Born
In the name of Allah the most beneficent, the most merciful.
Peace and blessing be upon the prophet, his family companions and all those that follow.
We are currently living in an age where many if not most of the people of this ummah are missing their faraaid actions without a valid shari reason. This is an age in which the sunnah of the beloved prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, has become almost non existent and from amongst those that do follow it, there are those that treat it more as a burden than as a blessing. And also in this age many different groups and sects have become existent causing chaos and confusion and strife within the ummah. Ignorance does indeed prevail in this age.
So it is in this atmosphere of chaos and confusion and ignorance that I would like to point out a bit of common sense with regards to the issue of sunnah and bida’. Nothing to do with the shari validity or non-validity of times, places and methods of sunnah and bida’ but as I said, just a bit of common sense. The common sense bit comes near the end, but to understand it properly you would need to read through all of what I have written.
Unlike some misguided people in our age, I do not take the literal meaning of bida’ and say that anything that did not exist at the time of the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is a reprehensible bida’, no. I fully accept the fact that there are the good or desirable bida’ as well as the reprehensible ones, as defined by the sharia definition of bida’. Included amongst some of the good bida’ are the congregational dua after the fard salaah, the mawlid and other such good bida’.
But are these bida’ really a good bida’?
Initially, yes they would be classified as a good bida’ but there is a problem, and this problem is more manifest in our age than any previous age of the ummah. This is the problem of ignorance and lack of knowledge.
Due to ignorance and lack of knowledge many reprehensible actions have been introduced into these fundamentally good bida’. An example would be that of the congregational dua after the fard salaah. Some people consider this to be fard, such that if it is missed, they will start complaining and causing a big hoo haa. This has happened n many masaajid. The dua is not fard, rather it is just a good bida’. The sharia ruling is that if someone considers an action to be fard when in reality it is a good bida’ then that action becomes a reprehensible bida’.
So here we have a reprehensible bida’ born and all due to lack of knowledge, understanding and the prevalence of ignorance.
Another example is that of the mawlid. Whilst fundamentally it is a good bida’ many people have introduced some incorrect activities into the mawlid. For starters, a lot of people again consider it to be fard when in reality it is only a good bida’. Then there are some people who circulate around a chair thinking that the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is sitting in the chair. Many other examples can be given of miss-conducts at the mawlids.
So here again a reprehensible bida’ is born, once again due to the lack of knowledge and understanding and the prevalence of ignorance.
Now the ironic issue is that many of the people who take part in these bida’ and consider them to be a fard, and criticise those who do not take part in these bida’ don’t even do their faraaid let alone the sunnah!
So now comes the common sense bit.
In this age of chaos, confusion and ignorance why not simply put aside these bida’, even though they may be good, and instead spend more time concentrating on the sunnah? So instead of doing a congregational dua after fard salaah, why not just do it according to the sunnah? Instead of celebrating the mawlid, why not just do a bit of zhikr at home, send durood upon the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, throughout the year, instead of making such a big fuss on 12 rabi ul awal?
There are many advantages to this, if those who have been blessed with some knowledge and some understanding do this.
Amongst the benefits:
1. The sunnah would become apparent and revive again InshAllah, and a desire to do things according to the sunnah would revive InshAllah.
2. There would be more stress on the sunnah, instead of all the stress being upon doing the bida’ to show its validity. If all this stress and urgency was applied to the sunnah then the ignorant that do the bida’ would InshAllah realise their folly at doing the bida’ so strictly and neglecting the faraaid and sunnah. (don’t forget the only reason why the ignorant are so strict at completing the bida’ is due to the importance that is stressed on issues like mawlid from the imams, imagine the sunnah that would be revived if the imams did not stress the bida’ but instead stressed the sunnah)
3. Much of the unnecessary bickering and arguing and name calling and accusations would stop over the issues of what is bida and why some people are not doing certain bida’ activities like the congregation dua after the fard salaah and the mawlid and having food at khatams, inshAllah
4. More reward from Allah inshAllah for adhering to the sunnah and trying to revive it.
There would of course be other benefits also InshAllah but that should give a general idea.
Now at this stage some people may argue that “but through these bida’ such as mawlid function at least we get people to come and do something Islamic, and get them to learn something which is better than them not coming at all”
Well in theory that sounds very good and it is indeed very good however in practice it is having a negative effect. By taking a look at the people that we see as state earlier that they will end up coming to and participating in these bida’ but many if not most are still ignorant of the faraaid and sunnah, and not only that but they have also started to assume these bida’ as something obligatory such that if one does not participate then the bidatees start arguing, bickering, complaining, accusing and even backbiting. And this is from the people that have been doing the bida’ for a number of years!
Finally the question remains “What of the advantages then, that sometimes, some people are also guided?”
Well. as stated earlier there is the very serious negative consequence of arguing, bickering, complaining, accusing and even backbiting, and the shari principle is that “it is better to lose the good where harm is also gained i.e. it is better to avoid the harm than to gain the good”. Also, are there not enough sunnah methods to bring about the good? Are there no sunnah methods for dua and dawah? In an age where the ignorance is not as prevalent as today and people can distinguish between sunnah, fard and bida’ there would not be a problem in participating in all these good bida’, rather there would be much blessing in it inshAllah as it would be an addition to all the faraaid and sunnah. But in this age of ignorance, where the reprehensible bida’ are born, out of the good bida’, what would be better, to adhere to the methods of bida’ or the sunnah? What is more important to you as a believer, that through your actions of practicing you promote the good bida’ or that you promote the sunnah? In the time you have taken out to participate in the bida’ how about go and teach someone a sunnah instead? Or would you still prefer to be a force for promoting the good bida’ over the sunnah in an age when the good bida’ are dominating over the sunnah?
May Allah forgive me for any mistakes I have made, may he guide us all and make the path to jannah easy for us, save us from the fires of jahanum and tortures of the grave. And peace and blessings be upon the prophet, his family companions and all those that follow him.
and Allah knows best.
Brother in Islam.