BID’AH (INNOVATION IN THE RELIGION
Khalid Dhorat (Moulana)from Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) Council of Muslim Theologians
Bid’ah (innovation) as the primary cause for deviation. The Arabic word bid’ah comes from the root b.d.’a, it means to originate, introduce, devise, contrive, improvise or to be inventive in a manner notdone before. Allah has used this word in this sense when he said: “Badi’al-Samawat wa al-Ard” (He is the Creator of the skies and the earth) i.e.It’s Creator without any previous replica or blueprint.
Allah said in another place: “Qul: Ma kuntu bid’an min al-Rusul” (Say: I was not the only Messenger sent) i.e. Prophet Muhammad was not the only Messenger to carry a divine scripture, but before him many others did so. Being innovative in worldly matters is a sign of technological or creative advancement, but being innovative in religion brings nothing but error and failure. The reason for this is that mankind has been placed in this world to exploit it’s resources for the maximum benefit of his religion, but religion has been assigned to him to receive guidance, and not modify or adjust it in order to suit his fancies.
A person who practices in innovation as far as religious matters are concerned is called a mubtadi’ in Arabic or a bid’ati in Urdu and Persian. It roughly means to innovate or introduce heretical doctrines, heresies, oractions with a suspicious origin into the corpus of Islamic belief and practice. It can be technically defined as follows: “An innovated practice which resembles Islam designed to exaggerate certain acts of worship or misrepresent some aspect of the shari’ah.” Those things which are done or those sciences which are learnt for the sake of understanding Islam or better practicing it is not termed as bid’at. The science of Arabic grammar, the principles of tafsir and the formulas if jurisprudence is studied to understand Islam today. These sciences were not present in the earliest period of Islam, but its foundations are to be found in Shari’ah.
A Bid’at has neither absolutely no legal basis nor precedent in Islam. An innovated act outwardly resembles an Islamic practice, but in reality it is different. The examples of these are many:
1. A person vows that he will fast, but attaches a condition that he will do it standing only. He likewise imposes certain baseless conditions on his vow which has no legal validity only to aggravate himself.
2. One adopts certain days to remember certain people like the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani.
3. A person adopts certain type of worship or incantation or talisman (wazifah) for himself which is recited or practiced on certain days or certain times only. It can not be done in any other time besides this. An innovated act is always practiced in a way that has no precedent. If such an act indeed has a precedent, it is merely a custom. The person involves in innovation does so thinking that he is indeed practicing upon the Sunnah. Soon, he becomes convinced of it and the truth of the matter becomes clouded unto him. He loses cognisence of the fact that he has deviated, and this makes repentance more difficult for him.
In order to alleviate his symptomsof deterioration, a mubtadi’ would normally cling to a person personality, invoke him, and try to legitimize his devotion through this medium. The Arabs of the age of ignorance had outrageously distorted the teachings of Prophet Abraham, and started giving weird explanations to their doings. For worshipping idols, they rationalized as follows: “We do not worship them except to gain proximity to Allah.” On the occasion of pilgrimage, they simply refused to pass through ‘Arafah saying; “We can not leave the sanctity of the Haram.” They would circumambulate the ka’bah in a state of stark nudity reasoning that they could not perform such a great devotion while hugging the clothes in which they habitually sinned.
The innovator, by doubly exerting himself in his devotions, thinks that hewill achieve spiritual consummation in doing so. True, Allah said: “I have naught created mankind and Jinnkind but for my worship.” He pushes this verse to its extreme, devising his own motions of ‘ibadat, not realising that what the shari’ah had stipulated is more than adequate. In his enthusiasm he underestimates the power of the shari’ah, and through a bold show of his love to Allah and His Messenger, he introduces a whiff of innovation in his daily devotional practices.The human psyche is such that it always welcomes something new. It looks forward to a break in monotony. It becomes easily bored with an uninterrupted and monotonous chain of repetitive events so when a new thing is introduced to it, it becomes refreshed. This is why innovative actions are so readily accepted.
Acts of bid’ah can take the form of omission or commission. If a one prohibits a certain action upon oneself which is already prohibited in the shari’ah or for which provision has been made to prohibit, there is no problem. One for example, can prohibit the food prepared by a certain person upon himself because of its harmful effects on the mind and body. If a person fears an onset of uncontrollable sexual craving if he happens to consume his normal quantity of food, he can abstain from it as the Holy Prophet Muhammad had said: “O assembly of youth, whoever of you can manage to marry, let him marry . and whoever can not do so should fast.” Likewise, a person who abstains from products which he doubts is commendable.
On the other hand, if one abstains from doing anything which the Shari’ah had allowed thinking it legal to do so, this falls under the category of bid’at. Allah says: “O you who believe, do not prohibit what Allah has made lawful for you, and do not transgress. Verily Allah does not love those whotransgress the limits.” This verse was revealed when a few of the Companions prohibited sleep upon themselves by night, some forbade eating by day, and some refused to having any spousal relations. They prohibited these natural inclinations of the body upon themselves with no legal sanction, nor did itbenefit them in the least. By doing so, they broke away from the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and entered into the realms of bid’ah.
Innovation in religion can be condemned rationally (‘aqlan) and textually (naqlan), and there are no qualms to say that the one who practices bid’ah has deviated. There are five rational reasons for abhorrence towards bid’ah in religion:
1. It is known through experiment as well as experience that the mind cannot fathom what is good or what is bad for mankind without external help, be it in worldly or religious matters. When Adam, the first of mankind was placed in this world, he was in full possession of his mental faculties.Yet, he did not know how to survive in his surroundings. Allah taught him all these worldly skills and trained him the vocational arts. This fact can be proved when Allah said: “And we taught Adam the names of everything.”Following Adam’s example, his children followed in his example in doing so ever since.
As time passed, mankind made progress on his physical surroundings, but neglected his spiritual habitat. Thinking of aspects like resurrection, thehereafter, and its rigmarole was plainly beyond comprehension. This is thereason why Allah, time and time again, pities His creation and sent Prophets to mankind to remind them over and over again. Their main mission was plainly to shift the focus of events from a rational point of view to one dependent on divine revelation. But mankind always forgot. This indicates that mankind can not grasp what is of benefit or harm to himself with the aid of his intellect alone. An innovator breaks this general rule of nature, and bethinks that he can unravel the realms of the unseen through his limited thinking capacity.
2. The Shari’ah of Islam (law-code) has been perfected. Allah says: “Today I have perfected for you your religion, and has completed upon you my favour and have become satisfied with Islam as your religion.” There is a famous tradition by ‘Irbad ibn Sariyah: The Holy Prophet admonished us, such anadmonishment that our eyes started overflowing, and our hearts started pounding. We asked: “O Apostle of Allah, this seems like a parting sermon, what do you propose for us to do.” He replied: “I have left upon clear whiteness, its night is like its day. Whoever sways from it after me will be destroyed. Whoever lives on after me will witness many upheavals, so hold steadfast to my practice and the practice of the Rightly-Guided caliphs after me.”
The ahl al-Sunnah are unanimous in the fact that the Holy Prophet did not leave this world until he conveyed everything which was necessary for religious matters. A mubtadi’ through his continuous introduction of new aspects into religion attests to the fact that Islam is not complete, hence his desire to always add on things. Ibn Majishun says that he heard Imam Malik saying: “Whoever innovates in religion thinking it to be a virtuous matter, he has indeed accused the Holy Prophet of being deceitful in delivering his message.”
3. The practitioner of innovation undermines the shari’ah and causes unnecessary trouble for himself. Allah had shown his servants a very specific path with a very specific methodology to tread, and has left the duty of calling towards it and forbidding from all things averse to it for mankind. Islamic teaches that goodness arises from following this path and evil and corruption is the result of abandoning it. The Holy Prophet was sent in this world as a mercy unto mankind, the mubtadi’ rejects this notion as he insists that are some additional duties to be performed in order to attain salvation.
Once when ‘Adi ibn Artat asked ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz for some advice regarding the Qadiri menace, he responded as follows: “I exhort you to fear Allah, in adopting moderation in your affairs and following the practice upon the Holy Prophet, may the salutations and benedictions of Allah be upon him. Abandon all types of innovations which have become prevalent and do not support them. Hold fast to the Sunnah, for the Sunnah was devised by one who is well-aware all the other divergent paths which are slippery, full of deficiencies, and riddled with excesses. Be content for yourself what the Sahabah were content for themselves for they did everything with knowledge, and were possessed of insight. They refrained (from innovations) having more stronger knowledge than us, and through a grace which was more benevolent. Whoever had innovated after them have deviated from their path and have absolved themselves from them. The Sahabah were our predecessors, they have left adequate directives – everything besides this is thrash.”
4. The practitioner of innovation elevates his actions to the status of the true shari’ah. Allah had devised a shari’ah (law-code) and made its mandate incumbent upon all mankind. The shari’ah has the potential to solve all human problems. If mankind could devise a shari’ah of their own in order to solve all their problems, there would have been disruptions between themselves, and there would have been no need to send guides in the forms of Prophets, the pious and the reformers. A mubtadi’ seeks to devise another shari’ah claiming to produce the same and even better results than the divine shari’ah as encoded by Allah.
5. The practitioner of innovation follows his desires. When intellect is not in harmony with the shari’ah, it becomes the following of desires. If anything has no rational basis, it is reduced to error manifest. Allah addresses Prophet Dawud in the Qur’an thus: “O Dawud: We have appointed you as a vicegerent in the earth, so judge between the people with justice and do not follow your desires lest Allah swerves you away from the straight path. Verily there is a taxing punishment for those who swerve from the path of Allah for they have forgotten the day of reckoning.” In this verse, there are but two options in Islam: truth or following of desire, and numerous other verses of the Qur’an the antonym of truth has only been given as following of desires, no other reason. A mubtadi’ pursues his desires without guidance from Allah which is theQur’an and Sunnah. He often gives his own desires preference to the commands of Allah thinking himself to be on true guidance. This is the worse of deviation, a cloaked or disguised deviation. It amounts to alleging (iftra’an) that Allah did not send the shari’ah in its totality.
The textual reasons for decrying bid’ah in Islam can be divided into six categories:
1. Condemnation of bid’ah in the Qur’an
2. Condemnation of bid’ah in the Sunnah
3. Condemnation of bid’ah according to the sayings of the precursors
4. Condemnation of unsolicited opinions (ra’y al-madhmum)
5. Position of a mubtadi’ in the eyes of the shari’ah
6. Precarious mindset of a mubtadi’ that he is upon the perfect truth
Condemnation of bid’ah in the Qur’an
Allah has mentioned numerous verses in the Qur’an which condemns the slightest form of deviation. From amongst these are: “He is that Being Who has revealed the Book unto you wherein there are established verses, these are the essence of the Book, and the other are the ambiguous ones. Those who have a perversity in their hearts pursue the ambiguous verses seeking to create discord in pursuit of its meaning, and only Allah knows it’s meaning.” This verse is the greatest verse decrying bid’ah. When it was revealed, ‘A’ishah, the wife of the Holy Prophet, asked him as to its meaning. The Holy Prophet replied: “When you see people investigating (in another narration: disputing) the ambiguous verses, these are the ones whom Allah have referred to in the verse. Beware of them.”
Such people have no intention to gain intelligible guidance from the established verses, but rather hanker behind those verses whose meanings are veiled to unraveling of whose meaning is not a source of guidance or concern. Abu Ghalib narrates that once he was in Syria when Muhallab sent seventy detached heads of the Kharijiyyah and placed it an the entrance of Damascus. Abu Umamah happened to pass by the heads, he was shocked and sobbingly said:”Glory be to Allah, what has the king done to the son of Adam! They are the dogs of hell and best type of people to be killed under the sky. Glad tidings be for those who killed them.” Abu Umamah then turned towards me and said: “O Abu Ghalib, you are living in a land where such people abound. Seek the protection of Allah from them.” Abu Ghalib then asked him for his apparently perplexing reason for crying. He explained: “I first cried out of pity for them for they were first Muslims.” He then recited the above verse until he reached “And Allah only knows its meanings,” and pointing towards the heads said: “These people had a perversity in their hearts.”
Thus, Abu Umamah had placed the Kharijiyyah in the category of innovators due to their futile investigation and misinterpretation of the ambiguous verses of theQur’an. The above verse was originally revealed regarding the Christians of Najran concerning their belief of Prophet ‘Isa saying that he was either Allah himself, His son, or the third of the trinity. They arrived at this conclusion through misinterpreting certain unclear verses of the Qur’an, totally ignoring those verses providing clear-cut guidance on the subject. Ibn Wahab says that he heard Imam Malik saying that there is no verse in the Qur’an more heavier upon the innovators than the following verse: “On that day some faces will be aglow, while some will be darkened.” Ibn ‘Abbas and Qatadah have opined that those whose faces will be blackened are the innovators.
In another cogent verse denunciating innovation, Allah says: “This is the straight path, so follow. And do not follow other paths lest you deviate from the straight path.” The ‘path’ spoken of in the Qur’an is the Qur’an and Sunnah, and the ‘other paths’ are all those beside it. It does not mean committing sins and being disobedient to the commands of Allah as these are not done continuously or with a sense of justifying it, but it means the path of deviation and innovation. When this verse was revealed, the Holy Prophet drew a long line in the soil, and drew shorter lines protruding from the right and left of it. The Holy Prophet then pointed out that the long line was the straight path while all the other smaller ones are deviated pathways to which the shaitan are constantly inviting to. Another verse is the following: “And unto Allah leads straight the way, but there are ways that turn aside: if Allah had willed, He could have guided all of you.”
The ‘path leading to the straight way’ is the path of truth, and all paths besides it are bifurcated. According to Mujahid, it means the moderate path, free of excesses and deficiencies. The following verse has a commentary from the hadith. Once the Holy Prophet asked ‘A’ishah: “O A’ishah, “Verily those who segregated their religion and splintered into sects, you have no part in them in the least. Their affair is with Allah, he will in the end inform them of their doings,” who are they?” I answered that Allah and His Messenger know best. He said: “They are the one who follow their desires and the innovators, the deviated ones from my nation. O ‘A’ishah, for every sin there is repentance, but there is none for the innovators and those who follow their passions. I have acquitted from them and they from me.”
Once Imam Abu Hanifah met ‘Ata ibn Rabah in Makkah and was asked: “From where do you come from?” Imam Abu Hanifah replied: “From Kufah.” ‘Ata ibnRabah then pressed on: “You come from the city which has segregated itself into sects?” He replied: “Yes.” ‘Ata ibn Rabah continued: “From which sect are you?” “From those who do not speak ill of the predecessors, believe in predestination, and do not brand anyone as an infidel by virtue of merely committing sins,” Imam Abu Hanifah rightly replied. ‘Ata ibn Rabah exhorted thus: “You have recognized the truth, stick to it.”
It is reported when caliph ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan was surrounded by the rebels, he one day stepped out of his to clarify his position. At this the rebels started mercilessly pelting him with stones interrupting his speech. All of a sudden, the voice of one of the wives of the Holy Prophet could be heard from within her house. She was saying: “Your Prophet has acquitted himself from those who have broken up into sects,” and she recited: “Verily those who segregated their religion and splintered into sects, you have no part in them in the least. Their affair is with Allah, he will in the end inform them of their doings.”
Qadi Ismail thinks that it was the voice of ummal-mu’minin, Salmah. He also says that everyone who innovates in Islam up to the last will fall under the ambit of this verse. Mutarrif ibn Shikhir said: “If all the types of desires were one, one could have said that truth might be in it. When the desires sprout into numerous forms and factions, and intelligent one can make out that truth is not divisive by nature.” Imam Bukhari has narrated on the authority of ‘Umar ibn Mus’ab that he asked his father of the meaning of the verse: “Shall we not inform you who will be at a loss with his deeds,” are they the Kharijiyyah. He replied: “No, they are the Jews and Christians. The Jews rejected Prophet Muhammad, and the Christians rejected paradise saying that there is no food and drink therein.” He continued, the Kharijiyyah are those of whom Allah say: “Those who break to covenant of Allah after fortifying it.” In another narration, the following verse has been cited: “When they strayed, Allah turned their hearts away.” Mus’ab ibn Sa’d said that they are meant in this verse as they had strayed from the truth and started making baseless interpretations of the Qur’an. Likewise does all the innovators fall under the umbrella of this verse as they subject the Qur’an to their own whimsical understanding. In the above verse, an indication is given that such people will think that they are on guidance, but they will be not.
‘Abd al-Humaid narrates on the authority of Hasan that the Holy Prophet said: “Whoever abandons my practice is not of me.” He then recited the following verse: “Say: If you love Allah follow me, Allah will love you. “Whenever ibn Sirin used to recite the following verse: “When you see a person engaged in vain discourse regarding Our signs, turn away from them unless they turn to different theme. If satan ever makes you forget, then after recollection sit not in the company of those who do wrong,” he thought that it referred to those who follow their desires and passions. Abual-Jauza used to say: “I would prefer my house to be full of monkeys and swine than having such a person as a neighbour.” There are many more verses of the Qur’an which speaks of the evils of innovation, but the above is sufficient.
2. Condemnation of bid’ah in the Sunnah: The sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad form the second most important source to condemn innovations in religion. There are numerous such sayings, but the following few would suffice our purpose:
- 1. ‘A’ishah bint Siddiq says that she heard the Holy Prophet saying: “Whoever introduces in this matter of ours something foreign to it, will be rejected.” In the narration of Muslim: “Whoever practices any deed which we have not commanded will be rejected.” Scholars have said that this tradition amounts to a third of Islam as it combines all types of factionalism, and deviation and disobedience has been addressed both at once in it.
- 2. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah narrates that the Holy Prophet used to always mention the following in his sermon: “Thereafter: the best of speech is the Book of Allah, the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst of affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is a deviation.” In another version, the Holy Prophet used to say: “There will none to misguide one who Allah guides, and there will be none to guide one who Allah misguides. The best of speech is the Book of Allah, the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst of affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is a deviation.” In the version of Nasa’i: “And every deviation will be in hell-fire.” It is said that Caliph ‘Umar would employ these same words in his sermon.
- 3. Abu Hurairah reports that the Holy Prophet said: “Whoever invites towards guidance, he will receive the full reward of those who follows him without their reward being diminished in the least. Whoever invites towards a sin, he will receive the full punishment as those who listened to him without their punishment being diminished in the least.” In the version of Imam Muslim: “Whomever initiates a good practice that is followed, he will receive its full reward without it being diminished from the actual doers themselves. Whoever initiates an evil practice which is followed, he will receive its full burden without it being diminished from the actual doers themselves.”
- 4. Imam Tirmidhi and others have narrated on the authority on ‘Irbad ibn Sariyah that the Holy Prophet once delivered such a moving sermon that the hearts were quivering and the eyes welled with tears, as if it was a parting advice. He said: “I exhort you to fear Allah and obedience of those in charged, even if he be an Abysinnian slave. Whoever will live after me will witness many upheavals. Hold steadfast to my practice and the practice of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs after me, hold firmly onto with your teeth. Beware of the novel innovations, for every novelty is a deviation, and deviation is error.”
- 5. Huzaifah ibn al-Yaman narrates that he asked the Holy Prophet: “O Apostle of Allah, will there be a period of evil after this period of goodness?” The Holy Prophet answered: “Yes. A people will tread a path other than mine, and will follow the guidance of one other than mine.” I asked: “Will be another evil after this evil: “A people will invite towards the fire of hell, whoever listens to them will be flung therein.” I asked: “Describe them, O Apostle of Allah.” He replied: “Yes, they are of our kind, and will speak our language.” I asked: “What do you command me to do if I have to meet them?” He replied: “Adhere to the community of Muslims and their leader.” I asked: “If there is no community and no leader?” He said: “Distance yourself from these sects, even if it means staying at a bark of a tree until death overtakes you.”
- 6. In the Sahifah, the following tradition appears: “The place between then mountains of ‘Air and Thaur in Madinah is sacred (hurum). Whoever innovates therein or grants refuge to an innovator therein, then upon him is the curse of Allah, the angels, and of all mankind. No obligatory nor optional prayer of his will be accepted.”
- 7. It is narrated in the Muwatta on the authority of Abu Hurairah that that once the Holy Prophet entered the cemetery and recited: “Peace be upon you, O settlement of believers, if Allah wishes we will join you shortly…Some people will be driven away from my pond like how a stray cow is driven away. I will be shouting towards them: Come, come,” and it will be said to me: “They had changed after you (left them).” I will then say: “Away with them, away with them.” Some scholars have opined that the innovators are mean there, and some the renegades from Islam.
- 8. The Holy Prophet once said: “Allah will not suddenly snatch knowledge away from the people, he will uplift knowledge by uplifting the scholars. A time will come when not a single scholar will remain, people will appoint the ignorant as their leaders. They will be asked and they will answer without knowledge, they will be misguided and they will misguide others.” This tradition has been narrated through numerous different chains in Bukhari.
- 9. Imam Muslim has reported on the authority of ibn Mas’ud that the Holy Prophet said: “Whoever pleases him that he meet Allah tomorrow as a believer, let him observe the five daily prayers when they are called out. Allah has given your Prophet practices of guidance, and (the prayers) are from these practices of guidance. If you start performing them in your houses like how these people who delay do, you will be abandoning the practice of your Prophet. If you have to ignore any of the practices of your Prophet, you will be misguided.” In another tradition: “If you leave the practice of your Prophet, you will fall into disbelief.” Regarding these practices of guidance, the Holy Prophet said: “I am leaving behind two weighty things: the first is the book of Allah wherein is guidance and light. Whoever holds steadfast onto it and grips it will be on guidance, and whoever errs in it will be misguided.”
- 10. It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Holy Prophet said: “There will appear in my ummah liars and deceivers who will present innovations to you that neither you nor your ancestors had heard about. Beware of them, they do not involve you.”
- 11. Imam Tahawi has narrated the Holy Prophet said: “Six people I have cursed, and Allah as well as every Prophet: the exaggerator in the religion of Allah, the one who denies the predestination of Allah, one who believes in fatalism, one who degrades the one whom Allah has exalted and exalts who Allah has degraded, the one who abandons my practice, the one who makes lawful the unlawful injunctions of Allah, and the one who abuses my household whom Allah had sanctified.”
- 12. Imam Tahawi has also narrated the following tradition on the authority of Mu’adh ibn Jabal: “When innovations are introduced in my ummah and my Companions are abused, let the scholar display his knowledge. Whoever does not do this, let the curse of Allah, the angels, and the entire mankind be upon them.”
3. Condemnation of bid’ah according to the sayings of the precursors: There are many sayings of the Sahabah, the Tabi’un and other pious people of The golden era of Islam who have denounced innovation in the strongest terms.
From amongst the numerous sayings, the following have been selected:
- 1. Once ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab delivered a sermon and said: “O people, the Sunnah has been shown to you, and the compulsory duties have been prescribed for you, and you have been left with clear instructions except if you go astray left and right.” He then intertwined his fingers into each other and said: “Beware of being misled regarding the verse of pelting (the adulterer) that some says: “We do not find it in the Qur’an.” The Holy Prophet pelted and we had also pelted.” 2. It is reported that once Hudhaifah stood up and said: “O you assembly of reciters, be steadfast (on Islam), for you have greatly strayed. If you trod left and right you will be misled.” It is narrated that once Hudhaifah entered a Masjid, he stood up, and addressing the people said: “I fear two things for the people: that they prefer those things which they think to be correct over those things which they know is correct, and that they be misled unknowingly.” On another occasion, he picked up two stones, joined them together and asked a friend of his: “Can you see any light between these two stones?” He replied: “O Abu ‘Abdullah, we can not see much light between them.” Hudhaifah then continued: “I take an oath of that Being in whose possession is my life, innovation will become so rife that only that amount of truth will prevail as to the amount of light between these two stones. By Allah, an innovator will divert from his innovation a bit and people will scold him thus: “You have misplaced the Sunnah.” When elaborating on the ills of society, he said: “The first thing to be lost will be trust, and the second will be concentration in Salah. The rungs of Islam will be dislocated one by one and you will have intercourse with your wives during their monthly cycles. You will follow the path of deterioration of those before you inch for inch without any variation. This will continue until a time will come when one group will exclaim: “Why are there five times salat?” The ones before you were also misled in this way. Allah only speaks of three times in the Qur’an: “And establish prayers and the two ends of the day and in a portion of the night.” Another group will say: “Those who bring faith on Allah are like the Angels. There can be no hypocrite or apostate amongst them.” It is only befitting that Allah will raise these people with the anti-Christ (Dajjal).” This saying reinforces the tradition of the Holy Prophet as narrated on the authority of Abu Rafi that the Holy Prophet said: “One of you will be resting on his hinds when he will hear one of my commands or prohibitions. He will say: “I do not know of it, I do not know of it. It is not present in the Book of Allah that we should follow it.” The Sunnah is there to explain the Qur’an. Whoever clings onto the Qur’an without taking recourse to the Sunnah, he will be misled in understanding the Qur’an.”
- 3. Ibn Wahab is reported to have said: “Grasp knowledge before it vanishes, and attain it from the knowledgeable ones. Learn knowledge as one never knows when it will be of benefit to him. A time will come when you will witness a people claiming to call towards the Book of Allah, but they would have discarded it behind their backs.” He is also reported to have said: “No year passes but a worse one follows it. I do not say that one year or one leader can not be better than the other, but the cream of your scholars and times have passed. A time will come when people will judge matters according to their own understanding, they will be destroying Islam in the process.” He also said: “To only intend following the Sunnah is better than exerting oneself in bid’ah.”
- 4. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq said: “I will not abandon any pratice knowingly which the Holy Prophet used to do. If I leave out any practice, I fear that I will be deviated.”
- 5. Ibn Mubarak has narrated a story that once ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab was informed that one of his governors, Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan, used to eat a variety of foods in one meal. He instructed his slave Yarfa’ to inform him when Yazid would dine. When ‘Umar was informed of this, he presented himself before Yazid who invited him to dine with him. First a meat broth was served which ‘Umar accepted. Thereafter, the dried meat of eye was offered, but ‘Umar refused it saying: “By Allah, O Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan, do you eat one food after another? By that Being who controls the life of ‘Umar, if you contradict the practice of the Holy Prophet, you will also mislead your people onto another path .”
- Once ‘Umar was informed of a person who was fond of going around asking the meanings of various verses of the Qur’an. Co-incidentally this person happened to meet ‘Umar who was having supper at the time. ‘Umar invited him to join him, and when he had finished eating, he asked: “O ‘Umar what is the meaning of chapter 51: By the Winds that scatter broadcast; And those that lift and bear away heavy weights; And those that flow with ease and gentleness.” ‘Umar exclaimed: “You are the one.” He stood up and beat him up to such an extent that his turban dropped from his head and further told him: “By Allah, had I found your head shaven, I would have slain you.” He then ordered: “Wear his clothes for him, lift him upon thorns, expel him from here and see to it that he reaches his dwelling.”
- 6. Hasan al-Basri said: “An innovator does not practice any good, nor prays or fasts but he distances himself further from Allah.” Once, Hasan al-Basri whilst explaining the following verse: “Fasting has been prescribed upon you just as it had been prescribed for the generations before you,” said: “The Jews rejected the command of fasting. The Christians distorted it by adding ten more days to thirty days, and shifted its observance to the most convenient time of the year.” Whenever Hasan would narrate this story, he would say: “A little good done according to the Sunnah is better than a lot of actions done incorrectly.”
- 7. Abu Idris al-Khaulani once expressed the following wish: “It is better for me to see a fire in the mosque which can not be extinguished then seeing an innovator who can not be rectified.”
- 8. Fudail ibn ‘Ayad said: “Follow the path of guidance, do not let your inferior numbers bother you. Beware of the paths of deviation, do not be deceived by the great numbers of those involved in it.”
- 9. Abu Qulabah: “Do not sit in the company of those who follow their passions, and do not dispute with them. I can not guarantee that they will not wrongly convince you in their deviation and confuse you in the matter of truth.” According to many scholars, Abu Qulabah was one of the erudite jurists of his time.
- 10. Sufyan al-Thauri used to say: “Words are not effective if not backed up with actions, no words and deeds are effective without an intention, and not word, action, or intention can be correct if they are not in line with the Sunnah.” 11. Ibn Sirin used to always opine that those who follow their desires are quicker to turn renegade from Islam than others.
- 12. Yayha ibn Kathir advised that if an innovator is seen using a particular street, you should use another street.
- 13. Yahya ibn Abu ‘Umar Shaibani said: “Allah rejects the repentance of an innovator, and an innovator always progresses to a more lower spiritual state.”
- 14. Muqatil ibn Hayyan said: “Those who follow their passions are the calamity of the ummah of Muhammad. They mention the name of the Holy Prophet and his household and used it to bait the ignorant ones and throw them To perdition.”
4. Condemnation of unsolicited opinions (ra’y al-madhmum): Opinions in religion which are arrived at which have no basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah are called ra’y al-madhmum. More than often they have some semblance to The shari’ah, but they belong to the species of innovation, that is why they are called dalal (deviations). ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘As narrates that he heard the Holy Prophet saying: “Allah will not snatch knowledge away from the people after he has given it to them suddenly, but he will remove it by uplifting their scholars. Only the ignorant will remain who will be asked questions, and they answer according to their own understanding. They will be thus misled themselves and will also mislead others.”
- 1. Ibn al-Mubarak has narrated on the authority of ‘Auf ibn Malik al-Ashja’I that the Holy Prophet said: “More nation will split into more then seventy sects, the greatest amongst them in perversion will be those who will understand religion through dint of their own understanding. They will make unlawful those things which Allah has made lawful, and will make lawful what Allah has prohibited.” Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr says: “This is arriving at conclusions without any basis and opining in religion by means of suspicion. The words of the tradition: “They will make unlawful those things which Allah has made lawful, and will make lawful what Allah has prohibited.” What is learnt is that what is lawful is that which is contained in the Book Of Allah and the Sunnah, and what is unlawful is that which is contained in the in the Book of Allah and the Sunnah. Whoever does not know this and answers religious questions without knowledge, and draws inductions which has no basis in the Sunnah, this is the meaning of ra’y madhmum.
- 2. Ibn al-Mubarak has also narrated in one tradition that from amongst the signs of the last day are three. One of them is that knowledge will be sought from the youngsters. It was asked as to who are the young ones. Ibn al-Mubarak replied: “Those who reach decisions on the basis of their personal reasoning.”
- 3. According to ibn Wahb: “Those who voice their personal opinions are the enemies of the Sunnah. When they are asked something, they are shy to say; “I do not know.” Beware of them, and let them not ensnare you.”
- 4. Hisham ibn ‘Urwah narrates on the authority of his father the following: “The condition of the Banu Israel was prosperous until youngsters were born amongst them who were the sons of slaves. They started voicing their personal opinions, and this is how the Banu Israel was misled.”
- 5. Darraj ibn Sahm says: “A time will come when a person will fatten his horse until it’s fat hangs. He will then ride on it into the cities and will return disheartened. He will look for a person who can inform him of the validity of some action he did, none will be able to answer him except those who will answer on suspicious grounds.”
- 6. Once a person asked Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab something. He answered at it was written down. Sa’id’s personal opinion was asked which he also answered and it was written down. Someone asked him: “I writing your own opinion, O Abu Muhammad?” Upon this, Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab asked the person to give him his paper. He took it and tore out the portion which held his personal opinion.
- 7. Malik ibn Anas says: “The Holy Prophet passed away and this affair had been completed and perfected. We should rather follow the sayings of the Holy Prophet and not our own conclusions. If opinions are followed, a person will come who has a better idea, followed by another one who has an even better one. Every time a person will come forward with an alternate or opinion, he will be followed. I think this process will never end.”
In conclusion, ra’y madhmum is that which is based on ignorance and on the following of the base desires without taking recourse to the original sources of Islam. This type of opinionating has been denounced. However, if the bases of opinion is the Qur’an and Sunnah, and it is structured upon the principles of shari’ah, it will not be denounced.
5. Position of a mubtadi’ in the eyes of the shari’ah: None of the devotions of an innovator is (mubtadi’) is accepted in the eyes of the shari’ah. These include his salat, fasting, his charity, and all other good works. One sitting in the company of a mubtadi’ is entrusted to himself for protection from sin, and the one who honours a mubtadi’ assists in tearing down the fabric of Islam. The perpetual cursing of Allah is upon such a person, he will barred from gaining intercession on the last day, he will be driven away from the pond, and he will meet Allah whilst Allah will be angry and displeased with him. He will die a humiliating death, his face will be blackened when he will be resurrected, and he will be consigned to the blazing fire.
From amongst the writings of As’ad ibn Musa, the following is found: “Beware of being a brother, friend, or acquaintance of an innovator, as one tradition says: “Whoever sits in the company of an innovator, divine grace is removed from him and he is entrusted to himself. Whoever walks towards an innovator, walks towards the destruction of Islam.” In another tradition: “There is no deity which is worshipped except Allah but that Allah dislikes nothing more than the one who follows his desires.” The Holy Prophet had cursed such a person. Verily Allah does not accept the optional nor the obligatory prayers of such a person. Every time he exerts himself in doing good, he distances himself further away from Allah. So, avoid their company and disgrace them as the Holy Prophet had distanced himself from them and disgraced them.”
The devotions of an innovator not being accepted holds one of two possibilities: that all actions in reality are not accepted, and only those innovated acts are not accepted. The first possibility has three probable meanings:
The first is that in reality all his actions and deeds are null and void. None of his deeds without any exception is accepted. This is a severe interpretation. Once ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib delivered a sermon brandishing a sword in his had which had a piece a paper attached to it. He said: “By Allah! We do not have any Book which we recite except the Qur’an and That which is contained in this parchment.” He enrolled the scroll and the various laws relating to the zakat of camels were contained therein. The following was also contained: “Madinah is sacred from between ‘Air and Thaur. Whoever innovates therein, may the curse of Allah, the angels, and of the entire mankind be upon him. No obligatory nor voluntary prayers will be accepted of him.”
The second possibility is that of the first interpretation is that the deviant principles of his devious practices permeates all his other deeds. The example of this is rejecting the khabr wahid (isolated tradition) upon which many rules (ahkam) are based. The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: “Every action not based on our matter is impropriety.”
6. Precarious mindset of a mubtadi’ that he is upon the perfect truth.
BIDAH: THE PERFECTION OF THE SHARIAH & AN EXPOSITION OF THE REPREHENSIBLE INNOVATIONS THAT HAVE CREPT INTO ISLAM
Linguistically bid’ah (innovation) means ‘a newly invented matter’. The Sharee’ah definition of bid’ah is: “A newly invented way [beliefs or action] in the religion, in imitation of the Sharee’ah (prescribed Law), by which nearness to Allaah is sought, [but] not being supported by any authentic proof – neither in its foundations, nor in the manner in which it is performed.” Al-I’tisaam of ash-Shaatibee (1/37).
The Messenger of Allaah () said: “Every innovation is misguidance and going astray” Reported by Abu Daawood (no. 4607), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2676) and it is saheeh. Ibn Hajr authenticated it Takhreej Ahaadeeth Ibn ul-Haajib (1/137).
And he () also said: “… and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.” Reported by an-Nasaa’ee (1/224) from Jaabir bin Abdullaah and it is saheeh as declared by Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ ul-Fataawaa (3/58).
The Messenger () also warned against the People of Innovation, from befriending, supporting or taking from them saying: “Whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator then upon him is the curse of Allaah, His Angels and the whole of mankind.” Reported by Bukhaaree (12/41) and Muslim (9/140)
And in his footsteps, we find the Noble Companions and the Taabi’een after them warning from the danger of innovations upon the Ummah, its people and their unity, since it is innovations which have divided the Ummah and split it asunder.
Ibn Abbaas () said: “Indeed the most detestable of things to Allaah are the innovations.” Reported by al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunan al-Kubraa (4/316)
Ibn Umar () said: “Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good.” Reported by Abu Shaamah (no. 39)
IDENTIFYING AHL US-SUNNAH AND AHL UL-BID’AH BY THE LOVE AND HATE OF ASHAAB UL-HADEETH
By Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee
Translated by Abu Iyaad
From Salafi Publications
Ja’far bin Muhammad bin al-Hasan al-Qaadee said, “I heard Qutaibah bin Sa’eed say: When you see a man loving the People of Hadeeth, such as Yahyaa bin Sa’eed al-Qattaan, Abdur-Rahmaan bin Mahdee, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Ishaaq bin Raahawaih – and he mentioned some other people – then he is upon the Sunnah, and whoever opposes this then know he is an Innovator”.
Ahmad bin Kaamil recited the following verses of poetry to Ja’far al-Khawaas: Gone are the confederates of Innovation (As.haab ul-Bid’ah). And their rope weakened and then broke altogether. The League of Iblees that used to be a throng. And O people! Do they have in their innovation. A Faqeeh or an Imaam that is followed? The likes of Sufyaan, of ath-Thawr. Who taught the people the innermost realities of wara’ (fear)? Or Sulaimaan of at-Taim. Who abandoned sleep out of the fear of [the day of] questioning. Or the Brave of Islaam, I mean Ahmad. That one who if the reciters were to come to blows with him. Would not fear their whip when they would frighten (therewith). Nay! And nor (would he fear) their sword when it would be brandished Ahmad bin Sinaan al-Qattaan said, “There is no Innovator upon the earth except that he hates the People of Hadeeth, for when man innovates, (perceiving) the sweetness of hadeeth is removed from his heart.”
Abu Nasr bin Sallaam al-Faqeeh, “There is nothing heavier upon the People of Deviation, and nor more hated to them, then listening to hadeeth and its being narrated with its isnaad”.
[Abu Ismaa’eel] Muhammad bin Ismaa’eel at-Tirmidhee said: “I and Ahmad bin al-Hasan at-Tirmidhee were with the Imaam of the Deen, Abu Abdullaah Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ahmad bin al-Hasan said to him: ‘O Abu Abdullaah, they mentioned the Ashaabul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth) to Ibn Abee Qutaylah of Makkah and he said: ‘The Ashaabul-Hadeeth are an evil people.’ So Imaam Ahmad stood and while shaking off the dust from his garment he said: ‘Zindeeq (heretic), zindeeq, zindeeq’, [and he continued like this] until he entered his house.”
Tahdheeb Sharaf Ashaabul-Hadeeth of al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (p.84-86)
DEALING WITH THE PERSON OF BID’AH
Shaykh Saalih ibn Muhammad al ‘Uthaymeen
Question: How does an individual who adheres to the Sunnah deal with the person of Bid’ah? And is it permissible to boycott him?
Answer: Bid’ah is categorized into two types; Bid’ah Mukaffarah (the type of Bid’ah which would make one a kaafir), and that which is less than that. And in both cases it is incumbent upon us to call those who affiliate themselves with Islaam while they have with them Bid’ah Mukaffarah or that which is less than it to the truth, by explaining the truth without attacking that which they are upon except after we see from them arrogance in excepting the truth>. Because Allaah Ta’ala said to His Prophet: And insult not those whom they (the disbelievers) worship beside Allaah, least they insult Allaah wrongfully without knowledge… (6:108) So, firstly we call them to the truth by explaining the truth and clarifying it with proofs, and the truth will be accepted by everyone possessing a sound Fitrah. And if some resistance and arrogance is found then indeed we clarify their Baatil (falsehood) based upon the fact that clarifying their Baatil, without debating with them, is an affair that is binding. As for boycotting them, then it is something that happens as a result of Bid’ah. So if the Bid’ah is Mukaffarah then boycotting him is imperative, and if it is less than that then we halt in boycotting him, and if there is some benefit in boycotting him then we carry it out, and if there is no benefit in boycotting him then we avoid it, and that is because the principle concerning the believers is that boycotting is Haraam (forbidden) based on the statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “It is not permissible for a believing man to boycott his brother for more than three days…” (Bukharee and Muslim)
So boycotting any believer, even if he is a Faasiq (one who commits major sins or persists in the minor sins), is prohibited so as long as there is no benefit in boycotting him, and if there is a benefit in boycotting him then we boycott him, because at that point boycotting becomes a cure for him. As for if there is no benefit in boycotting him or that boycotting him will increase him in disobedience and arrogance, then in that which there is no benefit leaving it is in itself a benefit. And if someone were to say that the Prophet (Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) boycotted Ka’b ibn Maalik and his two companions (may Allah be pleased with them) who stayed behind during the battle of Tabuk , refutes what you said, then the reply (is): That came from Prophet hood and he ordered the companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) to boycott them because in that was a tremendous benefit. Without a doubt they increased in holding tightly to that which they were upon even to the point that Ka’b ibn Maalik received a letter from the king Ghusaan and in it he said to Ka’b that he had heard that his companion meaning the messenger (Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã) was very harsh with him and (he said) you are not one to be shamed and humiliated and the truth is with us and we express our sympathy to you. So Ka’b stood up along with that which he faced from constriction and hardship and he took the letter and set it on fire in the furnace. So there was a tremendous benefit that took place in boycotting them and then there is the fruit (of all of this) which can not be compared to any other outcome which is that Allaah revealed (verses from) the Qur’an concerning them which will be recited until the day of resurrection, Allaah said:
Indeed Allaah has forgiven the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Muhajireen who left their homes and came to (al Madeenah) and the Ansaar who followed him (Muhammad) in the time of distress (expedition of Tabuk), after the hearts of a party of them had nearly deviated (from the right path), but He accepted their repentance. Certainly, He is unto them full of kindness, Most Merciful. And (He did forgive also) the three (who did not participate in the expedition of Tabuk) whose case was deferred (by the prophet), (for Allaah’s decision) till for them the earth, vast as it is, was straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from Allaah, and no refuge but with Him. Then He forgave them, so that they might beg for His pardon. Verily, Allaah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (9:117-118)
CLARIFICATION OF DOUBTS REGARDING INNOVATION
By Shaykh Saalih ibn al-Fawzaan al-Fawzaan
Taken from ‘Kitaabut-Tawheed’
AN INTRODUCTION TO INNOVATION IN THE LANGUAGE
It is a valid form of innovation, it is an invention without a preceding likeness. And from it is the statement of Allaah the Exalted, “Inventor of the Heavens and the Earth” [Sooratul Baqarah 2:117] That is, the Innovator of those two things on other than a preceding likeness. The statement of the Exalted, “Say, I am not a new one from amongst the messengers” [Sooratul Ahqaaf: 9] That is, ‘I am not the first who came with a message from Allaah to the slaves, rather there have preceded before me, many from amongst the messengers.’ And it can be said, ‘So and so innovated (ibtada’a) an innovation (bid’ah), meaning that he invented a way not having a predecessor for it.
Innovating is divided into two:
A. Innovating in ‘aadaat (customs/habits/culture etc.): such as inventing innovations of speech, and this is permissible (mubaah), because the basic principle regarding ‘aadaat (customs) is one of permissibility (ibaahah).
B. And innovating in the religion, then this is prohibited because the basic principle regarding it is one of Tawaquf (restriction to authentic texts). He sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever invents (ahdatha) in this matter of ours what is not from it, then it is rejected.” [Bukhaaree, Muslim] And in a narration, “Whoever performs an action not in accordance with our matter, then it is rejected.” [Saheeh Muslim]
THE INNOVATION IN RELIGION IS OF TWO TYPES:
The First Type: Innovation in statements of belief, such as the sayings of the Jahmiyyah, and the Mu’tazilah, and the Raafidhah, and the generally known misguided sects and their beliefs.
The Second Type: Innovation in the acts of worship; Such as worshipping Allaah with an act of worship which is not legislated. And it has divisions:
The first division: It has no origin (asl) in worship, rather it is a newly invented form of worship having no origin in the law (Shar’); Such as inventing prayer not legislated, or fasts not having a Sharee’ah legislated origin, or days of celebration such as the celebration of birthdays, and other than that.
The second division: What exists from additions in the legislated worship, like if one were to add a fifth raka’ah in the Noon (Dhuhr) prayer, or the afternoon (‘Asr) prayer for example.
The third division: What exists in the characteristics of carrying out legislated worship. To perform it on a manner not legislated; such as carrying out legislated remembrances (Adhkaar singular: Dhikr) in simultaneous and melodious voices, and such as being extreme on oneself in worship to the point of leaving from the Sunnah of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The fourth division: What exists from specification of a time for legislated worship which was not specified by the law (shar’) such as specifying the middle night of Sha’abaan and it’s day for fasting and prayer. So verily fasting and praying have a basis in the Religion, but specifying them to a time from amongst the times is in need of a proof.
THE RULING ON INNOVATION IN THE RELIGION, WITH ALL OF ITS TYPES:
Every innovation in the religion is forbidden, and a misguidance because of the statement of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam “And beware of newly invented matters, for every newly invented thing is an innovation, and every innovation is a misguidance.”[Abu Daawood, and Tirmidthee who said, ‘Hasan Saheeh’] And his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “Whoever invents in this affair of ours what is not from it, then it is rejected.”[Agreed Upon] And in a narration,”Whoever performs an action not in accordance with our affair, then it is rejected.” [Saheeh Muslim] So these two hadeeths show that all newly invented things in the Religion are innovations, and every innovation is a rejected misguidance,  and the meaning of that is that innovation in belief and worship is forbidden. However, it’s prohibition is according to the degree in the type of innovation, and from it is evident disbelief such as circumambulation around the graves in order to get closer to it’s inhabitants, and offering sacrifices and vows to them and supplicating to their inhabitants, and seeking rescue with them. And such as the extremist statements of the Jahmiyyah and the Mu’tazilah. And from it is what is a means of shirk such as erecting the graves, and praying and supplicating to them. And from it is what is disobedience in creed such as the innovation of the limbs by the Qadariyyah, and the Murji’ah in their statements and belief in opposition to the proofs of the Sharee’ah. And from it is sexual abstinence and fasting established in the sun, and castration with the intention of cutting off all desires [see al I’itisaam of ash-Shaatibee (2/37)]
Whoever divides innovation [in the religion] into good innovation (bid’ah hasanah), and sinful innovation (bid’ah sayyi’ah), then he has committed wrong, and has opposed his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “Every innovation is a misguidance.” because the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ruled that innovation – all of it – is misguidance, and this says that not all innovation is misguidance, rather there is good innovation. Al Haafidh Ibn Rajab said in his commentary to al Arba’een: ‘So his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement,”Every innovation is misguidance” is from the all encompassing word, not excluding from it anything. And it is the greatest principle from the principles of the Religion. And it is associated with his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “Whoever invents in this affair of ours, what is not from it, then it is rejected.” So whoever invents things and attributes them to the religion, and it does not have an origin in the religion to return to, then it is misguidance, and the Religion is free from those things. And equal to that are matters of beliefs, or actions, or statements whether hidden, or manifest.’ [end] [Jaami’ul ‘Uloom Wal Hikam, p. 233] 
And there is not a proof for them that there is good innovation, except for the statement of ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu regarding the taraaweeh prayer, “What a good innovation this is!”(ni’imatul bida’atu hadhihi).
And they also say, ‘Verily there were things invented, and they were not objected to by the Salaf, like the collection of the Qur’aan into one book, and the writing of the Hadeeth, and recording them.’ So the answer to these is that these are matters which have an origin in the law (shar’), so they are not newly invented. And the statement of ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu “What a good innovation”, he desires the linguistic innovation, and not the religious innovation (al bida’atush Shar’iyyah). So whatever has an origin in the law, returns to it. If it is said that it is an innovation, then it is an innovation in language, and not in Islamic Law. So the religious innovation is what does not have an origin for it to return to. So the collecting of the Qur’aan into one book has for it an origin in the law to return to, because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had commanded the recording of the Qur’aan, but it was written scattered so the Companions collected it into one book for it’s protection. Indeed the Prophet prayed taraaweeh with his Companions radiallaahu ‘anhu nightly, and they had preferable fear about it in the appointment [of an Imaam], and the continuing of the Companions (r) in praying in separate groups in the lifetime of the Prophet and after his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing, up until ‘Umar Ibnul Khattab united them on one Imaam like how they used to be behind the Prophet (sallalaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and this is not an innovation in the Religion. And the writing of the Hadeeth also has an origin for it in the Law. Indeed the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded the writing of some hadeeths for some of his Companionsradiallaahu ‘anhu, so as to study that from it. 
And there was warning against writing it on regular paper according to his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advice fearing that there would get mixed with the Qur’aan, that which was not from it. So when the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passed away, this warning was done away with – because the Qur’aan was completed, and vowelized before his sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam passing. So the Muslims recorded the hadeeth after that, preserving it from destruction. And may Allah reward Islaam and the Muslims with good when they preserve the Book of their Lord, and the Sunnah of their Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from destruction, and the mockery of the scornful. 
 Many of the people of innovation say that the word ‘kullu’ in the hadeeth about innovated matters does not mean everything, al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee says in Jaami’ul Uloom Wal Hikam (2/89) in commentary to the part of the hadeeth, “and beware of the newly invented matter.” “His saying, ‘and beware of the newly invented matters, and every bid’ah is a misguidance’ contains a warning to the ummah from following the newly invented innovations, and he stressed this by saying, ‘and every innovation is a misguidance’. And the meaning of bid’ah is everything that is newly invented that has no basis in the sharee’ah that would prove it. As for that which has a basis in the share’ah that would prove it then this is not a bid’ah in the sharee’ah even if it be a bid’ah according to the language. And in the saheeh of Muslim from Jaabir radiallaahu ‘anhu from the Prophet that he used to say in his sermons, ‘the best speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst of matters are the newly invented matters and every bid’ah is a misguidance.’. And Imaam Ahmad reports from the report of Ghadeef Ibnul Haarith ash-Shimaalee, ‘Abdul Malk Ibn Marwaan sent (someone) to me and he said: Indeed we gather the people for two matters: raising the hands (for supplication) upon the minbar on the day of Jumu’ah and giving exhortations after the fajr and ‘asr prayers. So he said: As for these two matters, then they are examples of your innovations in my opinion and I will not accept anything of them from you because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘A people do not introduce an innovation except that the likes of it is raised from the sunnah (ie. forgotten and neglected) and sticking to the sunnah is better than innovating an innovation.’ And something similar is reported from Ibn ‘Umar. And as for what has occurred from some of the salaf in their declaring some bid’ahs to be good then this is regards to bid’ah in it’s linguistic meaning not it’s sharee’ah meaning, and from these is the saying of ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu when he gathered the people for the standing of Ramadhaan behind one Imaam.[he gives reasons as to why this is so, but these have already been mentioned in other articles, and some of them above, so I will not repeat them] And from them: the adhaan for jumu’ah that was increased on by ‘Uthmaan due to the need of the people, and it is reported from ibn Umar that he said this was a bid’ah. And maybe he meant what his father meant concerning the standing during the month of Ramadhaan. And from them: collecting the mushaf as one book, and the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to command that the revelation be written and there is no difference in this between writing separately or as one collection, rather one collection has more benefit …. [mentioning more examples] …. And Abu Nu’aym reports with a chain of narration from Ibraaheem Ibn Junayd who said: I heard ash-Shaafi’ee saying: ‘bid’ah is of two types ….’ And he depended upon the saying of ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu, ‘what a good bid’ah this is’ and the meaning of ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) is as we have mentioned previously: that the foundation for the blameworthy bid’ah is that which does not have a basis in the sharee’ah that can be referred to – and this is a bid’ah in the convention of the sharee’ah. As for the praiseworthy bid’ah then that is what agrees with the sunnah – meaning that is has a basis in the sunnah that can be referred to, and this is a ‘bid’ah’ in it’s linguistic meaning not in it’s sharee’ah meaning due to it’s conforming with the sunnah. And another statement has been reported from ash-Shaafi’ee that explains this, and that is: ‘newly invented matters are of two types.'”
 The alleged statement of Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee is another ploy used by the people of bid’ah to try to legislate their innovations into the complete and perfected Religion of Allaah. Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee says, “those who seek to make innovations good and acceptable claim that Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee – may Allaah have mercy upon him – agrees to the concept of ‘good innovations’ – and they have taken it by what has been attributed to him – may Allaah have mercy upon him – regarding innovation: ‘innovated matters are of two classes: that which is innovated and is contrary to the Book, or the Sunnah, or a narration, or ijmaa – then this is an innovation of misguidance, and: those good things which are innovated that do not contradict any of these – then this is a novelty which is not blameworthy. And ‘Umar said concerning the night-prayer in Ramadhaan: ‘what a good innovation this is’ meaning something new not previously present, and if done does not rebut anything which existed before.” [Reported by al-Bayhaqee in ‘Manaaqibush Shaafi’ee (1/469) from ar-Rabee’ Ibn Sulaymaan. I say: it’s chain of narration contains Muhammad Ibn Moosaa al-Fadl and I do not find a biography for him.] And it is reported with the wording: “Innovation is of two types: praiseworthy innovation and blameworthy innovation. So whatever agrees with the sunnah is praiseworthy, and whatever contradicts the sunnah is blameworthy.” And he used as evidence the saying of ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu – about night prayer in Ramadhaan: ‘what a good innovation this is’ [reported by Abu Nu’aym in ‘Hilyatul Awliyaa’ (9/113) from Hurmulah Ibn Yahyaa. I say: it’s chain of narration contains Abdullaah Ibn Muhammad al-Atshee, who is mentioned by al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee in his ‘Taareekh’ and by as-Sam’aanee in ‘al-Insaab’ but they mention no jarh or ta’deel of them] a) The saying of ash-Shaafi’ee – even if authentic – cannot be used to oppose or particularize the generality of the hadeeth of Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, since ash-Shaafi’ee himself – rahimahullaah – is reported by his students to have said that the saying of a solitary companion is not a proof, and it is not obligatory for those after him to follow him [as in ‘Takhreej Furoo alaa al-‘Usul’ of az-Zanjaanee (pg. 179) with the checking of Muhammad Adeeb as-Saalih, ‘Mu’assatur Risaalah’] And this is what the verifying scholar Ibnul-Qayyim affirmed in his ‘I’ilaam al-Muwaqqi’een’ (4/121-123) So how can the saying of ash-Shaafi’ee be a proof if the saying of a companion is not a proof?! b) How can ash-Shaafi’ee – may Allaah have mercy upon him – be one of those who agree to ‘good innovations’ whilst he said the famous saying: ‘whosoever declares something good has made it part of the sharee’ah,’ and he said in Ar-Risaalah (pg.507), ‘declaring things good (istihsaan) is a form of exercising desires’ Therefore anyone who wants to explain the words of ash-Shaafi’ee – may Allaah have mercy upon him – then let him do so within the rules and fundamentals of ash-Shaafi’ee – which necessitate understanding his principles – this is something applicable in every branch of knowledge – so he who is ignorant of the terminologies of their specialists will be ignorant of the meaning of their sayings – and will incorrectly explain their meaning, and here is an example to show what we mean: i) The wording ‘agreed upon’ with the scholars of hadeeth means that which was reported by Bukhaaree and Muslim, however according to Abu Baraaqaat ‘Abdus Salaam Ibn Taymiyyah, the author of ‘Muntaqal Akhbaar’, it means that which is reported by Ahmad, Bukhaaree and Muslim.” [al-Bid’ah’ (pp 63-66)] Even if this statement was authentic, it’s meaning would be that of linguistic bid’ah as was stated by Ibn Rajab, and as we will further clarify in the next note on al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar.
 The shaykh, Saalih al-Fawzaan quoted from al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab, so it would be useful to quote the full discussion: al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab said in commentary of the hadeeth, whosoever introduces something in this affair of ours which is not part of it then it must be rejected.’ And the hadeeth, ‘whosoever does an action which we have not commanded must be rejected.’ “This hadeeth contains a great principle from amongst the principles if Islaam, for just as the hadeeth ‘indeed actions are by intentions’ is the scale (to judge the action in) it’s inward form this hadeeth is the scale (to the action in) it’s outward form. Just as any action that is not done seeking the Face of Allaah the Exalted does not bestow any reward upon the actor, similarly any action that has not been commanded by Allaah and His Messenger is rejected. And everyone that innovates in the religion that which Allaah and His Messenger have not given permission for, then it is nothing in the religion … And this hadeeth in it’s wording indicates that every action that has not been commanded by the Legislator is rejected, and it’s understanding indicates that every action that has been commanded is not rejected. And the meaning of ‘his command’ here is ‘his religion and law’ as is the meaning of his saying in the other narration, ‘whosoever introduces something in this affair of ours which is not part of it must be rejected.’ Therefore the meaning is that whosoevers action is outside the sharee’ah and not bound by the sharee’ah, is rejected. And his saying, ‘which we have not commanded’ indicates it is necessary for the actions of the actors to fall under the rules and regulations of the sharee’ah and that the rules of the Sharee’ah be the judge to command them or forbid them. So whosoevers action falls under the rules and regulations of the sharee’ah, in agreement with them, then his action is accepted, and otherwise it is rejected …and whosoever seeks to draw close to Allaah with an action that Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have not appointed as a means of drawing close to Allaah then his action is false and rejected … And the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw a person standing in the sun, and so he inquired about him and it was said in reply, ‘he has taken an oath to stand and not to sit or take shade, and to fast.’ So the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ordered him to sit and seek the shade and to complete his fast. [Bukhaaree] So he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not make his standing and exposure to the sun a means of getting close (to Allaah) such that it would require fulfilling the oath. And it is reported that this event occurred on the day of jumu’ah at time of hearing the khutbah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam while he was on the minbar. So this man made the oath to stand and not sit or seek the shade for as long as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave his sermon, in glorification/respect of listening to the sermon of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and yet the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not make this a means of getting close to Allaah that would require fulfillment of his oath. Despite the fact that standing is worship in other places such as prayer and adhaan and offering du’aa on ‘Arafah. And exposure to the sun is a means of getting closer to Allaah for the one in ihraam, so this indicates that everything that is a means of getting close to Allaah on a particular occasion is not a means of getting close on every occasion, rather one follows what occurs in the Sharee’ah in it’s correct place for everything.” [it is known in the sharee’ah that an oath which involves disobedience to Allaah does not require fulfillment]
 As for the deception of the people of bid’ah in saying that the collection of the ahaadeeth of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as an innovation, then this is simply not true. From Abu Qabeel who said: We were with ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr Ibnul ‘Aas and he was asked which city will be conquered first Constantinople or Rome? So ‘Abdullaah called for a sealed trunk and he said: Take out a book from it. Then ‘Abdullaah said: Whilst we were with the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam writing. The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked: Which city will be conquered first, Constantinople or Rome? So Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The city of Heraclius will be conquered first” meaning Constantinople. [Related by Ahmad (2/176), ad-Daarimee (1/126) and al Haakim (3/422)] So this narration shows that some of the Companions did write the hadeeths of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his presence.
 Ibn Hajar on bid’ah as in ‘Fath (13/314+) Kitaabul-I’tisaam, Chapter: Following The Sunan of The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. “His saying, ‘and the worst of matters are the newly invented matters.’, and muhadathaat means the newly invented matters that have no basis in the sharee’ah, and the are called according to the convention of the sharee’ah ‘bid’ah’, and that which has a basis in the sharee’ah that would prove it then it is not a bid’ah. So bid’ah in the convention of the sharee’ah is blameworthy in contravention to the language, for linguistically every thing that is newly invented, be it blameworthy or praiseworthy, is called bid’ah …and ash-Shaafi’ee said, ‘bid’ah is of two types …’ Reported by Abu Nu’aym via the route of Ibraaheem Ibn Junayd, and there occurs from ash-Shaafi’ee also what is reported by al-Bayhaqee in his ‘Manaaqib’, ‘the newly invented matters are of two types.’ end. And some of the scholars divided bid’ah into the five categories of ahkaam and this is clear. And it is established from Ibn Mas’ood that he said, ‘indeed you have matured upon the fitrah, but indeed you shall innovate, and things shall be innovated for you, so when you see the innovations then stick to the original guidance’ …And Imaam Ahmad reported with a good sanad from Ghadeef Ibnul-Haarith who said, ‘al-Malik Ibn Marwaan sent (someone) to me and he said: indeed we gather the people for two matters: raising the hands (for du’aa) upon the minbar on the day of jumu’ah, and giving exhortations after the fajr and ‘asr prayers. So he said: as for these two, then they are examples of your innovations in my opinion and I will not accept anything of them from you because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, ‘a people do not introduce an innovation except that a sunnah the likes of it is raised (i.e. forgotten and neglected)’ and sticking to the sunnah is better then introducing a bid’ah’ so if this was the answer of this sahaabee concerning a matter that has a basis in the religion, then what do you think the case would be concerning a matter that has no basis in the religion? And how about when it includes things that contradict the sunnah? … and this matter (of giving exhortations) was present during the time of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam but it was not done constantly like the jumu’ah khutbah rather it was done as the need dictated. And as for his saying in the hadeeth of al-Irbaadh, ‘indeed every bid’ah is a misguidance’ after saying, ‘and beware of the newly invented matters’ proves that newly invented matters are called bid’ah. And his saying, ‘and indeed every bid’ah is misguidance’ is a complete sharee’ah principle both in wording and understanding. As for in wording then it is as if it is said, ‘the ruling of such and such is that it is a bid’ah and every bid’ah is a misguidance’ and so it would not be from the sharee’ah because the sharee’ah, in it’s totality, is guidance …and the meaning of his words ‘every bid’ah is a misguidance’ is that which has been introduced that has no evidence in either a specific or general way ….Ibn ‘Abdis Salaam said at the end of ‘al-Qawaa’id’: bid’ah is of five classifications.[mentioning the five and some examples of them]” [End of Ibn Hajar’s words] There are some points to be recognized here: 1. Ibn Hajars quoting from Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee after making clear that in the language bid’ah is of two types but in the Sharee’ah it is only one. 2. Indicating that he understands the statement ‘praiseworthy bid’ah’ in the linguistic sense as did Ibn Rajab. 3. His quoting Ibn ‘Abdis Salaam in his classifying bid’ah into 5 categories but he himself saying, ‘and the meaning of his words ‘every bid’ah is a misguidance’ is that which has been introduced that has no evidence in either a specific or general way’ and other similar statements.
And Verily Allaah the Exalted Knows Best
A GOLDEN QUOTATION FROM IMAM BUKHARI ON INNOVATION
Imam Bukhaaree (rahimahullaah) said: I met more than a thousand men amongst the people of knowledge from the people of al-Hijaaz, al-Makkah, al-Madinah, al-Koofah, al-Basrah, Waasit, Baghdaad, Shaam and Misr… and I never saw a single one of them differ with respect to the following matters…
… And they used to forbid and prevent [people] from the innovations -those that the Messenger and his Companions were not upon, due to His saying: And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allâh (i.e. this Qur’ân), and be not divided among yourselves [Soorah Aali Imraam 3:103] and due to His saying: If you obey him [the Messenger], you shall be on the right guidance [Soorah an-Noor 24:54] [Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (2/172-5), The Creed of Imaam Bukhaaree p.13,28 – al-Maktabah as-Salafiyyah Publications]
In the words of Imaam Bukhaaree is a clear indication that Muslim unity is to be attained by removing the innovations – and that is the unanimous understanding of the greatest of scholars of the noble ayah in question. Since it is the newly-invented matters (in the issues of belief, action and methodology) that have divided the hearts of the Muslims and set them against each other. Thus, in order for the hearts of the Muslims to unite and consequently, their word and rank, it is necessary for them to purify their beliefs, actions and methodologies from everything that was never taught by the Messenger and which was never acted upon by the Noble Companions (ra) – whilst humbly submitting to the Pure and Clear Sunnah. But this cannot be attained until the Muslims attend to the authentic and beneficial knowledge – that which has been left by the Messenger and which has been inherited by the Scholars after him, the Ahl ul-Hadeeth (the People of Authenticating the Narrations) and then to nurture themselves upon it. This issue was so learly understood by the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger and those after them, as will become evident by the narrations below.
The Messenger of Allaah said: “Every innovation is misguidance and going astray.” Reported by Abu Daawood, no.4607 and it is saheeh. The Messenger also warned against the people of innovation, from befriending, supporting or taking from them saying: “Whoever innovates or accomodates an innovator then upon him is the curse of Allaah, His Angels and the whole of mankind.” Reported by Bukhaaree (12/41) and Muslim (9/140)
And in his footsteps, we find the Noble Companions and the Taabi’een after them warning from the danger of innovations upon the Ummah, its people and their unity. Ibn Abbaas (d. 68H) said: “Indeed the most detestable of things to Allaah are the innovations.” Reported by al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunan al-Kubraa (4/316)
Ibn Umar (d. 84H) said: “Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people see it as something good.” Reported by Abu Shaamah (no. 39) Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d. 161H) said: “Innovation is more beloved to Iblees than sin, since a sin may be repented from but innovation is not repented from.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no. 238) Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad (d. 187H) said: “I met the best of people, all of them people of the Sunnah and they used to forbid from accompanying the people of innovation.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no.267) Al-Hasan al-Basree (d. 110H) said: “Do not sit with the people of innovation and desires, nor argue with them, nor listen to them.” Reported by ad-Daarimee in his Sunan (1/121)
Ibraaheem bin Maysarah (d.132H) said: “Whoever honours an innovator has aided in the destruction of Islam.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (1/139). Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d. 161H) said: “Whoever listens to an innovator has left the protection of Allaah and is entrusted with the innovation.” Reported by Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (7/26) and Ibn Battah (no.444). Imaam Maalik (d. 179H) said: “How evil are the people of innovation, we do no give them salaam.” Reported by al-Baghawee in Sharh us-Sunnah (1/234).
Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (d. 204H) said: “That a person meets Allaah with every sin except Shirk is better than meeting Him upon any one of the innovated beliefs.” Reported by al-Bayhaqee in al-I’tiqaad (p.158) Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad (d. 187H) said: “Whoever sits with a person of innovation, then beware of him and whoever sits with a person of innovation has not been given wisdom. I love that there was fort of iron between me and a person of innovation. That I eat with a Jew and a Christian is more beloved to me than that I eat with a person of innovation.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no.1149) Al-Layth bin Sa’d (d. 175H) said: “If I saw a person of desires (i.e. innovations) walking upon the water I would not accept from him.” So Imaam as-Shaafi’ee then said: “He (al-Layth) has fallen short. If I saw him walking in the air I would not accept from him.” Reported by as-Suyooti in al-Amr bil ‘Ittibaa wan-Nahee anil Ibtidaa’.
THE BEGINNINGS OF DEVIATION
: MAN’S FITRAH (NATURAL DISPOSITION): What is essential to know is that: “Allaah created the creation in order that they should worship Him. Furthermore, Allaah prepared for them – from His Provision – all that they would require. About this Allaah – the Most High – said: “I did not create jinn and mankind, except that they should worship Me. I do not seek any provisions from them, nor do I ask that they should feed me. Indeed Allaah is the Provider, the Possessor of Might and Strength.” [Sooratudh-Dhaariyaat 51:56-58]
So the soul – if left to its fitrah (natural disposition and inclination) – would find itself acknowledging Allaah’s Divinity, loving Him and worshiping Him alone, without worshipping others along with Him. However, this fitrah becomes corrupted and it deviates away from the pure worship of Allaah, due to what the devils – from amongst mankind and jinn – whisper to some people, beautifying to them their whispers of deception. So Tawheed (to worship Allaah alone) is the core and root of man’s fitrah, whereas Shirk (directing any part of worship that belongs only to Allaah, to other than Allaah) is alien to it and is something that deceptively enters into it. Allaah – the Most High – said: “So set your face to the Haneef Religion (the Religion of pure Tawheed), This is the fitrah of Allaah which He created mankind upon. There is to be no change in the creation (i.e. Religion) of Allaah. That is the straight and upright Religion. But most of mankind do not have knowledge.” [Soorah Room 30:30].” 
The above aayah clearly refutes the false notion of the atheists; who claim that the natural basis of man is Shirk, and that Tawheed evolved in man! Not only does the previous aayah refutes this falsehood, but so do the following two authentic narrations:
Firstly: Allaah’s Messenger (saw) said, that his Lord said: “I created all My Servants upon the true Religion (upon Tawheed, free from Shirk). Then the devils come to them end led them astray from their true Religion. They made unlawful to people that which I had mode lawful for them, and they commended them to associate in worship with Me, that for which I had sent down no authority.” 
Secondly: Allaah’s Messenger (saw) said: “Every child is born upon the fitrah (i.e. Islaam), but his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Magian. It is like the way on animal gives birth to a natural offspring. Have you noticed any born mutilated, before you mutilate them.” Aboo Hurayrah said: Recite if you wish: “Allaah’s fitrah with which He created mankind. There is to be no change to the creation (Religion) of Allaah.” [Soorah Room 30:30].” 
: THE BEGINNING OF IDOL-WORSHIP: Mankind was, in the beginning, a single Ummah (nation) upon Tawheed, the pure worship of Allaah alone. Then Shirk gradually overcame them. The basis for this belief is what Allaah – the Most High – said: “Mankind was one Ummah (nation), then Allaah sent Prophets bringing good news and warnings.” [Sooratul-Baqarah 2:213]
“Mankind was not except a single Ummah, then they differed.” [Soorah Yoonus 12:19]
Ibn ’Abbaas (ra) said: “Between Nooh and Aadam there were ten generations, all of them were upon the Sharee’ah (Law) of the truth, then they differed. So Allaah sent Prophets as bringers of good news and as warners.” 
So, “during the time of the Prophet Nooh (’alayhis-salaam), Shirk appeared amongst his people, and they started worshipping idols along with worshipping Allaah. So Allaah said: “Indeed We sent Nooh to his people and he said to them: I have come to you as a clear warner; that you should worship only Allaah.” [Soorah Hood 11:25-26].” 
After this clear explanation, it is of the utmost importance for the Muslims to know exactly how Shirk spread amongst the Believers, after they were people upon pure Tawheed?
: THE ORIGINS OF SHIRK: Allaah – the Most Perfect – said about the people of Nooh: “And they said: You shall not forsake your deities/gods, nor shall you forsake Wadd, nor Suwaa’, nor Yaghooth, nor Ya’ooq, nor Nasr.” [Soorah Nooh 71:23]
Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) relates: “These were all idols from Nooh’s nation, which eventually ended up amongst the Arabs. Wadd was the idol which was worshipped by the Kalb tribe in the region of Dawmatul-Jandal; Suwaa’ was for the Hudhayl tribe; Yaghooth by the Ghutayf tribe at Jurf near the region of Sabaa; Ya’ooq for the Hamdaan tribe and Nasr was the idol worshipped by the Dhul-Kalaa of the Himayr tribe. Indeed these five idols were the names of righteous men from the nation of Noah. When they died, Shaytaan whispered to their people to make statues of them in honour of them, and to place these statues in their places of gathering as a reminder of them, so they did this. However, none from amongst them worshipped these statues, until when that generation passed away and the purpose of the statues was forgotten, the next generation then began worshipping them.” 
Muhammad Ibn Qays (ra) said: “Yaghooth, Ya’ooq and Nasr were a group of righteous men, who were taken as examples to be followed by their people. So when they died their companions said: If we were to make pictures of them it would encourage us to do acts of worship and obedience to Allaah (as they did). So they made pictures of them. However, when they died and the next generation came, Shaytaan whispered to them saying: Your fore-fathers used to worship these righteous men, and it was due to them that it rained. So they began to worship them.” 
So the beginnings of Shirk lay in the excessive praise and respect given to certain dead pious Muslims, who – due to peoples’ love for them – became idols that were worshipped and supplicated along with Allaah. So what needs to be understood is why people felt that they had to worship these righteous people along with worshipping Allaah.
: TAKING THE DEAD AS INTERCESSORS: Allaah – the One free from all defects – said: “Indeed We have sent down to you the Book in truth, so worship Allaah alone by making the Religion purely for Him. Surely the Religion, worship and obedience should be for Allaah alone. But those who take as awliyaa‘ (friends and protectors) others along with Allaah say: We only worship them so that they may bring us closer to Allaah. Indeed Allaah will judge between them concerning that in which they differ. Indeed Allaah does not guide those who are liars and disbelievers.” [Sooratuz-Zumar 39:2-3]
“And they worship those besides Allaah that can neither harm nor benefit them, and they say: These are our intercessors with Allaah. Say to them: Do you inform Allaah about that which He does not have knowledge in the heavens and the earth. Glory be to Allaah and how free He is from that which the associate as partners with Him.” [Soorah Yoosuf 10:18]
“So Allaah – the Most Perfect – informed us in these two aayaat that the idolaters had taken others from the creation as awliyaa‘ along with Allaah. They worshipped them along with Him, by offering du’aa (supplication) to them, and directing to them hope (of attaining safety or of being cured from some illness) and fear, sacrifice, vows, and their like claiming that directing such worship to these awliyaa‘ would bring them closer to Allaah and that these awliyaa‘ would then act as intercessors between them and Allaah. Yet Allaah – the the Most Perfect – rejected such claims and made clear its falseness and labeled those who claimed such a thing as being liars and disbelievers!” 
“Thus it should be clear to all who have intellect, that the cause of disbelief of the earlier kuffaar (disbelievers) was due to them taking the Prophets, awliyaa‘, trees, stones and other things from the creation, as intercessors between them and Allaah, believing that such intercessors would fulfill for them their needs and aspirations, without any permission from Allaah – the Most Perfect – nor His approval. They considered it to be similar to how ministers and advisors intercede on behalf of the people with the worldly kings. So they made a (false) analogy between Allaah – the Most Majestic – and the worldly kings and leaders, saying: lust as a person who wishes to present his needs to a king has to go through the king’s advisors and ministers, then likewise we draw closer to Allaah by making du’aa (supplication) to the Prophets and the awliyaa‘; taking them as intercessors between us and Allaah. However, this analogy is the height of futility and falsehood. Since Allaah – the One free from all defects – has none that is comparable to Him, nor can analogies be made between Him and His creation. Indeed no one intercedes for His creation, except with His permission. and none will be granted shafaa’ah (intercession), except the people of Tawheed. For Allaah – the Most Perfect – has knowledge and power over all things, and is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. He does not fear anyone, nor is frightened by anyone, since He – the Most Perfect – has power and dominion over His slaves and disposes of their affairs as He Wills. This is contrary to the earthly kings and leaders, for they do not have power over everything, nor do they have knowledge about everything. This is why they are dependant upon advisers, ministers and armies to assist them in matters which they, by themselves, are unable to do. They are also in need of being informed about those who are in need, which is another reason for their being surrounded by ministers and advisors. But the Lord – the Mighty and Majestic, the One free from all defects and shortcomings – is free from any type of need or assistance from any of His creation. He is more merciful to them that their mothers and He is the Most Just. And according to His Wisdom, Knowledge and Power, He places all things in their proper place. It is therefore not permissible to compare Allaah with His creation in this manner.” 
: DU’AA TO OTHER THAN ALLAAH IS SHIRK: The Prophet (saw) said: “Whosoever dies whilst making du’aa (invocation, supplication) to others besides Allaah, will enter the HellFire.” 
: A PROOF FROM THE COMPANIONS: Anas (ra) related: “In times of drought, ’Umar Ibnul-Khattaab (ra) used to ask ’Abbaas Ibn ’Abdul-Muttalib to pray for rain on their behalf. He himself would say: “O Allaah we used to ask Your Prophet to supplicate on our behalf to You, and You would bless us with rain. Now we ask the uncle of our Prophet to supplicate to You on our behalf, so bless us with rain.” Anas said: So they would be blessed with rain.” 
Sulaym Ibn ’Aamir al-Khabaa‘iree relates: “That the sky withheld all rain, so Mu’aawiyah Ibn Abee Sufyaan went out to pray for rain along with the people of Damascus. So when Mu’aawiyah sat upon the pulpit he said: “Where is Yazeed Ibnul-Aswad al-Jurashee?” So the people called him and he came stepping between the people. Then Mu’aawiyah commanded him, so he ascended the pulpit and sat at his feet. Then Mu’aawiyah said: “O Allaah! Today we are asking the best and most noblest amongst us to supplicate to You for us. O Allaah, today we put Yazeed Ibnul-Aswad al-Jurashee forward to supplicate to You for us. O Yazeed! Raise up your hands to Allaah.” So he raised up his hands and the people raised up their hands. Then rain-clouds, like large shields, came quickly from the west, and the winds blew, and it rained so much that people could hardly reach their houses.” 
So why didn’t ’Umar (ra) and the rest of the Companions who were with him, go to the grave of our beloved Prophet (saw); or to the grave of the greatest of the awliyaa‘ Aboo Bakr (ra), and make du’aa (supplication) to them for rain? Why? Because they knew that doing so would constitute Shirk? Likewise, why didn’t Mu’aawiyah, and those of the righteous people with him, not delegate someone to go to al-Madeenah – to the grave of the Prophet (saw), or any of the Companions buried there – or directly make du’aa to them from Damascus, in their time of distress and great need? Why? Because they knew that doing so would constitute Shirk!
: SOME POINTS OF BENEFIT: Firstly: That Shirk began during the time of Nooh (’alayhis-salaam), due to the excessive love and veneration that the people had for certain dead pious Muslim.
Imaam al-Qurtubee (d.654H) – rahimahullaah – said: “The initial images that were made of these righteous men were done in order that the people could be reminded about their righteousness and so strive in being righteous; as they strove. So they worshipped Allaah by the graves of these righteous men. Then a people came after them who forgot the intent of their fore-fathers’ actions. So Shaytaan whispered to them saying: Your fore-fathers used to worship these images and held them in great veneration.” 
Secondly: “That Shaytaan is eager to misguide mankind and to plot against them. He comes from the angle of exploiting man’s emotions, and lures them into doing acts that are (apparently) good. Thus, when Shaytaan saw amongst the people of Nooh their great love and esteem for the righteous, he tricked them into going beyond the bounds in their love, and he got them to make and place statues of these dead pious Muslims in their places of gatherings. The objective of this was to make them swerve away from the right path.
Thirdly: That Shaytaan does not only observe the present generation, and seek to deceive only them; but he also wishes to misguide and deceive future generations. Thus, when he could not plunge the present generation, from the people of Nooh, into Shirk, he eagerly awaited the next generation’s arrival, in order that he could misguide them.” 
Fourthly: That the worshipping of dead pious Muslims continues to be practiced amongst the Ummah even today. The difference being is that the names have changed. Thus, instead of worshipping Wadd, or Yaghooth, or Ya’ooq; people have instead directed the same practices of Shirk – like supplicating directly to the pious dead, and taking them as intercessors between them and Allaah – to others; such as to Shaykh ’Abdul-Qaadir al-Jeelaanee in ’Iraaq, or al-Baydaawee in Eygypt, or Chishtee in India, etc. However, changing the name of a thing, does not change its reality.
-  Kitaabut-Tawheed (p. 6) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan
-  Related by Muslim (8/159) and Ahmad (4/162) from ’Iyaad Ibn Himaar al-Mujaashi’ee (radiyallaahu ’anhu)
-  Related by al-Bukhaaree (11/418) and Muslim (18/52), from Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ’anhu)
-  Related by at-Tabaree in his Tafseer (4/275)
-  Mabaahith (p. 21) of Shaykh Naasir al-’Aql
-  Related by al-Bukhaaree (no .4920)
-  Related by at-Tabaree in his Tafseer (29/98)
-  Iqaamatul-Buraaheen (p. 27) of Shaykh ’Abdul-’Azeez Ibn Baaz
-  Iqaamatul-Buraaheen (pp. 53-55)
-  Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 4297), from Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu)
-  Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 1010)
-  Related by Ibn ’Asaakir in Taareekh Dimashq (18/151/1)
-  Jaami’ li-Ahkaamil-Qur‘aan (13/308)
-  Bayaan Haqeeqatut-Tawheed (pp. 8-9) of Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan