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Bid’ah – Corrupting the Sunnah

We are taught in the revelation that the Sunnah shall become corrupted and this corruption would become the norm (custom), so much so that the people who follow the Sunnah would become as strangers, and those who call to purifying the sunnah would be slandered and reviled (hated).

The Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: "Islaam began as something strange, and it shall return as something strange as it began. So (radhi allahu anhu) give glad tidings to the strangers." It was asked, "who are the strangers?" He replied, "Those that purify and correct what the people have corrupted of my sunnah"  [Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer [6/202]

And what is this corruption, it is none other than innovation, introducing into the pure religion of Allaah, new ways of worshipping Him that He has not taught, blemishing His religion with one’s own whims and desires, something that Allaah Himself condemns:

"Or do they have partners with Allah, who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed.” [Soorah Ash-Shura (42): 21]

The Companion Abdullaah ibn Mas'ud (radhi allahu anhu) laments: “How will it be when the trials overcome you, in which the young grow old and the old grow senile. And the people take the Bid'ah as the sunnah, and when it changes they say: the sunnah has changed. “It was said: When will this be? O Abu Abdur Rahmaan!” He replied: When your speakers are many and your scholars are few, and the wealthy ones are plenty and the trustworthy ones are few." [ad-Daarimee]

How true this statement is today, that the innovations have become so widespread in the religion that the people have taken them to be the Sunnah. And when the true scholar speaks out against these innovations, he is labelled as a 'wahhabi' by the people because to them it seems that he is changing the sunnah. To Allah, we complain of the ignorance of our times!

So, once this topic becomes clear, a truth that none can deny; that all these innovations in the religions are a clear denial of the above mentioned verses and ahaadeeth, for none were done by the Companions (radhi allahu anhu). And in what has preceded is ample evidence for any fair-minded Muslim that all Bid'ah is blameworthy, and in fact a major sin. But unfortunately, the Muslims are in such a state today that the Words of Allaah and His Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) are no longer enough to convince them and certain groups of people have come up with belief that has very frail grounds in the Sunnah. For example, the belief of 'Bid'ah hasanah', i.e. a good Bid'ah, meaning that a scholar can introduce a new action of worship in Islaam, which can be considered to be good as long it does not contradict any of the principles of Islaam. This belief is completely false and has no basis in the Qur'aan neither in the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (sallallhu alahi wa-sallam).

This issue has been discussed in details, under the title “The Arguments of the Misguided”

Shunning the Bid’ah – Adherence to the Sunnah

The cure for shunning these newly invented matters has been specified in the texts of Qur'aan and the Sunnah: Allah has revealed the religion of Islam unto Prophet Muhammad (sallallhu alahi wa-sallam), and made adherence to his way, the cure to misguidance:

“Say… 'And Verily, this is My Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from this Path.' [Soorah An'am (6): 153]

 Allah also says in the Qur'aan: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah, you have an excellent example to follow for him, who hopes in (the meeting with) Allaah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much” [ (33):  21]

Prophet  (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: "I have left behind me two things, if you cling to them you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allaah and my Sunnah" [al-Haakim]

And "…and you will live to see great difference, so cling to my sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs after me, even if it be with your teeth" [Bukhare]

Abdullaah ibn Mas'ud (radhi allahu anhu) said: “Follow the sunnah of Muhammad (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) and do not innovate, for what you have been commanded is enough for you." [Ad-Daarimee]

Hudhayfah bin al-Yaman (radhi allahu anhu) said, "every act of worship that the Companions did not do, do not do it" [Abu Dawood]

The Taabi'ee, the Imaam, az-Zuhree commented, "Clinging to the sunnah is to be saved” as Imaam Maalik (rahimahillah) said, 'like the Ark of Noah', he who embarked upon it was saved, and he who did not was destroyed."      [Ad-Daarimee]

Abu Aaliyah said, "Learn Islaam, then when you have learned Islaam, do not turn away from it to the right or to the left. But be upon the Straight Path and be upon the Sunnah of your Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) and that which his companions were upon…

And beware of these innovations because they cause enmity and hatred amongst you, but stick to the original state of affairs that was there before they divided." [al-Hilya of Abu Nu'aym 2/218]

In these narrations is clear evidence that the way of salvation and safety is to closely follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (sallallhu alahi wa-sallam), and not to deviate from his path, denying the guidance of others, not accepting a corrupted form of the Sunnah.

Allaah says: "And whosoever does not contends with the Messenger after guidance has been made clear to him, and follows a way other than the way of the believers, We shall leave in the path he has chosen, and land him in Hell, what an evil destination!”  [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 115]

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