Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
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One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
I have a question, for you, and if you could shed some light on it in the light of;
1/ Quran & Sunnah
2/ Historical aspect
An elderly person (whom I respect), recently argued on the subject of Biddah, that there is such a thing as "good biddah" and "bad biddah".
He then narrated, that the wordings, of Fajar's Adhan is a Biddah, as in the days of Rasool, Fajr's azan did not used to have the line "as salat-o-khair-an-minal nom". He claimed that this is an addition introduced by after the passage of Rasool. Another example he quoted, was that the praying of Taraveeh in Jamah, is also a biddah, introduced by Hadrath Umer, and he called it a "good biddah".
question #1/ Can you affirm with the above examples, and tell me the authenticity of the claims?
question#2/ If there is such a thing as "good biddah" in religion, who has the right to invoke and bless it, after the passage of the last
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Q-1: An elderly person (whom I respect), recently argued on the subject of Biddah, that there is such a thing as "good biddah" and "bad biddah".
It has been reported in an authentic narration that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: Whoever introduces a bida (innovation) in this deen brought by me (saws), it will be rejected.
A bida or innovation is something which is not a part of the deen of Islam, but is an addition or innovation in the deen endorsed by someone other than the Messenger of Allah (saws), or his Rightly Guided Khalifahs. Bida is any innovated deed which one does and believes that by doing this innovated deed, he is eligible to earn more reward from Allah Subhanah.
There is no such thing as a good bida or good innovation in the deen of Islam! Each and every type or kind of bida or innovation is an error, and a grave sin in the sight of Allah Subhanah.
It has been reported by Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (r.a.) that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said: If anyone introduces an innovation (in religion), he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people.
It has been reported by Jabir ibn Abdullah (r.a.) in another authentic narration that the Prophet of Allah (saws) said in a sermon: The best speech is that which is embodied in the Book of Allah, the Al Quran; and the best guidance is the guidance given by me, Mohamed (saws). The most evil affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is an error.
Unfortunately, many types of bidas or innovations have crept their way into the deen today which have absolutely no basis or evidence from the Quran and Sunnah; and each of them must be immediately rejected by those who sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day.
A few examples of the innovations which have crept into the deen and practiced by ignorant people today:
The concept and ritual of Quran Khaani.
The celebration of the Prophets birthday.
The celebration and remembrance of Imam Hussain and the events of Karbala on the 10th of Muharram or the rituals of Aashoora.
The mourning ceremonies and rituals of the 3rd, 7th, 9th, 10th, 30th, or 40th day of the deceased.
The celebrations and rituals of urs at the graves of the deceased pious slaves of Allah Subhanah. Etc.
The above are just a few examples of the rites, rituals, and ceremonies which are nothing but innovations and have absolutely no basis and place in the deen of Islam.
The Prophet Mohamed (saws) said:
The most evil affairs are the innovations, and every innovation is an error.
Q-2: He then narrated, that the wordings, of Fajar's Adhan is a Biddah, as in the days of Rasool, Fajr's azan did not used to have the line "as salat-o-khair-an-minal nom". He claimed that this is an addition introduced by after the passage of Rasool.
There is an authentic narration related from Hadrat Bilaal that this sentence of The Prayer is better than sleep was added and pronounced during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (saws). If this narration is taken as authentic, then obviously, it is following the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), and not an innovation.
There is also another narration which states that this sentence was added during the lifetime of Hadrat Umar (r.a.). Even if this is believed, it cannot be considered a bida, as the Messenger of Allah (saws) commanded that it is incumbent upon the believers to follow his (saws) Sunnah, and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khalifas; and they are Abu Baqr, Umar, Uthmaan, Ali, and Hasan ibn Ali.
Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4590 Narrated by Irbad ibn Sariyah
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: You must follow my Sunnah and that of the Rightly-Guided Khalifas.
Besides, even if we accept the narration that Hadrat Umar (r.a.) introduced this phrase in the adhaan, it cannot be considered a bida or innovation, as it is not something which is not from the deen. Besides there were literally thousands of the noble companions of the Prophet (saws) alive at that time and none of them objected to it. Among them were Uthmaan, Ali, Ammar bin Yasir, Salman al Farsi, etc. And also, when Hadrat Uthmaan and Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Taalib (r.a.) became the Khalifahs, they did not change the adhaan that was pronounced for the fajr prayer, and the phrase of As Salaato Khairun minan naum was declared even in their times.
Q-3: Another example he quoted, was that the praying of Taraveeh in Jamah, is also a biddah, introduced by Hadrath Umer, and he called it a "good biddah".
The Prophet (saws) himself led the congregation of the voluntary Taraweeh prayers one Ramadan for three nights in the Prophets Mosque in Medina. On the fourth night he did not come to lead the prayers and when asked why, he (saws) replied that he feared lest Allah would make the Taraweeh prayers obligatory on the believers. Thus, because the Prophet (saws) prayed the Taraweeh prayers, the Sunnah was established. After this, the Prophet (saws) and the believers used to offer these voluntary Taraweeh prayers individually. After the Prophets (saws) death, the second Khalifah, Hadrat Umar (r.a.) saw the people praying the Taraweeh prayers individually, and counseled with the other noble companions of the Messenger of Allah (saws), that since there was no issue of these voluntary prayers being made obligatory now, it would be better that they restarted the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws) and prayed the Taraweeh prayers in congregation; and subsequently Hadrat Ubbay ibn Kaab (r.a.) was appointed to lead the Taraweeh prayers in congregation.
The Taraweeh prayers are nafl (voluntary) prayers. And whatever nafl the Prophet (saws) did, is what becomes his Sunnah for the believers. Thus if one prays the Taraweeh prayers, he will earn extra ajr and reward from Allah; and if one does not pray them, there is no sin. There is also no harm if some prefer to pray these extra prayers at home or individually, as that too is the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
It is reported by Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (saws) would encourage people to perform the special prayers during Ramadan without commanding them as obligatory and he said: "Whoever prays during the nights of Ramadan [tarawih] with a firm belief and hoping for reward, all of his previous sins would be forgiven."
Related by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Maajah.
It is reported from Hadrat Aisha (r.a.) that: "The Prophet (saws) offered salah in the mosque and many people prayed with him. The next day he (saws) did the same and more people prayed with him. Then the people gathered on the third night but, the Prophet (saws) did not come out to them. In the morning, he (saws) said to them: 'Surely I saw what you did, and nothing prevented me from coming out to you, save that I feared that [that prayer] would be made obligatory upon you.' And that was during Ramadan."
Related by Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmidhi.
Reported Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit that the Prophet (saws) took a room made of date palm leaves mats in the mosque. The Prophet (saws) prayed in it for a few nights till the people gathered (to pray the night prayer (Tarawih) (behind him.) Then on the 4th night the people did not hear his voice and they thought he had slept, so some of them started humming in order that he might come out. The Prophet (saws) then said, "You continued doing what I saw you doing till I was afraid that this (Tarawih prayer) might be enjoined on you, and if it were enjoined on you, you would not continue performing it. Therefore, O people! Perform your prayers at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is what is performed at his home except the compulsory (congregational) prayer.
Related by Bukhari.
Thus, there is enough evidence that it was the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself who started the concept of Tarawih prayers in Ramadan; and thus it cannot be considered a bida or innovation.
There is indeed a narration whereby Hadrat Umar (r.a.) when he was the Khalifah, re-introduced the Sunnah of praying the Tarawih in congregation; and when he saw the believers praying, he did mention the term good bida. But this term must be taken in the colloquial sense of the Arabic language, and cannot be used as a license to start the concept of innovations in Islam!
'Umar was the one who convoked the Muslims to pray tarawih behind one imam. Abdurahman ibn Abdulqari reports: "One night during Ramadan, I went with 'Umar to the mosque and the people were praying in different groups. Some were praying by themselves and others were praying in small groups. 'Umar said: 'I think it would be better if I gathered them under one imam .' Then he did so and appointed Ubayy ibn Ka'b as the leader of the prayer. Then I went out with him on another night and all the people were praying behind one imam and 'Umar said: 'What a good innovation (bid'ah) this is,' but, it is better to sleep and delay it until the latter portion of the night." The people (however) prayed it at the beginning of the night. This is related by al-Bukhari, Ibn Khuzaimah, alBaihaqi, and others.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,