The term Bid’ah literally means innovation. Many people have invented new practices in our religion, which neither Allah (swt) nor the messenger (sa) commanded us to act upon. As Muslims, it is necessary to believe that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) bought us the complete religion in its most perfect form.
As the Quran says, “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah 5:3)
This verse confirms that our religion Islam is complete, and does not require any additions or omissions from it. Islam is such an amazing religion that it teaches us how to behave in every situation of life- be it at a funeral, a wedding, visiting the sick or even in the bathroom. As Muslims, we believe that by following the Prophet (sa) in every aspect of life, we will be successful in this life and the hereafter because his lifestyle is that of moderation.
Unfortunately, many Muslims have innovated numerous practices in Islam that were neither done by the Prophet (sa) nor commanded by Allah (swt) in the Quran. By doing such an act, they imply a number of things. Did the Prophet (sa) fail in bringing us the complete religion? Was Allah’s (swt) religion not perfect for you that you had to make some additions to Islam? Is the Quran not accurate for Allah (swt) says that He has completed and perfected the religion? Please reflect upon these questions fellow Muslims because Allah (swt) is perfect, His system is perfect and there is no fault in whatever He has given and gives us.
Bid’ah is something:
- we consider a part of Islam,
- for which there is no evidence in the Quran or Sunnah,
- we believe we can get rewards from Allah (swt) for carrying out this practice.
This is a litmus test for identifying any practice that is a Bid’ah. So, whenever you do something that you consider a part of Islam, ask yourself, did the Prophet (sa) do this? Does Allah (swt) command us to do this?
Here are some practices we consider a part of Islam, but they are in fact Bid’ah!
-Offering Fatiha at the grave: The Prophet (sa) has never been recorded to have offered Fatiha at anyone’s grave. In fact, he indirectly prohibited it as shown by the following Hadeeth in which Aisha (ra) asked the Prophet (sa) what to say when she visited the graveyard. He replied to send Salam upon them and to pray for them. He did not tell her to recite Fatiha or any chapter of the Quran. It is prohibited to recite the Quran in graveyards for the Prophet (sa) said: “Do not make your houses graveyards, for verily Satan flees from the house in which Surah Al Baqarah is recited.” Thus, our houses should not resemble graveyards where no chapter from the Quran is read.
-Events such as the Birthday of the Prophet (sa) (Maulad-e-Nabi). Neither the Prophet (sa) nor the companions (rta) celebrated such an event in their lives. However, just to imitate the Christians, Muslims have started doing so. They celebrate Jesus’s (as) birthday on the 25th of December, so we should celebrate our Prophet’s (sa) birthday too, right? Other events such as Qul or mourning on the 3rd, 10th or 40th day of death have no roots in our religion.
List of Bid’ah
- Offering Fatiha at graves or reciting Quran there.
- Celebrating the Prophet’s (sa) Birthday
- Shab-e-Mairaj on the 27th of Rajab (night of ascension) or Shab-e-Barat on the 15th of Shaban.
- Mourning on the 3rd, 10th and 40th and the yearly anniversary of the deceased.
According to Hadeeth, only three things increase the deceased’s reward namely Sadaqah, knowledge they taught and pious children who make Dua for them.
- Placing the Quran over the bride’s head.
- Celebrating Urs (yearly festival of saints).
- Sacrificing animals in the name of saints or even the Prophet (sa). We should perform all acts of righteousness only in the name of Allah (swt). Practices such as cooking food, or sacrificing animals in the name of the Prophet (sa) or for him are forbidden.
The Quran says, “Say (O Muhammad (sa)): “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).”(Al-Anam 6:162)
In Saheeh Muslim, it has been reported by Ali (ra) that the Prophet said: “Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who sacrifices to anything other than Allah (swt); Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who curses his own parents; Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who shelters an innovator; and Allah’s (swt) curse is upon the one who alters the landmarks.”
- Dowry (Jehez) given by women to men. This practice is not part of the Sunnah and has not been commanded by the Quran, but in fact, is a part of the Hindu culture and ours as well. Such a practice is highly disliked because it creates many obstacles for women trying to get married.
- Wearing good luck charms, talismans, amulets and the like. Good and bad only come from Allah (swt), and these objects have no power to change what Allah (swt) wants to happen. It is Shirk to believe that such objects can bring good, or prevent any bad from happening that Allah (swt) has already decreed. “And invoke not besides Allah, any that will neither profit you, nor hurt you, but if (in case) you did so, you shall certainly be one of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)”(Yunus 10:106)
- Building structures on graves.
- We should not sacrifice or pray to Allah (swt) where shirk is committed. The concept that prayer is likely to be accepted at “Special places” such as graves of known or famous people is also wrong.
- Covering the head during call to prayer. There is no evidence that the female companions during the Prophet’s (sa) time did this. Also, the Adhan is not the recitation of Quran, but simply a call to prayer in the Arabic language.
Kindly, ponder upon these points and carry out research regarding these topics, as little knowledge is dangerous; hence, it is important not to follow others blindly. Rest Allah (swt) knows best!