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Thursday, January 01, 2009

WHAT DOES BID’AT MEAN?

Bid’at means something which has been invented later. They are things that did not exist during the time of our Prophet ‘sall-Allahu alaihi wa sallam’ and his four Khalifas (caliphs) ‘radiyallahu ’anhum’ and which have been invented later in Islam and which people have been doing as worships. For example, since it is necessary to recite the Ayat-al-kursi immediately after each namaz [1], it is bid’at to recite the Salatan tunjina or other prayers first. They should be recited after the Ayat-al-kursi and tesbihs. It is bid’at to prostrate and then stand up after finishing a namaz. It is bid’at to call the adhan through loudspeakers.

Any change or reform made in Islam is bid’at. But it is not bid’at to use such things as forks, spoons, ties, to drink coffee, tea, or to smoke, for they are not worships; they are customs, habits, and are mubah. They are not haram. To do them does not cause one to omit what the religion commands or to do what it prohibits. It is written in Hadiqa-tun-nadiyya, “If the bid’at is something not pertaining to the religion or worship, and if it involves customs, our religion does not reject it. If we do not intend to do worship, i. e. , to attain closeness to Allahu ta’ala and if we only think of doing something worldly in eating, drinking, dressing, getting vehicles, building, dwelling and home care, these are not bid'at unless them do not prevent us from doing any worship or cause us to commit any prohibited thing. Our religion does not prohibit them.”

There are three kinds of bid’at:
1- It is the worst bid’at to use-without any darurat (compulsion)-those things which the Shari’at [2] says to be the signs of disbelief. On page 467 of al-Bariqa and 696 of Majma’ al-anhur, it is written that the ’ulama’ [3] said, “It is permissible to use them to deceive (khud’a) the disbelievers in dar al-harb.”
2- Tenets of belief which disagree with what is communicated by the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat [4] are also evil bid’ats.
3- Reforms made in the name of worship are bid’ats in worship and are grave sins. Some ’ulama’ divided the bid’ats in ’ibadat or ’amal into the hasana and sayyia. Al-Imam ar-Rabbani ‘rahmatullahi ’aleyh’ did not say ‘bid’ats’ about those bid’ats which scholars termed ‘hasana’. He called them ‘sunnat-i-hasana’. He said ‘bid’ats’ about those which they termed ‘bid’at-i-sayyia’, and he condemned such bid’ats.
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GLOSSARY
[1] namaz: prayer that is performed five times per day in Islam.
[2] Shari’at: (pl. of Shari’a) i) rules and commandments as a whole of the religion. ii) religion.
[3] ’ulama: pl. of ‘alim; ‘ulama’ ar-rasihin, those learned in both zahiri and batini sciences.
[4] Ahl as-Sunna (wa’l-Jama’a): the true pious Muslims who follow as-Sahabat al-kiram. These are called Sunni Muslims. A Sunni Muslim adapts himself to one of the four Madhhabs. These madhhabs are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali.

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