As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 9


The argument that Mawlid is a Bidah Husna (good innovation) because it is a means of showing gratitude towards Allah for His sending of the Prophet

The Objection that the celebration of Mawlid an-Nabawi was innovated by King Malik Adil Alim with the intention of achieving ‘closeness to Allah.'
Reply: Bidah cannot be accepted from anyone; whoever it might be and good intention does not make permissible an evil deed.

The argument that Mawlid is a Bidah Husna (good innovation) because it is a means of showing gratitude towards Allah for His sending of the Prophet (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam).!
Reply: There is nothing good in Bidah, Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'Whosoever innovates in our religion that is not from it, will have it rejected.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee] He (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) also said, 'Every innovation is a misguidance.' [Musnad Ahmad (4/126) Tirmidhee (2676)] So, he (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) declared all forms of Bidah as misguidance and you say, 'Not all forms of Bidah are misguidance; there is Bidah Husna!’ (*5)
Ibn Rajab said in Sharh al-Arba'een, 'The saying of Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam), 'Every Bidah is misguidance’ is a comprehensive word, which does not exclude anything (of the Bidah) and it is a great fundamental of the Deen, like his (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) saying, 'Whosoever innovates in our religion, which is not from it will have it rejected.' [Saheeh al-Bukharee (3/167/2697) Fath al-Baree (5/355)] So everyone who innovates and ascribes it to the religion and it does not have any basis in the religion, then it is an innovation and the religion is free from it, whether it is from the issues of Aqeedah (beliefs), outward/inward actions or statements.'

Their Proofs: They do not have any proof to withstand their claim except the saying of Umar t concerning Salaat at-Taraweeh, 'What a good Bidah this is!' [Agreed upon] They also claim that there existed innovations (at the time of the Salaf), which were not disliked by the Salaf like, gathering all the Qur'aan in one book, writing and documentation of the Hadeeth.

Reply: All these actions have origin in the religion and thus are not innovations.
The saying of Umar, 'What a good Bidah is this?' he meant with it 'Bidah Lughwiay (innovation in the linguistic form)' and not 'Bidah Sharee'ah' (i.e., innovation in the religion) for, something that has an origin in the Sharee'ah, if it is said concerning it, 'it is a bidah' it means Bidah in the linguistic form and not a Bidah in the Sharee'ah because Bidah in the Sharee'ah is something that has no origin in the Sharee'ah.(*6)
Gathering the Qur'aan has basis in the Sharee'ah because the Prophet (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) approved and ordered writing of the Qur'aan, though it was inscribed in the dispersed form. The Sahabah collected it in one book in order to preserve it.
As far as Taraweeh is concerned, Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) performed Taraweeh with his Sahabah. However, he later discontinued it fearing that it might become an obligatory duty upon them. However, the Sahabah continued praying Taraweeh in separate groups during the life of Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) and after his death until Umar t gathered them behind one Imam like they used to pray behind Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) and so, this is not a Bidah in the religion.
Documentation of the Hadeeth also has roots in the Sharee'ah. Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) ordered writing of some Ahadeeth for some Sahabah upon request. The documentation was prohibited in general at the time of Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) fearing that something might be added to the Qur'aan which was not from it. After the death of Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam), the cause (behind this prohibition) ended (because the Qur'aan had been completed and the arrangement of verses were also determined). So, the Muslims wrote down the Sunnah in order to preserve it from being lost. May Allah grant them good returns for their efforts in safeguarding the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger from being disoriented…

Translators Notes:

(5) Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says in 'Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqeem' that it is not Halaal for someone to contradict this comprehensive statement of Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam), 'Every Bidah is misguidance' by depriving the statement of its generality and claiming that not every innovation is an astray because by doing this you are closer to opposing the Messenger of Allah than to misinterpreting (his statement). Verily, the generality of the statement of Allah's Messenger is very clear in this comprehensive statement.' Shaikhul-Islam also said that to specify/restrict a general ruling without a proof from the Book or Sunnah or Ijma is not acceptable. It is obligatory to stick to the generality of the statement.[Quoted from 'Hukm al-Ihtifal bil-Mawlid war-Radd ala man ajaaz' ]

(6) Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah explained the meaning Bidah saying, 'Linguistically Bidah is everything that is carried out for the first time without a similar example in the past and Bidah in the Sharee'ah is everything that does not have any proof from the Sharee'ah.'
Shaikhul-Islam also said that if Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) in his lifetime points towards an action to be recommended (Mustahabb) or obligatory but it is not acted upon until after his death then such an action is linguistically called Bidah because it is a new action.
Shaikhul-Islam further explained that during the life-time of Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam), people used to establish the Qiyam of Ramadaan in Jama'ah but on the third or fourth night Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) explained that nothing prohibited him from coming out to pray with the companions except the fear that Taraweeh might be made obligatory upon the Ummah... So, the excuse of not coming out to pray was the fear of obligation and it is established that if there was no such fear then Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) would have come out. Such a fear was non-existent at the time of Umar (because the revelation was completed) and so Umar gathered the people behind one Imam and the Masjid was lit up (with the people who joined in the Jamaah) and this (delightful) atmosphere came into existence. So, this action of gathering in the Masjid behind one Imam, was not performed by the people before and thus, Umar called it a Bidah because it is a new action in the linguistic form. And it is not a Bidah in the Sharee'ah because the Sunnah has established that it is a righteous action if there was no fear of obligation, and this fear vanished with the death of Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam).…
Shaikhul-Islam also says that Salat Taraweeh is not a Bidah in the Sharee'ah rather it is a Sunnah of Allah's Messenger and he (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) performed it, and he said, 'Allah has made the fasts of Ramadaan obligatory upon you and made Qiyaam a Sunnah.' Also praying it in the Jama'ah is not a Bidah because Allah's Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) is known to have performed this prayer in Jama'ah in the beginning of the Ramadaan for two nights, rather three nights. He (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) also established this Salaat many times during the last ten days and he (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) said, 'If a man prays behind the Imam until he (the Imam) completes his prayer then the reward of performing Qiyaam during the whole night will be recorded for him.' … and this saying of his (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) is an encouragement to perform Qiyaam behind the Imam and it further establishes that Qiyaam is a Sunnah and people used to pray in groups during his (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) time and he (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) approved of them and his (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) approval is a Sunnah. [See, Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqeem. Quoted from 'Hukm al-Ihtifal bil-Mawlid war-Radd ala man ajaaz' by Shaikh Muhammad ibn Ibraheem Aal-Shaikh (rahimahullah)]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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