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We believe that a true and comprehensive understanding of Islam would not be possible without careful recognition of the Prophetic Tradition and the Prophet's Household. And Allah is the Source of Strength.

Bida; Innovation in Islam

Muslim minds have a tendency to think small. Maybe due to the lack of comprehension that with the change in time, advancement in sciences, some things can change, while the rest, will remain the same no matter what. People claim that the original version of Islam is the one they themselves follow. What about the rest? They are simply followers of innovations or bidat. What is innovation exactly?

(He is the Badi` of the heavens and the earth) Meaning He originated, created, invented and brought them into existence without precedence, as Mujahid and As-Suddi said. This is why the word for innovation - Bid`ah - comes from it, because it is something that did not have a precedence.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafseer of Surah 6, Verse 101

Thus to create something out of nothing is Badi. Bida is a derivation from it and means to innovate or introduce something new to an already established platform.

For example, cars have existed since the earlier 20th century, but the introduction of central locking systems is an innovative addition to the cars. It is an add-on. The car itself is not an innovation because it was created out of nothing. Additions/changes to the original car will be innovatory.

Shias are blamed to practice Bida in Islam. I would not conclude who practices what at this stage. We all practice things in our daily life which were alien to the Islam Prophet (SAW) brought, whether be a shia, or a Sunni. It is important to differentiate these alien practices from the innovation in religion, the innovation about which we are warned about.

According to the ignorant, a Bid'ah is that innovation which came into practice after the blessed age of the Prophet be it worldly or religious, things which were not present at the time of Rasool and were brought in the religion later on.

If this is the case, then alien practices, such as Construction of Madressas is innovation, Dividing the Quran into thirty parts and printing the Holy Book and other religious books in the press is bida, The compilation of I'lm-e-Hadith and Fiqh is bida and to put down the Holy verses of the Quran in paper form is innovation.

We play football and drive cars and use toothpastes. We do not see such practices being performed by the Prophet (SAW) or during his era. But we do not attribute such activities to be a part of religion, neither do these activities violate any Prophetic order. Thus such activities maybe alien to Islam, but are in no way a part of Islam. As they are not violating any order of Prophet (SAW), nor are they changing any ideology which Prophet (SAW) clearly defined, these alien activities cannot be termed as an Innovation.

Then, We sent after them Our Messengers, and We sent `Isa the son of Maryam, and gave him the Injil. And We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him, compassion and mercy. But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them, but (they sought it) only to please Allah therewith, but that they did not observe it with the right observance. So, We gave those among them who believed, their (due) reward; but many of them are rebellious.)
Quran [57:27]

According to this verse of the Quran, the people of Isa (AS) invented/innovated Monasticism on their own. It wasn't ordained for them. They desired to please Allah with this innovation of theirs. As this invention didn't contradict any order of Allah or Isa (AS), this invention is not criticized. The only thing that is criticized is their failure to practice rightly something which they themselves innovated.

Any innovation which is not against any pillars of Islam, orders of Quran or teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is not an offensive innovation. Examples can be, as stated earlier, printing the Quran in book form, to hold gatherings of Meelad etc. These activities were not present in the time of Prophet (SAW), these were neither prescribed by the Prophet. But these activities do not violate any doctrine of Islam and thus these activities cannot be termed as an offensive innovation.

Bid'ah-e-Hasana or praise worthy innovation is not only permissable (Ja'iz) but at times it can be appreciable (Mustahab) and even essential (Waajib). 

On the other hand, altering any Quranic order or clear Prophetic order is as if giving weightage to your own opinion than the revelation by Allah.

O you who believe! be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Messenger, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
Quran [49:1]

This is the foremost and basic demand of the Faith. If the person who regards Allah as his Lord and accepts Allah's Messenger as his guide and leader. is true in his belief, he can never have the attitude that he should give his own opinion and view precedence over the decision of Allah and His Messenger, or -should adopt an independent opinion in the matters, and pass his own judgments without caring to find out whether Allah and His Messenger have given any guidance in those matters or not, and if they have given it, what it is. That is why it has been said "O believers, do not go `in advance' of Allah and His Messenger. " That is, "Do not go ahead of them, but follow behind: Do not precede them, but be subordinate to them. " This Command is, in its application and effect, a step further to verse 36 of AI-Ahzab. There it was said: `It dces not behove a believing man and a believing woman that when Allah and His Messenger have given their decision in a matter, they should exercise an Option in that matter of theirs", and here it is said that the believers should not decide their matters themselves by their own initiative, but should look for guidance in Allah's Book and His Prophet's Sunnah concerning those matters. ......

....when the Holy Prophet was sending Hadrat Mu'adh bin Jabal to the Yaman as a judge, he asked him: "By what will you decide the matters?" He submitted: "By the Book of AIIah. " The Holy Prophet said: "If you do not find the Command concerning a matter in the Book of AIIah, what will you turn to?" He replied "To the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger. " The Holy Prophet asked "If this also fails you?" He replied: "Then I shall exert and find out a solution by myself. " Thereupon the Holy Prophet placed his hand on Hadrat Mu'adh's chest and said: "Thank God Who has helped His Messenger's deputy to adopt the way that is approved by His Messenger. " This giving of precedence to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger over one's own exercise to find out a solution and to turn to them first to obtain guidance is the Thing that marks the distinction between a Muslim judge and a non-Muslim judge.....

That is, "If ever you adopted an attitude of independence as against Allah and His Messenger, or gave priority to your own opinion and view over their Command, you should know that you have to deal with that God Who is hearing whatever you utter and is even aware of your secret intentions. "
Tafheem ul Quran, By Abul Ala Maududi, Tafseer of Surah 49, Verse 1

Thus Bid'ah-e-Sai'iyya or offensive innovation is that action which was not in practice in the blessed age of the Holy Prophet and which contradicts with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Giving your own opinions over matter which are clearly decided by Allah and his Prophet (SAW), and altering these decisions is what an offensive innovation is.

For example, if Prophet (SAW) commanded to perform a religious obligation in one way, but someone alters it later on due to any reason, it is as if exercising your own opinion over the laws of Quran and decisions of Prophet (SAW).

I will discuss Shia innovations later. It is first important to know who introduced what in Islam and were these innovations against the orders of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

... As for the appointment of the six people by 'Umar, it was a nomination to them by him upon the request of the Muslims. Then 'Abdul Rahman ibn 'Auf consulted the Muslims about whom they wanted from the six people. The majority wanted 'Ali if he adhered to the practices of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, otherwise they wanted 'Uthman. When 'Ali rejected to adhere to the practices (Sunnah) of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, 'Abdul Rahman ibn 'Auf gave the pledge to 'Uthman and the people gave their pledge ……"
Tareekh Abu Fida Volume 1 page 166 Dhikr Maqaathil Umar
Tareekh Tabari Volume 5 page 2793 Dhikr Sunnat Chapter 23

Khilafat has always been the most important issue in Islam. What made Imam Ali Reject it? What was wrong in following the previous two Caliphs?

I will let you decide

O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at their `Iddah and count their `Iddah. And have Taqwa of Allah, your Lord. And turn them not out of their homes nor shall they leave, except in case they are guilty of Fahishah Mubayyinah. And those are the set limits of Allah. And whosoever transgresses the set limits of Allah, then indeed he has wronged himself. You know not, it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass. Then when they are about to attain their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner or part with them in a good manner. And take as witness two just persons from among you. And establish the testimony for Allah. That will be an admonition given to him who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And whosoever has Taqwa of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out.
Quran [65:1-2]

Thus pronouncing of three divorces at the same time is not what is prescribed by Allah.

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: Tawus said: AbusSahba' said to Ibn Abbas: Do you know that a divorce by three pronouncements was made a single one during the time of the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), and of AbuBakr and in the early days of the caliphate of Umar? He replied: Yes.
Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Hadith 2194

Abu al-Sahba' said to Ibn 'Abbas: Enlighten us with your information whether the three divorces (pronounced at one and the same time) were not treated as one during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and Abu Bakr. He said: It was in fact so, but when during the caliphate of 'Umar (Allah be pleased with him) people began to pronounce divorce frequently, he allowed them to do so (to treat pronouncements of three divorces in a single breath as one).
Sahih Muslim, Book 9, Hadith 3493

Ibn 'Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) reported that the (pronouncement) of three divorces during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and that of Abu Bakr and two years of the caliphate of Umar (Allah be pleased with him) (was treated) as one. But Umar b. Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) said: Verily the people have begun to hasten in the matter in which they are required to observe respite. So if we had imposed this upon them, and he imposed it upon them.
Sahih Muslim, Book 9, Hadith 3491

Pronouncing of three divorces at the same time was considered as one divorce only. The believer will have to wait for iddah period with the option to divorce his wife again or reconcile and take her back. This is however what Quran orders and what Prophet (SAW) taught. Umer however altered this Quranic and Prophetic verdict. He made divorce legal by pronouncing of three divorces at the same time. What ever justifications may he or anyone else give, does he really have the right to innovate the method of divorce?

Qur'an makes it Obligatory to take 2 persons as witness when one wants to give Talaq/divorce. Umar, by imposing the law of pronouncement of three divorces at same place and same time, also abandoned the rule of taking witnesses. (According to Shia Fiqh, divorce can only take place in the presence of two witnesses). 

Note that by altering the prescribed method of divorce, Umer exercises his own opinion over that of Allah and his Prophet (SAW). Times change. But isn't Allah omnipotent? Shouldn't his law be valid for all time, for all people? I will not comment anymore.

Ramadan is a blessed month. Everyone tries to remember Allah, or pretends to do so. Everyone involves themselves with some act of worship. But i must say, that no act of worship is as much made fun of as Tarawih is. My friends, sunnis, wahabis, tell me their experiences of tarawih prayers, how they were kicked out of the mosques for pushing each other during the act of worship. But let us talk about facts and not about a handful on unserious people.

The Tarawih prayed by all sunni muslims around the world, are they gaining blessings of Allah by doing so or the anger of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)?

Prophet Muhammad offered (and people joined behind him for 3 nights) night prayer (Tahajjud prayer which is offered after midnight). So, what is known as Tarawih nowadays (i.e. 20 or 8 rakat prayer after Isha prayer), had never been a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad. Infact, the prophet gave clear orders that non-compulsory prayers should be offered individually in the homes. But contrary to the orders of Rasool (SAW), Umar collected the people in mosque, and started offering non-compulsory congregational prayer in congregation.

Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Allah's Apostle made a small room (with a palm leaf mat). Allah's Apostle came out (of his house) and prayed in it. Some men came and joined him in his prayer. Then again the next night they came for the prayer, but Allah's Apostle delayed and did not come out to them. So they raised their voices and knocked the door with small stones (to draw his attention). He came out to them in a state of ANGER, saying, "You are still insisting (on your deed, i.e. Tarawih prayer in the mosque) that I thought that this prayer (Tarawih) might become obligatory on you. So you people, offer this prayer at your homes, for the best prayer of a person is the one which he offers at home, except the compulsory (congregational) prayer." 
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 134

Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: The Prophet took a room made of date palm leaves mats in the mosque. Allah's Apostle 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 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." 
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 393

You can read that;

So tell me. If you disobey the Prophet (SAW) in anyway, will your prayers get accepted? You worship Allah. But your duty is to please the Prophet of Allah. Your worship is worthless if you earn the anger of Allah or his Prophet (SAW) through it.

To you they swear by Allah. In order to please you: But it is more fitting that they should please Allah and His Messenger, if they are Believers.
Quran [9:62]

Where does the modern version of tarawih come from?

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever prayed at night the whole month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven." Ibn Shihab (a sub-narrator) said, "Allah's Apostle died and the people continued observing that (i.e. Nawafil offered individually, not in congregation), and it remained as it was during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and in the early days of 'Umar's Caliphate." 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Abdul Qari said, "I went out in the company of 'Umar bin Al-Khattab one night in Ramadan to the mosque and found the people praying in different groups. A man praying alone or a man praying with a little group behind him. So, 'Umar said, 'in my opinion I would better collect these (people) under the leadership of one Qari (Reciter) (i.e. let them pray in congregation!)'. So, he made up his mind to congregate them behind Ubai bin Ka'b. Then on another night I went again in his company and the people were praying behind their reciter. On that, 'Umar remarked, 'what an excellent Bid'a (i.e. innovation in religion) this is; but the prayer which they do not perform, but sleep at its time is better than the one they are offering.' He meant the prayer in the last part of the night (Tahajjut). (In those days) people used to pray in the early part of the night." 
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 32, Number 227

What do we know now?

Thus people who claim that tarawih is a sunnat of Prophet (SAW) are either ignorant of this fact, or are liars. Now you know why the shias do not perform tarawih the way nonshias do. In Ramadan, Shias stay at home, read Quran and pray their individual prayers as ordered by the Prophet of Allah. Those who follow the innovation of Tarawih, do you think you earn the blessings of Allah because Allah wants your prayers, or do you think you earn the anger of Prophet (SAW), because you disobey him by performing it in congregation.

Clear innovation, and that too against the pleasure of Prophet Muhammad. I ask the followers of Umer, do you love the Prophet or not? If yes, then why do you do which he disliked? Why are you following the Sunnah of Umer?

Continuing on the path of facts, of which orders contradict the opinions and views and commands of Prophet (SAW) and who is responsible for their introduction.

Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the muadhdhin came to Umar ibn al-Khattab to call him to the subh prayer and found him sleeping, so he said, "Prayer is better than sleep," and Umar ordered him to put that in the adhan for subh.
Mawatta of Malik, Book 3, Number 3.1.8

Can you show from the times of Prophet Muhammad, or even Abu Bakr, if such a thing was found in the adhan??

Muta is allowed by Prophet (SAW). Muta is in the Quran. Umer forbade Muta, which adds to the list of offensive innovations he commited. I ask the followers of Sunnah, do you really know whose sunnah are you following? Please follow the sunnah of Prophet (SAW) and not the innovations of Umer, even if you love the caliph. Read here about Muta.

Let us now look at the innovations of other Companions.

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Umar: I offered the prayer with the Prophet, Abu Bakr and 'Umar at Mina and it was of two Rakat. 'Uthman in the early days of his caliphate did the same, but later on he started praying the full prayer.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 20, Number 190
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 20, Number 188

Narrated 'Aisha: "When the prayers were first enjoined they were of two Rakat each. Later the prayer in a journey was kept as it was but the prayers for non-travellers were completed." Az-Zuhri said, "I asked 'Urwa what made Aisha pray the full prayers (in journey)." He replied, "She did the same as 'Uthman did." 
Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1460
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 20, Number 196

These traditions are self explanatory.

Narrated 'Aisha: We set out with Allah's Apostles (to Makka) in the year of the Prophet's Last Hajj. Some of us had assumed Ihram for 'Umra only, some for both Hajj and 'Umra, and others for Hajj only. Allah's Apostle assumed Ihram for Hajj. So whoever had assumed Ihram for Hajj or for both Hajj and 'Umra did not finish the Ihram till the day of sacrifice.
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 633
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 639

Narrated Said bin Al-Musaiyab: 'Ali and 'Uthman differed regarding Hajj-at-Tamattu' while they were at 'Usfan (a familiar place near Makka). 'Ali said, "I see you want to forbid people to do a thing that the Prophet did?" When 'Ali saw that, he assumed Ihram for both Hajj and 'Umra. 
Sahih Muslim, Book 007, Number 2816
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 26, Number 640

'Imran b. Hussain (Allah be pleased with him) reported: We performed Tamattu' (Hajj and 'Umra combining together) in the company of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and nothing was revealed in the Qur'an (concerning the abrogation of this practice), and whatever a person (Hadhrat 'Umar) said was his personal opinion. 'Imran b. Hussain narrated this hadith (in these words also):" Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) performed Hajj Tamattu' and we also performed it along with him."
Sahih Bukhari, Book 007, Number 2830

Where are the people who call the Shias kaafirs and followers of innovations. If the Shia actions are innovations, then Umer, Uthman and Ayesha are bigger innovators, because they contradict Quranic teachings and Prophetic sayings through their own opinions.

Narrated Ibn Al-Hanafiya: If Ali had spoken anything bad about 'Uthman then he would have mentioned the day when some persons came to him and complained about the Zakat officials of 'Uthman. 'Ali then said to me, "Go to 'Uthman and say to him, 'This document contains the regulations of spending the Sadaqa of Allah's Apostle so order your Zakat officials to act accordingly." I took the document to 'Uthman. 'Uthman said, "Take it away, for we are not in need of it." I returned to 'Ali with it and informed him of that. He said, "Put it whence you took it."
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 53, Number 343

So Uthman did not need the regulations for spending of Sadaqah as the Prophet (SAW) prescribed. Certain companions have a history of being over-clever and not taking what the Prophet is giving them. Remember the incident of the Pen and Paper, where Prophet (SAW) wanted to write three things after no one from his Ummah will go astray, but Umer argued that Quran was sufficient for them and they did not require the things Prophet (SAW) was offering them.

Narrated As-Sa'ib bin Yazid I : 'Uthman bin 'Affan introduced the second Adhan on Fridays when the number of the people in the mosque increased. Previously the Adhan on Fridays used to be pronounced only after the Imam had taken his seat (on the pulpit).
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 38

Still thinking in your mind that Shias follow innovations? Look at your own claim of following the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) first. I assure you the shia innovations will be discussed before i finish the article off. But first, i must mention few things.

(Thus do We recompense those who invent lies) is for all those who invent an innovation (in religion). Surely, the disgrace resulting from inventing an innovation (in religion) and defying Allah's Message, will be placed in the heart and from there on to the shoulders. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said; "The disgrace of innovation will weigh on their shoulders even if they were to gallop on their mules or trot on their work horses.'' Ayyub As-Sakhtiyani narrated from Abu Qilabah Al-Jarmi that he commented on this Ayah, (Thus do We recompense those who invent lies.) "By Allah! This Ayah is for all those who invent a lie, until the Day of Resurrection.'' Also, Sufyan bin `Uyaynah said, "Every person who invents a Bid`ah (innovation in the religion) will taste disgrace.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 7, Verse 152

And do not describe what your tongues have lied about, saying: "This is lawful and this is forbidden,'' to invent lies against Allah.) This includes everyone who comes up with an innovation (Bid`ah) for which he has no evidence from the Shari`ah, or whoever declares something lawful that Allah has forbidden, or whoever declares something unlawful that Allah has permitted, only because it suits his opinions or whim to do so.
Tafsir Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 16, Verse 116

Thus we agree that who ever innovates something for which he has no evidence from Shariah, it is as if inventing lies against Allah and a highly punishable act.

Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "Some of my companions will come to me at my Lake Fount, and after I recognize them, they will then be taken away from me, whereupon I will say, 'My companions!' Then it will be said, 'You do not know what they innovated (new things) in the religion after you."
Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith 584

So we get to know that;

I wonder who these companions are?

As far as the innovative practices of Shias are concerned, I assume that they are;

  1. Mourning for Imam Hussain and all practices affiliated with it
  2. Alteration of the Kalima

I can not think of anymore. The links will provide you with a detailed account of these alleged innovations. They can be termed innovations in regards to their non-existence during the lifetime of Prophet (SAW). But no shia claims them to be a part of religion first of all. Because the Prophet (SAW) completed the religion during his own lifetime.

 ...This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; ....
 Quran [5:3]

Mourning for Imam Hussain (AS) is not farz. Mourning for Imam Hussain (AS) is not a part of Islam. Mourning for Imam Hussain (AS) is a part of our love for him, and love for him is a part of Islam. The above mentioned practices do not violate any Order of Prophet (SAW), or verdict of the Quran, thus they cannot be termed as innovations, or offensive innovations.

The Shias, are first Muslims, for we believe in the oneness of Allah and Prophethood of Prophet (SAW). We believe that respect, love and obedience to Prophet (SAW) should be unconditional. The Shias are then Sunnis, for we follow the sunnah of Prophet (SAW), the sunnah of Ramadan prayers, the sunnah of loving the Ahlulbayt. The Shias are then Shias, Shias of Ali, for we follow Ali and love him as Prophet (SAW) has told us to do. As far as innovations are concerned, defenders of Umer, Usman and Ayesha have some hard work to do.

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