Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Bid'a
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي حذرنا من محدثاتِ الأشياء، إلا ما وافق سنة نبيه الغراء، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدٌى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع
الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
قال الله عز وجل في كتابه العزيز: وَأَنَّ هَذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ
Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “This is My Path and it is straight, so follow it. Do not follow other ways or you will become cut off from His Way.”
وعن جابر رَضِيِ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قال رَسُول اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: (فإن خير الحديث كتاب اللَّه، وخير الهدي هدي محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وشر الأمور محدثاتها، وكل بدعة ضلالة). وبعضهم زاد: (وكل ضلالة في النار).
And Jabir ibn Abdallah has narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “The best speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad, and the worst matters are those which are innovated. Every innovation is a misguidance” And, in some versions, he added, “And every misguidance is in the Fire.”
وعن عائشة رَضِيِ اللَّهُ عَنْها قالت قال رَسُول اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: “من أحدث في أمرِنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد”
And Aisha narrated him as saying, “Whenever anyone innovates something in this affair of ours that is not part of it, it is rejected.”
Most of you will have heard these hadiths before - indeed they will probably have been quoted to you on numerous occasions. And they appear to be clear in terms of their meaning - bida’ is blameworthy and haram and leads people to the Fire. But, what is this bida’ that is being referred to? Does every single act of innovation merit this fate or are there types of innovation that are acceptable or even praiseworthy? Is there such a thing as a bida’ hasana?
Some will have you believe that such a thing is an oxymoron - a contradiction in terms, pointing to the fact that the Prophet says “كل بدعة ضلالة” - “every bid‘a is a misguidance”, indicating that the ruling is general to all types of bida’ and so there cannot be such a thing as ‘a good innovation’. However, this understanding of what is meant by bida’ is contradicted by both logic as well as other hadiths. Firstly, given that bida’ has linguistically been defined as:
“كل عملٍ عُمِلَ على غيرِ مثالٍ سَبَقَ”
‘Every action that is done the like of which has not been done by anyone before’, it would imply that reading books made of paper or travelling in cars or building schools or hospitals were not permissible since they were not done in the time of the Prophet and that is clearly not the case. And second, the Prophet @ has said,
“من سنَّ فِي الإِسلامِ سُنَّةً حسنةً فلـه أجرُها وأجرُ مَن عمِلَ بها بعدَه مِن غيرِ أن ينقُصَ مِن أجورِهم شيءٌ، ومَن سنَّ في الإسلامِ سنةً سيئةً كان عليه وزرُها ووزرُ مَن عمِلَ بها مِن بعدِه مِن غيرِ أن ينقُصَ مِن أوزارِهم شيءٌ.”
“Anyone who introduces a good sunna into the deen of Islam will receive the reward for doing that sunna and the reward of everyone else who puts that sunna into practice without lessening from their reward in any way. And anyone who introduces a bad sunna into the deen of Islam will bear the sin for doing it and the sin of everyone who puts that sunna into practice without lessening from their sin in any way.” This is one of numerous hadiths to this effect, narrated by many of the Sahaba including Abu Juhayfah, Abu Hurayrah, Bilal ibn al-Harith and others, and it clearly indicates that there are some innovations that are praiseworthy.
And that was the understanding of the great men of the Sahaba, for when Umar established the tarawih in the mosque of Madina, something that had not been done on a regular basis in the lifetime of the Prophet, he said, “نعم البدعة هذه”, ”What an excellent bid‘a this is!” calling that action of his a bid‘a. And he was not the only one to establish practices that were not done in the time of the Messenger of Allah, since Uthman established a second adhan on the day of Jumua before the Imam had come out to the minbar, an adhan that had not been called in the time of the Prophet. And despite the fact that both these actions were clearly innovations that had not been done in the time of the Prophet, none of the Companions took them to task for doing them, but accepted them without demur. So, clearly, not every innovation was considered to be blameworthy, even when it was related to a matter of the deen or to an act of worship. This implies that there must be different categories of bid‘a and that not all bid‘a is haram. And such was the understanding of the vast majority of the great ‘ulama of our umma. Imam ash-Shafi’i, for example, divided bid‘a up into two types, saying:
“البدعةُ بِدعتان: محمودةٌ ومذمومةٌ، فما وافقَ السنةَ فهو محمود، وما خالفَها فهو مذموم”
“Bid‘a is of two types: praiseworthy and blameworthy. Whatever corresponds to the Sunna is praiseworthy and whatever goes against it is blameworthy.”
However, an even clearer division of bid‘a is that of Imam an-Nawawi, Imam ‘Izz ad-Din ibn ‘Abd as-Salaam, Imam al-Qarafi and others, who divided it up into five types: Obligatory, Recommended, Permissible, Disliked and Forbidden. In order to ascertain into which category a particular innovation falls, one must weigh it up according to the underlying principles and aims of the Shari‘ah. These underlying principles of the Shari‘ah are derived solely from the Qur’an and the authentic Sunna.
If the innovation fulfils an obligation of the Shari‘ah, such as ensuring the preservation of the deen or that it is passed on in a complete form to the next generations, then the innovation itself becomes wajib. Examples of obligatory innovations include writing the Qur’an down in mushafs and preserving the Arabic language by formulating books of grammar and lexicons.
If the innovation fulfils a purpose that is recommended by the Shari‘ah, such as facilitating learning or the doing of actions that are considered recommended in the deen, then the innovation itself becomes mandub. Examples of recommended innovations include the building of schools and colleges and the establishment of the tarawih prayer.
If the innovation is of those types of things that are simply permissible in the Shari‘ah, such as eating particular types of food or travelling in certain types of vehicles, then the innovation also becomes mubah. Examples of permissible innovations include sieving one’s flour, which is mentioned in the hadith literature as being one of the first innovations implemented by the Muslim community after the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah.
If the innovation is of those type of things that are disliked in the Shari‘ah then the innovation is also becomes makruh. Examples of disliked innovations include going to excess when decorating mosques.
If the innovation goes completely against the underlying principles of the Shari‘ah or falls into the category of things that are forbidden, such as taking money from those to whose wealth you have no right or making false claims about the Creator, then the innovation itself becomes haram. Examples of forbidden innovation include taxation other than zakat and declaring the Quran to be created.
These are the categories of bid‘a and only the last one could be said to be dalaala - misguidance. The term bid‘a was almost exclusively used by the early men of knowledge to refer to those who strayed from the jama‘a of the Muslims in the sphere of ‘aqidah, and not so much in the sphere of action, such as the Shi‘a, the Rationalists (Mu‘tazila) and other such groupings. Indeed, the grouping who were most commonly referred to as ‘Ahlu l-bid‘a’ - ‘The people of innovation’ - were those who outwardly appeared to conform the most to the Qur‘an and Sunna, the khawarij, since their ‘aqidah contradicted that of the ‘Ahlu-s-Sunna wa-l-Jama‘a’. As for most of the actions that certain people today call bid‘a, such as shaking hands after the prayer or celebrating the birthday of the Messenger of Allah, they do not fall into that category since they neither go against any underlying principles of the Shari‘ah nor contradict any clear text from the Qur’an or Sunna. So do not be so quick to disapprove of other people’s actions and concern yourself with ensuring that your own actions are correct and that you are holding fast to the fi’a najiyya - the jama‘a of the Muslims.
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.
When we, as human beings, remember our Lord, we are not learning anything we do not know. Rather, we are pulling back the veils to reveal something that we have forgotten. Knowledge of Allah is something that is intrinsic to the human being - it is the purpose for which he was created. Allah says,
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
the translation of which is, “I did not create jinn and men except to worship Me” with many of the commentators of Quran saying that the main meaning of ‘to worship’ here is ‘to know’. And indeed, when every human being was gathered together in the azal and was asked if Allah was their Lord, they all replied ‘balaa’. Everything in existence is in constant remembrance of Allah, glorifying and praising Him at every instant, except for human beings, because they are insaan - quick to nisyaan - forgetfulness. But there is a remedy and a treatment for their ailment. Allah says:
وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ
the translation of which is, ‘Do dhikr of your Lord when you forget.’
This is dhikr Allah, the one act of worship that can be done at any time and in any state, the one act of worship to which Allah has assigned no limits except to command that it be done a lot. Allah says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا
the translation of which is, “You who have iman! remember Allah much.”
And yet this cornerstone in the life of the believer has today become subject to the accusations of bid‘a more than any other sphere of action, especially when it is done out loud, or in groups or when it involves the recitation of qasa’id. But, as we will see, all of these things are attested to by either the Qur’an or the Sunnah, so they are not even innovations, let alone blameworthy ones.
First, the command to do dhikr is a general one, as is shown in the aya above and in many other ayas in the Qur’an. And the principle is that the ruling in an aya remains general and unrestricted unless it is restricted by another aya or by a mutawatir hadith of the Messenger of Allah. This means that all forms of dhikr must be considered permissible unless there is a specific text that expressly prohibits them. The fact that a particular type of dhikr has not been transmitted from the Prophet or his Companions is not a proof of its impermissibility, only their express disapproval or prohibition would amount to such a proof. So even if there was not a single hadith backing the practices of doing dhikr out loud or in groups or singing qasa’id, there would still be no grounds to call them blameworthy acts of innovation. But the fact is that there are plenty!
On the subject of doing dhikr in a group, Anas has narrated that the Prophet said,
“إذا مررتم برياضِ الجنةِ فارتعوا.” قالوا: “وما رياض الجنة؟” قال: “حِلَق الذكر.”
“If you pass by the meadows of the Garden, graze upon them.” The Companions asked, “What are the meadows of the Garden?” The Prophet replied, “The circles of dhikr.”
Anas also narrated that the Prophet said,
“إن لله تعالى سيارة من الملائكة يطلبون حِلَقَ الذكر، فإذا أتوا عليهم حفوا بهم.”
“Allah has a company of angels whom he sends out to search for circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them.“
Mu‘awiyya narrated that the Prophet said to a group of Companions he found sitting together in a group,
“ما يجلسكم؟” قالوا: “جلسنا نذكر الله ونحمده.” فقال: “إنه أتاني جبريل فأخبرني أن الله يباهي بكم الملائكة.”
“What has caused you to sit together?” They replied, “We have sat to do dhikr of Allah and praise Him.” So the Prophet said, “Jibril came to me and told me that Allah boasts of you to His angels.”
And Abu Hurayra narrated that the Prophet said,
“يقول الله: أنا عند ظن العبد بي وأنا معه إذا ذكرني، فإن ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي، وإن ذكرني في ملإ ذكرته في ملإ خير منهم.”
“Allah says, ‘I am according to My slave’s opinion of Me. And I am with him when He remembers Me. When he remembers Me to himself, I remember him to Myself. And when he remembers Me to a group, I remember him to an even better group.’” These hadiths provide clear proof of the permissibility and indeed of the recommended nature of doing dhikr in groups. And, indeed, the hadith of Abu Hurayra suggests that it is better than doing it alone while also suggesting that it is better to do it out loud, since remembering Allah in a gathering can only be done aloud and in unison. This emphasis on doing it out loud is further strengthened by another hadith narrated by Zayd ibn Aslam that Ibn al-Adru’ said,
انطلقت مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ليلة، فمر برجل في المسجد يرفع صوته. قلت: “يا رسول الله عسى أن يكون هذا مرائيا؟” قال: “لا، ولكنه أوّاه.”
“When I went out with the Prophet one night, he passed by a man in the mosque who was raising his voice (i.e. in dhikr or recitation). So I said to the Messenger of Allah, ‘Could it be that this man is showing off?’ He replied, ‘No, rather he is soft-hearted.’” Remembering Allah out loud and in groups is an example of at-ta’aawun ala-l-birr - helping each other to perform acts of goodness.
As for the practice of reciting qasaa’id, such as the burda of Imam al-Busayri or the diwans of the great men of Allah, this too has its basis in the Sunna, for the Ansar sung the qasidah ‘Tala’u al-badr ‘alayna’ when the Prophet arrived in Madina and he did not reprimand them for that. And he even commanded Hassan ibn Thabit to mount the mimbar in order recite verses in praise of the Prophet, saying about him:
“الله يؤيد حسان بروح القدس ما نافح أو فاخر عن رسول الله”
“Allah aids Hassan by means of the Ruh al-Qudus as long as he is defending and boasting about the Messenger of Allah .” I have mentioned these hadiths, not only to prove that these particular practices have strong bases in the Quran and Sunna, but also to indicate that our lack of knowledge about them does not make them bid‘a. Indeed, this word is one that the vast majority of us should steer clear of for fear that we might disapprove of an action that was approved of by the Prophet, his Companions and the great men of knowledge of our umma, and for fear that we might make something unlawful that is lawful and good in the sight of Allah.
قال الله تعالى: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ
Allah says, the translation of which is, “You who have iman! do not make haram the good things Allah has made halal for you.”
The deen is much broader than you know, so beware of speaking without knowledge. May Allah increase us in knowledge and increase us in dhikr, fikr and himma. May He protect us from blameworthy innovation and increase us in praiseworthy innovation so that we may receive the reward of everyone who acts by it. May he give us the necessary discrimination to always follow the Haqq and always steer clear of the Batil.
إنَّ اللهَ ومَلائِكَتَهُ يُصلُّونَ على النَّبِي يَا أَيُها الذينَ آمنوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وسَلِّمُوا تَسْليماً. اللهمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّم وبارِك عَلَيْهِ وعلى آلِهِ وصَحْبِهِ أجمعين.
وارض اللهم عن الخلفاء الراشدين المرشدين الحنفاء ساداتنا وأئمتنا أبي بكر وعمر وعثمان وعلي ، وعن سائر الصحابة أجمعين، خصوصا الأنصار منهم والمهاجرين، وعن التابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
اللهم اهد أولات أمور المسلمين لما يرضيك ولاتباع سنة نبيك صلى الله عليه وسلم وثبت أقدامهم على الصراط المستقيم وأصلحهم يا رب العالمين.
اللهم بارك على شيخنا، و على أميرنا، وعلى جميع أمراء وزعماء المسلمين.
اللهم بارك على المسلمين في هذه المدينة ووفقهم لما تحبه وترضاه يا أكرم الأكرمين.
اللهمّ أَعِزَّ الْلإسلامَ والمُسِلمينَ (3) واَخْذُلِ الكُفْرَ والكافِرينَ، وانْصُرِ المُجاهِدينَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ. واجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وكَلِمَةَ الكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلى.
ربنا ءاتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الأخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار.
اللهم لا تضعْ في مقامِنا هذا ذنبا إلا غفرْتَه، ولا عيبا إلا سترْتَه، ولا مريضا إلا شفيتَهُ وعافيتَه، ولا مسجونا إلا طلَّقْتَ سراحَه، ولا مسافرا في برِّك وبحرِك إلا سلِمتَهُ وغنِمْتَه.
إن الله يأمر بالعدل والإحسان وإيتاء ذي القربى وينهى عَنِ الفحشاءِ والمُنكَرِ والبغي، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون، ولَذِكْرُ اللهِ أكبر والله يَعْلَمُ ما تَصْنَعُون. وقُومُوا إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يرحمكم الله