Al-Faadhil Dr. Afifi Al-Akiti on Bid’ah

Bismillahi wal Hamdulillahi, Al-Khairu wash-Sharru bi mashie-Atillah, Wa Solatu wa salaamu ‘ala Rasulillahi Muhammad ibni ‘Abdillah wa ‘ala aalihi wa man waalah

During a recent conference organized by Sout Ilaahi, Dr. Afifi was asked a question pertaining to the above-mentioned issue. He gave quite a lengthy reply which includes some of the following points (this is from the first part):

(It is highly recommended to listen to the lectures to make better sense of the points highlighted below.)

– Bid’ah or Innovation is not a legal ruling, there are five legal rulings, haram(prohibited), makruh(disliked), mubah(permissible), mandub/sunnah(recommended) and waajib(obligatory)

Bid’ah is general it has no moral connotation (neither positive nor negative), it is rather a basis for a legal ruling (haram, sunnah, makruh etc.)

– The hadith often quoted has ‘am/ general form (because of the word kullu) but it’s meaning is specific/makhusus, specific in terms of bid’ah of aqeedah i.e. creed

– Definition of bid’ah then is ‘anything that is acted upon without a prior example’

– Imam as-Syafi’e r.a. divided bid’ah into two praiseworthy and blameworthy so does Imam an-Nawawi r.a., while Imam Muhammad ‘Abdul ‘Aziz bin ‘Abdul Salam divided into five according to the five legal rulings (ref. Meaning of Bid’ah, al-Sheikh al-Hafiz ‘Abdullah al-Siddiq Al-Ghumari. r.a.)

– Bid’ah hasanah e.g. ‘ilm at-Tajwid which is part of ‘ibadah, quranic recitation

– One should follow the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. not just externally i.e. in letter but internally in spirit as well

– Silence in the law indicates permissibility

– There is a condition for ‘amr ma’ruf nahi munkar , the act has to be a crime that takes place in public live in front of you and the definition for crime/munkar here is ‘an act that it is not subjected to difference in opinion among the ‘ulama. (ghairu masaail khilafiyyah)

Click photo to read his profile in wikipedia

The following is the link to the audio file…(Username:, password: tazkiah*h3 , go to thehiddentreasure folder)
Qn. on Bid’ah 1st part
The second part can be found in the same folder


بسْم الله الرّحْمن الرّحيم، اللّهمّ صلِّ على سيّدنا محمّدٍ وآله

 وصحْبه وسلِّم


This is an excerpt from the Book of Assistance by the Quthbul Da’wah wal Irsyad, Ghauts al-‘Ibaad wal Bilaad, al-Imam al-‘Allamah al-Habib ‘Abdullah bin ‘Alwi bin Muhammad al-Haddad رضي الله عنه (Chapter 10 page 37, Fons Vitae 2003) :

There are three kinds of innovations/bid’ah. The first is ‘good innovation’, which is that which the well-guided leaders have opined in conformity with the Book (Qur’an) and sunna, intending to choose that which is more beneficial, more useful and finer as for example Abu Bakr’s collection of the whole Qur’an into one volume, ‘Umar’s institution of military pensions and of the Tarawih prayers, ‘Uthman’s arrangement of the Qur’an and institution of the first call to prayer on Friday, and ‘Ali’s rules for fighting herectical rebels. May Allah bestow His good pleasure upon the four Caliphs!

The second kind of innovation is one that is ‘blameworthy only from the point of view of renunciation/zuhd and contentment/qanaa’, such as the excessive use of licit clothes, foodstuff and houses.

The third kind is the ‘absolutely blameworthy innovation’, which contradicts the provisions of the Book and sunna, or the consensus of the nation. Innovators have fallen into this very frequently with regards the principles/usul, but infrequently the branches/furu’.

End of Quote.


The Meaning Of bid`a  (Innovation)
by Sh. G. F. Haddad
(a short excerpt from this link

Two of the best works to date on the precise definition of bid`a are ‘Abd al-Hayy al-Lucknawi’s Tuhfa al-Akhyar – with its commentary by his student Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda – and Sayyid ‘Abd Allah Mahfuz al-Haddad’s al-Sunna wa al-bid`a in which the latter adduces more than three hundred and fifty narrations of the Prophet pbuh and the Companions — Allah be well-pleased with them — in refutation of the “Salafi” author Muhammad al-Shuqayri and his book entitled al-Sunna wa al-Mubtada’at. In the latter book al-Shuqayri displays blind fanaticism and attacks the scholars of the Community as innovators on the misconceived basis of the hadith of the Prophet  pbuh.:

Every new matter (kullu muhdathatin) is an innovation (bid`a), every innovation is misguidance (dalâla), and every misguidance is in the Fire.”   Narrated from Jabir by al-Nasa’i with a fair chain and from Ibn Mas’ud by Ibn Majah with a weak chain.

The hadith is sound in Muslim’s narration from Jabir with the wording: “Every new matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance” without mention of the Fire. Ibn Taymiyya stated in his epistle Minhaj al-Usul in Majmu’ al-Fatawa (19:191) that the phrase “every misguidance is in the Fire” is not a sound (saheeh) narration from the Prophet pbuh.

Al-Shuqayri misconstrued the above hadith in disregard of the Prophet’s pbuh hadith concerning the variances of scholars:

If the judge (al-hâkim) rules by exerting his mind and hits the mark, he has two rewards; if he rules by exerting his mind and misses the mark, he has but one reward.   -Narrated from both ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and Abu Hurayra by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad. 3In Al-Haddad, al-Sunna wa al-bid`a (p. 5-6).

Sayyid ‘Ali and Sayyid ‘Abd Allah go on to cite several verses of the Qur’an as proofs for the lexical understanding of words denoting universal inclusivity such as kull (“every”), each of which allowing for exceptions to the rule of all-inclusiveness, which indicates, among other lexical facts, that kull in Arabic may mean “most” or “very many” and not necessarily “all without exception”:* { We opened unto them the gates of all (kull) things } (6:44) except the gates of divine mercy.

* { Destroying all (kull) things by commandment of its Lord } (46:25) except the dwellings, and also the mountains, the heavens, and the earth;

* { And she has been given (abundance) of all (kull) things } (27:23) except Sulayman’s (a.s.) throne;

* { And that man has only that for which he makes effort } (53:39) although there are proofs that reach the level of mass transmission in meaning (tawâtur ma’nâwî) whereby the Muslim can benefit from the deeds of others among his brethren and the supplication of the angels, in evidence of which Ibn Taymiyya gathered over twenty proofs which were quoted by al-Jamal in his supercommentary on Tafsir al-Jalalayn for this verse.

* { Those unto whom men (al-nâs) said: Lo! the people (al-nâs) have gathered against you. } (3:173), in which case both mentions of al-nas patently refer to a limited number and not to the totality of human beings.

WAllahu ‘alam…