Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Biddah: Do ALL of them lead to the Hellfire?

In the court of law, attorneys try to discredit the witnesses using various tactics to make their testimony useless. Once the credibility of the witness is gone, the case is lost. The witnesses of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, are his companions. The enemies of Prophet, therefore, attack the testimony of his companions (hadeeth) by calling it weak (daif), etc. These days the attacks are brutal and we see less and less Muslims praying fearing that they will go to Hellfire because anything these days is called a biddah.

I find a lot of similarities between the people who utter the word biddah more than any other kalimah and the atheists who attack anything religious that has made people avoid religious words. These days people don't use the word "God." They use "Ghosh." They do not use the word "Hell." They use "Heck." They use "Geeze" instead of "Jesus."

Many Muslims these days quote the following hadeeth and firmly believe that it applies to ALL innovations: "Every innovation (biddah) is a misguidance and every misguidance is in Hellfire." Now, let's put this hadeeth in action and see how it works.

A speaker said in a speech: "If a muezzin (a person who calls azan) asks for blessings on the Prophet, peace be upon him, before calling the azan, it is a biddah." In other words, by doing so, that person goes to Hellfire.

What? By following Allah's order from verse 33:56 (Lo! Allah and His angels shower blessings on the Prophet. O you who believe! Ask for blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation.) to send blessings on the Prophet one goes to Hellfire? In fact, a hadeeth from Sahih Muslim narrates:  "Mu’aawiyah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: The muezzins will have the longest necks of the people on the Day of Resurrection.”

Another hadeeth says: ‘Indeed, he who recites Salat (Durud) upon me the most, will be the closest to me on the Day of Judgement.’ (Jami’ Tirmizi, pp. 27, vol. 2, hadiš 484)

There are several websites dedicated to declare doing ibadah on Lailatul Miraj and Lailatul Baraa one of the biggest biddahs, and according to them, anyone who tries to get closer to Allah on these nights by reading Quran or engaging in Salaah or doing Zikr will go to the Hellfire. We all know that our Prophet, peace be upon him,  and his companions (RA) used to spend most of their nights in Allah's worship. What is wrong if one worshiped at least these two nights?  You think if this person did not do stay up during these nights for ibaadah will just go to sleep? I am sure those people would busy themselves with movies and TV and other time-killing activities that would very likely lead them to the Hellfire.

In their zest to attack any ibadah on 15th Shabaan, they are attacking even the fast on the 15th Shabaan has biddah and, therefore, leading to the Hellfire saying that  fasting in the second hald of Shabaan as "Haraam." First they stopped people's ibaadah on 15th Shabaan then the made fasting the entire second half of Shabaan as haraam. Here is a hadeeth from Sahih Bukhari and Muslim that contradicts them:

‘Nobody should fast the two days immediately preceding Ramadaan, except for a man who is a habitual faster; if these two days happen to fall among the days in which he fasts - then let him fast these days’.
About zikr on various nights and days, here is a hadeethul Qudsi (A hadeeth where Allah's states something):

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (Radhiyallaho anho) narrated that Rasulullah (SAWS) has said, "Almighty Allah says, I treat my slave according to his expectations from Me, and I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My heart; if he remembers Me in a gathering, I remember him in a better and nobler gathering (i.e. of angels). If he comes closer to Me by one span, I go towards him a cubit's length, if he comes towards Me by a cubit's length, I go towards him an arm's length, and if he walks towards Me, I run unto him."

What the most "b-word" people say is the exact opposite of this hadeeth that if someone did Zikr on Lailatulal Miraj or Lailatul Baraa, it is a big biddah and, therefore, a place in Hellfire.

Here are the verses 41-43 from the Surah Ahzab of the Quran about zikr. Please let me know whether making people read the Quran (for whatever excuse) goes with these verses or stopping people from reading the Quran (for whatever excuse). "O you who believe! Celebrate the praises of Allah, and do this often; And glorify Him morning and evening. He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of Darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the Believers."

There is also an attack on the fast of 15th Shabaan calling it, again, a biddah, and therefore, declaring it to be leading to the Hellfire. Here are some ahadeeth permitting fast on and after 15th Shabaan.

Al-Bukhaari (1914) and Muslim (1082) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not anticipate Ramadaan by fasting one or two days before it begins, but if a man habitually fasts, then let him fast.”

This indicates that fasting after halfway through Shabaan is permissible for someone who has the habit of fasting, such as a man who regularly fasts on Mondays and Thursdays, or who fasts alternate days, and the like. Al-Haafiz said: "The majority of scholars said that it is permissible to observe voluntary fasts after halfway through Sha’baan and they regarded the hadeeth concerning that as da’eef. Ahmad and Ibn Ma’een said that it is munkar. (From Fath al-Baari). Among those who classed it as da’eef were al-Bayhaqi and al-Tahhaawi. "

People are writing so much about biddah without even thinking. One writer wrote in a book in Urdu: "People were reciting "Alhumdilillah (all Praises to Allah)" while waiting for iqaamah." This according to the author, was a biddah, and potentially threw the reciter in the Hellfire! He also said raising hands a couple of inches higher while making dua would send the person in Hell-fire. The same author also said that instructing someone to get ready for salah after azan is called is a biddah and will throw that person in Hellfire. Wasn't that a pious thing because you were reminding another person about salah? Not according to this author.

Some people say making dua sends you to Hellfire. What? I thought Allah loved duas. ("And your Lord said, invoke Me and I will respond to your invocation."40:60) ("There is nothing more dear to Allah Ta’ala than a servant making dua to him." [at Tirmidhi) Their response: "You see, if your timing is not right, it has this side affect." But Allah doesn't say so. Did he? I thought one could call on him 24/7/365. Their response: "You see, Prophet didn't make dua after salah." But did he stop you from doing so?

On the other hand, I have read a hadeeth that indicates the Prophet, saws, taught a companion a dua that needs to be asked after EVERY salah. Here it is.

The Prophet, saws, took the hand of Hadrat Muaz ibn Jabal, RA, and said to him, "O Muaz, I love you." Hazrat Muaz responded, "May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O RasoolUllah, I love you, too." Then the Prophet,saws, said, "I advise you, O Muaz, to say at the end of EVERY prayer, 'Allahumma ainni ala zikrika wa shukrika wa husni ibadatik.'" (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban and al-Hakim).

Some people say if you wiped your face after making dua, it will send you to Hellfire. But I was asking for mercy. No, you made that unpardonable innovation of wiping your face and you must be thrown in the Hellfire for eternity. Didn't the Prophet wipe his face after reciting some Surahs? But you did it for dua so you must be punished. And never ever try to quote anything that has faintest authenticity issue.

That makes me think why take chances, the only way to save oneself from the Hellfire is by giving up going to the masjid, dua, zikr and sending blessings on Prophet, peace be upon him. Isn't that people do these days? Gathering to recite the Quran puts them in Hellfire (that's what biddah does). Staying up late on certain nights to do ibadah puts you in Hellfire. Saluting the Prophet peace be upon him in certain ways puts you in Hellfire. Making dua after salah puts you in the Hellfire. Making dua for dead people puts you in the Hellfire. Keeping fast for the sake of Allah on certain days (specially the second half of Shaban) puts you in the Hellfire.

One very respected Imam and scholar said this in a class (dars) in the Haram that if during tawwaaf anyone touched the Kaaba at an area other than Rukn Yemani then that is a Biddah (therefore a place in the Hellfire). Now just imagine, a person travels several thousand miles out of love for Allah's commands and touches the kaaba at a place other than Rukn Yemani out of awe for the Kaaba. And Allah is going to throw the person in the Hellfire just for touching the Kaaba at a non-prescribed spot? Why do we show Allah as cruel? Didn't we read the hadeeth that (the reward or punishment of) all actions depend on the intention? Isn't Allah Arhama Rahemeen (more Merciful than the most merciful)?

Another group says if you don't touch your feet with the other person, you end up in the Hellfire. But I set up alarm, sacrificed my pleasant sleep to come for Fajr. Their answer: "You see, you made that terrible mistake, now rot in Hell. By the way, you are not even a Muslim anymore, and you don't qualify for our salaam." Way around to this problem: Stay at home, pray alone, and remain a Muslim. Let the million dollar masjid stay empty.

Reciting the Quran in a congregation for any reason is a big no-no for the same reason unless you want to go to Hellfire. Yes, according to them Allah will punish you for reciting His book. He won't punish you if you watched a baseball match or a movie in a congregation but He will definitely throw you in Hellfire for reciting the Quran. But the Sahaba didn't watch the game? Their answer probably is: "You see, the Biddah rule applies if you want to get closer to Allah and not when want to go away from Him.  For example, the sahaba used to do their nikaah in the masjid but we don't mind huge weddings in banquet halls where loud music is played and people do all sorts of biddah like  catwalks, mixed-gender gatherings with ceremonies that no one among the salaf did."

Ahah! No wonder I do not see emails about these things. I do not see any website devoted to call such activities a biddah.

While all these people are saying that if you read Quran this way it leads to the Hellfire (yes, biddah in the bad innovation means a place in the Hellfire) or if you read it that way it leads to the Hellfire, Allah says the Quran is full of healing and mercy.

"We send down in the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe. To the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss." (Al-Isra, 82).

"O mankind! There has come to you a direction from your Lord (Quran) and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, and for those who believe, a guidance and a mercy." (Surah Yunus, 57).

"Say: It (Quran) is a guide and a healing to those who believe." (Surah Fussilat, 44).

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Whenever a group of people assemble in one of Allah's houses (mosques) for the sake of reciting the Book of Allah (Quran) and studying it among themselves, they will be blessed with the decent of tranquility…'' [Muslim]

There is a hadeeth in At-Tirmizi that says: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that 'Alif, Laam, Meem' (a combination of letters frequently mentioned in the Holy Quran) is a letter, rather I am saying that 'Alif' is a letter, 'Laam' is a letter and 'Meem' is a letter.” 

Another Hadeeth from Al-Bukhari and Muslim: Aa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her related that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Indeed the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.”

So why do we erect all these hurdles whenever someone wants to recite the Quran by declaring it a biddah?

If you fed some people to make dua for you and your dead relatives, it sends you to the Hellfire. But if you ate a 20-course meal and throw half of it is not a problem. According to them, the dead relative account is closed and, only for Hajj someone can do it for him but otherwise he is doomed. Why Allah left the Hajj door open and closed others, only Allah knows.

Then I learnt that the Qur'an did not have the "invention" of kasrah, fatha, dammah, shaddah, etc. (aka zer, zabar pesh) till decades later, probably a century or so after the passing of the companions of the Prophet. So everyone who is reading the Qur'an these days is indulging in biddah the moment he or she opens the mushaf. That means a place in Hell-Fire!

Then I came across some hope after seeing Imams giving Friday khutbah in English. Wait a minute. Did the Prophet or a Sahabi give khutbah in English? How come this is not a biddah? Any hadeeth (doesn't matter daif or sahih)? Do Muslims follow double standards?

The excessive talk about biddah has led people to question every kind of zikr. For example, here is what I found at a web site: "I am writing to inquire about an activity that is done in our Masjid as whether it is a Bed'ah(innovation)or not.
Every day just after each Fajr Salat the Imam asks someone to distribute Mushafs- Qurans. So, each one in the Masjid gets one and then they set in circles and one person in each circle recites three Ayats-and just three Ayats- then the next one recites the same three Ayats, and the next follows, and the next one and so on. The reason I suspected it might be a Bed'aa (innovation) since it closely resembles what the Sufi sects do after Salat as they set in circle and do Zikr - Subhanallah, Alhamdullella, Allaho-akbar..etc. I heard lots of Ulama- Ahl Assunna wal Jama'aa- say that it is Bed'ah (innovation). "

Can you imagine saying "SubhanAllah, Alhamdullella, Allaho-akbar" be a biddah and leading to Hellfire? And what kind of "Ulama" are preaching this?

Here is a hadeeth from Sahih Muslim about this kalimah: Abu Hurayrah RA reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), “The uttering of the words: ‘SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha il Allah, Allahu Akbar’ are dearer to me that anything over which the sun rises.” [Saheeh Muslim]

Another hadeeth from Muslim: Ka`b bin `Ujrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said, "There are some words, the reciters of which will never be disappointed. These are: Tasbih [saying `Subhan-Allah' (Allah is free from imperfection)], thirty-three times, Tahmid [saying `Al-hamdu lillah' (praise be to Allah)] thirty-three times and Takbir [saying `Allahu Akbar' (Allah is Greatest)] thirty-four times; and these should be recited after the conclusion of every prescribed prayer.'' 

  The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Whenever a group of people assemble in one of Allah's houses (mosques) for the sake of reciting the Book of Allah (Quran) and studying it among themselves, they will be blessed with the decent of tranquility…'' [Muslim]

This talk of biddah has led many people to believe that whatever our Prophet, saws, or his companion didn't do is a biddah. Based on this theory, let's see how many people are "not doing a biddah." I'll just describe a few things a person does in the morning.

The first thing someone does after getting up in the morning is he will go to the bathroom, which is usually attached to the bedroom. That's the first biddah because in the days of sahaba there was no concept of attached baths. Next he will sit on the toilet seat, which is the second biddah as the companions never used the seat. Then he uses a soap to wash his hands, which never existed in the days of sahaba. Then he uses a toothbrush and toothpaste, which also were invented much later. Then he jumps in the shower and takes a bath with running water, which also never existed in those times. He may use shampoo. So by the time a person is through with the bathroom necessities, he would have committed  half a dozen biddahs. If we applied the first hadeeth mentioned (kullu biddatin dalalah, kullu dalalatin fin-naar), a person is destined for Hellfire some half a dozen times in the first hour of his day in whatever city he lives around the world even though he may be preparing himself for a trip to the masjid for Fajr salah.

Many people wear suits and ties, jeans, t-shirts, sweat pants and shorts that were not worn by the sahabis. Even the Arabic thob is not the garb worn by the companions of the prophet. I know a masjid where a guest imam showed up with a t-shirt with big zebra printed on it. If you ask any scholar, hardly anyone will say these type of clothes are a biddah. How many sahabis were seen bare-headed in their times?
Come on you people who utter the b-word the number of times you breathe. Just realize what you are saying. Does Allah look Merciful at all in this scenario? You think people will flock to mosques after reading all this? Will people ever read the Quran and make dua?

So who came up with this idea that anything the Prophet or his companions didn't do is biddah and haram and throws you in Hellfire?

The real definition of biddah:
Imam Al-Bayhaqi, in what was called the greatest biographical work on Imam ash-Shafi’i by Taqiyud-Din As-Subki – Manaqib Al-Imam Ash-Shafi’i, narrates the following report from Imam Ash-Shafi’i:

“It was narrated to us by Muhammad ibn Musa ibn al-Fadl who had it narrated to him from Abul-Abbas Al-Asam who said Rabi’ ibn Sulayman narrated to us from Imam ash-Shafi’i that he said,

“Innovated matters in religion (min Al-Umur) are of two kinds: 1) Whatever is innovated and contravenes the Book, or the Sunnah, or a narration, or Ijma‘ (consensus) – then that is an innovation of misguidance. 2) Whatever is innovated of [any and all good things [min al-khayr] and that does not contradict any of these – then this is a novelty which is not blameworthy.

Ameerul Mumineen Umar (radiya Allahu ‘anhu) said concerning the night-prayer in the month of Ramadan: ‘ni’matu bida’at hadhihi‘ what a good innovation this is’ meaning it was innovated without having existed before and, even so, there was nothing in it that contradicted the above.”

You think Umar, RA created one of the greatest biddahs?

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