Is There Something As Good Bid’ah In The Deen?

[Because the Mawlid is around the corner and the innovators use the arguments of it being a ‘good bid’ah’, I decided to write a brief and to-the-point article regarding good bid’ah.]


As Muslims, we do not imitate the misguided nations of the past who differed concerning the haqq after it became clear to them. The Christians were known to worship Allaah upon nothing (i.e., no knowledge), and the Jews were known to be the stubborn rejecters of the haqq, even after it became clear to them.

So anyone who worships Allaah on no knowledge or is a stubborn rejecter of the haqq is following the misguided nations who are doomed for the fire of hell. So we refrain from imitating the ignorant nation (by studying this issue upon knowledge) and we also refrain from imitating the stubborn people (by accepting the haqq when it as it becomes clear to us).

Now let us see what Islaam says about ‘good bid’ah’ (and hopefully you can link this to the mawlid or any other ‘good bid’ah’ there is out there).

The Words Of Allaah

Allaah, The Most High, says: “Today I have completed for you your Religion and perfected My Favour upon you, and have chosen Islaam as your Religion.” [5:3]

And indeed that which is complete cannot be added to. And to add to that which Allaah has called complete, is to indirectly disbelieve in His Words.

The Words Of The Prophet (saw)

The most sincere of creation in giving naseehah said: “Beware of the newly invented matters, for every such matter is a bid’ah, and every bid’ah is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fire.” [Aboo Daawood, Tirmidhee and others]

Here we see the Prophet (saw) saying that “every bid’ah is a misguidance”, and this word “every” is also used in this same sentence to refer to “every” misguidance being in the Fire.

So just as “every” misguidance is in the fire likewise, “every” bid’ah is a misguidance. Unless you say that not all misguidance is in the Fire!

The Words Of The Companions

The companions understood this well and warned the Muslims of the same matter. Ibn ‘Umar (ra) mentioned: “Every bid’ah is a misguidance, even if the people see it as something good.” [Ibn Nasr in as-Sunnah, no. 82]

Ali Ibn Abee Taalib, ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood, Ibn Umm ‘Abd, Imaam Aboo Haneefah, as well as Imaam Ahmad all said the exact same thing. Click here to read their quotes.

Good Bid’ah

Despite the saying of our leader and master, Muhammad (saw), some people claim there is something as “good innovation” in the religion of Islaam. They quote the statement of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab where he said, “What a good innovation this is.” Below is the context of his words:

‘Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn ‘Abdin Al-Qaaree said:

“I went out along with ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab (ra) in Ramadhaan to the Masjid and found the people prying in separate groups – a man praying alone, or a man leading a small group. So ‘Umar said:

I think it would be better if I gathered them all behind a single reciter.

Then he made up his mind and gathered them behind Ubayy Ibn Ka’b. Then I went out with him on another night and the people were praying behind their reciter, so ‘Umar said:

What a good innovation this is, and praying at the time when they sleep is better than at the time when they are praying it.

Since the people used to pray in the early part of the night.” [Bukhaaree 4/218, Maalik 1/114 and ‘Abdur-Razzaaq 7723]

Based on the above statement of ‘Umar, people falsely assume that there is something as “good bid’ah” in the Deen of Islaam. This however, is far from the truth. There was nothing that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab innovated. Indeed praying tarawee behind one Imaam (an act ‘Umar called a “good bid’ah”) was an act that was done during the Prophet’s time.

‘Umar Revives A Sunnah

‘Aa’ishah said:

“Allaah’s Messenger (saw) went out in the middle of the night and prayed in the Masjid  and the people prayed behind him, then in the morning people spoke about it.

Then a larger number gathered (in the second night) and he prayed and they behind him, then the people spoke about it in the morning.

On the third night the Masjid was crowded, so Allaah’s Messenger (saw) came out and the people prayed behind him.

Then on the forth night the Masjid could not accommodate the number of people, but he only came out for the morning prayer (salaatus-subh). Then when he finished the morning prayer, he turned to the people, repeated the shahaadah and said: “Indeed your presence was not hidden from me, but I feared that it would be made obligatory upon you and that you would not be able to manage it.

So Allaah’s Messenger (saw) passed away and the situation remained like that.” [Bukhaaree 3/220 & Muslim 761]

Clear Cut Evidence

So now that it is clear that praying behind on Imaam was done at the time of the Prophet (saw), it becomes clear that ‘Umar was in fact reviving the Sunnah.

So the statement of ‘Umar describing the act as a “good innovation” can only be understood to mean that it was a new deed that was not practised by those who were there (as everyone was praying individually or in small groups, but not behind one Imaam).

“So this action was an innovation in the sense that it was new and different to how the people were before, ie., praying in separate groups. So indeed it was a Sunnah (not a bid’ah) which had been abandoned since the time of the Messenger (saw), until ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab revived it.” [Words of Ibn ‘Uthaymeen].

A Refutation From Another Angle

Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “Stones are to be sent down from the sky! I say ‘Allaah’s Messenger (saw) said such and such…’ while you reply with what Aboo Bakr and ‘Umar said?!” []

This incident occurred during a discussion about Hajj in which Ibn ‘Abbaas mentioned something which he had heard from the Prophet (saw). Ibn ‘Abbaas warned them of Allaah’s approaching punishment and His Anger for those who preferred the opinions of Aboo Bakr and ‘Umar to the guidance of Allaah’s Messenger (saw).

So now we ask, suppose ‘Umar was for good bid’ah (which has been proven he wasn’t anyway), would you want to follow clear cut statements from the Prophet (saw), Ali Ibn Abee Taalib, ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood, Ibn Umm ‘Abd, Ibn ‘Umar, Imaam Aboo Haneefah, and Imaam Ahmad, or the ‘supposed’ meaning of the words of ‘Umar which contradict the words of our leader (saw)? [And I say this knowing full well, that ‘Umar would never intentionally contradict the Messenger (saw) and his companions, and the correct meaning of his words have been explained above anyway.]


The Deen of Islaam is complete, the Prophet (saw) warned against innovation and said all of it is misguidance, just as all misguidance is in the fire.

The companions, likewise understood this, and statements have been transmitted from them. Ibn ‘Umar has clearly said, “Every bid’ah is a misguidance, even if the people see it as something good.” A statement that leaves no room for another meaning.

‘Umar did not innovate anything, all he done was to revive a Sunnah that was forgotten and for those people it was something new.

So it is clear that there is no such thing as a “good bid’ah” in this Deen that was completed 1400+ years ago. The Deen which Allaah (swt) chose for us from above the seven heavens.

And true are the word of Imaam Ahmad who said regarding the people of innovation: “…They use the unclear and ambiguous texts as proof for their views and they misguide the people because of what they have difficulty understanding.” [Majmoo’ Ar-Rasaa’il Al-Kubraa, 1/106]


One Response to “Is There Something As Good Bid’ah In The Deen?”

  1. Assalamu alaykum… this is a good post but I regret it is not as strong as it could have been. There is so much more that should have been mentioned in refuting the bid’ah mentioned here. To be honest, I think there are some weak parts in your mail because you are trying to use logic to prove there is no good bid’ah like for example in the part of refutation from another angle. You cannot call that a refutation and there might be a risk people will not accept this as evidence.
    If it’s not too late to send out an updated mail or just a follow up mail, I would be willing to provide something stronger regarding the definition of bid’ah and how scholars have explained it. Then it becomes really clear why the things you mention are a bid’ah and why they are dangerous.
    I hope to hear from you in sha Allah…Wassalamu alaykum.

    Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2013 06:01:17 +0000

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