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“Bid’ah” means any invented way in religion that is aimed at worshipping or drawing closer to Allaah. This means anything that is not referred to specifically in Sharee’ah, and for which there is no evidence (daleel) in the Qur’aan or Sunnah, and which was not known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his Companions. At the same time, it is quite obvious that this definition of religious inventions or innovations, which are condemned, does not include worldly inventions [such as cars and washing machines, etc.]

Bid‘ah is one of the most dangerous sins that sends whoever practices it into the fire (of Hell). Such action from a Muslim is most loved by Shaitaan. This is because the Muslim involved in Bid‘ah feels that he is doing something good, but, in effect, it causes Allah’s wrath to descend upon him. A few examples of Innovation (Bid‘ah) of the tongue are as follows:

a) Bid‘ah in Belief
The statement that Allah, the Most High, is everywhere. The people of Sunnah and Jamaa’ah (Ahl al-Sunnah) believe that Allaah is exalted above His creation because of the evidence of the Qur’aan, Sunnah, and consensus of the scholars, common sense and man’s innate instinct (fitrah).

The Qur’aan describes the “exaltedness” or “highness” of Allaah in different ways, as His being High and Above, and by describing how things come down from Him, and go up to Him, and by stating that He is above heaven. For example (interpretations of the meaning):

(Highness):
“. . .and He is the Most High, the Most Great.” [al-Baqarah 2:255]

“Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High.” [al-A’la 87:1]

(Above):
“And He is the Irresistible, above His slaves . . .” [al-An’aam 6:18]

“They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.” [al-Nahl 16:50]

(Things coming down from Him):

“He arranges (every) affair from the heavens to the earth . . .” [al-Sajdah 32:5]

“Verily We: it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e., the Qur’aan). . .” [al-Hijr 15:9]

(Things going up to Him):

“. . . To Him ascend (all) the goodly words, and the righteous deeds exalt it . . .” [Faatir 35:10]

“The angels and the Rooh (Jibreel) ascend to Him . . .” [al-Ma’aarij 70:4]

(Allaah is above heaven):

“Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven, will not cause the earth to sink with you . . .?” [al-Mulk 67:16]

Many reports were narrated “mutawaatir” (i.e. with a large number of narrators at every stage of the isnaad, such that it is impossible for them all to have agreed on a lie) from the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him), describing his words and deeds and things of which he approved. For example, he used to say “Subhaana Rabbi al-A’laa (Glory be to my Lord Most High)” in sujood, and in some ahaadeeth he is reported to have said “By Allaah Who is above the Throne.”

These are a few of the indications that Allaah is above the heavens; this proof comes from the Qur’aan, the Sunnah, the consensus of the scholars, common sense, man’s own instincts and even the words of the kuffaar.

b) Bid‘ah in dhikr
Doing dhikr in congregation behind one person, which is a common practice of the Sufis. The following narration beautifully clarifies the evil of such a practice. It is not permissible for a Muslim to innovate any dhikr to recite regularly or to tell others to do so – such as awraad/wird, ma’thooraat or du’aas. The adhkaar that were reported in the saheeh Sunnah are sufficient for this, otherwise a person is an innovator or one who calls others to bid’ah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Narrated by Al-Bukhaari, 2550; Muslim, 1718). According to a report narrated by Muslim: “Whoever does any action that is not in accordance with this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected.”

c) Bid‘ah of Du‘aa in congregation.
A widespread practice amongst Muslims is making Du`aa in congregation after the Fard (compulsory) Salaah. This practice, in fact, does not have any proof from the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) or the companions who led Salaah all their lives but never once made a congregational du‘aa after the Salaah.

Of the many innovations of the tongue, these few examples will suffice. The majority of Muslims are deeply involved in many innovations. However, we must realize that Allah can only be worshipped
with what He, the Most High, legislated, and that it must be performed as precisely as possible as was explained or shown to us by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and as it was understood by the pious predecessors (the companions). Therefore, before doing anything in this Deen, a Muslim must esquire about the proof for that action from Quraan and authentic Sunnah, or whether it was something practiced by our pious predecessors from among the companions, the Taabi‘een and the Tabi Tabi‘een. If there is no precedent from them, then It is compulsory for us to leave it. May Allah guide us to practice Islam in its pristine purity. Ameen.

Sources: “The Evil of the Tongue” and Islamqa.com