Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani’s War Against Bid’ah Hasanah

The True Sufi Attitude Towards Bid’ah Hasanah – Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani’s

Introduction

There exists a stereotype of Sufis which conveys the impression that they are lax with regards to the Shariah, that they perpetrate acts of bid’ah, and that they condone practices which easily lead to shirk. The following articles and letters will serve to demolish such a stereotype by demonstrating that the true Sufis, such as Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani and Shah Waliullah, and their closest inheritors, the Deobandi Akabir, held views that were completely contrary to the stereotype created by the prevalence of Ulama-e-soo and pseudo-Sufis of today.

The fact that no contemporaries of these Mujaddids came remotely close to them in terms of the barakah bestowed upon their revival efforts and legacy, of which only one strand is their transformation of hundreds of millions of Muslims to this day, bears the mark of Allah’s guidance on and acceptance of these luminaries.

May Allah grant us all the tawfeeq to recognise the true Mujaddids, as promised to the Ummah in the Ahadith, and enable us to follow them completely.

A note of warning for those who have become acclimatized to the widespread acts of bid’ah justified under the guise of ‘bid’ah hasanah’:

Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani stated clearly that his words against bid’ah hasanah would be hard to digest. Before mentioning the example of an Alim who would practise bid’ah hasanah and who as a result would be executed by Imam Mahdi, he said:

“Today, due to wide spread propagation of Bid’ah, these wordings would be hard to bear upon many, but tomorrow they would know whether we are on the right path or they.”

And in another letter, whilst explicitly referring to the Ulama as the culprits, he says:

“This is something difficult in this time for the world is immersed in a profound sea of bid’ah and content with the darkness of it. Who has the ability to speak in this time of the removal of bid’ah and the raising of the Sunnah? The majority of the Ulama of this age are engaged in establishing bid’ah and eliminating Sunnah…”

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Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani: “There is No Goodness in Any Bid’ah; Only “Darkness and Dirt”

(Vol 1) Letter 186 to Khwajah ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mufti al-Kabuli in Encouraging Adherence to Sunnah and Avoidance of Bid‘ah and that every Bid‘ah is Misguidance

I ask Allah – glorified and exalted is He – with humbleness and contrition, helplessness and poverty, humility and brokenness, in secret and in openness, to not try this feeble one with those who unite near Him or rely on Him in performing every innovated practice of bid‘ah in the religion, of that which was not present in the time of the best of humanity and the time of the rightly guided caliphs (upon him and upon them blessings and peace), even if that act is like the breaking of dawn in clarity, and [I ask Allah] that He does not try us with approving of that innovator, [and I ask this] through the sanctity of the select master and his righteous progeny (upon him and upon them blessing and peace).

Some people say bid‘ah is of two types: good and bad. Thus, good bid‘ah is every righteous deed which arose after the time of our Prophet and the time of the rightly guided caliphs (upon him and upon them blessings and peace) and does not eliminate a Sunnah practice; while bad bid‘ah does eliminate a Sunnah practice.

This needy one has not seen any goodness or light in any bid‘ah, and he has not sensed in them anything besides darkness and dirt. Whoever, in the present time, supposedly finds praise and light in an innovated matter due to a weak insight, he will learn tomorrow after gaining sharpness in vision, that it has no advantage at all besides in regret and loss.

[poetry not translated]

The master of men (upon him blessing and peace) said: “Whoever innovates in this matter of ours what is not of it, it is rejected.” So when a thing is rejected, from where will goodness come to it? He (upon him blessing and peace) said: “To proceed. Verily the best speech is the Book of Allah, and the best conduct is the conduct of Muhammad. The worst of affairs are their innovations, and every innovation is bid‘ah, and every bid‘ah is misguidance.” He (upon him blessing and peace) said: “I enjoin unto you the fear of Allah, and listening and obedience, even if an Ethiopian slave [is your leader]; for indeed those of you who live after me will see much conflict. Incumbent on you is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs. Remain steadfast on that, and bite on it with the molar teeth. And beware of innovated matters, for indeed every innovation is bid‘ah, and every bid‘ah is misguidance.”

Since every innovation is bid‘ah, and every bid‘ah is misguidance, what is the meaning of goodness in bid‘ah? Furthermore, the purport of the hadiths is that every bid‘ah eliminates a Sunnah, and eliminating [Sunnah] is not restricted to some [bid‘ahs]. Hence, every bid‘ah is bad. He (upon him blessing and peace) said: “No group innovates a bid‘ah except the like of it from the Sunnah is lifted.” Thus, adhering to the Sunnah is better than inventing a bid‘ah. It was narrated from Hassan [ibn Thabit] that he said: “No group innovated a bid‘ah in their religion except Allah removed the like of it from their Sunnahs, and then He will not return it to them till the Day of Resurrection.”

It should be known that some bid‘ahs which the ‘ulama and mashayikh counted amongst good bid‘ah, when carefully considered, it will be realised that it eliminates a Sunnah practice. An example of this is that they consider putting a turban on the dead a good bid‘ah, although it eliminates a Sunnah because it is an addition on the Sunnah number [of garments] for shrouding, which is three garments, and [according to the principles of jurisprudence] an addition is abrogation, and abrogation is the very essence of elimination. Similarly some mashayikh have considered releasing the tail of the turban to the left to be good although the Sunnah is to release it between the shoulders, and this bid‘ah eliminating that Sunnah is manifest containing no obscurity.

Likewise some scholars have considered it good to articulate with the tongue the intention of Salah along with the intention of the heart even though articulating the intention on the tongue has not been established from the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), nor his noble companions, nor the great successors, neither in an authentic transmission nor in a weak transmission. Rather they would do the initial takbir after standing. Thus, articulating [the intention] is bid‘ah. And they say that it is a good bid‘ah. This needy one says that this bid‘ah eliminates an obligation let alone a Sunnah, because most people suffice with this degree, of expressing the intention with the tongue, meaning without bringing the intention in the heart, and without care for the heedlessness of the heart from this matter, and thus an obligation from the obligations of Salah, that is the intention [of the heart], is completely abandoned, and leads to the corruption of Salah.

And likewise all bid‘ahs and innovations follow on this pattern because they are additions to the Sunnah, even if only in one aspect, and an addition is abrogation, and abrogation is elimination. Thus, you must restrict yourself to following the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and suffice with imitating the noble companions for they are like stars: whichever of them you imitate, you will be guided. As for analogy (qiyas) and exercising scholarly opinion (ijtihad) it is not bid‘ah at all, because it is a clarifier of the meaning of the texts, and it does not establish an additional matter. So take heed O possessors of intelligence! Peace be on those who follow guidance, and adhere to the practice of the Chosen One – upon him and upon his progeny the best of blessings and the most complete of salutations.

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“The Majority of Scholars Prefer Bid’ah And
Assist in Effacing The Sunnah”

Hadhrat Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani (rahmatullahi alayhi) states in the following letter the fact that the majority of the scholars during his era were effacing the Sunnah and giving preference to bid’ah. This reality is in consonance with Ahadith that predict the increasing preponderance of the Ulama-e-soo (the evil scholars who misguide) as we draw closer to the end of times. Nearly half a millenium on since the Mujaddid’s era, this reality holds true to a much greater extent:

“Attainment to this degree of obedient following is conditioned upon tranquillity of the nafs and arrival to the reality of obedient following of the source of the Sacred Law, upon him be peace and blessings; yet, sometimes it occurs without the means of fana and baqa and without the means of spiritual journeying and attraction. It is possible for it to occur without anything of states, ecstasies, theophanies or manifestations, but it is something rare in its time. Attainment to this state via the path of the wilaya is more certain via another path. This other path, in the opinion of this needy one, being the path of absolute faithful obedient following of the noble sunna according to its source, peace and blessings be upon him, and avoidance of any type of bid’ah.

One who does not avoid the ‘bid’ah hasanah’ just as he would avoid the blameworthy will not get even a scent of this high degree.This is something difficult in this time for the world is immersed in a profound sea of innovation and content with the darkness of it, who has the ability to speak in this time of the removal of innovation and the raising of the Sunna?

The majority of scholars prefer innovations and assist in effacing the sunna when they give religious rulings allowing wide scope for innovations. They go so far as applying the rule of legal analogical discretion (istihsan) with the reason that any social benefit accrued [from such innovations justifies it] and consequently direct the common people to such practices. What a horrible thing they are doing! Misguidance has become endemic to such an extent and error common place that it has become the ‘common good’! Do they not know that every perceived social benefit is not a reason for which to apply the rule of istihsan? The social benefit/custom envisioned by the Sacred Law is that which existed in the earlier generations (generations relatively safe from the detrimental effects of innovations) and which have occurred by the consensus of people as has been mentioned in the Fatawa Ghiyathiyya.

The Shaykh of Islam al-Shaheed, may Allah have mercy upon him, said that every social benefit/custom understood by the scholars of Balkh is not used in making a determination via istihsan but instead those set as precedent by the earlier generations. This is because they are indications of the Sunnah of the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him), so they take it because he establishes it, upon him be peace. If it is not so then it is not taken as legal evidence unless it is as a consensus of the people of all lands, for such a consensus is a legally binding proof. Do you not see that if a people accept as social custom the buying and selling of alcohol and dealing in interest nevertheless its legal permissibility cannot be sanctioned?

There is no doubt that knowledge of the common practice of all people and cognizance of the practice of all villages and towns is beyond the means of a person’s ability, but still the social practice of the earlier generations, which was in reality established by the Prophet’s precedent, is available. So what concern is there then of the blameworthy and good innovations? Association with the Prophet (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) was sufficient to attain to perfections for his companions; every scholar from the pious predecessors attained to what he attained of rusukh (penetrative knowledge) because of his obedience to the Sunna and avoidance of disliked innovations not via choosing the path of the Sufis nor by spiritual journeying and attraction. O Allah make firm our feet upon obedient following of the Sunna and keep us far from committing any type of innovation, [accept this supplication by] means of the source of the Sunna!”

[Maktoobaat Volume 2, Letter 54]

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“I do not regard any Bid’ah as ‘Hasanah’”

The Mujaddid laments the fact that as we move further away from the time of the Best of Mankind (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) the acts of Sunnah’s are being destroyed, and the acts of Bid’ah are being spread. He mentions that those who pre-occupy themselves with reviving the blessed Sunnah, strengthen the Army of Allah, and those who pre-occupy themselves with innovations, strengthen the Devil’s Army.

“The happiest, the most fortunate person is he who recovers one of the forgotten sunnats and annihilates one of the widespread bid’ats in a time when irreligiousness is on the increase. We are now in such a time when a thousand years have elapsed after the Best of man kind [Hadhrat Muhammad ], As we get farther from the time of happiness of our Prophet, the sunnats are gradually being covered and, lies being on the increase, the bid’ats are spreading.

A hero is needed who will uphold the sunnats and stop, expel the bid’ats. To spread bid’ats is to demolish Islam. To respect those who make up and commit bid’ats, to deem them great will cause Islam to perish. It is declared in a hadith, “He who says ‘great’ about those who commit bid’ats has helped the demolition of islam”. The meaning of this should be given die consideration on. Utmost energy should be spent in striving for uncovering one Sunnat and annihilating one bid’at. For strengthening Islam any-time, especially when Islam has become so weak, it is necessary to spread the sunnats and demolish the bid’ats.

The former Islamic savants, having seen maybe some beauty in the bid’ats, gave some of them the name of hasana [beautiful]. But this faqir [Imaam-Rabbini means himself] do not follow them in this respect; I do not regard any of the bid’ats as beautiful. I see all of them as dark and cloudy. Our Prophet declared: “All bid’ats are aberration, deviation from the right way”. In such a time as this when Islam has become weak, I see that salvation and escaping Hell is in holding fast to the Sunnat; and destruction of the din is, no matter how, in falling for any bid’at. I understand that each bid’at is like a pickaxe to demolish the building of Islam and all sunnats are like brilliant stars to guide you on a dark night.

May Allahu ta’ala give enough reasonableness to the hodjas of our time so that they will not say that any bid’at is beautiful or permit any bid’at to be committed. They should not tolerate bid’ats even if they seem to illuminate darknesses like the rising of the sun! For, the satans do their work easily outside the sunnats. In the early times, Islam being strong, the darknesses of bid’ats were not conspicuous, but, maybe, along with the world-wide powerful light of Islam, some of those darknesses passed as bright. Therefore they were said to be beautiful. Whereas, those bid’ats did not have any brightness or beauty, either.

But now, Islam having become weak and disbelievers’ customs and even the symptoms of disbelief having become settled [as fashion] among Muslims, each bid’at has displayed its harm, and Islam, without anyone noticing it, has been slipping away. Our hodjas should be most vigilant in this respect, and they should not pioneer the spreading of bid’ats by saying, “it is permissible to do so and so”, or “such and such things is not harmful”, and putting forward the old fatwas. Here is the place for the saying, ‘The din will change in process of time”. It is wrong for disbelievers to use this saying as tongs for demolishing Islam and settling the bid’ats and disbelief.

The bid’ats having covered all the world, this age roosts like a dark night. The sunnats being on the decrease, their lights blink like fire-flies flying here and there in dark night. As the committing of bid’ats increases, the darkness of the night has been increasing and the light of Sunnat has been decreasing. But the increasing of the sunnats would decrease the darkness and increase the light. He who wishes may increase the darkness of bid’at, thus strengthening the devil’s army! And he who wishes may increase the light of Sunnat, thus strengthening the soldiers of Allahu ta’ala! Know well that the end of the devil’s army is calamity, loss. He who is in the army of Allahu ta’ala will attain endless bliss.”

[Maktoobaat Volume 2, Letter 23]

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“There is no Nur, No light, in any bid’ah”

This letter was written to Mir Muhibullah. It gives advice to hold fast to the Sunnat-i saniyya and to avoid bidats:

“Hamd be to Allahu ta’ala! I pronounce my benedictions over His Prophets and send my salam to you. My dear brother, Sayyid Mir Muhibullah! The states, the guidance of the faqirs being here are very good. Infinite thanks are due to Allahu ta’ala for this reason. I pray to Allahu ta’ala for your salvation and so that your state will not change and you will make progress in the right way. Nowadays, you have not let us know of what situation you have been in. Your being so far makes it difficult for us to correspond. Giving advice is the first duty in our din and is to follow the Highest of Prophets (May our highest benedictions and salams be over him and all others!). Following him requires carrying out all his sunnats, that is, his commands and prohibitions, and avoiding the bidats, which he dislikes.

Even if those bidats looked bright like the breaking of dawn that annihilates the darkness of night, it would be necessary to abstain from all of them. For, there is no nur, no light in any bidat, nor any cure for an ill person. They cannot be medicine for a sick person. For, each bidat either annihilates a sunnat, or it has nothing to do with the Sunnat. However, those bidats which have nothing to do with the Sunnat overflow the Sunnat and are superfluous. So they annihilate the Sunnat. For, to do any command more than commanded means to change the command. Hence, it is understood that each bidat, no matter how it is, annihilates the Sunnat, and is at loggerheads with the Sunnat. There is no goodness or beauty in any bidat.

I wish I knew why and how they ever said ‘beautiful’ about some of the bidats which appeared after the blessings had been completed in this perfect din, Islam, which Allahu ta’ala likes. Why did they not know that when something has been perfected, completed and liked, supplements added to it cannot be beautiful? Any change made in something correct and right is deviation, heresy. If they realized the fact that to say beautiful about something which appeared later in this perfect and complete din would mean to say that the din did not reach perfection or the blessing was not completed, they would not say beautiful about any bidat. O our Allah! Do not call us to account for what we have forgotten or what we have erred on! I send my salam to you and to those being with you.” [Maktubaat, Vol 2:Letter 19]

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Imam Mahdi, a Wahhabi?

The frequency and clarity with which Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani condemns ‘Bidah Hasanah’ throughout his letters leaves no ambiguity as to his stance on this issue. Considering the vehmence with which he condemned and lamented on ‘bid’ah hasanah’ acts as they were being propagated by the majority of the scholars, the Mujaddid would most likely have been branded as ‘wahhabi’ by so-called sunni ulama, if he was around today.

Let alone the Ulama-e-Haqq, even Imam Mahdi will not be spared the slanders and denigrations of the Ahlul bid’ah.

The Messenger of Allah  said:

“Seventy thousand scholars with turbans from my community will follow the Dajjal.” 
(Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hambal)

“Seventy thousand people from my community wearing turbans will follow the Dajjal.” 
((Musannaf of ‘Abd ar-Razzaq)

Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani re-affirms in the letter below the predictions of the classical fuqaha, that the ‘ulama’ from the Ahlul bid’ah will be amongst the first to confront and slander Imam Mahdi. The Mujaddid mentions the severe manner with which Imam Mahdi will deal with a scholar who practises bid’ah while considering it ‘hasanah’. Unlike the Mujaddids and Ulama-e-Haqq who have been slandered in recent times by the Ahlul bid’ah, Imam Mahdi will have the power to silence them completely with the sword – the real sword, not just the sword of truth.

Even without the sword, truth always seem to prevail over falsehood. The work and impact of Deobandi scholarship in recent times, is just one of countless such examples in our history:

Letter to Mulla Muhammad Tahir Lahori, persuading to renovate the Shining Sunnah and destroy Bid’ah,

Praise be to Allah and peace be upon His chosen servants. Your esteemed letter sent through Hafiz Baha-uddin has reached [me] and gave [me] much pleasure. How great a bounty it is that the loving ones and devotees be committed with their efforts towards renovating any Sunnah of the Mustafavi Sunnah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and for having fully dedicated themselves to destroying any Bid’ah of the displeasing Bid’ah. Sunnah and Bid’ah are opposed each to the other, the existence of one necessitates the negation of the other. Hence, enlivening the one means deadening the other, and renovating Sunnah necessitates the deadening of Bid’ah, and vice versa.

Now whether they call a Bid’ah good or bad, it necessitates the negation of Sunnah, but perhaps in view of its relative goodness [some] may have labelled it [good], since there is no room for absolute goodness therein, and just as all the Sunnahs are pleasing acts near to Allah, their opposites are pleasing acts near to Satan.

Today, due to wide spread propagation of Bid’ah, these wordings would be hard to bear upon many, but tomorrow they would know whether we are on the right path or they.

It is related that when Hazrat Mahdi during his reign would be giving currency to the Religion and would renovate the Sunnah, an Alim of Madinah who practises Bid’ah whilst considering it as ‘Hasanah’, and who would have added to the Religious practices, would surprisingly say:

“This man has destroyed our religion and has put to death our creed”.

Hazrat Mahdi would order his killing and declare his virtue as vice.

“That is the bounty of Allah bestows upon whom He will, and Allah is the owner of great bounty, ” (Q- 2:156).”

[Volume 1, Letter 255]

Devotees to Worship Will Commit Bi’dah and Stray Into Shirk Unwittingly

The following hadith from Ramuz al-Ahadith of Shaykh Ahmad Diya ad-Deen al-Kamushkhanawi, which is relevant to the letter above, re-iterates the fact that the accomplices of Dajjal will be those who will be occupied with acts of bid’ah and who will have strayed unwittingly into Shirk:

“There will be such times that common people will read the Qur’an, devote themselves to worship (but) they will be busy with the acts of the companions of innovation (bi’dah) and stray into polytheism (shirk) unwittingly. They will derive profit by their words and science, and get wealth by abusing the religion. Here they are the accomplices of the Dajjal, who is blind in one eye.”

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Imam Malik’s View on Labelling Bid’ah as ‘Hasanah’ is identical to Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani’s

The Mujaddid states here the fact that labelling bid’ah as ‘hasanah’ is tantamount to refuting Allah (azza wa jal) and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace):

“The darkness of Bidah has overwhelmed the lustre of the Sunnat and the splendour of the creed of our beloved Nabi (Allah bless him and grant him peace) has been stained with the muddiness of new innovations. Surprising is (the attitude of) those people who deem and regard as good such bid`ahs and innovations, and they have firm belief in these Bid`ahs being deeds of virtue. They seek the completion of the Deen and the creed in these new accretions. They (even) propagate and encourage towards these innovations.

Allaah Ta`ala had placed them on the Straight Path, but they had not reflected that this Deen was complete even before their innovations and that this blessed Deen was finalised and also that the Pleasure of Allaah Ta`ala lay in this (complete Deen minus the innovations). As Allaah Ta`ala had mentioned, ‘On this Day have I perfected for you your Deen.’ Therefore to seek the (further) completion of the Deen in all these innovations, would be tantamount to refutation of the import of this blessed Aayat.”

And again here:
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“It is difficult to understand how these people have found any merit in the things that have been invented after completion of religion as approved and confirmed by Allah? Are they not aware of this basic fact that anything ingrafted after the completion and acceptance of a religion by Allah cannot have any merit whatsoever? “After the Truth what is there save the error?” (Quran 10:33) Had they known that attribution of any merit to a thing inserted in a perfect religion implied imperfection of that religion and amounted to an announcement that Allah had not yet completed His favour, they would dared not deny what had been asserted by Allah” [Volume 2, Letter 19]

The statements above echo Imam Malik’s (rahmatullahi alayh) famous statement that calling any innovation ‘hasanah’, amounts to an insult on the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) – which ironically would warrant the title Gustakh-e-Rasul according to those who are practically submerged in a “Bidah Hasanah” laden Deen.

The illustrious Maliki scholar Al-Shatibi (h.790/) in his book called al-It’tisaam (Holding Fast to The Sunnah) quotes Ibn Majishoon (d.214/ Medina) –a student of Imam Malik and one of the major Maliki imams of Medina during his time as saying:

“I heard Imam Malik say: Those who innovate in Islam and take it as something good (hasanah) then they are claiming (indirectly) that Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) did not trust-worthily transmit the message (of Islam) because Allah said “ Today we have completed for you your religion” therefore what is not considered your religion today, is not your religion today.”

Similar statements have been re-iterated by many fuqaha. An example is the following by Allamah Hassaamud Deen Ali Muttaqi Al-Hanafi (passed away 975 A.H.], who stated in refutation of Bid’ah and the bid`atees, that the introduction of a bid’ah, amounts to a criticism on the Salaf, the blessed Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and even Allah (azza wa jal):

“Indeed this specific gathering on the third day, is neither a Fardh nor a Waajib, nor a Sunnat nor Mustahab. There is also no benefit in it or any advantage for the Deen. In fact, it entails censure, criticism and reproach on the Salaf, in that they did not enumerate it, also upon Nabi (Allah bless him and grant him peace) because he had (supposedly) abandoned the rights of the deceased, and also upon Allaah Ta`ala in that He had not perfected the Deen (and that this Deen depends on these innovations!). Indeed Allaah Ta`ala states, ‘On this day have I perfected for you your Deen…’” [Tafheemul Masaa`il]

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“Darkness of Bid’ah is so Prevalent” in These Times

This letter by the Mujaddid, written in response to a letter from Shaikh Hasan-i Barki, encourages to recover the forgotten sunnats and to abstain from bidats.

I begin to write this letter with the Basmala. May hamd (grateful praise) be to Allahu ta’ala. I send my salams to and prayers for the good people chosen by Allahu ta’ala. I was very much pleased to read the letter from my brother Shaikh Hasan. Valuable pieces of knowledge and marifats were written in it. When I understood them, I became quite pleased. Thanks be to Allahu ta’ala, all the knowledge and kashfs which you wrote are correct. They are all agreeable with the Qur’an and hadiths. So are the right beliefs of the savants of Ahl as-sunnat. May Allahu ta’ala keep you on the right way. May He bless you with attaining high grades!

You write that you have been striving to do away with the bidats that are so widespread. At such a time as this, when the darknesses of bidats are so prevalent, it is a very great blessing to bring about the annihilation of one bidat and to recover one of the forgotten sunnats. Our Prophet “sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ states in a sahih hadith: “He who recovers one of my forgotten sunnats will receive as many thawabs as a hundred martyrs will receive!” The greatness of this deed must be inferred from this hadith. But, when doing this, there is an important subtlety to be observed. That is, while trying to recover one sunnat, we should not cause any fitna; one goodness should not give birth to a variety of problems or evils, for we are in the latest time. We are in a century when Muslims are weak and forlorn.

Do your best to educate and to bring up so as to be well-mannered and well-learned the late Mawlana Ahmad’s “rahmatullahi ta’ala ‘alaih’ children. Teach them spiritual and bodily adabs! Be an example for everybody you know and meet and even all your brothers- in-Islam there by obeying the Shariat and holding fast to the sunnat! Tell everybody about the harms of committing bidat, of disbelief! May Allahu ta’ala bless you with the lot of doing good deeds! May He give success to those who strive for the spreading of the Islamic din and for teaching it to the youngsters! May He protect us and our children against going astray by being deceived by the enemies of the din and virtue, by those who strive to demolish the Islamic din and steal the iman and morals of the pure youth, and by those who try to deceive the youngsters through lies and slanders! Amin.

My son! When fitna is widespread and fasads are abundant, it is time to repent and make istighfar. You must keep aloof and not participate in fitna. Fitna is growing and spreading each day. Our beloved Prophet “sallallahu alaihi wa sallam’ said: “As the Doomsday approaches, fitna will increase. It will resemble the increase in darkness as night begins. Many who leave their homes in the morning as Muslim, will return home as kafirs in the evening. While they are Muslim in the evening, they will lose their belief during the night at places of amusement. During such times, to stay at home is better than being involved in fitna. Those who stay aloof are better than those who attack and lead in front. On that day, break your arrows! Leave your weapons and swords! Address everybody with a smiling face and sweet words! Do not leave your house!”” (Vol 3:105)

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Group Loud Zikr as an act of Ibaadah is Bid’ah

The Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani describes the difference between two different types of innovations:

“You have asked how it is that I forbid dhikr with loud voice and not condemn many other things which had not existed at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) such as the shirt open in front (libas farji) and pyjamas. Please note that the acts of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) were of two kinds: those that were performed as ibadah, an act of worship, and those that were done as urf and adah, habits and customs.

The acts which were done as ibadah, we consider deviations from them to be evil innovations, and condemn them strongly, for they are innovations in religion (din) and must be rejected. But the acts which were done as part of habit and custom, we do not regard deviations from them as innovation, and do not proscribe them. For they do not belong to religion (din); their existence or disappearance depends upon the custom of society rather than religion” (Vol 1:231)

For more information regarding the issue of loud zikr and other Sufi practices, please study the following:

Group Loud Zikr – Bid’ah or Not?

Do the Deobandis Commit Shirk by Giving Powers of Legislation to Others Besides Allah?

 

“Bid’ah, be it hasanah or sayyiah, necessitates the displacement of the Sunnah”

The Mujaddid states:

“It is a ni’mat of the greatest value that a sincere man is perpetually engaged in reviving some Sunnah of Nabi-e-Kareem (Allah bless him and grant peace) and eliminating a bid’at from evil and reprehensible acts of bid’at. Sunnah and bid’at are two diametric opposites. The existence of the one brings about the destruction of the other. Thus, reviving Sunnah causes this elimination of bid’at and vice versa. Therefore, bid’ah, be it hasanah or sayyiah, necessitates the displacement of Sunnah” (Maktoob 255, Daftar 11)

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“I am amazed at those who add to the religion when it is already perfect and complete”

The Mujaddid exhorts everyone to follow the sunna and avoid bid’ah:

“Make efforts so that you may follow the sunna and avoid (bid`at). Especially it is critical to discard such deviations that eliminate the sunna. The Blessed Prophet (slm) said, Reject him who will add any newly introduced practice to our religion [Man ahdatha fi dinina hadha fa-hua raddun].

I am amazed at them who add newly introduced things (ihdathat) to the religion (din) when that religion is already perfect and complete, and who seek to perfect that religion by these newly introduced things. Aren’t they at all worried that the sunna would be eliminated (God forbid!) by these inventions?

For example, take the case of the tail of the turban. It is a sunna to suspend the tail of the turban along the centerline of the back. However, many people have chosen to suspend it along the left-side of the back. By this practice, they seek to imitate the dead [― the tail of the turban in the burial shroud is along the left side of the back.] Many people are following them in this practice. However, they do not know that this practice eliminates the sunna. And takes one from the sunna to its bid`ah. And if they continue on the same course of action [in which they are not following the sunna,] they will soon reach the forbidden (haram).

Following whom is better? Our Blessed Prophet Muhammad ? Or the dead? Our blessed Prophet Muhammad  has been honored by a death that is before death [that the ascended masters who are the God-realized Sufis also experience]. Some people want to establish a relationship with the dead but they should instead establish to relate to our blessed Prophet Muhammad .

Surprising! In the burial shroud, a turban in itself is a deviation! What can you say about the tail? Some ulama of the later times consider adding a turban to the burial shroud of someone from the ulama to be a good practice (mustahsan). However, I believe that adding anything to the burial shroud [beyond what is in the sunna] is like changing the sunna and changing the sunna is like rejecting the sunna.

Allah (SWT) keeps us steadfast on the illuminated sunna of the chosen one and salutation and peace be on its originator [Prophet Muhammad]! Allah shower His mercy on him who will say amin to this prayer!” (Mabda’ va Ma`ad)

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The Ahlul Bid’ah Also Use Qur’an and Hadith

Hadhrat Mujaddid Alf Thaani (rahmatullah alayh) says regarding the fact that the Ahlul bid’ah use Qur’an and Sunnah to justify their bid’ahs:

“Because every bid`atee (innovator) and deviate substantiates his concocted belief from the Kitaab and Sunnah, in accordance to his concocted desire.” [Vol 3:Letter 193]

The pseudo-Sufi and Salafi implementations of bid’ah are deviations from the Haqq. Whilst the pseudo-Sufis cannot reconcile the countless statements of the fuqaha regarding the ‘tark’ principle (i.e. any act of ibadah not practiced by the Salaf is a reprehensible bid’ah) with their own implementation of bid’ah, the Salafis fail to understand how new practices, which are merely means and not ibadah, are not bid’ah. The Salafis also fail to understand how certain practices accepted by the Ijma’ of the Sahabah, and the Aimmah Mujtahideen, are Sunnah.

Both extremes will naturally find the Haqq confusing, and view it as a milder form of the other side. 

How they would view Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani is just one example. His stance against bid’ah hasanah, his branding of certain acts as reprehensible bid’ah, and his frequent condemnation of ulama who were justifing new practices under the guise of bid’ah hasanah, is certainly in stark contrast to many of today’s claimants to sufism and traditional islam, including those who claim to be his true inheritors.

The Barelwi Sect’s claim of being true inheritors of Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani and Shah Waliullah (along with their claim of being true conveyors of the Hanafi madhab), is as hollow as their claim of having love for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) whilst relegating his (alayhis salaam) beloved Sunnah, and placing more emphasis on actions not found in the Sunnah.

The Ahlul Bid’ah tend to use one of two methods when interpreting the statements of these two Mujaddids:

1)They claim, without manuscriptural evidence, that their works have been fabricated and forged. Nobody should access their works except through the filters of the deviant group e.g. only those parts that are not in conflict with barelwism has escaped tampering. This tactic allows any deviant group to lay claim to any scholar in history. It also implies that Allah sends a reviver, a signpost through which the Ummah can be set straight again, only to allow the reviver’s works to become inaccessible.

2)They claim, without sound basis, that Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani and Shah Waliullah have erred and/or are deviants.

Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani’s Hussam al-Haramayn

It’s interesting to note that fatwas of Kufr on Mujaddid Alf-e-Thaani were issued by ulama from both the sub-continent and Arab lands, based on faulty translations and misrepresentation of the Maktubat. However, it is Allah’s (azza wa jal) beneficent Will that those who instigate such slanders against the ulama-e-haqq become long forgotten very quickly (fatwas were also issued against Shah Waliullah):

“Still, the controversy over Ahmad Sirhindi’s teachings was rekindled in 1682, following the arrival of a request for a legal opinion (istifta’) from the Mujaddidiyya’s opponents in India who wished to buttress Emperor Awrangzeb’s official ban on the Maktubat. The charges leveled this time against Sirhindi were more comprehensive and included the extravagant claims he made about himself and his millenarian doctrines. Two of Kurani’s associates composed within a month book-length replies in which they declared Sirhindi an infidel. These were sent to “the qadi of India” by the Sharif of Mecca with an accompanying letter in which he asserted that these authors’ verdict was unanimously accepted. Copty suggests that the Sharif’s attitude derived from his desire to appease Emperor Awrangzeb and to pocket himself the large amount of charity that the latter had sent that year to the Haramayn. Be that as it may, there are clear indications that some of the Hijazi ulama did not agree with the condemnation of Sirhindi, among them perhaps Kurani himself. The defense of the Mujaddidiyya’s founder was taken up, with at least some measure of success, by Muhammad al- Uzbeki, who maintained that the fatwas against him were based on faulty translation and misrepresentation of the Maktubat…

Sirhindi’s rivals accused him of deviating from the path of their preceptor, while he was upset at their attraction to mystical music and dance, practices which he loathed…Ahmad Sirhindi received more scholarly attention than any other master in the history of the Naqshbandiyya…Still, especially in the Indian sphere, there is a certain imbalance in the scholarly literature, which has focused on the ideas of the towering figures of Sirhindi and Waliullah at the expense of other masters and aspects of the brotherhood. ” [The Naqshbandiyya, Orthodoxy and activism in a worldwide Sufi tradition, Itzchak Weismann]

Next: Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani and Shah Waliullah on Shirk Amongst the Muslims

Back to Contents of “Salafism and Barelwism”

5 thoughts on “Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani’s War Against Bid’ah Hasanah

  1. Curious Boy

    Assalamu alaikum

    What is your view on Imam Shafi’ee, Ibn Hajar, an-Nawawi, Suyuti and many others who came before the noble Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani and Deobandi elders (May Allah reward), who were of the view that Bid’ah can be categorised into Hasanah and Sayyi’ah? Were they Ahlul Bid’ah?

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Assalamualaykum,

      May Allah cause thorns to grow on our tongues before even the thought strays into our head of proclaiming such illustrious authorities as “Ahlul Bid’ah”.

      May Allah give suitable recompense to the Ulama-e-soo’ who misuse the statements of such illustrious authorities in order to introduce bid’ah into the pure Deen.

      Inshaa-Allah articles will be posted to demonstrate the massive chasm between how these authorities understood bid’ah, and how the Ahlul Bid’ah understand it.

      To give a brief preview, the definition of bid’ah they were using was a purely literal one. In the same sense, good shirk can be perfectly acceptable (e.g in business you can have a good partnership), and good ‘kufr’ as used in the verse after Ayaatul Kursi, is absolutely obligatory.

      However, despite the use of such words in a good sense in the books of fiqh and the Qur’an, never can there be good shirk or kufr in the technical meaning of such words.

      Reply
      1. curious boy

        But as-Suyuyti, Abu Shama, ibn al-Haaj and others gave celebrating the Mawlid as an example of Bid’ah Hasanah. I await your detailed response. Alhamdulillah, I have seen many Deobandis recently, including my teacher Shaykh Abdur Raheem from Darul Uloom Bury, become more lenient towards the Mawlid instead of declaring it an outright rejected bid’ah.

        Reply
        1. admin Post author

          For now, if you read carefully some of the articles and fatwas in this link:

          http://reliablefatwas.com/miscellaneous-answers-on-customs-traditions-bidah/

          you will find answers to some of your questions. When I have time I will gather the relevant material into one concise article so that it is easy for the layman to see what the correct stance is.

          For the authoritative stance of our Akaabir, which differs greatly from what the current batch of Ulama are issuing, read the following:

          http://reliablefatwas.com/consistency-deobandi-akaabir-regarding-mawlid/

          If time permits, I will also inshaAllah analyse Ibn al-Haaj’s stance which is quite useful, as it’ll shed much light on this matter, and which is in conformity with the stance of our Akaabir.

          Reply
          1. Thinking

            Assalamu a laikom, What about this?
            RasoolAllah [May Allah bless Him and grant Him peace] stated: “The person who introduced a good thing in Islam, shall obtain the reward for it and also the reward for those who adopt it. As for the one who introduces a bad thing (Bid’ah Sayyi ah) he will obtain the punishment for introducing it and also for those who adopt it, will also be punished.”

            (Sahih Muslim in Kitaab-uz-Zakaat Tirmidhee chapter Eleleven).

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