Bid’ah—A Henious Sin

All praise is to Allah. We praise Him and seek His help, and we believe in Him and rely on Him. We seek refuge with Him from the mischief of our souls and from the vices of our deeds. There is none to lead him astray whom Allah guides and there is none to guide him whom Allah lets go astray. We bear witness that there is no God but Allah alone and that He has no partner. We also bear witness that our sire, our Prophet and our Master, Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith no: 867)

The meanings of the words Jabir and Jabbar
عن جابر رضي الله عنه قال كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا خطب احمرت عيناه و علا صوته واشتد غضبه حتى كأنه منذر جيش يقول صبحكم ومساكم و يقول بعثت أنا والساعة كهاتين ويقرن بين إصبعيه السبابة والوسطى ويقول أما بعد: فإن خير الحديث كتاب الله وخير الهدى هدى محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وشر الأمور محدثاتها وكل بدعة ضلالة ثم يقول أنا أولى بكل مؤمن من نفسه من ترك مالا فلأهله ومن ترك دينا أو ضياعا فإلى وعلى (صحيح مسلم كتاب الجمعة باب تخفيف الصلاة والخطبة- حديث 867)
This Hadith is narrated from Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) who had a special status with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam); resided in Madinah; and his name was Jabir. Some people doubt that the word Jabir means a tyrant, why then was this name given to a companion? The same doubt arises about Allah's exalted name Jabbar. The word: ‘Jabbar' in Urdu language means ‘very great tyrant', so people generally doubt as to how this is one of the names of Almighty Allah.
These doubts are now being resolved. The word Jabbar is interpreted differently in the Urdu and Arabic language. In Urdu the word means ‘tyrant', while in Arabic it means ‘setter of bones'. As such, the word when used in Arabic has not a bad meaning. Bone-setter is rather a nice meaning of the word Jabir. Likewise the word Jabbar is superlative degree of the word Jabir, meaning a most expert bone-setter. Thus Allah's name Jabbar does not mean the tyrant or the inflictor of punishments. It only means that Almighty Allah is one who joins together broken things.

The Setter of Broken bones is only one
That is why in one of the many adyiah (supplications) which the Holy Prophet taught his Ummah, Almighty Allah has been called by the following words:
Allah has been called by this name, because it is a unanimously agreed opinion of all the physicians, surgeons and bone specialists that there is no medicine and no treatment for joining together broken bones. All that man can do is to place the broken parts together in position and after this there is no medicine, whatsoever, to be applied to the broken pieces. The personality who alone does the setting of the bones is Allah. It is in this sense that Allah is called Jabbar, and not as the people commonly misunderstands the meaning of this word.

The meaning of the word Qah-haar
The word Qah-haar is also one of the ninety-nine names of Almighty Allah. In Urdu the word is wrongly taken to mean a Great Oppressor and inflictor of torture and distress on the people. The word Qah-haar included in the sacred names of Allah is the Arabic word Qah-haar which means All-Powerful, Omnipotent, i.e. the One that over powers and controls everything.

None of the names of Almighty Allah implies ‘Punishment'
None of the names included in the list of the names of Allah implies punishment. All the names imply mercy or omnipotence etc. This is an evidence that the basic attribute of Allah connotes mercy, kindness, etc. He is Merciful and Kind to His servants. It is, however, different when His servants exceed the limits in sin and wrongdoing, and Allah's wrath and vengeance descend on them, His punishment is also a truth, as mentioned in many Quranic verses. But the word Punishment is not clearly mentioned among the "Beautiful Names" of Allah.

The state of the Holy Prophet during delivering a sermon
Hazrat Jabir has narrated that: When the Holy Prophet delivered his sermons among the Companions his eyes often used to become red and his voice rise high.
The reason of this was that the words of his sermon emanated from the core of his heart and it was his desire that his words should penetrate into the depths of the hearts of the audience, so that they may understand and act upon the advice given.

The Prophet's style of preaching (Deen)
At times it seemed as if the Prophet was warning his audience against the imminent attack of an army approaching them very soon in the morning or the evening. He thus exhorted them to be prepared to confront this army. The army mentioned in the Hadith is a symbol for the Day of Judgment and the Day when man will have to appear in the presence of Allah to account for his deeds and to face Hell as a punishment for his sins. He & used to warn them that the dreadful day might overtake them at any moment so they should remain alert.
You might have heard that when the Holy Prophet invited his people to Islam on the Safa hills for the first time, he assembled all the tribes of Makkah and called them, each by their names and put this question to them: Will you testify to or deny my statement if I tell you that a large army is waiting for you at the back of this hill and wants to attack you? All of them replied with one voice, saying: O Muhammad, we shall testify your statement because you never told a lie in your life and you are renowned as truthful and trustworthy. Thereafter, the Holy Prophet said: I inform you that a very grievous torment from Allah is waiting for you in the Hereafter. If you want to be safe from that torment, then believe in the oneness of Allah.

The Familiar topic of the Arabs
This style of expression is most often found in the addresses of the Holy Prophet I am going to warn you against a very large army of the enemy that is ready to attack you. The Arabs were familiar with this expression of warning because they frequently fought against one another and remained engaged in attacking one another. They considered that man who informed them that an enemy was lying in wait for them and wanted to attack them was their well-wisher. The Holy Prophet adopted the same familiar style in his address in which he invited his clans-men to Islam.

The Prophet's Mission and the approaching Day of Resurrection
He further said I and the Day of Resurrection have been sent down like this: Raising up his index and middle fingers he said: Just as there is little space between these two fingers, in the same way there is not much space of time between me and the Day of Resurrection, and that Day is very close at hand. When the Prophets sent among the past nations warned their people against the Day of Resurrection, they mentioned to them the coming of the last Prophet as a very prominent sign of the Day of Resurrection:
Ibn Abi Hatim brought it out from Hasan who said: Its signs have come and the coming of Muhammad is one of its signs. Are they then waiting only for the Hour? Verse of Quran.

The Resolution of a Difficulty
The people often feel perplexed that the Day of Resurrection has not arrived even fourteen centuries have passed since the arrival of the Holy ProphetThis may be explained by saying that the period of 1400 or even 2000 or 3000 years is nothing as compared with the age of the universe. That is why the Prophet said that the Day of Resurrection-is very close to us.

Every man's death is his Day of Resurrection
However, far off the Day of Resurrection of the universe, as a whole, may be but the Day of Resurrection of every individual is undoubtedly very near at hand, because:
Narrated by Dailmi from Anas traceable with his words. Thus, the day of a man's death is for him the Day of his Resurrection. The intentions of the Prophet's warning is to exhort every one to prepare himself in advance for rendering an account of his deeds so that he may save himself from the punishment of the grave as well as of the Hereafter.

The Best speech and the Best Life
The best speech of all the speeches in this world is the Boo: of Allah. No speech and no book can be conceived better, truer, purer and loftier in all respects than the Book of Allah that is the Quran. Similarly no life-style can be conceived pure and better than that of the Holy Prophet Mind well that the Prophet is himself making this claim that his way of living is the best of all. It was necessary for him & to make this claim, because it was the very purpose of his mission that Allah sent him to this world to serve as a beautiful model for his Ummah. It is, therefore, impressed upon all to follow the Holy Prophet in all walks of life, rising, sitting, eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, dealing with other fellow-men and with Almighty Allah Himself. His & is indeed the best life-style.

Bid'ah (innovation) is the worst form of sin
The Prophet then indicated such acts and deeds as may lead man to straying from the straight path. The worst and most hated deeds on the surface of this world are those which imply openly or secretly fresh additions to the Deen (Faith). The word "Worst" has been used in the Hadith, because Bidhh is even worse than the sins committed openly. A man with the slightest trace of Eeman in his heart is sure to feel disgusted with the sins, evils and vices that are committed openly. A man is addicted to drinking wine, to lewdness, telling lies, backbiting, etc. If you ask him about these sins, he will admit that they are indeed bad, but he is unfortunately involved in them. When a man admits that a sin is sin there is every possibility that Allah shall help him to turn away from those sins.
As for Bid'ah (Innovation) which has been newly introduced to Religion is peculiar that in reality it is a sin, but the person who is committing it thinks that he is doing a very good deed. With such mistaken belief he is ready to argue with anyone who objects to his baseless innovation and often he begins to fight with the person raising the objection. When a person does not regard a sin as sin but regards it as a virtue worth cultivating he becomes confirmed in the sin. That is why the Holy Prophet has called it the "worst of all acts". As already pointed out Innovation is introducing in Deen (Faith) some practice or rite which is contrary to the practice of the Holy Prophet and his sacred Companions The Prophet has also said that a man who practices Innovation has definitely deviated from the right path of Deen.

Bid'ah is divergence from Belief
Deficiency may be of two types. There is a person who is deficient or slack in his duties. He is negligent and is committing sins and excesses. There is another person who is deficient or slack in his belief. He believes sin to be a virtue and infidelity to be faith. It is easy to remedy and eradicate deficiency and slckness in doing or not doing something, it is expected that the person will reform himself and turn away from sins at one time or another. Deficiency in the matter of belief in which a man takes sin for virtue and infidelity for belief is a hard nut to crack. That is why Innovation has been declared to be the worst sin from which the Companions sl, kept themselves away to the best of their ability.

The worst evil of Bid'ah
The worst evil of Bid'ah is that man himself plays the role of the inventor of Deen (Faith), although it is Allah alone who is the Inventor of Deen. As against this truth, the Innovator thinks that it is he who is framing the rules and practices of Deen. His greatest apostasy lies in his heretical conception that he is more religious - God forbid than the Holy Prophet and the Noble Companions This is not the way of acting upon the laws of the Shari'ah; it is merely the act of following ones own selfish desires. A great sin and straying away, indeed!

Bid'ah results in loss in this world as well as loss in the Hereafter
Among the Hindus there are devotees who practice strange self-mortifying spiritual and physical exercises to please their gods. These practices are terrifying to see. Some Hindu Sadhu (Saint) has been standing for years with his hands up. Another one has imprisoned his breath inside his lungs and is able to hold his breath for hours together. They practise similar other torturous physical feats. If you ask them the reason for all this they will reply that they are doing this to please their gods. Are their deeds of any value, although apparently they are doing all this with good intention? The answer is "Certainly not", because what they are doing is not in conformity kith the ways taught by Allah and His Prophet. They have devised these gymnasticall exercises with their own mind and understanding. Such acts are not acceptable. Allah has said about such deeds:
This verse means: We throw away their deeds like scattered dust.
The deeds of these Sadhus go to the wind, condemned and valueless. In another place Allah has expressed the same idea in a very appealing and sympathetic style.
In this verse Almighty Allah is addressing the Holy Prophet and asking him to tell the
People: Should we inform you the worst with regard to their deeds? They are those whose efforts go waste in the world and yet they think that they are doing good deeds. (1s 103-104)
It should be understood that the sinners or the unbelievers enjoyed themselves in the world, though they ruined their Hereafter. As for the Bidbti, he is taking pains in the world and enduring hardships and at the same time he is ruining his Hereafter because he has invented and adopted forms of worship which Allah and His Prophet did not prescribe for him.
That is why Bidhh has been described as the worst of all deeds, a man takes pains in worship without gaining anything from that worship.