Hazards to Faith
In the name of Allah The Most Gracious The Most Merciful
“Surely Allah does not forgive shirk (associating any partner with Him); and may forgive sins other than that if He so pleases. This is because one who commits shirk with Allah, does indeed invent a great sinful lie”(Qur’an;),“do not spread mischief in the land.”(Qur’an;7:74)“A Muslim is the one who avoids harming Muslims with his tongue and hands.”(Sahih Bukhari Hadith: 1.9)
To Faith and Peace
Compiled By: Brigadier (R) Aftab
Muslims are faced with many challenges, the menace of polytheism (shirk), deviations (bid’ah), directly pollute the purity of faith, while sectarianism, extremism, militancy and Intolerance undermine their unity, peaceful coexistence and progress.
Published in Monthly “DJ”- Defence Journal
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Humanity, Religion, Culture, Ethics, Science, Spirituality & Peace
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Faith and Peace
Islam leads the believers towards the attainment of spiritual and ethical peace through total submission to will of God. Any deviation though it may appear to be minor is not acceptable. However while guarding own faith and preaching to others, the Devine Design of Creation must be kept in view: “If Thy Lord had so willed, He could have made Mankind one people: but They will not cease to dispute.”(Qur’an;11:118),“The One Who created death and life, so that He may put you to test, to find out which of you is best in deeds: He is the All-Mighty, the All-Forgiving.”(Qur’an;67:2). The followers of Islam have been facing many challenges, right from the beginning like the hazards of polytheism (shirk), deviations (bid’ah), sectarianism, extremism, militancy and intolerance. At times these threats can be recognized but mostly it is difficult to identify them, hence hard to deal with. Consequently understanding of threats to the faith are very important to guard against falling pray to them inadvertently.
Islamic Faith: The root of affirmation of ‘Islamic Faith’ is based on the conviction upon unity of Allah (Tawheed). In order to be a Muslim one has to believe in the Six Articles of Faith, which has been repeatedly mentioned in Qur’an at;24:62, 2:136,177,285, 4:136, 3:114, 4:78, 54:3, 17:99, 29:20, 64:67 and many other places. The Islamic creed of confession (Shahada) is the verbal commitment and pledge to testify: “La ilaha Illallah , Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah” [None has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah].
The ‘Five Pillars of Faith’ are the physical manifestation of combination of faith and practices, which are also the forms of worship (Qur’an;2:21, 43:64, 69:52); the first two; Shahada & Salah (prayer 5 times a day) are daily, next two Zakat (Charity, Alms) ) & Saum (fasting, during month of Ramadan) are annual and the last, Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) is once in life if one can afford.
The six ‘Articles of Faith’ are orally confessed by the Muslims (believers), which should also be deep rooted, in the heart:
1) To affirm his/her belief in Allah (Single God).
2) To believe in His messengers (from Adam, Noah, Abraham to Moses and Jesus,25mentioned by name in Qur’an), and Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be His Last Messenger for humanity.
3) His books, Qur’an and all scriptures revealed to His Messengers which also include the original Torah, Psalms (Zabur) and original Gospel (Injeel) to Jesus Christ (pbuh).
4) To believe in Al Ghaib [metaphysical creatures] like the angels, Jinns, etc.
5) Resurrection after death on the Day of Judgment, accounting and the scales, hell and paradise.
6) The good and evil of destiny are in the power of Allah, the Most High.
If a Muslim fails to perform some of his obligations and is remiss in practice or commits some such actions as are forbidden, yet he firmly believes in the liability of all above obligations and the impropriety of all unlawful deeds, he will continue to be a Muslim though he will be a sinner: “On that Day, the scale of justice shall be established. Those whose scale of good deeds will be heavy, they are the ones who will attain felicity, and those whose scale is light, they shall find themselves in loss for they had done injustice to Our revelations.”(Qur’an;78-9). The sinners must repent: “Our Lord! we have wronged Our own souls: if Thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost”(Qur’an;7:23), “Then We have given the Book for inheritance to such of Our servants as We have chosen: but there are among them some who wrong their own souls; some who follow a middle course; and some who are by Allah's leave foremost in good deeds; that is the highest Grace.”(Qur’an;35:32),“Whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be in the company of those whom Allah has blessed - the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous: What excellent companions they will be!”[Qur’an;4:69,( also,18:87-88)]
Some Important Aspects:
Oneness of God: The God (Allah) is One and the Only One. He is not two in one or three in one. This means that Islam rejects the idea of Trinity or such a unity of God which implies more than one God in one.
Oneness of Mankind: People are created equal in the Law of God. There is no superiority for one race over another. God made people in different colors, nationalities, languages and tribes to recognize each other. No one can claim that he is better than others. It is only God Who knows who is better. It depends on piety and righteousness.
Innocence of Man at Birth: Muslim believes that people are born free of sin. It is only after they reach the age of puberty and it is only after they commit sins that they are to be charged for their mistakes. No one is responsible for or can take the responsibility for the sins of others. However, the door of forgiveness through true repentance is always open.
State and Religion: Muslims believe that Islam is a total and a complete way of life. It encompasses all aspects of life. As such, the teachings of Islam do not separate religion from politics. As a matter of fact, state and religion are under the obedience of Allah through the teachings of Islam. Hence, economic and social transactions, as well as educational and political systems are also part of the teachings of Islam.
Jihad- Important Element of Faith (Ayman): Strenuous Efforts (Jihad) made sincerely for advancement of the cause of Allah, though not included among five pillars of Islam; but it is an important element of the Faith (ayman, Belief).(Qur’an;49:15). The aim of making Strenuous Efforts (Jihad) is three fold: The first and foremost is to; ‘Strive Against Selfish Desires’ (Nafs ammarah), to purify the heart, so that the faith (ayman) of Islam is deeply rooted in the heart, to become fully subservient to the commands of God and His Apostle Secondly, making strenuous efforts (Jihad) to convey the Last message of God (Islam) to the humanity(Dawah) called Bigger Jihad (Jihad Kabira)(Qur’an;25:52). Thirdly Jihad (warfare) is to be conducted by Islamic State to provide protection to Muslims and non Muslims against oppression. The specific word used exclusively for warfare is Qitaal (Qur’an;2:216-217) or Qatelu, wa-Qatalu (Qar’an;4 89-91). The warfare is to be conducted with in laid down Islamic principles. Killing of innocent people and creating mischief on earth (fisad fil ardh) for power and glory is not Jihad.
The Prophet (pbuh) & Household: Muslims extremely love the Prophet and his household, Allah says: “The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves and his wives are their mothers (Umuhatul Momineen)”(Qur’an;33:6). Hence they can not tolerate any blasphemy against them. The House Hold of the Prophet (pbuh), in addition to his wives also includes his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali Bin Abu Talib, their children Hassan and Husain. All the members of Household of Prophet (Ahl-ul-bait), were virtuous human being, they greatly contributed towards the cause of Islam. Prophet loved them all. Imam Hussein laid down his life for the just cause of Islam.
The Pious Companions of the Prophet (pbuh): The Prophet (peace be upon him) had rightly guided successors among his blessed companions, who followed his footsteps (Sunnah) to the best of their abilities in spreading knowledge, preaching Islam, and managing the affairs of Islamic State. The disputes that took place among the Prophet's Companions were the result of sincere interpretations that they worked hard to reach. Whoever was right among them will be rewarded twice, and whoever was wrong among them will be rewarded once and his mistake will be forgiven. It may not be appropriate for any believer to criticize them rather they deserve of beautiful praise. (Qur’an;7:42-43, 57:10, 9:100 & 59:10).
Threat to Faith:
Some common threats to the faith (Ayman) of a Muslim are as follows:
Polytheism (Shirk): Polytheism (Shirk) is the greatest sin which will not be forgiven by Allah, Who says in Qur’an: “Surely Allah does not forgive shirk (associating any partner with Him); and may forgive sins other than that if He so pleases. This is because one who commits shirk with Allah, does indeed invent a great sinful lie.”(Qur’an;). Shirk basically is polytheism, i.e., the worship of others along with Allah, this is the unpardonable sin. Polytheism has always been rejected by Allah, it is mentioned in Bible: “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the
Shirk also implies attributing divine attributes to any one else besides Allah. It particularly implies associating partners in worship with Allah or believing that the source of power, harm or blessings is from others besides Allah. Allah says: "Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be ascribed to Him in worship, but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He pleases; and whoever ascribes partners to Allah in worship, has indeed invented a tremendous sin."(Qur’an;). “Then when the Trumpet is blown there will be no more relationships between them that day nor will one ask after another! Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy they will attain salvation: But those whose balance is light will be those who have lost their souls; in Hell will they abide. The Fire will burn their faces and they will therein grin with their lips displaced. "Were not My Signs rehearsed to you and ye did but treat them as falsehoods?" They will say: "Our Lord! our misfortune overwhelmed us and we became a people astray! "Our Lord! bring us out of this: if ever we return (to evil) then shall we be wrongdoers indeed!" He will say: "Be ye driven into it (with ignominy)! and speak ye not to Me! (Qur’an;23:101-108). “If anyone invokes besides Allah any other ilaha (god) he has no authority therefore; and his reckoning will be only with his Lord! And verily the Al-Kafirun (Disbelievers in Allah and in the oneness of Allah, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful.” (Qur’an;23:117). There are three types of Shirk : Major Polytheism (Ash-Shirk-al-Akbar), Minor Polytheism( Ash-Shirk-al-Asghar) and Inconspicuous Polytheism (Ash-Shirk-al-Khafi).
Major Polytheism: The Major Polytheism (Ash-Shirk-al-Akbar) is the serious polytheistic form, it has four aspects: Firstly; Polytheism of Invocation (Shirk-ad-Du'a): This aspect implies invoking, supplicating or praying to other deities besides Allah. According to Qur’an :"And when they embark on a ships they invoke Allah, making their Faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others,"(Qur’an;29:65). Secondly; Shirk-al-Niyyah wal-Iradah wal-Qasd: This aspect implies intentions, purpose and determination in acts of worship or religious deeds not for the sake of Allah but directed towards other deities. Allah says in Qur’an: "Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no, diminution therein. They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire; and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do."(Qur’an;11:15-16). Thirdly; Shirk-at-Ta’ah: This aspect implies rendering obedience to any authority against the Order of Allah. It is mentioned in Qur’an: "They (Jews and Christians) took their Rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah (by obeying them in things which they made lawful or unlawful according to their own desires without being ordered by Allah), and (they also took as their lord) Messiah, son of Mary, while they (Jews and Christians) were commanded (in the Torah and the Gospel) to worship none but One Ilah (God i.e., Allah), La ilaha ilia Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Praise and Glory is to Him (far above is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him)."(Qur’an;). Narrated by Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Jarir: Once Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was reciting this Verse, Adi bin Hatim, who was reverted from Christianity said; "O Allah's Prophet! They (Jews and Christians) do not worship them (rabbis and monks)" Allah's Messenger said, "They certainly do. They (i.e. Rabbis and monks made legal things illegal, and illegal things legal, and they (i.e. Jews and Christians) followed them; and by doing so they really worshipped them."(Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol.10, Page No. 114). Fourthly: Shirk-til-Mahabbah; This implies showing the love which is due to Allah Alone to others than Him. Allah says in Qur’an: “And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else). If only those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is Severe in punishment.”(Qur’an;2:165)
Minor Polytheism ( Ash-Shirk-al-Asghar): Ash-Shirk-al-Asghar Ar-Riya’ (The Minor Shirk, i.e. acts performed to show off). Any act of worship or any religious deed done in order to gain praise, fame or for worldly benefit, falls under this category. Allah says in Qur’an : "Say(O Muhammad) :'I am only a man like you, it has been revealed to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God —Allah). So whoever hopes for the meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.'"(Qur’an;18:110)
Inconspicuous Polytheism (Ash-Shirk-al-Khafi):This type implies being inwardly dissatisfied with the inevitable condition that has been ordained for one by Allah; conscientiously lamenting that had you done or not done such and such or had you approached such and such you would have had a better status etc. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: ''Ash-Shirk-at-Khafi in the Muslim nation is more inconspicuous than the creeping of a black ant on black rock in the pitch-darkness of the night.” And this inconspicuous Shirk is expiated by saying thrice the following sentences every day “O Allah! I take Your refuge front ht I should ascribe anything as partner in Your worship, being conscious of that, and I beg Your pardon for that sin which I am not aware of.”
Disbelief (Kufr): Kufr is basically disbelief in any of the articles of Faith in Islam. The articles of Faith which are to be believed are: (1) Allah, (2)His angels, (3)His Messengers,(4) His revealed Books, (5)The Day of Resurrection, and (6)Al-Qadar, Divine Preordainments (i.e. whatever Allah has ordained must come to pass). There are two aspects of disbelief:
Major Disbelief-Al-Kufr-al-Akbar: Major Disbelief results in complete exclusion from the fold of Islam. There are five types (of this major disbelief): (1) Kufr-at-Takdhib; This implies disbelieving the divine truth or denying of any of the articles of Faith. Allah says in Qur’an: “Then who does more wrong than one who utters a lie against Allah and denies the truth (this Qur'an, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the Islamic Monotheism,) when it comes to him. Is there not in Hell an abode for the disbelievers?”(Qur’an;39:32). (2) Kufr-al-Iba' wat-Takabbur ma'at-Tasdiq: This implies rejection and arrogance to submit to Allah's Commandments after conviction of their truth. Allah says in Qur’an : "And (remember) when We said to the angels: 'Prostrate yourself before Adam.' And they prostrated except Iblis, he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allah)."(Qur’an;). (3) Kufr-ash-Shakk waz-Zann: This implies doubting or lacking of conviction in the six articles of Faith. As per Qur’an : “And he went into his garden while in a state (of pride and disbelief) unjust to himself. He said: 'I think not that this will ever perish. And I think not the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord (on the Day of Resurrection) I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.' His companion said to him during the talk with him: 'Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust (i.e. your father Adam), then out of Nutfah (mixed semen drops of male and female discharge), then fashioned you into a man? But as for my part (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord.”(Qur’an;18:35-38). (4) Kujr-al-I'rad: This implies turning away from the truth knowingly or deviating from the obvious signs which Allah has revealed. Allah says in Qur’an : “We created not the heavens and the earth and all that is between them except with truth and for an appointed term. But those who disbelieve turn away from that whereof they are warned.”(Qur’an;46:3). (5) Kufr-an-Nifaq: This implies hypocritical disbelief. Allah says in Qur’an : “They have made their oaths a screen (for their hypocrisy). Thus they hinder (men) from the Path of Allah. Verily, evil is what they used to do. That is because they believed, then disbelieved, therefore their hearts are sealed, so they understand not.” (Qur’an;63:2-3).
Minor Disbelief -Al-Kufr-al-Asghar : This aspect of disbelief does not exclude one from the fold of Islam. It is also termed Kufrdn-Ni'mah. This implies disbelief manifesting itself in ungratefulness for Allah's Blessings or Favours. Allah says in Qur’an: “'And Allah puts forward the example of a township (Makka), that dwelt secure and well-content; its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it (its people) denied the Favours of Allah (with ungratefulness). So Allah made it taste extreme of hunger (famine) and fear, because of that (evil, i.e. denying Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) which they (its people) used to do.”(Qur’an;16:112).
Hypocrisy is the practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness. A hypocrite may be called Mr. Facing-both-ways in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress." Such men declare that they are always with the Right (Islam), but calmly intrigue with Evil and Injustice, and even make Injustice to their judge if their personal interests are served in that way. If men are false to their covenants and words, the natural consequence will be hypocrisy to cover their falsehood. Such consequences will last till the Day of Judgment, when they will have to account for their deeds. They may think that they are deceiving men by their hypocrisy, but they cannot deceive Allah, to Whom all their most secret thoughts and plots and doings are known. In Islam Hypocrisy is of two types, namely; Hypocrisy in Belief and Hypocrisy in Deeds & Actions.
Hypocrisy in Belief: There are six aspects of hypocrisy in Belief: (1) To belie the last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him). (2) To belie some of all that was brought by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) (e.g. the Qur'an, the Sunnah, laws and principles of Islam).(3) To hate the Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). (4) To hate some of that which was brought by the Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) e.g. Islamic Monotheism, etc. (5) To feel happy at the disgrace of or the set back for the religion of Allah's Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). (6) To dislike that the religion of Allah's Messenger (Islamic Monotheism) becomes victorious, (not being pleased at the victory of Islam). A person having these six types (of hypocrisy) will be in the lowest depths (grade) of the Fire (Hell), as mentioned in Qur’an: “The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the fire: no helper wilt thou find for them.”(Qur’an;4: 145).
Hypocrisy in Deeds and Actions: There are five aspects of hypocrisy in deeds and actions, and their proof is from the statement of Allah's Messenger(peace be upon him). The signs of a hypocrite are: (1) Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.(2) Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise). (3) If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest (if you keep something as trust with him, he will not return it).(4) And in another narration of the Prophet (peace be upon him); Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil, insulting manner. (5) Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves himself treacherous.
All out efforts may be made to strengthen the Faith to deny Hypocrisy taking roots in the heart of faithfuls. How should hypocrites be treated? To take them into your confidence would of course be foolish. To wage unrelenting war against them may destroy the hope of reforming them and purging them of their hypocrisy. The Prophet of Allah keeps clear of their wiles, but at the same time, does not hesitate to show them the error of their ways, nor to put in a word in season, to penetrate their hearts and win them back to Allah. Allah says in Qur’an: “Those men (hypocrites) Allah knows what is in their hearts; so keep clear of them but admonish them and speak to them a word to reach their very souls”(Qur’an;4:63).
Attainment of Spiritual Peace:
The Muslims get inspiration for their spiritual satisfaction from Qur’an and Sunnah of Holy Prophet, (peace be upon him). As per Qur’an;“Thus have We made of you an Ummah Wasat (justly balanced, moderate community) that ye might be witnesses over the nations and the Apostle a witness over yourselves;..”(Qur’an;2:143)."When my servants ask thee concerning Me I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me; let them also with a will listen to My call and believe in Me; that they may walk in the right way”(Qur’an;2:186). “..I'll accept their repentance, for I am the Receiver of Repentance, the Merciful.”(Qur’an;2:160). Muslims are required to worship only Allah and seek His help in all matters, they recite at least seventeen times in daily prayers: “ (O' Allah!) You Alone we worship and You Alone we call on for help”(Qur’an;1:5). Allah says: “O you who have attained to faith! Remain conscious of God, and seek to come closer unto Him, and strive hard in His cause, so that you might attain to a happy state.”(Qur’an;). Muslims are told to seek ardently the means (wasila) by which they may approach Him, and that can only be done by striving with might and main for His cause. This (wasila) is not through human or priests but the way of obedience and performance of good deeds according to the teachings of Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah says: "Those (saintly beings) whom they call upon do desire (for themselves) means of access (wasila), to their Lord even those who are nearest: they hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of."(Qur’an;). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) completed his mission; he was commanded to deliver the complete message of guidance, in unambiguous terms. Allah says: “O Messenger! Deliver the message which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, you are not doing justice to your mission. Allah will protect you from the mischief of the people. Rest assured that Allah will not let the unbelievers succeed against you”(Qur’an;5:67). Any laxity in conveyance of message by hiding or concealing result in curse of God: “Those who conceal the clear proofs and the guidance, after We have made it clear in the Book for mankind, will have Allah's curse and that of those who are entitled to curse;”(Qur’an;2:159). The Messenger (peace be upon him) did not conceal any thing and completed his mission, at the time of Farewell Pilgrimage, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people”. It was also revealed from Allah: “..This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as way of life (Din)
Asceticism, Monasticism: There is no merit merely in abstention or asceticism, though the humility or unselfishness that may go with asceticism may have its value. “Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of God which He has brought forth for His devotees, and the good things of His providing? Say: "All these things are for the enjoyment of the believers in the life of this world though shared by others; but these shall be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection. Thus do We make Our revelations clear for those who understand. Say: The things that my Lord hath indeed forbidden are: shameful deeds whether open or secret; sins and trespasses against truth or reason; assigning of partners to God for which he hath given no authority; and saying things about God of which you have no knowledge.”(Qur’an;7:32-33). Asceticism often means the negation of art and beauty, it has no necessary sanctity attached to it. The beautiful and good things of life are really meant for, and should be the privilege of those with faith in Allah. If they do not always have them in this life, and if there is sometimes the semblance of others having them who do not deserve them, let it be remembered that this is a test from Allah. In the life to come they will be purely for the faithful. Use Allah's gifts of all kinds with gratitude, but excess is not approved of by Allah. Christian monks are praised for particular virtues, though the monasticism is disapproved of. “…But the monasticism which they invented for themselves We did not prescribe for them: (We commanded) only the seeking for the Good pleasure of Allah;…(Qur’an;57:27). Allah certainly requires that men shall renounce the idle pleasures of this world, and turn to the Path which leads to Allah's Good Pleasure. But that does not mean gloomy lives, nor perpetual and formal prayers in isolation. Allah's service is done through pure lives in the turmoil of this world. "Our Lord! Give unto us in the world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and guard us from the doom of Fire."(Qur’an;2:201). This spirit was lost, or at least not fostered by monastic institutions. On the contrary a great part of the "struggle and striving" for noble lives was suppressed.
The introvert and pessimistic approach would have disastrous consequences. The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) provides complete guidance; As per Qur’an; “It is He Who has sent amongst the Unlettered an apostle from among themselves to rehearse to them His Signs to sanctify them and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom although they had been before in manifest error”(Qur’an;62:2). The Muslims gain spiritual satisfaction through unambiguous Islamic practices like offering obligatory prayers (Salah) five time a day, if done with devotion, sincerity and concentration provide a direct link between the man and Allah. “Truly the rising by night is most potent for governing (the soul) and most suitable for (framing) the Word (of Prayer and Praise).”(Qur’an;73:6).The optional (nawafil) late mid night prayer (Tahujud), fasting, paying charity, Zakat and performing Hajj or Umrah (pilgrimage to Makka), Aitekaf (spiritual retreat during Ramdan) provide excellent absorbing mystical and spiritual experiences. There are other supplications like recitation of verses of Holy Qur’an (with understanding and pondering); it is mentioned in Qur’an: “..recite the Qur'an in slow measured rhythmic tones”(Qur’an;73:4),“(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect.”(Qur’an;38:29). “But keep in remembrance the name of the Lord and devote thyself to Him wholeheartedly.”(Qur’an;73:8), Zikar (reciting Holy Names of Allah); and Darood are the other easy means to seek blessings of Allah, which, can be performed in spare time while, sitting idle, waiting, traveling, walking or resting. Islam being a practical faith caters for all the spiritual and material needs of its followers so that they don’t have to look for un-Islamic spiritual practices. Muslim history is full of learned and pious men (Sufi) who while strictly adhering to the Islamic Shri’at, gained spiritual heights, and were instrumental in spread of message of Islam, resulting in to large scale conversion. They are highly revered but unfortunately some of their followers started indulging in un Islamic practices (bid’ah) under the influence of un Islamic local customs and practices not preached by great Sufis.
Innovations & Deviations (Bid’ah) in Faith & Worship: The term ‘Bid’ah’ is derived from a root ‘bada’a’, which means “to invent, produce something new.” In its linguistic usage, the word carries proper and commendable connotations. From the same root, the term ‘badee’ is derived, which means “fine, excellent; and originator.” When it is applied to God, it means “Creator.” Thus God describes Himself in the Qur’an as “Badee Al-Samawat wal-Ard”, which means “the Creator (Originator) of the heavens and the earth.”(Qur’an;2:117).. Most people translate Bid’ah as innovation which means; the action of innovating; the introduction of a new thing; the alteration of something established, which from the Islamic point of view is wrong, as it seeks to invent some new practice or beliefs that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), has not sanctioned. The English word “innovation” carries good connotations, which are at variance with the Islamic concept. Hence, it is better to translate it as “Deviation” (Divergence from a course, method, rule, or established norm or doctrine). This is a more accurate rendering of the Islamic meaning of the word ‘Bid’ah’.
Deviations Not Acceptable in Worship and Faith: In matters of beliefs and worship Bid’ah acquires negative connotations of “Deviation” from the right path. The development of Christianity as a faith, totally different to what Jesus had preached is the most glaring example. Jesus did not claim divinity or called himself as begotten son of God, (the term son of God was used in the spiritual sense as per the Hebrew traditions, for messengers and pious faithfuls). It started as a Bid’ah or deviation by his followers (Paul) who first raised him to the level of Divinity and later developed the strange concept of Trinity (Three persons as One God), Original Sin, exemption form Law (of Moses), preaching to gentiles etc, attributing these deviations to Jesus’ claiming that they received instructions from Jesus and Lord through ‘visions.’
According to Bible, all the praises and prayers are to God: “I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”(2Samuel;22:4). “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” (Isaiah;55:6), “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (Matthew;7:7 ).“Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.”(Psalms;5:2), “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews;). “I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.”(Psalms;118:5), “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah;65:24). “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”(2Corinthians;12:8-9),“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah;33:3).
Hence Allah admonished them: “O People of the Book! do not overstep the bounds (of truth) in your religious beliefs. Speak nothing but the Truth about Allah. Messiah Jesus, the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger of God and His Word "Be" which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him which took the shape of a child in her womb. So believe in Allah and His Messenger and do not say: "Trinity"." Stop saying that, it is better for you. Allah is only One Deity. He is far above from the need of having a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the Earth. Allah Alone is sufficient for protection. ”(Qur’an;4:171). This the reason that Muslims pray to Allah in every prayer (Salah); “O' God! Guide us to The Right Way. The Way of those whom You have favored; not of those who have earned Your wrath (Jews), or of those who have lost the way (Christians)”.(Qur’an;1:6-7). Hence any deviation in the matters of faith and worship will result in loosing the straight path of Islam, this is the reason that in Islam, Bid’ah (deviation) has been strongly condemned form the very beginning.
In the matters concerned with the principles of faith and proper values, or about Islamic worship, it has to be kept in view that God has made the religion of Islam perfect. He clearly states this in the Qur’an: “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL- ISLAM.”(Qur’an;5:3). Man cannot make more perfect what God has perfected. Thus, any increase or decrease in the fundamentals of faith and acts of worship, or the types of worship the believers offer, is a deviation. Any status given to any human being, without relying on the Qur’an or the Hadith, is a deviation. Any belief or idea or concept regarding faith, worship, and basic principles of Islam that have not been stated or explained in the Qur’an or the Sunnah is a deviation. There are many Ahadith to elaborate the aspect of Bid’ah (deviation). Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib: Qays ibn Abbad and Ashtar went to Ali and said to him: Did the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) give you any instruction about anything for which he did not give any instruction to the people in general? He said: No, except what is contained in this document of mine. Musaddad said: He then took out a document. Ahmad said: A document from the sheath of his sword. It contained: The lives of all Muslims are equal; they are one hand against others; the lowliest of them can guarantee their protection. Beware, a Muslim must not be killed for an infidel, nor must one who has been given a covenant be killed while his covenant holds. If anyone introduces a deviation, he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces a deviation or gives shelter to a man who introduces a deviation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people. (Sunan of Abu-Dawood; Hadith Number: 2141). It is narrated by Bilal ibn Harith al-Muzani, Transmitted by Tirmidhi: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: He who revived a Sunnah out of my Sunan, which has died after me, for him is the reward like the reward of those who acted upon it, without any decrease in that reward. He who introduced some evil deviation which Allah and His Messenger did not approve has (a burden of sin upon him) like the sins of one who acted according to it, without their sins being mitigated thereby in the least. (Al-Trimidhi Hadith Number 54).
It has been narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah: When Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) delivered the sermon, his eyes became red, his voice rose, and his anger increased so that he was like one giving a warning against the enemy and saying: "The enemy has made a morning attack on you and in the evening too." He would also say: "The last Hour and I have been sent like these two," and he would join his forefinger and middle finger. He would continue: "The best speech is that embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. The most evil affairs are their deviations; and every deviation is an error.".. (Sahih Muslim Hadith Number 425). There is an other common Bid’ah; saying aloud 'Peace and blessings upon the Messenger' after the call for prayer(adhan): This is a hated Bid’ah. Ibn Hajr says in al-Fatawa al-Kubra, "Our Shaikhs and others have given a legal verdict about the prayers and salutations for the Prophet after the adhan (prayer call) and how the callers to prayer do it. Their verdict is that (the prayers for the Prophet) has its root in the Sunnah, but the manner in which they perform it is a Bid’ah (deviation). Muhammad 'Abduh was asked about saying the prayers and salutation for the Prophet subsequent to the adhan and he said, "The adhan, as mentioned in al-Khaniyyah, is only for the prescribed prayers. It consists of fifteen phrases, the last being La ilaha illal-lah. Whatever is mentioned before or after it is a deviation. (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 1, Number 107b).
The Prophet (peace be upon him), has given a complete package of doctrine of faith and worship for the believers that admits no change or modifications. Hence, nothing can be added to basic fundamentals of Islamic faith and worship, or it will be a deviation (Bid’ah). In this sphere, there is no such a thing as good Bid’ah. The comments of 2nd Caliph Omar’s about Taraweeh being offered in the form of congregation; “This is a good Bid’ah.” are quoted to support deviations. These have to be put in proper context. The Prophet (peace be upon him), first offered the Taraweeh prayer in congregation. He offered it the first night with a number of his companions. On the second night, there was a much larger group of them and they offered it together with the Prophet (peace be upon him), leading the prayer. The third night, before coming out of his home he looked at the people gathering in the mosque for this prayer and he found the mosque full with hardly any room left for any newcomer. He did not come out for it. When he was asked later why he remained at home, he said: “I feared lest that this prayer should become obligatory for you.” During his reign, Omar went out at night to find out how people were faring, as was his habit. He noticed that there were many people in the mosque, but there were several congregational prayers in progress at the same time. He did not like what he saw because it gave an impression of disunity in the Muslim community. He interfered to make all these groups join one congregation, led by Ubayy ibn Ka’ab, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was famous for his perfect recitation of the Qur’an. The next night, when Omar went to the mosque he found that all people were in one congregation. He commented saying: “This is a good Bid’ah.”(Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith, Volume 2 Hadith Number 117, Narrated by Abu Hurairah). From this it may be realized that Omar did not introduce anything new. Nor did he initiate something that was not done before. It was the Prophet (peace be upon him), who in practice recommended that night worship in Ramadhan, which is known as Taraweeh, be offered in congregation. When he absented himself from it later, this was for a specific reason. Then Omar brought it back to what was done by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Without the Prophet (peace be upon him), there was no chance that it would become obligatory as was mentioned by the Prophet (peace be upon him). Thus, this Bid’ah was to go back to the right practice. This was certainly good. To use this comment of Omar to justify something people invent is to quote it out of context. There can simply be no good Bid’ah in matters of worship. No one has ever been a more devoted worshipper of God than the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). If he did not do a particular act of worship, then it is not part of Islamic worship and can never be so. Anything new is a Bid’ah (deviation), and deviation in the religion named as Islam, perfected by God can never be good.
It is further elucidated from this example: The Prophet (peace be upon him), says that travel may be made to visit only three mosques: the Haram in Makkah, the Prophet’s Mosque in
Considering a hypothetical example: If someone encourages the people to recite certain phrases of God's glorification at a particular time every night after Isha Salah (night prayer), while seated in a particular position, placing in front of them certain type of food and drink. He tells them to eat the food and to drink before they go to bed. Now if one take each section of this on its own, it may be found to be permissible. But when some one combine it all and claim that it is part of the religious practices of Islam, he is adding something in the religion of Islam, which is not sanctioned by God and His messenger. That is a deviation (bida’h), which is totally unacceptable. The Prophet (peace be upon him), says: "Whoever invents in this matter (religion) of ours something that does not belong to it, he shall have it rejected." If such a person suggests that he only wants to get people to glorify God more frequently, or if he claims that he has chosen this particular time because he has noticed that people tend to do something against the teachings of Islam around this time, and by introducing this practice he only hopes to give them something more in line with Islam, his argument is futile. His practice remains wrong because he is practically saying that through what is revealed by God and taught by the Prophet (peace be upon him), Islam cannot cope properly with a certain need and that this method complements it. In brief, no one may add or subtract to what the Prophet (peace be upon him), has taught. No deviation is acceptable to the way of Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The Prophet (peace be upon him), distinguished between what is good and what is bad. But he made it clear that this applies to areas where God wants the faithful to follow a certain line. Where no specific guidance is given, the faithful have complete freedom of choice with in basic spirit and parameters of faith. To make n deviation in matters relating to day-to-day life is perfectly permissible because a large area of this field has been left to people to determine as they wish, provided they observe the general Islamic principles. If some one introduce an innovation that is calculated to benefit people generally, or some of them while not hurting others, then that may be acceptable. The person introducing it receives a reward from God to which is added a reward similar to that of people who take up the same practice. For example the Prophet (peace be upon him), has not specified guidance on food and clothes, except to point out what is forbidden in either. This means that whatever people choose is perfectly acceptable as long as they remain within the values and morality outlined by Islam. Some people may think that it is a Sunnah to imitate the way the Prophet (peace be upon him), used to dress. But the Prophet (peace be upon him), used the clothes which the people of his area used, without introducing anything new. There was no difference between the unbelievers and the Muslims in the way they dressed, except where something is forbidden in Islam. Thus, no Muslim would wear a robe made of silk, or the one, which reveals the area that must be covered or dress like a woman: Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the man who dressed like a woman and the woman who dressed like a man. (Sunnan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith Number 1857). Normally people eat and dress what is suitable for their environment and climate. This is perfectly acceptable. No Bid’ah applies here, because the Prophet (peace be upon him), did not state anything to prevent this. Nor did he recommend certain types of clothes saying that they were the ones to be used by Muslims throughout the world and in all generations. Allah says in Qur’an: “O Children of Adam! Put on your adornment (decent proper dress) when you attend your Mosque at the time of every prayer. Eat and drink, but do not be extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.”(Qur’an;). There are many things which were not available at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) like airplane, cars, television, radio, telephone, computers and so many countless technological inventions in all the fields. Making good use of all the modern technologies for the betterment of individuals and humanity with in the parameters laid down by Islam cannot be termed as harmful deviation on the plea that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not mention about them.
Etiquettes of Visiting the
Abdallah ibn Abi Mulaikah is reported to have said; "Once 'Aish’a returned after visiting the graveyard. I asked, 'O Mother of the Believers, where have you been?' She said: 'I went out to visit the grave of my brother Abd ar-Rahman.' I asked her: 'Didn't the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), prohibit visiting graves?' She said, 'Yes, he did forbid visiting graves during the early days, but later on he ordered us to visit them'." This is reported by Al-Hakim and Al-Baihaqi, who also remarked that this hadith was narrated only by Bistam bin Muslim al-Basri. Adh-Dhahabi said that it is a sound hadith. (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 85).
Whoever pays a visit to a grave should face the deceased, greet him, and supplicate for him. Buraidah reported: "The Prophet (peace be upon him), taught us that when we visited graves we should say, 'Peace be upon you, O believing men and women, O dwellers of this place. Certainly, Allah willing, we will join you. You have preceded us and we are to follow you. We supplicate to Allah to grant us and you security'.'' (Reported by Muslim, Ahmad, and others). Similarly it was also reported by Ibn 'Abbas (Tirmidhi) and Aish’a (Muslim).
Some people while visiting graves start wiping hands over the graves and tombs, kissing them, and circumambulating around them, there are abominable Bid’ah (Deviations). Such things should not be done, for they are unlawful in Shari’a. These things are permissible, however, if performed in relation with the House of Allah, the Ka’bah, for Allah has so honored it. The grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him), cannot be considered a similar case, nor the tomb of a saint. All good comes from adherence to the example of Prophet (peace be upon him), whereas all evil flows from innovating new things in religion. Ibn al-Qayyim said: "The Prophet (peace be upon him), visited the graves to supplicate for their inhabitants, and to seek mercy and forgiveness of Allah for them. Contrary to this, the pagans supplicated to the dead, swearing by them, asking them for their needs, and seeking their support and help. Such pagan practices are in conflict with the guidance of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his teachings about the Oneness of Allah and about the manner of supplicating for Allah's mercy for the dead. The people who do such things are guilty of polytheism; they are indulging in sin, and bringing evil to the deceased. They may be divided into three categories: (1) Who supplicate for the deceased; (2) Who supplicate through the deceased, and (3) Who supplicate to the deceased. They think that making supplications by a grave is better than in a mosque. For anyone who looks to the guidance of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and his Companions, the distinction between the two cited positions is fairly obvious."(Fiqh-us-Sunnah,Volume4,Number. 83a). It must be kept in view that, the Muslims recite at least seventeen times in the daily prayers: “ (O' Allah!) You Alone we worship and You Alone we call on for help.”(Qu’ran;1:5). Hence there is not need to approach any one else for help.
Muslims respect the pious, scholars and preachers, but the institutions of priesthood and saints (pir), misused and corrupted by the Jews and Christians was eliminated: “Are the knowledgeable and the ignorant equal? In fact, none will take heed except the people of understanding.”(Qur’an;39:9). The mere idea of a separate order of priesthood to stand between Allah and man and be the exclusive repository of Allah's secrets is derogatory to the goodness and all-pervading grace of Allah. God will judge everyone according to what they have done in their time on earth: “every one of them will come to Him individually on the Day of Resurrection. Surely the Beneficent will bring about love for those who believe and do good deeds.”(Qur’an;19:95-96). He bestows His grace on whomever He wills and punishes those who deserve punishment. The Qur’an is full of verses making clear that no intercession takes place except by God’s leave (Qur’an;2:255,21:28,19:87,34:23, 39:43,39:44), and for the Muslims it is Prophet (peace be upon him). Thus, the Qur'an rejects the popular belief in unqualified "intercession" by living or dead saints or prophets [see also Qur'an;20:109, 21:28 or 34:23], God will grant to His prophets on Judgment Day the permission to "intercede", symbolically, for such of the sinners as will have already achieved His redemptive acceptance (rida') by virtue of their repentance or basic goodness (see Qur’an;19:87): in other words, the right of "intercession" thus granted to the prophets will be but an expression of God's approval of the latter. Furthermore, the above denial of the possibility of unqualified intercession stresses, indirectly, not only God's omniscience - which requires no "mediator" - but also the immutability of His will: and thus it connects with His Almightiness.
The pious scholars and preachers who left their families, traveled hundred of miles to convey the message of Islam: “Among those whom We have created, there are some people who guide others with the truth and establish justice therewith.”(Qur’an;7:181, see also 41:33, 3:104, 87:9). It was through the strength of their character, devotion and beautiful preaching, that Allah opened the hearts of millions to accept Islam. There is no harm in praying to Allah to seek His blessings for the such deceased noble men of piety, scholars and preachers of Islam: “Our Lord! forgive us, and Our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not, In Our hearts, rancor (or sense of injury) against those who have believed. Our Lord! Thou art indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.”(Qur’an;59:10). However under the influence of local culture and ignorance if some one is found to go beyond the limits in extending reverence not sanctioned by Islam, he should be guided and educated through logical arguments and beautiful preaching in the light of Qur’an;16:125. Killing of innocent people praying in the mosques, offering Fateha, at the graves of pious people though suicide bombing is sacrilege.
Sectarianism, Intolerance and Extremism: Islam rejects sectarianism intolerance and extremism, Allah says: “Be not like those who became divided into sects and who started to argue against each other after clear revelations had come to them. Those responsible for division and arguments will be sternly punished” (Qura’n;3:105, also -56, 30:32-34, 6:159, 49:9-10). While Muslims agree on the basic fundamentals of Islam, minor difference in interpretation of certain practices of the Prophet (pbuh) should not be allowed to affect the unity of Muslim Ummah.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) completed his mission; he was commanded to deliver the complete message of guidance, in unambiguous terms. Allah says: “O Messenger! Deliver the message which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, you are not doing justice to your mission. Allah will protect you from the mischief of the people. Rest assured that Allah will not let the unbelievers succeed against you”(Qur’an;5:67). Any laxity in conveyance of message by hiding or concealing result in curse of God: “Those who conceal the clear proofs and the guidance, after We have made it clear in the Book for mankind, will have Allah's curse and that of those who are entitled to curse;”(Qur’an;2:159). The Messenger (peace be upon him) did not conceal any thing and completed his mission, at the time of Farewell Pilgrimage, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people”. It was also revealed from Allah: “..This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as way of life (Din)
Every Muslim through the Islamic creed of confession (Shahada) declares that: “There is no deity save Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger”. This declaration is made of two parts: the first concerns the Oneness of Allah and the second stresses the importance of the Prophet's role as Allah's messenger. What the second part of the declaration means in practice is that a Muslim can receive the teachings, values and practices, with respect to his faith, only from the Prophet (peace be upon him). If the believers were to receive these from any other source, they do not give credence to the belief in Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a messenger of Allah. The role of a messenger is to convey a message; he is expected to convey it to people complete, without omissions or additions. It is again repeated that Prophet (peace be upon him), has stressed, time and again, that he only conveys what he has been asked to convey plainly (Qur’an;64:12, 6:50). If the message delivered by the Prophet (peace be upon him), is complete, then it cannot be made "more complete" by an addition made by any person, be he a scholar or devout, or any one else. For any person to tell that a certain practice would endear us to Allah, or earn us any reward from Him, although it has not been taught or recommended to us by the Prophet (peace be upon him), is a ‘Deviator’, who is making a false claim that he can never substantiate. The deviator indeed, commits a bigger sin than that, by saying this, he says that he knows something which the Prophet (peace be upon him), either did not know or he actually knew but did not convey to us as part of his message. Whichever case he implies, the deviator is guilty of an enormity. To say that the ‘deviator’ knows something of the faith of Islam which the Prophet (pbuh) did not know is to give himself a position higher than that of the Prophet (pbuh).
At the end of his long and blessed mission, the Prophet (peace be upon him), addressed the great congregation comprising large number of faithfuls who went with him on pilgrimage. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in his farewell address summarized the basic principles and important duties of Islam, asking his followers again and again; "Have I conveyed to you Allah's message?" Every time he asked that question, the Muslims gathered answered in the affirmative. He then prayed; “Allah to bear witness to that fact”. Any one claiming to be a true Muslims, should follow the Prophet's guidance available in the form of his Sunnah. That entails discharging the duties and not adding to the faith of Islam anything that is not part of it. Unfortunately, such practices are widespread in large areas of the Muslim world, which are responsible for the backwardness of Muslims everywhere. Muslims will not fully redeem their strength and proper status until they disown such practices and strict to their true original Islamic faith, which will continue to guide them along the path set out by Allah's last messenger Muhammad (pbuh).
"O our Sustainer! Take us not to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong!” (Qur’an;2:286)
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