Month: November 2017

Imam Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d. 423H) on the meaning of Bidah

The Maliki scholar Al Hafiz Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d.423H) in his work الاستذكار writes:

وَأَمَّا قَوْلُ عُمَرَ نِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ فِي لِسَانِ الْعَرَبِ اخْتِرَاعُ مَا لَمْ يَكُنْ وَابْتِدَاؤُهُ فَمَا كَانَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فِي الدِّينِ خِلَافًا لِلسُّنَّةِ الَّتِي مَضَى عَلَيْهَا الْعَمَلُ فَتِلْكَ بِدَعَةٌ لَا خَيْرَ فِيهَا وَوَاجِبٌ ذَمُّهَا وَالنَّهْيُ عَنْهَا وَالْأَمْرُ بِاجْتِنَابِهَا وَهِجْرَانُ مُبْتَدِعِهَا إِذَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ مَذْهَبِهِ وَمَا كَانَ مِنْ بِدْعَةٍ لَا تُخَالِفُ أَصْلَ الشَّرِيعَةِ وَالسُّنَّةِ فَتِلْكَ نِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ كَمَا قَالَ عُمَرُ لِأَنَّ أَصْلَ مَا فَعَلَهُ سُنَّةٌ
وَكَذَلِكَ قَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ فِي صَلَاةِ الضُّحَى وَكَانَ لَا يَعْرِفُهَا وَكَانَ يَقُولُ وَلِلضُّحَى صلاة
وذكر بن أبي شيبة عن بن عُلَيَّةَ عَنِ الْجَرِيرِيِّ عَنِ الْحَكَمِ عَنِ الْأَعْرَجِ قال سألت بن عُمَرَ عَنْ صَلَاةِ الضُّحَى فَقَالَ بِدْعَةٌ وَنِعْمَتِ الْبِدْعَةُ
وَقَدْ قَالَ تَعَالَى حَاكِيًا عَنْ أَهْلِ الكتاب (ورهبانية ابتدعوها ما كتبنها عليهم إلا ابتغاء رضوان الله الحديد 27
وَأَمَّا ابْتِدَاعُ الْأَشْيَاءِ مِنْ أَعْمَالِ الدُّنْيَا فَهَذَا لَا حَرَجَ فِيهِ وَلَا عَيْبَ عَلَى فَاعِلِهِ

http://shamela.ws/browse.php/book-1722/page-586#page-586

Rough translation:

Quote

As for the saying of Umar رضي الله عنه  “What a good innovation this is”, in the language of the Arabs it is to invent what has not (previously existed) and to originate it. So whatever was from that (i.e., innovated) in the religion opposes the Sunnah which was practiced in the past, that is a Bidah. There is no good in it and it is necessary to condemn it and forbid it and command (people) to avoid it and to abandon the innovator when he finds out his bad doctrine. And it is not considered a Bidah if it does not contradict the basis (asl) of the Sharia and Sunnah. It is (instead) a good innovation, as Umarرضي الله عنه  said, because the basis (asl) of what he did was from the Sunnah.

Similarly, Abdullah ibn Umarرضي الله عنه  said about Salat Ad-Duha, (…) as Ibn Abi Shaybah reported from (…..) that Ibn Umar was asked about Salat ad-Duha, he said it is an innovation and a good innovation.

And Allah Almighty said the story about the people of the Book {and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah}[Q 57:27]

As for innovating things in worldly matters, there is nothing wrong with it and there is no blemish on the one who does it.

End Quote

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