Proof From the Prophet, Companions, the Salaf and the Scholars That the Bid'ah Idafiyyah (Despite Having a Basis in the Shariah) Is Rejected: Part 3 - Al-Nawawi's Refutation of the Bidah of Salat Al-Ragha'ib
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Monday, July, 25 2011 and filed under Foundations
Key topics: Bidah Haqiqiyyah Bidah Idafiyyah


The grave-worshippers and innovators from the Sufis and other than them attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the common folk by deceiving them about numerous statements which have come from the Scholars which appear to legitimize what is referred to as "bid'ah hasanah" (good innovation). The statements they quote come from Imaam al-Shafi'ee (see here), or al-Nawawi (see here) or al-Izz bin Abd al-Salam (see here, here, and here) and others. The crux of the matter is that some of the Scholars have used the word bid'ah in a broader linguistic sense to refer to actions which either have a specific foundation in the Shari'ah (tarawih prayer in congregation, and established acts of goodness such as giving charity) or are matters of public interest that relate to ways and means (wasaa'il) through which beneficial interests are realized and maintained. All of this is different to maqaasid (goals, objectives) which is the case in the innovations in worship (ibaadaat), which are sought in and of themselves. To give an example, the compilation of the Qur'an is not an end sought in itself but as a means to preserve the religion, and whilst there is no specific injunction about putting the Qur'an into a single book, there is a non-specific broad support for it by the fact that preservation of the religion is obligatory and since this cannot be achieved except through preserving the Qur'an, putting the Qur'an into a single book is obligatory (upon the reasoning of those Scholars). This is a matter of public interest to enable the preservation of one of the five necessities, in this case, religion (the others being life, intellect, wealth and lineage). So these matters in reality do not come under the definition of bid'ah as it has come in the Shari'ah, but enter into the wider linguistic meaning. This is preciesly what al-Shafi'ee (and others) intended as is explained and proven in this series. What we aim to do in this series is to provide evidences and examples that demolish the argument of the innovators that "what they are doing of innovations in worship have a basis in the Shari'ah" and therefore cannot be shown rejection. This is gross deception and they are in reality confusing between bidah idafiyyah (condemned in the Shariah) and matters that have been labelled bidah from a purely linguistic perspective - to have more clarity on this, see the comphrehensive diagram in this article. Once it is clear that these Scholars speak of "praiseworthy bidah" and some of them enter bidah into the rulings of wajib, mandub and mustahabb only from the angle of excluding these matters from being wrongly included within the bidah that is blameworthy in the Shariah, we see that they are subsequently in complete agreement with all the other Scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah that bidah in worship (as in that by which nearness to Allaah is sought) is absolutely prohibited and is repugnant and evil and all innovation (as intended by the Shariah) is misguidance. This is made clear by all the quotes in this series inshaa'Allaah from the Messenger (alayhis salaam), the Companions, the Salaf, and the Scholars in general.

Quotes from Shafi'i Jurists

We have some valuable quotes in some of the more lengthy articles dealing with the academic fraud of todays Innovators in trying to twist the statements of al-Shafi'i and some of the later Shafi'ite jurists such as al-Nawawi and al-Izz bin Abd al-Salam to justify innovations in worship in a broad sense. Because these are important quotes and are buried in long articles, we are going to isolate them and give them their own separate article for easy reference and linking purposes. At the same time it should be pointed out that whilst there is agreement between the general tone and spirit in the rejection by these scholars of innovations in worship and between what the Salaf were upon of the same, because of their particular orientation in understanding this matter, some of these jurists may have allowed certain affairs which the Salaf never allowed and which the Salaf would have treated as blameworthy innovations.

Imam al-Nawawi's Refutation of The Bid'ah of Salat al-Ragha'ib

View this quote in the original article here:

This fatwa can also be found in the printed version of his fatawa in "Fatawa al-Imaam al-Nawawi" organized and arranged by his student Alaa al-Din Ibn al-Attaar, published 1411H in Egypt (on page 31). Again, pay very careful attention to the words used - and then take these choice of words of al-Nawawi and compare them to his commentary on the hadeeth (من سن في الإسلام سنة حسنة) quoted earlier - and you will see the true and real intent of al-Nawawi revealed walhamdulillaah!

Here is the translation of it:

The Shaykh of Islam al-Nawawi was asked about the well-known Salat al-Ragha'ib performed on the first Friday night of Rajab, whether it is bid'ah or sunnah?

The Answer: It is a repugnant, rejected innovation, with the most severe rejection, it comprises many evils, hence it is specifically designated to abandon it and turn away from it and to show rejection againt the one who does it. And it is upon the ruler (one in authority) - may Allaah grant him success - to prevent the people from doing it, for indeed he is a shepherd and every shepherd is responsible for his flock. The scholars have written books in rejection and rebuke of it and declaring those who perform it as fools. One should be not deceived by the abundance of those who perform it in many of the cities, and nor that it is mentioned in [the books] Qut al-Qulub, or Ihya Ulum al-Din and their likes, for it is a futile innovation. And it is authentically related from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) that he said, "Whoever introduced into this affair of ours that which is not from it will have it rejected." And in the Sahih (of Muslim) that he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Whoever introduced into this affair of ours that which is not from it will have it rejected," and in Sahih Muslim and others that he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Every innovation is misguidance." And Allaah the Exalted has ordered us to return to His Book whenever there is a dispute, so He, the Exalted said, "And if you dispute regarding any matter then return it back to Allaah and His Messenger" (4:59), and He did not ordder the following of the ignoramuses, and nor being decieved by the errors of those who have erred, and Allaah knows best.