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 4 - Al-Nawawi Refuting a Bidah in the Tarawih Prayer
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 A Bid'ah In The Tarawih prayer

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 pages 25-26).

Issue: What is done by some of those who (lead) the people (in prayer) in Salat al-Tarawih, which is the recitation of Surah al-An'aam (a lengthy Surah in earlier part of the Qur'an) in the last rakah of al-Tarawih on the seventh night in the month of Ramadan, or on other than the seventh month, is it sunnah or bidah? For someone could say that [the surah] was revealed in a single night (and thus praying with it in a single go is acceptable), so is it established in the Sahih or not? And there is any evidence therein for what they do, and if it is a bidah, what is the reason for its abhorrence?

Answer: This aforementioned action is not a sunnah, rather it is a detested bidah (innovation), and its abhorrence has numerous reasons. From them: giving the impression that it is a sunnah, and form them: lengthening the second rakah over the first. The sunnah is to make it lighter (shorter), and from them: the babbling in the recitation (which is done hastily), and from them: the exaggeration in shortening the rakahs which come before it and other such reasons. It is not established that [surah] al-An'am was revealed in a single go and there is no evidence for that, and even if it was established it would not have constituted evidence for this practice. Hence, it is desirable for every one who prays (leading the people) to shun this practice, and it is desirable to spread rejection of it, for authentic hadeeths are established regarding the rejection of newly-invented matters, and that every innovation is misguidance, and this practice has not been narrated from any one of the Salaf, and far from it that it should, and Allaah knows best.