The blemishes of `Aqidah and the means to avoid them
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, and the good end will be for the pious servants. May perfect peace and blessings be upon His servant and Messenger who is entrusted with His Revelation; our Prophet, Imam (leader) and master Muhammad ibn Abdullah, and upon his family, Companions, and whoever follows their way of guidance until the Day of Resurrection!
There is no doubt that the soundness of `Aqidah (creed) is the most important thing and the greatest obligation. That is why I entitled this speech (The blemishes of `Aqidah and the means to avoid them) .
The `Aqidah refers to all that a person believes for sure and adopts as a religion, whether evil or good, valid or corrupt.
However, it is mandatory to adopt the sound `Aqidah and perform the religious duties, since several creeds exist in the world and all of which are corrupt except for the `Aqidah revealed in Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him).
It is the pure Islamic `Aqidah that is devoid of blemishes induced by Shirk (associating others in worship with Allah), acts of Bid`ah (innovation in religion) and sins. This is the true `Aqidah revealed in the Qur’an and illustrated by the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him); it is Islam.
Allah (Exalted be He) says: Truly, the religion with Allâh is Islâm.
He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also said: This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islâm as your religion.
Islam is the Religion of Allah. It is unacceptable for anyone to embrace any other religion.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says:
And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
It is also the religion of all prophets; Adam (peace be upon him), and other prophets who succeeded him such as: Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), `Isa (Jesus), Dawud (David), Solayman, Is-haq (Isaac), Ya`qub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), and others (peace and blessings be upon all of them). It is the religion of the Prophet (peace be upon him), which Allah has sent him with to all humankind, he (peace be upon him) said: Prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, but their religion is one According to another narration: Prophets are sons of fellow wives… .
This means that the religion of all prophets is one: It is Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah/ monotheism) and the belief that He is the Lord of all worlds, the All-Knowing Creator, the only One Who is Worthy of worship. People should also believe in the Hereafter, Resurrection, Jannah (paradise), Nar (Hellfire), balance, and the events of the Hereafter. As for the Divine Laws, they are different. This is the meaning of “the sons of fellow wives”, which stands for the Divine Laws, according to Allah’s Saying (Glorified be He): To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.
The paternal brothers have one father and different mothers, so are the prophets. They have one religion, which is the observance of Tawhid and devotion to Allah.
This is the meaning of “La Ilaha Illa Allah” (There is no deity but Allah), which namely, to worship Allah alone, have Iman (believe/Faith) in Him, His Angels, Scriptures, Messengers, the Last Day, the Divine Decree whether good or bad, and other relevant issues such as Resurrection, Jannah and Nar, Balance, Account, Sirat (the bridge over the Fire), etc.
This is the way of all the prophets. They all follow the same religion, have the same Da`wah (peace be upon them), but they were sent with different Divine Laws, just like brothers who have different mothers, so the Tawrah (Torah) has some different laws from that of the Injil (Gospel) and so on. The same goes for the Shari`ah (Islamic Law) of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in which some matters differ from that of the Injil and Tawrah.
Allah has made the Shari`ah much easier and relieving to this Ummah (nation of creed).
He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allâh’s Covenant with the Children of Israel), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: I was sent with the lenient Hanifiyyah (i.e. the True Religion of Islam).
Allah (Exalted be He) sent him (peace be upon him) with a lenient Shari`ah that does not include loads, shackles, or any hardships. He (Glorified be He) says: and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship.
In the past laws preceding the Shari`ah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), people were not permitted to perform Tayammum (dry ablution) when they ran out of water. They would then delay their Salah (prayers) and combine them until they find water, then perform Wudu’ (ablution), and offer their Salah afterwards, but Tayammum was prescribed in this Shari`ah brought by Prophet Muhammad.
Whenever there is a lack of water, people can simply perform Tayammum with dust and offer their Salah. This is one of many other aspects of facilitation and simplification .
Furthermore, each prophet was sent only to his people whereas Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent to the Jinn (creatures created from fire) and mankind, Arabs and non-Arabs, and Allah has made him the Last Prophet.
Over and above, those who preceded us used to offer their Salah either in their churches, Masjids (mosque), or places of worship, whereas the Islamic Shari`ah permits a person to offer Salah everywhere . Whenever Salah becomes due, you can offer it where you are; in deserts, wastelands, or any part of this earth according to the Prophet’s saying (peace be upon him): The land has been made a Masjid and a pure place for me (i.e. for dry ablution and praying).
The Islamic Shari`ah brought by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a simplified and comprehensive one that has no hardships or restraints, among which is the facilitation for patients by exempting them from the obligation of Sawm; they are permitted to eat and compensate for the days missed.
A traveler is permitted to combine the quatrain Salah and delay fasting Ramadan and then make up for these days as well according to Allah’s Saying (Glorified and Exalted be He): and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days.
A person may offer Salah while sitting if they are unable to stand, lying down on one side if they are unable to sit, or lying on their backs if they are unable to lie down on one side as authentically reported from the Messenger of Allah in the Sunnah.
Apart from this, allowing them to eat from a dead animal when necessary, and to stay alive when lawful food is unavailable to escape death.
Accordingly, the Islamic `Aqidah is to observe Tawhid of Allah (Glorified be He), believe in Him, His Messengers, Scriptures, Angels, the Last Day and Resurrection in addition to Jannah, Nar, and events of the Hereafter, as well as believing in the Divine Decree; good or bad, and that He (Glorified be He) has predestined all things, is fully aware of all things, and has recorded them (Glorified and Exalted be He).
Moreover, Islam has five pillars among which are: Salah, Zakah (obligatory charity), and Hajj (pilgrimage).
Among its obligations and duties are Jihad (striving in the Cause of Allah), enjoining good, forbidding evil, being dutifulness to parents, maintaining the ties of kinship, observing truthfulness in speech, fulfilling trusts, etc.
Islam is the submission to Allah and obedience to Him (Glorified be He) by singling Him out with worship, being devoted to him, and obeying Him and His Messenger (peace be upon him). This is why it is called Islam, for Muslims submit themselves to Allah, single Him (Glorified be He) out with worship, abide by His Commands and avoid His Prohibitions. This is true Islam.
Islam has five pillars; the testimony that there is no deity but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performance of Salah (prayers), Sawm (fast) of Ramadan, payment of Zakah, and performance of Hajj for whoever is able to do so.
The two testimonies mean: singling out Allah with worship and being sincere to Him, and believing that Muhammad is His Messenger (peace be upon him) to the Jinn and mankind, for these two testimonies are the origin and basis of religion. Verily, none has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone.
This is the meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah i.e. there is no deity but Allah, according to the Saying of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He): That is because Allâh — He is the Truth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and what they (the polytheists) invoke besides Him, it is Bâtil (falsehood).
Whereas testifying that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah is to testify with sure knowledge and Yaqin (certainty) that Muhammad ibn `Abdullah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib the Hashimy (a descendant of Hashim) the Makky (of the city of Makkah), the Madany (i.e. of Madinah, the city where he settled afterwards) is the true Messenger of Allah and the most honorable of His servants, and that his family and relatives are the best of Arabs.
Therefore, he is the best person from the best family, which belongs to the best tribe (peace be upon him). He is the noblest of all creatures and the master of all the children of Adam (peace be upon him, his family and Companions).
You should believe that Allah has sent him to all people; Jinn and humans, males and females, Arabs and non-Arabs, rich and poor, rural and urban. He is the Messenger of Allah to all. Whoever follows him will be admitted to Paradise and whoever disobeys his commands will enter Hellfire.
He (peace be upon him) had said: My entire Ummah will enter Jannah (Paradise) except whoever refuses, then it was said: O Messenger of Allah, who will refuse?
He said: Whoever obeys me will enter Jannah and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses. Related by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih (authentic book of Hadith).
This is the essence of the great Islamic `Aqidah: It means Tawhid and devotion to Allah, belief in His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), as His true Messenger, in all messengers as well as in the obligation of Salah, Zakah, Sawm, and Hajj along with the belief in Allah, His Angels, Scriptures, Messengers, the Last Day, the Divine Decree; good or bad, and everything that Allah and His Messenger said.
This is the Islamic Prophetic `Aqidah. Nevertheless, some people have observed some blemishes that contradict and nullify `Aqidah. Here, we shall clarify it in this speech.
The first type destroys and nullifies `Aqidah, thus leads to Kufr (disbelief), God forbid!
The other weakens `Aqidah.
The First is called a nullifier. It spoils and nullifies `Aqidah and he who commits it is a kafir and apostate from Islam. This type involves the blemishes that lead to Kufr,which are the nullifiers of Islam and the causes of apostasy.
However, a nullifier may be a saying or an act. It may be a belief or a doubt. A person may apostatize by a certain utterance he declares, a certain practice he does, a conviction he believes in, or a doubt that he has. The nullifier that blemishes the `Aqidah and spoils it comes from these four situations. The people of knowledge have mentioned this in their books and entitled this chapter: ( [A chapter on the ruling of the apostate].
It is common in the juristic literature of the Madh-habs i.e. schools of law, to find a chapter among the section of Prescribed Penalties entitled: [the ruling on the apostate). The apostate is the one who apostatizes after embracing Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whoever (i.e amongst Muslims) discards their religion, kill them. Related by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih .
It is mentioned in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent Abu Musa Al-Ash`ary to Yemen and then sent Mu`adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with both of them) after him, so that when he came to him, he said: “Dismount!” He placed a pillow for him (to dismount over it). Then, he saw a tied man, so he said: What is that? He said: This man was a Jew, but after embracing Islam, he reverted to his deviated religion. Mu`adh then said: “I will not dismount until he is killed according to the Ruling of Allah and His Messenger.” He (Abu Mussa) said: “Dismount!” (Again) He said: “I will not dismount until he is killed according to the Ruling of Allah and His Messenger”, three times.
Thereupon, Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) sentenced him to death. .
Accordingly, this evidence proves that apostates should be killed if they do not repent. They should be ordered to repent; if they repent, praise be to Allah, but if they do not, and insist on Kufr and deviation, they should be killed and expedited to the Nar (Hellfire), for the prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whoever (i.e. a Muslim) discards their religion, kill them .
Therefore, there are many nullifiers of Islam.
1. Verbal apostasy such as insulting Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). This act nullifies the Din (religion of Islam). Likewise, reviling, abasing, or defaming them. For example, saying that Allah is oppressive, miserly, poor, or that He (Glorified and Exalted be He) is unaware of certain things, or does not consider some issues, for all these sayings, and the likes are forms of revilement and apostasy from Islam.
Thus, whoever reviles, vituperates, or criticizes Allah will be an apostate from Islam – God forbid!
This is verbal apostasy, if a person reviles, mocks, defames, or describes Allah with what does not befit Him, like the Jews who say that ‘Allah is a miser’, ‘Allah is poor, and we are the rich ones’. The same goes if someone says: Allah does not know or is unable to do certain things, or if they deny Allah’s Attributes without believing in them, this person would be an apostate by his evil words.
The same applies to the claim that Allah has not obliged Salah on us, for this is Riddah (apostasy) from Islam. Therefore, whoever claims that Allah has not obliged Salah will apostatize from Islam according to the Ijma`(consensus) of Muslims unless a person is ignorant, lives far away from Muslims, or does not know.
In this case, they should be informed and if they insist on their saying, they are considered to be a Kafir, whereas if they live among Muslims and know the religion, then claim that it is not obligatory, this is Riddah that necessitates repentance; otherwise, they should be killed.
Over and above, whoever claims that Zakah, Sawm of Ramadan, or Hajj – when having the ability to perform it – are not obligatory for people, will be a kafir by Ijma`. They should be ordered to repent; otherwise, they should be killed, we seek refuge in Allah from this, for all these things fall under verbal apostasy.
2. Practical apostasy includes acts like abandoning Salah; if a person abandons Salah while they admit its obligation, but still abandons it, this person will be a Murtad (apostate) according to the most correct opinion of scholars. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The difference between us and them is Salah. Whoever abandons it becomes a kafir. Related by Imam Ahmad , Al-Tirmidhy , Al-Nasa’y and Ibn Majah with a Sahih
Isnad (chain of narrators). He (peace be upon him) also said: A man will be committing shirk (associating others in worship with Allah) and kufr, if he abandons Salah . Related by Muslim in his Sahih (authentic book of Hadith) .
Moreover, `Abdullah ibn Shaqiq Al-`Uqayly, a famous Tabi`y (Follower, from the generation after the Companions of the Prophet) whose erudite and position is undisputed (Allah be merciful to him) said: (The Companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not consider the abandonment of any act as Kufr except Salah). Related by Al-Tirmidhy with an authentic Isnad.
However, this is Riddah (apostasy) by action, exemplified by the deliberate abandonment of Salah.
Among the acts that lead a person to apostatize from Islam is to scorn the honorable Mus-haf by sitting on it out of disdain, intentionally staining it with impurities, or stepping on it.
Another aspect of Riddah by action is to circumambulate the graves to draw nearer to their occupants or pray to them or to the Jinn. This is Riddah by action.
As for invoking and vowing to them or seeking their support, this is Riddah by saying.
Whereas, whoever circumambulates the graves seeking to worship Allah, will be offering an act of Bid`ah, which blemishes one’s religion, and is one of the means leading to Shirk. It is not to be considered apostasy. Rather it is considered a blemishing act of Bid`ah as long as the person offering it seeks not to draw near to them but to draw nearer to Allah (Glorified be He) by means of ignorance.
Another form of practical apostasy is to slaughter for anyone other than Allah, seek to draw nearer to anyone other than Him (Glorified be He) by slaughtering camels, sheep, chicken, or cows to grave occupants, the Jinn, or planets to draw nearer to and worship them.
Thus, it is included in the sacrifices slaughtered for people other than Allah. Accordingly, they will take the same ruling as dead meat and the person offering this will be falling in major Kufr. May Allah grant us soundness and safety from this. All these are types of Riddah and nullifiers of Islam.
3. Doctrinal apostasy: There is also the doctrinal apostasy:
In this type, a person apostatizes by heart through belief without either pronouncing or acting. If a person, for instance, believes that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is poor, miserly or oppressive, without pronouncing this, or acting accordingly, this will be Kufr as long as this is their `Aqidah. This is according to the consensus of scholars.
If a person also believes by heart that there is no Resurrection and that all which was mentioned in this regard is not true, or thinks that there is no Jannah, Nar, or other life even without pronouncing this, it is Kufr and Riddah – God forbid. The actions of these people will be null and they will end up in the Nar because of this conviction.
The same is true if they believe by heart – without uttering – that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not truthful, or that he is not the last of the Prophets, or thinks that there are other Prophets after him, or that Musaylimah the liar is a true Prophet; whoever believes in any of this will be a kafir.
Apart from this, whoever thinks by heart that Nuh (Noah), `Isa (Jesus), or any other Prophet (peace be upon him) is a liar, this is deemed as Riddah from Islam.
Whoever thinks by heart that it is okay to invoke others with Allah such as the Prophets or other people, Sun, planets, and the like, will be a Murtad. Allah (Exalted be He) says: That is because Allâh — He is the Truth (the only True God of all that exists, Who has no partners or rivals with Him), and what they (the polytheists) invoke besides Him, it is Bâtil (falsehood).
Moreover, He (Glorified be He) also says: And your Ilâh (God) is One Ilâh (God – Allâh), Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. And: You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). In addition to: And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him.
And: So, call you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and the believers) upon (or invoke) Allâh making (your) worship pure for Him (Alone) (by worshipping none but Him and by doing religious deeds sincerely for Allâh’s sake only and not to show off and not to set up rivals with Him in worship), however much the disbelievers (in the Oneness of Allâh) may hate (it).
He (Glorified be He) also says:
And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), as it was to those (Allâh’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allâh, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.”
The Ayahs which stress this meaning are numerous.
Accordingly, whoever thinks or believes that it is permissible to worship an angel, prophet, tree, Jinn, or any other creatures other than Allah will be a Murtad.
If they utter it, they will be a kafir by saying and conviction. If they put this into action and invoke or appeal to anyone other than Allah, they will be a kafir by saying, action, and conviction. May Allah save us from this.
This also includes the acts of those who worship graves nowadays in many countries invoking the dead, appealing to them, and seeking their support by saying: “O my master, I seek your support! O my master, I seek your succor! I seek refuge in you, cure my patient, make my absent (person) return, adjust my heart, etc.
They speak to the dead whom they call “Awliya'” (i.e. pious people), and ask them, forgetting Allah and associating others in worship with Him (Exalted be He). Accordingly, this is Kufr by saying, conviction, and action.
Moreover, some may call from far places and countries: “O Messenger of Allah, support me, etc.” Others may say by the grave: “O Messenger of Allah, cure my patient! O Messenger of Allah, I seek your help, grant us victory over our enemies, you know our condition, bestow upon us triumph over our enemies!
The Messenger (peace be upon him) does not know the Ghayb (unseen), for no one knows the Ghayb but Allah (Glorified be He). This is one of the forms of Shirk by saying and action. So, if a person thinks that this is permissible and that it is permissible, they will be committing Shirk by saying, action, and conviction. May Allah save us from this!
This is actually happening in many countries. It took place and used to happen in Riyadh and Al-Dar`iyyah before the Da`wah (call to Islam) of shaykh Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab (may Allah be merciful to him). They had false Gods in Riyadh, Al-Dar`iyyah and other places. Trees were worshipped instead of Allah, people described as Awliya’ were worshipped instead of Allah, and graves were also worshipped along with Allah.
The grave of Zayd ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to exist in Al-Jubaylah since he was killed in the wars of Riddah during the lifetime of Musaylimah, and his grave used to be worshipped instead of Allah until it was demolished and forgotten.
Thanks to the Da`wah of shaykh Muhammad, may Allah be merciful to him and reward him with the best on behalf of us and all Muslims, this falsehood was effaced and forgotten.
However, in Najd and Hijaz, acts of major Shirk were widespread and false beliefs were rampant in addition to invoking others besides Allah. When shaykh Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab (may Allah be merciful to him) came in the second half of the twelfth century i.e. more than two hundred years ago, he called people to Allah and guided them, but he was opposed by many ignorant scholars who falsely belong to the people of knowledge, and follow their own desires.
Nevertheless, Allah supported him with scholars of truth and by the Sa`udi family – may Allah be merciful to them All. Therefore, he called to Allah, guided people to observe Tawhid, and clarified to them that worshipping the Jinn, stones, Awliya’, righteous people and others are acts of Shirk and Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance) that resemble the acts of Abu Jahl and his likes amongst the Kuffar of Quraysh in worshipping Al-Lat, Al-`Uzzah, Manat, and the graves, for they used to do the same.
Therefore, he (may Allah be merciful with him) clarified the truth to people. Allah guided many people through him. His Da`wah spread all over the countries of Najd, Al-Hijaz and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, in which Tawhid and Iman spread. After people had been indulged in Shirk and the worship of graves and Awliya`, except people whom Allah saved by His Mercy, they all then abandoned that. Indeed, people had worse acts during this period; some also used to worship even mad people whom they used to deem as Awliya’ due to their ignorance.
4. Apostasy by Doubt: The last type is apostasy by doubt:
We have illustrated that apostasy may occur by saying, action or conviction. As for apostasy by doubt, it may take place when a person doubts whether or not Allah exists. He will be a kafir by doubt, if they doubt the Day of Resurrection, Jannah, or Nar, for example. In this case, they should be ordered to repent. If they repent, it will be alright; otherwise they should be killed for doubting something that is well-known and undeniable in religion by text and Ijma`.
Therefore, whoever doubts the religion or the existence of Allah, or is even suspicious about the truth mission of the Messenger (peace be upon him), or raises doubts about his being the last Prophet, or about the falsehood of Musaylimah and his fake call, or doubts the falsity of Al-Aswad Al-`Ansy’s claim of Prophethood in Yemen, will be considered apostasy from Islam. Whoever observes this should be ordered to repent; otherwise they should be killed.
Another example is when a person doubts the obligation of observing Salah, paying Zakah, fasting Ramadan, or performing Hajj while being able to do so,such doubts will also fall under major Kufr. Whoever does this, should be ordered to repent and have Iman (faith); otherwise be killed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Whoever (i.e. a Muslim) discards their religion, kill them. Related by Al-Bukhari in the Sahih .
Therefore, Iman must be attained with respect to all these things: Salah, Zakah, Sawm, and Hajj, for they are all true and obligatory upon Muslims with their Shar`y (Islamically lawful) conditions.
What was previously mentioned is the first section of the blemishes, which nullify Islam. Whoever commits any of the previously mentioned things will be a Murtad and should be ordered to repent; otherwise be killed.
As for the second type, it refers to the existence of blemishes that are not acts of disbelief but weaken Iman and expose their doer to Allah’s Anger and punishment.
The examples of this are numerous. For example, committing Zina (premarital sexual intercourse and/or adultery), if a person believes that it is Haram (prohibited) and commits it while knowing that this is an act of disobedience. This is not an act of disbelief but of disobedience. Iman will not be complete in this case, for this disobedience will blemish `Aqidah without being considered Kufr. On the other hand, if a person believes that Zina is Halal (lawful), they will be a kafir.
The same is true, if a person claims that robbery and its like are Halal, they will be kafir, for deeming what is unlawful as lawful is Kufr i.e. disbelief.
The same ruling is equally applied to considering sins as lawful such as backbiting, tale-bearing, ungratefulness to parents, dealing with Riba (Usury/Interest) and the like. All these things are among the blemishes of `Aqidah that weaken the Din and Iman.
This also applies to the acts of Bid`ah, which are worse than sins; for they weaken Iman, but do not fall under Riddah as long as they do not involve Shirk.
Among the examples of this is the act of Bid`ah involving building on graves. When a person builds a Masjid (Mosque) or a dome on a grave, this is an act of Bid`ah that blemishes the religion and weakens Iman. That is when it is built with no intention of committing Kufr, invoking or seeking the help of the dead, or vowing to them. They only think that this is a way to respect and honor them. This will not be an act of Kufr but an act of Bid`ah which blemishes, weakens Iman, and leads to Shirk.
Another example is the Bid`ah of celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, where some people celebrate the Prophet’s birthday (peace be upon him) on the twelfth of Rabi` II, but this act is a Bid`ah. The Prophet (peace be upon him), his Sahabah, and the rightly guided Caliphs did not do it. It was not observed in the second and third century either. It is an invented Bid`ah.
The same goes for celebrating the birthdays of Al-Badawy , `Abdul-Qadir Al-Jilany, and others. This an evil act of Bid`ah that blemishes`Aqidah, since it was not prescribed by Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) says: The most evil of affairs are their novelties and every innovation is an error Related by Muslim. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: Whoever introduces a practice that is not authenticated by me, it is to be rejected (Agreed upon by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim) It means that it will not be accepted at all.
He (peace be upon him) also said: Whoever does any act for which there is no command from our behalf, that is to be rejected. Related by Muslim in his Sahih.
He also said, Beware of novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is an error .
Acts of Bid`ah` blemish the Din but do not lead to Kufr as long as they do not involve it. On the other hand, if celebrating the birthday includes invoking the Messenger (peace be upon him), appealing to him, or seeking his support, this is a form of Shirk. The same applies to asking the Messenger for Allah’s support and help or believing that he (peace be upon him) knows the Ghayb or other things, like what some Shi`ah (Shiites) think that `Aly, Al-Hasan, and Al-Husayn know the Ghayb.
All this is Shirk and Riddah from Islam, whether it takes place during the celebration or at any other time.
Some of Al-Rafidah (a Shi`ah group denying the caliphates of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq and `Umar ibn Al-Khattab and making accusations against them and many other Companions of the Prophet) also claim that their twelve Imams (leaders) know the Ghayb. This is Kufr, deviation, and Riddah. Allah (Exalted be He) says: Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (Unseen) except Allâh”
But, if the celebration takes place by reading the Prophet’s biography, and talking about his birth and battles, this will also be an act of Bid`ah which blemishes the Din. Yet, it does not nullify it.
Among the acts of Bid`ah is what some ignorant think that a person should not travel during the month of Safar, since they regard this as an evil portent.This act shows their ignorance and misguidance.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is no ‘Adwa [contagion, transmission of infectious disease without the permission of Allah], no Tiyarah [superstitious belief in bird omens], no Safar [the month of Safar was regarded as “unlucky” during the Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance), and no Hamah [refers to a Jahili Arab tradition described variously as: a worm which infests the grave of a murder victim until he is avenged; an owl; or the bones of a dead person turned into a bird that could fly]” (Agreed upon by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
According to the narration of Muslim, the following is added: …nor is there a Naw’(a star which sets at the rising of another) or Ghul (kinds of devils) The belief in `Adwa, Tiyarah, and adhering to Naw` or Ghul are all of the beliefs of the Jahiliyyah that blemish the Din.
Whoever claims that there is `Adwa will be claiming a false thing. However, Allah has made intermingling with some patients a reason for infecting others, for diseases do not infect people by nature.
When some Arabs heard of the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): There is no ‘Adwa (no contagious disease is conveyed without Allah’s permission), a man said, “O Messenger of Allah, how is it that when camels are on sand like beautiful deer, then a scabby camel comes and mixes with them, it causes them to be scabbed?” He (the Prophet) said: “Who infected the first one?” i.e. who infected the first one with scab?.
The whole matter is in Allah’s Hands (Glorified and Exalted be He). If He wills, He shall/shall not cause them to be infected according to His Will. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A herd of sick cattle should not be brought to the place of the healthy cattle of another.”
In other words, the sick cattle should be isolated from the healthy ones to avoid illness and keep away from its cause. However, the matter is in Allah’s Hand and nothing can ever infect by nature; rather it is prescribed by Allah: Say: “Nothing shall ever happen to us” The intermingling is one of the causes of sickness.
We should beware of that, for the scabbed should not be mingled with the healthy. This is what the Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered us to do to avoid the causes of evil. This does not necessarily mean that if it mingles, it will surely be infected, it may/may not occur, according to Allah’s Will (Glorified and Exalted be He). Thus, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Who infected the first one?
This is supported by the Prophet’s saying (peace be upon him): Flee from the leper as you would flee from a lion To summarize, what the people of Jahiliyyah believed regarding the `Adwa, Tiyarah, or Hamah (i.e. the spirit of the dead – they claim – that it becomes as a bird roaming around the grave of the dead – and is an evil portent), are all false and baseless convictions. The spirit of the dead becomes subject to Jannah or Nar according to its deeds.
Furthermore, believing in bad omens and superstitions by what is heard or seen is an act of Jahiliyyah. They used to be pessimistic when they saw something that did not suit them such as a crow, black donkey, an animal that has its tail cut, or the like. They regard this as a bad omen out of their ignorance and deviation.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) replied to them by saying: Verily, their evil omens are with Allâh for it is in Allah’s Hand both adversity and welfare, giving and deprivation.
Tiyarah has no basis, since it is not true; rather they only find it in their hearts. This is the reason for which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is no Tiyarah .
Thus, a Muslim should not retract from meeting their needs, if they see anything that may incite any feelings of pessimism such as a donkey, an ugly person, and the like; rather they should go on, fulfill their needs, and put their trust in Allah. If they do not, this would be considered an act of Tiyarah, which blemishes the `Aqidah but is not considered a major act of Shirk but a minor one.
This applies to other acts of Bid`ah, which blemish the `Aqidah, but are still not acts of Kufr as long as they are not accompanied by it.
Such acts of Bid`ah involve celebrating birthdays, building on the graves, and taking them as Masjids, celebrating the night of Isra’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven) which they observe on the twenty seventh of Rajab.
All these practices are baseless acts of Bid`ah. Over and above, some people tend to celebrate the night of the middle of Sha`ban, by offering some pious acts on this day. They even observe Sawm and Qiyam-ul-Layl (standing for optional Prayer at night), claiming that this is a pious desirable act, but the truth is that they are baseless acts of Bid`ah and the Hadiths mentioned to this effect are false ones.
To sum up: Every act of worship that is induced by people and was not ordained or approved by the Messenger (peace be upon him) is considered an act of Bid`ah, for the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: Whoever introduces a practice which is not authenticated by me, it is to be rejected And: Whoever does an act that is not part of our affair i.e. religion, will have it rejected.
Moreover, he (peace be upon him) used to say in the Friday Khutbah (sermon): The most evil of affairs are their novelties and every innovation is an error. He warned people against acts of Bid`ah and called them to adhere to his Sunnah (peace be upon him).
Therefore, Muslims should adhere to Islam and abide by it, for this will suffice them and lead them to attain perfection (of Iman), for they are not in need of such acts of Bid`ah, Allah (Exalted be He) says: This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islâm as your religion.
Allah has completed the Din and made it perfect by virtue of His Grace. Thus, people do not need to observe acts of Bid`ah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: You must adhere to my Sunnah and the way of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, who come after me. Adhere and cling to it strongly .
People are in no need of acts of Bid`ah introduced by so and so; rather, they should adhere to the Prescriptions of Allah, follow His Path, avoid His Prohibitions, and abandon whatever is innovated by people (in religion).
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has described the acts of Bid`ah and their people in His Saying: Or have they partners (with Allâh — false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allâh has not ordained?
May Allah guide us all to what is good and adjust Muslims’ conditions, grant them success in understanding His Din, and guard them against the causes of deviance and misguidance! May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, Companions, and those who follow them rightfully until the Day of Resurrection.
Ibn Baz Fatwas>Volume 8>The blemishes of `Aqidah and the means to avoid them