hobballah

الموقع الرسمي لحيدر حب الله

لغات اُخرى

Bid‘ah & the Principle of Religious Wariness: A Study on Newer Perspectives and Applications of the Concept

تاريخ الاعداد: 7/2/2024 تاريخ النشر: 7/3/2024
490
التحميل

By Shaykh Haidar Hobballah

 

 

Translated by Muhammad Jaffer, Sayyid Burair Abbas, and Sayyid Ali Imran

 

Edited by Sayyid Burair Abbas

 

 

Introduction 

Muslims are unanimous on the prohibition of innovation (bid‘ah)[1] in religion, which is defined as the creation of rituals, practices or concepts that are attached to the creed whereas in reality they bear no connection with it. Attempting to superimpose into religion what is not part of it is considered by Muslims as bid’ah, albeit there may be differences and nuances that do not concern us here about the limits of its definition and its specific criteria. Likewise, Muslims have all affirmed and authenticated the Prophet narration: “Every bid’ah is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.”[2] The common denominator which they understand from this tradition is that bid’ah here specifically refers to religious innovation; meaning the fabrication of a matter that comes to be regarded as religion, while it bears no inkling of a relationship with religion at all.

I am not concerned here with engaging in a technical jurisprudential discussion about bid’ah, as I have already discussed a portion of this in my humble work Fiqh al-Amr bi al-Ma‘rūf wa Nahī ‘an al-Munkar (pg. 411-431); however I wish to shed some light here on a concept which I will call, “the acute detection of bid’ah and wariness against it” (tahassus al-bid’ah wa tahadhdhuruha). What I mean by this phrase is that the religious consciousness which the Qur’an and Sunnah has presented to us strives towards creating a societal sensitivity whereby we should be acutely wary about innovations in our religious lives. It is as though there is meant to be an apparatus used by the collective intellect of the Muslim ummah that should scout out any innovation and demonstrate apprehension towards it.

Correct religious adherence then is that religiosity whereby one feels there is something wrong when encountering a bid’ah; this feeling is meant to be a part of a community’s culture and conscience engendered by the religion itself at both the individual and societal levels. This feeling is predicated upon the prerogative of self-preservation against attempts at religious inventions, false insertions, fabrications, and attributions of matters to the creed that are not part of it; it is an imperative principle to protect the religion against customs, practices, concepts, and trends that may be ascribed to it while carrying absolutely no semblance of a relationship with it.

We have observed this religious sentiment amongst some Muslims in many aspects, alḥamdulillah. Throughout history, a group of scholars has fought against what it deemed bid’ah in religion, tolerating many hardships and calamities such as rejection, renunciation, and insult along the way.

Take for example al-Imām Abū Isḥāq al-Shāṭibī (d. 790 AH) the founder of maqāṣid-based ijtihad, known as a forerunner in fighting against the apparent phenomenon of innovation both within and outside the confines of his own society, religion, and community (in fact, he published a whole work on the topic called al-I‘tiṣām). He was renounced and fought because he considered – whether we may agree with him or not – that supplicating for the four Caliphs and the rulers in the Friday prayer sermon is something which has no place in religion, even should these figures deserve such supplication. According to his opinion, inserting this supplication within the Friday sermon and turning it into a practice which people frequent—especially when the Friday sermon is emblematic of Islam—would lead to the formation of a new religious custom that had no basis in religion.

Likewise, we have seen many scholars fight against fabricated customs propagated in the name of religion here and there, not to mention other customs which are brought in without any attribution to religion and are not compatible with it. 

It is beautiful that scholars and activists have a concern towards purifying religion from the extra amendments added to it via popular culture, even if this should require personal sacrifices along the way. Indeed, this bold stance has prevented the birth of an overinflated religion throughout history. Religion may be elegantly simple, while complacency in the face of attempts to aggrandize it and add novel concepts to it may precipitate its turgidity and disability; in turn it becomes a different construct altogether, both cumbersome and encumbering.[3]

Despite all these positive aspects in confronting bid’ah and being wary of it, we also witness at the same time anomalies in its detection on both personal and societal frontiers. Sometimes this sensitivity towards bid’ah has been invoked in an erroneous manner whereby it has a negative impact on religion and religiosity; on the other hand, we sometimes see it altogether dismantled via clever stratagems. I would like to focus on these latter two point with some examples in the following sections:

 

ACases Wherein the Principle of “The Acute Detection of Bid’ah and Wariness Against It” Is Employed Incorrectly

There are several situations wherein the concept of bid’ah is invoked incorrectly. I will mention a few important examples:

 

1. Religious Innovation Between Cancelling Out Others and Encouraging Ijtihad: The Problem of Reconciliation

Among some Muslims, the problem is that bid’ah as a concept has been used both historically and presently to settle scores with intellectual or doctrinal movements that are at odds with them. As such, this concept of bid’ah has been advanced upon the axis of cancelling out others. Hence, when you accuse a person of bid’ah or claim a certain practice as bid’ah, it is as though you intend by this to eliminate and raze your opponent to the ground. Unfortunately, the term bid’ah and its derivatives have been distorted through this derogatory usage away from the positive dimension (i.e., protecting the religion from additions) to an entirely negative one (i.e. annihilating the principle of plurality in ijtihad): thus every ijtihad (or at least many of them) with which I may disagree is labeled a bid’ah.

Notwithstanding the pervasive nature of this phenomenon among Islamic factions and sects, we also find it within intellectual currents themselves. Therefore, the Mu’tazilah are accused of bid’ah according to Ahl al-Hadith and Salafis, the Ahl al-Sunnah are accused of bid’ah among the Shi’ah (and vice versa), and the philosophers are accused of bid’ah among the theologians (consider al-Ghazali’s attempts to refute them[4]), etc.

When misappropriated, this originally constructive notion of bid’ah becomes a colossal catastrophe. As we observe in the above examples, the concept of “sensitivity towards bid’ah” transforms from a healthy desire to prevent human inflation of the religion into a diseased state—whereby we desire to cancel out our opponents, close the door of ijtihad, and exterminate all excuses for others.

What I derive from the conception of bid’ah is instead an earnest endeavor to defend the religion from the debris that has been hurled upon it over time—from that dust by which this creed has been burdened. I do not understand bid’ah as a slogan for cancelling out the other or uprooting freedom of opinion and ijtihad, especially since Muslim scholars and jurists have themselves excepted ijtihadi differences from bid’ah. Nonetheless, as we shall see, the double standard with which they apply the label of bid’ah contradicts their self-same theoretical differentiations regarding this issue.

Therefore, if my own ijtihad leads me to deem any issue a bid’ah in religion, then it becomes my obligation to stand against such bid’āt. However, it is imperative that this phenomenon be confronted with a balanced intellectualism that safeguards the rights and privileges of others. Not every bid’ah necessarily originates from ill purposes; rather sometimes they may have been wrought of good intentions, but it is yet still necessary for me to oppose them.

The meaning of opposition (al-muharabah) against bid’ah does not mean to pour upon it one’s vitriol; rather it implies an endeavor to dismantle it through civilized and healthy means. In other words, the intellectual rebuttals enacted against a bid’ah certainly count as opposition against it. The meaning of opposing bid’ah is not predicated upon such mannerisms as purging, aggressive attacks, declaring hostility, etc. This goes starkly against our mistaken religious culture, which assumes that there is a necessary association between opposing bid’ah and cancelling out your opponent. It is as though the meaning of opposing bid’ah is that of declaring war or jihad against the other, whereby all taboos and sanctities become violable.[5]

It is necessary to correct these mistaken perceptions so that we can cultivate a healthier paradigm. I believe the first step in correcting our presuppositions lies in clarifying the meaning of the expression which is being employed here, namely the word bid’ah. I want to differentiate here between the meaning of the word bid’ah and the expression ahl al-bid’ah. In the Arabic language (which is the axis by which Islamic religious texts should be understood), the word bid’ah implies nothing but an invention which has no precedent. Therefore, when a religious text instructs us to “abstain from bid’ah,” this means we are being encouraged to leave aside innovating into religion that which has no precedent or relationship with it.

However, the import of the word al-bid’ah evolved over the first three centuries of Islamic history and thereafter; when certain currents of thought emerged that were known for this phenomenon, the expression ahl al-bid’ah was born and assumed an entirely pejorative connotation. It came to mean those who were well-recognized and nefarious for fabricating concepts which they falsely ascribed to religion; they were presupposed to have done this in a way that was premeditated and not the result of simply mistakes in ijtihad (as I have discussed in detail in my book which I referred to earlier). Therefore, it is not the case that every bid’ah was historically understood to cancel out its adherent; in contrast, the expression ahl al-bid’ah was understood as dismissive because it gave off the impression that the entire context of thought of these individuals was deviated and foreign to the religion, not that a single view or idea that they possessed was an innovation. Therefore, the phrase ahl al-bid’ah does not simply imply a certain sect, religion, or school of thought which endorses a bid’ah; rather it implies those who tread upon an entirely innovated framework and adopt a path that continuously fabricates bid’āt, not simply due to mistaken ijtihad.

If we were to pay attention to this delicate point, we would be able to understand a great deal in terms of the religious literature that deals with the issues of bid’ah and ahl al-bid’ah. For instance, jurist B is not deemed an innovator or a sahib al-bid’ah in the view of jurist A with a pejorative import to the word; rather, he would only be deemed as such if his entire thought process emerges from an innovated context, wherein bid’āt have compounded in a manner such that they have become the basis of his entire methodology, in both practice and in theory.

Of note, this is exactly how we use the expression ahl al-hadith as well; this phrase does not mean that any scholar who uses a hadith here or there is among the ahl al-hadith. Rather it implies a specific current of thought wherein the ahādith have become the general framework for the entire system of thought and ijtihad. The same can be said when it comes to the word “theft”; this word implies nothing more than a single instance. However, when we say, “the people of theft and embezzlement,” this implies that this is their lifestyle and habit. Therefore, it is possible to differentiate the word from its regular meaning and when it is placed in a genitive construction with the words “ahl,” “sahib,” “ashab,” etc. Similarly, some scholars have differentiated between the words “shirk” and “mushrik” in the Qur’an; the People of the Book may be guilty of shirk, but they are not deemed mushrikīn in the sense of the active participle (ism fa’il). I do not want to belabor this point but suffice it to say that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in the Arabic language and common parlance; I will postpone further discussion regarding it to another occasion.

Therefore, the first problem in understanding bid’ah in Islamic practice is the way in which this understanding is used in a pejorative and dismissive manner every time there is a difference of opinion; it is completely taken out of its natural context. Therefore, when we voice our consternation about using expressions such as ahl al-bid’ah today to refer to others (given its negative connotation), this does not imply that we are against the investigation of bid’ah in religious life. Rather, to the contrary: we desire to expand the import of the word in a way that allows its detection—no matter the label which is appended to it—so far as we abstain from the culture of labelling others and cancelling out their right to ijtihad and freedom of religious expression.

Of course, as for the currents of thought that truly do erect a foundation for innovation, not in the sense of a mistake in ijtihad but rather in an unsubstantiated and self-imposing manner, it may be possible to adopt an alternative style of speech with them insofar as it is effective. Of course, there is further discussion about this last point to be held which we will not engage in here.

In summary, the application of the term bid’ah and the exigency to oppose it does not mean that we should necessarily label whoever adopts the said innovation as a heretic. At the same time, our insistence upon the right of everyone to practice their ijtihad and our apprehension about using this word in a manner that implies heresy draws us towards condemning the use of expressions such as ahl al-bid’ah. Nonetheless, we are obliged to remain cognizant about what we deem bid’ah in religion, even if we may not call its adherents “people of innovation;” rather, we instead view them as individuals who have adopted it based on good intentions and mistaken ijtihad.

 

2. The Crisis of Partiality in Detecting Bid’ah: From Within a Sect to the Wider Islamic Context

In an endeavor to complete the aforementioned point, we draw attention to another distortion in the way in which the word bid’ah is used, namely the biased application of the term. For instance, while the Ash’ari is easily able to describe a certain idea espoused by a Mu’tazili as a bid’ah, we find that he deems it difficult to employ such a word to describe a certain practice or belief within his own faction. Rather, he is more prone to deem it a mistaken ijtihad over which its adherent will still be rewarded.[6]

The reason for this biased and selective application is the mistaken assumption we alluded to before; namely that presuming a certain practice as a bid’ah will imply that our compatriots are people of bid’ah. On this pretext, one’s madhhab becomes a madhhab of bid’ah and we end up disparaging our own scholars, history, and school of thought. However, there is absolutely no such correlation!

It is entirely possible for there to be a bid’ah amidst the Ash’ariImamiSalafi, or Zaydi sects without us having to surmise that their scholars are people of innovation, as we have expressed before. The expression ahl al-bid’ah implies those whose general foundation is innovative; it goes much beyond simply implying that a selected idea to which a sect adheres could be a bid’ah.

Therefore, there is no evidence to preclude us from deeming a certain idea, practice, or habit—even within the madhhab of truth—as a bid’ah. There is absolutely no relationship between these two conceptions; however, because these scholars perceive a contradiction between a certain madhhab being true and some of its practices being bid’āt, they have begun to defend themselves against the existence of any bid’āt in their madhhab all the while affirming them in the madhahib of others. As such, they create a constructive culture of critiquing others while being completely negligent towards the continued ramifications of unchecked bid’āt within their own respective madhhab. This is yet another dilemma with which the Muslims are confronted.

The dictates of justice and impartiality demand that the principle of “wariness against bid’ah” be applied against all practices and conceptions, regardless of whether they are found within my specific madhhab or within an alternative school of thought. In this manner, I stand to protect Islam from bid’ah through critiquing both myself and others, being on the alert for innovation wherever it may be found.

As such, we encourage towards calling and describing issues as they are even if they are found within the confines of one’s personal madhhab, so long as heretical labels are not employed against anyone as we discussed previously. Otherwise, we can never hope to escape the polemical rhetoric of “my madhhab is infallible and your madhhab is an innovation.” As such, we will inadvertently fall into the trap of believing that God’s Providence has safeguarded an entire madhhab from falling into any mistakes, and we will claim its scholars and adherents to be infallible presuming that they can never collectively be wrong![7] Granting an excuse to others for adopting an idea or practice that we deem to be bid’ah in the religion helps preserve personal or collective honor. Meanwhile, granting this excuse does not extend any sanction to the act of bid’ah itself, even if it may have been derived from a pure intention; as such, a sectarian affiliation does not protect any bid’ah from being critiqued and confronted in a civilized manner that safeguards the rights and sanctities of others.

 

B. Cases Whereby the Principle of “Sensitivity towards Bid’ah and Wariness against it” Is Dismantled

This point is also tied to the case of subjective bias in the issue of bid’ah that we briefly discussed above; one of the problems in detecting bid’ah is that it is invoked only when a subtraction is present and rarely for an addendum. Thus, if someone adds something to the religion out of good faith and goodwill, you may find that many people among us do not have any problem with it; because this addition presumably strengthens the standing of religion and does not harm it. Meanwhile, if someone critiques a certain highly practiced phenomenon and deems it foreign to the religion, we find adherents stirred up to defend the practice, endeavoring to find every justification for it, even if completely far-fetched.

As such, the principle of caution against bid’ah is rendered inoperative under a plethora of pretexts, such as yearning for God’s pleasure (rajaa’ al-matlubiyyah), healthy precaution (husn al-ihtiyāt), and strengthening religion in the hearts of the public (taqwiyah al-din fi nufus al-nas).[8] The argument is made that if these practices are augmenting the social standing of the creed, then why should we combat them?

At this juncture, a precursory thought may occur to the esteemed reader regarding how these pretexts (i.e. rajaa’ al-matlubiyyahhusn al-ihtiyāt, etc.) are even used in the first place to justify additions to religion. For instance, when someone performs an act yearning God’s pleasure, he is technically not deeming said practice from religion, but rather he performs it based on hope it will be accepted as part of his religious deeds by God. Therefore, how are these pretexts used to justify bid’ah?

While this may be true, it is imperative for us to examine the phenomenon of bid’ah in religious life from two perspectives:

1.   From the viewpoint of the erudite scholastics, who are conscious and aware that the act is not from religion, and that the implied meaning of these implored pretexts is that the practice cannot be definitively attributed to the creed.

2.   From the viewpoint of the popular culture, who are not as aware as the scholars about these matters, but rather learn generation after generation that the said act is one performed by religious adherents and has turned into a credal practice. As such, anyone who looks from afar would attribute said act to the religious atmosphere.

The laypeople do not often differentiate between these issues; no one except scholars and a selected group of religiously sophisticated individuals are able to tease these concepts apart. Nonetheless, I do not want to claim that we have fallen into bid’ah; all I mean is that the principle of caution against bid’ah demands the rousing of more activism and general conscientiousness among the laity that these issues are not part of religion, and that we only engage in them based on certain pretexts like rajaa’ al-matlubiyyah.

This type of categorization should not be employed as a merely scholastic differentiation; rather, it should be transformed into a popular culture that is sensitive to such nuances. Unfortunately, many of us behave to the detriment of creating such an awareness, as we are sometimes plagued with the problem of hiding religious practices behind these labels. Therefore, you find that when a question is directed about a purportedly recommended act, the respondent does not directly state that its commendability (al-istihbab) is not proven; rather, he will suffice by saying that it is conducted with the intention of rajaa’ al-matlubiyyah. While the erudite will recognize the meaning of this expression, the public has no idea what this means; furthermore, this style of answer is very underhanded as it does not directly answer that such-and-such supposed recommended act is not actually proven to be part of the religion.

The point of view I am espousing here demands that we adopt a completely opposite policy when it comes to clarifying the creed. I am advocating that we express things brazenly even if the public had been falsely assuming for a long time that the action in question is an actual part of the religion. Rather, I daresay that whenever the laity falsely presumes that something is part of the religious edifice, it becomes even more imperative to clearly repudiate this assumption. Only after doing this is one entitled to entertain the notion of justifying its practice through rajaa’ al-matlubiyyah.

Perhaps what augments my viewpoint even more here is this: suppose a person should come forth and deny the commendability of a certain deed, will you not see the proponents of rajaa’ al-matlubiyyah stand up to critique him? Now I ask at this juncture: why should this person even be critiqued when he is simply expositing the religion plain and clear? Even further, what should we say about the way he is critiqued? Why don’t we don’t say for example that he is right, but that his statement is deficient? Why is it that when he is critiqued, you find the critics repudiate him by bringing forth all manner of statements from scholars that substantiate the permissibility of doing the act under the pretext of rajaa’ al-matlubiyyah? Does this not contribute to a distortion in the general perception? Is this not clearly against the principles of intellectual honesty in clarifying religion and being wary of bid’ah?[9]

Let us try to picture ourselves in the first centuries after the Hijrah and imagine that the phenomena of saying “Amin” and folding hands in prayers had just appeared and been ascribed to Islam. In this circumstance, the Ahl al-Bayt were faced with two options: 1) open opposition, prohibition, and dismantlement of this practice based on its being bid’ah in their view, or 2) to correct the intentions only and say to the people that don’t do this in the sense of it being part of religion or well-attested; rather do it with an alternative pretext. We observe that those who opposed bid’ah in the first centuries of Islam—including the Ahl al-Bayt—used to view these phenomena as being reprehensible and did not at all approach these issues from the standpoint of correcting individual purposes or intentions. This is because bid’ah is not only linked to one’s intention during the act; rather it is also tied to instituting a religious practice that people may come to absorb as though it is a religious prescription.

As such, some of the jurists differentiate between the issue of bid’ah and legislation (al-tashri’). As far as I can recall among such scholars is ‘Allamah al-Naraqi, the author of Mustanad al-Shi’ah.[10] Legislation is prohibited because you are falsely attributing an action to the law of God or committing an act with the intention that it is from God while you are in fact the one who legislated it. This legislation could occur on a personal level: for example, right now you could personally addend a certain action to your prayers while in your own home. This is an impermissible act even if you don’t ever inform anyone about it. However, by a simple change in intention[11] you can dispel this prohibited legislation. Nonetheless, this differentiated view would still not call the above example bid’ah because bid’ah is only when a person establishes a practice for others which is then received as though it is a religious affair while it is not. Therefore, sahib al-bid’ah is someone who fabricates an issue that has no existence in religion and then presents it to others to crystallize it as a religious practice in the society.

If we are to accept this differentiation, which deserves careful deliberation,[12] then the issue of bid’ah will become even more sensitive. It becomes a matter that is not restricted to just individual intentions; rather, it is connected to the notion of creating a social practice that is ascribed to religion in the public psyche, even if you personally may indeed know that it is not part of the religion.

I hope that we can reflect on this point and open the door to studying the phenomenon of bid’ah from a detailed ijtihadi angle. Perhaps we ourselves approach bid’ah when we create a society that propagates practices under the presumption that they are religious when they are not established in the shari’ah (i.e., when they are based on ijtihadi pretexts such as rajaa al-matlubiyyahhusn al-ihtiyaat, etc).

In this vein, we also encounter the dilemma of including an action or practice under the broader allowances (al-‘umūmāt) and categorical objectives (al-itlāqāt) of the shari’ah. For instance, we often find embedded religious practices for which there is no specific textual support; it is merely that the jurists have relied on general allowances, such as the principle of reviving religious affairs (ihyaa amr al-din) and have deemed said practice an instantiation of this larger principle. All the while, religion has not particularly prescribed this action and we merely initiated it through our own mortal minds.

In this context, I do not want to claim that the above is bid’ah; not at all. However, the central issue here is that many—even some scholars—attribute this practice as part-and-parcel of religion only because it falls under general sanctioned principles, and this is a mistake.

In order to clarify my point further (and I have spoken about this issue many times in the past), I believe it is important to differentiate between an action that is mustahabb simply because it is an instantiation of a wider commendable principle in the Shari’ah, and a mustahabb that has been specifically recommended. For example, if we take the example of reciting Surah al-Fatihah for the dead, the jurist will find no precedent in the religion called “recitation of Surah al-Fatihah for the dead.” Surah al-Fatihah has no special distinction in recitation here; rather the precedent that exists is “recitation of the Qur’an for the dead.” Therefore, the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah is commendable only because it is recitation of the Qur’an, not in itself. Therefore, when people endeavor to recite Surah al-Fatihah it is necessary to make them cognizant of the fact that recitation of al-Fatihah is not mustahabb as they may assume. Rather what is mustahabb is recitation of the Qur’an. For example, this may require the scholars to invite others to recite Surah al-Qadr for the dead in majalis instead to destroy this presumption and reveal the reality to the people on the same paradigm of the Prophets of the past. In the wake of this example, we can envision many other similar ones in our religious lives.

 

I find it necessary here to differentiate between the terms an instantiation of a mustahabb principle and a mustahabb act. The term mustahabb should be used for actions that are proved commendable in themselves within the Shari’ah; meanwhile, an instantiation that is subject to time and place should bear no commendability in itself. It is only recommended by virtue of being a particular application of a general principle; in turn this application itself is subject to time, circumstance, and societal norms. Therefore, many of the religious practices that are perceived to be recommended and have no scriptural proof should be clarified for the public as not being part of religion—it should be clearly pointed out that no one is known to have done them during the lives of the Prophets, the companions, the Ahl al-Bayt, or others.

This differentiation is very important in the strategic establishment of a religious consciousness, and it is a clear application of exercising caution against bid’ah and protection of religion from ambiguity and obfuscation. Unfortunately, this differentiation is neglected and completely ignored in society; while we admit that this notion would not necessarily dismantle the practices of society, it calls them towards a more nuanced religious consciousness. As such, they do not completely disregard religious legitimization of an action directly and forever; rather they differentiate between what has been made divinely sanctioned as mustahabb and what is determined to fall under this purview merely based on fallible human understanding.[13]

We ask Allah to enlighten the hearts of each of us to discern bid’āt in religious societies and to increasingly draw our attention towards it. We ask him to grant us the capability to manage this issue without shortcoming or extremism, in the cause of protecting religion and preserving it from human tampering. My humble invitation to all is to revise their perspective in understanding the issue of bid’ah, both in theory and practice. Let us try to awaken the public psyche to understand the importance of differentiating these nuances and eschewing bid’ah in all its various iterations.

 

 

Footnotes

[1] TN: we will attempt as much as possible to leave the word bid’ah untranslated, as the phrase “innovation” in English often has inescapable positive connotations and rendering it as “heretical innovation” is cumbersome and also excessively derogatory. We hope the well-educated reader will appreciate the exigencies that demanded transliteration here.

[2] TN: this hadith is highly attested to in the Sunni corpus of hadith collections and is also well-narrated in the Shi’ah sources (cf. Wasaa’il al-Shi’ah for example).

[3] TN: the point being discussed here ties into another one of the author’s theses, namely a critique of the notion that Islam is meant to be all-inclusive (shumool al-shari’ah). A summary of the author’s work about this issue published on this site can be found here: https://iqraonline.net/book-summary-part-1-comprehensiveness-of-the-shariah-discussions-on-extents-of-legal-reference-between-intellect-and-revelation/

 

[4] TN: Al-Ghazali is known to have penned a book entitled Tahafut al-Falasifah (The Incoherence of the Philosophers).

[5] TN: In the age of social media, there is a widespread phenomenon of labeling others as “innovators” and throwing around ad hominem accusations of bid’ah; this features in Muslim circles as part of a larger cancel culture.

[6] TN: the reference here is to a famous hadith which states that even if someone’s ijtihad is mistaken, he will still be rewarded (cf. Sahih Bukari, Sahih Muslim, Kanz al-‘Ummal)

[7] TN: in fact, some scholars indeed espouse this notion appealing to notions such as al-ijma’ (consensus) and al-shuhrah (popular renown) to justify believing in certain religious practices and rituals. Shaykh Haydar has rejected the probative force of these concepts; advanced readers may refer to his Hujjiyah al-Sunnah for a more detailed treatment of this issue.

[8] TN: these are well-known pretexts used by scholars to justify the performance of certain actions. As a practical example, the supplications of Nawruz are completely based on the notion of rajaa’ al-matlubiyyah (i.e., there is no reliable religious text to back them, but rather these actions are done with the hope that God will accept them as a token of the individual’s piety). Unfortunately, the laity may not appreciate or understand this pretext and thus is prone to fallaciously assuming the Nawruz rites as bona-fide religious practice. In gist, all these notions are derived from a general fiqhi principle known as leniency in evidence of non-obligatory acts (tasaamuh fi adillat al sunan); please see here for more information: https://iqraonline.net/the-principle-of-leniency-in-evidences-for-non-obligatory-acts-and-its-jurisdiction/

 

[9] TN: the author means to say here that scholars themselves often contribute to the widespread conflation of these concepts by simply invoking the pretexts to justify the actions in question, without making it clear to the public that they are not part of bona-fide religious practice.

[10] TN: Ahmad al-Naraqi was a polymath and famous Shi’ah faqih of the 19th century; he is well-known as the teacher of the famous giant of Shi’ah jurisprudence Shaykh Murtada al-Ansari.

[11] TN: For instance, if someone did so either accidentally or because of dissimulation (al-taqiyyah).

[12] I recall that our late teacher al-Sayyid Mahmud al-Hashimi al-Shahrudi may God have mercy on him used to accept this differentiation as I recall from a personal conversation with him several years ago

[13] TN: in other words, the author is advocating that the religious society be made more privy to how things are deemed mustahabb, not just simply that they are recommended.

 

 

Bid‘ah & the Principle of Religious Wariness: A Study on Newer Perspectives and Applications of the Concept – Iqra Online