الددو : هل البدعة أكثر شراً من المعصية؟


☼ A Popular Misconception Clarified: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKtVpstc4y0

By Sh. al-ʿAllamah Muḥammad al-Ḥasan al-Dedew al-Shanqīṭī (may Allâh preserve him) سماحة العلامة / محمد الحسن الددو الشنقيطي: ❝Is Bid‘ah (religious innovation) more evil than Maʾṣiyah (sin)?❞

Interviewer: Is the generic statement that ‘Bid`ah is worse than Sin’ accurate?

The Shaykh: “No. Religious innovations are part of Maʾṣiyah (disobedience to God). Bidah is one of the categories of ‘disobedience’. After all, the word ‘disobedience’ (Ar. مَعْصِيَة) is inclusive of something as grave as polytheism (Ar. Shirk) all the way down the list until it reaches, doing something that is ‘better not to do’ (Ar. خِلاَفُ الْأَوْلَى).”

Interviewer: If we say “Bidʿah” (heresy) and “Maʾṣiyah” (sin), the respective intent for each word is known, in that Bidʿah is specifically dealing with what we’ve [previously] defined, while ‘sin/disobedience’ is just contravening (God’s law). So keeping this in mind, is Bidʿah unconditionally always worse than sin?

The Shaykh: No, no. This isn’t correct. On the contrary, the acts of disobedience (pl. Maʿāṣī) consist of the major, destructive sins, whereas the religious innovations (pl. Bidaʾ) consist of some that are minor, and others that are even disputed to begin with, as we [previously] mentioned about the ‘relative innovations’ [For a brief definition, see: http://youtu.be/udGTgU3HB1E?t=1m13s by Mokhtar Maghraoui].

Interviewer: OK. But Shaykh, what are we to make of some of the statements of the leading scholars (Ar. الْأَئِمَّة), like for example, ʿAwwām B. Ḥawshab said to his son, “Jesus (ʿĪsā)! May God rectify your heart—I swear by God, for me to see you hanging out with people involved in music, drinking and nonsense, would be more beloved to me than to see you accompanying the People of Innovation.” ?

Sh. al-Dido: “This is in the context of dissuasion, and intensifying one’s warning to drive [the point] home. It certainly wasn’t intended to assert categorically that all People of Innovation are worse than alcoholics, etc.” هذا في مقام التنفير والتغليظ وليس المقصود به أن الأصحاب البدع مُطْلَقًا شَرٌّ من أصحاب الخمر

Interviewer: The words of Shaykh-ul-Islām (i.e., Ibn Taymiyyah), “al-bidʿatu sharrun min al-maʾṣiyah” [Innovation is worse than sin] and the words of Sufyan al-Thawri, “al-bidʿatu aḥabbu ilā Iblīs min al-maʾṣiyah [innovation is dearer to Satan than sin]”?

Sh. al-Dido: This isn’t a general statement; this is not to be taken at face value (هَذَا لَيْسَ عَلَى إِطْلَاقِهِ). What he’s referring to is an excommunicating innovation (Ar. الْبِدْعَة الْمُكَفِّرَة), that it is worse than a sin that does not take one out of the fold of Islam. So the statements of the scholars are to be interpreted in light of this, and their ambiguous statements are to be understood in light of their explicit/decisive statements. So–an innovation that causes disbelief is absolutely worse than a sin that doesn’t entail kufr. On the other hand, sins that do entail Kufr or the major sins—al-fawāḥish (gross indecencies; immoralities; lewd, shameless, foul acts) and kabā’ir-ul-ithm (grave, befuddling sins)—these are greater than *many* innovations. They’re greater than all innovations apart from those that entail disbelief.

Interviewer: But, yā Mawlana, what’s behind religious innovations is a challenging of the Shariah; an opposition and countering of the Divine System (مُضَادٌّ لِلشَّرِيعَة) in its essence, and trying to surpass it (الاِسْتِدْرَاك عَلَيْهَا – with the implication that the Lawgiver omitted something).

Sh. al-Dido: No, this is for whoever intends to complete the Sharīʿah (divine blueprint), thinking that it is lacking, or, comes up with something in the religion that Allâh has not given permission for and that is contrary to what Allâh’s Messenger (ﷺ) Messenger came with. So by dint of that, they would be contradicting the Sharʾ.

Interviewer: And the order of the Prophet (God bless him) to fight the ‘Seceders’ or schismatics [Ar. Kharijites] juxtaposed with his order to patiently bear the oppression of unjust rulers. Doesn’t that indicate that heresies are categorically worse…?

Sh. Dido: No. It’s not like that. With regard to the Khawarij, he didn’t command fighting any and all people who secede, unconditionally. Additionally, the Ummah has unanimously agreed on that. So what’s meant by ‘them’ (in the prophetic order to fight the Khârijites) are those individuals who killed ʿUthman ibn Affan and ʿAli ibn Abi Talib – specifically these two. They are the ones whose killing, the Prophet (ﷺ) clarified, will contain a reward for whoever takes them out. This is why he mentioned their telltale signs. He said, سِيمَاهُمُ التَّحْلِيق “their sign will be that they shave their heads.” (taking that as a symbol or insignia) He also mentioned that, يَمْرُقُونَ مِنَ الدِّينِ كَمَا يَمْرُقُ السَّهْمُ مِنَ الرَّمِيَّةِ “they would exit from the religion like an arrow passing through its target.” ♢ [Bukhârī, 7007; Muslim, 1763]—And it’s not possible to describe with these ^ words any khawārij (“revolters”) who are lesser than them. So those who revolted against Al-Mansur, for example, and those who seceded and came out against ʿAbdul-Malik ibn Marwan…

Interviewer: They didn’t meet these descriptions?

Sh. Dido: Not at all. And we cannot throw this tile on them. In fact, the ʿUlama’ have clearly expressed that revolting (Ar. khurūj), in its essence, is not wickedness (or defiance of God). Ibn Qudamah mentioned that ‘al-baghy’ (rebellion) is not Fisq (defiant disobedience)…

Interviewer: In and of itself.

Sh. al-Dido: …and had that been the case, Talhah, Al-Zubayr and ʿĀ’ishah would’ve definitely been considered dissolute sinners—and yet they are of the People of Paradise, so it is obligatory to firmly believe in that.

Interviewer: We have the case of the ḥadīth of the noble companion ʿAbdullâh, whose nickname was ‘donkey’ (Ar. al-Ḥimār; http://youtu.be/2ID2fIiQVyw?t=6m28s), who was an alcoholic… and in spite of that, the Prophet (ﷺ) said: إِنَّهُ يُحِبُّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ “By God, I know for a fact that he loves God and His Messenger.” But he (ﷺ) was not silent in the face of the bidʿah (heresy) of the Khârijite who said, “This distribution was not intended to win God’s Countenance.” So he (ﷺ) said, يَخْرُجُ مِنْ ضِئْضِئِ هَذَا قَوْمٌ “From the descendants of this [person] will come…” until the end.

Sh. al-Dido: There’s a huge difference between the two men. The latter’s words apparently constitute apostasy and blasphemy, because he was accusing the Messenger of God (ﷺ). So for this reason, he said to him: ❝God have mercy on my brother Moses, for he was harmed with much more than this, but still remained patient.❞ Furthermore, this man was accusing the Prophet (ﷺ) of being slanted and unjust, and accusing the Prophet (ﷺ) is kufr.

And as for ‘Ḥimār’, then he used to drink alcohol and then repent.

Interviewer: Ibn Waḍḍâḥ, in his famous book, narrated: there used to be a young man with us who used to fight (in battles) and get drunk…and he listed some other sinful matters he was involved in. Later on, he studied (with the Shiites) and ended up professing Shiism (the kind that existed in the early period). So Ḥabīb B. Abī Thābit said, “On the day when you used to fight and do what you did (i.e. of sins), you were better than you are today.” So he considered his fighting and drinking of alcohol, etc, to be better than his adopting of Shiism…

Sh. al-Dido: But the intent of «tashayyuʾ» (professing Shiism) here is that he entered into a major bidʿah/heresy. Whereas in the past he used to get drunk, and struggle in God’s cause—so the Jihād would expiate for him his drinking, which is similar to what happened to Abū Miḥjan al-Thaqafī, with Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas.

Interviewer: The well-known story. ♦ So we’ve reached the conclusion that it should not be said—generically—that innovation is worse than sin.

Sh. al-Dido: No (that shouldn’t be said). الْبِدْعَة الْمُكَفِّرَة شَرٌّ مِنَ الْمَعْصِيَة الَّتِي لَا تُكَفِّر The innovation which entails disbelief is worse than the sin that does not entail disbelief. وَالْبِدْعَةُ الَّتِي لَا تُكَفِّر، لَيْسَتْ شَرًّا مِنَ الْمَعْصِيَة Whereas innovations that do not entail disbelief, are not worse than sins. In fact, lies are worse than innovations when it comes to narrating (aḥādīth), for example. For it is not allowed to narrate on the authority of habitual liars and fabricators. But innovators (Ar. الْمُبْتَدِعَة) who aren’t involved in disbelief-entailing innovations – it is allowed to relate from them, if they are not liars. Indeed, Imām Muhammad al-Bukhari has transmitted on the authority of a number of people who were described with innovations. We [previously] mentioned Hishām Al-Dastawā’ī, the Imām, who has been ascribed to the sect of al-Qadar (‘dualists’; ‘libertarians’; ‘free-willers’). We also mentioned ʿUbaydullâh B. Mūsā, who was a Shi’ite. And ʿImrân B. Ḥattân, who was a [lead] Khârijite.

Interviewer: All of them have been narrated from in the Ṣaḥīḥ?

Sh. al-Dido: Yes, all of whom Al-Bukhârī narrated from in the Ṣaḥīḥ [Collection, i.e. Sahih al-Bukhari].

May Allah reward the translator of the above piece. Ameen


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