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There are no hadiths saying that the call to prayer was made using a microphone. As Azan is considered an act of worship/religious observance, would using a microphone or tape recorder count as bidah?

Bonus question: Is it bidah to use other loud objects such as a bell/gong to call to prayer?

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Don't be too concerned about such simple stuff. Azan is always Azan be it from a person, computer, speaksers, ... –  rowman Jan 16 '13 at 21:59
    
Normally would not be concerned, but had a debate with a friend, who brought up those points when justifying 'good bidah'. Instinctively, it's not an issue, but it seemed like a good conceptual topic with some good points on what might be bidah. Would like to get some solid legal strength arguments on it. –  Muz Jan 17 '13 at 2:37
    
I don't think there is any classification of bidah as "good" bidah and "bad" bidah. All bidah is the same, that is bad and rejected. –  Najeeb Aug 8 '13 at 9:48

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Believe it or not, this is something scholars actually discussed (ages ago), although the ruling is ijmaa (consensus) in our time.

Why would they bother? First, rasulullah said:

He who innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e. Islam] that is not of it will have it rejected [by Allah]. (Imam Nawawi's famous 40; Bukhari and Muslim)

Based on this hadith, which Imam Shafi'ee says is one third of faith--because it safeguards Islam from corruption by people--scholars understand two things:

  • Any religious action (ibaadah) is haram until you bring strong proofs proving that Allah will accept it
  • And its converse: any non-religious action (eating, sleeping, blinking, etc.) is permissible until proven guilty

They debated the microphone because it falls under the first category (religious actions), and as such, needs proof to support it.

Allah knows best about the actual reasons they concluded that it's permissible. It seems that since it doesn't really change the ibaadah, and you can probably make an analogy to the one who repeats the imam loudly so others can hear, it falls under the permissible rulings.

Since you mentioned "good bidah," that is a concept which only appears in ibaadah actions, not in natural actions. Some groups use it as a loophole to justify certain actions (such as mawlid), which are not part of Islam.

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They didn't consider it bida'a because it doesn't change anything in the religion. YOu are not inventing a new way to pray(Changing in religion). But it is a way to help the sound reach further places. SOURCE:islamqa.info/en/ref/23443 –  Sohaeb Feb 19 '13 at 4:50

No, it is not bidah, since it does not violate any Islamic law or rule while in the same time it is helping the cause of Islam by allowing more people to know the time of Azan. Islam does not forbid things just because they weren't present at the time of the Prophet (PBUH), and it is not mandatory to have a hadith about everything used as long as it doesn't violate Islamic rules.

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