I've read a lot about bid-ah here and other places, but it seems there is no definite meaning for it as

  • someone expands it to anything new even innovations in technology and saying there are good bid-ah too!!
  • And then the other one says it's meaning is only defined inside religion and therefore everything new which goes astray is called bidah and is haramm, and anything good is not bidah and is part of the religion already.
  • but then someone else says we have also new things inside religion which are good like saying dua with children to help them learn better or using toys with Hijab to help children grow fond of it or using social networks for inviting people to Islam ... which are not part of the religion but also help humans and Islam to go toward Allah.

    1. My Q is what is exactly the definition of Bid ah??
    2. How can we Identify it? which will be obvious after an exact definition

As everyone knows plz only bring sources of Quran or Hadith, not opinions!! thanks


4 Answers 4


Asking for a proof from only Quran or Sunnah is hard. But I get your point, You are not looking for opinions.

Sheikh Ibn Othaymeen defines Bidah as:

  • If you add something new to the belief of Islam without having a proof from Quran or Sunnah then this is considered Bidah i.e: Pray 6 times instead of 5, during prayer you add something the prophet has not done. etc...

  • If you add something that helps the religion, i.e: Technology. The this is not bidah since you are not adding something to the religion itself.

I think this simple rule is enough. Of course this gets more complicated from here especially if both groups claiming something have proofs from Quran and sunnah. If this is the case, then we should respect their opinions and remember how the 4 Imamas(Abu hanifa, Malik, Ahmed, Shafi) used to have different opinions but that would never let them hate or disrespect each other.

Bidah is really dangerous because the person committing a bidah as if he is claiming that the prophet didn't deliver everything about this religion. So people should be really careful

  • what about things you add to the religion but they help people get closer to God or Islam? like making toys with hijab for children and etc. They are not part of the religion
    – user4710
    May 5, 2014 at 5:31
  • I said add because in the definition of your source it seems only changing is considered bidah!!
    – user4710
    May 5, 2014 at 5:32
  • 1
    @Bludream nothing can be added to the religion that would make us get closer to God that hasn't been already been conveyed by the Prophet, as for toys with hijab for children, then I don't really see how that would help get closer to God as it is mere entertainment for them and perhaps may help them wear hijab when older, it is not like they are going to make Salat to it or Dua'. So they have nothing to do with Islam or worship just like clocks or cars.
    – مجاهد
    May 10, 2014 at 15:41
  • 2
    @AlUmmat, It was just an example, but consider some people who point at anything and call it bid-ah just because they think so even those toys with hijab, I just want someone to provide a very good definition for others including me to always know it very well.
    – user4710
    May 10, 2014 at 19:09

Bidah, the definition of Innovations

I referring to my answer here: All bidah are haram or not?

The answer at top (by Sohaeb) is actually followed by the minority of scholars today and in the history. It's well known that that viewpoint has become much more popular these days, how that happened is another question (you may want to check it up, or ask here).

The other viewpoints that actually have more followers (now and in the history), is that bidah is divided into several categories. Meaning, there are good and there are bad. Just a few scholars that holds that viewpoint are: al-'Izz ibn 'Abd al-Salam, Imam An-Nawawi, Ibn Hajar, As-Souyouti, as-Sakhawi.

How did they come to that conclusion?

Of course these scholars have read all the hadiths that talk about innovations. But how is it possible that they still don't agree with he others about it? Many would say: "these hadiths are good enough for everybody to understand that a bidah is a bad innovation and there are no good innovations! How stupid could these scholars have been, thinking anything else!"

Just allowing yourself to think that, would in my case be a trigger to check up why and how it is possible that they did disagree, when they in fact are so knowledgeable. I wish people would think in that way.

One example of the hadith is the following (using his translation)

وَشَرَّ الأُمُورِ مُحْدَثَاتُهَا وَكُلَّ مُحْدَثَةٍ بِدْعَةٌ وَكُلَّ بِدْعَةٍ ضَلاَلَةٌ وَكُلَّ ضَلاَلَةٍ فِي النَّارِ ‏"‏

The worst of things are those that are newly invented; every newly-invented thing is an innovation and every innovation is going astray, and every going astray is in the Fire.

The word koll (every) in this context is not understood as EVERY literally by these scholars. In Arabic you might use the word "koll" (all,every) and by that meaning the vast majority, or ALL of some sort. For instance it's mentioned in the Quran:

46:24 (some context)

فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ عَارِضًا مُّسْتَقْبِلَ أَوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا هَٰذَا عَارِضٌ مُّمْطِرُنَا ۚ بَلْ هُوَ مَا اسْتَعْجَلْتُم بِهِ ۖ رِيحٌ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

Then, when they saw the (Penalty in the shape of) a cloud traversing the sky, coming to meet their valleys, they said, "This cloud will give us rain!" "Nay, it is the (Calamity) ye were asking to be hastened!- A wind wherein is a Grievous Penalty!


تُدَمِّرُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ بِأَمْرِ رَبِّهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا لَا يُرَىٰ إِلَّا مَسَاكِنُهُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ

"Everything will it destroy by the command of its Lord!" Then by the morning they - nothing was to be seen but (the ruins of) their houses! thus do We recompense those given to sin!

They understand that in this verse, literally, everything wasn't destroyed, they and their houses was (what we know though). The whole world was a safe place in the meantime, meaning the whole world wasn't destroyed.

The hadith of Aicha (ra)

(using the translation from above)

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها ـ قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ مَنْ أَحْدَثَ فِي أَمْرِنَا هَذَا مَا لَيْسَ فِيهِ فَهُوَ رَدٌّ ‏"‏‏

Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle said, "If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected."

This hadith is neither a proof. If you read it carefully, you might find out. Scholars have argued that this also proves that there are good and bad innovations. What?! How? Read and you'll notice!

"If somebody innovates something which is NOT in harmony with the principles of our religion, THEN that thing is rejected"

What if it IS IN harmony with the principles of our religion? Then logically it should not be rejected!





Another hadith (sahih muslim)

فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ مَنْ سَنَّ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً حَسَنَةً فَعُمِلَ بِهَا بَعْدَهُ كُتِبَ لَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا وَلاَ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَىْءٌ وَمَنْ سَنَّ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ سُنَّةً سَيِّئَةً فَعُمِلَ بِهَا بَعْدَهُ كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِ مِثْلُ وِزْرِ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا وَلاَ يَنْقُصُ مِنْ أَوْزَارِهِمْ شَىْءٌ ‏"‏ ‏.‏

"The one who innovates a good innovation in Islam has its reward and a reward similar to those who follow him in it--until the Day of Judgment--without lessening their reward. The one who innovates an innovation of misguidance would be sinful for it and has sins similar to those who follow him in it--until the Day of Judgment--without lessening their sins."

The word for "sanna" means to innovate, (an article could be written about this word). This hadith is also clearly (in our perspective) stating that if someone innovating a good innovation, he will have a reward for it.

The ones that does classify innovations as only bad, would never agree with this or translate it in this way because it goes against their fundamental understanding of innovations. The only thing in their case is interpret it in another way, or they would have to change their views on what a bidah is.

Ibn Al-baz (a scholar that only believe in bad innovations) is saying that this hadith actually means that whoever innovates a good innovation that has been FORGOTTEN, from the prophets (saw) sunnah will have a reward for it.

As I said before, they have to interpret it in another way to get around the issue. By doing that the interpretation goes against the word innovation. It also would mean that if a person innovate a a bad innovation that has been forgotten from prophet (saw) sunnah, that he will be sinful for it. This can not be possible. We do not belive that the prophet had bad innovations or any bad sunnahs, how could it then been forgotten and then re-innovated.


There are many more proofs of course, these are just a few. The thing is that books can be written about this subject. But people rather read one hadith and draw the conclusion. Our scholars spent years studying and didn't speak up in the way we do today.

In my research, this is actually the position of the majority. To get to that conviction you must get away from the internet. The internet does not show you the real result. You will find the same answers posted everywhere. These arguments I've come with are not as popular as the other views are in the net. How is that? Well, one reason could be that the people have not yet taking their big step into the net yet, many do not speak english, do not have the money, time and resources.

The most important thing

You have all the right to disagree about the subject of what an innovation is or what it really means. But the most important thing is to respect the different opinions that exists out there. You are Muslims! By my knowledge, this subject is one of the most dangerous subjects, that has been dividing the Muslims to a degree that never been seen before, and it's continuing.

To say that a part of group use the Quran and Sunnah as a resource doesn't help. ALL of the scholars do use the Quran and Sunnah for resources - but the understanding and conclusions differ among them.

It is sad that I've seen teachers and so called scholars using bad language against anybody not sharing their understanding of the subject.

I would like to end with something we shouldn't forget.


And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you - when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.

May God guide us all.


An excerpt from a detailed answer:

According to classical scholarship, bid'ah has two meanings: something that did not exist or was not done during the era of the Prophet (saw) endorsed by scholars like Shafi'i, Ibn Hazm, Nawawi, Qurafi and al-Izz al-Din ibn Abd al-Salam et al or something that opposes or clashes with the Qur'an or Sunnah stated by scholars like Shatibi, ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Mullah Ali al-Qari al-Hanafi et al. In essence both are saying the same thing - anything not rooted in revelation is unacceptable.

Find more explanation from the source


Bid,ah is in politics, not in ibadat or fiqh ibadat. In hadis that lead the true meaning of innovation (or bid,ah) the prophet used to open discussion on politics not ibadat. The hadis too long but scholars only got the last sentence of the hadith, so the true meaning are hidden. Bid,ah is claiming politic power via using religion that lead to twisted politic doctrines into religion as shiah and wahabi did in their history.

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