What is Bidah


Linguistic Meaning

The Linguistic meaning of Bidah, means reviving something which had been previously forgotten as a practice. This could include aspects of the deen which were previously forgotten and thereafter revived after a length of time.


Shariah Meaning

The Shariah meaning, however, differs from the purely linguistic meaning. It means to  create a method in deen, which appears to be the shariah in order to worship Allah subhana wa taala.



Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

Whoever innovates into this matter of ours that which does not belong to it,

it will be rejected.


In another narration,

the Prophet said,

Whoever performs a deed that is not in accordance with our matter,

it will be rejected.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2550, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1718

Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi (authenticity agreed upon) according to Al-Bukhari and Muslim

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ أَحْدَثَ فِي أَمْرِنَا هَذَا مَا لَيْسَ فِيهِ فَهُوَ رَدٌّ

وفي رواية أخرى قال مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلًا لَيْسَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرُنَا فَهُوَ رَدٌّ

2550 صحيح البخاري كتاب الصلح باب إذا اصطلحوا على صلح جور فالصلح مردود

1718 صحيح مسلم كتاب الأقضية باب نقض الأحكام الباطلة ورد محدثات الأمور

Bidah, as described by Imam Al Shatibee, consists of a number of aspects;

  • It is a way taken in deen


  • Which has been innovated (created/innovated)


  • which appears to resemble the shariah


  • in which practice the worship of Allah subhana wa taala is intended


The first aspect ties with the last aspect; the first aspect is with regard to a way or an action which is required, the action is brought about by the intention to worship Allah subhana wa taala.

The worship of Allah subhana wa taala is clearly legislated and entrenched in the Shariah. Thus any new innovated invented matter of worship in deen is rejected.


Certain aspects to be considered


A way or method

The way or method utilized is created; as in a path devised for the worship of Allah subhana wa taala. This path is not found or based in the shariah, but rather that which has been invented, innovated in opposition to what has been stated in the Quran and authentically reported in the Sunnah.



The innovation has the aim of attaining an objective of deen. In essence, replacing what has been authentically reported Sunnah with what has been invented, created.

Thus any innovation which has the objective of achieving anything other than deen does not fall within the definition and understanding of bidah. Bidah is related to achieving the objective of deen through innovated means.



The innovated aspect of worship would not have any foundation in Shariah, thus there is no basis in Shariah as the source of the innovation is not from revelation nor from a divine source. This is in opposition to what has been established by the principles of Shariah. Shariah has established a number of aspects; tarawih, the compilation of the Quran, the compilation of ahadith, fiqh, grammar, linguistics, etc. Thus these are not bidah in the sense of Shariah. Those who refer to them as bidah refer to them in the sense of linguistics, not in the sense of Shariah.


Resembling the Shariah

Bidah, as stated, is of two types; Haqeeiyyah and Idaafiyyah. Idaafiyyah is the more common occurrence of Bidah; thus alteration and addition to the existing legislation occurs and thus results in Bidah. This, however, makes it particularly difficult to discern as it resembles bidah.


Excessiveness in Worship (Exaggeration)

Of some of the intentions of creating or innovating is the intention, to be followed, thus being the objective of creating such bidah. However,what is missed though is the realization that worship is clearly legislated in Quran and Sunnah.



In addition to what has been mentioned, abandonment is a form or type of bidah where an omission takes place as opposed to action which is required by Shariah. Thus such abandonment is in opposition to Shariah


>Types of Bidah



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Credits due to

  • Imam Al Shatibee – Al Istisaam