CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF THE CONTEMPORARY "SALAFI" WRITERS WHO FORBADE MAWLID ON THE GROUNDS THAT IT IS AN INNOVATION, SUCH AS ALBANI, BIN BAZ, AL-JAZA'IRI, MASHHUR SALMAN, `UTHAYMIN AND OTHERS.

This claim is not only an innovative departure from what the majority of the past scholars have said on the question; it is, first and foremost, defective in its logic and reasoning, since the scholars have defined innovations as being sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes indifferent, and therefore it is not allowed to prohibit something solely on the ground that it is an innovation without first defining what kind of innovation it is.

There is a bid`a hasana or excellent innovation according to the majority of the scholars who have written about bid`a, though some, like Ibn al-Jawzi and Ibn Taymiyya, consider all bid`a to be bid`a dalala (innovation of miguidance). Their position in this is isolated as the following evidence shows.

Harmala ibn Yahya said: "I heard al-Shafi`i saying:

al-bid`atu bid`atan: bid`a mahmuda wa bid`a madhmuma, fa ma wafaqa al-sunna fa huwa mahmud, wa ma khalafa al-sunna fa huwa madhmum.

Innovation is of two kinds: the praiseworthy innovation and the blameworthy innovation. Whatever conforms to the Sunna is praiseworthy, and whatever contravenes the Sunna is blameworthy.

Sources:

al-hafiz Abu Nu`aym al-Asbahani cites it in Hilyat al-awliya (9:113);

al-hafiz Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani also in Fath al-Bari (13:253);

al-hafiz Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali also in Jami` al-`uloom wa al-hikam (p. 291);

al-hafiz Abu Shama in al-Ba`ith `ala inkar al-bida` wa al-hawadith ed. Mashhur Hasan Salman (Ryadh: Dar al-Raya, 1990/1410) p. 93; Cairo edition, p. 12.

al-hafiz al-Turtushi al-Maliki, Kitab al-hawadith wa al-bida` (p. 158-159); He himself divided the bid`a into muharrama (forbidden), makruha (disliked), and wajiba (obligatory): p. 15.

al-hafiz al-Suyuti alludes to it in the introduction to his fatwa on Mawlid entitled Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid in al-Hawi li al-fatawi;

al-hafiz Ibn Taymiyya, Dar' ta`arud al-`aql wa al-naql, ed. Muhammad al-Sayyid Julaynid (Cairo: Mu'assasat al-ahram, 1409/1988) p. 171: "Bayhaqi narrated it in al-Madkhal with a sound chain";

al-hafiz al-Bayhaqi, Manaqib al-Shafi'i (1:469) in these words:

al-muhdathatu min al-umuri darbani ahaduhuma ma uhditha yukhalifu kitaban aw sunnatan aw atharan aw ijma`an fa hadhihi al-bid`atu al-dalalat wa al-thaniyatu ma uhditha min al-khayri la khilafa fihi li wahidin min hadhihi wa hadhihi muhdathatun ghayru madhmuma.

Innovated matters are one of two kinds: one is an nnovation which contravenes something in the Qur'an or he Sunna or a report from a Companion or the consensus of he scholars: this is the innovation of misguidance (bid`a dlala); the other kind is whatever good has been nnovated which contravenes none of the above, and this is an innovation that is not blameworthy (muhdathatun ghayru madhmuma).

al-Hafiz al-`Izz Ibn `Abd al-Salam said:

There are five types of bid`a:

  • Haram (forbidden)
  • Makhruh (disliked)
  • Mubah (permitted)
  • Mandub (praiseworthy)
  • Wajib (obligatory)

Sources:

al-hafiz al-Shatibi, Kitab al-i`tisam (Beirut ed.) 1:188;

al-hafiz al-Imam al-Nawawi, Kitab al-Adhkar (Beirut: al-Thaqafiyya) p. 237; and Tahdhib al-asma' wa al-lughat ([Cairo] : Idarat al-Tibaah al-Muniriyah, [1927]?) 3: 22;

al-hafiz Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-muhtar (Kuitah, Pakistan ed.?) 1:376;

al-hafiz al-Suyuti mentions it in the introduction to his fatwa on Mawlid entitled Husn al-maqsid fi `amal al-mawlid in al-Hawi li al-fatawi.