Social Life Based on Nahj al-Balagha/12

Introducing Bid’ah by Forgetting Islamic Traditions

16:14 - August 11, 2023
News ID: 3484708
TEHRAN (IQNA) – Imam Ali (AS) in Sermon 145 of Nahj al-Balagha says no Bid’ah (heresy, innovation) is created in religion unless a Sunnah is forsaken so Muslim should keep away from innovations and stick to the broad road.  

Bid'ah and Sunnah


Bakhshali Ghanbari, a Nahj al-Balagha researcher, discussed “social morality based on Nahj al-Balagha” in a series of lectures. Following are excerpts from the 12th session on “Bid’ah in religion”:

Bid’ah (heresy, innovation) in religion has been mentioned in many parts of Nahj al-Balagha, including in Sermon 145. Bid’ah means introducing something new to the religion that has not been in the Quran and Sunnah. Sunnah is the main road defined by the Holy prophet (PBUH) through his life and actions based on the Holy Quran.

Bid’ah is of two kinds: Good Bid’ah and bad Bid’ah. That is, we have Bid’ah that does not contradict the Quran and the Sunnah but confirms them. For example, people saying prayers shake hands with one another after the end of Salah. As long as I know this was not common during the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Not only doesn’t it cause any harm but it also helps to enhance friendship and kindness. This is an example of a good Bid’ah.

Usually no one opposes a good Bid’ah. What causes problems is bad Bid’ah that has not been mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah and harms Tawheed (monotheism), belief in prophethood, belief in resurrection, ethics and rationality. If it harms one of these five things, it will be a bad Bid’ah.

Sometimes some scholars, poets, and others may exaggerate about great religious figures. This is Bid’ah and contradicts rationality (and must be avoided).

One of the things Imam Ali (AS) strongly warns Muslims against is Bid’ah. In this Sermon, Imam (AS) says: “No Bid’ah is introduced (in religion) unless one Sunnah is forsaken.”

So if a Bid’ah causes Muslims to forsake a Sunnah, it is bad Bid’ah and one that should be abandoned.

Imam Ali (AS) then says: “Keep away from Bid’ahs and stick to the broad road. Surely the old tested ways are the best and the innovated ones are bad.”