Definition of Bid’ah in Islam

Question 273: Salam, My question is what is the definition of Fitna especially in modern world. Is there anything called Bidat e Hasana? What is the definition of Bid’ah in Islam?

Answer 273: Bid’ah literally means something new, as the Quran describes Allah (swt) as the originator of the heavens and the earth (بَدِيعُ السَّمَوتِ وَالاَرضِ)[1] (badi’ meaning originator and bid’ah are words of the same root) and in Islamic terms, means to relate to religion what isn’t part of religion.

There are two points regarding the description of bid’ah:

1- Bid’ah is a type of bringing about change in religion by adding or omitting something from it. Therefore, any type of change and newness that has nothing to do with religion and is considered something normal isn’t bid’ah. For instance, if a nation chooses a certain day as a day of celebration and joy, not with the intention of relating such matter to religion and saying that religion has asked for such a thing, it isn’t considered bid’ah, although it needs to be analyzed from other points of view to make sure that it isn’t haram for any other reasons (but it isn’t bid’ah).

One can conclude from this that many of the developments and innovations that take place in arts, sports, industry etc. have nothing to do with bid’ah and the only thing that needs to be determined about them is if they are halal or not, nothing more.

2- What is meant by something being new and of no previous record in Islam is for it to not have any accordance with any Islamic laws and in no way fit under any of its guidelines or not be considered an application and instance of an Islamic assertion or doctrine.[2]

In other words, if one says that a certain act is haram or wajib or mustahabb or makrooh, while nothing in religion can be found to justify and explain what relationship this act has with religion, it is bid’ah, or else it isn’t. According to this explanation, many of the doubts and questions that might come up on bid’ah for many can easily be solved and answered. For instance, a great deal of Muslims all over the world celebrate the birthday of the holy Prophet (pbuh) while some consider this act as bid’ah! But according to what we said, bid’ah doesn’t apply here because even if we assume that such an act hasn’t been encouraged (although we might be able to say it has been) by Islam, yet it fits under another category that we are sure that Islam has indeed encouraged and is one of the clear principles of our religion, which is the showing of love and affection to the Prophet (pbuh) and his household (as).

None of the different Islamic sects have ever doubted that bid’ah is extremely forbidden and haram. Naraqi, one of the great Shia scholars says: “There is a consensus by all Muslim nations that bid’ah is haram and its being haram is a clear Islamic principle.”[3] The biggest reason for bid’ah being haram are the many hadiths that can be claimed that they reach the level of tawatur (when a hadith has been narrated so much by many different narrators, in a way that one becomes sure that all of the narrators can’t be mistaken or lying and that the tradition is authentic) that both Shias and Sunnis have narrated saying: “Adding something to religion that has no previous record in religion is bid’ah and all bid’ah is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.”[4]

Although all Islamic sects see bid’ah as haram, but since its essence isn’t completely clear, sometimes some groups and individuals have gone too far in confronting it and have accused other Muslims of being kafirs while such accusations are incorrect.

A certain group consider any form of worship that wasn’t practiced during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) or the khalifas as bid’ah and haram, and believe that one should stay away from these acts. For instance, a famous Hanbali scholar had announced theology haram and called it the root and cause of all bid’ahs and misguidance.[5] He writes that any inner knowledge that people claim they have that can’t be found in the Quran and tradition is bid’ah and no one has the right to act according to it and invite others to it. He calls upon all Muslims to return to the old religion that was in practice during the time of the first three khalifahs.[6]

These radical beliefs were strengthened in the theories of Ibn Teymiyyah and after him, by Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhab and ended in many Muslims being seen as innovators in religion and even mushriks (polygamists). Suleiman ibn Sahman al-Najdi, the grandson of Muhammad ibn Abdil-Wahhab, speaks of the common bid’ahs of the Muslims saying: “The four altars that are built in the mosques for each of the four Islamic sects (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafe’i and Maleki), reciting the Quran with a high voice, sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) (salawat), reciting supplications and doxologies after the adhan and on the night of Friday, the nights of Ramadhan, the night of Eidul-Fitr and Eidul-Adha, gathering for birthdays and deaths of great religious individuals and singing songs on birthdays with a specific tone, mixing poems with sending blessings on the Prophet (pbuh) and Quranic recitation and reciting them after Tarawih prayers, holding dhikr beads for saying dhikr, raising one’s voice while saying the dhikr of لا اله الا الله during taking the dead for burial and while splashing water on their graves after burial, wearing long sufi like clothes, hanging swords and flags in Huseiniyyahs and other places where gatherings are held, beating on tambourines and other musical instruments that make the same sounds such as trumpets, repeating the great name of Allah and His other names etc. are all bid’ah.[7] These fanatical beliefs have caused the killing and massacre of Muslims all over the world.

In response to these extremist beliefs, we say that if we are to look at the laws of Islam like this, then we can no longer accept any change in Muslim lives. We would all have to pray using the same clothes worn during the advent of Islam, think of the same things that they would think of, and pay respect to our dead the same that they would. It is clear that this type of being religious is accepted by no Islamic scholar. All scholars, including Shia scholars have been against these overindulgences and have criticized them in their books.

Because of this, Shia scholars and some Sunni scholars, have divided bid’ah into two groups; haram and halal bid’ah. The author of Jawahir says that some scholars like Muhaqqiq and Sheikh Tusi say that bid’ah is of two types; haram and halal.[8] Shafe’I has been quoted saying that bid’ah is of two types; desirable and undesirable. Bid’ah that is in accordance with Islamic tradition is desirable, while bid’ah which against it is undesirable.[9]

The great Allamah Majlisi says: “In Islamic law, bid’ah refers to something innovated in religion after the demise of the Prophet (pbuh) (that one considers as a part of religion) and there is no general or specific law or principle that applies to it.”[10] Naraqi, also a great Shia scholar, accepts this viewpoint saying: “Bid’ah means for someone other than the Shari’ (the true legislator of Islamic law, being Allah) to falsely claim that something is part of religion without any religious proof or evidence. But if a certain act that hasn’t been specifically “legislated” by religion is done by someone not in way that shows that it is part of religion, it is no longer forbidden because of being bid’ah, although it might be haram because of another reason (but it surely isn’t bid’ah).[11] Shatebi, a Sunni faqih (fiqh expert), has the same viewpoint and says: “Bid’ah is a way in religion that has been added and has no base in Islamic law. But on the outside, it looks like it is part of Islamic law and is mistaken with it.”[12] Therefore, if a Muslim practices something new that isn’t part of religion without relating it to religion, and without doing it with the intention that it is part of religion, it is permissible.

[1] . Surah Baqarah, verse 117.

[2] . With the help of Manshure Aqa’ed of Ayatullah Subhani, pp. 219 and on.

[3] . Awa’idul-Ayyam, pp. 319, quoted by Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[4] . Biharul-Anwar, vol. 2, pg. 126. “کل محدثة بدعة و کل بدعة ضلالة و کل ضلالة في النار”.

[5] . Tabaqatul-Hanabilah, vol. 2, pp. 19,27, 34, 37 according to the site of The Islamic Encyclopedia.

[6] . Tabaqatul-Hanabilah, vol. 2, pg. 35, according to the quote of Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[7] . Majmu’atul-Tafsir of Ibn Teymiyyah, pg. 340, quoted by ibid.

[8] . Jawahirul-Kalam, vol. 11, pg. 300, quoted by ibid.

[9] . Fathul-Bari fi Sharh Sahihul-Bukhari, vol. 17, pg. 10, quoted by ibid.

[10] . Biharul-Anwar, vol. 74, pg. 202: “و البدعة في الشرع ماحدث بعد الرسول ]بماانه من الدين[ و لم يکن فيه نص علي الخصوص و لايکون داخلاً في بعض العمومات”.

[11] . Awa’idul-Ayyam,pg. 110, quoted by Dr. Yaqub Ali Burji in the weblog of religions and sects.

[12] . Al’I’tisam, Library of Maktabatul-Riyadh al-Hadithah, vol. 1, pg. 127 quoted by ibid.


The Role of Lamentation for Imam Hussain (as) in Reviving Society

Question 052: Asssalamu alaikum, I am not sure whether this matter was discussed here before. How to explain fact of Lamentation for Imam Hussain (as) and mourning for Him and other members of family for so many days in the month of Muharram, when some sunni brothers and sisters will call it a bidah as there are hadiths claiming you can only mourn after somebody for max 3 days and only women is allowed to grieve after her husband for 40 days. JazakAllah Khair.

Answer 052: The incidents that have taken place in the history of every society can have great effects on the destiny of that society and other societies. If an incident has been useful and effective in its own place, then reviewing and reconstructing it and keeping it alive can have a lot of benefits and effects for humanity. Hence, forgetting it can entail enumerable irreparable damages to human society. That is because the events take place in the history of nations at great material and spiritual cost in the sense that those nations lose their great men and go through a lot of hardship, difficulties and deprivations.

Therefore, these great incidents, lessons and the experiences which human beings should learn and benefit from are valuable assets for a nation and even for the whole humanity. The intellect judges that such an asset be preserved, revived and benefited from in the best possible manner.

Without doubt, the great and multi-dimensional incident of Ashura has been one of the incidents that took place at a heavy cost for humanity because it was achieved with the martyrdom of the Infallible Imam (the perfect man) and his devout companions accompanied with great pains and sufferings suffered by the Imam’s family and children.

Moreover, this incident has not been a personal incident to serve the interest of a particular individual or group of people; in fact, the event of Karbala and the martyrdom of Hussein bin Ali (a.s.) and his devout friends are but a school with lessons and lofty goals such as monotheism, imamate, amr bil ma’ruf and nahy anil munkar (bidding good and forbidding evil), truth-seeking, human dignity, self-esteem and fight against oppression and injustice.

The school of Hussein (a.s) is a man-making school, not a school that produces sinners. Hussein is the bastion of righteous conduct, not a citadel for sin and sinfulness. If this man-making school is passed on from one generation to another, mankind can make best use of it. However, if it is forgotten, God forbid, the human society especially the religious side of society will suffer most. The infallible Imams’ emphasis[1] on lamenting the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s) is because they want this man-making school to remain alive and dynamic, and that the victory of blood over sword and truth over falsehood should serve as torch illuminating man’s path towards his destination for ever.

The emphases on the part of the Infallibles have caused the lamentation and mourning ceremonies ever since the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s.) to turn into a thriving, active and revolutionary current with thousands of poets, writers and lecturers composing, writing and speaking in this regard. Although the enemies have made extensive efforts to distort this great event, these mourning ceremonies have reinvigorated Islam and caused it to remain and alive for ever. They have caused the fight against oppression and injustice to echo out in the entire world as one of the mottos of Imam Hussein bin Ali, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.

As was stated above, man’s God-gifted intellect commands that the event of Ashura be protected, preserved and kept alive and the Seerah (biography) of the Infallible Imams (a.s.) denotes that they attached great importance to maintaining and keeping up such ceremonies. Imam Reza (A.S.) said: “With the advent of the month of Muharram, my father Imam Kazim (A.S.) would never be seen laughing; gloom and sadness would overcome him for (the first) ten days of the month; and when the tenth day of the month would dawn, it would be a day of tragedy, grief and weeping for him.”[2]

For those unable to go for the ziarat of Imam Husain (A.S.) on the day of A’ashura, Imam Baqir (A.S.) mentions the manner of performing A’zadari as follows:

“He should mourn over Husain (A.S.), weep for him and instruct the members of the house to weep for him. He should establish the mourning ceremony in the house by exhibiting lamentations and grief over him; the people should meet one another in their homes and offer condolences and consolation to each other over the calamities which befell him.” [3]

It is necessary to know that Hussein bin Ali (a.s.) is not in need of such ceremonies. The Infallible Imams’ emphases on lamenting and mourning the martyrdom of the Chief of the Martyrs are because of the effects and benefits of these gatherings some of which are enumerated as follows:

  1. The mourning ceremonies help create unity and solidarity among the followers of Imam Hussein (a.s.) in the same as the Hajj ceremony causes Muslims from all sects and religions to come together and demonstrate their unity. The mourning ceremonies held for Imam Hussein (a.s) bring Shiites and the lovers of the Imam together and unify them.
  2. These ceremonies help acquaint people with the traditions and lifestyles of the leaders of the Religion because they provide the best opportunity for explaining and biographies and goals of those noble leaders. In fact, those who attend such gatherings are best prepared to imbibe and accept what they receive and learn.
  3. They help create and establish people’s relationship with the divine proofs (Imams) enabling them to benefit from their attention because great stress has been laid by the Imams on holding such ceremonies. In fact, holding such ceremonies amounts to respecting the Infallible Imams (a.s.) and obeying their commands. Obviously, obeying this particular command will not go unrewarded.
  4. During the narration of the event of Ashura, when the oppression, tyranny and injustice committed by the enemies of Islam are explained to people and the true faces of the claimants of Islamic caliphate are unveiled, the minds and attention of the addressees and the audience are directed towards the deviations existing in their own society; thus they seek to reform their society; they keep themselves away from the Yazid and obey the Hussein of their time and they will understand that fighting oppression, deviations and evil is not restricted to a special era or period of time as it is possible that a society may get afflicted with such evil phenomena at any time. In other words, these religious gatherings help create understanding and awareness among people concerning their times. And it is in these gatherings that they come to know their duties and obligations.

These are part of the effects and benefits of mourning for the Chief of Martyrs, Imam Hussein (a.s.). In case, these gatherings are canceled, the society will be deprived of those blessings.

The point to note is that the commemoration of the great event of Ashura must take place in the best possible manner. It is possible to revive the memory of that event by holding seminars, making films and writing books and novels. But none of these methods is the best method because man is a combination of various cognitive, social, instinctive, emotional and sentimental dimensions. If we want to revive the great and highly significant event of Karbala in the best possible way and to help humanity benefit from its blessings, it is necessary for us to uphold and commemorate it in a way such that all these aspects of human existence should have a role in it. The mourning ceremonies held in their present form and shape from the time of the Pure Imams as of today with grief and sorrow in a way such that the feelings and sentiments have been provoked are the best method for maintaining and keeping up these ceremonies. Because through these methods, not only the details of the event are made known to people but they also establish a deep relation with their hearts and minds making them contribute to holding such commemoration ceremonies with whatever means at their disposal. In fact, when it comes to such matters, it is necessary to be mindful of deviations and distractions about which the Imams, peace be upon them, and religious leaders have warned.

In addition, since Hussein bin Ali (a.s) was martyred in the way of humanity and human values, all the human generations consider it necessary by dint of their nature to praise and thank them (albeit in the form of such gatherings) for their sacrifices and devotions.

Based on the above, it is the humanity that needs to protect and safeguard human values and move on towards them so as to permanently keep the name and memory of the Imam (a.s.) alive. If the memory of the sacrifices, values and aspirations of Hussein bin Ali (a.s.) are forgotten one day, it is the humanity and human society at large that will be at loss.

The Holy Quran also underscores and emphasizes on this. God orders Prophet Moses (a.s.) in Sura Ibrahim (a.s) to remind people of the Days of God:

و ذکّرهم بایام الله انّ فی ذلک لایات لکل صبّار شکور

“… and remind them of the days of Allah; most surely there are signs in this for every patient, grateful one.”[4]

In his interpretation of the above verse, Late Allamah Muhammad Hussein Tabatabai (r.a) says: “Certainly, the terms ‘days of Allah’ refer to the times in which God’s command (amr), oneness and kingdom appear or become visible and also the days on which the divine blessings emerge out. Of course, (we mean) the days on which the divine bounties have been made more visible as compared to other days namely the days on which Prophet Noah (a.s) came out of the ship and the day on which Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was saved from the fire…”[5]

Based on the above, the event of Ashura and the protection and revival of Islam together with grief for Imam Hussein bin Ali (a.s.) and his companions are some of the manifestations of the “days of Allah” which all of us have been ordered to revive, remember and commemorate.

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Qama Zani / How the Infallible Imams (pbuth) mourned for Imam Hussain (as), answer 507.

Index:  Lamentation: Normal mourning for Imam Hussain (as), answer 049.

Index: Mourning for Imam Hussain (as) while you are grieving, answer 047.

Index: Ziyarat of Imam Hussain when you are far away from Karbala, answer 057.

Index: The number of soldiers who came to Karbala to fight against Imam Hussain (as), answer 052.

[1] . Biharul-Anwar, vol.44, pg. 292; Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.3, pg. 282.

[2] . Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.10, pg. 394.

[3] . Kaamil al Ziyaraatpg. 175; Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.10, pg. 398.

[4] . Surah Ibrahim, verse 5.

[5] . Translation of Tafsir Al-Mizan, vol.2, pg. 23.


When appear: Imam Mahdi (ajtf) brings a new order, Method or Shari’ah with Him

Question 022: Is Imam Mahdi (ajtf) going to bring a new Shari’ah?

Answer 022: Promoting and expanding the spiritual and material sciences is one of the important issue during the time of Imam Mahdi (ajtf). The knowledge will reach the highest level during that time, according to Imam Sadiq (as).

A great cultural revolution will occur by Imam Mahdi (ajtf). As mentioned in some Ahadith, the ratio of all the sciences known by man to the sciences which Imam Mahdi (ajtf) will discover is 2 to 27. This means that although we have made great progress, is not highly knowledgeable. This means, that Imam Mahdi (ajtf) will expand the knowledge completely. It doesn’t mean that the Shari’ah is incomplete and then Imam Mahdi (ajtf) will complete it! So, during the time of Imam Mahdi (ajtf), those who are eager and capable to learn more knowledge and participate in classes, they will reach the highest level of knowledge.[i]

The Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

«الْعِلْمُ‏ سَبْعَةٌ وَ عِشْرُونَ‏ حَرْفاً فَجَمِیعُ مَا جَاءَتْ بِهِ الرُّسُلُ حَرْفَانِ فَلَمْ یَعْرِفِ النَّاسُ حَتَّى الْیَوْمِ غَیْرَ الْحَرْفَیْنِ فَإِذَا قَامَ قَائِمُنَا أَخْرَجَ الْخَمْسَةَ وَ الْعِشْرِینَ حَرْفاً فَبَثَّهَا فِی النَّاسِ وَ ضَمَّ إِلَیْهَا الْحَرْفَیْنِ حَتَّى یَبُثَّهَا سَبْعَةً وَ عِشْرِینَ حَرْفاً»
The following are some hadith in which mentioned that Imam Mahdi (ajtf) will bring new religion:
Imam Baqir (as) said: When Imam Mahdi (as) appears He will bring new order, new method and new judgment with Him.[ii]
یَقُومُ الْقَائِمُ بِأَمْرٍ جَدِیدٍ وَ کِتَابٍ جَدِیدٍ وَ قَضَاءٍ جَدِیدٍ

Imam Sadiq (as) said: Imam Mahdi (as) will do the same act that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) done. As the holy Prophet (pbuh) that destroyed the act of Jaheliyyah (ignorance), the Imam will destroy current innovations (bid’ah) and then rejuvenates Islam.[iii]

The Arabic version of this hadith:

قَالَ يَصْنَعُ مَا صَنَعَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ يَهْدِمُ‏ مَا كَانَ قَبْلَهُ كَمَا هَدَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ أَمْرَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ وَ يَسْتَأْنِفُ الْإِسْلَامَ جَدِيداً

Some translators have mistakenly translated that He (ajtf) will appear with new book, a new Shari’ah. Because, the phrase “یستأنف الاسلام جدیدا” doesn’t mean new religion, it means rejuvenates Islam.

It clear that the newness of these programs, methods and judgments is not because he brings new religion with him, but exits Islam from the congestion of superstitions, distortions and incorrect interpretations and false understandings in the way that it appears like a completely new building

In the Holy Quran Allah (swt) says: “Truly, the Perfect Religion in The Sight of Allah is Islam.” Also, Allah (swt) says: “Muhammad is not the father of [any] of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets. And Allah has full knowledge of all things.” [iv]

According to the following issues, we see that Imam Mahdi (ajtf) is the leader who guides us toward the right path.

«إِذَا قَامَ الْقَائِمُ (ع) دَعَا النَّاسَ إِلَی الْإِسْلَامِ جَدِیداً وَ هَدَاهُمْ إِلَی أَمْرٍ قَدْ دَثَرَ وَ ضَلَّ عَنْهُ الْجُمْهُورُ وَ إِنَّمَا سُمِّیَ الْقَائِمُ مَهْدِیّاً لِأَنَّهُ یُهْدَی إِلَی أَمْرٍ مَضْلُولٍ عَنْهُ وَ سُمِّیَ الْقَائِمَ لِقِیَامِهِ بِالْحَقِّ»

Reasons: 1. Some traditions and rules have not been declared due to the lack of circumstances and conditions during the time of the Infallibles (pbuth). Imam Mahdi (ajtf) will explain them completely.

  1. Some rules have been removed from books of Ahadith and He (ajtf) will carry them out.
  2. Imam Mahdi (ajtf) will present the real rules as they seem unreal during the time of occultation, however, we must act based on them.
  3. Thanks to technology and other reasons which help people expand their knowledge of comprehending the Islamic teachings, they will have a lot of new questions which are required to be answered comprehensively.
  4. Mahdi (ajtf) is an imam, not a Prophet, Imam does not bring new Shari’ah.

5. Since, people have deviated Islam over time from the original message of the Prophet (saw), or have misinterpreted it, but since Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) are qualified to interpret Quran they know much more than various caliphs, scholars, individuals over time – they also know which hadith are real and which are fabricated, etc. They know the proper intent without doubt.

Therefore, Imam Mahdi (ajtf) will appear and guide us based on the above mentioned issues. People think that He (ajtf) will bring a new method or a new Shari’ah, though the only Perfect Religion in The Sight of Allah (swt) is Islam and it has been completed.

[i] . Majlesi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 52, Pgs. 336-364.

[ii] . Ibn abi Zaynab (Nomani), Muhammad bin Ebrahim, al-Ghibah, researcher and editor: Ghaffari, Ali Akbar, Pg. 233, Sadouq publication, Tehran, first edition, 1397 A.H.

[iii] . Majlesi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 352, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, second edition, 1403 A.H.

[iv] . Surah Ali ‘Imran, verse 19;  Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 40


Saying Ameen during prayer invalidate the prayer

Question 017: How do I explain to my Muslim brothers that responding loudly after the Sheikh, during prayers is not part of Islam?
Answer 017: As for the Islamic laws, such as prayer, khums, zakat and etc., can only be determined by the divine legislator (share’: i.e. the acts of worship in which the contents (of prayer and etc.) are determined by the Holy Quran and traditions from the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and his household) which is called Ahkam Tauqifi, one who even has deep knowledge about Islam is unable to add anything other than what has been ordered by the divine legislator.

In prayer, one must not recite anything other than ‘ḏikr’; otherwise the prayer would become void. Just as the Shia have obtained all the rest of their teachings through the instructions and commandments of the Prophet and his household (pbuth), in this matter too they act in accordance to their instructions.

Based upon narrations, the Ahlul Bayt (pbuth) have told us that ‘saying ‘Ameen’ after reciting sūrah ‘al-Hamd’ is not part of the prayer, hence it is not permissible to say it’. It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (pbuh): ‘Whenever you are praying in congregation, and the leader of the congregation finishes reciting ‘Al-Hamd’, do not say ‘Ameen’, say instead ‘Alḥamdulillāh rabbi al-ʿālamīn’. [1]

The maraji’ have given the following fatwa based on the mentioned narration: ‘Of the acts which invalidate the prayer; is saying ‘Ameen’ after reciting ‘al-Hamd’, although if someone says it mistakenly or out of ‘taqīyah’ (dissimulation), the prayer is not void’. [2]

Finally, it is necessary to mention that according to Shīʿah Islamic law, it is not actually compulsory to say ‘Alḥamdulillāh rabbi al-ʿālamīn’ after ‘al-Hamd’; it is just mustahabb (recommended) . However, most Sunni schools of thought consider it an obligatory part of prayer, hence the onus is upon them to verify their claim through the Qur’ān and Prophetic Traditions.

Note: The traditions concerning the saying of Āmīn in prayer are of two types:

1) Traditions in which the chain of narrators includes Abu-Hurayrahh; e.g. “It is narrated from the Prophet (saws) that he said, ‘When the Congregation leader recites ‘walāḍ ḍāllīn’, you should say ‘Ameen’ because the angels [also] say ‘Āmīn’. Therefore every person who says Āmīn alongside with the angels will have all of his past sins forgiven.’”[3]

This group of traditions cannot be trusted due to the fact that the chain of narrators includes Abu Hurayrahh.[4]
Alī (as) says the following about Abu Hurayrah, “The most dishonest person in relation [to attributing lies] to the Prophet (saw) is Abu Hurayrah”[5] (i.e. he fabricated many traditions and attributed them to the Prophet (saw)).

2) Traditions in which the following people are included in the chain of narrators (of which none meet the criterion for being acceptable in terms of ‘hadīth’ narration): Ḥamīd ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Laylī, Ibn ‘adī, ‘Abd al-Jabbar bin wa’il, Suhayl ibn Abī Suhayl, ‘ala’ ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, and Talha ibn ‘Umar. Ḥamīd ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Lalī possessed a weak memory and is considered ‘weak’ (in terms of narrating Hadīth), Ibn ‘adī is an unknown figure (majhul), ‘Abd al-Jabbār bin Waa’il cannot narrate from his father since his father died six months before he was born (in this respect the tradition is weak). Regarding Suhayl ibn Abī Suhayl and ‘Ala’ ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, Abu Haatam says, “Their narrations are recorded (written down), however they bare no authority and Talha ibn ‘Umar is not usable (for narrating hadith), his traditions are extremely weak.”[6]

With the existence of such weak and unreliable narrators in the chain of narrations, these narrations have no credibility and cannot be trusted.

Some [scholars] have tried to justify saying Āmīn in prayer with the following explanation: “[We] say Āmīn because the phrase ‘Ihdinā ṣ-ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm’ is a du‘a (supplication).”

In reply to this, it must be stated that this phrase only becomes a supplication if it is recited with the intention of supplicating, however those reciting it intend for it to be a part of the prayers and the Quran recited therein, not as a supplication.
Furthermore, if it were permissible to recite every supplicatory phrase for example ‘rabbanā aghfir lanā wa qinā ‘adhāba al-nār’ with the intention of supplicating, then it should also be permissible to recite Āmīn after every supplication, yet no one [of the scholars] holds this view.[7]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Number of things which invalidate the prayer, answer 547.

[1] Tusi, Muhammad bin al-Hasan, al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, pg. 74.

[2] Tawdih al-Masa’il (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 1, pg. 617. This ruling is agreed upon by all the respected jurists.

[3] . Baydawi, Naasir al-Din Abu al-Khayr Abdullah ibn Umar, Anwaar al-Tanzil wa Asraar al-Ta’wil, vol. 1, p. 32, Ihyaa’ al-Turaath al-Arabi Press, Beirut, 1418 AH.

[4] . Abu Hurayrah Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Sakhr al-Azudi (22 BH-59 AH): eight hundred Sahaabis and Taabi’is have narrated from him. During his rule, Umar appointed him as governor of Bahrain, but due to his weakness in character and leniency, he was dismissed from this responsibility. He spent most of his life in Medinah. Taqiyuddin Sabki has a booklet entitled “Fataawaa Abi Hurayrah”, and Abd al-Husayn Sharafuddin has a book entitled “Abu Hurayrah” on him. (Al-A’laam 4/80, 81). Hujjati, Asbaab al-Nuzul, p. 216.

[5] . See: Ibn Abi al-Hadid Mu’tazili, ‘Izz al-Din Abu Hamed, Sharh Nahjul-Balaghah, vol. 4, p. 68, Library of Ayatullah Mar’ashi Najafi, 1956, first edition.

[6] . See: Sultani, Abd al-Amir, Hukm al-Ta’min fi al-Salah, Ahlul Bayt World Assembly, second edition.

[7] . See: Sabzawari, Ali Mu’min Qummi, Jaami’ al-Khilaaf wa al-Wifaaq bayn al-Imaamiyyah wa bayn A’immat al-Hijaaz wa al-Iraaq, Zamineh Saazane Zuhure Imam Zamaan Press, 1421 AH, first edition, Qum.


Offering Tarawih prayer in Congregational is Bida’ah

Question 013: What is the Ahlulbayt’ (pbuth) point of view regarding Tarawih prayer, considering that it is prevalent among Ahlul Sunnah? Is Offering Tarawih prayer in Congregational a Bida’ah?

Answer 013: Tarawih prayers refers to Nafilah prayers performed at night in the Holy Month of Ramadan, after Salat of Isha. [1]

Tarawih prayer is offered by Ahlul Sunnah in congregation, ordered by their second caliphate.[2]  The prayers are offered in two or more raka‘āt. The Holy Prophet (saws) of Islam never offered such prayer in congregation, according to some traditions that have been narrated from Ahlulbayt (pbuth). Moreover, offering Nafila (mustahab) prayers in congregation are considered as bid’ah, that we are forbidden to do, according to the traditions.[3]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Tarawih and Row in congregational Prayer, answer 008.

[1] . Sa`di Abu Habib, al-Qamus al-Fiqhi Loghatan wa Istilahan, Pg. 155.

[2] . In this regards please refer to: Ibn al-Sharaf al-Noori, Sharhul Arbaeen al-nawiyyah fi al-Ahadith al-Sahihat al-Nabaviyah, Pg. 25.

[3] . Refer to: Al-Hurr al-Aamili, Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 8, Pg. 44, Chapter “Adam e Jawazel Jamaat fi Salatel Nawafil fi Shahr –e- Ramadan wa la fi gheirehee”;  Ayatollah Jafar Sobhani, al-Insaf fi Masael e Dama fiha al-Khilaf, Pg. 381.