Most people don’t take bid’ah seriously and are not aware of its disastrous consequences. In many instances, bid’ah is extremely difficult to detect as it is disguised as an act of piety leading to nearness (qurb) of Allah (swt). To make matters worse the religious establishment and “scholars” don’t educate the people in fear of losing favor with them and at times even promote it heavily in order to gain popularity.

Please refer to our article Definition and Scope of Bid’ah for a better understanding of this evil practice.

Bid’ah leads to Hell

Bid’ah is mixed with religious practices in such a subtle fashion that the performer is completely deceived into thinking of it as a pious act based on love of Ahlulbayt (as) whereas in reality it is leading him towards the fire of hell. Such are the deceptions of Satan who is hell bent on destroying us by any means.

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وآله : شرُّ الاُمورِ مُحْدَثاتُها ، ألَا وكُلُّ بِدعةٍ ضلالةٌ ، ألَا و كُلُّ بِدعةٍ ضلالةٌ ، ألَا وكلُّ ضَلالةٍ ففي النّار

The Prophet (s) said: The worst of matters are the innovations (مُحْدَثاتُها). Certainly, every innovation is an error (leading one astray) and every error is destined for Hell.

(Note: The word مُحْدَثاتُها comes from حدث which also means to originate/establish.)

[Amali al-Mufid, p. 188, no. 14]

Imagine the unfortunate situation on the day of judgement of the person who was involved in bid’ah. This person expended precious time and energy all his life in deeds that he thought would earn him reward but instead these very deeds became a source of punishment. How happy and pleased Satan will be on his achievements!

Bid’ah is a Sin

The sin (and thus the punishment) is multiplied for the one who initiates bid’ah as he is responsible for the actions of all those people who are going to perform it for generations to come.

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وآله : إيّاكَ أنْ تسُنَّ سنّةَ بدعٍة ؛ فإ َّن العبَد إذا َسنَّ سُنّةً سيّئةً َلحَِقهُ ِوْزُرها ِ ووْزُر َمن عمِلَ بها

The Prophet (s) said: Never start a practice based on an innovation; for a man who initiates a bad practice will incur its sin and the sins of the people who act upon it.

[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 77, p. 104, no. 1]

Bid’ah damages sunnah and destroys religion

Bid’ah has a direct and damaging impact on Sunnah. It leads to the death of one or more sunnah and eventually as more and more of such practices are added, true religion (sunnah) is completely destroyed. Destruction of one’s religion causes the person to enter into the fire of hell, which is exactly what Satan wants for us.

امام على عليه السلام : ما اُحدِثتْ بِدعةٌ إلّا تُرِكَ بها سُنَّةٌ ، فاتّقوا البِدعَ والزَموا المِهيعَ ، إنّ عَوازِمَ الاُمورِ أفضَلُها ، وإنَّ مُحدَثاتها شرارُها

Imam Ali (as) said: No sooner is an innovation initiated than it causes the sunnah to be left behind (abandoned). So stay away from innovations and adhere to the clear path. Verily the established traditions are the best while the innovated ones are the worst.

[Nahj al-Balagha, Sermon 145, Al Kafi V 1 – The Book Of Intellect and Ignorance CH 19 H 19]

امام على عليه السلام : ما هَدمَ الدِّينَ مثلُ البِدع

Imam Ali (as) said: Nothing destroys religion like the innovations.

[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 78, p. 92, no. 98]

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وآله : من أتى ذا بدْعةٍ فعطَّمهُ فإنَّما يَسْعى في هَدْمِ الإسلام

Rasool Allah (s) said: If one comes across an innovation and appreciates it (sides with it), he has assisted in the demolition of Al Islam.

[Al Kafi V 1 – The Book Of Intellect and Ignorance CH 19 H 3]

Satan deceives through bid’ah

Satan is not satisfied that he has lead enough people down the road of bid’ah. To ensure that they continue practicing it with full conviction, he casts a deceptive cloud of piety over their acts thus misleading even more people.

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وآله : مَن عمِلَ في بِدعةٍ خَلّاهُ الشيطانُ والعِبادةَ ، وألْقى عليهِ الخُشوعَ والبُكاءَ

The Prophet (s) said: When a man’s deeds are based on innovation, Satan will leave him to worship (even more) and will incite humility and tears in him (in order to deceive him so that he may continue performing it).

[Bihar ul Anwar, v72, p216, #8]

امام على عليه السلام : إنَّ شَرَّ النّاسِ عندَ الله إمامٌ جائرٌ ضَلَّ و ضُلَّ بهِ، فَأماتَ سُنَّةً مأخوذَةً (مَعلومَةً)، وأحيا بِدعَةً مَتروكَةً

Imam Ali (as) said: Verily the most evil of people in the sight of Allah is the tyrannical leader who himself has gone astray and through whom others go astray. He abolishes established sunnah and revives abandoned innovations.

[Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 164]

The innovators have no religion

Clearly a person who performs bid’ah does not care about where he takes his religious injunctions from. Such a person follows his desires and even if performs some actions which happen to be based on sunnah it is out of pure co-incidence and not out of obedience to Allah (swt).

إنَّما النّاسُ رَجُلانِ مُتَّبِعُ شِرْعَة وَمُبْتَدِعُ بِدْعَةُ

Amir ul momineen (as) said: People are only [one of] of two types: the follower of divine law (shariah) or the innovator of an innovation.

[Ghurar Al Hikam, #73]

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وآله : أهلُ البِدَع شَرُّ الخلقِ و الخليقةِ

The Prophet (s) said: The innovators (ahl-ul-bid’ah) are the worst of all creation.

[Kanz al-Ummal, #1095 and 1126]

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وآله : أهلُ البِدَع كلابُ أهلِ النّار

The Prophet (s) said: The innovators are the dogs of the inmates of hell.

[Kanz al-Ummal, #1125]

Bid’ah leads to abandonment of knowledge

قَدْ خاضُوا بِحارَ الفِتنِ، وأخَذُوا بِالبِدَعِ دُونَ السُّنَنِ، وتَوَغَّلُوا الجَهْلَ، واطَّرَحُوا العِلْمَ

They have plunged into the seas of temptations and have taken to innovation rather than following the practices of the Prophet, and they have gone deep into ignorance while abandoning knowledge.

[Ghural Al Hikam, #43]

Repentence of Bid’ati (innovator) not accepted

The innovator has no chance of escape since even his repentence will not be accepted.

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه: وآلهأبَى اللّهُ لِصَاحِبِ البِدعَةِ بِاتَّوْبَةِ قِيلَ يا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَ كَيفَ ذَلِكَ قالَ إنَّهُ قدْ أشْرِبَ قَلْبُهُ حُبَّها

Rasool-Allah (s) said: Allah (swt) rejects the repentance of the innovator (who introduces bid’ah). It was asked: O Rasool-Allah (s)! And how come that is so? He (s) said: It is because his heart is filled with the love of his (bid’ah).

[Al Kafi V 1 – The Book Of Intellect and Ignorance CH 19 H 4]

رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وآله : أبَى اللهُ لصاحِبِ البدعةِ بالتّوبةِ

The Prophet (s) said: Allah denies the innovator a chance to repent.

[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 72, p. 216, no. 8]

Conclusion

Before we perform any action in the name of religion it is extremely important for us to seek the hadith that it is based on. Without knowledge of hadith there is no way to know if the action is a bid’ah or not. Unfortunately, people have become conditioned to trust their scholars many of whom themselves are involved in bid’ah. The people blindly follow them without demanding proof from hadith.