Praise be to Allaah Who has perfected our religion for us, and has completed His Favour upon us. And blessings and peace be upon His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad, the Prophet of repentance and mercy.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion [al-Maa’idah 5:3]
“Or have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not ordained? [al-Shooraa 42:21]
In al-Saheehayn it is reported from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [Islam] that is not part of it, will have it rejected.”
In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say in his Friday khutbahs: “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation (bid’ah) is a going-astray.”
And there are many aayaat and ahaadeeth which say similar things.
This clearly indicates that Allaah has perfected the religion of this ummah, and completed His favour upon them. He did not take the soul of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) until he had conveyed the Message clearly and explained to the ummah everything that Allaah had prescribed for it of words and deeds. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained that everything that people would innovate after he was gone, all the words and deeds that they would attribute to Islam, all of that would be thrown back on the one who invented it, even if his intention was good. The companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) knew this matter, as did the scholars of Islam after them. They denounced bid’ah and warned against it, as has been stated by all those who wrote books praising the Sunnah and denouncing bid’ah, such as Ibn Waddaah, al-Tartooshi, Ibn Shaamah and others.
Among the bid’ahs that have been invented by some people is celebrating the middle of Sha’baan (Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan), and singling out that day for fasting. There is no evidence (daleel) for that which can be regarded as reliable. Some da’eef (weak) ahaadeeth have been narrated concerning its virtues, but we cannot regard them as reliable. The reports which have been narrated concerning the virtues of prayer on this occasion are all mawdoo’ (fabricated), as has been pointed out by many of the scholars. We will quote some of their comments below, in sha Allaah.
Imaam Abu’l-‘Abbaas Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him).
The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) were agreed that it is obligatory to refer matters concerning which the people dispute to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Whatever ruling both or one of them give is the sharee’ah which must be followed, and whatever goes against them must be rejected. Any acts of worship which are not mentioned in them are therefore bid’ah and it is not permissible to do them, let alone call others to do them or approve of them. As Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination [al-Nisaa’ 4:59]
“And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allaah (He is the ruling Judge)” [al-Shooraa 42:10]
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’aan and the Sunnah), Allaah will love you and forgive you your sins [Aal ‘Imraan 3:31]
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission” [al-Nisaa’ 4:65]
Al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his book Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif concerning this matter – after previously discussing it – “Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan (the middle of Sha’baan) was venerated by the Taabi’een among the people of al-Shaam, such as Khaalid ibn Mi’daan, Makhool, Luqmaan ibn ‘Aamir and others, who used to strive in worship on this night. The people took the idea of the virtue of this night and of venerating it from them. It was said that they heard of Israa’eeli reports (reports from Jewish sources) concerning that. Most of the scholars of the Hijaaz denounced that, including ‘Ataa’ and Ibn Abi Maleekah. ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Zayd ibn Aslam narrated that view from the fuqahaa’ of Madeenah, and this was the view of the companions of Maalik and others. They said: this is all bid’ah… No comment from Imaam Ahmad concerning Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan is known of… Concerning spending the night of the middle of Sha’baan in prayer, there is no sound report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions…”
This is what was said by al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab (may Allaah be pleased with him). He clearly states that there is no sound report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or from his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) about Laylat al-Nusf min Sha’baan (the middle of Sha’baan).
In every case where there is no sound shar’i evidence that a thing is prescribed in Islam, it is not permissible for the Muslim to innovate things in the religion of Allaah, whether these are individual acts or communal acts, whether he does them in secret or openly, because of the general meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever does any action that is not a part of this matter of ours [Islam], will have it rejected.” And there are other daleels (evidence) which indicate that bid’ah is to be denounced and which warn against it.
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