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sunnah vs. bidah

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Sunnah and Bid’ah are two concepts that may seem similar, but have completely opposite definitions. Many people have a hard time differentiating between which actions are Sunnah and which are bid’ah, when in fact there are many differences that exist between them. In Islam, Sunnah is the actions, sayings, and approval, both tacit and explicit, of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is the path shown to us by the Prophet (SAW), and we are required to follow it. The importance of adhering to the Sunnah is based on many verses in the Quran. Allah (SWT) says: "And that My path is straight, therefore, follow it. Do not follow other paths lest they lead you away from the path of Allah" (Al-An'am: 153) and "Whatever the Messenger commands you to do, do it, and whatever he forbids, refrain from it." (Al-Hashr:7) Bid’ah is an innovated act that adds to or changes the Deen. It involves inventing or introducing new ways of worship which lie outside the Sharia. Bid’ah is not supported by reliable sources, which are often times traced to non-Islamic influences from surrounding communities which Muslim communities came into contact with. Bid’ah can take many forms. A person can change the occasion of a prescribed act, add restrictions on an act that the Sharia had not imposed, change the style or form of an act, do something collectively that is supposed to be performed individually, change the Sharia status of an act from permissible to mandatory, or add a ritual where none existed. All forms of bid’ah are forbidden, because they oppose Allah and the Quran and Sunnah. There is a Hadith narrated by Abu Dawud and Nasa’ee that states: “I warn you of the newly invented matters in the religion, for every newly invented matter is bid’ah, and every bid’ah is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the fire.” Bid’ah appears to be a religious act, but its sources are not very reliable. Bid’ah normally varies from region to region, unlike the Sunnah, which maintains... Show More

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