Answering a question presented by a Muslim brother on some issues of Bid'ah and Shirk

Question:

What is the religious ruling of Allah and His Messenger on a person who commits the following: During the Adhan (call to prayer) he says, (I bear witness that ‘Ali is Allah’s Waliy (pious person)), (Come to the best of deeds), (the kin of Muhammad), (‘Ali is the best kin). Moreover, if any of them die, the family would slaughter a sheep which they call “‘Aqiqah” without breaking any of its bones, after which, they bury its bones and feces claiming that this is a good deed that should be observed. What should a Sunni Muslim who has a kin relation with them act towards this? Is it legally permissible for him to be kind to them, have a good relationship with them, be related by marriage to them? It should be mentioned that they openly declare their conviction and state that they are the saved group, the ones adhering to truth, and that they are following the truth and that we are following falsehood.

Answer:

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has clarified the words of the Adhan (Call to Prayer) and Iqamah (Call to start the Prayer) through His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is reported that ‘Abdullah ibn Zayd ibn ‘Abd Rabbuh Al-Ansari had seen the Adhan in a dream, so he related it to the Prophet (peace be upon him) who (peace be upon him) told him that it is a true dream and ordered him to dictate it to Bilal since he had a more beautiful voice than his to pronounce. So, Bilal used to pronounce the Adhan in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) until he died.1

His Adhan did not include any of the words mentioned in the question. Similarly, ‘Abdullah ibn Um Maktum used to pronounce the Adhan for the Prophet (peace be upon him) sometimes, but his Adhan did not include any of these words either. Moreover, the Hadiths mentioned about the Adhan of Bilal in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) are authentically reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) in addition to other books of Ahl-ul-Sunnah (Those adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet). The Adhan of Abu Mahdhurah in Makkah did not contain any of these words as well, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught him its words but did not teach him any of the mentioned words, and its words are authentically proven in the Sahih (authentic) book of Muslim and other books of Ahl-ul-Sunnah.

Thus, according to the aforementioned, it becomes known that mentioning these words in the Adhan is an act of Bid’ah (innovation in religion) that should be abandoned, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.“(Agreed upon by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim) 2, and in another narration: “Whoever does something that is not part of this matter of ours (i.e. Islam), it is to be rejected” (Related by Muslim in his Sahih) 3.

It is also authentically reported that he (peace be upon him) used to say during Khutbah Al-Jumu’ah (Friday sermon): “To proceed, the best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the most evil of things are those which have been innovated (in religion), and every innovation leads astray.”” 4

Furthermore, his Rightly Guided Caliphs including ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and other Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with all of them) had followed the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) regarding how the Adhan is pronounced. They never said the mentioned words.

In addition to this, when ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) was Amir Al-Mu’minin (Commander of the Believers), he settled in Al-Kufah for almost five years, and the Adhan of Bilal used to be pronounced in his presence. Thus, if the words mentioned in the question had existed in the Adhan, he would have known that, for he is of the most knowledgeable of the Sunnah and conduct of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) amongst the Sahabah. As for what some people attribute to ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to say during the Adhan (come to the best of deeds), it is a baseless report. But, with regard to what has been reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them) as well as ‘Ali ibn Al-Husayn Zayn Al-‘Abidin (may Allah be pleased with him and his father), that they used to say during the Adhan (Come to the best of deeds), the authenticity of this report is disputable. Despite that it has been classed as Sahih by some scholars, yet what is known of their knowledge and profound understanding of the religion entails to question the soundness of attributing this report to them. People like them were surely aware of the Adhan of Bilal and Abu Mahdhurah .

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them) had attended and heard that. Besides, ‘Ali ibn Al-Husayn, (may Allah be merciful to him) is one of the most knowledgeable people of religion. Therefore, it should not be thought that they had opposed the elaborate known Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) regarding the Adhan. If we assumed the authenticity of this, it would be confined to them. It is impermissible for their sayings or any other saying to contradict the authentic Sunnah, for people should seek judgment from it along with the Qur’an as Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day.” [Al-Nisa: 59]

Consulting the Sunnah regarding the saying: “Come to the best of deeds”, we did not find that it is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in the words of the Adhan. Whereas the saying reported from ‘Ali ibn Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) that it used to exist in the first Adhan could probably mean the Adhan that is used to be pronounced in the presence of the Messenger (peace be upon him) at the beginning of its prescription, so if this is what was meant, then it had been abrogated by the way pronounced during and after the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) by Bilal, Ibn Um Maktum and Abu Mah-dhurah without including this phrase or any of the words mentioned in the question.

It is also said that claiming that this phrase exists in the first Adhan and pronounced in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) can not be taken for granted, for the words of the Adhan have been kept in the authentic Hadiths with no mention of these words. Accordingly, it has become known to be a false Bid’ah. It can also be said: ‘Ali ibn Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) is one of the Tabi’in (Followers, the generation after the Companions of the Prophet). Therefore, his narration is to be considered as Mursal (a report with no Companion of the Prophet in the chain of narration), if he declared it to be Marfu’ (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration).

In this case, the Mursal can not be taken as proof according to the Jamahir (pl. of Jumhur; dominant majority of scholars) as mentioned by Imam Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-Bar in the book called “Al-Tamhid”. This would have happened if nothing had been narrated contrary to the authentic Sunnah but many Hadiths in this regard had been narrated indicating the falsity of this Mursal narration and deeming it unreliable. Allah is the One Who grants success.

As for what is observed by the mentioned group, when one of them dies, their relatives slaughter a sheep which they call “‘Aqiqah” without breaking its bones, and burying the bones and feces claiming that this is a good deed that should be done, in reply to this, this act is a Bid’ah that has no origin in Shari’ah (Islamic law). Thus, it should be stopped and they should offer Tawbah (repentance) to Allah from it, for Tawbah wipes out past deeds and is obligatory for all sins and Bida’, as Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “And all of you beg Allâh to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [Al-Nur: 31]

He (Exalted be He) also says: “O you who believe! Turn to Allâh with sincere repentance!” [Al-Tahrim: 8]

However, the lawful ‘Aqiqah enacted by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in the authentic Sunnah refers to the slaughtered animal on the seventh day after the birth of a child. It is two sheep for a boy and one for a girl. The Prophet (peace be upon him) offered ‘Aqiqah for Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with both of them).5

It is permitted to distribute the meat to kin, friends, and the poor or to cook it and invite whoever you want of relatives, neighbors, and the poor as well. This is the lawful Aqiqah and it is a stressed Sunnah, but whoever does not offer it will not bear a sin for that.

As for the questioner’s saying: What should a Sunni Muslim do towards this group if he has a kinship with them; whether or not he should be kind to them, have good relationship with them although they openly declare their conviction and claim to be the saved group?

The answer is:

If their conviction is like what is described in the question and they agree with Ahl-ul-Sunnah on singling out Allah with worship and not associating Ahl-ul-Bayt (members of the Prophet’s extended Muslim family) or others in worship with Him, it is permissible to be related by marriage to them, eat their slaughtered animals and contribute in their feasts as well as loving them as much as they have of truth and censuring them as much as they have of falsehood. They are considered Muslims who have observed acts of Bid’ah and misdeeds but such acts do not put them beyond the pale of Islam. They should be advised and directed towards the Sunnah and truth. They should be warned against Bid’ahs and sins; if they straighten up and accept advice, praise be to Allah for that but if they insist on observing the mentioned Bid’ahs, then they should be abandoned.

You should not contribute to their feasts until they repent to Allah and quit such Bid’ahs and misdeeds just as the Prophet (peace be upon him) deserted Ka’b ibn Malik Al-Ansari and his other two companions when they were absent from the battle of Tabuk without a legal excuse.

But if the relative sees that mingling and associating with and advising them is more useful for their religion and more entitled to their accepting the truth, there is no prohibition in drawing nearer to them, for the intention of abandoning them is to direct them to good and make them feel the sense of objection to the evil they commit so as to make them refrain from doing this. However, if desertion harms the interest, makes them persist in their stubbornness, and adherence to their false conviction besides repelling them from the people of truth, then it should be stopped as the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not desert ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul the chief of hypocrites when he (peace be upon him) saw it better for the welfare of Muslims.

On the other hand, if this group worships Ahl-ul-Bayt such as ‘Ali, Fatimah, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with them) or any other member of Ahl-ul-Bayt by invoking them, appealing to and asking them for support and the like, or if they believe that they know the Ghayb (unseen) or other things that put them beyond the pale of Islam, it is impermissible to marry of them or eat from their slaughtered animals and they should be censured and deserted until they single out Allah with worship. He (Glorified be He) says: “Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrâhîm (Abraham) and those with him, when they said to their people: “Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allâh: we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you hostility and hatred for ever until you believe in Allâh Alone”” [Al-Mumtahanah: 4]

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says:”And whoever invokes (or worships), besides Allâh, any other ilâh (god), of whom he has no proof; then his reckoning is only with his Lord. Surely! Al-Kâfirûn (the disbelievers in Allâh and in the Oneness of Allâh, polytheists, pagans, idolaters) will not be successful.” [Al-Mu’minun: 117]

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “Such is Allâh, your Lord; His is the kingdom. And those, whom you invoke or call upon instead of Him, own not even a Qitmîr (the thin membrane over the date-stone). If you invoke (or call upon) them, they hear not your call; and if (in case) they were to hear, they could not grant it (your request) to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will disown your worshipping them. And none can inform you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) like Him Who is the All-Knower (of everything).” [Fatir: 13-14]

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (Unseen) except Allâh, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.”” [Al-Naml: 65]

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He.” [Al-An’am: 59]

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “I possess no power over benefit or harm to myself except as Allâh wills. If I had the knowledge of the Ghaib (Unseen), I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner, and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.”” [Al-A’raf: 188]

The Ayahs stressing this meaning are abundant, it is also authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: ““The keys of Ghayb (the Unseen) are five; no one knows them but Allah” then he recited Allah’s (Glorified be He) Saying, “Verily Allâh, with Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allâh is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things).”[Luqman: 34]6

It is also authentically reported that he (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever dies while still worshipping a rival to Allah, will enter Hellfire.7

Also in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked “What is the greatest sin?” He said: “That you set up a rival to Allah though He created you.” 8

Moreover, it is recorded in the Sahih of Muslim on the authority of Amir-ul-Mu’minin ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah curses the one who slaughters (a sacrifice) to other than Allah.9

There are many Hadiths denoting the obligation of sincerity to Allah in worship, and the prohibition of associating others with Him in worship, and that He (Glorified be He) Alone has the knowledge of Ghayb. What we have mentioned is convincing and sufficient for a truth seeker inshaa’ Allah (If Allah wills). Allah is the One Who grants success and guides whoever He wants to the right path. As for the claim that this sect is the saved group and that they are following the truth and others are following falsehood, this is replied to by saying: whoever claims something, their claim should not be taken for granted but the necessary proof should be established first. Allah (Glorified be He) says: “Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), “Produce your proof if you are truthful.”” [Al-Baqarah: 111]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “If people are to be given according to their claims, some people would have claimed the blood and properties of others.10 This Hadith is agreed upon by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim from the Hadith narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with both of them).

Furthermore, it is authentically reported in many Hadiths that he (peace be upon him) said: “The Jews have split up into seventy one sects, and the Christians into seventy two sects, and my Ummah (nation of creed) will break off into seventy three sects, all of them will be in Hellfire except one. It was said: “O Messenger of Allah! Who is that one?” He (peace be upon him) said: “The one that follows my guidance and that of my companions.”11

Thus, this Hadith and other authentic Hadiths stress this meaning such as the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying: “My entire Ummah will enter Jannah (Paradise) except him who refuses. They said: O Messenger of Allah, who will refuse? He said, “Whoever obeys me will enter Jannah and whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses.”12

It indicates that the saved group of this Ummah is the one that abides by the way of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and His Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) in their ‘Aqidah (creed), sayings, and deeds.

The Noble Book of Allah affirms the Sunnah of His Honest Messenger (peace be upon him) that the saved group refers to those who follow Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him). Those who rightly follow the way of his companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم to mankind): “If you (really) love Allâh then follow me (i.e. accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur’ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins.” [Aal Imran: 31]

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “And the foremost to embrace Islâm of the Muhâjirûn (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansâr (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped and gave aid to the Muhâjirûn ) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allâh is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [Al-Tawbah: 100]

These two Noble Ayahs show that the evidence that loving Allah is attained by following His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) in ‘Aqidah, sayings and deeds, and following his Sahabah of the Muhajirin (Emigrants from Makkah to Madinah), Ansar (Helpers, inhabitants of Madinah who supported the Prophet) and those who had followed them righteously in ‘Aqidah, sayings and deeds, for they are the people of Jannah and dignity. They are the ones who will be rewarded by Allah’s Contentment and Pleasure with them and those who will enter Jannah for eternity. This is crystal clear for whoever has a little portion of knowledge and Din (Religion).

May Allah guide us and all Muslim fellows to the right way, the way of those on whom He has bestowed His Grace amongst the Prophets, his followers who were the first and foremost to believe in him, and the martyrs! May He make us amongst the followers of our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in virtue! He is the Helper and Most able to do it. May peace and blessings be upon His Slave, Messenger, Khalil (beloved, close elect), and the one entrusted with His Revelation, our Prophet Muhammad, his family, Companions, and those who followed them in virtue until the Day of Resurrection.


  1. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 189; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 499; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on Adhan and acts of Sunnah related to it, no. 706; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 4, p. 43; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 1187. 

  2. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on reconciliation, no. 2697; Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1718; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on Al-Sunnah, no. 4606; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Introduction, no. 14; and Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 240. 

  3. Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1718; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 256. 

  4. Muslim, Sahih, Book on Friday, no. 867; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on the two ‘Eid Prayers, no. 1578; Abu Dawud, Book on tribute, spoils, and rulership, no. 2954; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Introduction, no. 45; Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 311; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Introduction, no. 206. 

  5. Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on ‘Aqiqah, no. 4219. 

  6. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Tafsir, no. 4627; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 52. 

  7. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Tafsir, no. 4497; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 374. 

  8. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Tafsir, no. 4477; Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 86; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on Tafsir, no. 3183; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on sanctity of blood, no. 4014; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 1, p. 380. 

  9. Muslim, Sahih, Book on sacrifices, no. 1978; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on sacrifices, no. 4422; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 1, p. 118. 

  10. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on Tafsir, no. 4552; Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1711; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on the manners of judges, no. 5425; and Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on judgments, no. 2321. 

  11. Al-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Book on faith, no. 2641. 

  12. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on holding fast to the Book and the Sunnah, no. 7280; Muslim, Sahih, Book on rulership, no. 1835; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 361.