In practically all advanced societies throughout history, innovations and inventions are key. It is these improvements and changes that keep you ahead of the herd. Innovations and inventions are two cornerstones of progress.
But what if progress is impossible? What do you mean that progress is impossible? You can always improve, right!?! A person can always improve, but there is a system that is complete, Islam. This religion has been tried and tested and withstood the test of time: individually, socially, economically, scientifically and all other ally’s you can think of.
However, we do find innovations and inventions within Muslim society (and I put the emphasis on Muslim and not Islamic). These so-called innovations and inventions within the religion are called Bid’a in Arabic. these add-ons have no place within Islam, and this for two reasons. One, Islam is complete; and two, affirming otherwise is nothing but arrogance.
In the Quran, Allah cites:
…This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.
Surat Al-Ma’ida (5 – 3)
I mean, you can’t get any more perfect than that. As for arrogance, imagine adding something to what Allah has categorized as complete or insinuating that you can do something within this faith that the Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) wasn’t sent with…
Now, what qualifies as Bid’a? basically, anything that has not been encouraged in Islam or there is a clear prohibition of doing something (in the Quran or Hadith). let’s take on, for example, celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohammed; this is a clear Bid’a!
– But how could this be, it’s like a national holiday in some countries?!
– Was it a national holiday at the time of the Prophet… did the companions of the Prophet (Sahaba) celebrate it or the generations following them (Tabi’een)?
– See, you don’t celebrate it because you don’t love him as much as I do!
-All right, let’s look into that. One of the greatest signs of love and respect is obedience. so let’s look at what the Prophet had to say on the matter.
“The people of the Jahiliyyah had two days each year when they would play. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came to Al-Madinah he said: ‘You had two days when you would play, but Allah (SWT) has given Muslims something instead that is better than them: the day of Al-Fitr and the day of Al-Adha.'”
Sunan An-Nasaï (English Translation) Vol. 2, Book 19, Hadith 1557
Now, if you really want to celebrate his birthday, do it by fasting.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on Mondays. He said, “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I received Revelation.”
Sahih Muslim (English Reference) Book 6, Hadith 2606
Unfortunately, these kinds of misplaced well-intended actions lead people astray. Whether it is intercession through deceased mortals, using lucky charms, or celebrating the birthday of the Prophet… they all deviate from the one straight path, Islam.