Culture vs. Islam: Bid’ah

Yasir Qadhi

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27 Responses to “ Yasir Qadhi – Culture vs. Islam: Bid’ah ”

  1. Mohammed Khan says:

    20-21st minute he talks about Khatem-ul-Qur’an for the deceased, and mentions the early scholars and the four great Imams did not practice this tradition.

    Not true, in Imam Nawawi’s Riyadh-as-Saliheen it is mentioned in chapter 7, section 18, point 947: “Imam Shafi’i (RA) said that it is better to recite Qur’an near the grave. It would still be better if all join in completing the recitation of the Holy Qur’an”. NB-This point has been omitted from the Darusalaam (A Salafi publisher’s) version.

    Also at the beginning he mentions that evidence must be brought to justify acts of worship and gives dancing as an example:

    Imam Ahmad relates from Anas (Allah be well pleased with him), with a chain of transmission all of whose narrators are those of Bukhari except Hammad ibn Salama, who is one of the narrators of Muslim, that the Ethiopians danced in front of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace); dancing and saying, “Muhammad is a righteous servant.” (Musnad al-Imam Ahmad. 6 vols. Cairo 1313/1895. Reprint. Beirut: Dar Sadir, n.d.., 3.152). (Although I should say that I do not condone dancing as a legitimate act of worship, I am just giving an example of the evidence of people who do such a thing use)

    I have not watched all of it, so I don’t know what else he has stated that can be disagreed with.

  2. As salaamu alaikum brother Mohammed,

    From my understanding, the Hadith that you mentioned is in reference to a celebration, not worship. Although, the below story is not the same…it shows how the Prophet (saw.) seperated the Ethiopian’s Dance from a religious act.

    The story of the “sons of Arfida”—a familiar Arabian linguistic reference to Ethiopians—provides a telling illustration of the place of culture (here, of course, Black African culture) within the Prophetic dispensation. In celebration of an annual Islamic religious festival, a group of Black African converts began to beat leather drums and dance with spears in the Prophet’s mosque. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab—one of the chief Companions—felt compelled to interfere and stop them, but the Prophet intervened on their behalf, directing ‘Umar to leave them alone and noting to him that they were “the sons of Arfida,” that is, not his people. The Prophet invited his wife ‘A’isha to watch the dance, took her into the crowd, and lifted her over his back, so that she could watch them clearly as she eagerly leaned forward, her cheek pressing against his. The Prophet made it a point to dispel the Ethiopians’ misgivings about ‘Umar’s intrusion and encouraged them to dance well and, in one account of this authentic story, reassured them to keep up their drumming and dancing, saying: “Play your games, sons of Arfida, so the Jews and Christians know there is latitude in our religion.”

    from “Islam and the Cultural Imperative” by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

  3. amina says:

    mashaAllah the was very good talk. and it very helpfull I shall copy it and delivery to all I know inshaAllah

  4. ahmed says:

    To brother Mohammed
    Sorry, a few months late, but could you please tell me which edition and publishers is your Imam Nawawi’s Riyadh-as-Saliheen. I have one printed by Kazi publications (Lahore) 1984 edition, and I can’t find in it the statement you have stated. (i.e “Imam Shafi’i (RA) said that it is better to recite Qur’an near the grave. It would still be better if all join in completing the recitation of the Holy Qur’an”.)
    Plus do you have a narration from the Prophet (SAW) or the Sahaba stating what you have qouted from Imam Shafi (RA).

  5. rawnock says:

    Asalamualikum. This was a illuminating lecture. Now I have a better understading of this topic that all Muslims face today regardless of our ethnic backgrounds. However, does anyone (of Islamic authority) know if occasions like children’s birthday, baby shower, or bridal shower be considered a cultural event or would participation in these gathering be considered bidah (due to some link with worship)? Please give reference with your opinions.
    Jazak Allah Khair

  6. muslimah 84 says:

    salam rawnock,

    im not very knowledgable however I have heard lectures from different scholars who say celebrating birthdays haram because it is something that was practiced in the agw of ignorance and has no basis in pur religion. It is a practice for the kaffirs and we are not allowed to follow any of their ways or traditions.

    For further info please have a look at the following:

    Hope this helps.

    Eid Muabark to everyone at Halal Tube.


  7. AH says:

    Muslimah 84 – I went to your link and it categorically says:

    “Islam supports the celebration of birthdays if it is an expression of gratitude to Allah for His bounties, sustenance and blessings in man’s life, as long as that celebration does not include anything that may displease Allah, the Almighty.”

    Just a little reminder for people to check sources.

  8. AH says:

    Muslimah 84 – By the way you just gave a fatwa that celebrating B’days are haram without any reference apart from a link that actually doesn’t say that.

    Do you realise the implications of this?

    May Allah bless Rasool Allah (SAW) our leige lord, illuminating light, noor and pole; all the companions, the 4 great imams and all the sheikhs and mashaikhs on the path of traditional Islam. Following them is the only path.

  9. dany says:

    Hello does somebody maybe know how to contact yasir qadih himself? i want to speak himself.i have so many questions.thank u anyway….Greetz

  10. D.GALAL says:

    دابة العنكبوت تكشف عن موقع سفينة نوح علية السلام من القران الكريم وهي حاليا موجودة في حضرموت.شبوة. اليمن ادخل Noah’s Ark Hadramout Yemen. سفينة نوح علية السلام MUST WATCH!!!

  11. Muslim says:


    If you guys have any questions..please check out All of your questions have been asked before and answered by Mufti Ibrahim Desai, a well known scholar of Islam from South Africa. You can also contact Mufti Husain from Darul Uloom Al Madania in Buffalo NY. I have know him personally for last 10 yrs or so. It is easier to learn deen from someone you know personally.

  12. Elona_Washington says:

    As salamu alaykum.

    Personally, I find this hard to understand. It is haram to celebrate birthday (the day you were born) because it was from the days of ignorance. However, bridal and birthday showers have been in the days of ignorance too, is it not haram? It is also a cultural practice. If that is the case, then it is not haram for me to receive money for Chinese new year?

    I do not understand. As a new Muslim (alhamdulilah), I have highly disliked and avoided baby showers and bridal showers. First, for a baby shower, you are celebrating when the baby is not even born yet. What if (God forbid) the baby is a miscarriage or stillbirth? What will all the celebrations be for?

    And also, you can celebrate and give gifts to a baby who isn’t born yet, but you cannot celebrate the day the baby is born with gifts (birthday)?

    Also, no offense, but many parents would be happy to be given free gifts to care for their child even though it’s supposed to be the husband’s responsibility. If they really made it for the get-together rather than the gifts, then they could’ve done a get-together anytime, besides a baby shower. And as a guest, I never attended baby showers because I cannot afford to constantly get gifts for someone else’s child.. you are pressured to getting something otherwise it will seem rude. Might I also point out that these gatherings are somewhat boring, pointless and most mothers do not even pay attention to you because there are so many people?

    And for bridal showers, out of kindness and my own will, I do not mind giving a gift if I can afford one, but if I cannot, I do not know why brides are pushing people to get them gifts before a wedding and then after one. And a bridal shower is for gifts (hence, bridal SHOWER) not for a get-together. My mother was a bride and obviously a mother, but she had neither of these showers. My relatives gave her gifts out of their own will (not stupid pointless things), and she did not ask anyone to buy her stuff for HER marriage and new home.

    As much as they are deemed not haram, I would avoid them in all costs regardless.

    • ZA|D says:

      I’ve always thought of such things as nothing more than accessories to capitalism designed to fuel endless consumption and keep needless junk moving from the supermarket shelves. It’s a shame that Muslims are still squabbling about being whether they should be thankful to Allah (swt) on their birthday.

    • Maryam Suchedina says:

      As-salamu ‘Alaykum Elona Washington, I couldn’t agree with you more. Regardless of the religious background of these events, (b-days,bridal shower, baby shower, etc), these events cause a burden on one’s financial condition. Giving gifts is a wonderful gesture but when you are forced it becomes a burden. Instead I feel that if people must have get-together, it should be to benefit ourselves. Perhaps inviting a learned scholar who has proper knowledge of both Deen and Dunya who can teach us and we get the opportunity to ask questions or an open discussion with proper resources before us so that all present can walk away with more knowledge. If the gathering is in honor of an upcoming birth, perhaps the discussion should be what the duties of Muslim parents are, how to teach their future children about Islam properly and such acts. And if it’s in honor of an upcoming wedding, perhaps discuss the duties of a husband and wife to each other as outlined in Islam. Offer salaah together and make individual dua’a for the mother-to-be, bride-to-be, etc. Allhumdulilah I enjoyed reading your view points. May Allah (SWT) bless you and your family, Ameen.

  13. Zahir says:

    Biddah is when you consider, preach, or practice something or somebody as requirement to earn rewards or enter jannah.

  14. Zahir says:

    The only question is, did the prophet (peace be upon him) give it out in his presence, over his 23 years life as the last messenger with the mission from Allah?
    If the prophet did not give it out, then if somebody intentionally accepts it as integral part of the teaching of Islam, then that somebody is committing biddah?
    As a matter of fact, if somebody intentionally attribute to Allah & his rasool,then it is innovation & shirk.
    Is intentional innovation also shirk?
    I know from hadeeth & the answer is yes.
    In answer to the question, the prophet told one of his companion that jews also committed shirk by following the rabbis who changed things on their own.
    Allah knows better.
    I don’t remember the exact words of the hadeeth.
    “Give out” means what he did, what he saw, what he said.
    Once we agree in princple that it must have been given out in his presence and witnessed by him, our intention is good, and then it is also obligatotry on us to be throrough & establish the truth.

  15. Zubair says:

    Islam == Quran+Sunnah == Perfect
    if Quran + Sunnah + abc == perfect
    Quran + Sunnah != Perfect != Islam
    As Islam == Perfect
    abc == Biddah

    I never read in any Seerat Book where I came to know that Rasul Allah (saw) celebrate his or anybody’s (from Sahaba) birthday. Now you can apply it on the above equations.

    as I proved
    Biddah == abc == desire
    According to Quran 25:43
    Following desire is SHIRK

    (Plz guide me if I m wrong)

    Thanks 🙂

  16. Zahir says:

    There are many things we do in life for which there may be no ajar or reward of jannah & there may be no sin & and we may or may also not earn the intended worldly good will from the other party right away.
    Birthday is one of those things, celbrating your graduation is one of those, doing fireworks on independence day is one of those things, cooking turkey on thanksgiving is one of those thing.
    Celebrating memorial day is one of those things.
    Family get to gether during the same holidays every year is one of those things.
    There is a huge list of things in life, which may or may not give us ajar in akhira, depending on niyya.
    And niyya is not to be rebellious to Allah anyway, but we do it to feel good, without violating the requirments of slavery to Allah.
    As long as we are not violating the requirments of slavery to Allah, we ar okay.
    Nonethless, Allah’s knows better.
    By requirments of slavery to Allah, I mean the belief should be the same the prophet held in his 23 years & gave it out in the 23 years, witnessed it in the 23 years, salaat, saum, zakaat, Haj.
    It also includes not doing haraam things, being humble & not egoistic.
    Following desires in moderation in a halaal way is also requirment of slavery to Allah.
    Becoming slave of one nafs & slave of Allah cannot happen together, like we cannot toss head & tail both. Nonethelss, it is okay to follow ones desire moderately.
    A certain village or town may have the tradition of celebrating on a specific day, and holding competititions. This may or may not bring ajar in akhira, depending on niyya & creativity.
    i think we should go to masjid in the morning for fajr, never indulge to remain a slave to Allah, and feel the confidence meeting the challenges of life.
    And, if we ever slip a little bit, do astaghfar, and get back on track right away. Don’t dwell. Allah is indeed ghafoor raheem, if you niyyah is good.
    Never expect that we will not fall.
    We will fall into pits from time to time.
    We are humans always under the influence of the evil of our soul & shaitan, even if we stay most of the time focused on the straight path.
    Nonetheless, going to masjid for fajr in the morning, praying regularly, reading the Quran with meaning, focusing on justice to oneself, thinking aobut the white shroud around our body when we are in the grave & acccountablity, should keep us on the straight path & away from the total fall.
    Bidaah is when we do to earn rewards or get jannah or attributes it to Allah and/or his rasool. Bidah can be shirk also. Allah may forgive everything, but not transgression.

    • Narjis says:

      Assalaam alaikum.

      By definition, “transgression” is sin. Your ending statement is in effect saying that Allah does not forgive sin. Please be clear in the correct use of English words.

      an act that goes against a law, rule, or code of conduct; an offense.

  17. abu Yunus says:

    You completely neglect the hadeeth of the prophet (s) where he mentioned that Allaah has replaced all the previous holidays with two days:

    The Prophet Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him came to Medina with two days they played in.

    The Prophet Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said, ‘What are these two days?’ They said, ‘These are two days we used to play in, in our Jahiliyah.’ The Prophet Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said, ‘Allah has replaced them with two better days: Eid Al Adhaa and Eid Al-Fitr’.

    And you are claiming it is okay to celebrate birthdays?!?!?

    Firstly, it is pagan practice (cf. Encyclopedia Britannica)
    Second, we are forbidden to imitate the kuffar.
    Third, neither the Prophet nor his companions celebrated their birthdays.

    As for memorial day, do you even know what that is?!? You are GLORIFYING the kafir soldiers by remembering them.

    As for thanksgiving, that is another form of bid’ah. Gratitude is shown to Allaah EVERYDAY, not just one day of the year.

    STOP IMITATING THE KUFFAR and claiming something to be halaal when it is haraam!!!

    The Prophet’s (S) statement, “You will follow the ways of those who came before you inch by inch…” is definitely actualizing in our time.

  18. muslim says:

    Assalamualaikum to all,

    after reading the comments given by some,i think i need to give my response..
    i dont know your background whthr you have the authority or not to give hukm..
    i dont celebrate birthdays myself eithr..
    but, its just not right to say that a scholar is wrong in giving his views..
    scholars often have differnt views regarding certain matters in Islam but juz bcoz people follow anothr scholarly interpretation, doesnt mean that you have the right to criticise them..
    let us try to improve our etiquette, be humble and respect our muslim scholars..
    may Allah accept from them and from us all the good and forgive us all our sins..

  19. Abdul - Tawwab says:

    AsSalaamu Alaikum,
    I have a question about bidah.Shaykh Yasir spoke and said that if it is about worship or religious and it is not in the Sunnah of the Prophet (S.A.W) what would one say about taraweeh in Ramadan and praying it in congregation? Am I wrong that praying tarawih in Ramadan in congregation was started by Umar bin Al-Khataab radiAllahu anhu after the death of the Prophet (S.A.W)? Isn’t that against the sunnah of the Prophet (S.A.W)? I know that on a lot of these sites people are very rude and arrogant but I ask this question earnestly and humbly to seek understanding inshaAllah.

    AsSalaamu Alaikum

  20. Abdul - Tawwab says:

    AsSalaamu Alaikum,
    I have another question. I also heard of another hadith in which it was reported that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said do not write down any of his sayings except Qur’an. Is this hadith authentic? If it is how do we then reconcile all of the books of hadith with this hadith? Again I only ask to seek understanding and not to debate or argue inshaAllah. Please help if you know. JazakAllahu Khairun!

    AsSalaamu Alaikum

  21. Zahir says:

    Taraweeha happened in prophet’s life. They read the whole Quran in prayer during ramadan. But taraweeh is not mandatory like the 5 times prayer. Prophet (peace be upon him) prayers 8 more often. It is okay to pray even more than 20. It is not a formal requirement like the obligatory 5 time prayers.

    Taraweeha during ramadan, and listening to the Quran is good for earning more ajar.

    Islam is all about bowing down to the will of Allah that was carried out during the prophet’s 23 years by the prophet.

    Emanayat has a time domain where it is completely defined, the domain is prophet’s 23 years exactly.

    Anyone, makes something part of Imanayat, attribute to Allah or rasool, and the belief or act does not belong to the prophet’s 23 years, that person is at least committing bidah, or may be shirk.

    Allah knows better.

    Prophet said Jews do shirk, only because they follow their Rabi’s.

    Rabi’s added and subtracted that was not given by Moses, and attributed it to God.

    By this analogy who follows a leader who preaches something the prophet did not give out in his 23 years, then that person is doing shirk

    Going out on annual vacation every year, meeting your family once a years on thanksgiving or memorial day, celebrating birthday, celebrating graduation, is not in conflict with imaanyat.
    You are not doing for ajar. Many things you do in life with no intention of ajar. You play scrabble with your friends not for ajar, as an example. You go out pass certifications not for ajar. Attend board meetings not for ajar. Read newspaper not for ajar.

  22. Abdul - Tawwab says:

    AsSalaamu Alaikum Zahir,

    JazakAllahu Khairun! Thank you for insight.

  23. says:

    Along with almost everything which appears to be developing throughout this specific subject matter, your viewpoints are actually relatively radical. Nonetheless, I beg your pardon, because I can not subscribe to your whole strategy, all be it refreshing none the less. It appears to everyone that your commentary are not entirely justified and in actuality you are yourself not totally certain of the point. In any case I did take pleasure in reading through it.

  24. Mamman says:

    very educative. thanks for the insight. Always refer to the Quran and sunah. Alhamdulilah

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