Allah calls Himself Al-Badee’— The incomparable Originator— on two occasions in the Quran. He is the One who initiates and creates in amazing and original ways that have no precedent, without any model or example. Al-Badee’ is the incomparable, the unique, and only One who originates, commences, invents, and creates in a perfect way!
The incomparable originator, the wonderful inventor and innovator
Badee’ comes from the root baa-daal-‘ayn which points to three main meanings. The first main meaning is to originate, innovate, or start. The second main meaning is to start something, to uniquely contrive without any similarity to anything pre-existing. And the third main meaning is to be incomparable, superlative and amazing.
This root appears four times in the Quran in three derived forms. Examples of these forms are ibtada’oohaa (“they innovated”) and bid’an (“a new (one)”).
Linguistically, bid’ah means an innovation or something new, something not done or said by anyone before.
Al-Badee’ refers to the one and only Originator who time and time again does something new, unlike anything else, originating its existence without the use of any tool and without being limited to time or space.
Al-Badee’ Himself says: [He is] Originator of the heavens and the earth. How could He have a son when He does not have a companion and He created all things? And He is, of all things, Knowing [Quran, 6:101] ..Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [Quran, 2:117]
Bida’h: the concept of innovation in religion
According to Islamic teaching bid’ah is any invented or innovated way in religion that is aimed at worshipping or drawing closer to Allah ‘azza wa jall. This means that this act, saying, or distancing from something, has no proof—or daleel— in the Quran and Sunnah and was not known at the time of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the companions. (These unaccepted religious inventions and innovations don’t include worldly inventions, like technology.)
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would start a khutbah (sermon) saying: …The best of speech is the Book of Allah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The worst of things are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going astray . . . [Muslim] This shows us it is forbidden to innovate something in Islam or to follow an innovation someone else started.
He salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam kept repeating: Every newly-invented thing is a bid’ah (innovation), every bid’ah is a going astray, and every going astray will be in the Fire. [An-Nasaa’i] He also explained that when you invent something in Islam this deed will be rejected from you: Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours that is not a part of it will have it rejected. [Al-Bukhaaree]
This shows how important it is to gain correct Islamic knowledge, as any innovation will not be accepted from the believers and can lead to the Hellfire. Examples of bid’ah are denying any of the five pillars of Islam or of the six pillars of emaan (faith), celebrating non-Islamic events and declaring that which is haraam (forbidden) halaal (accepted) and that which is halaal, haraam.
How Can You Live by This Name?
1. Stay away from innovation in your religion.
Study the Quran and the sunnah from trustworthy sources so you equip yourself with knowledge on what is commanded, recommended, forbidden and discouraged in Islam. Gain knowledge about the ways of the prophet and his companions as these are key to implementing Quranic knowledge in your life. The prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: If anyone introduces an innovation in the religion, he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in the religion) he is cursed by Allah, by His angels and by all the people. [Abu Dawood] Ask Al-Badee’ to protect you from innovation.
2. Follow the prophet.
The prophet said: Leave me as I leave you, for the people who were before you were ruined because of their questions and their differences over their prophets. So, if I forbid you to do something, then keep away from it. And if I order you to do something, then do of it as much as you can. [Al-Bukharee]
And: . . . we were with ‘Umar and he said: We have been forbidden to undertake a difficult task beyond our capability (i.e. to exceed the religious limits, e.g., to clean the inside of the eyes while doing ablution).[Al-Bukhaaree] Never change or twist the meaning of the Quran or Sunnah to suit your desires. Be honest and take responsibility for your choices. Be careful with cultural activities; if they don’t contradict the Quran and sunnah there is no harm, but if they contradict Islam, avoid them.
3. Revive a sunnah.
The prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: He who starts a good sunnah will be rewarded for it, in addition to receiving rewards equal to the rewards of those who follow him into it. Whereas he who starts a bad sunnah will be burdened with it, in addition to receiving burdens equal to the burdens of those who follow him into it. [Muslim] The only good sunnah is a revived sunnah and not a newly-invented one!
5. Present Islam in a correct way.
When presenting Islam to someone, present the Quran and Sunnah and not your opinion.
6. Ask Al-Badee’.
. . . Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is. [Quran, 2:117] Know there is no problem too big, no situation too challenging, and no difficulty too hard as long as you call upon Al-Badee’ to ask for His support and for your every need.
O Allah, Al-Badee’,we know that You are the incomparable Originator. Make us of those who follow Your rope, gain correct knowledge of Your Book and the sunnah and protect us from bid’ah. Guide us in reviving the ways of Your prophet correctly, make us convey the message of Islam to others as You revealed it and adorn us with complete faith and trust in Your power to create and originate, ameen!
And Allah knows best.
The Understand Quran Academy Team