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Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

In his book, Sharh us Sunnah, Imaam al Barbahaaree رحمه الله divided the roads to misguidance into two (2), and he depicted the two (2) ways with two (2) individuals. 

The first person is one who intends to guide people with his efforts, but unfortunately, he took the wrong path (path of bid'ah). This kind of person is not to be followed on his bid'ah. He is misguided. His good intention will not save him from Allaah's wrath on the Day of Judgment, except he repents sincerely before he leaves the surface of the earth. We seek Allaah's protection on this. 

The second person on the other hand knows the truth, but due to his personal desire, ego and love for material world, he intentionally mislead people by promoting and calling to bid'ah of different kinds. This person too should not be followed, because he is on the path of destruction, except he repents sincerely and turns a new leaf by returning to Sunnah and the way of the Salaf us Saalih. May Allaah save us from these two (2) paths.

A lot of people have died upon the first path described above, thinking that their good intention will be an excuse for them on the Day of Judgment. They innovated many things in the deen of Allaah, they called people to bid'ah of different kinds with the intention of jihad (striving in Allaah's cause). This is a very dangerous mission. Those who are presently living their lives upon this path must fear Allaah. They still have the opportunity to repent sincerely and tread the path of Sunnah for the rest of their lives. 

What makes it difficult for people upon this path to repent is ignorance and personal desire. They are ignorant of the fact that no matter how pure their intention is, Allaah will not accept acts of innovations from them, instead, He would punish them for disobeying the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and contradicting his Sunnah. They do not know the Sunnah, and they refuse to learn it. They think they know, but they don't know. The perepetrators of bid'ah think they are doing the right thing and they see people who advise them against their bid'ah as their enemy. They do not know the position of Sunnah in Islaam. They undermine the essence of Sunnah in the life of a Muslim. They do not know the dangerous effect of innovation, no matter how little in the deen. They don't know that Islaam is Sunnah and Sunnah is Islaam. Every Muslim, without any exception ought to be upon the Sunnah because that was the path the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم left us upon. That is the path Allaah commanded us to stick to. Allaah says:

(وَأَنَّ هَٰذَا صِرَاطِي مُسْتَقِيمًا فَاتَّبِعُوهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا السُّبُلَ فَتَفَرَّقَ بِكُمْ عَنْ سَبِيلِه ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ وَصَّاكُمْ بِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

This is My exact right path, so follow it, and follow not (diverse) ways, lest they should deviate you away from His (straight) way.’ That is what He enjoins you with, that you may guard against evil. [Surat Al-An'am 153]

Many of the people of bid'ah are in this category. When you ask them daleel for Mawlid, fidau, assalatu groups, wazeefah, kuburah, jalabi and many other acts of bid'ah, they have no evidence. They will be beating around the bush, trying to look for evidences that do not exist. They confuse their ignorant and gullible followers by misinterpreting verses of the Qur'an and texts of Sunnah to back up their various acts of bid'ah. They think it is permissible to introduce new things into the religion of Islaam and claim they are bid'atun hasanah (good innovations), despite prophetic warnings against it. 'Aishah رضي الله عنها reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

من أحدث في أمرنا هذا ما ليس منه فهو رد

He who innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not of it will have it rejected [by Allah]." [Related by al-Bukhari]

There are many hadith against bid'ah and aligning with people of bid'ah. In the version of the same hadith as reported in Sahih Muslim, it is said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

 من عمل عملا ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد

"He, who does an act which we have not commanded, will have it rejected [by Allah]."

Many people have also died upon the misguidance of the second degree, and some people are still living upon that filthy path. May Allaah save us from their evils. May He make it easy for those who are still alive upon those paths to change for the better. The case of the second category is more pathetic than that of the first degree. SubhanaLlaah! He knows the truth, yet he hides it and makes it look as if he is on the righteous path. No wonder, Imaam al-Barbahaaree رحمه الله said about him : 

فهو ضال مضل, شيطان مريد في هذه الأمة

He is misguided, misguides others, a rebellious devil in this ummah [Sharh us Sunnah, nuskhah of Sheikh Fawzaan, pg 46] 

The one who delibrately twist the texts of the shari'ah to fight the Sunnah and its people is misguided, no doubt. He would misguide his blindfollowers in many ways. Only Allaah can guide him and those who depend on him for guidance. This is pathetic, by Allaah. It calls for serious concern because a misguided scholar will be a source of destruction to many people, except those who Allaah decideds to save from his evils. He is a rebellious devil because he is fulfilling the vows of shaytaan within the ummah. He dresses like a scholar, speaks good Arabic and he is magical and eloquent in presentation and use of language. He will be attacking the foundations of Sunnah, degrading and blaspheming the Companions رضي الله عنهم and trustworthy scholars of Sunnah. By this, he seeks to achieve nothing, except to mislead people. Many of the people of bid'ah who come out boldly against the Sunnah and its people are like this. The ignorant people would not know he is on a destructive mission. They will follow him blindly as he executes his devilish mission. This is indeed path of the ways shaytaan had vowed to employ to mislead a lot of people from the righteous path. Allaah says in Suratul A'raaf:

 (قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ) 

(Iblîs) said, ‘Now, since You have adjudged me to be perverted and lost, I will assuredly lie in wait for them (- the Children of Adam) on the straight and exact path that leads to You. [Surat Al-A'raf 16]

So, the scholars of bid'ah and evil in our society are working for no other than shaytaan. Don't you see how a lot of people still follow people of bid'ah despite their glaring lies, distortions and atrocities? One would think that many people would stop following the Agege man when he started attacking the roots, pits and marrows of the shari'ah. One would think the Ojodu man would begin to lose followers after he had made numerous statements of riddah in public. One would think the comedian would lose his fans after entering the Church to speak without knowledge. One would think that a greedy Alfa would lose patronage after praising Bobrisky in public. Despite the fact that the evils of the takfeeree of Ilorin have been exposed to a great extent, he is still adamant upon his misguided path and some people are still following him on it. Despite the fact that the evils of ikhwaaniyyah have been sufficiently exposed, they still command the support and unhealthy sympathy of many people. Despite the fact that the evils of the shee'as, sufis, khawaarij have been sufficiently dealt with by scholars, they still have many followers. Shaytaan is dogged on misleading a lot of people. Allaah guides whom He wishes. May Allaah guide us against all these evils. 

The only thing that can save the members of the Muslim community against these kind of people is to stick to sunnah based scholars. Scholars who call to pure Sunnah based on the understanding of the Salaf us Saalih. A serious Muslim would desert all scholars upon bid'ah, and wouldn't have anything to do with them until they repent sincerely and return to the truth (Sunnah). This doesn't mean one should close the door of da'wah upon them. It only means that they shouldn't be related with in a way that they would think they are upon goodness. If a scholar of Sunnah relates with people of bid'ah in ways alien to to the Sunnah, the Sunnah would be greatly undermined.

In a hadith reported by Ibn Mas'ud رضي الله عنه, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم gave an important illustration to warn us strong against treading paths that would later deviate from the path of his Sunnah. He drew a straight line, and beside that straight line, he drew some other lines. Regarding the single straight line, he said: this is the path of Allaah (the Sunnah). Regarding other lines beside the straight line, he said: and upon these paths, there is shaytaan calling people to it. [Reported by An-Nasaa'i, Ahmad, Ad-daarimi and ibn Hibban]

This illutration is enough to guide each and everyone of us to unite upon the pure and unadulterated Sunnah. Although our division as a ummah is inevitable and predestined (this is evident in many texts), but the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had assisted us to know where to be in the face of the divisions. Allaah has the power to guide anyone He likes. The straight line drew by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is the line of Sunnah and the way of the salaf, other lines (other sects) are just mere distractions. They are just a means of testing our belief in Allaah. Let us not make the mistake of following any of them intentionally or otherwise. The consequences are grave and destructive. It is shaytaan that call people to the misguided sects, he doesn't want good for us. Allaah says:

(إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا ۚ إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُوا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ)

Surely, satan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He calls his party only (to follow him) with the result that they become of the inmates of the blazing Fire. [Surat Fatir 6]

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