Innovations and Evil Customs

Bahishti Zewar, Fiqh, Part 1-Beliefs & Laws of Tahara / Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Innovations and Evil Customs

To introduce something which has no basis in Shariah into the Deen, to regard it as part of Deen, and to act upon it with the hope of reward, is called a bid’ah (innovation). An innovation is a major sin.

The following innovations and customs should be abstained from:

  1. To organize and hold grand fairs at graves, to light lamps there, for women to visit them, and to cover graves with sheets.

  2. To construct tombs over the graves.

  3. To go to extremes in revering the graves with a view to please the saint of the grave.

  4. To make ta’zias, to kiss the graves and rub its dust on one’s face.

  5. To make tawaaf and sajdah to the graves.

  6. To read salaat towards the graves.

  7. To make offerings of sweetmeats, rice, etc. to the graves.

  8. To keep ta’zias or emblems on the graves, and to keep sweets, etc. on them.

  9. To salute graves and regard them as unique and incomparable.

  10. To abstain from the following acts in the month of Muharram:

(a) eating betel leaves,
(b) applying henna (mehendi),
(c) the company of the husband,
(d) wearing red clothes,
(e) eating out of the dish named after Hazrat Fatimah (R.A.).

  1. To observe the third and fortieth days as compulsory after death ceremonies.

  2. To regard the second marriage of a woman as a blemish despite there being a need for it.

  3. To perform the different ceremonies of Nikah (marriage), Khatna (circumcision), Bismillah (beginning of education), etc., inspite of lack of means, especially by putting oneself in debt and making arrangements for music and dances.

  4. To observe the festivals of Holi and Diwali.

  5. To greet in any way other than the greeting of As salaamu alai kum, or to just bow by raising the hand to the head.

  6. To appear before one’s brother-in-law, sister-in-law, cousins, or any other strangers, etc. without any modesty or bashfulness.

  7. To bring water from the river while singing.

  8. To listen to music or play musical instruments, or to make dancing girls dance and to reward them for it.

  9. To be boastful or proud of one’s lineage or family, or to consider any connection with any saint to be sufficient for salvation.

  10. To taunt someone on account of his lower lineage, or to regard any permissible occupation to be despicable or below your dignity.

  11. To go to extremes in praising someone.

  12. To spend extravagantly in marriages and other senseless ceremonies.

  13. To follow Hindu customs.

  14. To make the bridegroom wear clothes which are contrary to the Shariah, to adorn him with garlands, to apply henna (mehendi) on him, to light fireworks and make unnecessary decorations.

  15. To bring the bridegroom among the women and in front of them, or to peep at him.

  16. To bring the mature (baaligh) sister-in-law (bride’s sister) in front of the bridegroom, to joke with her, or to hold “chauthi” (a ceremony on the fourth day of the marriage).

  17. To go and listen to the conversation of the bride and bridegroom while they are in their privacy, to peep at them or to eavesdrop; and if you hear something, to tell it to others.

  18. To make the bride attend the feast given by the bridegroom and to force her to sit there to the extent that even her salaat is missed.

  19. To fix exhorbitant mehr (dowry) out of pride and boastfulness.

  20. To weep aloud out of sorrow, or to beat the face and chest, or to cry in a shouting manner.

  21. To break the containers which were in use at the time of death, or to get the clothes washed which touched the body of the dead.

  22. Not to prepare pickles, etc. in the house of mourning for about a year or so.

  23. Not to celebrate any happy or joyous occasion.

  24. To revive the sorrow or mourning on certain fixed dates.

  25. To excessively occupy one’s self in make-up and self-beautification and to look down upon simplicity.

  26. To hang pictures and photographs in the house.

  27. To use gold or silver utensils.

  28. To wear thin or flimsy clothing, or to wear jingling and tinkling jewellery.

  29. To wear short skirts.

  30. To attend the gatherings of men, e.g. processions and fairs.

  31. To adopt the dressing of the opposite sex.

  32. To tatoo the body.

  33. To practise witchcraft and cast spells.

  34. To hang and suspend carpets from walls and ceilings merely for decoration and beautification.

  35. To embrace and hug ghayr mahrams (those with whom hijaab is necessary) at the time of departing or returning from a journey.

  36. To pierce the nose or ear of a male child as an omen for long life.

  37. To make the male child wear a nose or ear ring, or silk, or saffron-dyed clothes, or any jewellery on the neck, feet or wrists.

  38. To feed the children with opium (and other similar drugs) in order to keep them quiet.

  39. To give someone the meat or milk of a lion because of some illness.

There are many other similar incorrect beliefs, customs, and innovations. These have been mentioned to serve as an example.

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