(8). You will probably ask why these people innovate new, new things into the Deen, and how come the fear of Allaah Ta`ala does not overcome them. To understand this it would be appropriate to take a stock of the reasons for and the machinations of innovating Bid`aat.
Firstly, the initial motivating factor of Bid`ah is ignorance. Bid`ah has an external façade of „beauty‟ and „appeal‟, and a person by looking at its outward appearance becomes infatuated with it. The naffs consoles one into believing that and interpreting this as a good and virtuous act, and since they believe it to be a good act, how can it ever be prohibited in the Shariah? Hence, by sufficing upon its outward „beauty‟ a person becomes pleased to do it, whilst being oblivious and blind to its inherent and internal evil. A perfect example of this would be if an ugly and disfigured woman is donned in beautiful and exquisite clothing. Onlookers who are unaware of her actual condition merely look at the outward appearance and are infatuated with her looks. From afar she appears to be a beautiful creature. The general masses are generally restricted to outward facades and appearances, hence they are not as smitten by the Sunnat of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) as they with their innovations.
Secondly, the second reason is the deception and bamboozling of shaitaan. You are quite aware that shaitaan is an open enemy of this Deen, the Sunnat and way of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam). He is well aware that this is the path which leads the children of Hadhrat Aadam (alaihi salaam) to Jannat. He is also privy of the fact that even though he tediously leads man astray and involves him in sin, but when he (man) frees himself from the snares of sin, he just needs to present himself in the presence of Allaah Ta`ala just once and repent sincerely and all his (shaitaan‟s) efforts are washed away. It is reported in a Hadith that when shaitaan was expelled from Allaah Ta`ala‟s Court, this accursed took an oath that since he was expelled with the coming of and due to Hadhrat Adam (alaihi salaam), he will spare no effort to mislead and deviate the children of Hadhrat Aadam (alaihi salaam).
Allaah Ta`ala also took an oath upon His Majesty and Grandeur that regardless of what a great sin man commits, as long he sincerely repents and concedes his mistake, he will be forgiven. [Mishkaat, page 204]
In short, repentance and Astaghfaar has broken the back of shaitaan. It is for this reason that shaitaan has devised this plot of Bid`ahs, wherein he has no fear that man will ever make Tawbah and repent. Shaitaan was a tea cher of the angels. He is aware of all the tricks in the book and he knows the interpretations for making Haraam Halaal, etc. that even Mirza Ghulaam Ahmed Qadiani and his offspring accept him as their teacher. He is also an expert on the naffs of man. He has a way of misleading every type of people in different ways. As you see nowadays, where propaganda is able to portray truth as false and vice versa, and the oppressor as the oppressed, and Haqq as Baatil and Baatil as Haqq. This is a small indication of shaitaan‟s trickery. It is extremely surprising that we see people deny the Haqq when it is as clear as the daylight, and they open the doors of doubt and confusion. Some things are so clearly contrary to the Deen and even rationality that even a child will understand, yet people open the Qur`aan Majeed and Ahaadith to substantiate themselves. Now, if this is not the deception and bamboozling of shaitaan, what else can it be? Referring to this, the Qur`aan Majeed states: “Shaitaan has beautified for them their acts.” In short, in order to create doubt and uncertainty in the hearts of people for the true Deen, and in order to beauty the new innovations, views and Bid`ahs, are all the work and plot of shaitaan, whereby he intends to lead mankind astray without any fear of failure. This matter can be discussed in a voluminous book. Imaams Ghazaali, Ibn Jawzi and Shu`raani (rahmatullahi alaihim) have written books on this specific subject alone.
Thirdly: The third reason which gives rise to Bid`ahs is when the disease of name and fame enters into the people. It is in the natural disposition of man that he is attracted to new things, which he easily adopts. They are therefore on a constant lookout for new things. It is reported in a Hadith that close to Qiyaamah there will be many false (small) dajjaals, who will narrate such things which neither you nor your fathers have not heard before. Be wary of them and save yourself from being led astray by them and from becoming involved in Fitnahs. [Mishkaat, page 28]
Fourthly, One of the main reasons for the initiation of Bid`ah is the imitating of other nations. It is a natural principle and trait of civilisation and society that when different cultures intermingle then instinctively one exercises an effect on the other. That nation which does not preserve its culture, will inadvertently lose some of its characteristics. That nation which is overpowered will fall at the feet of the overpowering one. The Muslim nation, as long as it was victorious over the other nations, protected its culture which remained intact and it had a definite effect on other nations. But, when the Imaan became cold and the cultural protection simmered down, it became susceptible to the other nations. In the present age, the effect of the English culture on the Muslims bears testimony to this fact. One of the effects of this overwhelming of other cultures is that at times the specialities and customs of other cultures, is given a Deeni flavour and stamp. It is a mystery that the Muslims in each area have different Bid`ahs. Those Bid`ahs that are common in India are not so in the Arab lands. And likewise, there are many Bid`ahs that are common in Egypt, Syria, etc, which are not so in India.
Islaam, spread widely and swiftly in India, but unfortunately, no much importance was attached to Deeni Ta`leem and upbringing. This is the reason why those Muslims who left Hinduism and entered the fold of Islaam, could not shake off their Hindi culture. In fact, the intense intermingling of the Muslims with the Hindus introduced other new things in to their (Muslim) culture. It is for this reason that we see the un-Islaamic customs amongst the Indian Muslims on the occasions of marriage, which the womenfolk are more aware than the men would be. This is all the effects and germs of the Hindu culture. A new Muslim convert, Moulana Ubaidullaah, has expounded more on this topic in his book Tuhfatul Hind. I am not implying that all the ways and customs of the Indian Muslims are from Hindu culture neither am I saying that all Muslims are involved therein. What I am saying is that most of these customs are not amongst the traits of Islaamic Shariah, rather they can be found amongst the Hindu society. There are many areas where the Muslims are greatly outnumbered by the Hindus and these Muslims were never given an opportunity to learn the Deen properly, that their ignorance is to such an extent that even their names are those of Hindus and they (men) even sport ponytails like the Hindus. It is very clear that when people whose situation is so pathetic, how can they not become involved in Hindu culture and customs. Now, since this foreign (Hindu) culture and customs have become second nature to them (Muslims), they begin to envisage the Shariah as being alien and foreign. Many ignorant and unwary Muslims males and females, when they are made aware of Shar`i Masaa`il, they say: “New, new Molvis, new, new Mas`alahs”. It is as though those Hindu customs they have become accustomed to have become an integral part of the Deen and the teachings of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) whereof they have been ignorant all their lives is some new Deen.
These are the few reasons which have given rise to the various Bid`ahs which have crept into the Islaamic Shariah. It is sad to note that the major fault of these innovations lie more with the learned people than the ignorant masses. These (learned) people have given impetus and spurred on these innovations instead of safeguarding the Deen from its evil.