Posted by: Dawud Israel | January 13, 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: Understanding Bid’a

Special thanks to Br. Shaik Abdul Khafid for the graphic work.

I’ve always found bid’a to be one of those misunderstood topics in Islam- if understood, its usually in a patchwork or piecemeal format, so I figured an infographic was needed to provide the big picture. Infographics is an underutilized idea in Islamic education but its very easy to do and inshallah I plan to make a few more of these infographics.

Bid’a is a discursive concept and even the Sahabas debated on certain bid’a. Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad has said, “Islam is the only religion in the world that has the concept of bid’a,” (and its subcategories of praiseworthy bid’a and blameworthy bid’a), to regulate Islam and keep it healthy and strong, free of superstition and ignorance, while also allowing it to adapt reflexively and dynamically when a real need arises. Its as I’ve said before regarding bid’a: sometimes things must change in order to remain the same.

The source for this project was Sunna Notes by GF Haddad, from which I took select quotations. Its a very lengthy book full of quotations, and also deals with contemporary issues like feminism, Progressives and Quran-only Muslims. If you have read GF Haddad before, you know he is a fantastic writer, but his tone is very scathing (interestingly, in his videos he is extremely soft spoken) so I tried to avoid his harsh tone in this project.

Click the images to enlarge them.

Bid’a Venn diagram

Understanding Bid’a in Islam Flow chart

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, ameen.


  1. nice venn diagram. is it possible to reword the flow chart in english english? or in context? many of the quotes are simply left in their literal translation, with no explanation. for example “this black seed”, what black seed is the hadith referring to? like a seed? watermelon seeds? sesame seeds?

  2. AslaamaLaikum,

    Jazakhallah Khair for the following article post and May Allah reward you for desiging the images.

    The above article will be shared on Facebook so other users will be able to gain the sacred knowledge on understanding the brief content of Bidah.

    • Shukran.

  3. Love it! mashaAllah

    David McCandless does some really beautiful work, you should check him out if you need some inspiration/ideas for portraying information visually. his website is:

    one of my personal favourites:

    • yeah, I also follow that blog along with a bunch of other infographic online projects.

      i thought it would be easy to do this but its actually quite difficult. lots of processing, conceptualizing, condensing, and reviewing involved.

  4. Salam, nice work. Can you give me more info about the nasheed “innovated” after prayer by ‘Umar (ra)? Like, where is this historical narration to be found exactly; after which prayers; how many munshids; was it like a band…?

    • Sure will post it shortly.

    • ‘Umar was approached by some people who complained, “We have an imam who after praying the ‘asr prayer, with us begins to sing!” ‘Umar went with them and asked the man to recite what he sang to them. He said:

      My heart, every time I scold it
      returns to pleasures that fatigue me.
      I never see it occupied except
      with empty pastimes all the time, harming me.
      My evil companion, what childishness is this?
      Life has passed and you still play?
      My youth has gone and left me
      before I ever put it to right use!
      My soul! You and your lusts are nothing.
      Fear Allah. Fear Him. Fear Him.

      ‘Umar repeated the last verse over and over, weeping. Then he said, “Whoever of you must sing,let him sing such things.”
      (Narrated by Ibn al-Sim’ani as cited in Kanz al-‘Ummal (8944)

  5. nice…informative

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