This letter was written to Mîr Muhibullah. It gives advice to hold fast to the Sunnat-i saniyya and to avoid bid'ats: Hamd be to Allâhu ta'âlâ! I pronounce my benedictions over His Prophets and send my salâm to you. My dear brother, Sayyid Mir Muhibullah! The states, the guidance of the faqîrs being here are very good. Infinite gratitude due to Allâhu ta'âlâ for this reason. I pray to Allâhu ta'âlâ for your salvation and so that your state will not change and you will make progress in the right way. Nowadays, you have not let us know of what situation you have been in. Your being so far makes it difficult for us to correspond. Giving advice is the first duty in our dîn and is to follow the Highest of Prophets (May our highest benedictions and salâms be over him and all others!). Following him requires carrying out all his sunnats, that is, his commands and prohibitions, and avoiding the bid'ats, which he dislikes. Even if those bid'ats looked bright like the breaking of dawn that annihilates the darkness of night, it would be necessary to abstain from all of them. For, there is no nûr, no light in any bid'at, nor any cure for an ill person. They cannot be medicine for a sick person. For, each bid'at either annihilates a sunnat, or it has nothing to do with the Sunnat. However, those bid'ats which have nothing to do with the Sunnat overflow the Sunnat and are superfluous. So they annihilate the Sunnat. For, to do any command more than commanded means to change the command. Hence, it is understood that each bid'at, no matter how it is, annihilates the Sunnat, and is at loggerheads with the Sunnat. There is no goodness or beauty in any bid'at. I wish I knew why and how they ever said 'beautiful' about some of the bid'ats which appeared after the blessings had been completed in this perfect dîn, Islam, which Allahu ta'âlâ likes. Why did they not know that when something has been perfected, completed and liked, supplements added to it cannot be beautiful? Any change made in something correct and right is deviation, heresy. If they realized the fact that to say beautiful about something which appeared later in this perfect and complete dîn would mean to say that the dîn did not reach perfection or the blessing was not completed, they would not say beautiful about any bid'at. O our Allah! Do not call us to acount for what we have forgotten or what we have erred on! I send my salâm to you and to those being with you. [The term sunnat has three different meanings in our dîn. When Book and Sunnat are said together, the Book means the Qur'ân and the Sunnat means hadîths. When said Fard and Sunnat fard means Allah's commandments and sunnat means our Prophet's 'sall-Allâhu alaihi wa sallam' sunnats, that is, his commands. When the word Sunnat is used alone, it means the Sharî'at, that is, all the rules of Islam. Books of fiqh teach this fact. For example, it is written in Mukhtasar-i Qudûrî, "He who knows the Sunnat best will become the imâm." When explaining this statement, the book Jawhara writes, "In this context Sunnat means the Sharî'at." See the fifteenth chapter of the third fascicle! It has now been understood that for purifying the heart it is necessary to follow the Sharî'at. To follow the Sharî'at means to do the commandments and to refrain from the prohibitions and bid'ats. Bid'at means something which has been invented later. They are things which did not exist during the time of our Prophet 'sall-Allâhu alaihi wa sallam' and his four Khalîfas 'radiyallâhu 'anhum' and which have been invented later in the dîn and which people have been doing as worships. For example, since it is necessary to recite the Âyat-al-kursî immediately after each namâz, it is bid'at to recite the Salâtan tunjînâ or other prayers first. They should be recited after the Âyat-al-kursî and tesbîhs. It is bid'at to prostrate and then stand up after finishing a namâz. It is bid'at to call the adhân through loudspeakers. Any change or reform made in the dîn is bid'at. But it is not bid'at to use such things as forks, spoons, ties, to drink coffee, tea, or to smoke, for they are not worships; they are customs, habits, and are mubâh. They are not harâm. To do them does not cause one to omit what the religion commands or to do what it prohibits. It is written in Hadîqa-tun-nadiyya, "If the bid'at is something not pertaining to the religion or worship, and if it involves customs, our religion does not reject it. If we do not intend to do worship, i.e., to attain closeness to Allâhu ta'âlâ and if we only think of doing something worldly in eating, drinking, dressing, getting vehicles, building, dwelling and home care, unless these do not prevent us from doing any worship or cause us to commit any prohibited thing, these are not bid'at. Our religion does not prohibit them." There are three kinds of bid'at: 1 — It is the worst bid'at to use —without any darûrat (compulsion)— those things which the Sharî'at says to be the signs of disbelief. On page 467 of al-Barîqa and 696 of Majmâ' al-anhur, it is written that the 'ulamâ' said, "It is permissible to use them to deceive (khud'a) the disbelievers in dâr al-harb." 2 — Those beliefs which disagree with what is communicated by the savants of the Ahl as-sunnat are also evil bid'ats. 3 — Those reforms made in the name of worship are bid'ats in worship and are grave sins. Some 'ulamâ' divided the bid'ats in 'ibâdât or 'amal into the hasana and sayyia. Al-Imâm ar-Rabbânî 'rahmatullâhi 'aleyh' did not say 'bid'ats' about those bid'ats which scholars termed 'hasana'. He called them 'sunnat-i-hasana'. He said 'bid'ats' about those which they termed 'bid'at-i-sayyia', and he condemned such bid'ats. Wahhabis, on the other hand, say 'sayyia' about bid'ats termed 'hasana' and approved, and they call those who practice such bid'ats 'disbelievers', 'polytheists'.]