Is the repentance of a person of bid’ah accepted?

The Details of the Question

- It is stated in some hadiths used while fighting the people of bid’ah that the fasting, prayer, sadaqah, hajj, umrah, jihad, repentance and fidyah of them are accepted by Allah.
- It is reported that they shattered religion, that they were the people of bid’ah, desires and aberration, that their repentance will be rejected while others’ repentance will be accepted, and that the Messenger of Allah is away from them.
- According to a narration, the statement “Allah removed the right of repentance from the people of bid’ah” is included in a marfu hadith.
- It is stated in such narrations that the repentance of the people of bid’ah will not be accepted. Is the repentance of the people of bid’ah (Rafidis, Batinis, etc.) accepted if they repent and turn to the Sunnah?
- That is, will the repentance of the people of bid’ah be accepted? If yes, how should hadith narrations related to them be understood?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There are some narrations regarding the issue but most of them are either weak or fabricated. The bid’ah mentioned in the sound ones are those who commit bid’ah in terms of belief and exit the religion. The worship of a person who exits the religion will not be accepted anyway.

Some of the narrations regarding the issue are as follows:

a) Hudhayfa narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

“Allah does not accept the fasting, prayer, sadaqah, hajj, umrah, jihad, and any other deed of a person who has bid’ahs. He exits the religion like a strand of hair comes out of dough.” (Ibn Majah, Muqaddima, 7/49)

Sindi, who explained the hadiths of Ibn Majah, states the following while explaining the hadith above:

“What is meant by the bid’ah in this hadith must be corrupt creed and faith because the people of knowledge call those who have a wrong belief a bid’ah doer. Those who have strong faith and creed but do bid’ahs in terms of deeds are not meant in this hadith. Besides, scholars call those who have strong faith but lack worship fasiqs, not ­bid’ah doers. As is understood from the hadith, if those who have corrupt faith and creed give up their wrong faith and repent, Allah will certainly accept their worship.” (See Sindi, Kifayatul-Haja, the explanation of the hadith in question)

That is, if those who have bid’ahs in terms of faith do not repent, their deeds will not be accepted, but if they repent, both their repentance and worship will be accepted.

b) Anas narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:

“Verily, Allah forbade all people of bid’ah from repentance.” (see Tabarani, al-Awsat, h. no: 4202)

This hadith narration is accepted as sound. (see Majma’uz-Zawaid, 10/189)

However, it is not stated in this hadith that “the repentance of the people of bid’ah will not be accepted”. The following is stated: “He forbade people of bid’ah from repentance.” It means people of bid’ah will not repent easily. Repentance is far from them. It means if they repent, their repentance will be accepted.

However, Dhahabi; Ibnul-Jawzi and others report that one of the narrators in the chain of the narrators of the hadith is weak and that the hadith is not sound but munkar. (see Dhahabi, Mizanul-Itidal, 9175; Ibnul-Jawzi, al-Ilalul-Mutanahiya, 1/145)

It is a contradiction and it is against the spirit of Islam that the repentance of the most ferocious unbelievers and polytheists is accepted but that the repentance of the people of bid’ah, who are not worse than them, is not accepted.

The emphasis in the Quran that polytheism is outside the scope of forgiveness (an-Nisa, 4/48) is related to those who die without repentance and as polytheists. Otherwise, in case of repentance, all kinds of denial and unbelief, including polytheism, will be forgiven.

In that case, when the people of bid’ah in terms of creed and belief repent, their repentance is accepted before unbelievers.

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