I. Al-Shāfiʿī's definition of bidʿa as either good or bad;
II. The division of bidʿa into good and bad among Ahl al-Sunna and others.
A major contribution of Imām al-Shāfiʿī (ra) in the Foundations of Jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh) is his division of innovation (al-bidʿa) and innovated matters (al-muḥdathāt) into “good” and “bad” depending on their conformity or non-conformity to the guidelines of the Religion. This is authentically narrated from al-Shāfiʿī from two of his most prestigious students in the latter period of his life, the Egyptian ḥadīth Masters Ḥarmala ibn Yaḥyā al-Tujaybī and al-Rabīʿ ibn Sulaymān al-Murādī:
Ḥarmala said, “I heard al-Shāfiʿī (ra) say:
He used as his proof the statement of ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (ra) about the [congregational] supererogatory night prayers in the month of Ramad.ān: “What a fine innovation this is!”1 This shows that al-Shāfiʿī never interpreted ʿUmar's words figuratively the way the "Salafi" over-interpreters (muʿattila) do.
Al-Rabīʿ said, “Al-Shāfiʿī said to us:
'Innovated matters are of two kinds (al-muḥdathātu min al-umūri d.arbān):
one is an innovation that contravenes (mā uḥditha yukhālifu) something in the Qur'ān or the Sunna or a Companion-report (athar) or the Consensus (ijmāʿ): that innovation is misguidance (fahādhihi al-bidʿatu d.alāla).
The other kind is the innovation of any and all good things (mā uḥditha min al-khayr) contravening none of the above, and this is a blameless innovation (wahādhihi muḥdathatun ghayru madhmūma).
ʿUmar (ra) said, concerning the prayers of Ramad.ān: What a fine bidʿa this is! meaning that it was innovated without having existed before and, even so, there was nothing in it that contradicted the above.'”2
Thus al-Shāfiʿī set forth the essential, indispensable criterion for the determination of true bidʿa, as defined, among others, by Imām al-Haytamī, Qād.ī Abū Bakr Ibn al-ʿArabī, and Imām al-Lacknawī respectively:
“Bidʿa in terms of the Law is everything innovated in contravention of the Lawgiver's command and the latter's specific and general proof.”3
“Only the bidʿa that contradicts the Sunna is blameworthy.”4
“Bidʿa is all that did not exist in the first three centuries and for which there is no basis among the four sources of Islām” i.e. Qur'ān, Sunna, Ijmāʿ, and Qiyās.5
Consequently, it is not enough for something merely to be novel to be a bidʿa; it must also contradict the Religion.
This is a clear-cut defense of the necessity and Sunna character of kalām in the defense against innovators on the part of Imām al-Bayhaqī. Something similar is reported from Ibn ʿAsākir, Ibn al-S.alāḥ, al-Nawawī, Ibn al-Subkī, Ibn ʿābidīn, and others of the great Imāms we cited [hier 3a 3b]
Ḥujjat al-Islām al-Ghazzālī said in his discussion of the adding of dots to the Qur'anic script:
The Qād.ī Abū Bakr Ibn al-ʿArabī said in his discussion of bidʿa:
Ibn Ḥazm al-Ẓāhirī said:
Ibn al-Jawzī speaks in similar terms in the beginning of his Talbīs Iblīs:
The lexicographer Ibn al-Athīr said in his masterpiece, al-Nihāya fī Gharīb al-Ḥādīth wal-Athar:
Shaykh al-Islām, Sulṭān al-ʿUlāmā' Imām al-ʿIzz Ibn ʿAbd al-Salām similarly said:
Elsewhere he states that the categories of bidʿa are five, identical to the jurists' classification of deeds:
“disliked” (makrūh), and
“indifferently permitted” (mubāḥ).14
Shaykh al-Islām, Imām al-Nawawī said:
“Innovation is divided into 'obligatory' (wājiba), 'forbidden's (muḥarrama), 'recommended's (mandūba), 'offensive's (makrūha), and 'indifferent's (mubāḥa).
The way [to discriminate] in this is that the innovation be examined in the light of the regulations of the Law (qawāʿid al-sharīʿa). If it falls under the regulations of obligatoriness (ījāb) then it is obligatory; under the regulations of prohibitiveness (taḥrīm) then it is prohibited; recommendability, then recommended; offensiveness, then offensive; indifference, then indifferent.”15
The Ḥāfiz. Ibn Ḥajar said:
Agreement formed in the Four Schools around the fivefold classification of bidʿa as illustrated by the endorsement of the major later authorities in each School.
(1) Among the Ḥanafīs: al-Kirmānī, Ibn ʿābidīn, al-Turkmānī, al-ʿAynī, and al-Tahānawī.17
(2) Among the Mālikīs: al-Ṭurṭūshī, Ibn al-Ḥājj, al-Qarāfī, and al-Zurqānī, while al-Shāṭibī attempts a refutation and claims that the fivefold classification is “an invented matter without proof in the Law”!18
(3) Consensus among the Shāfiʿīs.19
(4) Reluctant acceptance among later Ḥanbalīs, who altered al-Shāfiʿī and Ibn ʿAbd al-Salām's terminology to read “lexical innovation” (bidʿa lughawiyya) and “legal innovation” (bidʿa sharʿiyya), respectively - although inaccurately - matching al-Shāfiʿī's “approved” and “abominable.20 This manner of splitting hairs has become the shibboleth of Wahhābism in every micro-debate on bidʿa although the correct way - as usual - is patently that of the Jumhūr.
Shaykh Muḥammad Bakhīt al-Muṭīʿī said: “The legal bidʿa is the one that is misguidance and condemned; as for the bidʿa that the Ulema divided into obligatory and forbidden and so forth, such is the lexical bidʿa which is more inclusive than the legal because the legal is only part of it.”21
Al-Shawkānī concluded in Nayl al-Awṭār that the foundational division of innovations into “good” and “bad” is the soundest and most correct position.22
It is enough that a major Mujtahid Imām of the Salaf said so on the basis of the Qur'ān and Sunna regardless of the argumentations of later centuries - whether from a would-be murajjiḥ like al-Shawkānī or a would-be censor like al-Shāṭibī - in light of the concurrence of the Jumhūr around al-Shāfiʿī's explanation and the Divine and Prophetic injunctions to follow the path of the Believers and to stay with their greatest mass.
And Allāh knows best.
 Narrated from Ḥarmala by Abū Nuʿaym with his chain through Abū Bakr al-ājurrī in Ḥilyat al-Awliyā' (9:121 #13315=1985 ed. 9:113) and cited by Abū Shāma in al-Bāʿith ʿalā Inkār al-Bidaʿ wal-Ḥawādith (Ryadh 1990 ed. p. 93), Ibn Rajab in Jāmiʿ al-ʿUlūm wal-Ḥikam (p. 267=Zuḥaylī ed. 2:52= Arna'ūt. ed. 2:131 ṣaḥīḥ), Ibn Ḥajar in Fatḥ al-Bārī (1959 ed. 13:253), al-Turṭūshī in al-Ḥawādith wa al-Bidaʿ (p. 158-159), and al-Shawkānī, al-Qawl al-Mufīd fī Adillat al-Ijtihād wa al-Taqlīd (1347/1929 ed. p. 36). ʿUmar's report is narrated by Mālik in al-Muwaṭṭa' and al-Bukhārī in his S.aḥīḥ.
 Narrated from al-Rabīʿ by al-Bayhaqī in his Madkhal and Manāqib al-Shāfiʿī (1:469) with a sound chain as stated by Ibn Taymiyya in his Dār' Taʿārud. al-ʿAql wa al-Naql (p. 171) and through al-Bayhaqī by Ibn ʿAsākir in Tabyīn Kadhib al-Muftarī (Kawtharī ed. p. 97). Cited by al-Dhahabī in the Siyar (8:408), Ibn Rajab in Jāmiʿ al-ʿUlūm wal-Ḥikam (p. 267=Zuḥaylī ed. 2:52-53=Arna'ūṭ ed. 2:131 ṣaḥīḥ), and Ibn Ḥajar in Fatḥ al-Bārī (1959 ed. 13:253).[up-1]
 Al-Haytamī, al-Tabyīn fī Sharḥ al-Arbaʿīn (p. 32).
 Ibn al-ʿArabī, ʿārid.at al-Aḥwadhī (10:147).
 Cf. al-Lacknawī, Iqāmat al-Ḥujja (p. 12).
 Al-Bayhaqī, Manāqib al-Shāfiʿī (1:469).
 Al-Ghazzālī, Iḥyā' ʿUlūm al-Dīn (1:276).
 Ibn al-ʿArabī, ʿārid.at al-Aḥwadhī (10:146-147).
 Ibn Ḥazm, al-Iḥkām fī Uṣūl al-Aḥkām (1:47).
 Narrated from Jarīr ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Bajalī by Muslim, al-Tirmidhī, al-Nasā'ī, Ibn Mājah, Aḥmad, and al-Dārimī. Also narrated with a similar wording from Abū Hurayra by Ibn Mājah and Aḥmad; from Abū Juḥayfa by Ibn Mājah; and from Hudhayfa by Aḥmad.
 Narrated from al-ʿIrbād. ibn Sāriya by al-Tirmidhī (ḥasan ṣaḥīḥ), Abū Dāwūd, Ibn Mājah, Aḥmad, al-Dārimī, Ibn Ḥibbān (1:178-179 #5 ṣaḥīḥ), al-Ḥākim (1:95-97=1990 ed. 1:174-177) - declaring it ṣaḥīḥ while al-Dhahabī confirmed it - and in al-Madkhal ilā al-S.aḥīḥ (p. 80-81), al-ājurrī in al-Sharīʿa (p. 54-55 #79-82=p. 46 ṣaḥīḥ), Ibn Abī ʿāṣim in al-Sunna (p. 29 #54 ṣaḥīḥ), al-Ṭaḥāwī in Mushkil al-āthār (2:69=3:221-224 #1185-1187 ṣaḥīḥ), Muḥammad ibn Naṣr al-Marwazī in al-Sunna (p. 26-27 #69-72 ṣaḥīḥ), al-Ḥārith ibn Abī Usāma in his Musnad (1:197-198), al-Rūyānī in his Musnad (1:439), Abū Nuʿaym in Ḥilyat al-Awliyā' (1985 ed. 5:220-221, 10:115), al-Ṭabarānī in Musnad al-Shāmiyyīn (1:254, 1:402, 1:446, 2:197, 2:298) and al-Kabīr (18:245-257), al-Bayhaqī in al-Sunan al-Kubrā (10:114), al-Madkhal (p. 115-116), al-Iʿtiqād (p. 229), and Shuʿab al-Imān (6:67), al-Baghawī who declared it ḥasan in Sharḥ al-Sunna (1:205 #102 isnād ṣaḥīḥ), Ibn al-Athīr in Jāmiʿ al-Uṣūl (1:187, 1:279), Ibn ʿAsākir in al-Arbaʿīn al-Buldāniyya (p. 121), Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr in al-Tamhīd (21:278-279) and Jāmiʿ Bayān al-ʿIlm (2:924 #1758) where he declared it ṣaḥīḥ, and others.
 Ibn al-Athīr, al-Nihāya (1:79 entry b-d-ʿ).
 Ibn ʿAbd al-Salām, al-Fatāwā al-Mawṣiliyya (p. 129).
 Ibn ʿAbd al-Salām, al-Qawāʿid al-Kubrā (2:337-339) cf. al-Nawawī in al-Adhkār (Thaqāfiyya ed. p. 237) and Tahdhīb al-Asma' wal-Lughāt (3:20-22), al-Shāṭibī in al-Iʿtis.ām (Beirut ed. 1:188), al-Kirmānī in al-Kawākib al-Darārī (9:54), Ibn Ḥajar in Fatḥ al-Bārī (13:253-254), al-Suyūṭī, introduction to Ḥusn al-Maqṣid in al-Ḥāwī lil-Fatāwā; al-Haytamī, Fatāwā Ḥadīthiyya (p. 150), Ibn ʿābidīn, Radd al-Muḥtār (1:376) etc.
 Al-Nawawī, Tahdhīb al-Asmā' wal-Lughāt (3:20-22).
 Ibn Hajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī (1959 ed. 5:156-157=1989 ed. 4:318).
 Al-Kirmānī, al-Kawākib al-Darārī Sharḥ S.aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (9:54), Ibn ʿābidīn, Ḥāshiya (1:376, 1:560); al-Turkmānī, al-Lumaʿ fīl-Ḥawādith wal-Bidaʿ (Stuttgart, 1986, 1:37); al-Tahānawī, Kashshāf Isṭilāḥat al-Funūn (Beirut, 1966, 1:133-135); al-ʿAynī, ʿUmdat al-Qārī in al-Ḥimyarī, al-Bidʿat al-Ḥasana (p. 152-153).
 Al-Ṭurṭūshī, Kitāb al-Ḥawādith wa al-Bidaʿ (p. 15, p. 158-159); Ibn al-Ḥajj, Madkhal al-Sharʿ al-Sharīf (Cairo, 1336/1918 2:115); al-Qarāfī, al-Furūq (4:219) cf. al-Shāṭibī, al-Iʿtiṣām (1:188-191); al-Zurqānī, Sharḥ al-Muwaṭṭa' (1:238). Al-Shāṭibī's Iʿtiṣām was recirculated by two Wahhābīs: Rashīd Rid.ā then Salīm Hilālī. A third Wahhābī, Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Salām Khad.ir al-Shuqayrī - Rid.ā's student - authored al-Sunan wal-Mubtadaʿāt al-Mutaʿalliqa bil-Adhkār wal-S.alawāt which he filled with unverifiable tales which he proceeds to denounce with much ado.
 Abū Shāma, al-Bāʿith ʿalā Inkār al-Bidaʿ wa al-Ḥawādith (Riyad: Dār al-Raya, 1990 p. 93, Cairo ed. p. 12-13) as well as those already mentioned. Note: “consensus” (ijmāʿ) is more inclusive than “agreement” (ittifāq), and binding.
 Ibn Rajab, al-Jāmiʿ fīl-ʿUlūm wal-Ḥikam (2:50-53), and Ibn Taymiyya's section on bidʿa in his Iqtid.ā' al-S.irāṭ al-Mustaqīm Mukhālafat Aṣḥāb al-Jaḥīm. This is also the position of Ibn Kathīr: see his commentary of the verse: (The Originator of the heavens and the earth!) (2:117) in his Tafsīr. He followed in this his teacher Ibn Taymiyya.
 Bakhīt, Fatāwā Ḥadīthiyya (p. 205).
 Al-Shawkānī, Nayl al-Awṭār (4:60).