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Is going for tabligh for a fixed period of time a form of bid’ah

Isn’t the practice of going on Tabligh for 40 days, or 4 months a bid’ah (religious innovation). A person related to the Tablighi Jamaat, once, categorically mentioned that “the idea of going on Tableegh for 40 days, or 4 months is neither in the Quran, nor in the Sunnah; it is a recommendation given by our Ulema (scholars), who feel that this is the optimum amount of time one must allocate in order for his heart to be changed”. Now, my problem: if it is neither in the Quran nor the Sunnah, how can it be introduced into the practice of religion?


I would not consider the period of forty days for doing tabligh, suggested by Tablighis, a bid’ah if it is clear to the common man that it is just an opinion of the scholars who have kept in view various factors to reach that figure. However, if there is an impression getting created which inclines people to believe that there is some religious sanctity attached to the figure of forty, then there is a danger of it falling into the category of bid’ah. Some people quote the hadith that mentions the three stages of transformation of the fetus which takes place in the wombs of mothers to prove their point. Despite the weakness in their argument, I would still not consider it a bid’ah if only that line of understanding is followed to argue the superiority of their view. A practice becomes bid’ah – to me – if people start taking it as religiously sanctioned even though the prophet, alaihissalaam, who was the only one who could give religion, never sanctioned anything of that sort.