We know that the best example on how to get to paradise has already been set for us:

Quran - 33:21

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad SAW) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.

Is it safe to assume that this verse is saying that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is the best of examples, and we should try our best to follow his steps as closely as possible? If no, please let me know. If yes. please continue.

Lets say that certain Muslims like to do extra worship, types of worship which Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and/or Ahl al-Bayt where never seen doing. I can list many examples, but I won't because I would prefer if answers are not geared towards specific extra worship Muslims do these days, which will end up creating answers that will not answer my question.

Anyway, lets say 1 group of Muslims says that we do a certain type of extra worship which Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and/or Ahl al-Bayt where never seen doing because Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) never made it forbidden. Then another group says that we don't do this type of extra worship which the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and/or Ahl al-Bayt where never seen doing because Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was never seen doing it, so it's forbidden.

Which approach to extra worship which Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and/or Ahl al-Bayt where never seen doing is the better approach? i.e:

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) did not make it forbidden, so what's the harm?


Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) did not do such worship, so it's innovation, therefore forbidden?

Answers backed with quran/hadith will be preferred.

  • please take care of using word worship. many of extra practices you mean are not done by intention of worship. many of them are usual practices of modern life and are neutral to religion. for example using computer or modern methods of promotion is not Islamically Halal or Haram. and Muslims do not use computer with Intention of worship. it is better firstly ensure it is done in the name of worship to prevent false accusation to your brothers. Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 7:45
  • @Ahmadi, this question is only about possible acts of worship which the Prophet (PBUH) never did himself. Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 10:21
  • OK but if you provide some examples for extra act of worship it is better to clear question. I do not know any example now. Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 13:28

3 Answers 3


The very basic Fiqh rule says:

الأصل في الأشياء الإباحة

The default state of things is permissible

Although usually "things" are meant to be food, drinks... etc. This rule can (probably with some caution) be applied to worship as well.

The Prophet (pbuh) said:

Narrated `Aisha: The Prophet was asked, "What deeds are loved most by Allah?" He said, "The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few." He added, 'Don't take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability."

حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَرْعَرَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها ـ أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ سُئِلَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَىُّ الأَعْمَالِ أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ قَالَ ‏"‏ أَدْوَمُهَا وَإِنْ قَلَّ ‏"‏‏.‏ وَقَالَ ‏"‏ اكْلَفُوا مِنَ الأَعْمَالِ مَا تُطِيقُونَ ‏"‏‏.‏

[Sahih Bukhari], with many other context-similar Hadiths.

Obviously the Prophet didn't specify anything. Also he said:

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Allah said, 'I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My Refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him."

حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عُثْمَانَ، حَدَّثَنَا خَالِدُ بْنُ مَخْلَدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ بِلاَلٍ، حَدَّثَنِي شَرِيكُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي نَمِرٍ، عَنْ عَطَاءٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَالَ مَنْ عَادَى لِي وَلِيًّا فَقَدْ آذَنْتُهُ بِالْحَرْبِ، وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إِلَىَّ عَبْدِي بِشَىْءٍ أَحَبَّ إِلَىَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَىَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطُشُ بِهَا وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا، وَإِنْ سَأَلَنِي لأُعْطِيَنَّهُ، وَلَئِنِ اسْتَعَاذَنِي لأُعِيذَنَّهُ، وَمَا تَرَدَّدْتُ عَنْ شَىْءٍ أَنَا فَاعِلُهُ تَرَدُّدِي عَنْ نَفْسِ الْمُؤْمِنِ، يَكْرَهُ الْمَوْتَ وَأَنَا أَكْرَهُ مَسَاءَتَهُ ‏"‏‏.‏

[Sahih Bukhari]

It's clear out from this Hadith that, if you are completed doing all obligatory worships, then doing extra worship is going to make Allah love you, but no specific sort of extra worship is mentioned.

Another Hadith I would like to mention is:

'Abdullah bin 'Amr (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah () said, "The Salat which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud; and As-Saum (the fasting) which is dearest to Allah is that of (Prophet) Dawud. He used to sleep half the night, get up to perform Salat for one-third of it, then sleep through the remaining one-sixth of it; and he used to observe Saum on alternative days."

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

وعن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص، رضي الله عنهما، أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، قال‏:‏ ‏ "‏أحب الصلاة إلى الله صلاة داود، وأحب الصيام إلى الله صيام داود، كان ينام نصف الليل ويقوم ثلثه وينام سدسه ويصوم يومًا ويفطر يومًا‏"‏‏.‏ ‏(‏‏(‏متفق عليه‏)‏‏)‏ ‏.‏

[Riyad as-Salihin]

Despite the previous hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) was not reported to be fasting one day and not fasting the other day. So it's obvious that Allah did like something that the Prophet weren't doing, i.e, it's permitted.

However, keep in mind that these worships shouldn't be:

  • Exaggeration in a bad way, for example, not eating meat as an extra worship.

  • A "direct" contradiction of Sunnah, as not accepting Sunnah is not permissible.

As the Hadith says:

Narrated Anas bin Malik: A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, "Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven." Then one of them said, "I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever." The other said, "I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast." The third said, "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever." Allah's Apostle came to them and said, "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).

حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي مَرْيَمَ، أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا حُمَيْدُ بْنُ أَبِي حُمَيْدٍ الطَّوِيلُ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يَقُولُ جَاءَ ثَلاَثَةُ رَهْطٍ إِلَى بُيُوتِ أَزْوَاجِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَسْأَلُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَةِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَلَمَّا أُخْبِرُوا كَأَنَّهُمْ تَقَالُّوهَا فَقَالُوا وَأَيْنَ نَحْنُ مِنَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَدْ غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ‏.‏ قَالَ أَحَدُهُمْ أَمَّا أَنَا فَإِنِّي أُصَلِّي اللَّيْلَ أَبَدًا‏.‏ وَقَالَ آخَرُ أَنَا أَصُومُ الدَّهْرَ وَلاَ أُفْطِرُ‏.‏ وَقَالَ آخَرُ أَنَا أَعْتَزِلُ النِّسَاءَ فَلاَ أَتَزَوَّجُ أَبَدًا‏.‏ فَجَاءَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ ‏ "‏ أَنْتُمُ الَّذِينَ قُلْتُمْ كَذَا وَكَذَا أَمَا وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لأَخْشَاكُمْ لِلَّهِ وَأَتْقَاكُمْ لَهُ، لَكِنِّي أَصُومُ وَأُفْطِرُ، وَأُصَلِّي وَأَرْقُدُ وَأَتَزَوَّجُ النِّسَاءَ، فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي ‏"‏‏.‏

[Sahih Bukhari] and [Sahih Muslim].

So to conclude: Yes it's generally permissible to do a custom extra worship not done by the Prophet and Ahl Al-Bayt, IF it's not exaggeration, contradictory to Sunnah, or, of course, containing something haram or something that leads to haram. And there are a lot of Hadiths about "فضائل الأعمال the preferred deeds" which Allah love most, so it'll be a good approach to try to do them.


There are two ways to establish an act of worship. One by the physical following of an example that Allah has dictated as worship. (i.e. Salaat), and the other is performing any action with the intention of proximity to Allah.

The implication that only those acts are worship as taught to us by the Prophet or ahl ul bayt only acknowledges one type of worship. The one that is commanded by Allah hence He gave us an example to follow.

However part of the example of the Ahl ul Bayt and the need for Ahl ul Bayt is to teach us how to interact with the ever changing world. One of their teachings is to always keep the intention of the pleasure of Allah and then everything we do can be worship of Allah so long as it doesn't violate any of the rules already in place by Allah.

This allows us to expand the boundary of worship to every deed we perform, hence we see narrations of our Holy Prophet where he explains worship has 70 different doors, (forms) and the best of them is earning a halaal living. Also there are narrations of ahl ul bayt teaching us, the mention of Imam Ali is worship. Or, that love of ahl ul bayt is not simply saying you love them, but letting their love reflect in your actions. All of these become acts of worship.

Not because they are specifically mentioned that they are worship, but rather any action meeting these criteria permissible and rewarded by Allah.


Shia view

According to Shia Islam when no evidence of found that in Quran or Hadith is banned, that action is considered Mubah (neutral, not Halal, not Harm and is free to be done and does not have reward or sin). And calling such actions (with no evidence for being Haram) as Haram is considered Bidat.

Also doing Mubah acts with hope of being preferred by God with no claim of being part of Islam is permitted and is not Bidat.


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