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Acts of Worship are Tawqeefi

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Acts of Worship are Tawqeefi

“From examining the principles of sharee‘ah we know that the acts of worship that have been enjoined by Allah or that He loves cannot be proven except through sharee‘ah. With regard to customs, they are things that people are used to doing in their worldly affairs … The basic principle concerning them is that they are not forbidden; nothing of that is forbidden except what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden. That is because commands and prohibitions have to do with the religion of Allah, and acts of worship must necessarily be enjoined. If something is not proven to have been enjoined, then how can it be deemed an act of worship? With regard to customs, if there is no text to prove that a custom is forbidden, how can it be deemed to be forbidden?

Hence Ahmad and other scholars of hadeeth used to say: The basic principle with regard to acts of worship is tawqeef; no acts of worship are prescribed except that which has been prescribed by Allah, may He be exalted; if we do not adhere to this principle, we will be included among those referred to in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “Or have they partners with Allah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed?” [ash-Shoora 42:21]. The basic principle with regard to customs is that they are permissible and none of them are forbidden except that which Allah has forbidden. If we do not adhere to this principle, we will be included among those referred to in the verse (interpretation of the meaning): “Tell me, what provision Allah has sent down to you! And you have made of it lawful and unlawful” [Yoonus 10:59].

Hence Allah condemned the mushrikeen who introduced things into religion that Allah had not permitted and they forbade things that He had not forbidden. End quote.

– Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Tamiyah (Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 29/16-17)

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said in Al-Muntaqa min Fataawa al-Fawzaan, 16/13

Acts of worship are tawqeefi (i.e., acts of worship are to be based solely on Qur’aan and saheeh Sunnah, with no room for personal opinion); it is not permissible to do any act of worship in terms of time or place or type of worship except on the basis of tawqeef and instructions from the Lawgiver. As for the one who introduces something that was not enjoined by the Lawgiver of acts of worship or in terms of their place, time or description, then it is an innovation (bid ah).