Beliefs & Methodology

Peoples' sayings and actions are of two kinds: acts of worship by which their religion is established, and customary practices which are required for day to day living. From the principles of the shari'ah we know that acts of worship are those acts which have been prescribed by Allah or approved by Him; nothing is to be affirmed here except through the shari'ah. However, as far as the worldly activities of the people are concerned they are necessary for everyday life. Here the principle is freedom of action; nothing may be restricted in this regards except what Allah, the Most High, has restricted. This is the case because commanding and prohibiting are both in the Hands of Allah. As far as worship is concerned there has to be a command from Him concerning it. Thus, when it requires a command (from Allah) to establish something, how can we say that something is restricted without His command?

That is why Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allah have mercy upon him, and other jurists (fuqaha) who base their judgements on ahadith say, "In relation to acts of worship, the principle is tawqif"; that is to say, nothing can be legislated in this regards except what Allah Himself has legislated. To do otherwise is to incur the risk of being included in the ayah:-

"Do they have partners (with Allah) who have prescribed for them in religion that concerning which Allah has given no permission?" [Al-Qur'an 42:21]

But as far as living habits are concerned, the principle is freedom because nothing can be restricted in this regards except what Allah Himself has prohibited. Here, to do otherwise is to be included in the meaning of His saying:-

"Say: Do you see what Allah has sent down to you for your sustenance? Yet you have made some part of it halal and some part haram." [Al-Qur'an 12:59]


Be Mindful O Mankind!

Absorption in worldly affairs breeds darkness in the heart, and absorption in the affairs of the next world enkindles light in the heart.
'Uthman ibn Affan (d. 35H), may Allah be pleased with him