They Were Done For Different Purposes

A clear difference should be made about the actions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam – whether they were done only from time to time or whether they were performed persistently on a regular basis. For example, some of the nawafil (supererogatory prayers) are things which he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, would do from time to time. We should observe it as such. E.g. Certain Surahs being recited on certain days – it is narrated that the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, would at times recite Surah As-Sajdah (32) and Surah Al-Insan (76) on Fridays. But some Muslims had made it a habit and would recite these two Surahs every Friday. We should be aware of this because if we do something regularly people will think that it is wajib(mandatory) even though it is not.
If the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, did a particular thing only from time to time, then we too should do it from time to time, especially when we do such thing in congregation.
As it has been mentioned above, the actions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, were done for distinct purposes. There were actions which he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, would do haphazardly. There are things he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, would do due to the custom of that time. These actions were not performed by the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, for the purpose of ibadah. We too should not do these actions for ibadah – our intentions should tally with the intentions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam. The following are some examples:
 At the time of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, the men used to keep long hair – it was not done for the purpose of ibadah. So if anyone wants to keep long hair today, it should not be done for the purpose of ibadah.
 The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, used to open the upper buttons of his shirt – this was because it was hot and not because for the purpose of ibadah.
 The turban, at the time of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, was worn because it was the custom of the people then.
 Some narrations mention the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, using a stick. Again this was not done for the purpose of ibadah.
We should not emulate these examples of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, for the purpose of ibadah.
How do we distinguish between the actions of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, which were done for the purpose of ibadah and those which were not? The Scholars say if the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, commanded us to do an action or commanded us not to do something, then this is regarded an ibadah. Or if the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, mentioned that the doer will receive certain rewards if an action is performed, then it is an ibadah. Or if the failure for performing a certain action would result in punishment, then the action is an ibadah.
So let’s be careful with what we introduce into the religion of Islam in order not to incur the wrath of Allah up ourselves.

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