We are four friends who have recently become religiously committed. However, we are quickly overtaken by slackness though we are considered religious men in spite of seeing ourselves as extremely negligent. Taking into consideration that we do not have a mentor Shaykh to teach and follow up on us. As a way of punishing ourselves, we agreed to pay a certain amount of money that we determined to be given in charity for every time we fall short to do a certain act of worship, and we decided to collect these sums of money at the end of each week. However, after some days of this agreement, someone told us that this act is a religious innovation because it was not narrated from the Companions or righteous predecessors, May Allaah Be Pleased with them. He added that this approach makes us perform acts of worship for the sake of not paying money, not for the Sake of Allaah The Almighty. Please advise. May Allaah Reward you.
All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Slave and Messenger.
You should not have done this because this way of punishment was not of the guidance of the righteous predecessors. Now, you have to pay expiation of breaking an oath in case of falling short or neglecting an act of worship because this is similar to a vow of obstinacy and anger which requires expiation of breaking an oath. This was understood from the prophetic Hadeeth: “Expiation of a vow is similar to expiation of breaking an oath.” [Muslim]
Allaah Knows best.
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