Praise be to Allaah.
mentioned in His Book the “self‑reproaching person” [al-Qiyaamah 75:2]; this
is the soul which blames or reproaches one for falling short in any act of
obedience or worship, or for doing any forbidden action.
happened that many of the salaf missed out on doing good and they blamed
themselves, and they thought that they should discipline themselves by doing
more acts of worship and obedience. There were some of them who did
forbidden things and responded in the same way.
their deeds, it becomes clear to us that they did not go against Islam in
that. Some of them were among the Sahabaah (companions of the Prophet), who did that during the time when the Qur’aan was being revealed. Some of them were imams (leaders in knowledge) who had great knowledge and issued fatwas (verdicts), and they thought that that did not go against the laws of Allaah, may He be exalted.
If we study
the way in which they disciplined themselves by doing acts of worship, we
will see that they did not fall into the mistakes that others who were not
scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah (strict followers of the Prophet)made. They did not burden themselves with more
than they were able to do; they did not harm themselves physically with
burning or breaking. Their deeds were more like a righteous vow, which is
where a Muslim commits himself to doing an act of worship that has not been
enjoined by Allaah, without that being connected to healing, success etc.
that include the following:
1 – Imam
Ahmad (18930) narrated, in a report classed as hasan (sound) by Shu’ayb al-Arna’oot (4/323), about the story of the treaty of al-Hudaybiyah, that ‘Umar ibn
al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him) questioned the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about the clauses of the treaty,
then he realized that he had no right to do that. He (may Allaah be pleased
with him) said: “I carried on giving charity, fasting, praying and freeing
slaves because of what I had done that day, for fear of the words I spoke,
until I hoped that it was ultimately a good thing.”
al-Bukhaari (5725) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her)
vowed not to speak to ‘Abd-Allaah ibn al-Zubayr, but al-Miswar ibn Makhramah
and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn al-Aswad interceded for him, and they brought him
into her house – as she was his maternal aunt – and he embraced her, urging
her (to forgive him) and weeping, and they kept on at her until she spoke to
him, and she freed forty slaves as expiation for her vow.
3 – If Ibn
‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) missed a prayer in congregation, he
would spend that night in prayer.
4 – Ibn Abi
Rabee’ah missed the two-rak’ah Sunnah prayer of Fajr, and he freed a slave.
5 – Harmalah
said: I heard ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Wahb say: I vowed that every time I backbit
about a person, I would fast for a day. That made me feel tired, for I used
to backbite and fast, and then I decided that every time I backbit
about a person I would give a dirham in charity, and for love of money I
said, commenting on this: This, by Allaah, is how the scholars were, this is
the fruit of beneficial knowledge.
A’lam al-Nubala’ (9/228).
6 – It was
narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Awn that his mother called him and he
answered her in a louder voice than hers, then he freed two slaves.
A’laam al-Nubala’ (6/366).
mentioned other information about this issue in the answer to question no.
We think that it is not appropriate to stipulate a specific number of dhikrs for every act of worship mentioned in the question and to adhere to these numbers every time, but stipulating a number once is fine. This is like vowing to fast for a certain number of days or to give a certain amount in charity. As for doing that on an ongoing basis, it seems that this is not permissible. You should remember Allaah a great deal (dhikr), pray for forgiveness and send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) all the time; that is not limited to times when one has fallen short in worship.