The Hadith: 'Anything I command you to do, perform of it as much as you can; and anything I forbid you to do, abandon it'

Question:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Anything I command you to do, perform of it as much as you can; and anything I forbid you to do, abandon it.” Your Eminence, I hope you can explain this Hadith in brief. What is its significance? Some of the laypeople claim that this Hadith is a Rukhsah (concession), so we can do whatever we can and leave whatever we cannot do. Moreover, this opens the door to abandoning the Sunnah (supererogatory acts of worship following the example of the Prophet).

Answer:

What is meant by the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Anything I command you to do, perform of it as much as you can1 is the ability to do a thing without any hardship involved. For example, a person is commanded to stand while offering Salah (Prayer); however, if he cannot pray while standing, he may pray while sitting down. Likewise, anyone who witnesses Ramadan while he is Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions) should observe Sawm (Fast); however, if he cannot fast because of illness, he will be allowed to break his Sawm and make up for the days he missed later on, and so on.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.


  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on holding fast to the Book and the Sunnah, no. 7288; Muslim, Sahih, Book on virtues, no. 1337; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on Hajj rituals, no. 2619; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Introduction, no. 2; and Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 2, p. 247.