Is seeking ease in the religion a sign of weak faith?

Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.” (Qur’an 2:185)

“Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you.” (Qur’an 5:6)

“He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty” (Qur’an 22:78)

“Allah does not charge a soul except with that within its capacity” (Qur’an 2:286)

“And Allah wants to lighten for you your difficulties” (Qur’an 4:28)

“Recite then only that which is easy for you.” (Qur’an 73:20)

“It is part of the mercy of Allah that you deal gently with them. If you were severe or hardhearted, they would have broken away from you.” (Qur’an 3:159)

There are among us in the Muslim community those whose hearts have become hardened and are often bereft of mercy, empathy, compassion.   They recite Ar Rahman and Ar Raheem before the recitation of the Qur’an again and again and yet never seem to grasp concepts like mercy and compassion.

You will hear that taking easy fatwa-legal verdicts or taking the easiest opinion is a sign of weak faith or a giving into your nafs (self/ego).

Even though as we have seen above that time and time again that Allah (swt) has permitted ease in our faith and that he doesn’t want to impose difficulty upon us.

What these people (those who accuse others of having weak faith or taking the easy way out) is that they themselves may be having a disease of the heart.

“The similitude of those who were charged with the Torah (obligations of the Mosaic Law, )but who subsequently failed in those obligations, is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes. Evil is the similitude of people who lie about the revelation of Allah: and Allah guides not people who do wrong.” (Qur’an 62:5)

Notice that Allah (swt) says that people who lied about the revelation of Allah (swt) are likened to a donkey which is burdened with carrying huge tomes; and even then they fall short of what they claim are obligations.

So in reality those who seek hardship and difficult fatwa-legal verdicts in the religion it is they who are having a spiritual crisis. They possibly wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats wondering if someone somewhere is taking a dispensation that will create ease in their life.

I have seen such people and been among them. They never want to shepherd their own souls they are too busy wanting to shepherd the souls of others and even then it is not with sincerity they only wish in the darkness of their hearts to see others fall short, to fail.

You do not have to fast while sick -but not these people they go that ‘extra mile’ they will continue fasting.

You can combine your prayers when traveling -but not these people they have to go that ‘extra mile’ and will do the full rakats, and sunnah and nawafil just to show you.

There are people who want to flog and whip themselves over battles over the outcomes of battles that they had no control over.

There is almost this masochistic tendency among some segments in our community that the Qur’an and the example of the Blessed Messenger (saw) are simply not enough.

What is the fruit of it?  Muslims taking the beautiful sacrosanct month of Ramadan and turning it into an ideological identifier and battleground on rather we pray 8 or 20 rakats of Tarweeh (when it is not even Wajib) to begin with.

In fact, there is a hadith attributed to the Blessed Messenger (saw) that I feel describes these people exactly.

“The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: Leave him, for he has friends that everyone among you would consider his prayer insignificant as compared with their prayer, and his fast as compared with their fasts. They would recite the Qur’an but it would not go beyond their collarbones. They would pass through (the teachings of Islam so hurriedly) just as the arrow passes through the prey. He would look at its Iron head, but would not find anything ticking) there. He would then see at the lowest end, but would not find anything sticking there. He would then see at its grip but would not find anything sticking to it. He would then see at its feathers and he would find nothing sticking to them (as the arrow would pass so quickly that nothing would stick to it) neither excrement nor blood. They would be recognized by the presence of a black man among them whose upper arms would be like a woman’s breast, or like a piece of meat as it quivers, and they would come forth at the time when there is dissension among the people. Abu Sa’id said: I testify to the fact that I heard it from the Messenger of Allah (saw), and I testify to the fact that ‘Ali b. Abu Talib fought against them and I was with him. He gave orders about that man who was sought for, and when he was brought in, and when I looked at him, he was exactly as the Messenger of Allah (saw) had described him.” Source: (Muslim: Book 005, Number 2323 Graded Sound). 

To me, this does not describe a particular group/political/ or ideological / among the Muslims rather it describes an attitude.     You the reader can confirm this.  You can see such attitudes among the Salafi, Sufi, Deobandi, Brewli. Is it not an attitude that can be found across the theological/political/juristic divide among Muslims?

Even though the Qur’an time and again and again gives dispensation and ease to people over and over again.

For example, you could ask a group of Muslims: ‘Are we allowed to eat pork?’

I did that when I worked at the Sultan Mosque in Singapore.   To nobody’s surprise, the audience said in unison, “No!”   However, I mentioned the answer is actually “It depends”.   The standard normative situation is that no we cannot eat pork.

However, since the preservation of human life (something a lot of those with hard hearts reading this post tend to forget) is a key component of Islamic Sacred Law  Allah (swt) has revealed the following:

“Today I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and approved Al-Islam as a Deen (way of life for you). Anyone who is compelled by hunger to eat what is forbidden, not intending to commit sin, will find Allah Forgiving, Merciful.” (Qur’an 5:3)

“The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and the criterion. So whoever sights the new moon of the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or is on a journey-then equal number of other days. Allah intends to ease and does not intend for you hardship and wants for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that which He has guided you; perhaps you will be grateful.”  (Qur’an 2:185) 

Much more can be said about fasting.  However, it should suffice the reader to know that there are more than what is listed above who are exempted from fasting.   Knowledgeable people have understood that people who have diabetes or other illness can be exempt from fasting altogether.

Yet, this group of people who have the attitude that the Blessed Messenger (saw) described above they have created such an atmosphere of animosity that I know of Muslims who are scared to death to eat soup or take fluids in Ramadan in-front of other Muslims while they are sick.

Not only that in Malaysia (a beautiful and amazing country by the way) an atmosphere is created to where Non-Muslim food stalls are closed in some places and they are even afraid to eat in front of fasting Muslims!  To do it out of respect is one thing but to make as if its disrespectful for them to carry about their lives is just bizarre.

Muslim women who are having menses in Ramadan are often afraid to eat in front of other people simply because of this attitude that some people have as if  Allah (swt) and his angels are not sufficient enough as witnesses.  Authubillah min dhalik!

Even in the Qur’an where a man insults his wife by calling her ‘like the back of my mother’ such a heinous thing even than Allah (swt) gives dispensation after dispensation.

“Those who pronounce thihar (saying you are to me like the back of my mother) among you to separate from their wives-they are not their mothers. Their mothers are none but those who gave birth to them. And indeed, they are saying a dishonorable statement and a flat lie. But indeed, Allah is Pardoning and Forgiving. 1)And he who does not find a slave to set free-then 2) a fast of two months consecutively before they touch one another; and he who is unable -then 3)  the feeding of sixty poor persons. That is for you to believe in Allah and His Messenger, and those are the limits set by Allah. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment (Qur’an 58:2-4)

We also know that the fifth pillar of Islam by unanimous decision by all legal schools is that it is only obligatory if one is both able physically and financially.

Can you imagine the burden it would put not only upon the Muslim community if it was made an absolute necessity but the burden it would put on the Saudi authorities who already do their level best to accommodate the logistics of having 3 million people?  May Allah (swt) bless them in the way they have handled it thus far.

Even Prophet Jesus (as) made the haram (forbidden) into the halal (permissible) by the will of Allah (swt).

“And confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful-wali-uhilla (HALAL) some of that which was forbidden-hurrima (HARAM )unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey me.” (Qur’an 3:49)

Now, why else would Prophet Jesus (as) be given permission to do that if not to make things easier for people?   Think about it.  Take all the time you need.

As we have seen at the beginning of this blog post that Allah (swt) desires ease.  This is the Sunnah of Allah (swt).

“This is the way of Allah (Sunnat Allah) with those who passed away before, and you will not find any alteration in the way of Allah (Sunnat Allah).” (Qur’an 33:62)

My sincere advice to you fellow Muslims who encounter these masochistic types who desire for religion to be more arduous, rigorous, and difficult is to recite to them Surah Ar Rahman (The Most Merciful).

So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?


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