Islam, the Religion of
Allah, subhanahu wata'aala, is
the creator of mankind and therefore knows his nature more intricately
than mankind himself. Allah, subhanahu wata'aala, has therefore chosen for
us a religion best suited to the nature of mankind, a religion that goes
neither to the extremes of hardship nor of laxity, but instead provides a
middle path; in other words, a religion of ease. Allah, subhanahu
"Allah intends for you ease, and does not
want to make things difficult for you" [2:185]; and "Allah does not want
to place you in difficulty" [5:6].
Such easiness is well explained
in the hadeeth reported by Abu Hurairah, radiya Allahu 'anhu, that the
Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, said, "Religion is easy..."
[Bukhari], he also said; "The best of your religion, is the easiest."
The easiness of this religion was put into practise by the
best of humanity, the one who came to deliver the message, as Allah,
subhanahu wata'aala, said;
"Verily there has come unto you a
Messenger from amongst yourselves, it grieves him that you should suffer
any difficulty, he is anxious for you, for the believers he is full of
pity and merciful" [10:128]
This understanding is clarified in a
hadeeth in which the Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, said; "…
Allah did not send me to be harsh, or cause harm, but He sent me to teach
and make things easy" [Muslim]. This understanding is further implemented
by the mercy sent to mankind, Muhammed, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, in
the hadeeth reported by his noble and pure wife, 'Aishah, radiya Allahu
'anhu, who said; "Whenever the Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam,
has a choice between two matters, he would choose the easiest, unless it
is sinful (act)" [Bukhari].
Many hadeeths have been reported on the
matter of easiness: "Allah likes for this nation ease and hates for it
hardship and adversity." [Tabaraani].
"We have been given a
privilege over other nations... .we have been given verses that no one
else has been given, the last two verses of Surah Baqarah(chapter 2)"Our
Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error. Our Lord! Lay not on
us a burden greater than we have strength to bear" After each statement,
Allah responded by saying, "I did, I did, I did"" [Muslim].
further emphasise this understanding to his companions, when once a
Bedouin stood up and started urinating in the mosque, the people caught
him; but he, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, ordered them to leave him and
to pour a bucket or a tumbler of water over the place where he had
urinated. The Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, then said, "You
have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult"
An example that illustrates this point is Salah, an act
so important and vital to Islam that the Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe
wasallam, said; "Between a person and disbelief is discarding prayer"
[Muslim]. He also warned against leaving salah, even at the time of his
death, in his very last breaths before departing from this
Yet in this worship Allah has also prescribed easiness. At
first, the number of prayers was fifty in number, but they were reduced
several times until they were five. Then it was proclaimed 'O Muhammad,
the order is not changed. These five are (equal in reward) to fifty'
Causes of hardship
If Islam is a religion of ease,
why do we find many Muslims not practising it? Why do we find them doing
very little of what they ought to be doing, and why do even those who
practise their religion sometimes find it difficult?
are reasons why the practice of Islam can becomes hard:
Lack of piety
When we speak about Islam being easy we are, in reality,
speaking about the easiness of its acts of worship and morals. Religion by
definition means commitment and an obligation to a master. Therefore,
being a religious person means to be always aware that we are slaves to a
master, Allah, subhanahu wata'aala.
From here we see the
mistake of those who want 'ease' to mean 'doing nothing', just saying "I
am a Muslim", committing themselves to nothing. It is obvious that they
want it to be easy, but what exactly do they want? They want an easy life,
a life without any religious practices.
The idle belief of
'existing only to live' has long ago been negated by Allah, subhanahu
wata'aala. He said:
"Do you think you have been created for
nothing and that you will not be resurrected and brought back to Allah
again!" [23:115]. He also said: "Thinks man that he is left aimless?"
Islam is easy to practice; but those who do not understand
the reasons behind their existence, who do not understand the concepts of
religion, but meanwhile are striving to secure themselves in this life;
then surely they will find its practices difficult.
The easiness of
Islam is felt in all of its commandments. Some people find this or that
commandment hard to follow but this does not mean that the command is in
itself hard; often it is the person who is the cause.
example Salah, it is an easy act of worship, as Allah, subhanahu
wata'aala, has made clear:
"And seek help in patience and
prayer and truly it is (prayer) extremely heavy and hard except for
Al-Khashi'un (i.e. true submitting)" [2;45].
Prayer is an easy act
of worship except, of course, for those who do not truly submit to their
Lord; they will find it toilsome.
Why do they find it so? The
answer is that it is not the prayer that is difficult, but it is the
hearts of these people which have changed from good to bad, as Allah,
subhanahu wata'aala, mentioned:
"Verily, the hypocrites seek
to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up
to pray, they stand with laziness …" [4;142]; in another verse He
subhanahu wata'aala, said; "And that they came not to prayer except in a
lazy state …" [9;54].
The rules of Islam did not
come as mere do's and don'ts. Each obligation has wisdom and motivation
behind it. It should make no difference to us if the wisdom for that
particular practice is known or not, because if it is not known to us
today, then if Allah wills, He will reveal it to future generations. What
is primarily expected from us is to fully submit and implement every
For example, the giving of charity, which apparently
decreases the wealth of the giver. Islam did not say "Pay charity, pay
charity", as this would not motivate people and therefore make it
difficult to act upon. Instead Allah says;
"Would you not
like to give a loan to your Lord, and this loan will be paid back to you
multiplied and you will be rewarded for it." [2:245]
salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, said; "Verily, wealth does not decrease
because of charity." [Muslim]
It seems Muslims often ask why this
act or matter is Halaal or Haraam. With such an attitude they will never
achieve their goal, because behind each injunction there is an aspect of
wisdom. Without understanding this, practising Islam becomes a heavy
burden. With strong belief, we do not even have to ask whether this or
that is halaal or Haraam, but rather if it pleases Allah. Therefore we
should take the rules seeking the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wata'aala,.
If pleasing Allah subhanahu wata'aala, is, always, our aim, then
undoubtedly the practice of religion becomes easy, no matter what apparent
hardships we may encounter.
It is true that sometimes we find it difficult to practise
the religion, even those who are committed to it!
The reason behind
this is that we are practising our religion in an non-religious
environment. Islam is not meant to be practised while being immersed in a
Kufr (disbelieving) society. Its practice will indeed be difficult in such
an environment. Therefore, the difficulty cannot be blamed upon Islam as a
religion, but rather on the circumstances of the society.
to our example of prayer, we see that prayer by itself is easy, but if you
have to stand alone to pray amongst non-Muslims, all of them watching you,
it will suddenly become difficult. The obvious conclusion is that the
prayer in itself is not difficult, but the environment has made it
Another example is that of a woman who wears hijaab and
is happy to cover herself. If this were an Islamic society, it would have
been difficult for her not to be covered, or for a man not to respond to
the call to prayer and pray in a mosque. Thus difficulty is not the nature
of our religion, but we are trying to be pure in a decadent and immoral
environment. These realities are not unknown to Islam, because the
Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, already warned his companions
some fourteen centuries ago, and by that has also warned us by saying, as
reported by Abu Tha'laba, radiya Allahu 'anhu, "… Ahead of you are days
which will require endurance (in the practice of religion), in which he
who shows endurance will be like him who grasps live coals. The one who
acts rightly during that period will have the reward of fifty men who act
as he does."
The hearers said, "The reward of fifty of them,
Messenger of Allah!" He replied, "The reward of fifty of you." A companion
said about this difference in reward, "Now you find people helping you to
do good deeds, but then they will not find things to help them but they
will find things to resist and oppose them." [Tirmidhi].
is the religion of ease. If we accept it as a religion to start with, then
we should take it with its concepts, and practise it in a pure environment
(as opposed to a corrupted and decadent one); it will then become an
easier religion to practise.
As it is not possible to have a
100% pure society, we have to strive to achieve this by being surrounded
by good Muslims. In doing this, the religion will loosen the burdens
The easiness of Islam has even been testified by
the enemies of Islam. This was apparent in the statement of the Jews at
the time of the Prophet, salla Allaahu 'alaihe wasallam, when a man and a
woman from amongst them committed fornication. Some of them said to the
others: "Let us go to this Prophet, for he has been sent with an easy law
…". [Abu Dawood].
So may Allah, subhanahu wata'aala, make us
amongst those who
"Listen to the word and follow the best
thereof, whom Allah has guided and those are men of understanding."