It is a very famous sentence that the religion is very difficult. In addition, some people even say that the religion wasn’t difficult; in fact, Molvies have made it difficult. Is Islam really a very difficult religion? Or it is just an evil thought or propaganda. A short answer to it is, a timid person takes a trivial task as difficult, whereas a courageous person considers even a hard work to be simple. The result is as per your intention. Therefore, a believer should be courageous. It is mentioned in a Hadith: Allah loves the work done with great courage. (Mu’jam-ul-Awsat, vol. 2, pp. 179, Hadees 2940)
As for Islam, it is fundamentally easy in terms of the power, strength and courage of a human. That’s why Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said:
لَا یُكَلِّفُ اللّٰهُ نَفْسًا اِلَّا وُسْعَهَاؕ-
Allah does not burden any soul, except with something within its capacity
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)](Part. 3, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 286)
And He has further said:
وَ مَا جَعَلَ عَلَیْكُمْ فِی الدِّیْنِ مِنْ حَرَجٍؕ-
He has not kept any hardship upon you in religion
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)](Part 17, Surah Al-Hajj, Ayah 78)
And He has also said:
یُرِیْدُ اللّٰهُ بِكُمُ الْیُسْرَ وَ لَا یُرِیْدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ٘-
Allah desires ease for you and does not desire hardship for you.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)](Part 2, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 185)
The Holy Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘اِنَّ الدِّیْنَ یُسْرٌ’ ‘Indeed, the religion is very simple.’ (Bukhari vol. 1, pp. 36, Hadees 39)
In the light of the aforementioned Ayahs and Ahadees, Islamic jurists have derived a principle that ‘اَلْحَرَجُ مَدْفُوْعٌ’ it means ‘Harm is removed’. (Al-Mabsoot Lis-Sarakhsi, vol. 16, pp. 108) And اَلْمَشَقَّةُ تَجْلُبُ التَّیْسِیْرَ i.e. ‘Hardship brings about ease’. (Al-Ashbah Wan-Naza`ir, pp. 64) It means when there is extreme hardship, Shari’ah makes it easy.
The abovementioned proofs clearly reveal that in reality Shari’ah commandments are simple in terms of one’s strength and courage. Although some Islamic commandments are stricter than others or are strict in some conditions, they never become difficult to such an extent that they become unbearable. And the reality in the majority of the worldly matters is that you have to do a little bit of struggle and hard work for every sort of work. And now if you say that doing a little bit of struggle is extremely difficult, I will put forward a question before you, ‘Why is hardship remembered and felt in religious matters only?’ In fact, one has to endure more hardship than it in many of the necessary matters of his life.
Let’s have a look at the following matters:
Consider childhood and education
When a child is born, he learns to sit first, then to stand, to walk and then to run, and then willingly or unwillingly he goes to school, studies hard, receives tuition after coming from school, does homework there or at home, revises and learns his lessons and prepares for exams day and night. This process of hard work generally continues for 12, 14 or 16 years. And then, in the educational realm, if you see the students of science, i.e. medicines, engineering, etc., you will come to know the real meaning of hard work. Whether day or night, they remain busy with their books, hurrying back and forth to college and praying to pass exams. Is this effort any less than that required for observing religious obligations? No, it’s a hard effort.
After this, consider employment
After completing education, one doesn’t get a job while sitting at home. In fact, one has to visit many offices and face many hardships to find a good job. Sometimes, there are no jobs available, at other times, there are 400 candidates waiting for interview for mere 10 positions. Even after preparing very well, one either fails in the interview or doesn’t get any of the top 10 positions, hence failing to get the job. Now the process restarts, they visit offices, flattering officials and even giving bribes, but with no success. One feels exhausted and disheartened. If we ask why they face such hard work and humiliation, they’ll say that this is the way of the world. People start screaming in rage when a little effort is needed to perform religious duties, but in case of becoming someone’s employee, such enthusiasm and restlessness! And after a lot of effort, even if employment is obtained, will the salary be given while one sits at home? No, over there too, one has to be punctual, deal with indolence of subordinates and bear the harshness of superiors while also producing the desired results, only then one is paid a salary, or else, he is asked to leave.
Now, consider the case of business
To start a business, one has to go through many difficult stages. If one suffers loss in business, it’s game over for him, or the loss has to be made up by working hard day and night. Once you start making money, money brings enemies, jealousy, illness and the dangers of robbers and thieves but people criticizing religion are ready to do all this hard work just to enjoy a few pleasures of life.
When one enters the stage of marriage, it is a nine days’ wonder. After that, a never-ending series of challenges starts. If no child is born [out of marriage], one is subjected to taunts, creating the sense of deprivation and developing the thought of another marriage. And if a child is born, the mother becomes devoted to its food, bearing many pains to ensure the child’s comfort. On the other hand, the father works hard day and night, in hot and cold, in the sun and in the rain, i.e. in every condition, to earn a living for the child.
Consider the effort to maintain a good lifestyle
If a man sets his life’s goal to have a nice car and a grand bungalow to live, he won’t get this wealth while sitting comfortably at home, instead, he will have to give a lot of sacrifices, spend sleepless nights, bear the hardships of hot and cold seasons and work hard, only then he will be able to achieve his goal. This is because all this hard work is a part of life. And without people working hard, the system of the world cannot function.
Now, the point is, if life is another name for struggle and hard work, Islam too is a part of this life. In fact, it is its essence. And one can follow this great essence, i.e. Islam by enduring Divinely-declared little hardship compared to life’s other aspects. For example, look at the acts of worship, Salah is an activity. The duration of all 5 Salahs is approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Compared to this, the effort required in fulfilling the disciplinary code of armed forces are manifold. Similarly, in any office, a person has to perform his duty for 8 hours while adhering to its rules and disciplinary code. Surprisingly, no one talks about such harsh discipline and work schedules, but the 1.5-hour effort for offering Salah is presented as a very difficult task.
The truth is, to what extent a person faces hardships depends on his aim and interest. And because one is whole-heartedly interested in having a good vehicle, good house and comfortable life, all the hard work and hardships become bearable. However, on the other hand, مَعَاذَ اللّٰه there is not as much passion in hearts for the eternal life of Hereafter, the great blessings of eternal Paradise, the pleasure of Allah and nearness to Him as is for those things. Hence, the effort of following the religion appears to be extremely difficult, although the great blessings of the eternal Paradise and beholding Allah Almighty [in Hereafter] are the highest aims. If billions of lives are sacrificed bearing millions of strikes by swords [in battlefield] for the achievement of these aims, even then the trade is profitable. The summary of the discussion is that religion is not difficult; low morale and less enthusiasm make it difficult.
As far as the saying goes that scholars have made religion difficult, the answer to this will be presented in the next episode.