Gateway to Hadith
Islam is easy
Nasir Jamal ‘Attari Madani
The honourable Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘اِنَّ الدِّينَ يُسْرٌ’ ‘The religion (Islam) is easy,’ (Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 36, Hadith 39)
Commenting on the issue of Islam being easy, Imam Badr Al-Deen Al-‘Ayni رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه writes: The religion being easy means that the religion of Islam is easier than all the previous religions. This is why the Muhammadan nation does not face difficulties like those of previous nations. For example, past nations could not attain purity with soil (through Tayammum). In fact, they had to cut out the impure part of their clothes. Allah Almighty removed such restrictions and difficulties out of His grace and mercy towards this Ummah. Allah Almighty declares:
وَ مَا جَعَلَ عَلَیْكُمْ فِی الدِّیْنِ مِنْ حَرَجٍؕ-
‘And (He) has not kept any hardship upon you in the religion,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 17, Surah Al-Hajj, Verse 78)
(‘Umda-tul-Qaari, vol. 1, p. 348, summarised)
As Islam only requires from a person that which he is able to do, the values of Islam resonate with human disposition:
لَا یُكَلِّفُ اللّٰهُ نَفْسًا اِلَّا وُسْعَهَاؕ-
‘Allah does not place a burden upon any soul, except to the extent of its strength’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 03, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 286)
Examples of ease in Islam
1. Allah Almighty has forgiven forgetfulness and sinful thoughts, as long as one does not become determined about carrying them out.
2. Although it is obligatory (Fard) to stand when offering salah, the dispensation of praying whilst sitting is available to those who cannot stand due to extenuating circumstances. If even sitting proves difficult, the worshipper can pray while lying down and if someone is unable to move his body, they are permitted to offer salah with gestures instead of full movements.
3. If for some reason, water is inaccessible, the worshipper can ritually purify himself through dry ablution (Tayammum) using a natural substance from the earth such as soil.
4. In respect of difficulties faced by people when travelling, Islam has given several dispensations to the traveller. For example, the traveller may miss the fast and make up at a later date. The traveller also shortens the salah, praying two cycles instead of four.
Since the spirit of Islam is imbued with ease, it is inappropriate and unbefitting for us to impose undue rigidity on it. The Final Prophet of Allah Almighty صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘اِنَّ اللهَ یُحِبُّ اَنْ تُؤْتٰی رُخَصُهُ کَمَا یُحِبُّ اَنْ تُؤْتٰی عَزَائِمُهُ’ ‘Just like Allah Almighty likes for the things made obligatory by Him to be implemented, similarly, He likes for His dispensations to be implemented too,’ (Musannaf li Ibn-e-Abi Shaybah, vol. 6, p. 234, Hadith 1). Of course, we should not transgress the leniency provided by Islam because of our laziness and desire for ease. For example, leaving the congregational prayer due a minor inconvenience, without consulting an Islamic scholar, or performing salah whilst sitting due to a minor excuse.
If a Muslim faces a difficulty, hardship, or any issue in Islamic matters, they must consult qualified Islamic scholars and muftis. Just as we consult field experts for our worldly welfare, we need to turn to scholars when facing issues of religious welfare – trying to guess the Islamic view about a particular issue without referring to a scholar or mufti can be as detrimental as attempting to self-treat or diagnose an illness without consulting a physician.
Unfortunately, we have emerged as a nation of excuses, often concealing our shortcomings and justifying them with the claim that Islam is too difficult to observe and implement. We need to critically assess ourselves and ask: how can I work for eight hours a day but find it difficult to offer salah which takes only a few minutes? Similarly, how can we readily splash a huge portion of our earnings on leisure and material wonts but find it stressful to pay 2.5% zakat? In the same vein, it is not only easy but enjoyable to pursue a course of study to advance our careers yet we find it burdensome to spare some time to learn about the essentials of Islam. Have a careful think about these questions and you will surely arrive at one conclusion: these are mere excuses.
Whoever gives preference to Islam in all aspects of life, they do not find it hard to practise Islam. Their beautiful character leaves deep imprints on the world and they are considered role models.