Moderation and Facilitation as Manifestations of Greatness of the Islamic Shari’ah

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “God wants ease for you, not hardship.” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger; who said, “I have been sent with the easy and pure monotheism.” May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

It goes without saying that the manifestations of greatness of the Islamic Shari’ah are very numerous, and at the top of this greatness come the moderation and facilitation in their purest meanings. Thus, in the Shari’ah one finds not any hardship, strictness, or difficulty. These treat features should not be questioned due to the acts of some of extremists who think that religiousness requires adopting rigour and strictness in practicing Islam, and thus they introduced extremist approaches that attracted many people under the slogan of religiousness and precaution. In this way, extremism became a field for them to compete. It was as if their slogan is “much extremism means much religiousness and piety to the Almighty Allah.” This proves only that they are ignorant of the greatness of this religion, its moderation and kindness, as the Almighty Allah says, “and placed no hardship in your religion, the faith of your forefather Abraham. Allah has called you Muslims––both in the past and in this [message]––so that the Messenger can bear witness about you and so that you can bear witness about other people.” And our Prophet (PBUH)  said, “This religion is easy, and no one will ever overburden himself in religion, except that it will overcome him. So, follow a middle course (in worship); if you can’t do this, do something near to it and give glad tidings, and gain strength by worshipping Allah in the mornings, afternoons, and during the last hours of the nights.”

 What a great statement by ufyan al-Thawry when he said, “Knowledge for us means knowledge of the concession (rukhsah) stated by a trustworthy scholar.
As for strictness, anyone can show strictness.”

Tolerance in Islamic Sahri’ah is not a word to be said, or a slogan that is raised, but it is a divine approach, and one of the principles that the Almighty treats His servants with, and orders us to promote among themselves. He, the Exalted, said: “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear,” and He said, “Allah wants ease for you not hardship.” Also, He the Most High, said, “Allah wishes to lighten your burden; man was created weak.”

And in the clearest verse to show Allah’s forgiveness, the Glorious Qur’an says, “Say, ‘[Allah says], My servants who have harmed yourselves by your own excess, do not despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” and He, the Almighty, says, “Your Lord is the Most Forgiving, and full of mercy.” And in a nother verse, He says, “unless they repent, make amends, and declare the truth. I will certainly accept their repentance: I am the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.”

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “When Allah created the creations, He wrote on His Throne:  ‘My Mercy has preceded My Anger.’” And in a Qudsi Hadith, Allah says, “O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.”

The Almighty Allah has called His servants to pardon and forgive others in many occasions in His Glorious Qur’an. for example, Allah says, “Be tolerant and command what is right: pay no attention to foolish people.” He, Glory be to Him, also said, “Good and evil cannot be equal. [Prophet], repel evil with what is better and your enemy will become as close as an old and valued friend, but only those who are steadfast in patience, only those who are blessed with great righteousness, will attain to such goodness.” He also says, “Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? Allah is most forgiving and merciful.”

There is no doubt that when reviewing the life of the Prophet (PBUH) we will be certain that he (PBUH) was the best example of humanness, tolerance and facilitation. In this regard, Aishah said, “Whenever the Prophet (PBUH) was given an option between two things, he used to select the easier of the tow as long as it was not sinful; but if it was sinful, he would remain far from it. By Allah, he never took revenge for himself concerning any matter that was presented to him, but when Allah’s Limits were transgressed, he would take revenge for Allah’s Sake.”

Let’s review some examples of his (PBUH) life in calling to Allah with wisdom and good admonition. Anas Ibn Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I was with the Prophet (PBUH) when a man came and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have committed a sin liable of ordained punishment. So execute punishment on me.” The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) did not ask him about it, and then came the (time for) prayers. So he performed Prayer with Messenger of Allah (PBUH). When Messenger of Allah (PBUH) finished Prayer, the man stood up and said:  “O Messenger of Allah! I have committed a sin. So execute the Ordinance of Allah upon me.”He (PBUH) asked, “Have you performed Prayer with us?” “Yes”, he replied. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Verily, Allah has forgiven you.”

And Abu Hurairah said: A bedouin urinated in the mosque and some people rushed to beat him up. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Leave him alone and pour a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.”

Also Aishah reported that a child was brought to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) and he it urinated on the garment of the Prophet. The Prophet (PBUH) asked for water and poured it over the soiled place.

Mu’awiyah Ibn Al-Hakam As-Sulami (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I was praying with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). A man in the company sneezed, and I said: May Allah have mercy on you! The people gave me disapproving looks, so I said: “May my mother lose me! Why are you staring at me?” Thereupon, they began to strike their thighs with their hands. When I saw them urging to me to remain silent, I became angry but restrained myself. When Messenger of Allah (PBUH) concluded his Prayer, I have never before seen an instructor who gave better instruction than he, may my father and mother be sacrificed for him. He neither remonstrated me, nor beat me, nor abused me. He simply said, “It is not permissible to talk during Prayer because it is just for glorifying Allah, declaring His Greatness as well as recitation of the Qur’an.”

There is no doubt that if we carefully examine the Book of our Lord, Glory be to Him, and the Sunnah of our Prophet (PBUH), we will certainly find different kinds of tolerance, easiness and forbearance that totally eliminate all forms of extremism and violence from which our World suffers today. For example, as far as creed is concerned, we find that Islam did not force compel anyone to embrace it; on the contrary, it guarantees freedom of belief for everyone. He, Most High, says: “There shall be no compulsion in religion;” and “And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?”

As for acts of worship, the Prophet (PBUH) called for easiness, facilitation and keeping away from fanaticism; he (PBUH) is reported to have said: “O people! Some of you make others dislike the prayer, so whoever becomes an Imam he should shorten the prayer, as behind him are the weak, the old and the needy.” Also, when some people complained to him (PBUH) that Mu’adh (may Allah be pleased with him) elongated the prayer, he (PBUH) instructed him, saying: “Do you want to cause hardship to the people? O Mu’adh! Do you want to cause hardship to the people, O Mu’adh? Why don’t you recite: ‘Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High’ and ‘By the sun and its brightness’ and the like?’” In another narration (for the same Hadith), he (PBUH) is reported to have said: “Praying behind you are the old, the weak and the needy.” Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “Once the Prophet (PBUH) entered the Mosque and saw a rope hanging in between its two pillars. He said, “What is this rope?” The people said, “This rope is for Zainab who, when she feels tired, holds it (to keep standing for the prayer.)” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Don’t use it. Remove the rope. You should pray as long as you feel active, and when you get tired, sit down.” Furthermore, Jabir Ibn ‘Abd Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “We set out on a journey. One of our people was hurt by a stone that injured his head. He then had a wet dream. He asked his fellow travelers: ‘Do you find a concession for me to perform tayammum (dry ablution)?’ They said: ‘We do not find any concession for you while you can use water.’ He took a bath and died. When we came to the Prophet (PBUH), the incident was reported to him. He said: ‘They killed him, may Allah kill them! Could they not ask when they did not know? The cure for ignorance is inquiry. It was enough for him to perform tayammum and to pour some drops of water or bind a bandage over the wound (the narrator Musa was doubtful); then he should have wiped over it and washed the rest of his body.” Also, when ‘Umran Ibn Husayin (may Allah be pleased with him) suffered fistula, he (PBUH) instructed him and said: “Perform prayer standing; if you cannot, then sitting; and if you cannot then while lying on your side.’” He (PBUH) further said, “The earth has been made for me (and my followers) a place for praying and something with which to perform Tayammum (to purify oneself for prayer). Therefore, anyone (of my followers) can pray (anywhere) and at any time that the prayer is due.” In truth, the Prophet (PBUH) has is a practical personification of tolerance, so that it became a brilliant image that bears witness to the greatness of Islam. For instance, we find him (PBUH) saying about prayer- the greatest of the religion’s rituals-, “When I start the prayer I intend to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.”

As far as transactions are concerned, the Islamic Sharia recommended tolerance, easiness and alleviating hardship and embarrassment from among people in selling, buying and asking for due debts. Allah, the Almighty, says: “O you who believe! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely, except that it be trading by your mutual consent; and do not kill your people; surely Allah is Merciful to you;” and “And if (the debtor) is in strait-ness, then let there be postponement until (he is in) ease; and that you remit (it) as alms is better for you, if you knew.” In this regard, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “May Allah have mercy on a person who is lenient when he sells, lenient when he buys, and lenient when he asks for payment.” Being tolerance in selling means that the seller shall not be a miser, who takes too much profit, who monopolizes his commodity and who defrauds the weight, while tolerance in buying means that the buyer shall be easy with the seller and that he shall not diminish things to people. As for tolerance when asking for debt, it means that a man shall be lenient and gentle when asking for his debt.

The Prophet (PBUH) told that tolerance in transactions is a cause for attaining safety in the Hereafter. He (PBUH) says: “A man was admitted into the Paradise because he showed tolerance at time of selling and buying.” He (PBUH) also said: “A man from among those who were before you was called to account. Nothing in the way of good was found for him except that he used to have dealings with people and, being well-to-do, he would order his servants to let off the man in straitened circumstances [from repaying his debt].” He (PBUH) then said, “Allah said, ‘We are worthier than you of that (of being so generous). Let him off.’” Furthermore, he (PBUH), telling about some scenes of the Day of Resurrection, said: “Allah, Most High, would say to the Angels, “Look in the Fire! Do you find anyone who did a good deed?” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “They looked in the Fire and actually found a man to whom it will be said, “Have you ever done a good deed?” The man would reply, “No, but I used to show tolerance in selling, whereupon Allah, Most High, would say: “Show my servant tolerance as he showed tolerance to my servants.”

With that aid, I ask Allah to forgive me and you.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; I bear witness that there is no god deserved to be worshipped but Allah; and I bear witness that our master Muhammad is His slave and Messenger; may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family, companions and whoever follows their guidance to the Day of Judgment.

Muslim brothers,

The principle of tolerance in Islam is not restricted to the point of dealing with Muslims each other, but rather it is a comprehensive way of life that covers all people. Our Lord, Glory be to Him, ordered his believing slaves to kindly deal with all mankind, “and you shall speak to people good words’” and “Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.” A sheep was once slaughtered for ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar when he asked his slave, “Have you given any to our Jewish neighbor? Have you given any to our Jewish neighbor? I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “Jibril kept on recommending that I treat my neighbors well until I thought that he would order me to treat them as my heirs.’”

Tolerance of the soul is another kind of tolerance; it means that it should be generous and to do good to all mankind. Imam Al-Shafe’i (may Allah have mercy upon him) said:

Conceal yourself with generosity for                   everything is by generosity concealed

Don’t show humiliation to the enemies               for the enemies’ mockery is affliction

Don’t expect a miser to show tolerance for         a thirsty will not find water in the fire

O Allah! Grand us the correct understanding of our religion; guide us (to the Right Path) and use us as guides; and make us a means for others’ guidance

The Concept of Pledge of Protection in the Modern Time

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds, Who says in His Ever Glorious Book, “Honor your pledges: you will be questioned about your pledges.” I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that our Master Prophet Muhammad is His votary and Messenger; who said, “The best of Allah’s servants are those who fulfill their covenants.” May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his Household, Companions and upon those who follow their path to the Day of Judgment.

Islam is the religion of security, peace, righteousness, kindness and goodness. The fulfillment of one’s covenants is undoubtedly a moral and sublime human value, as it builds trust and brings about safety and security among peoples of the world. With this value, the bonds of cooperation, fraternity, development and progress will increase among individuals of the society. This is why the fulfillment of one’s covenants is part of one’s faith and a sign of honesty and benevolence. It is a manner cherished by Allah, a Prophetic trait and an Islamic value.

 Islam has ordered its followers to adhere to the fulfillment of covenants, promises and agreements and it has strongly affirmed this. The Almighty Allah said, “Honor your pledges: you will be questioned about your pledges.” He (Glory be to Him) also said,” Fulfil any pledge you make in God’s Name and do not break oaths after you have sworn them, for you have made God your surety: God knows everything you do.” This means: commit yourselves to fulfill every covenant you have made, whether it is between you and the Almighty Allah, or between you and people, and do not break your oaths once you have sworn them, as you have made God a witness over you. He who makes a pledge, must honor it, and he who makes a promise must fulfill it.

The Almighty Allah has told us that those who fulfill their pledges are beloved to Him and are the truthful and righteous people. Allah, the Exalted, said, “Indeed! God loves those who keep their pledges,” and said, “those who keep pledges whenever they make them; those who are steadfast in misfortune, adversity, and times of danger; these are the ones who are true, and it is they who are aware of God.” Allah, the Exalted, showed that those people are the people of great reward and the people of Paradise, as He said, “Allah will give a great reward to the one who fulfils his pledge to Him.” In another verse, the Almighty Allah showed this great reward saying, “Those who are faithful to their trusts and their pledges; who give honest testimony; and are steadfast in their prayer; they will live in gardens with honor.”

The Prophet (PBUH) has placed a high value on the fulfillment of one’s pledges, and warned against breaking them as the betrayal of one’s pledges causes corruption in societies and leads to the loss of trust among people as the Prophet (PBUH) said, “There are three signs of a hypocrite:  When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.” He (PBUH) also said, “Muslims have to stick to the conditions they make, except the conditions that make the lawful unlawful, or the unlawful lawful.” Also, the Prophet (PBUH) warned against betrayal saying, “When Allah will gather together, on the Day of Judgment, all the earlier and later generations of mankind, a flag will be raised (to mark off) every person guilty of betrayal, and it will be announced that this is the perfidy of so and so, son of so and so”. Ibn Kathir commented: the wisdom of this is that the sin of betrayal is invisible, and people do not see it. So on the day of Resurrection it will become announced so that people will know what those people did and the Almighty Allah will disgrace them before all creatures.

Among the pledges which the Islamic Shari’ah has commanded us to respect and fulfill is the pledge of protection. In the modern terms it means: the permit, visa or entry permission issued by one country to the citizens of another country to enter its lands, either as tourists, visitors or residents according to the international conventions, conventions and agreements in dealing with diplomats or those of the same capacity or according to bilateral agreements between the two states. This happens by any legal means accepted by the host State in accordance with its laws.  Once such a person obtains the residence permit or the visa, he/she is considered protected within this state, and this agreement given to him becomes binding to all of its citizens and residents. It shall not be revoked, circumvented, or derogated from, both in terms of the Sahri’ah and the law. Any person from the public who finds any breach that affects the security of his nation, he must refer the matter to the authorized person, so that the bodies of the State can handle the matter in the light of the regulations. Ordinary persons have no right to handle the matter themselves least this would cause chaos and indiscipline.

It goes without saying that the fulfilment of one’s pledges comes at the top of the obligations imposed by the Sahri’ah, law, patriotism and humanness. As our religion has stressed the importance of the pledge of protection, making the pledge given by one Muslim as given by all Muslims, so what is the case when this pledge is regulated by both religions and law as one reinforces the other? No doubt that this reinforcement obligates the necessity to fulfill pledges and promises, not to violate them or even compromise them.

Islam is the religion of preserving the covenants and agreements, a religion that does not admit cheating, deception, or betrayal. It has never been proven that the Prophet (PBUH) -since the beginning of his call- or his Companions have deprived anyone from safety, or have broken any promise of protection they had granted to anybody. In this regard, Allah, Most High, addressed his Prophet (PBUH) saying: “And if you fear treachery on the part of a people, then throw back to them on terms of equality; surely Allah does not love the treacherous.” Also, there was a covenant between Mu’awiyah and the Byzantines, and he was going towards their country, to suddenly attack them upon the end of the covenant. A man came on a horse, or a packhorse saying, “Allah is Great! Allah is Great! Let there be faithfulness and not treachery.” When they looked, they found that he was ‘Amr ibn ‘Abasah. Mu’awiyah sent for him and questioned him (about that). He said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: ‘When one has covenant with people, he must not strengthen or loosen it till its term comes to an end or he brings it to an end in agreement with them (to make both the parties equal).’ So Mu’awiyah returned.” Not only that, but the greatness of Islam is also crystal clear in its highest ranks in Allah’s Order to His Prophet (PBUH) to protect and provide shelter to whoever seeks protection from him, even if he is a polytheist or a warrior. Allah says: “And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know.”

The Prophet (PBUH) has actually instilled these noble values that achieve security and safety for the entire humanity, both in saying and action. He (PBUH) is reported to have said: “Whoever killed a Mu’ahid (a person who is granted the pledge of protection by the Muslims) shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance can be smelt at a distance of forty years (of traveling),” and “The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one from whom the people’s lives and wealth are safe.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) offered the greatest example ever in fulfilling covenants, even with his enemies. Telling about the Battle of Badr, Hudhayfat Ibn Al-Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Nothing prevented me from being present at! The Battle of Badr except this incident. I came out with my father (to participate in the Battle), but we were caught by the disbelievers of Quraish. They said: (Do) you intend to go to Muhammad? We said: We do not intend to go to him, but we wish to go (back) to Medina. So they took from us a covenant in the name of God that we would turn back to Medina and would not fight on the side of Muhammad (PBUH). So, we came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and related the incident to him. He said: Both, of you proceed (to Medina); we will fulfill the covenant made with them and seek God’s help against them.”

As such, we affirm that it is our duty to keep the covenants and pledges our country abides by towards anyone coming to it, and to be cooperative in protecting his blood, honor, property and privacy. It is also our duty to offer him hospitality to convey to him the beloved image we want to transmit about the greatness of our religion, the depth of our civilization and the advancement of our humanity in a way that contributes to forming the image we want about our religion, country and society, which is actually the case of the developed and civilized nations and peoples.

With that said, I ask Allah to forgive me and you.

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. I bear witness that there is no god deserving to be worshipped but Allah; I bear witness that our master Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him, his family, companions and whoever follows them to the Day of Judgment;

Muslim brothers:

Islam is the religion of justice, tolerance and peaceful coexistence. A Muslim is always- whenever and wherever he goes, an embodiment of security and peace. Also, when he travels to another country, be it a Muslim country or not, the visa granted to him by this country looks like a pledge of safety whereby he feels secure and safe and, on the other hand, is considered a pledge of safety from him to the people of that country by which they feel secure and safe on their selves and properties. Accordingly, he had to abide by the laws of this country and to fulfill his duties honestly and faithfully. He is not allowed thus to unlawfully take anything from their properties, to commit aggression against their honors or to betray them in any way, so that he would serve as the best ambassador for his religion, country and civilization. So, once he entered this country, he has to adhere to (their laws) and make covenant with Allah, Most High, to be faithful, lest he would be from those to whom the Saying of Allah, “And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder that which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those, upon them shall be curse and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode.” In his Al-Umm, Imam Al-Shafe’i (may Allah have mercy upon him) says: “When the man enters a non-Muslim country in terms of a pledge of safety given to him, he is not allowed to take anything from their properties- be it little or much- even if this country was at war with Muslims. That is because as they offered him safety, he in turn shall offer them safety, and because nothing is lawful to him at times of safety except that which is lawful to him from the properties of Muslims.”

Impressive are the following lines of poetry:

Keeping covenants is of the nobles’ traits … And breaking them is of the means’

For me, there are no good characteristics … But to keep cordiality and covenants

O Allah! Guide us to the best of manners and make us avoid the worst of them, for you only are capable of this.