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.
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