Islam, the Religion of Ease
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 wata'aala,
"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
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." [Ahmad]
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."
"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].
To 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" [Bukhari].
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' [Tirmidhi].
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?
There are reasons why the practice of Islam can becomes hard:
1) 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
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?" [75:86].
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.
For 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
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 command.
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."
The Prophet, 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.
3) Inappropriate environment
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.
Returning 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 difficult.
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].
So Islam 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 around it.
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." [39;18].