Extremism in Acts of Worship

By

Bassam Zawadi

 

These days we see many whom most people might refer to as "Islamic extremists" or "Islamic fundamentalists" all over the media. Now, Islamic extremism could either be considered to be good or bad, depending on one's connotation of the word "extremism". There are those that are extreme when it comes to performing acts of worship and they make things difficult for themselves. However, this is not what Islam wants for us. There are also those who are extreme in a positive way in the sense that they do 'extremely good' when practicing Islam. So Islamic extremism could either be interpreted to be good or bad; it all depends on the way you perceive it.

 

We will first start with Allah Almighty who says...

 

Surah 2:220

... If God had wanted, He could have been hard on you. God is Almighty, All-Wise. 

Surah 2:286

God does not impose on any soul more than it can bear. It shall be requited for whatever good and whatever evil it has done. 

Surah 7:42

As for those who believe and do right actions-We impose on no soul any more than it can bear-they are the Companions of the Garden, remaining in it timelessly, for ever.

 

Ibn Abbaas says...

 

(But (as for) those who believe) in Muhammad, Allah give him peace, and the Qur'an (and do good works) between them and their Lord (We tax not any soul) in its effort (beyond its scope) its capability. (Such) i.e. the believers (are rightful owners of the Garden) the folk of Paradise. (They abide therein) forever, never to die or be removed. (Ibn Abbaas, Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn 'Abbâs, Commentary on Surah 7:42, Source)

 

As we see, Allah does not want to be hard on us or overburden us with things that we cannot bear. He is merciful enough to order us to only perform deeds that we are capable of doing. Also, we must remember that it is Allah's justice that leads to Him not overburdening us in respective to obligatory duties. For, He created us and knows our weaknesses and limitations, thus He won't order us to do something that we are not capable of doing, especially since He is the one who created us with these limitations in the first place.

 

Allah also says...

 

Surah 87:8

We will ease you to the Easy Way

 

Ibn Kathir says in his commentary on this verse...

 

(And We shall make easy for you the easy.) meaning, `We will make good deeds and statements easy for you, and We will legislate such Law for you that is easy, tolerant, straight and just, with no crookedness, difficulty or hardship in it.' (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Source)

 

Here we see Allah emphasizing on the fact that the Shariah law that He has legislated for the Muslims is tolerant and there is no hardship in it. Someone may argue back that certain requirements that Islam imposes on the Muslim (e.g. waking up for the Fajr prayer, refraining from alcohol, going to mixed parties and prohibition of fornication, etc.) is not easy and one must endure hardship in order to implement these laws. However, this is a false notion for we are the ones that make following these laws difficult for our selves and we complicate trivial matters that are simple to confront in a practical way (e.g. sleeping earlier to wake up for the Fajr prayer, not drinking alcohol in the first place and becoming addicted and now it is hard to quit, getting married at an early age, etc.)

So Allah has made the laws He has imposed upon us easy, but we just make them difficult to follow.

 

Allah else where says...

 

Surah 22:78

He has selected you and not placed any constraint upon you in the observance of your religion-the religion of your forefather Abraham. 

 

Al Suyuti says in his commentary...

 

And struggle in the way of God, in order to establish His religion, a struggle worthy of Him, by expending all effort therein (haqqa is in the accusative because it is a verbal noun). He has elected you, He has chosen you for His religion, and has not laid upon you in your religion any hardship, that is, [any] constraint, for He has facilitated [adherence to] it during times of difficulty, such as [His permitting you] to shorten prayers, to seek ritual purification from earth, to eat of carrion, and to break the fast during illness or travel - the creed of your father (millata is in the accusative because the genitive preposition kāf [sc. ka-millati, 'like the creed of'] has been omitted) Abraham (Ibrāhīma, an explicative supplement). He, that is, God, named you Muslims before, that is, before [the revelation of] this Book, and in this, that is, [in] the Qur'ān, so that the Messenger might be a witness against you, on the Day of Resurrection, that he delivered the Message to you, and that you might be witnesses against mankind, that their messengers delivered the Message to them. So maintain prayer, observe it regularly, and pay the alms, and hold fast to God, trust in Him. He is your Patron, your Helper and the Guardian of your affairs. An excellent Patron, is He, and an excellent Helper, for you. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 22:78, Source)


 

Again, Allah is talking about how Islam is not meant to be a constraint upon us and how He was merciful enough to allow exceptions to the general rule. Allah gives us ease and mercy when we are forced to eat haram food (Surah 2:173), when we don't have the ability to fast (Surah 2:185), when we mistakenly take an oath (Surah 2:225, 5:89 & 66:2), when there is a need to shorten our prayers (Surah 4:101) or when we face danger on account of our faith (Surah 16:106). These are just a few examples of the many ways that Allah loves us and is merciful to us by making things easy for us when it comes to worshipping Him. 

 

Furthermore, Allah says...

 

Surah 20:2-3

We did not send down the Qur'an to you to make you miserable, but only as a reminder for those who have fear. 

 

Al Suyuti says in his commentary...

 

We have not revealed the Qur'ān to you, O Muhammad (s), that you should be miserable, that you should toil because of what you used to do after it was revealed [to you], in the way of long vigils performing night prayers; in other words, so unburden your soul. (Jalal ud-Din Siyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Commentary on Surah 20:2, Source)

 

So here we see that Allah is informing the Prophet (peace be upon him) that the purpose of the Qur'an is not to make us toil hard in worship, but to serve as a reminder for us. Since we would love to remember Allah our Creator and Sustainer, we would then love to worship Him.

The Islamic extremism that is prohibited in Islam is the one that goes beyond the rules and regulations of the religion. Some of the following hadith will shed some light on the matter...

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 001, Book 002, Hadith Number 038.

Narated By Abu Huraira : The Prophet said, "Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the nights."

Volume 009, Book 092, Hadith Number 396.

Narated By Anas : We were with 'Umar and he said, "We have been forbidden to undertake a difficult task beyond our capability (i.e. to exceed the religious limits e.g., to clean the inside of the eyes while doing ablution)."

 

So basically we see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) has ordered that we don't "overdo" it when it comes to acts of worship and start making things difficult upon our selves, for if we were to attempt to do so we won't remain consistent since we will eventually 'pop' and become bored. 

The following hadith show some examples of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in which they wanted to overdo it in their acts of worship and the Prophet (peace be upon him) either rebuked them for doing so or simply advised them not to...

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 004, Book 055, Hadith Number 630.

Narated By Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As : The Prophet said to me, "I have been informed that you pray all the nights and observe fast all the days; is this true?" I replied, "Yes." He said, "If you do so, your eyes will become weak and you will get bored. So fast three days a month, for this will be the fasting of a whole year, or equal to the fasting of a whole year." I said, "I find myself able to fast more." He said, "Then fast like the fasting of (the Prophet) David who used to fast on alternate days and would not flee on facing the enemy."

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 251r:

Narrated Anas bin Malik

Once the Prophet (p.b.u.h) 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 said, "Don't use it. Remove the rope. You should pray as long as you feel active, and when you get tired, sit down."

Saheeh Muslim

Book 006, Hadith Number 2590.

Chapter : Forbiddance to observe perpetual fast and excellence of observing fast on alternate days.

'Abdullah b. 'Amr b. al-'As (Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: 'Abdullah, don't be like so and so who observed prayer during the whole night and then abandoned it (altogether).

 

Here we see the Prophet (peace be upon him) advising the person not to pray all the night because it might have had negative side effects on oneself such as making one bored and weak. It could also lead to one leaving prayer all together, which unfortunately is the case with many people. They erroneously think that a practicing Muslim should go overboard in regards to his religious duties, such as excessive prayer and fasting. This is wrong and alien to Islamic teachings and this could also be injurious to someone's physical health and well-being.

 

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said...

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 251n:

Narrated 'Aisha:

A woman from the tribe of Bani Asad was sitting with me and Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) came to my house and said, "Who is this?" I said, "(She is) So and so. She does not sleep at night because she is engaged in prayer." The Prophet said disapprovingly: Do (good) deeds which is within your capacity as Allah never gets tired of giving rewards till you get tired of doing good deeds."

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 470:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the (Hell) Fire)." They said, "Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (Paradise)."

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 471:

Narrated 'Aisha:

Allah's Apostle said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah's is the most regular and constant even though it were little."

Volume 8, Book 76, Number 472:

Narrated 'Aisha:

The Prophet was asked, "What deeds are loved most by Allah?" He said, "The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few." He added, 'Don't take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability."

 

So here we see that consistency is the key to success. It is better to perform small and few good deeds on a regular basis rather than performing an enormous good deed only once or twice and then leaving it altogether. (e.g. it is better to pray 4 rakah Sunnah prayers everyday rather than 2 hours of qiyam al layl a few number of times until you get fed up of it.)

We should also do good deeds that are within our capabilities. (e.g. don't try standing up for prayer if your legs are greatly paining you, don't fast if you urgently require medicine during the daytime, etc.)

 

 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) condemned those that made congregational prayers too long...

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 001, Book 011, Hadith Number 671.
----------------------------------------
Narated By Abu Huraira : Allah's Apostle said, "If anyone of you leads the people in the prayer, he should shorten it for amongst them are the weak, the sick and the old; and if anyone among you prays alone then he may prolong (the prayer) as much as he wishes."


Volume 001, Book 011, Hadith Number 672.
-----------------------------------------
Narated By Abu Mas'ud : A man came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I keep away from the morning prayer because so-and-so (Imam) prolongs it too much." Allah's Apostle became furious and I had never seen him more furious than he was on that day. The Prophet 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."

 

The reason why the Prophet (peace be upon him) issued this order was because praying for lengthy periods of time might be difficult for some people. It may have major side effects such as discouraging others to attend the congregational prayers at the mosque in order to avoid praying for a long time behind the Imam. So if you wish to pray long prayers, do it on your own or make sure that the people who are praying behind you are also willing to pray the long prayer along with you as well. (Of course there are exceptions to the general rule such as Taraweeh prayers. Also it is recommended at times to lengthen ones' prayer more than the other, however making it longer than another does not mean making it too long. I will not delve into the Fiqh details of this issue here.)

 

As we can see in the following hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) was usually praying for a reasonable/moderate length of time...

 

Saheeh Muslim  

Book 004, Number 1883:

Jabir b. Samura reported: I used to pray with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and both his prayer and sermon were of moderate length. (See also hadith no. 1884)

 

Another hadith...

 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 014, Number 4029:

Anas reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) saw an old man being supported between his two sons. He (the Holy Prophet) said: What is the matter with him? They said: He had taken the vow to walk (on foot to the Ka'ba). Thereupon he (Allah's Apoitle) said: Allah is indifferent to his inflicting upon himself chastisement, and he commanded him to ride.

 

The above hadith shows us that we shouldn't harm ourselves in order to perform acts of worship. In the example above we see that a man assumed that his putting extra effort in walking to the Ka'bah would be a positive thing. However, the Prophet's (peace be upon him) response shows that it really wasn't.

 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) even prohibited us to fast on the first day of each Eid...

 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 006, Hadith Number 2538.

Chapter : Forbiddance to observe fast on 'Id-ul-Fitr and 'Id-al-Adha.

'Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) forbade to observe fast on two days-the day of Fitr and the day of Adha.

 

Could this possibly be because the Prophet (peace be upon him) wants us to take a "little break" and relax a bit and enjoy ourselves with our families at least on the first day of Eid?

 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) reminds us of our rights to others and that extremism in religion could be a barrier to the fulfillment of one's duties...

 

 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 006, Hadith Number 2588.

He (Yahya) then narrated that 'Abdullah b Amr b. al-'As (Allah be pleased with them) told him: I used to observe fast uninterruptedly and recited the (whole of the) Qur'an every night. It (the uninterrupted fasting and recital of the Qur'an every night) was mentioned to the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) or he sent for me, and I went to him and he said to me: I have been informed that you fast continuously and recite (the whole of the Qur'an) every night. I said: Apostle of Allah, it is right, but I covet thereby nothing but good, whereupon he said: It suffices for you that you should observe fast for three days during every mouth. I said: Apostle of Allah, I am capable of doing more than this. He said: Your wife has a right upon you, your visitor has a right upon you, your body has a right upon you; so observe the fast of David, the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him), for he was the best worshipper of Allah. I said: Apostle of Allah, what is the fast of David? He said: He used to fast one day and did not fast the other day. He (also) said: Recite the Qur'an during every month. I said: Apostle of Allah, I am capable of doing more than this, whereupon he said: Recite it in twenty days; recite it in ten days. I said: I am capable of doing more than this, whereupon he said: Recite it every week, and do not exceed beyond this, for your wife has a right upon you, your visitor has a right upon you, your body has a right upon you.

 

So we see that we are not to exceed limits in worship and forget the rights that we owe to our friends and loved ones.

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 007, Book 064, Hadith Number 266.

Narated By Sad : The Prophet visited me at Mecca while I was ill. I said (to him), "I have property; May I bequeath all my property in Allah's Cause?" He said, "No." I said, "Half of it?" He said, "No." I said, "One third of it?" He said, "One-third (is alright), yet it is still too much, for you'd better leave your inheritors wealthy than leave them poor, begging of others. Whatever you spend will be considered a Sadaqa for you, even the mouthful of food you put in the mouth of your wife. Anyhow Allah may let you recover, so that some people may benefit by you and others be harmed by you."

 

See how the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised a man to spend wisely when it came to charity and not to be too extreme in his spending. We see that the Prophet (peace be upon him) urged the man to think rationally and to think about his inheritors. So instead of bequeathing all of his property, the Prophet (peace be upon him) convinced him to only bequeath a third of it. 

The following hadith shows how the Prophet (peace be upon him) rebuked three men who thought that they would become better Muslims by going extreme in their acts of worship...

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 007, Book 062, Hadith Number 001.

Narated By Anas bin Malik : A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped (Allah), and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, "Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven." Then one of them said, "I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever." The other said, "I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast." The third said, "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever." Allah's Apostle came to them and said, "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers)." (See also Saheeh Muslim, Book 008, Hadith Number 3236)

 

That was a very strong statement made by the Prophet (peace be upon him). In order to follow his tradition and Sunnah, we must try to be like him and balance our selves when it comes to worshipping God. The Prophet (peace be upon him) showed those companions that his willingness to marry and his moderation in fasting and praying at night was superior to their intended extreme ways.

Today we see "extremists" going very hard down upon people whom they perceive as sinning. They want people to change overnight and not give them the chance to change gradually over time, making things difficult for them.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) advised Muadh ibn Jabal before going to Yemen to preach Islam to make things easy for the people...

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 005, Book 059, Hadith Number 632.

Narated By Abu Burda : That the Prophet sent his (i.e. Abu Burda's) grandfather, Abu Musa and Mu'adh to Yemen and said to both of them "Facilitate things for the people (Be kind and lenient) and do not make things difficult (for people), and give them good tidings, and do not repulse them and both of you should obey each other." Abu Musa said, "O Allah's Prophet! In our land there is an alcoholic drink (prepared) from barley called Al-Mizr, and another (prepared) from honey, called Al-Bit"'.

Volume 008, Book 073, Hadith Number 146.

Narated By Anas bin Malik : The Prophet said, "Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them)."

Volume 009, Book 089, Hadith Number 284.

Narated By Abu Burda : The Prophet sent my father and Mu'adh bin Jabal to Yemen and said (to them), "Make things easy for the people and do not put hurdles in their way, and give them glad tiding, and don't let them have aversion (i.e. to make people to hate good deeds) and you both should work in cooperation and mutual understanding" Abu Musa said to Allah's Apostle, "In our country a special alcoholic drink called Al-Bit', is prepared (for drinking)." The Prophet said, "Every intoxicant is prohibited."

 

Thus, we see that when we wish to preach to people about Islam we should make things easy for them. We shouldn't set up so many barriers for the people who wish to practice Islam.

 

We should not forget to devote our time to worldly matters...

 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 037, Number 6623:

Hanzala Usayyidi, who was amongst the scribes of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). reported: I met Abu Bakr. He said: Who are you? He (Hanzala) said: Hanzala has turned to be a hypocrite. He (Abu Bakr) said: Hallowed be Allah, what are you saying? Thereupon he said: I say that when we are in the company of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) we ponder over Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our very eyes and when we are away from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) we attend to our wives, our children, our business; most of these things (pertaining to After-life) slip out of our minds. Abu Bakr said: By Allah, I also experience the same. So I and Abu Bakr went to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said to him: Allah's Messenger, Hanzala has turned to be a hypocrite. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: What has happened to you? I said: Allah's Messenger, when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but whenever we go away from you and attend to our wives, children and business, much of these things go out of our minds. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah), the Angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your paths but, Hanzala, time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation). He (the Holy Prophet) said this thrice.

 

In the above Hadith we see how a companion was concerned about how the level of his faith would fluctuate. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) reassured the man that what he was feeling was normal and that there was a time for everything. (everything being halal of course).

 

I believe that Shaykh Ibn Baaz sums this whole issue up very beautifully in one of his verdicts...

 

Question:
It has become common in some of the media to accuse the youth of the Islamic revival of being extremists and fundamentalists. What is your opinion of this?

Answer:

Praise be to Allaah. 

Whatever the case, this is a mistake that has come from the east and the west, from the Christians, communists and Jews, and others who try to put people off the call to Allaah and its supporters, and who want to be unfair to the da'wah by calling it extremism or fundamentalism or whatever other names they give it.

Undoubtedly calling people to Allaah is the religion of the Messengers, it is their path and their way. The people of knowledge are obliged to call others to Allaah and to be active in doing so. The youth are obliged to fear Allaah and to adhere to the truth, not to go to extremes or be harsh. It may so happen that some of the youth are ignorant, so they go to extremes in some matters, or they are lacking in knowledge, so they are negligent in some other matters. But all the youth and others, such as the scholars, must fear Allaah and seek the truth with evidence (daleel), i.e., what Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said; they must beware of bid'ah (reprehensible innovations) and exaggeration. They must also beware of ignorance and shortcomings. No one among them is infallible, and some of the people may err by doing too much or by falling short. But that does not mean that everyone is at fault; the fault rests with those who make the mistake.

But the enemies of Allaah among the Christians and others who are following in their wake have made this a means of attacking the da'wah and putting an end to it, by accusing its people of being extremists and fundamentalists.

 

What does "fundamentalism" mean?

If they are fundamentalists in the sense that they adhere to the fundamentals or basic principles (usool), to what Allaah and His Messenger said, then this is praise,  not condemnation. Adhering to the fundamentals, the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), is commendable and cannot be condemned. What is to be condemned is when people overdo things or fall short, when they go to extremes or are harsh or do not do what they have to do - this is what is to be condemned. But the person who adheres to the right principles, derived from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), is not at fault; this is perfect and is to be praised. This is what is obligatory upon seekers of knowledge and those who call others to Allaah: they should adhere to the fundamentals from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and whatever they know of the basic principles of fiqh, 'aqeedah and hadeeth, whatever can be used as evidence (daleel). They have to have basic principles which they follow. Describing the daayi'ahs as fundamentalists is a general word which does not mean anything apart from condemning them and putting people off. Fundamentalism is not a bad thing, in fact it is something good.

If the seeker of knowledge adheres to the fundamentals, paying attention to them and staying up at night to study them from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and what the scholars have stated, there is nothing wrong with that. But going to extremes in following bid'ah is what is wrong, and going to extremes of ignorance and falling short is also wrong.

The daa'iyahs are obliged to adhere to the fundamentals of sharee'ah and adhere to the middle course to which Allaah has guided them, for Allaah has made them an ummah justly balanced (cf. Al-Baqarah 2:143). So the daa'iyahs have to be justly balanced, treading a middle course between exaggeration and negligence. They have to be steadfast in adhering to the truth, and to adhere to it on the basis of shar'i evidence (daleel). There should be neither exaggeration nor negligence, but the moderation that Allaah has enjoined. (Majmoo' Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi'ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh al-'Allaamah 'Abd al-'Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), p. 233, cited here)

 

So if we are extreme in following the Quran and Sunnah (which does not teach extremism at all) then we are consequently doing something "extremely good". But if someone's extremism causes him to do acts that are beyond the pale of Islam then this is condemned extremism. We must gain knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah first and then know how to implement these laws in our lives. People ignorantly do things that are not part of the Quran and Sunnah and think that they are doing good. They then set a false impression to others that this is what Islam actually teaches. So, I plead to my readers that we should all increase in our knowledge of this beautiful religion and act on it and show others the beauty of Islam.

 

I hope the readers don't use this article in order to find an excuse to not pray, fast and do extra acts of worship. Remember that condemned extremism is doing something that is beyond the boundaries of Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) advised the man not to pray too much because there was a fear that he might become bored and leave it, which is forbidden. The Prophet (peace be upon him) advised the man not to fast too much because there was a possibility that he might forgo his obligatory rights to his wife, which is also forbidden. So these policies were instituted because there was a fear that these extreme acts of worship might have resulted in the person committing sins in other areas. However, if one is confident enough that he or she can control him or herself and organizes his or her time and not forgoes anyone's rights; then there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. On the contrary, this is recommended.

 

Also, there is a misconception that extremists are only those that are strict and make things that are halal haram. However, we should also point out that these so called 'modernist Muslim reformists' who like to make things that are haram halal (e.g. making listening to music halal, making free mixing between opposite sexes halal, eating with your left hand halal, make not wearing the hijab halal, etc.) are also extremists. For they have taken the other extreme by regarding forbidden actions as permissible. The Prophet (peace be upon him) warned us about these people in a number of hadith...

 

 

Saheeh Bukhari

 

Volume 7, Book 69, Number 494v:

 

Narrated by Abu malik Al-Asha'rai


Narrated Abu 'Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari: that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful.

 

 

There will come after you a people who will shall disbelieving in the stoning (of adulterers), in the anti-christ, intercession, punishment of the grave and people coming out of the fire after they have been roasted.  (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith number 151, Source. Sheikh Ahmad Shaakir declared this hadeeth to be authentic)

 

Indeed, many 'liberal and modern reformist' Muslims today permit the wearing of silk and use of musical instruments. They also 'sugar coat' the religion and misinform the people that Islam does not prescribe certain laws implemented in an Islamic society, e.g. the punishment of stoning for the adulterer.

 

So I pray that Allah helps me and all of you avoid the two extremes and to follow the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah as perfectly as we possibly can.

Aameen!

 

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