Islam the Natural, Easy Religion

By Sh. Gibril Fouad Haddad

"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)."
Said the Prophet ﷺ .fn4

This is our noble beautiful way of Islam, which we shall defend until the last day and nothing can divert us, because the goal is God alone - Allah (may His Majesty be exalted!).

حَدَّثَنَا آدَمُ، حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ أَبِي التَّيَّاحِ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلميَسِّرُوا وَلاَ تُعَسِّرُوا، بَشِّرُوا وَلاَ تُنَفِّرُوا

The most neglected name of the Religion of Islamfn1 today is probably al-Hanāfiyyat al-Samha - ”The Natural, Easy Religion.”

This text and the whole book can be read and downloaded Related Pages further down.

The Last Prophet ﷺ described this al-Hanāfiyyat al-Samha as ”the most beloved Religion of all to Allah” (aḥabbu al-dīni ilā Allah ).fn2 This natural and easy Religion brings nothing new but the same goodness proclaimed by the Prophets of old.

Cited by al-Bukhārī tarjimatan and narrated from Ibn ´Abbās by Aḥmad with a fair chain cf. Fatḥ.

{Say: I am no new thing (bid´an) among the messengers of Allah, nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that which is inspired in me, and I am but a plain warner.}
Quran 46-9

Thus it is nothing new that Religion is ease (yusr), not puritanism; that it is good news (bushr), not fire and brimstone; and that it invites all with glad tidings and drives none away (bashshirū la-lā tunaffirū).fn3

This is from the famous, authentic hadith narrated 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)."
Sahih al-Bukhari Book 1, Hadith 69
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Yet certain groups among Muslims and non-Muslims alike work hard to construct a pseudo-Islam that appears to be more rigid than a straightjacket.

They promote a racist, sexist, nationalist, tribalist, sectarian, judgmental, intolerant, culturally distorted, humourless, zealous, frightening cult - "an Islamic order reduced to a penal code, stripped of its humanism, aesthetics, intellectual quests, and spiritual devotion."fn5

Eqbal Ahmad, Dawn Pakistan periodical (Jan-March 1999)

This nightmare religion is not about God and doing goodfn6 but is obsessed with power and theological justifications for the discourse of power. It promises hell to most. In short, it is an immoral and wicked anti-religion.

- It is a satanic contraption.
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One of the most common means used to create this anti-Islam is taḥrīf or the Orwellian manipulation of language to make the Quran and ḥadith mean the opposite of their actual meanings. As predicted by the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) in his famous ḥadith, the culprits are people "of our complexion and our (Arabic) language" standing at the gates of error, inviting ordinary Muslims to perdition.fn7 They do this, not with foreign words and slogans, but with the words of the Book of Guidance and the ḥadith of the Best of creation (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

Narrated by Ḥudayfa ibn al-Yamān by al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

In the field of the principles of jurisprudence (uṣūl al-fiqh), nowhere is this tampering with the truth felt more than in the real definition of "Sunna" and "bid´a" in which the understanding of the pious Salaf such as Imām al-Shāfi´ī (radi-Allahu ´anhu) for these two terms is cast aside. Al-Shāfi´ī (r) had said: ” bid´a is of two kinds (al-bid´atu bid´atān) praiseworthy Innovation (bid´atun maḥmūda) and blameworthy innovation (bid´atun madhmūma).” This crystal-clear distinction has been abandoned and, in its place, later, controversial figures are invoked as ”more representative of the Salaf” and a great historical hoax develops and grows like a snowball.

Newfangled theories that worm into the discourse on right and wrong. Those new theories say that (1) absolutely everything new is bid´a, (2) every bid´a is without exception misguidance (ḍalāla) and - the crowning conclusion and actual purpose of this hoax - (3) "there is no such thing as a good bid´a". Nothing could be further from the truth.

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What is worse, entire generations of Muslim have been weaned on these perversions of the truth and go into the world mechanically parroting the world "Sunna" and "bid´a" without ever understanding them. Following a slew of uneducated and semi-educated Muslim Arabs, Africans and Central, South and Southeast Asians indoctrinated by the modernist "Salafi" movement in Egypt, North Africa and the Gulf, the choice victims for this campaign of disinformation have been English-speaking Muslims, especially new Muslims. These victims learn a few phrases then, coiffed with their new hat of condemnatory phrases like Torquemada's sergeants-at-arms, go out and blast away at other Muslims.fn8

Tomás de Torquemada (1420-1498 CE) was the first Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.
 
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It is stated clearly in the Quran that the religion is easy, beautiful and simply perfect, not hard and complicated:

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{ Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.}
2-185

 Tolerant Monotheism
This religion is natural and easy, it is neither extremism nor laxity!

The purpose of the following discussion is to do away once and for all with those misconceptions for the English-speaking reader and to present over 160 proofs for the Sunni understanding of Sunna and bid´a as it was - and continues to be - set forth in classical, moderate, mainstream Sunni terms according to the Sunni Salaf and Khalaf including the Four Schools of Fiqh.

From the foreword to ‘Sunna Notes, Studies in Hadith & Doctrine, volume 2, The Excellent Innovation in the Quran and Hadith, by Gibril Fouad Haddad with Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s ‘The Sunna of the Caliphs’. 2005 Aqsa Publications, UK.

 Sunna Notes Trilogy: Gibril Fouad Haddad

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