Sunday, February 22, 2009

Islam is Simple: Islam is Easy in Practise

God is Most Merciful, Most Gracious and Most Just. He does not burden a person with something that he or she cannot bear.
“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope."
(Al-Baqarah 2:286)

God judges us based on the best that we can do. God does not compare us to other people. The best that we can do is not the same as the best that another person can do.

When someone embraces Islam, he does not have to drastically carry out all the teachings of Islam. He only needs to do what he can, gradually introducing Islam into his life, step-by-step and at his own pace, according to priority.

The Qur’an came down in stages
In the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Qur’an was not sent down in one go, but was sent down in stages, over a period of 23 years. Therefore, the companions*
learned Islam from the Prophet and then practiced it gradually, step-by-step.
The Prohibition of Alcohol
Many of the companions were alcoholics and drunkards. They drank alcohol in great quantities. With the coming of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), alcohol was forbidden. But this prohibition did not happen drastically. It occurred gradually.

Beginning with explaining the hazards of alcohol:
“They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: “That which is (spare) beyond your needs.” Thus Allah makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought." (al-Baqarah 2:219)

This was followed by the reduction of the intake of alcohol by forbidding the companions* from performing solat (prayer) while drunk. With this, they had fewer opportunities to drink alcohol.
“O you who believe! Approach not shalat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter…” (4:43)

After that, only then was alcohol forbidden entirely.
“O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper” (5:90)

A lot of rukhsah (convenience)
In Islam, there are a lot of rukhsah (conveniences)that are given to us by God. For example, when we are travelling or sick, we are allowed to not fast in the month of Ramadan and replace our fast on other days.

"Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful" (2:185)
God has given us many more conveniences. For example:
- People who are travelling are allowed to combine and shorten two solats (prayers) in one time.
- People who are sick can combine their solats (prayers) in one time.
- People who are sick can perform solat (prayer)sitting or lying down.
- Food that is forbidden becomes permissible in times of crisis.

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful (5:3)

* The companions are those who believe, have met Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and have passed away as Muslims.
-article by Zahir & Firdaus

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