Islam and Extremism

Extremism is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as, a tendency to go to extremes or a case of going to extremes; an extremist is one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norms. Other various dictionaries mention the meanings of extreme as including the highest or farthest possible, far from moderate or moderation, very severe, farthest limits. The opposite of extremism and extremist is moderation and moderate, respectively.

The following is an overview of those Islamic teachings from where you can understand the relation of extremism to Islam. However, here is not the place for me to provide an in-depth analysis.

Now, if Islam allows or advocates for measures beyond the norm, then extremism exists in Islam, but if Islam allows and advocates for moderation, then there is no place for extremism in it. There is not a single aspect of Islam that passes for extremism; it’s every teaching and practice is nothing but moderate and practical. Thus, not finding support for extremism, even in one place, confirms that there is no place for extremism in Islam.

Islam is a way of life completely covering every aspect of life, including death and beyond. It contains subsystems that perfectly fit into the entire system. Islam’s systems of belief, worship, preaching, morality, justice, charity, defense, governance, politics, economics, and so on and so forth are uniquely cohesive.  Like the parts of a machine, if any of its sub-systems are out of place or fail to fit together, it cannot function properly and will break down as soon as it is put to work. Islam, as a system of life, has worked and is working for billions of people. This in itself is sufficient proof that all of its sub-systems are cohesive and fit the mainframe.

Now, through the Qur’an and Sunnah, we will see if there are any extremes in Islam. I would like to remind you once again that Islam fits perfectly with human nature.  None of its principles demand any extraordinary or unusual act that human nature will not allow without going into extremes. For example, the worshipping process is neatly in-sync with the requirements of the body and soul. Every Muslim who lives by the teachings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) lives a good, balanced, and moderate life and at the same time assures Allah’s (SWT) pleasure.

Even though the purpose of man’s creation is to worship the Lord, Islam does not demand its followers to be busy 24/7 in acts of direct worship and not to allocate time for life’s other necessities. When all the other necessary chores of life are fulfilled according to Allah’s (SWT) rules and commandments, they become acts of indirect worship. In this way, the life of a follower easily becomes a life of constant worship. This may seem extraordinarily demanding and burdensome at first, but hundreds of millions of Muslims do it with ease, and once this becomes routine, life moulds accordingly. Thus, Muslims enjoy and draw physical and spiritual benefits out fo life without becoming extremists of any kind.

Islam is a moderate religion. All of its practices are well-balanced, and everything that it requires of its followers makes them humble, sincere, and modest.

Salah:  The most important acts of direct worship are the five daily salah (obligatory prayers of worship). Fajr Salah, the one before sunrise, only requires two rakah (a set of prescribed acts of recitation,standing, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating), not counting Sunnah prayers, because people have other activities of life to take care of and time is usually of the essence in the morning.It only takes about five minutes to perform Fajr Salah. On the other hand, Isha Salah, the fifth one, beginning approximately two hours after sunset, has seventeen rakah, counting Sunnah prayers. By this time, all daily activities are fulfilled; therefore, people have more free time, are relaxed, and can easily spare twenty minutes or so to perform Isha Salah. This shows that people’s daily activities of life were considered even when prescribing the daily prayers.  This is a clear sign of moderation.

Saum: Fasting in the entire month of Ramadan is compulsory, but Allah certainly knows that many of his servants are old, weak, sick, or are travelling, so they are relieved of this obligation and granted the flexibility to make up for the missed fasts at a later time or in some cases to feed the poor two meals for every day not spent fasting. Fasting is easy to observe by adjusting one’s daily routine without going out of the way or towards any extreme. Where fasting may feel burdensome, flexibility has been granted, such as in the case of the sick and weak.

Zakah: The obligatory act of giving one-fortieth of your wealth annually is only for those Muslims who possess a certain amount of wealth. Zakah is not obligatory on poor Muslims, who in most cases are in recipients.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to Makkah has been made obligatory on Muslims only once in their lifetime, provided that they have all the means necessary to undertake the trip and its expenses. It is not incumbent upon Muslims who cannot afford to do it.

It is interesting to know that a companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon them) asked him, “Is Hajj compulsory every year?” When the Prophet did not reply, he asked two more times, and then the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said, “No.” He then added, “do not keep asking me about something until I tell you myself. Had I said ‘yes’ to your question, Hajj would have become compulsory every year.” [Muslim] The Prophet’s silence shows that Islam does not want to put its followers under any kind of hardship let alone towards any extreme.

Qur’an: It is a blessing to know how to recite the Holy Qur’an in Arabic, but besides the necessity of reciting a few verses in Arabic in the daily salah, studying the Qur’an only in Arabic is not mandatory. It would be difficult for non-Arab Muslims to know the Qur’an only in Arabic. However, the more it is recited in Arabic, the greater the benefits. Either way, the flexibility to study the holy Qur’an through translations is there.

In other areas too. Islam recognizes the natural scope and limits of humanity. For example, it does not make incumbent upon all of its followers to become scholars of Islam, preaches, or Sufis and to live monastic lives or reach spiritual heights. A Muslim is only required to know as much as is necessary to enable him to perform his duties. Certainly, the more he knows and practices, the greater his status and rewards. No matter how or where you look in Islam, you will not find any extremes in it.

In the opening Chapter and in over forty other places in the Holy Qur’an, Islam is referred to as Sirate Mustqim. In  Al Mawrid, a Modern Arabic-English Dictionary, sirat is defined as the way, path, or road, and Mustaqim means straight, direct, correct, or right.  Therefore, Sirate Mustaqim means “The Straight Path,” and when something is referred to as being straight, it is also the shortest way. Even the slightest deviation from the straight path is no longer the shortest path.

Any deviation from Sirate Mustaqim is an extreme or a step towards extremism. Islam does not support any kind of extremism because any extreme step or act is a deviation and cannot bring ultimate success. Islam is the moderate way of life and so are its teachings and philosophies. Allah (SWT) states in the Holy Qur’an:

And without a doubt, this is My Way, the straight one; so walk on it, and do not walk on any other way, that it may lead you away from the way of Allah…[6:153]

And those who act against the Prophet, after that the straight path becomes evident to them and began to follow against the norms of the faithful ones, so We will leave them as they are and throw them into Hell, and what a terrible place of return it is. [4:115]

This is because they remained divided from Allah and His Prophet. And those who remain divided from Allah, so without a doubt, Allah is strict in punishing. [59:4]

Regarding moderation in spending money, Allah (SWT) states:

And do not keep your hand tied up to your neck nor open it completely, that you may have to sit regretfully and sadly. [17:29]

When they spend, (they) are neither extravagant nor stingy but remained balanced in between. [25:67]

eat and drink, and do not be extravagant. Certainly, Allah does not like those who are extravagant. [7:31]

Regard moderation in obeying His rules, Allah (SWT) state:

O you who have brought faith! Do not make haram (prohibited) the pure things Allah made halal (permissible) for you, and do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not like transgressors. [5:87]

Regarding being moderate in walking and talking, Allah (SWT) states:

And be moderate in the way you walk, and keep your voice low. Certainly, the most hideous voice is undoubtedly the voice of a donkey. [31:19]

Allah (SWT) is also moderate in burdening His slaves.

Allah does not give command to anyone except to his capacity….[2:286]

…Allah intends ease for you and does not like hardship for you…[2:185]

When performing salah (obligatory prayers of worship), be moderate when reciting.

…and do not be loud in your salah nor murmur in it, and maintain the course in their middle. [17:110]

When taking revenge, Muslims must not resort to extremes.

…So whoever did injustice to you, then you may retaliate likewise against him with as much injustice as he did to you, and fear Allah and be certain that undoubtedly Allah is with those who practice self-restraint. [2:194]

During jihad, mujahideen must never cross the limits.

And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight with you, and do not do any injustice (to them); undoubtedly, Allah does not like those who do injustice. [2:190]

Being modest in character brings forth good.

So it is, indeed, due to Allah’s mercy that you became softhearted for them, and if you were of ill-disposition and hard-hearted, then assuredly, they all would have dispersed from around you; so forgive them and seek salvation for them, and ask for their advice on relevant matters..[3:159]

And good and evil cannot be equal: keep away what must be kept away, with utmost goodness…[41:34]

When preaching Islam, be modest and do not go to extremes.

Call towards the way of your Lord with a solid strategy and good counsel and debate with them in the most desirable manner…. [16:125]

Regarding modesty, the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Modesty is a part of faith, and the place of faith is in paradise.     [Ahmad and Tirmidhi]

Modesty produces nothing but good.    . [Bukari and Muslim]

The believer is simple and generous, but the profligate is deceitful and ignoble.    [Ahmad. Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]

Zaid bin Talh reported Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Every religion has a character, and the character of Islam is modesy.     [Malik]

Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Modesty and faith are both companions. When one is taken away, the other is taken, too.    [Baihaqi}

Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) further stated:

Make things easy and convenient; do not make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings, and do not create hatred.    [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Two qualities that Allah (SWT) prefers and loves are mildness and toleration.   [Muslim]

It is even more evident now, from the above-mentioned verses and ahadith that Islam summons all of humanity to come towards modesty and refrain from every extreme act. It commands its followers to be moderate in all that they do. Muslims who remain modest and avoid extremism maintain a balanced life. Islam condemns extremism and is against all extremist behaviour, attitudes, and tendencies. Islam is Sirate Mustaqim, the Straight Path that takes those who walk upon it directly to Allah (SWT), not away from Him.

Currently, because of the extremist behaviour of some Muslims, the entire ummah (Muslims community) is suffering, and many have become sceptical of Islam. In all honesty, extremists of all sorts have jeopardized world peace. Had Muslims truly replicated the character of the Prophet with regard to tolerance, forgiveness and modesty, and had some self-proclaimed Muslims not walked blindly on the path of/to extremism, they would have avoided disaster. A sincere study of Islam, on the one hand, can save the world from the extremism of some extremists and on the other hand, remove the false notion that Islam advocates extremism and its followers and extremists.

Is fundamentalism a part of Islam or not?

Fundamentalism originates from and results in extremism, and it cannot have any place in Islam. Whenever fundamentalism emerged, it was the result of ideological extremism/radicalism. When fundamentalism was attempted or brought into practice, it resulted in radical behaviour, extremist actions, chaos in society, disruption of the status quo, and widespread insecurity. Fundamentalism, because of its inherent nature, never brought or can every bring any good to society.

As stated earlier, there is no place in Islam for any kind of extremism, whether it is the extremism of the mind or the body, theoretical or practical.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Islam and Extremism

Extremism is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as, a tendency to go to extremes or a case of going to extremes; an extremist is one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norms. Other various dictionaries mention the meanings of extreme as including the highest or farthest possible, far from moderate or moderation, very severe, farthest limits. The opposite of extremism and extremist is moderation and moderate, respectively.

The following is an overview of those Islamic teachings from where you can understand the relation of extremism to Islam. However, here is not the place for me to provide an in-depth analysis.

Now, if Islam allows or advocates for measures beyond the norm, then extremism exists in Islam, but if Islam allows and advocates for moderation, then there is no place for extremism in it. There is not a single aspect of Islam that passes for extremism; it’s every teaching and practice is nothing but moderate and practical. Thus, not finding support for extremism, even in one place, confirms that there is no place for extremism in Islam.

Islam is a way of life completely covering every aspect of life, including death and beyond. It contains subsystems that perfectly fit into the entire system. Islam’s systems of belief, worship, preaching, morality, justice, charity, defense, governance, politics, economics, and so on and so forth are uniquely cohesive.  Like the parts of a machine, if any of its sub-systems are out of place or fail to fit together, it cannot function properly and will break down as soon as it is put to work. Islam, as a system of life, has worked and is working for billions of people. This in itself is sufficient proof that all of its sub-systems are cohesive and fit the mainframe.

Now, through the Qur’an and Sunnah, we will see if there are any extremes in Islam. I would like to remind you once again that Islam fits perfectly with human nature.  None of its principles demand any extraordinary or unusual act that human nature will not allow without going into extremes. For example, the worshipping process is neatly in-sync with the requirements of the body and soul. Every Muslim who lives by the teachings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) lives a good, balanced, and moderate life and at the same time assures Allah’s (SWT) pleasure.

Even though the purpose of man’s creation is to worship the Lord, Islam does not demand its followers to be busy 24/7 in acts of direct worship and not to allocate time for life’s other necessities. When all the other necessary chores of life are fulfilled according to Allah’s (SWT) rules and commandments, they become acts of indirect worship. In this way, the life of a follower easily becomes a life of constant worship. This may seem extraordinarily demanding and burdensome at first, but hundreds of millions of Muslims do it with ease, and once this becomes routine, life moulds accordingly. Thus, Muslims enjoy and draw physical and spiritual benefits out fo life without becoming extremists of any kind.

Islam is a moderate religion. All of its practices are well-balanced, and everything that it requires of its followers makes them humble, sincere, and modest.

Salah:  The most important acts of direct worship are the five daily salah (obligatory prayers of worship). Fajr Salah, the one before sunrise, only requires two rakah (a set of prescribed acts of recitation,standing, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating), not counting Sunnah prayers, because people have other activities of life to take care of and time is usually of the essence in the morning.It only takes about five minutes to perform Fajr Salah. On the other hand, Isha Salah, the fifth one, beginning approximately two hours after sunset, has seventeen rakah, counting Sunnah prayers. By this time, all daily activities are fulfilled; therefore, people have more free time, are relaxed, and can easily spare twenty minutes or so to perform Isha Salah. This shows that people’s daily activities of life were considered even when prescribing the daily prayers.  This is a clear sign of moderation.

Saum: Fasting in the entire month of Ramadan is compulsory, but Allah certainly knows that many of his servants are old, weak, sick, or are travelling, so they are relieved of this obligation and granted the flexibility to make up for the missed fasts at a later time or in some cases to feed the poor two meals for every day not spent fasting. Fasting is easy to observe by adjusting one’s daily routine without going out of the way or towards any extreme. Where fasting may feel burdensome, flexibility has been granted, such as in the case of the sick and weak.

Zakah: The obligatory act of giving one-fortieth of your wealth annually is only for those Muslims who possess a certain amount of wealth. Zakah is not obligatory on poor Muslims, who in most cases are in recipients.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to Makkah has been made obligatory on Muslims only once in their lifetime, provided that they have all the means necessary to undertake the trip and its expenses. It is not incumbent upon Muslims who cannot afford to do it.

It is interesting to know that a companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon them) asked him, “Is Hajj compulsory every year?” When the Prophet did not reply, he asked two more times, and then the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said, “No.” He then added, “do not keep asking me about something until I tell you myself. Had I said ‘yes’ to your question, Hajj would have become compulsory every year.” [Muslim] The Prophet’s silence shows that Islam does not want to put its followers under any kind of hardship let alone towards any extreme.

Qur’an: It is a blessing to know how to recite the Holy Qur’an in Arabic, but besides the necessity of reciting a few verses in Arabic in the daily salah, studying the Qur’an only in Arabic is not mandatory. It would be difficult for non-Arab Muslims to know the Qur’an only in Arabic. However, the more it is recited in Arabic, the greater the benefits. Either way, the flexibility to study the holy Qur’an through translations is there.

In other areas too. Islam recognizes the natural scope and limits of humanity. For example, it does not make incumbent upon all of its followers to become scholars of Islam, preaches, or Sufis and to live monastic lives or reach spiritual heights. A Muslim is only required to know as much as is necessary to enable him to perform his duties. Certainly, the more he knows and practices, the greater his status and rewards. No matter how or where you look in Islam, you will not find any extremes in it.

In the opening Chapter and in over forty other places in the Holy Qur’an, Islam is referred to as Sirate Mustqim. In  Al Mawrid, a Modern Arabic-English Dictionary, sirat is defined as the way, path, or road, and Mustaqim means straight, direct, correct, or right.  Therefore, Sirate Mustaqim means “The Straight Path,” and when something is referred to as being straight, it is also the shortest way. Even the slightest deviation from the straight path is no longer the shortest path.

Any deviation from Sirate Mustaqim is an extreme or a step towards extremism. Islam does not support any kind of extremism because any extreme step or act is a deviation and cannot bring ultimate success. Islam is the moderate way of life and so are its teachings and philosophies. Allah (SWT) states in the Holy Qur’an:

And without a doubt, this is My Way, the straight one; so walk on it, and do not walk on any other way, that it may lead you away from the way of Allah…[6:153]

And those who act against the Prophet, after that the straight path becomes evident to them and began to follow against the norms of the faithful ones, so We will leave them as they are and throw them into Hell, and what a terrible place of return it is. [4:115]

This is because they remained divided from Allah and His Prophet. And those who remain divided from Allah, so without a doubt, Allah is strict in punishing. [59:4]

Regarding moderation in spending money, Allah (SWT) states:

And do not keep your hand tied up to your neck nor open it completely, that you may have to sit regretfully and sadly. [17:29]

When they spend, (they) are neither extravagant nor stingy but remained balanced in between. [25:67]

eat and drink, and do not be extravagant. Certainly, Allah does not like those who are extravagant. [7:31]

Regard moderation in obeying His rules, Allah (SWT) state:

O you who have brought faith! Do not make haram (prohibited) the pure things Allah made halal (permissible) for you, and do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not like transgressors. [5:87]

Regarding being moderate in walking and talking, Allah (SWT) states:

And be moderate in the way you walk, and keep your voice low. Certainly, the most hideous voice is undoubtedly the voice of a donkey. [31:19]

Allah (SWT) is also moderate in burdening His slaves.

Allah does not give command to anyone except to his capacity….[2:286]

…Allah intends ease for you and does not like hardship for you…[2:185]

When performing salah (obligatory prayers of worship), be moderate when reciting.

…and do not be loud in your salah nor murmur in it, and maintain the course in their middle. [17:110]

When taking revenge, Muslims must not resort to extremes.

…So whoever did injustice to you, then you may retaliate likewise against him with as much injustice as he did to you, and fear Allah and be certain that undoubtedly Allah is with those who practice self-restraint. [2:194]

During jihad, mujahideen must never cross the limits.

And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight with you, and do not do any injustice (to them); undoubtedly, Allah does not like those who do injustice. [2:190]

Being modest in character brings forth good.

So it is, indeed, due to Allah’s mercy that you became softhearted for them, and if you were of ill-disposition and hard-hearted, then assuredly, they all would have dispersed from around you; so forgive them and seek salvation for them, and ask for their advice on relevant matters..[3:159]

And good and evil cannot be equal: keep away what must be kept away, with utmost goodness…[41:34]

When preaching Islam, be modest and do not go to extremes.

Call towards the way of your Lord with a solid strategy and good counsel and debate with them in the most desirable manner…. [16:125]

Regarding modesty, the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Modesty is a part of faith, and the place of faith is in paradise.     [Ahmad and Tirmidhi]

Modesty produces nothing but good.    . [Bukari and Muslim]

The believer is simple and generous, but the profligate is deceitful and ignoble.    [Ahmad. Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]

Zaid bin Talh reported Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Every religion has a character, and the character of Islam is modesy.     [Malik]

Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Modesty and faith are both companions. When one is taken away, the other is taken, too.    [Baihaqi}

Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) further stated:

Make things easy and convenient; do not make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings, and do not create hatred.    [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Two qualities that Allah (SWT) prefers and loves are mildness and toleration.   [Muslim]

It is even more evident now, from the above-mentioned verses and ahadith that Islam summons all of humanity to come towards modesty and refrain from every extreme act. It commands its followers to be moderate in all that they do. Muslims who remain modest and avoid extremism maintain a balanced life. Islam condemns extremism and is against all extremist behaviour, attitudes, and tendencies. Islam is Sirate Mustaqim, the Straight Path that takes those who walk upon it directly to Allah (SWT), not away from Him.

Currently, because of the extremist behaviour of some Muslims, the entire ummah (Muslims community) is suffering, and many have become sceptical of Islam. In all honesty, extremists of all sorts have jeopardized world peace. Had Muslims truly replicated the character of the Prophet with regard to tolerance, forgiveness and modesty, and had some self-proclaimed Muslims not walked blindly on the path of/to extremism, they would have avoided disaster. A sincere study of Islam, on the one hand, can save the world from the extremism of some extremists and on the other hand, remove the false notion that Islam advocates extremism and its followers and extremists.

Is fundamentalism a part of Islam or not?

Fundamentalism originates from and results in extremism, and it cannot have any place in Islam. Whenever fundamentalism emerged, it was the result of ideological extremism/radicalism. When fundamentalism was attempted or brought into practice, it resulted in radical behaviour, extremist actions, chaos in society, disruption of the status quo, and widespread insecurity. Fundamentalism, because of its inherent nature, never brought or can every bring any good to society.

As stated earlier, there is no place in Islam for any kind of extremism, whether it is the extremism of the mind or the body, theoretical or practical.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Islam and Extremism

Extremism is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as, a tendency to go to extremes or a case of going to extremes; an extremist is one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norms. Other various dictionaries mention the meanings of extreme as including the highest or farthest possible, far from moderate or moderation, very severe, farthest limits. The opposite of extremism and extremist is moderation and moderate, respectively.

The following is an overview of those Islamic teachings from where you can understand the relation of extremism to Islam. However, here is not the place for me to provide an in-depth analysis.

Now, if Islam allows or advocates for measures beyond the norm, then extremism exists in Islam, but if Islam allows and advocates for moderation, then there is no place for extremism in it. There is not a single aspect of Islam that passes for extremism; it’s every teaching and practice is nothing but moderate and practical. Thus, not finding support for extremism, even in one place, confirms that there is no place for extremism in Islam.

Islam is a way of life completely covering every aspect of life, including death and beyond. It contains subsystems that perfectly fit into the entire system. Islam’s systems of belief, worship, preaching, morality, justice, charity, defense, governance, politics, economics, and so on and so forth are uniquely cohesive.  Like the parts of a machine, if any of its sub-systems are out of place or fail to fit together, it cannot function properly and will break down as soon as it is put to work. Islam, as a system of life, has worked and is working for billions of people. This in itself is sufficient proof that all of its sub-systems are cohesive and fit the mainframe.

Now, through the Qur’an and Sunnah, we will see if there are any extremes in Islam. I would like to remind you once again that Islam fits perfectly with human nature.  None of its principles demand any extraordinary or unusual act that human nature will not allow without going into extremes. For example, the worshipping process is neatly in-sync with the requirements of the body and soul. Every Muslim who lives by the teachings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) lives a good, balanced, and moderate life and at the same time assures Allah’s (SWT) pleasure.

Even though the purpose of man’s creation is to worship the Lord, Islam does not demand its followers to be busy 24/7 in acts of direct worship and not to allocate time for life’s other necessities. When all the other necessary chores of life are fulfilled according to Allah’s (SWT) rules and commandments, they become acts of indirect worship. In this way, the life of a follower easily becomes a life of constant worship. This may seem extraordinarily demanding and burdensome at first, but hundreds of millions of Muslims do it with ease, and once this becomes routine, life moulds accordingly. Thus, Muslims enjoy and draw physical and spiritual benefits out fo life without becoming extremists of any kind.

Islam is a moderate religion. All of its practices are well-balanced, and everything that it requires of its followers makes them humble, sincere, and modest.

Salah:  The most important acts of direct worship are the five daily salah (obligatory prayers of worship). Fajr Salah, the one before sunrise, only requires two rakah (a set of prescribed acts of recitation,standing, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating), not counting Sunnah prayers, because people have other activities of life to take care of and time is usually of the essence in the morning.It only takes about five minutes to perform Fajr Salah. On the other hand, Isha Salah, the fifth one, beginning approximately two hours after sunset, has seventeen rakah, counting Sunnah prayers. By this time, all daily activities are fulfilled; therefore, people have more free time, are relaxed, and can easily spare twenty minutes or so to perform Isha Salah. This shows that people’s daily activities of life were considered even when prescribing the daily prayers.  This is a clear sign of moderation.

Saum: Fasting in the entire month of Ramadan is compulsory, but Allah certainly knows that many of his servants are old, weak, sick, or are travelling, so they are relieved of this obligation and granted the flexibility to make up for the missed fasts at a later time or in some cases to feed the poor two meals for every day not spent fasting. Fasting is easy to observe by adjusting one’s daily routine without going out of the way or towards any extreme. Where fasting may feel burdensome, flexibility has been granted, such as in the case of the sick and weak.

Zakah: The obligatory act of giving one-fortieth of your wealth annually is only for those Muslims who possess a certain amount of wealth. Zakah is not obligatory on poor Muslims, who in most cases are in recipients.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to Makkah has been made obligatory on Muslims only once in their lifetime, provided that they have all the means necessary to undertake the trip and its expenses. It is not incumbent upon Muslims who cannot afford to do it.

It is interesting to know that a companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon them) asked him, “Is Hajj compulsory every year?” When the Prophet did not reply, he asked two more times, and then the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said, “No.” He then added, “do not keep asking me about something until I tell you myself. Had I said ‘yes’ to your question, Hajj would have become compulsory every year.” [Muslim] The Prophet’s silence shows that Islam does not want to put its followers under any kind of hardship let alone towards any extreme.

Qur’an: It is a blessing to know how to recite the Holy Qur’an in Arabic, but besides the necessity of reciting a few verses in Arabic in the daily salah, studying the Qur’an only in Arabic is not mandatory. It would be difficult for non-Arab Muslims to know the Qur’an only in Arabic. However, the more it is recited in Arabic, the greater the benefits. Either way, the flexibility to study the holy Qur’an through translations is there.

In other areas too. Islam recognizes the natural scope and limits of humanity. For example, it does not make incumbent upon all of its followers to become scholars of Islam, preaches, or Sufis and to live monastic lives or reach spiritual heights. A Muslim is only required to know as much as is necessary to enable him to perform his duties. Certainly, the more he knows and practices, the greater his status and rewards. No matter how or where you look in Islam, you will not find any extremes in it.

In the opening Chapter and in over forty other places in the Holy Qur’an, Islam is referred to as Sirate Mustqim. In  Al Mawrid, a Modern Arabic-English Dictionary, sirat is defined as the way, path, or road, and Mustaqim means straight, direct, correct, or right.  Therefore, Sirate Mustaqim means “The Straight Path,” and when something is referred to as being straight, it is also the shortest way. Even the slightest deviation from the straight path is no longer the shortest path.

Any deviation from Sirate Mustaqim is an extreme or a step towards extremism. Islam does not support any kind of extremism because any extreme step or act is a deviation and cannot bring ultimate success. Islam is the moderate way of life and so are its teachings and philosophies. Allah (SWT) states in the Holy Qur’an:

And without a doubt, this is My Way, the straight one; so walk on it, and do not walk on any other way, that it may lead you away from the way of Allah…[6:153]

And those who act against the Prophet, after that the straight path becomes evident to them and began to follow against the norms of the faithful ones, so We will leave them as they are and throw them into Hell, and what a terrible place of return it is. [4:115]

This is because they remained divided from Allah and His Prophet. And those who remain divided from Allah, so without a doubt, Allah is strict in punishing. [59:4]

Regarding moderation in spending money, Allah (SWT) states:

And do not keep your hand tied up to your neck nor open it completely, that you may have to sit regretfully and sadly. [17:29]

When they spend, (they) are neither extravagant nor stingy but remained balanced in between. [25:67]

eat and drink, and do not be extravagant. Certainly, Allah does not like those who are extravagant. [7:31]

Regard moderation in obeying His rules, Allah (SWT) state:

O you who have brought faith! Do not make haram (prohibited) the pure things Allah made halal (permissible) for you, and do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not like transgressors. [5:87]

Regarding being moderate in walking and talking, Allah (SWT) states:

And be moderate in the way you walk, and keep your voice low. Certainly, the most hideous voice is undoubtedly the voice of a donkey. [31:19]

Allah (SWT) is also moderate in burdening His slaves.

Allah does not give command to anyone except to his capacity….[2:286]

…Allah intends ease for you and does not like hardship for you…[2:185]

When performing salah (obligatory prayers of worship), be moderate when reciting.

…and do not be loud in your salah nor murmur in it, and maintain the course in their middle. [17:110]

When taking revenge, Muslims must not resort to extremes.

…So whoever did injustice to you, then you may retaliate likewise against him with as much injustice as he did to you, and fear Allah and be certain that undoubtedly Allah is with those who practice self-restraint. [2:194]

During jihad, mujahideen must never cross the limits.

And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight with you, and do not do any injustice (to them); undoubtedly, Allah does not like those who do injustice. [2:190]

Being modest in character brings forth good.

So it is, indeed, due to Allah’s mercy that you became softhearted for them, and if you were of ill-disposition and hard-hearted, then assuredly, they all would have dispersed from around you; so forgive them and seek salvation for them, and ask for their advice on relevant matters..[3:159]

And good and evil cannot be equal: keep away what must be kept away, with utmost goodness…[41:34]

When preaching Islam, be modest and do not go to extremes.

Call towards the way of your Lord with a solid strategy and good counsel and debate with them in the most desirable manner…. [16:125]

Regarding modesty, the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Modesty is a part of faith, and the place of faith is in paradise.     [Ahmad and Tirmidhi]

Modesty produces nothing but good.    . [Bukari and Muslim]

The believer is simple and generous, but the profligate is deceitful and ignoble.    [Ahmad. Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]

Zaid bin Talh reported Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Every religion has a character, and the character of Islam is modesy.     [Malik]

Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Modesty and faith are both companions. When one is taken away, the other is taken, too.    [Baihaqi}

Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) further stated:

Make things easy and convenient; do not make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings, and do not create hatred.    [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Two qualities that Allah (SWT) prefers and loves are mildness and toleration.   [Muslim]

It is even more evident now, from the above-mentioned verses and ahadith that Islam summons all of humanity to come towards modesty and refrain from every extreme act. It commands its followers to be moderate in all that they do. Muslims who remain modest and avoid extremism maintain a balanced life. Islam condemns extremism and is against all extremist behaviour, attitudes, and tendencies. Islam is Sirate Mustaqim, the Straight Path that takes those who walk upon it directly to Allah (SWT), not away from Him.

Currently, because of the extremist behaviour of some Muslims, the entire ummah (Muslims community) is suffering, and many have become sceptical of Islam. In all honesty, extremists of all sorts have jeopardized world peace. Had Muslims truly replicated the character of the Prophet with regard to tolerance, forgiveness and modesty, and had some self-proclaimed Muslims not walked blindly on the path of/to extremism, they would have avoided disaster. A sincere study of Islam, on the one hand, can save the world from the extremism of some extremists and on the other hand, remove the false notion that Islam advocates extremism and its followers and extremists.

Is fundamentalism a part of Islam or not?

Fundamentalism originates from and results in extremism, and it cannot have any place in Islam. Whenever fundamentalism emerged, it was the result of ideological extremism/radicalism. When fundamentalism was attempted or brought into practice, it resulted in radical behaviour, extremist actions, chaos in society, disruption of the status quo, and widespread insecurity. Fundamentalism, because of its inherent nature, never brought or can every bring any good to society.

As stated earlier, there is no place in Islam for any kind of extremism, whether it is the extremism of the mind or the body, theoretical or practical.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Islam and Extremism

Extremism is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as, a tendency to go to extremes or a case of going to extremes; an extremist is one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norms. Other various dictionaries mention the meanings of extreme as including the highest or farthest possible, far from moderate or moderation, very severe, farthest limits. The opposite of extremism and extremist is moderation and moderate, respectively.

The following is an overview of those Islamic teachings from where you can understand the relation of extremism to Islam. However, here is not the place for me to provide an in-depth analysis.

Now, if Islam allows or advocates for measures beyond the norm, then extremism exists in Islam, but if Islam allows and advocates for moderation, then there is no place for extremism in it. There is not a single aspect of Islam that passes for extremism; it’s every teaching and practice is nothing but moderate and practical. Thus, not finding support for extremism, even in one place, confirms that there is no place for extremism in Islam.

Islam is a way of life completely covering every aspect of life, including death and beyond. It contains subsystems that perfectly fit into the entire system. Islam’s systems of belief, worship, preaching, morality, justice, charity, defense, governance, politics, economics, and so on and so forth are uniquely cohesive.  Like the parts of a machine, if any of its sub-systems are out of place or fail to fit together, it cannot function properly and will break down as soon as it is put to work. Islam, as a system of life, has worked and is working for billions of people. This in itself is sufficient proof that all of its sub-systems are cohesive and fit the mainframe.

Now, through the Qur’an and Sunnah, we will see if there are any extremes in Islam. I would like to remind you once again that Islam fits perfectly with human nature.  None of its principles demand any extraordinary or unusual act that human nature will not allow without going into extremes. For example, the worshipping process is neatly in-sync with the requirements of the body and soul. Every Muslim who lives by the teachings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) lives a good, balanced, and moderate life and at the same time assures Allah’s (SWT) pleasure.

Even though the purpose of man’s creation is to worship the Lord, Islam does not demand its followers to be busy 24/7 in acts of direct worship and not to allocate time for life’s other necessities. When all the other necessary chores of life are fulfilled according to Allah’s (SWT) rules and commandments, they become acts of indirect worship. In this way, the life of a follower easily becomes a life of constant worship. This may seem extraordinarily demanding and burdensome at first, but hundreds of millions of Muslims do it with ease, and once this becomes routine, life moulds accordingly. Thus, Muslims enjoy and draw physical and spiritual benefits out fo life without becoming extremists of any kind.

Islam is a moderate religion. All of its practices are well-balanced, and everything that it requires of its followers makes them humble, sincere, and modest.

Salah:  The most important acts of direct worship are the five daily salah (obligatory prayers of worship). Fajr Salah, the one before sunrise, only requires two rakah (a set of prescribed acts of recitation,standing, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating), not counting Sunnah prayers, because people have other activities of life to take care of and time is usually of the essence in the morning.It only takes about five minutes to perform Fajr Salah. On the other hand, Isha Salah, the fifth one, beginning approximately two hours after sunset, has seventeen rakah, counting Sunnah prayers. By this time, all daily activities are fulfilled; therefore, people have more free time, are relaxed, and can easily spare twenty minutes or so to perform Isha Salah. This shows that people’s daily activities of life were considered even when prescribing the daily prayers.  This is a clear sign of moderation.

Saum: Fasting in the entire month of Ramadan is compulsory, but Allah certainly knows that many of his servants are old, weak, sick, or are travelling, so they are relieved of this obligation and granted the flexibility to make up for the missed fasts at a later time or in some cases to feed the poor two meals for every day not spent fasting. Fasting is easy to observe by adjusting one’s daily routine without going out of the way or towards any extreme. Where fasting may feel burdensome, flexibility has been granted, such as in the case of the sick and weak.

Zakah: The obligatory act of giving one-fortieth of your wealth annually is only for those Muslims who possess a certain amount of wealth. Zakah is not obligatory on poor Muslims, who in most cases are in recipients.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to Makkah has been made obligatory on Muslims only once in their lifetime, provided that they have all the means necessary to undertake the trip and its expenses. It is not incumbent upon Muslims who cannot afford to do it.

It is interesting to know that a companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon them) asked him, “Is Hajj compulsory every year?” When the Prophet did not reply, he asked two more times, and then the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said, “No.” He then added, “do not keep asking me about something until I tell you myself. Had I said ‘yes’ to your question, Hajj would have become compulsory every year.” [Muslim] The Prophet’s silence shows that Islam does not want to put its followers under any kind of hardship let alone towards any extreme.

Qur’an: It is a blessing to know how to recite the Holy Qur’an in Arabic, but besides the necessity of reciting a few verses in Arabic in the daily salah, studying the Qur’an only in Arabic is not mandatory. It would be difficult for non-Arab Muslims to know the Qur’an only in Arabic. However, the more it is recited in Arabic, the greater the benefits. Either way, the flexibility to study the holy Qur’an through translations is there.

In other areas too. Islam recognizes the natural scope and limits of humanity. For example, it does not make incumbent upon all of its followers to become scholars of Islam, preaches, or Sufis and to live monastic lives or reach spiritual heights. A Muslim is only required to know as much as is necessary to enable him to perform his duties. Certainly, the more he knows and practices, the greater his status and rewards. No matter how or where you look in Islam, you will not find any extremes in it.

In the opening Chapter and in over forty other places in the Holy Qur’an, Islam is referred to as Sirate Mustqim. In  Al Mawrid, a Modern Arabic-English Dictionary, sirat is defined as the way, path, or road, and Mustaqim means straight, direct, correct, or right.  Therefore, Sirate Mustaqim means “The Straight Path,” and when something is referred to as being straight, it is also the shortest way. Even the slightest deviation from the straight path is no longer the shortest path.

Any deviation from Sirate Mustaqim is an extreme or a step towards extremism. Islam does not support any kind of extremism because any extreme step or act is a deviation and cannot bring ultimate success. Islam is the moderate way of life and so are its teachings and philosophies. Allah (SWT) states in the Holy Qur’an:

And without a doubt, this is My Way, the straight one; so walk on it, and do not walk on any other way, that it may lead you away from the way of Allah…[6:153]

And those who act against the Prophet, after that the straight path becomes evident to them and began to follow against the norms of the faithful ones, so We will leave them as they are and throw them into Hell, and what a terrible place of return it is. [4:115]

This is because they remained divided from Allah and His Prophet. And those who remain divided from Allah, so without a doubt, Allah is strict in punishing. [59:4]

Regarding moderation in spending money, Allah (SWT) states:

And do not keep your hand tied up to your neck nor open it completely, that you may have to sit regretfully and sadly. [17:29]

When they spend, (they) are neither extravagant nor stingy but remained balanced in between. [25:67]

eat and drink, and do not be extravagant. Certainly, Allah does not like those who are extravagant. [7:31]

Regard moderation in obeying His rules, Allah (SWT) state:

O you who have brought faith! Do not make haram (prohibited) the pure things Allah made halal (permissible) for you, and do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not like transgressors. [5:87]

Regarding being moderate in walking and talking, Allah (SWT) states:

And be moderate in the way you walk, and keep your voice low. Certainly, the most hideous voice is undoubtedly the voice of a donkey. [31:19]

Allah (SWT) is also moderate in burdening His slaves.

Allah does not give command to anyone except to his capacity….[2:286]

…Allah intends ease for you and does not like hardship for you…[2:185]

When performing salah (obligatory prayers of worship), be moderate when reciting.

…and do not be loud in your salah nor murmur in it, and maintain the course in their middle. [17:110]

When taking revenge, Muslims must not resort to extremes.

…So whoever did injustice to you, then you may retaliate likewise against him with as much injustice as he did to you, and fear Allah and be certain that undoubtedly Allah is with those who practice self-restraint. [2:194]

During jihad, mujahideen must never cross the limits.

And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight with you, and do not do any injustice (to them); undoubtedly, Allah does not like those who do injustice. [2:190]

Being modest in character brings forth good.

So it is, indeed, due to Allah’s mercy that you became softhearted for them, and if you were of ill-disposition and hard-hearted, then assuredly, they all would have dispersed from around you; so forgive them and seek salvation for them, and ask for their advice on relevant matters..[3:159]

And good and evil cannot be equal: keep away what must be kept away, with utmost goodness…[41:34]

When preaching Islam, be modest and do not go to extremes.

Call towards the way of your Lord with a solid strategy and good counsel and debate with them in the most desirable manner…. [16:125]

Regarding modesty, the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Modesty is a part of faith, and the place of faith is in paradise.     [Ahmad and Tirmidhi]

Modesty produces nothing but good.    . [Bukari and Muslim]

The believer is simple and generous, but the profligate is deceitful and ignoble.    [Ahmad. Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]

Zaid bin Talh reported Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Every religion has a character, and the character of Islam is modesy.     [Malik]

Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Modesty and faith are both companions. When one is taken away, the other is taken, too.    [Baihaqi}

Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) further stated:

Make things easy and convenient; do not make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings, and do not create hatred.    [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Two qualities that Allah (SWT) prefers and loves are mildness and toleration.   [Muslim]

It is even more evident now, from the above-mentioned verses and ahadith that Islam summons all of humanity to come towards modesty and refrain from every extreme act. It commands its followers to be moderate in all that they do. Muslims who remain modest and avoid extremism maintain a balanced life. Islam condemns extremism and is against all extremist behaviour, attitudes, and tendencies. Islam is Sirate Mustaqim, the Straight Path that takes those who walk upon it directly to Allah (SWT), not away from Him.

Currently, because of the extremist behaviour of some Muslims, the entire ummah (Muslims community) is suffering, and many have become sceptical of Islam. In all honesty, extremists of all sorts have jeopardized world peace. Had Muslims truly replicated the character of the Prophet with regard to tolerance, forgiveness and modesty, and had some self-proclaimed Muslims not walked blindly on the path of/to extremism, they would have avoided disaster. A sincere study of Islam, on the one hand, can save the world from the extremism of some extremists and on the other hand, remove the false notion that Islam advocates extremism and its followers and extremists.

Is fundamentalism a part of Islam or not?

Fundamentalism originates from and results in extremism, and it cannot have any place in Islam. Whenever fundamentalism emerged, it was the result of ideological extremism/radicalism. When fundamentalism was attempted or brought into practice, it resulted in radical behaviour, extremist actions, chaos in society, disruption of the status quo, and widespread insecurity. Fundamentalism, because of its inherent nature, never brought or can every bring any good to society.

As stated earlier, there is no place in Islam for any kind of extremism, whether it is the extremism of the mind or the body, theoretical or practical.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Islam and Extremism

Extremism is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as, a tendency to go to extremes or a case of going to extremes; an extremist is one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norms. Other various dictionaries mention the meanings of extreme as including the highest or farthest possible, far from moderate or moderation, very severe, farthest limits. The opposite of extremism and extremist is moderation and moderate, respectively.

The following is an overview of those Islamic teachings from where you can understand the relation of extremism to Islam. However, here is not the place for me to provide an in-depth analysis.

Now, if Islam allows or advocates for measures beyond the norm, then extremism exists in Islam, but if Islam allows and advocates for moderation, then there is no place for extremism in it. There is not a single aspect of Islam that passes for extremism; it’s every teaching and practice is nothing but moderate and practical. Thus, not finding support for extremism, even in one place, confirms that there is no place for extremism in Islam.

Islam is a way of life completely covering every aspect of life, including death and beyond. It contains subsystems that perfectly fit into the entire system. Islam’s systems of belief, worship, preaching, morality, justice, charity, defense, governance, politics, economics, and so on and so forth are uniquely cohesive.  Like the parts of a machine, if any of its sub-systems are out of place or fail to fit together, it cannot function properly and will break down as soon as it is put to work. Islam, as a system of life, has worked and is working for billions of people. This in itself is sufficient proof that all of its sub-systems are cohesive and fit the mainframe.

Now, through the Qur’an and Sunnah, we will see if there are any extremes in Islam. I would like to remind you once again that Islam fits perfectly with human nature.  None of its principles demand any extraordinary or unusual act that human nature will not allow without going into extremes. For example, the worshipping process is neatly in-sync with the requirements of the body and soul. Every Muslim who lives by the teachings of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) lives a good, balanced, and moderate life and at the same time assures Allah’s (SWT) pleasure.

Even though the purpose of man’s creation is to worship the Lord, Islam does not demand its followers to be busy 24/7 in acts of direct worship and not to allocate time for life’s other necessities. When all the other necessary chores of life are fulfilled according to Allah’s (SWT) rules and commandments, they become acts of indirect worship. In this way, the life of a follower easily becomes a life of constant worship. This may seem extraordinarily demanding and burdensome at first, but hundreds of millions of Muslims do it with ease, and once this becomes routine, life moulds accordingly. Thus, Muslims enjoy and draw physical and spiritual benefits out fo life without becoming extremists of any kind.

Islam is a moderate religion. All of its practices are well-balanced, and everything that it requires of its followers makes them humble, sincere, and modest.

Salah:  The most important acts of direct worship are the five daily salah (obligatory prayers of worship). Fajr Salah, the one before sunrise, only requires two rakah (a set of prescribed acts of recitation,standing, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating), not counting Sunnah prayers, because people have other activities of life to take care of and time is usually of the essence in the morning.It only takes about five minutes to perform Fajr Salah. On the other hand, Isha Salah, the fifth one, beginning approximately two hours after sunset, has seventeen rakah, counting Sunnah prayers. By this time, all daily activities are fulfilled; therefore, people have more free time, are relaxed, and can easily spare twenty minutes or so to perform Isha Salah. This shows that people’s daily activities of life were considered even when prescribing the daily prayers.  This is a clear sign of moderation.

Saum: Fasting in the entire month of Ramadan is compulsory, but Allah certainly knows that many of his servants are old, weak, sick, or are travelling, so they are relieved of this obligation and granted the flexibility to make up for the missed fasts at a later time or in some cases to feed the poor two meals for every day not spent fasting. Fasting is easy to observe by adjusting one’s daily routine without going out of the way or towards any extreme. Where fasting may feel burdensome, flexibility has been granted, such as in the case of the sick and weak.

Zakah: The obligatory act of giving one-fortieth of your wealth annually is only for those Muslims who possess a certain amount of wealth. Zakah is not obligatory on poor Muslims, who in most cases are in recipients.

Hajj: The pilgrimage to Makkah has been made obligatory on Muslims only once in their lifetime, provided that they have all the means necessary to undertake the trip and its expenses. It is not incumbent upon Muslims who cannot afford to do it.

It is interesting to know that a companion of the Prophet (Peace be upon them) asked him, “Is Hajj compulsory every year?” When the Prophet did not reply, he asked two more times, and then the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said, “No.” He then added, “do not keep asking me about something until I tell you myself. Had I said ‘yes’ to your question, Hajj would have become compulsory every year.” [Muslim] The Prophet’s silence shows that Islam does not want to put its followers under any kind of hardship let alone towards any extreme.

Qur’an: It is a blessing to know how to recite the Holy Qur’an in Arabic, but besides the necessity of reciting a few verses in Arabic in the daily salah, studying the Qur’an only in Arabic is not mandatory. It would be difficult for non-Arab Muslims to know the Qur’an only in Arabic. However, the more it is recited in Arabic, the greater the benefits. Either way, the flexibility to study the holy Qur’an through translations is there.

In other areas too. Islam recognizes the natural scope and limits of humanity. For example, it does not make incumbent upon all of its followers to become scholars of Islam, preaches, or Sufis and to live monastic lives or reach spiritual heights. A Muslim is only required to know as much as is necessary to enable him to perform his duties. Certainly, the more he knows and practices, the greater his status and rewards. No matter how or where you look in Islam, you will not find any extremes in it.

In the opening Chapter and in over forty other places in the Holy Qur’an, Islam is referred to as Sirate Mustqim. In  Al Mawrid, a Modern Arabic-English Dictionary, sirat is defined as the way, path, or road, and Mustaqim means straight, direct, correct, or right.  Therefore, Sirate Mustaqim means “The Straight Path,” and when something is referred to as being straight, it is also the shortest way. Even the slightest deviation from the straight path is no longer the shortest path.

Any deviation from Sirate Mustaqim is an extreme or a step towards extremism. Islam does not support any kind of extremism because any extreme step or act is a deviation and cannot bring ultimate success. Islam is the moderate way of life and so are its teachings and philosophies. Allah (SWT) states in the Holy Qur’an:

And without a doubt, this is My Way, the straight one; so walk on it, and do not walk on any other way, that it may lead you away from the way of Allah…[6:153]

And those who act against the Prophet, after that the straight path becomes evident to them and began to follow against the norms of the faithful ones, so We will leave them as they are and throw them into Hell, and what a terrible place of return it is. [4:115]

This is because they remained divided from Allah and His Prophet. And those who remain divided from Allah, so without a doubt, Allah is strict in punishing. [59:4]

Regarding moderation in spending money, Allah (SWT) states:

And do not keep your hand tied up to your neck nor open it completely, that you may have to sit regretfully and sadly. [17:29]

When they spend, (they) are neither extravagant nor stingy but remained balanced in between. [25:67]

eat and drink, and do not be extravagant. Certainly, Allah does not like those who are extravagant. [7:31]

Regard moderation in obeying His rules, Allah (SWT) state:

O you who have brought faith! Do not make haram (prohibited) the pure things Allah made halal (permissible) for you, and do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not like transgressors. [5:87]

Regarding being moderate in walking and talking, Allah (SWT) states:

And be moderate in the way you walk, and keep your voice low. Certainly, the most hideous voice is undoubtedly the voice of a donkey. [31:19]

Allah (SWT) is also moderate in burdening His slaves.

Allah does not give command to anyone except to his capacity….[2:286]

…Allah intends ease for you and does not like hardship for you…[2:185]

When performing salah (obligatory prayers of worship), be moderate when reciting.

…and do not be loud in your salah nor murmur in it, and maintain the course in their middle. [17:110]

When taking revenge, Muslims must not resort to extremes.

…So whoever did injustice to you, then you may retaliate likewise against him with as much injustice as he did to you, and fear Allah and be certain that undoubtedly Allah is with those who practice self-restraint. [2:194]

During jihad, mujahideen must never cross the limits.

And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight with you, and do not do any injustice (to them); undoubtedly, Allah does not like those who do injustice. [2:190]

Being modest in character brings forth good.

So it is, indeed, due to Allah’s mercy that you became softhearted for them, and if you were of ill-disposition and hard-hearted, then assuredly, they all would have dispersed from around you; so forgive them and seek salvation for them, and ask for their advice on relevant matters..[3:159]

And good and evil cannot be equal: keep away what must be kept away, with utmost goodness…[41:34]

When preaching Islam, be modest and do not go to extremes.

Call towards the way of your Lord with a solid strategy and good counsel and debate with them in the most desirable manner…. [16:125]

Regarding modesty, the Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Modesty is a part of faith, and the place of faith is in paradise.     [Ahmad and Tirmidhi]

Modesty produces nothing but good.    . [Bukari and Muslim]

The believer is simple and generous, but the profligate is deceitful and ignoble.    [Ahmad. Tirmidhi, and Abu Dawud]

Zaid bin Talh reported Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Every religion has a character, and the character of Islam is modesy.     [Malik]

Ibn Umar reported the Prophet (Peace be upon them) as saying:

Modesty and faith are both companions. When one is taken away, the other is taken, too.    [Baihaqi}

Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon them) further stated:

Make things easy and convenient; do not make them harsh and difficult. Give cheers and glad tidings, and do not create hatred.    [Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (Peace be upon them) said:

Two qualities that Allah (SWT) prefers and loves are mildness and toleration.   [Muslim]

It is even more evident now, from the above-mentioned verses and ahadith that Islam summons all of humanity to come towards modesty and refrain from every extreme act. It commands its followers to be moderate in all that they do. Muslims who remain modest and avoid extremism maintain a balanced life. Islam condemns extremism and is against all extremist behaviour, attitudes, and tendencies. Islam is Sirate Mustaqim, the Straight Path that takes those who walk upon it directly to Allah (SWT), not away from Him.

Currently, because of the extremist behaviour of some Muslims, the entire ummah (Muslims community) is suffering, and many have become sceptical of Islam. In all honesty, extremists of all sorts have jeopardized world peace. Had Muslims truly replicated the character of the Prophet with regard to tolerance, forgiveness and modesty, and had some self-proclaimed Muslims not walked blindly on the path of/to extremism, they would have avoided disaster. A sincere study of Islam, on the one hand, can save the world from the extremism of some extremists and on the other hand, remove the false notion that Islam advocates extremism and its followers and extremists.

Is fundamentalism a part of Islam or not?

Fundamentalism originates from and results in extremism, and it cannot have any place in Islam. Whenever fundamentalism emerged, it was the result of ideological extremism/radicalism. When fundamentalism was attempted or brought into practice, it resulted in radical behaviour, extremist actions, chaos in society, disruption of the status quo, and widespread insecurity. Fundamentalism, because of its inherent nature, never brought or can every bring any good to society.

As stated earlier, there is no place in Islam for any kind of extremism, whether it is the extremism of the mind or the body, theoretical or practical.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.

Let me make it very clear that fundamentalism has nothing to do with Islam. What is referred to these days as ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ is nothing but a political approach for political ends. I also acknowledge that fundamentalism is a complex subject and cannot be covered in such a short space. While it is somewhat unfair to leave this subject incomplete and ambiguous, it is also the case that a truncated and hasty coverage will not suffice. Certainly, this can become a future task.


This post is in a series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category: Islam as a Sufi Perspective, or Alternatively subscribe to our blog!

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