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15+ Hadiths Against Going to Extremes

15+ Hadiths Against Going to Extremes

Moderation is a key concept in Islam.  Even in matters of faith and acts of worship, Islam urges moderation and rejects extremism.

Some forms of extremism were  noticed during the very time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The uncontrollable love for the faith and the immense desire to get closer to Allah led some Companions to go to extremes in terms of worship. They imposed on themselves exhaustive obligations that are neither required nor recommended.

Some even went to the level of torturing  themselves thinking that they would  get closer to Allah through that.

However, these practices were not accepted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He criticized such extreme tendencies and considered them a deviation from his Sunnah and guidance.

The following hadiths show how the Prophet wisely addressed this problem.

It goes without saying that the hadiths below by no means justify laziness, indulgence and neglect of Islamic duties. Moderation means to avoid both extremes: just as over-worship is not correct, negligence and heedlessness are equally not acceptable.

1. Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) came to me when a woman was sitting with me. He said: “Who is she?

I said: She is a woman who does not sleep but prays.

He said:

Do such acts which you are capable of doing.

By Allah, Allah does not cease giving you reward until you grow weary (and cease worshipping).

The religious act most pleasing to Him is one the doer of which does it continuously. (Muslim)

2. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Beware of extended fasting (wisal, i.e. continuing to fast at night).

They (his Companions) said: Messenger of Allah, but you do that.

Upon this he said:

You are not like me in this matter, for I spend my night (in a state) that my Lord feeds me and provides me drink.

So, devote yourselves to the deeds (the burden of which) you can bear.” (Muslim)

3. Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to construct a room with a mat at night in order to pray therein. During the day he used to spread the mat out and sit on it.

So, people started coming to the Prophet at night to offer the prayer behind him. When their number increased, the Prophet faced them and said:

O people! Do only those good deeds which you can do, for Allah does not cease giving you reward until you grow weary (and cease worshiping), and the best deeds to Allah are the incessant ones even if they are small.

4. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

Religion is easy; whoever overburdens himself in religion will be overpowered by it (i.e. he will not be able to continue in that way.)

So pursue what is good moderately; try to be near to perfection (if you cannot attain it); and receive the good tidings (that you will be rewarded).

Gain strength by worshiping in the mornings, the afternoons, and some part of the last hours of the nights.” (Al-Bukhari)

5. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) visited a person who was so sick that he had grown feeble like a baby chicken. Allah’s Messenger asked the man if he used to supplicate Allah for anything.

The man replied, “Yes. I used to say: ‘O Allah, whatever You are going to punish me with in the Hereafter, then hasten it for me in this world.’”

Allah’s Messenger said:

Subahna Allah, you cannot bear that. Why did you not say: ‘O Allah, grant us good in the world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of Fire.’

The Prophet then made supplication for him and he was all right.

6. Sahl ibn Sa`d as Sa`idi (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

People will remain in good as long as they are quick to break the fast.” (Al-Bukhari)

7. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw an old man walking, supported by his two sons. When the Prophet asked about him People informed him that he had vowed to go on foot (to the Ka`ba).

He said, “Allah is not in need of this old man’s torturing himself,” and ordered him to ride. (Al-Bukhari)

8. Jabir reported that Mu`adh ibn Jabal used to pray with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), then came and led his people in prayer.

One night he performed the night prayer with the Messenger of Allah. He then came to his people and led them in prayer beginning with Surat Al-Baqarah. A man turned aside, pronounced the taslim (salutation for concluding the prayer), then prayed alone and departed.

The people said to him: Have you become a hypocrite, so and so?

He said: I swear by Allah that I have not, but I will certainly go to Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and will inform (him) about this.

So, he came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and said: Messenger of Allah, we look after camels used for watering and work by day. Mu`adh prayed the night prayer with you then came [and led us in prayer] starting with Surat Al-Baqarah.

Thus, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) turned to Mu`adh and said: Are you there to (put the people) to trial? Recite such and recite such (and such a surah). [In one narration, these surahs are specified; they are such short surahs as Ash-Shams, Ad-Duha, Al-Lail and Al-A`la] (Muslim)

 

To be continued.


About Muhammad Fathi

Muhammad Fathi is the managing editor of the Shari`ah page, AboutIslam.net and a former Imam and teacher at the Quran Institute of America, MI, USA.

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