Fatwa ID: 01343
Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Islam is a religion of peace and mercy. One of the meanings of "Islam" is peace and there is no place for extremism in Islam.
Allah in the Holy Qur’an has said:
"O People of the Book! Commit no extremism in your religion and do not say about Allah but the truth." (Surah Nisa v.171)
The above verse in its general sense applies to all Muslims in terms of there should be no extremism or exaggeration in all aspects of Islam. (Maariful Qur’an p.640 v.2)
In a hadith narrated by Saaiduna Umar Bin Khattab Radiallahu Anhu that the Prophet of Allah said,
“Do not exaggerate in my praise as was done by Christians in the case of Isa Son of Maryam. Beware! I am only a servant. So call me a servant of Allah and his Messenger.” (Sahih Bukhari and Musnad Ahmad)
The lesson to be learnt is that extremism in Faith is a dangerous attitude. It appears in a hadith that the Prophet of Allah told Saaiduna Ibn Abbas to collect some pebbles, which he can use to throw at the Jamarat. He returned with average-sized pebbles which the Prophet of Allah liked very much and said twice: “like these, like these” which means one should do his or her pelting of the Jamarat using average-sized pebbles like these. Then he said:
“It is your duty to avoid excess in faith for nations before were destroyed because of being excessive and extreme in their faith.” (Maariful Qur’an p.642 v.2)
No ideology or movement based on it can survive long if it is founded on extremism, because extremism is an un-natural method of seeking to achieve one’s goals. If extremism is the very basis of a movement, the movement is bound to fail in the long run as extremism inevitably leads to chaos, disruption and strife. In other words, extremism is its own negation and nemesis.
In the Holy Qur’an Allah has said:
“And in the same way we made you a moderate Ummah (community)…” (Surah Baqarah v.143)
According to the present verse, the characteristic quality, which confers superiority on the Islamic ummah over others, is it’s being Wasat, which means midmost, moderate, or just. It is a quality of his ummah that Allah has given us this special quality of being moderate. And those who are extreme it comes about from their lack of understanding of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad .
Islam teaches its followers to be gentle, kind and tolerant towards other people including non-Muslims. There are a large number of verses from the Holy Quran, the words and acts of the Prophet of Allah , the practice of the Companions which bring to light modes of dealing with non-Muslims by way of favour, compassion, generosity and sympathy. When Makkah was in the grip of famine, He personally went out to help his enemies who had made him leave his hometown. When non-Muslims prisoners of war were presented before him, he treated them with such tenderness, which many cannot claim to have done even in respect of their children. The disbelievers inflicted upon him all sorts of injuries and pain but he never raised his hand in revenge.
Saaiduna Hakim ibn Hizam once passed by a group of people in Sham who had been made to stand in the sun after oil had been poured over their heads. He asked, “What is this?” He was told that they were being punished for failing to pay their land tax. Hakim ibn Hizam Radiallahu Anhu responded: “Truly, I have heard the Prophet of Allah say: "God shall torment those who torment others in this life." (Sahih Muslim)
Saaiduna Ribah Ibn Ar Rabi says: “We were with the Prophet of Allah in warfare when he saw a group of people gathered around something. Hence, he sent a man to inquire what people had gathered over. The man returned saying they had gathered around a dead woman The Prophet of Allah said: "This woman did not come here to fight (hence to kill her was not permitted)". (Sunan Abu Dawud)
The Prophet was ordered by God to seek to avoid conflict, as far as possible, with his enemies. The Qur’an and the Hadith are replete with exhortations addressed to the Muslims to abide by justice and goodness in relations with others. Thus, for instance, the Qur’an says:
“Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and you was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate. And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint—none but persons of the greatest good fortune”. (Surah Ha Mim Sajdah v.34- v.35)
The Qur’an instructs the Prophet to be soft and kind towards others thus:
“It is part of the mercy of God that you deal gently with them. Were you severe or harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you: so pass over (their faults), and ask for (God’s) forgiveness for them” (Surah Al Imran v.159)
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.