Excessiveness is the Way of Satan

When excessiveness befalls some people, they go beyond all limits. Some of these people want to do the most perfect of acts, but they go astray. Facts state that such people end up giving up the performance of these righteous deeds altogether. Ibn Hajar رحمة الله said, “If a person delves into religious deeds and abandons moderation, he will stop and will become unable to continue, and will be consequently overwhelmed.” The Prophet ﷺ said: “The religion [of Islam] is easy. Whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way.” Satan has driven such people to excessiveness when he found in them audacity and courage, so he caused them to deviate from the right path. The religion of Allah is only one true religion: Islam. It is in a middle stage between excessiveness and disinclination. The Prophet ﷺ warned us against excessiveness and said: “Beware of excessiveness in religion. Indeed excessiveness in religion caused those [nations] before you to perish.” Ponder over what the Prophet ﷺ said when he knew about the case of the three people who swore to do excessive acts; one of them said, “I will not marry.” The second said, “I will not eat meat,” and the third said, “I will not sleep on a bed.” Then, the Prophet ﷺ said: “How is it that some people said such and such a thing? I pray and sleep; fast and break my fast and marry women. So, whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not a true follower of me.” Moreover, the Prophet ﷺ said thrice: “Doomed are those who go to extremes” Does not this indicate the danger of excessiveness and extremism? The Righteous Predecessors’ Warning Against Excessiveness The righteous predecessors and scholars رحمة الله knew the danger of excessiveness and warned against it. When a man asked ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, about the meaning of the Arabic word “Abb” which means “grass” in the verse (which means): {And fruit and grass} [Quran 80:31], ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “We were forbidden from excessiveness and exaggeration.” Also, ‘Ubaadah ibn Nusayy رحمة الله once said to his people, “I witnessed people who neither went to extremes like you nor asked questions like you.” In another example, a man wrote a letter to ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez رحمة الله asking about fate. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-‘Azeez wrote in reply, I advise you to fear Allah, to be moderate in applying His commands, to follow the Sunnah of His Prophet ﷺ and to abandon what innovators innovated [in the religion] after the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ was established. They [the righteous predecessors] were saved [by Allah The Almighty] from the burden of innovation [as Allah The Almighty has completed and perfected His religion in a way that makes it free of the need of any additions or omissions]. You should follow the Sunnah, for it will protect you [from deviation, destruction or punishment]. You should know that for any innovation in religion, there is a proof before it [mentioned in the Quran or the Sunnah to indicate that it is a religious innovation] or there is a lesson in them [in the Quran and Sunnah] which proves that [this new thing is a religious innovation]. After all, the Sunnah is prescribed by the One who knows that what contradicts it is wrong, faulty, and foolish. So, follow the same way that was adopted by the righteous predecessors, for they had great knowledge, and with deep insight they forbade [religious innovations]. They were more able to recognize matters [of religion]. They are worthier to be followed by virtue of their state of belief. If what you follow is the [true] guidance, then, you have surpassed and preceded them to it [which is clearly wrong]. If you said that which was innovated after them, it is [also wrong] because it was invented by those who followed other than their way and were preferred to them, indeed, you are wrong for they were the foremost [in faith and performing righteous deeds]. They [the righteous predecessors] identified and clarified religious matters extensively and thoroughly in a way that leaves no room for anyone to increase or decrease in them. Some people abandoned matters that they [the righteous predecessors] did not abandon so that they became negligent; and some aspired to go beyond them so that they went to extremes. However, the righteous predecessors are in the middle of these two levels, as they were following the right path. You wrote to ask about fate [whether believing in it is Sunnah or religious innovation]. You have asked, Allah willing, a knowledgeable person. I do not know of any innovation whose effects are clearer or more established than [writing and recording] belief in fate. People used to mention it even in the dark pre-Islamic era in their discussions and poetry to console themselves on what they had missed. Then Islam enhanced and clarified belief in fate. The Prophet ﷺ mentioned it in more than one or two Hadeeths. Muslims heard it from him and talked about it during his lifetime and after his death. They did so while they were certain of it and submissive to their Lord, believing that it is impossible for anything not to be encompassed by the knowledge of Allah The Almighty, nor recorded in His Book [the Preserved Tablet], nor decreed and effected by Him. Fate is mentioned in the decisive verses of the Quran, and they [the righteous predecessors] quoted and learned it from them. If you ask, “Why did Allah reveal the verse of such and such? Why did He say such and such?” then you should realize that they [the righteous predecessors] read what you have read and knew about its meanings what you are ignorant of. After that, they admitted that there is a decree and a fate [predestined by Allah The Almighty], that misery was decreed [on some people], that whatever is destined will take place, that what Allah wills happens, and what He does not will does not happen, and that we do not possess for ourselves harm or benefit. Then, they liked [good deeds] and feared [committing wrongdoings without taking their belief in fate as a justification for not doing good deeds]. [Abu Daawood, Al-Albaani – Saheeh] Yet another example is that a man came to Ibn ‘Aqeel رحمة الله and said, “I dip myself in water several times but I doubt whether my Ghusl is valid or not, what is your opinion?” Ibn ‘Aqeel رحمة الله said, “O man, go! You are not required to perform prayer.” The man asked, “Why?” Ibn ‘Aqeel رحمة الله said, “Because the Prophet ﷺ said: Three [types of people] are not held responsible for their acts: the insane until he regains consciousness …’ and a person who dips himself in water several times and then doubts whether water touched him or not, is clearly insane!” Types of Excessiveness Excessiveness has many types: Excessiveness in Religion: This occurs when a person has false beliefs, such as the Christian belief that ‘Eesa (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, is God or the son of God, and the Jewish belief that he was an illegitimate child. This type of excessiveness exists also in the deviated sects such as the Khawaarij, the Shiites, and the Murji’ah. Excessiveness in Knowledge: This occurs when words are distorted from their proper usages. Excessiveness in Worship: This occurs when a person overburdens himself in worship until he gets apathetic, then hates worship and quits it altogether. Excessiveness in People or Groups: This occurs when a person holds some people or a particular group in a higher rank than theirs or takes their opinions and attitudes as the very basis of allegiance and disassociation. How Can we Know Excessiveness? If excessiveness is so dangerous, is every person entitled to judge that certain individuals or groups may have gone beyond Sharee‘ah limits? Here, reliable scholars should be referred to in this regard in order to judge whether some acts or doings are excessive or not. Dissolute and secular people consider every religious act excessive; they regard the Hijab, the beard and the referring to the Islamic Sharee‘ah itself, for example, as acts of excessiveness. Is Excessiveness an Islamic Phenomenon? In other words, does excessiveness exist only in Islamic societies? In fact, reality and history prove that excessiveness is not confined to Muslims only; Christians and Jews also have many forms of excessiveness. Some modern societies also suffer from a lot of excessiveness. Different groups in the world, whether religious or nationalistic, also suffer from this disease. So, it is improper to blindly follow others and confine this accusation to Muslims. Worse than this is when some of us approve other’s opinions which claim that the teaching of the Sharee‘ah and religious curricula in Muslim countries is the cause behind some types of excessiveness, although our history and reality prove that ignorance of Islamic rulings is, in fact, the greatest cause of excessiveness, but would anyone heed the lesson?

2017-12-20T11:48:29+00:00 November 6th, 2017|Beliefs, Muslim|