Imam Zijad’s Corner:   MUHAMMAD (S): THE PROPHET OF EASE

As both prophet and human, Muhammad (S) lived and taught Islam as a life of ease! Now this clearly needs some explanation; that is, a truthful application, or praxis… “Ease” is not always “easy”!

For example, he was a discreet and discerning preacher who knew that honey is more effective than vinegar, for people are often soothed into deep learning instead of scolded towards it.

He won his followers’ hearts with flexibility and empathy. As we already know, the concept of forced conversion is alien to the core of Islam and to Muhammad’s (S) teachings.

He also knew, as an experienced and compassionate professional, that rigidity is counter-intuitive: you cannot force somebody to believe, for when people are externally forced or compelled, how can you even call the resulting compliance “belief”?

Belief is a conscious choice; it comes from deep within, from one’s heart, and nowhere else. So Muhammad refused to make Islam a hard and complex path.

In the same vein he was meticulously devoted to God, but never the obsessive fanatic: “Woe to those who exaggerate, who are excessive, who make things hard, who are rigid and too strict,” he warned, cautioning those who tended toward extremes in any aspect of belief or tradition.

He was also a man of moderation, telling his followers at one point: “Moderation! Enlightened Moderation! The best of all dealings are those done in moderation! It’s God’s intent for the community.” (the Ummatan Wasata – His Sunnah).

Muhammad (S) also knew that maintaining balance (or Mizan) is the greatest spiritual challenge we humans have: we strive to achieve it in personal life; in family, work, feelings, friendship, love, etc.

In the 21st century, we strive the same way to find balance in how we use our IPhones, our e-mail, our social networking sites. In considering the use of electronic devices alone, to what degree have we become their slaves? How can we regain our balance in using them productively?

Here, the example of Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) and his example come to mind: “Have I heard it [correctly] that you fast during the day and pray during nights? …Your Creator has [a] right over you, your family … your body … so give to each of them their right.”