5-20-10 The Open School Class: Explanation of Forty Ahadith Text: Jalali, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn. Sharh al-Arba’in al-Nabawwiyah. Arabic edition 1987, pages 442-445.)
From the concepts of ilm (knowledge) and amal (practice) stem a lot of responsibilities for a Muslim. One of the main standards a Muslim should maintain is the character of being easy (not difficult). Everyone in life faces difficulties and discomfort, but one should not let the difficult situations make him or her difficult. In the language of our time, we say, “Take it easy.”
For example, if you have an arrangement with someone else and for some reason the other person does not show or perform but gives a valid excuse, then accept the excuse and take it easy. If you do not, it is really bad for you. Your blood pressure increases, you get angry and may say or do something you will regret, etc.
For example, look at Imam Husayn (peace be upon him and his family). In the beginning, Hurr diverted the Imam and his companions based on his orders, and then at the end, Hurr decided to join Imam Husayn’s camp. Now, Imam Husayn (peace be upon him and his family) was always easy with Hurr. When Hurr came to the Imam’s camp and apologized, the Imam did not scold him or become furious. No, the Imam kindly asked him to sit, but Hurr felt obligated to fight right away. If we were in the Imam’s situation, would we act like that? Keep calm. If your spouse is shouting at you, do not shout back. One can diffuse many problematic situations just by taking it easy. Islam has insisted on taking it easy. (Jalali, page 442).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) said that I was sent by God (the Almighty) with a religion that is easy and pure. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) also said never be stubborn (because the other side might have a point) and that always be easy with people whether they are near (relatives) or far (in terms of relation). This kind of thinking and way of life was and is trying to destroy the tribal mentality as well as trying to build-up an individual.
When looking at Islam, one sees the principles of manners, forgiveness, kindness, etc. The qualities of a Mu’min (believer) include not being stubborn, always keeping his or her promises (meaning you can trust him or her), and not intentionally bothering other people. The principle of being easy is well founded in Islam, and there are at least three ways or means for easiness. For example, 1) giving (money, time, knowledge, work, etc.), 2) piety or taqwa (God consciousness), and 3) agreeing with whatever is good. The Qur’an (92:5-7) sums it up by stating,
“As for him who gives and is Godwary and confirms the best promise, We shall surely ease him into facility.”
If you follow these principles, then life will be easy for you and you can maintain easiness with others. However, on the other hand, the Qur’an (92:8-10) states,
“But as for him who is stingy and self-complacent, and denies the best promise, We shall surely ease him into hardship.”
Easiness is a blessing of Allah (the All-Merciful). There are people who are always worried about every little thing. They may have nice cars, but they are always worried if those cars will be stolen or scratched. Even if someone says salam (Islamic greeting of peace) to them, they become worried asking themselves, “What does he want now?” What kind of life is that? No, one needs to be patient and at ease. The Qur’an (41:34-35) states:
Good and evil [conduct] are not equal. Repel [evil] with what is best. [If you do so,] behold, he between whom and you was enmity, will be as though he were a sympathetic friend. But none is granted it except those who are patient, and none is granted it except the greatly endowed.
(See Jalali, page 443).
Forgiveness is also very important in regards to ease. The Qur’an (7:199) states,
“Adopt [a policy of] excusing [the faults of people], bid what is right, and turn away from the ignorant.”
Generally, always forgive. Forgiveness is great for many reasons, and if you do not forgive, you really bother yourself. Allah (the All-Wise) addresses Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) as stated in the Qur’an (3:159):
It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them; and had you been harsh and hardhearted, surely they would have scattered from around you. So excuse them, and plead for forgiveness for them, and consult them in affairs, and once you are resolved, put your trust in Allah.
Here, forgiveness and consultation are stressed. Consultation embraces the idea of inclusion versus exclusion. Even if you do not follow the advice of others, the simple fact of including them makes a significant difference in situations. Inclusion may solve many problems, and exclusion may cause many problems. Also, forgiveness brings love and affection between individuals, family, and society. (Jalali, page 444).
Looking at the ahadith (traditions) from Prophet Muhammad and the Imams (peace be upon them all), one can see the significance of being easy. For example, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) said that if you cannot give people money, at least have a happy face (do not frown).
Prophet Muhammad also said that if someone comes with an excuse, accept it, and he also said that a person who takes it easy gets along with others. One does not have to agree with someone else, but that person can be easy with others. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him and his family) said that if someone is good and does something wrong, forgive him.
Also, Imam Sadiq said that to make your deeds ma’ruf (good or accepted) you should 1) not comment on them (meaning, do not mention them or bring them up even if it is something big you did; because when you make your deed appear small, it is truly large), 2) make it easy for the other person (meaning, if someone asks you for help, help them in such a way in which you do not place difficulty on them), and 3) do it right away. (Jalali, page 445).