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Religious Extremism among the Youth and Islam's Solution

MIT
7/4/2017
72 views

All the praises and thanks be to Allah Alone. Prayers and peace of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his family and companions.

 

Islam addresses the topic of extremism much more than many people think. What’s interesting about the Islamic approach is that it solves the problem at its roots instead of attempting to solve the symptoms.

 

Islam is a religion of moderation. It stands for the middle-path. It opposes every form of extremism carried out by the young who claim to be Muslims, though in reality, the rebellious actions of these ignorant people have nothing to do with Islam.

The scholars have many explanations for what is meant by extremism and those who go to extremes, all of which are in harmony with one another and do not contradict one another. All of them may be summed up as meaning one thing; it boils down to overburdening oneself and being too strict in matters where strictness is inappropriate. 

The principles and laws of Islam are based on a natural system of balance, appealing across cultural, ethnic and geographical boundaries. Some commandments of the Quran and the Prophet’s practice on the same issues appear, on the face of it, to be, in some cases, particularly forceful, and, in other cases, unexpectedly soft and flexible. This is because these Quranic verses and Hadith statements have their own particular background and context, addressing particular persons or groups. This is in accordance with the wisdom and demands of the Islamic missionary imperative and the needs of the law. As the noted jurist Allama Shatibi notes in his book Al- Mowafaqaat:

 

‘When you ponder on the principles of the Shariah you will find that they stand for moderation. If you perceive them as leaning towards a certain extreme, you should know that this is in opposition to another existing or expected extreme. Thus, generally speaking, the aspect of forceful stressing [in some principles of the shariah] is related to the need for warning, or in order to instill fear, with regard to those people whose religion is faulty or who are lax in matters of religion. [On the other hand] is the aspect that inclines to grace, flexibility and hope, which is with regard to those who are overwhelmed by extremes and fears [in matters of religion]’ (Al-Mowafaqaat: 167/3).

 

The Quran and the Hadith very clearly and explicitly warn against extremism in matters of religion. They refer to extremism by such terms as ghulu, tanattu’ and tashaddud. In the Quran God says:

" يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ "

O People of the Book! Do not exceed the bounds in your religion.’ According to a report in the Sahih Ibn Majah, the Prophet Muhammad is said to have remarked ‘O People! Save yourselves from excess in religion, because earlier communities were destroyed […] due to excess in religion’ A similar hadith report is contained in the Sahih Muslim. Further, the Prophet is quoted as having said, ‘Do not be harsh unto your own selves or else this harshness will be made binding on you.

 

Extremism can take different forms, but all of them entail crossing or trespassing the acceptable boundaries or limits—irrespective of whether this is in matters of religion or in any other affair. On the occasion of his farewell pilgrimage the Prophet asked his companion Abdullah Ibn Abbas to collect some stones in order to pelt the devil at Mina. The latter selected small stones and gave them to the Prophet. Taking the stones from him, the Prophet said, ‘Yes, this sort of stones. You should save yourself from extremism in religion.’ From this incident one can gauge how, using this very small example, the Prophet wanted to warn his followers to abstain from extremism in religious matters—so much so that he advised his companion to use small, not massive, stones for the ritual.

 

Now, what is the Islamic approach and Solution to extremism in Religion matter.

 

There are various methods talked by Islam to safeguard youths from extremism. The methods include;

 

* Educating the youths about the contents of the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet without any furnishing or censoring, and reforming the actions to match the Qur’an and Sunnah.

 

* Teaching the spirit of Islam and the higher aims or purposes of the shariah (maqasid-e shariah). Islam, the Prophet is said to have remarked, is an easy religion (ad-din yusrun). It has lifted from us burdens that we cannot bear. It is an accepted principle of Islamic jurisprudence that with change of place and time certain commandments of the shariah must also correspondingly change. The shariah, in fact, facilitates ease if in a certain matter difficulty arises. This is the meaning of the fiqh principle al-mashaqattu tajlebo al-tasir. This principle is a central aspect of Islamic jurisprudence. Ignoring this principle can lead to the religion of ease turning into a religion of difficulty and making it appear as burdensome and problematic for people.

 

* Increasing the awareness of the principles of moderation in Islam among the young.  The Prophet(peace be upon him) enjoined moderation on his followers. As he put it, ‘Adopt the path of moderation’, repeating this sentence three times to stress his point very clearly, after which he added, ‘He who adopts the path of extremism will be subdued.’  He is said to have declared, ‘Adopt the path of moderation [and] you will reach your destination.’

 

* Youths must be provided with facilities to engage themselves in something constructive during the free times.

 

To sum up, extremism and excess in any sphere, including religion, is against Nature, and Islam is the religion of Nature par excellence. Such extremism can only produce negative results—results entirely the opposite of what its proponents claim they seek to bring about. In every case, it is sure to cause the destruction of a people. As the Prophet Muhammad is said to have remarked, in a hadith contained in the Musnad Ahmad, ‘Downfall is certain for every [form of] extremism.’

 

 

 






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