بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
All praise is due to Allah. Indeed there has been an abundance of disapproval for extremism in the religion and this disapproval is with due right. This is because extremism in the religion is forbidden in the Book, Sunnah, and by consensus. Allah says:
قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ
“Say (Muhammad): O’ people of the Book! Do not go to extremes in your religion outside the truth…” [Al Maaidah: 77]
In another verse He says:
يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ
“O’ people of the scripture! Do not go to extremes in your religion nor say anything about Allah except the truth…” [An-Nisaa: 171]
The Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa salaam- said: “Beware of exceeding limits, for indeed those that came before you were only destroyed due to extremism.“
Extremism in religion is to add onto set legislated boundaries (in Islam). It often occurs in worship like the three individuals where one said, I will pray (all night) and not sleep. Another said, I will fast (continuously) and not break my fast. The third said, I will not marry women. It also occurs in rulings where one places a recommended matter on the level of obligation. Likewise in judgments like judging the committer of major sins, that which is beneath polytheism, to be disbelief consequently exiting the fold of Islam. It occurs in enjoining good and forbidding evil. For example the extremism of the Mutazilah and their revolting against the Muslim head of state using as an excuse the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil. Or in declaring to be lawful and unlawful where one declares lawful what is prohibited and vice versa.
Hence extremism in religion with all of its types are forbidden. It often exits one from the religion and is the source of one’s destruction like it destroyed those that came before us. No one doubts this matter from he whom Allah has given comprehension of the religion and insight with regards to its rulings.
On the other hand there is he who is opposite the extremism of adding into the religion. As there is he who is extreme as it relates to leniency and tolerance in the religion. Without doubt our religion is a religion of tolerance, removal of difficulties, and moderation however this tolerance must be within the set limits in which Allah has legislated pertaining to accepting legislative concessions during times of necessity for such. As the religion, and to Allah belongs all praise, does not have within it shackles. Allah says:
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْساً إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear…” [Al Baqarah: 286]
وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
“…and has not placed on you any hardship in religion…” [Al Hajj: 78]
مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ
“…Allah does not desire to place any difficulty upon you…” [Al Maaidah: 6]
Extremism in tolerance is to leave off what Allah has legislated and this is not considered to be the facilitation of ease, on the contrary this in it of itself is difficulty. Thus the cancellation of association and disassociation in Islam; equalization between Muslims and disbelievers with the excuse of tolerance; cancelling applying the ruling of invalidation of Islam for he who implements all of it or something from it; equalization of the religions like saying Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are the same or equalization of all religions even the pagan and atheistic ones; claiming the statement “laa-ilaha-illa’llah” does not necessitate disbelief in false deities and does not negate other false religions besides Islam just as some authors express in magazine articles, all our examples of extremism in leniency and tolerance. Disapproval of such is binding like disapproval of extremism pertaining to additions in the religion.
Furthermore, extremism in leniency and tolerance is often times more severe than in extremism pertaining to additions in the religion. This is because extremism in tolerance and leniency leads to making the irreligious ways equal to the religion of truth which is disbelief by consensus of the Muslims. This contradicts extremism by way of addition as an abundance of scholars held the position that it is misguidance that does not reach the level of disbelief. In contrast to what the scholars have mentioned from what nullifies Islam (like) the lack of declaring disbelievers to be such, or to have doubt concerning their disbelief.
Therefore, upon the individual who falls into this dangerous mistake is to ponder on his affair and return to the truth. Returning to the truth is virtuous and is better than persisting upon falsehood. May Allah makes us all successful in obtaining beneficial knowledge along with righteous actions. May His peace and commendations be upon our Prophet, his family, and companions.
Translated by Najeeb Al Anjelesi