Make it Easy for People and Widen the Entrance to Paradise
Allah Almighty knows and understands His creatures, the Descendants of Adam, best. He Almighty knows their capacities and debilities, their excellences and their shortcomings, and He only expects from them in accordance with what He knows about them. As our Lord has decreed that, throughout the ages, it should become increasingly difficult for human beings to live in accordance with what is good for them. Allah their Lord, has lessened His expectations of them. He Almighty knows full well that the people of the last time will not be capable of much obedience or devotion to Him, and therefore He has made the successive Divine Laws revealed through His Prophets progressively easier and less demanding, culminating in the Law revealed to the Last and the Seal of Prophets, Muhammed, Peace be upon him, the tolerant Law of Islam. Even during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Allah Almighty lightened the burdens that He Himself had imposed on believers, knowing that these practices would be too difficult for them to bear. For example, fasting used to commence after the evening meal, or from when a person went to sleep at night, and continue to the next sunset. Then Allah eased fasting for the believers by permitting that they partake of a pre-dawn meal and fast only from the first crack of dawn until sunset. Although the revealed Law of Islam need never change throughout history, as it is the Law revealed for the people of the Last Time – still, from the time of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an until the end of this world, the level of observance expected of us by our Lord, and the strictness or lenience with which He will judge our actions, is not the same now as it was in the time of the Prophet. Yes, the complete Divine Law as revealed to our Prophet stands unaltered as the model of perfection to be striven for by believers of high aspiration and degree. But according to the following tradition of our Prophet it is clear that the actions of the people of such a degenerate time as our own will only be judged relative to the conditions they had to endure. According to Tradition., the Holy Prophet once addressed his companions, saying: “Oh my companions, if one of you abandons one Divine Command from among one hundred, he will be in danger of losing his faith, but there will come a time when anyone of my Nation who holds firmly to even one Command from among one-hundred, may hope to save himself and his faith”. We must understand the full implications of this prophecy, but generally our Islamic scholars read such a tradition and never pause to reflect on it. Therefore, it is their habit to be too rigid and intolerant in their dealings with new Muslims from Western countries. As soon as a person agrees to become Muslim, those scholars proceed to load them down with instructions on the full level of worship, fasting etc., required of a full responsible Muslim, and the complete list of forbidden actions as well – all in all five hundred orders and eight-hundred prohibitions! What should be the reaction of such new people who, in our times, are not even converting from another religion with practices and prohibitions of a roughly corresponding nature, but often from a completely unregulated way of life? If we are to present Islam in such a way they will certainly think twice before committing themselves to Islam, as they are not prepared to instantly observe the whole of the Law. This is why so many Western people come to me and ask if it is possible to follow a Sufi Way without embracing Islam; because they view Islam as a gigantic mountain which they would be ordered to scale to the peak, immediately, without training, without equipment – so, naturally they are hesitant. We must be wise and aware of our responsibilities towards people whose hearts incline towards Islam. We must remember that our Lord is the One who Himself stresses His Mercy Oceans above all other Attributes in His Holy Book, and we must learn from our Lord’s tolerance towards us to be tolerant with those with whom we want to forge bonds of the heart, with those whom we want to guide toward our Lord’s Love and take as our own brothers and sisters. No one from among the Muslims can dispute the fact that the full command of the Divine Law was revealed to our Prophet gradually over a period of ten years in Medina, and this only after an initial thirteen year preparation period in Mecca, when nothing specific was demanded of the believers except to believe in Allah, the Last Day, His Prophets, and to do good deeds. The Holy Prophet summarizes the wisdom of this approach in a famous Tradition: “Seek to make things easy for people, not hard, Bring them good tidings, don’t drive them away”. Look, we all know that, for example, the schooling of a child from Kindergarten to University involves much studying and effort on the part of the student. But don’t say to that little child: “Education is a long process involving the learning and even memorization of so many big books, the solving of difficult problems in maths and science, and doing lot of homework instead of playing” If you paint such a picture for that small child of what he is entering into, he will try to escape in sheer terror. But we, as adults, know that in education the student will be prepared by his teachers for solving every problem he is asked to solve, that he will be given challenges that accord to his level and draw him to the next. First graders are never expected to read the books or solve the maths problems in the fifth grade curriculum. To a first grader you must say, “Come here and I will teach you A, B, C..yes, this is your lesson nothing else”. Step by step that pupil will learn to read everything. So, in Islam, we lead people step-by-step. There is a beginning and an end, but first we must help people take the first steps; if they don’t take the first steps they will never take the last ones. Unfortunately, Islam’s having been both revealed and propagated in this gradual manner – without difficulty for the learner – is understood by neither Muslims no non-Muslims. Therefore, in this time we are in need of new guidance, and we are not anticipating that it will come from our scholars. It is understanding and guidance that comes through the heart, from heart to heart, not merely instruction as to what we should or should not do with our bodies.
Muslims and non-Muslims alike must understand this point, as a real understanding of Islam is capable of saving the whole world. But if we persist in our misunderstanding it will be impossible to reverse the movement toward the brink of disaster. The Holy Qur’an addresses the whole of mankind, and we are in need of people who are capable of understand it. Only such people are capable of helping people to their shares of the Holy Book. The Holy Qur’an is a fountain, a gushing source that may quench the thirst of billions, but very few people are following the river to its source; everyone is drawing from it far downstream. We must seek the source; it is the life spring for all mankind. People in our days have been given knowledge. Many people have knowledge. There are many scholars who have knowledge, but they do not have wisdom. As a result they make people run away from Islam. They do not accept a person who only comes and says, “La ilaha illalah Muhammad ur Rasoolullah”. It is enough to start with. We know that these Holy words are the keys to paradise. If we keep them until the end, it is enough. We do not tell people that we have 100 commands and that they must do all of them and if they don’t they are not Muslims. What foolishness that would be! The new types of scholars who do this have no understanding. They are like cassette tapes. That is the reason why we are loosing. The non-Muslim World is looking to Islam with hatred because of these people who try to spread Islam without wisdom and without love. Muhammed, may peace be on him, was first of all ordered by Allah to teach people to say these words La ilaha Illallah. That was the first command. “Let them say these words and forever declare My unity and My existence. That is enough. Even if they don’t declare, Muhammad ur Rasoolullah, I will make a judgement for them!” Because when Muhammed (Sal) asked about being allowed to make intercession for people, Allah granted him to intercede only on behalf of the people who would say, La ilaha illallah Muhammadur Rasoolullah The ones who would only say, La Ilaha Illallah, Allah would judge them Himself.
Make the entrance to paradise as wide as possible. Don’t make it narrow, because it is not narrow. Make it as wide as the distance between East to West and let people enter. Don’t ever say to anyone who is turning towards paradise that he cannot enter. If someone has turned his face to the Lord, then don’t turn him away. It is a sign that in the old Mecca before renovation, there used to be forty open gates to the Ka’aba. There were no doors that could be locked. Anyone who wanted to could enter anytime. The people who say that they are widening the space there by their renovations have put huge doors there and closed it. Allah Almighty then made some other people to go inside and to close the doors and to put fire on them. At the beginning of the 15th Islamic century some people did just that. That was the punishment for them. But no one understands. The Ka’aba should have no doors, only entrances. People should be able to come and go anytime.
Anyone who asks Allah in his heart, even at the last moment, will be accepted. Even if as many devils as there are grains of sand is sent to that person, they cannot succeed. Once the heart of a servant has been turned to the Lord, it is finished.
Satan can affect people during their lives, but in their last few moments Allah Almighty looks at the hearts of His servant.
Make things easy. Islam is easy. Other religions are heavy and too difficult. Allah Almighty has made the highest servanthood the easiest. The Shariah of Islam is the most tolerant one. “There will come a time when if you just keep one rule, you will be saved!” Just let people say, La Ilaha Illalah, Muhammad ur Rasoolullah, and then leave them. That will make your highest respect and that cannot be without a prostration.