Shariah Gathers Between Strictness and Lenience; Each in Its Proper Place
The Shari `ah assumes leniency in its due place and also assumes strictness in its due place. Thus, the Muslims should not ignore that or be lenient when should be strict or vice versa. Besides, they should not claim that the Shari `ah acknowledges leniency only or strictness only, for it is a wise code of law that is suitable for every place and time and is capable of reforming the whole Ummah. That is why it assumes both leniency and strictness. It is marked for justice, wisdom, and tolerance. Hence, it is a tolerant Shari `ah in its rulings and it does not burden anyone beyond his scope. It is also tolerant, because it begins by calling people with leniency, wisdom and clemency; but when this does not influence people and they exceed the limits and tyrannize, it powerfully and harshly restricts them and treats them in a way that deters them and that enlightens them about their wrongdoings.
Whoever meditates on the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Rightly-guided Caliphs, his well-satisfied Companions, and the following Imams of guidance would perceive the correctness of what we are saying..
Texts that order leniency in its due place
Among the verses revealed on leniency, Allah (may He be Exalted) says, And by the Mercy of Allâh, you dealt with them gently. And had you (Muhammad, peace be upon him) been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allâh’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs … .
Allah (may He be Exalted) says regarding the story of Musa (Moses) and Harun when He sent them to Pharaoh, And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allâh).
Allah (may He be Exalted) also says, Invite (mankind, O Muhammad peace be upon him) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islâm) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’ân) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better … .
Texts that order strictness in its due place
On the other hand, the verses quoted above also include reference to strictness.
As regards the Hadith related to this issue, they includethe Hadith related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and othersfrom Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said after reciting Allah’s (may He be Exalted) saying, Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Dâwûd (David) and ‘Isâ (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). That was because they disobeyed (Allâh and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing beyond bounds. They used not to forbid one another from Al-Munkar (wrong, evil-doing, sins, polytheism, disbelief) which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do.
By the One in Whose Hand my soul is, either you enjoin good, forbid evil, and restrain the fools
According to another narration: restrain the wrongdoer, bend him into conformity with what is right, and restrict him to what is right, or else Allah will involve the hearts of some of you with the hearts of others and will curse you as He had cursed them.
It is also related in the Two Sahih [Books]from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, I was going to order that the Salah (prayer) be commenced, then order a man to lead the people in Salah, then I would go with some men having with them bundles of wood to a people not attending the Salah and burn their houses on them with fire.” .
Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have said, If it were not for the women and children in the houses, I would order that prayer, `Isha’ (Evening) Prayer, be commenced and I would order my men to burn what is in the houses with fire (i.e. men who do not attend congregational prayers in the mosque). .Again, it is related in Sahih Muslimfrom Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, Never had Allah sent a Prophet to an Ummah before me except that he had disciples and companions who would adopt his Sunnah and embrace his guidance. Then, a group following them lagged behind; they would preach what they do not practice and act contrary to what they are ordained to do. Thus, whoever struggles against them is a believer; whoever struggles against them with his tongue is a believer; and whoever struggles against them with his heart (by abhorring them) is a believer; nothing beyond that involves (the weight of) a grain of mustard of belief. .
In addition, the story of the three Companions, who stayed home during the Battle of Tabuk with no excuse, is well-known to scholars. Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) deserted them for fifty nights until they repented and in turn Allah forgave them. In this regard, Allah (may He be Exalted) revealed the verses, Allâh has forgiven the Prophet (peace be upon him), the Muhâjirûn (Muslim emigrants who left their homes and came to Al-Madinah) and the Ansâr (Muslims of Al-Madinah)…until His saying, And (He did forgive also) the three who did not join (the Tabûk expedition whose case was deferred by the Prophet peace be upon him for Allâh’s Decision) … .
According to the preceding verses and Hadith, the author of the article and the readers should know that Islamic Shari`ah, being a perfect code of law, adopts leniency in its due place and harshness and strictness in their due place, and that a caller to Allah’s Way should be lenient, clement, forbearing and patient. This is more beneficial for his Da`wah and makes preaching more effectives. Besides, it is in line with Allah’s Commands and His Messenger’s (peace be upon him) guidance. He should also be endowed with knowledge and insight as regards what he calls to and what he warns against, as Allah (may He be Exalted) says, Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): “This is my way; I invite to Allâh (i.e. to the Oneness of Allâh – Islâmic Monotheism) with sure knowledge.
On the other hand, the Da`iyah (caller) should not resort to harshness and strictness except when necessary and when the objective is not achieved through the first approach (leniency). In this way, the caller to Allah’s Way will have assumed the two approaches in their due places and embraced the guidance of Shari`ah as regards both. May Allah guide us to success.
( Part No : 3, Page No: 208)
`Abdul `Aziz Bin `Abdullah ibn `Abdul-Rahman ibn Baz
Mufti of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , Chairman of the Council of Senior Scholars,
and Chairman of Department of Scholarly Research and Ifta’