Are God’s expectations from humans easy to fulfill? If they are, should we not let others do what they are doing and not disturb them unnecessarily by declaring that what they are doing may be un-Islamic? Also, should we not let non-Muslims remain what they are? Is it not an unnatural expectation from them to convert to a completely new faith? If we expect non-Muslims to convert, why should not Muslims be expected to conform to the truth within their own faith? Is changing from one religious view to another not difficult? If it is, how is then Islam easy to follow? Why can we not follow the Keep-It-Simple rule in Islam?

God wants to make things easy for us. This is what He has to say: “Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire hardship for you.” (2:185) The Prophet (pbuh) strongly urged his followers to “make things easy and don’t make them difficult. Give them good news and don’t scare them away.”[1]However, ease in religion has to be managed in the way God has ordained it. It should not be mistaken for casualness. Here are the outlines of the easy way, as I understand it, that God wants us to follow:

i) One should always remain open to truth. It is only in that way that one acquires true faith. Laziness in matters of truth is an offence, and unjustifiable stubbornness is an inexcusable crime. If one refuses to take interest in the truth simply because one is already attached to some other ideology and one does not want a new one to disturb one, it is not acceptable. If one is confused, in the process of comparing the contestants for truth, God would accept it as a valid excuse.

ii) There is no Muslim vs non-Muslim divide in the eyes of God. No one is at a disadvantage in this trial of life. Muslims are expected to be open to truth quite as much as non-Muslims are. Those non-Muslims, who know that the message of Islam is from God and are still spurning it out of arrogance, are criminals (kafir) in the eyes of their Creator. Likewise is the case of Muslims who are guilty of a similar crime in any aspect of the truth that comes from God. As long as a person is confused about whether a certain message is from God or not, he is not guilty. The ultimate decision on all such matters will be taken, thankfully, by the All-Knowing God Himself.

iii) In matters of practice, the rule is that you are expected to follow the truth as much as is possible. God has promised that His expectations are simple. However, we need to understand them in order to follow them. That strategy would ensure that things are kept simple.

iv) In matters of new findings on religion, science, or any other discipline, we again need to remain open. Not everyone is interested in everything, but if someone tells me that what I am doing right now is not acceptable to my God, then I cannot take it lightly. Even in non-religious matters, once we jump into a discussion, we must behave as truth-seeking believers and not like truth-spurning kafirs.

v) God has promised that He shall not make any soul accountable for anything more than what his potential is. He has also promised that He shall forgive people who repent after realizing that what they were doing was wrong and that He shall punish only those who continued to insist on a wrong, criminal attitude knowingly. What better keep-it-simple approach could there be than this?

vi) One of the things I am expected to do as a good believer is to correct those who are closely involved with me. Likewise, I should allow others to influence me positively whenever I am wrong. Such an attitude of mutual correction is a demonstration of the believers’ concern for the welfare of each other. In no way does it demonstrate an unnecessary interference in the affairs of others. In fact, not doing so would be indicative of a lack of interest in the spiritual and moral welfare of the other person.

[1]. Bukhari, No: 5773

(Dr Khalid Zaheer)