The Disadvantages of extremism and fanaticism in religion

Extremism: is overstepping the limit of moderation. Fanaticism is overstepping the limit, as Ibn Hajar said: “Exaggeration in doing a thing, that leads one to exceed the limits.” Thus, we can say that extremism is transgression, overdoing things beyond what Allah – the Almighty – has commanded. And Islam condemns extremism in all its forms. As extremism is not part of Islam, since Islam is a moderate religion, as Allah said: “And (Allah) also made you a middle nation.” Islam has also forbidden exaggeration, Allah said: “Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth…”

Disadvantages of fanaticism and extremism:

1 – Extremism is heretical :

Arbad said: the Messenger of Allah – peace be upon him – prayed with us one morning , then turned to us, and gave a sermon that made us shed tears in fear, then a man said: O Messenger of Allah, as if this is the sermon of a dying man , what do you advise us , he said: “I advise you to fear God, and be obedient and loyal, even it is to a black amputated slave, for he who live long among you will see great difference, so you should follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me, stick to them, and cling firmly, and beware of newly invented matters, for every innovation is heresy, and every heresy is misguidance.”(1) Ibn Taymiyya said: “The Prophet commanded Muslims in this Hadith to follow his Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and denoted that innovation – which is forbidden heresy – is what is otherwise.”(2)

2 – Extremism in religion causes Nations to perish

Allah says, warning us of Extremism: “Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth.”(3) Ibn Abbas narrated that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said the day after the Aqaba: “O people, beware of exaggeration in religion, for extremism in religion is what made those before you parish.”(4)

3 – Extremism is also present in other religions

Allah says about the Christians’ extremism for example: “But monasticism they invented…” Ibn al-Jauzi said: “it means that they came up with it by themselves: extremism in worship, enduring hardship by refraining from eating, clothing and marriage, and worshipping in the mountains.” (The statement of Allah) “We ordained it not…” meaning: We did not impose it on them.(5)

4 – It is contrary to Islam’s tolerance

The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to say to his companions when he dispatched them, “facilitate (things for the people) and don’t complicate things.” He also said, peace be upon him, to Ali and Mu’adh when he sent them to Yemen: “facilitate and don’t complicate, give good tidings and not repugnance.”(6)

In addition, the Prophet, peace be upon him, described the message Allah bestowed upon him as the tolerant “Hanafiyya”, whereby he said: “I was sent with tolerant Hanafiyya.” Ibn Taymiyya said: “Hanafiyya means abstaining from polytheism, and tolerance against extremism.”(7)

5 – It is one of the causes of people’s repugnance to religion:

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “There are of you who lead people to repugnance.”

(1) Narrated by Ibn Hibban (1/179), Hadith: 5, and Abu Dawood (4/200) Hadith: 4607, and Mustadrak (4/200), hadeeth 332, Ibn al-Qayyim: This is a hasan hadeeth, ‘I’lam Al-Muwwqi’in (4/140).

(2) Majmu’ al-Fatawa (31/37).

(3) Al-Maeda / 77.

(4) Narrated by Ibn Majah (2/1008), Hadith: 3029, and Nasa’i (5/268), Hadith: 3057, and Ibn Hibban (9/183), Hadith: 3871, and Bayhaqi in As-Sunan Al-Kubra (5/127), Hadith (9317).

(5) Zad Al-Masir (8/176).

(6) Sahih Muslim (3/1359), Hadith : 1733.

(7) Majmu’ al-Fatawa (20/114).