I want to narrate a recent experience I had in Karachi and would want to draw a conclusion.
A couple of evenings ago, a young boy who had just done his A levels came to one of my programs with his mother who was a strict, practicing Muslim. She wanted me to respond to some of the questions her son had in mind. The boy came close enough to me to be able to ensure that his mother wouldn’t hear what he was saying to me. He mentioned that he was an agnostic and that he didn’t believe in the hell and the heaven. He also said that he didn’t know why God would send His own creation to the hell. I told the boy politely that he could ask me all these questions during the Q&A session.
My presentation was on the topic: “Islam is Easy to Follow”. It was followed by a Q&A session. The boy asked a question. It wasn’t one of those tough ones he had promised; it was thankfully an innocuous one. His mother also asked a question which clearly indicated two things: that she was a very strictly religious lady and that she had not heard what I had said in the lecture. After it was all over, the boy met me and thanked me for clearing many of his doubts about Islam (even though I had addressed none of the ones he had mentioned prior to my lecture). I could see where his problem was coming from: His mother wanted to forcibly ensure that her son became a practicing Muslim according to her high level of expectation. The son thought it to be more sensible that he declared that he was an agnostic instead of going into the drill of strict religiosity. As soon as he realized that the Almighty’s message was simple and easy to follow, he dropped the very idea of raising objections against it.
I have come to realize that our task is to present the message of Allah the way it is without suggesting our views and interpretations of strict application of Shari’ah. Apart from presenting many Quranic verses in my lecture, I mentioned these two ahadith as well:
“Make things easier for others and don’t make them difficult. And give good tidings to them and don’t create hatred (against religion) in them.” (Bukhari; No. 69)
“When the prophet, alaihissalaam, used to be presented with two options, he would choose the easier of the two.” (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal; 24890)
May the Almighty guide us all to the right path! Amen.