What answer should we give to those who say, "Do not think deep; excessiveness in religion will make a person go crazy"?

The Details of the Question
What answer should we give to those who say, "Do not think deep; excessiveness in religion will make a person go crazy"?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Unfortunately, the world is like that today. Allah makes this factory of the universe work for us all the time and mobilizes everything for us; therefore, we need to allocate all of our time to Him but we live in an age that regards performing five daily prayers, which hardly lasts an hour every day, extremism. They act as if we will do very important things if we do not perform prayers.     

The midway, way of ease, moderate way, the way that can be followed is ordered in our religion. The Prophet (pbuh) said, 

“I advise you the midway because the religion will overcome any person who makes tiny distinctions.” 2

As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Quran:

“We have not sent down the Qur'an to thee to be (an occasion) for thy distress.”3

The following is stated in another verse of the Quran:

“Allah intends every facility for you He does not want to put you to difficulties.”4

“On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.”5 Acting upon the verses above, Badiuzzaman Said Nursi attracts attention to the fact that a person cannot be loaded a burden heavier than he can carry in the religion.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) interprets the verses above with the following hadith:

“Indeed, this religion is easy, and no one will ever overburden himself in religion, except that it will overcome him. So seek what is appropriate, and come as close as you can, and receive the glad tidings (that you will be rewarded), and take it easy; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, afternoons, and during the last hours of the nights.”6

To go to extremes in the religion does not mean to persevere, to live based on taqwa and to live in accordance with the obligations of the religion. To go to extremes in the religionmeans to pay much attention to the orders of the religion that are of less significance and to neglect the orders of the religion that are of great significance by not establishing a balance between the decrees of the religion. It is imbalance. For instance, a person makes a lot of efforts, efforts that are beyond his power, and wearies himself for nafilah (supererogatory) prayers – he becomes too tired due to this extreme meticulousness – and he neglects sunnahs, wajibs and even fards.

In fact, the Prophet (pbuh) worshipped at night until his blessed feet swelled and performed prayers. For instance, once Hz. Aisha asked him, “O Messenger of Allah! Why do you tire yourself so much? Were your previous and future sins not forgiven?”  The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Should I not be a slave that thanks Allah more?”

However, the Prophet (pbuh) performed this worshipping within the boundaries endurance; and this night worshipping never caused him to neglect - God forbid - the morning prayer, his family and the people. Taqwa starts at this point. 

If a person who performs a lot of nafilah worshipping at night in order to revive a sunnah becomes very tired and neglects the morning prayer, his wife and children, his guests and his health, he will have gone to extremes and acted contrarily to the Sunnah.  

* Hz. Anas narrates:

When the Prophet (pbuh) entered the mosque, he saw a rope stretched between two columns.

“What is this rope?” He asked. The Companions said,

“This rope belongs to Zaynab bint Jahsh. She holds it when she gets tired.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“Remove it. Perform prayers with pleasure. When you get tired, go to bed and sleep.” 7

* Hz. Aisha narrates:

There was a woman I was talking to in my room. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) entered my room, he asked,

“Who is this?” I said,

“She is such and such a woman.” Then, I started to mention her prayers. Finally, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“That is enough. Do what you can do. By Allah, Allah Almighty will not be tired of giving you thawabs but you will be tired of worshipping.“ 8

* Hz. Anas narrates:

A group ofthree men asked about the worship of the Prophet (pbuh).  When they were informed about it, they considered it little and said: "Where are we in comparison with the Prophet (pbuh) while Allah forgave his past sins and future sins". One of them said,

"I will perform prayers all night long and will not sleep." Another said,

"I will perform fasting continuously and will not break except on days of eid."Another said,

"I will abstain from women and will never marry".

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came, he summoned them and said to them,

Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but I sometimes perform fasting and sometimes break it. I both perform prayers and sleep at night. This is my Sunnah. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.” 10

* Abu Muhammad Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As narrates:

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was informed that I said, “I will perform fasting every day and perform prayers the whole night as long as I live.” He said to me,

"Is it you who said this?" I said to him,

"O Messenger of Allah! That is true." Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Do not do that. Observe fasting for few days and then leave off for few days; perform prayers and sleep at night, as your body has a right upon you, and your eyes have a right upon you. Your wife has a right upon you; your visitors have a right upon you. It is sufficient for you to perform fasting three days in a month, as the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times, so it will be like fasting the whole year." I said,

"O Messenger of Allah! I can do more than that." He said,

"Then, perform fasting of Dawud. Do not add more.” I said,

“What is fasting of Dawud?” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“Fasting half of the year. You will fast one day and eat the next day.” I said,

I can do more than that.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

“There is no fasting more virtuous than that. The most virtuous fasting is that of Dawud.”

Afterwards when Abdullah grew old, he said, "I wish I had accepted the three-day fasting the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) advised. It would have been lovelier to me than my family and wealth. However, it is too late now." 11

There is no compulsion in the religion. There is moderation, balance and harmony. It is essential to live in the religious balance, not to abandon fards for sunnahs, not to leave wajibs for nafilahs, and to live the religion as a whole based on our strength.


1. Jamius-Saghir, 2/1582;
2. Jamius-Saghir, 3/2706;
3. Taha, 20/2;
4. Al-Baqara, 2/185;
5. See al-Baqara, 2/286; at-Talaq, 65/7; al-An’am, 6/152; al-A’raf, 7/42; al-Mu’minun, 23/62;
6. Nasai, Iman, 28;
7. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 146;
8. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 142.
9. Jamius-Saghir, 2/1582;
10. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 143,
11. Nawawi, R. Salihin, 150.

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