Matters are eased for the One Whom Allah Wishes to Favor
The Surah then gives the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the Muslim nation in general, a very welcome tiding, “We will make you recite, and you will not forget.” This sentence can have two meanings. First: the preservation of the entire Qur’an word for word in your memory is not a manifestation of your own power but the result of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala’s bounty and grace; otherwise if Allah so willed, He could cause it to be forgotten. The second meaning could be: your forgetting something temporarily or your forgetting an ayah or a word occasionally is an exception from this promise.
Keen to preserve the Qur’an in his memory, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to repeat it after Jibreel ‘alayhi salaam, the angel, delivered it to him. He felt that it was part of his responsibility to keep it registered in his mind. Here, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala assures him that He would look after this task. This part of Allah’s mercy and grace that He looks after His servants’ struggles. If one is keen about learning and preserving Allah’s Book then He is the Only One that the person should seek help from. One must pray to Allah asking Him to ease the task help him understand, live by and preserve the Qur’an.
Every time the Qur’an states a definite promise or constant law, it follows it with a statement implying that divine will is free of all limitations and restrictions. For His will is absolute. This principle is emphasized when Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says, “Except what Allah should will.” [87:7] Then He says, “He knows what is declared and what is hidden.” This is stated here by way of giving a reason for all that has passed: teaching to read, freedom from forgetfulness and the exception made to it. Everything is decided according to the wisdom of the One who knows the secret and the manifest. He views everything from all angles and makes His decisions on the basis of His unfailing knowledge.
Next comes another promise, “And We will ease you toward ease,” [87:8]. This is again assuring. It means that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will make good deeds and statements easy. If Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala smoothens a person’s path, he finds ease in everything in his life. It will be evident in his hand, tongue, movement, work, concepts, way of thinking and in the way he conducts all affairs and tackles all matters. Ease will be the main feature of how he carries himself and how he deals with others as well.
Such was the Prophet in all affairs. His wife, ‘Aishah, radhiAllahu ‘anha, reports that whenever faced with a choice, the Prophet would always choose the easier of the two alternatives. [Bukhari and Muslim] She also reports whenever the Prophet was alone with his family at home, he was the easiest of men, always smiling and laughing.
His guidance in matters of clothing, food, household furniture and other matters of day to day life pointed to a preference for what is easy.
The best method is that followed by the Prophet and which he encouraged his Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum to adopt. His guidance regarding clothes is that he used to wear whatever was available, whether woolen, cotton, linen or other types of material. He also used different types of dress such as overcoat, long robe, shirts, trousers, top gown, sandals and shoes.
On food, the Prophet’s guidance gives a similar message. The Prophet never refused what was available at home, nor did he ever go out of his way to get what was not. He would eat whatever was served of good food and he never slighted any sort of food whatsoever. If he did not like something he would simply not eat it, but would not forbid it. If he did not have anything to eat, he would simply go hungry.
As for the Prophet’s example regarding sleep. He used to sleep sometimes on a mattress, sometimes on a simple animal skin. Occasionally he would sleep on a rough mat, or on the cold earth with nothing under him. He sometimes used a bed; a plain one at times and covered with a black bedspread at other times.
These examples are practical manifestations of how his path was smoothed for him to achieve perfect ease in every aspect of life. He was given a tolerant, understanding nature so that he might carry out his mission as Allah’s Messenger to mankind. He was able, with Allah’s grace, to fulfill the great task with which he was entrusted.
When we look carefully through the laws of Islam we find that care has been taken to make it easy for people to follow, without overstraining themselves. It takes into consideration the different situations man finds himself in, and the conditions he faces in different environments. The faith itself is based on concepts which are easy to grasp: a single deity; none like Him; He has created everything; He has guided everything to realize the purpose of its existence; He has also sent messengers to remind people of their role in life and to call them back to their Lord who created them. All obligations imposed by Islam fit perfectly together: there are no conflicts, no contradictions. People have to fulfill these obligations according to their abilities. There need be no overstraining, no heavy burdens. The Prophet said, “When I give you an order, fulfill it as much as you can; but leave off what I forbid you.” [Bukhari and Muslim] Prohibition may also be relaxed, “He has clearly spelled out to you what He has forbidden you [to eat] unless you are driven to do so by sheer necessity.” [6: 119] These basic principles provide the limits within which the Islamic commandments and principles operate.
Hence the Messenger and the message have in common this basic feature of easy nature. So does the Muslim community; it is a ‘middle’ community, merciful, the recipient of divine mercy and easy natured.