Being Difficult

Overall Meaning: Meaning of being difficult:
Ta`sir linguistically: It comes from `usr (difficulty), the opposite of yusr (ease). `usrah is a lack of means, and likewise i`sar. `usra are those matters which are difficult as opposed to easy, whilst yusra are those which are facilitated. [814] al-`Ayn, al-Farahidi (1/327); Tahdhib al-Lughah, al-Azhari (2/48).
Ta`sir technically: It is that one is difficult with oneself and others in their religious affairs, by increasing over the legislated, or in worldly affairs by leaving that which is easier when it is not sin. [815] Nadrat al-Na`im, a group of authors (9/4209).

Dispraise of being difficult and its prohibition in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
❖ Allah, exalted, says, “If they suckle your infants, pay them for it. Consult together in a good way - if you make difficulties for one another, another woman may suckle the child for the father.” (al-Talaq: 6) Isma`il Haqqi said, “In this there is rebuke for the mother for her making things difficult, in the same way when you ask someone to do something but he backs down, so you tell them, “Other than you will do it. You want it to remain undone, so you are blameworthy.” [816] Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan, Isma`il Haqqi (10/29).
❖ Anas ibn Malik, Allah be pleased with him, said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘Facilitate and do not make things difficult; give glad-tidings and not repel people.’” [817] Reported by al-Bukhari (69) and Muslim (1734).

Quotes of the Predecessors and scholars on dispraising being Difficult:
❖ Abu Musa inflicted extreme rigour upon himself in the matter of urination. He used to urinate in a bottle and said, “When the skin of anyone amongst the people of Israel was besmeared with urine, he cut that portion with a cutter.” Hudhayfah said, “I wish your friend would not inflict such an extreme rigour. I and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ were walking together till we reached the dumping ground behind an enclosure. He stood up as one among you would stand and urinated. I was going to turn away from him, but he beckoned to me, so I went to him and I stood behind him, till he had relieved himself.” [818] Reported by al-Bukhari (225) and Muslim (273).
❖ Al-Dahhak, Allah have mercy upon him, said, “Whoever is in difficulty, he ought be delayed till it is replaced with ease. Such should the case be with every debt of the Muslims. It is impermissible that a Muslim knows his indebted brother is struggling then imprisons him, or asks for his debt back before Allah facilitates for him” [819] al-Durr al-Manthur, al-Suyuti (2/113).
❖ `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz said, “Whoever has naught but his abode, he is, by Allah, going through difficulty and included among those Allah commanded to give respite.” [820] Tafsir Ibn Abi Hatim (2/552).
❖ Ibn Hajar, Allah have mercy upon him, said, “None of you takes religious acts too seriously leaving gentleness but that he will become lethargic and eventually overcome.” [821] Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajar (1/117).

Forms of making things difficult:
Being difficult:
1- With the indebted when he is late in repaying his debt, not giving them respite. [822] Reported by al-Bukhari (2287) and Muslim (1564). In expenditure, which is a man spending on his family scarcely out of choice, where he is in fact able to spend plentifully. 
2- With the worker, by not giving them their full due or delaying it. 
3- With those who seek marriage, by being extreme in setting the marital gift amount, or even setting conditions outside the realm of capability.
4- With the poor and needy, by requiring that they accomplish difficult feats before being given what they need. 
5- With their subjects, and that by rulers. This is by not answering their needs or placing impediments for them in order to reach them. 
6- With others in calling to Allah and enjoining them towards good and forbidding them from evil. 
7- With oneself in worship and obedience. It is normally followed by a subsequent lethargy that undoes all the initial excess, leaving off worship completely.

Harms of making things difficult:
1- Placing such unjustified restrictions on people may lead them to fall into the impermissible to repel this constriction they find themselves in. 
2- Hatred and enmity growing between him who is difficult and those with whom he is difficult. 
3- The removal of loving and gentle relations among the people, until one ends up searching for what solely benefits him even if he harms all people. 
4- Repelling others from the path to goodness and Allah’s worship, pushing them towards the path to evil. 
5- Fanaticism in upholding unreasonable moral standards lead one to burn out his body and spirit unjustifiably. 
6- He who makes things difficult does not accomplish what he hopes for. 
7- There often follows such intensity a lethargy that forces him to desist from worship completely. 
8- Every hollow enthusiasm in religion will be severed.

Reasons for falling into being difficult:
1- Going against the guidance of the Prophet ﷺ who forbade making things difficult. 
2- Satan beautifying such impedance in one’s eyes, believing that one is surely the best of people in Allah’s judgement. 
3- Weakness of faith makes one place such hindrance on others for lowly worldly gain. 
4- A lack of loving and sociable relations between the Muslims. 
5- A lack of guides, leaders, and sincere role models who teach and actualise the religion’s principles among the masses. 
6- Immersion in the worldly life, running after its ultimately perishing gains without consideration of the pure divine Law. 
7- Ignorance of the true nature of the Law, believing that adherence to it lies solely in the abundance of deeds even if said deeds are unlegislated.

Means to desisting from difficulty:
1- That the person who makes things difficult for others realises that days are changing - some are for you and others are against you, and one may end up drinking from the same glass he made others drink from. 
2- Moderation in worship. 
3- Treating others how one would like to be treated. 
4- From the signs of munificence and magnanimity is that one expends his wealth for the benefit of others without awaiting from them any recompense or thanks. What then of one who gives, knowing that whatever he gives will be returned but the one indebted is in difficulty. Such a person is more deserving of being delayed. It is more befitting to even decrease the amount, if not absolve him of it completely.

Being difficult and poetry:
The poet said,
“If the Lord of Mercy has given you abundant wealth
And you become in ease when you were in difficulty,
Then follow this up with praise, thanks and exaltation,
He will increase you, brother - you’ll be safe from poverty.
Take out swiftly from it what is rightfully Allah’s
To all those close ones in poverty and difficulty.” [823] Mawarid al-Zam’an li-Durus al-Zaman, `Abd al-`Aziz al-Salman (3/48).