2- Is It a Temporary or a Permanent Problem?
In this author's view, to answer this question one must first distinguish between the individual and the Muslim nation (ummah). With respect to individuals, it is in most cases a temporary problem. However, with respect to the Muslim nation as a whole, it is a perpetual problem. The following hadith indicate that extremism is a temporary state for most individuals:
(1) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained that every type of action has for it periods of great enthusiasm and afterwards periods of inactivity or lethargy. He stated,
"Every deed has its time of enthusiasm and every time of enthusiasm has its time of lethargy. Whoever has a period of enthusiasm within my Sunnah, he will be successful. And whoever has a period of lethargy other than that, he will be destroyed."
In another narration, some people who were greatly devoted to acts of worship were mentioned to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he stated,
"That is the overly abundant attachment to Islam and its period of enthusiasm. For every attachment there is a period of enthusiasm. And for every period of enthusiasm there is a time of lethargy. Whose period of lethargy is toward the Book and the Sunnah, then he is on the path he should follow. Whose period of lethargy is toward disobedience of Allah, then he is the destroyed."
This hadith alludes to the fact that a person may exert himself in his religion wherein he virtually reaches the state of extremism and harshness in sticking to the religion. Then he calms down to a more balanced approach. However, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained that the period of lethargy after that period of enthusiasm must be within the Sunnah.
(2) In most cases, the affair of the extremist will end in one of two ways:
(a) The person will discontinue his deeds as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) explained by his statement,
"No one overburdens himself in the religion except that it will overcome him." Ibn Hajar stated, "The meaning is that no one goes overboard in religious deeds while forgetting kindness [upon himself] except that he will not be able to keep it up. He will discontinue [those acts] and it will overcome him."
(b) The error of his ways will be made clear to him and he will return to what is true and correct. This is what occurred to that group of three whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) objected to concerning their extremism and forbidding of the good things. They came back from what they had set out to do.
This is with respect to the individual. As for the entire Nation, the matter is different. Extremism has a permanent existence that becomes either widespread or very limited depending on the prevalence of the factors producing it. Virtually no time period can be free of the existence of extremism, as any overview of history since the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) bears witness.
3- Is It a Regional Problem In One Area or Is It Universal?
This problem is not a regional or national problem restricted to just one area. Instead, it has become a universal problem covering all the Islamic lands from Malaysia and Indonesia to North Africa. Those who follow the news of the Islamic world often find reports about those groups accused of extremism in the different forms of the media, especially in the West. Sometimes, one hears of radicalism in Nigeria, and then we hear of it in Malaysia, Egypt, Algeria or other places of the Islamic world.
Without taking into question the truthfulness or lack thereof of these reports, the important point is that this problem is present throughout many parts of the Islamic world. However, it differs with respect to its magnitude. In some areas it is very great and more apparent than in other areas. This is due to the strength or weakness of the factors that produce this problem in each of the Muslim lands.
 Recorded by Ahmad. Ahmad Shaakir stated in his footnotes to the Musnad of Ahmad (vol. 1 1, p. 40) that it is sahih. Ibn Abi Aasim also narrated it in al-Sunnah (vol. l, p. 28). Al-Albaani stated in his footnotes to that work, "Its chain is sahih according to the criteria of al-Bukhari and Muslim."
 Recorded by Ahmad. Ahmad Shaakir stated that its chain is sahih (Sharh al-Musnad, vol. 1 0, p. SO).
 Cf., Ahmad Shaakir, Sharh Musnad Ahmad, vol. 1 1, p. 40.
 Recorded by al-Bukhari.
 Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Baari, vol. 1, p. 94.
 Cf., Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Baari, vol. 9, p. 1 04.
 Cf., Ahmad Kamaal Abu al-Majd, Al-Tatarruf al-Deeni wa Abaaduhu, p. 5.
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