Finding a Balance:
Al-Hakim narrates with an authentic chain that Rasulullah was traveling with his companions when a bird came flapping it’s wings over his head. The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Who has brought grief to this bird?” One of the companions said: “I have taken some of its young ones.” Rasulullah ordered him to return them to their mother.
Rasulullah was leading an army on a travel for Jihad, the peak of Islam, but he was still teaching the sahabah about an issue as simple as mercy towards a bird.
There are some brothers and sisters who expressed concern when I talked about the opinions of scholars regarding cheese at a time when we have more important issues at hand that are of great concern to the ummah. I would like to take this opportunity to point out an important principle in Islam and that is: Islam is a comprehensive religion that covers all aspects of our life and every Islamic teaching is important. Rasulullah has taught us minute aspects of life that would otherwise seem trivial such as how to eat, growing a beard, and even manners of responding to the call of nature. If these were trivial issues Rasulullah would not have wasted his time teaching us about them, the Sahabah would not have narrated them and our scholars would not have documented them in their books of hadith and fiqh. The topic of cheese is even more important because it relates to what enters our body. It is enough to state that our dua would not be accepted if our food is haraam. So the rulings of diet are very important .
Some of these people who do not recognize the importance of the smaller issues told Salman al Farisi: “We see that your Prophet has taught you everything even about excrements” Salman said: “Yes he did. He taught us not to face qibla when urinating or defecating, not to use our right hands in washing ourselves, not to use less than three stones and not to use dung or bones” (narrated by Muslim and others.) The Messenger of Allah who taught us this was also a head of state and a leader of Jihad.
When one understands the wisdom behind the comprehensiveness of the teachings of Islam nothing is trivial anymore. When we understand that every moment in our lives, every movement, and every act should be for the sake of Allah we appreciate the reason why Rasulullah taught us about everything.
The problem is not in talking about the sunnah in matters that one may assume to be trivial but the problem is when one talks about the beard to the exclusion of Tawhid, wearing the clothes above the ankle to the exclusion of Jihad, or the miswak to the exclusion of wala and bara.
On the other hand, it is even a more serious problem when people occupy themselves with the mustahab ( the recommended) and ignore the major issues, some of which are issues of aqeedah. There are some that escape from the responsibilities that demand sacrifice to the safety of the easy rituals. We need to take Islam as a whole. We should follow Quran and the way of Rasulullah in all matters.