The Importance of Moderateness
Allah, glorified and extolled be He, has depicted this nation as being moderate for He says, "And thus We have made you a middle nation to be witnesses over mankind, and (for) the Messenger to be a witness over you," (1 / 143); i.e., this nation places itself half way between the two extremities of extremism and remissness. The Companions, may Allah be satisfied with them, have interpreted moderateness implied in this verse as saying that unlike other nations and sects, this nation is a one of moderation and fairness due to its intermediate stance.
But why this nation is so moderate?!
This nation of Mohammed, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, adopts an intermediate position between religions thanks to its fair methodology and the balance it strikes between bodily and spiritual needs, reality and imagination, positivism and negativism, love and hate, and all other crossing points and lines in the human soul.
It is this Islamic moderate stance on ethics that makes a Muslim a man of balanced character in terms of leniency and strictness. Therefore, ethics, mercy and friendliness in all actions do not supersede justice and upholding the truth.
Being that moderate, a Muslim views the whole life with the eye of justice for Allah Almighty says, "And seek in whatever Allah has brought you, the Last Residence, and do not forget your assignment of the present (life); and be fair (to others) as Allah has been fair to you." So, this is a characteristic of this great faith. No wonder, it is sent down by Allah Almighty.
Moderateness is then a distinctive feature of this nation; a characteristic that enables it to last and survive, unlike the inevitably vanishing adopters of extremities.
Allah Almighty says: "And do not set up your hand to shackled to your neck, not outspread it widespread altogether," while another verse reads, "And the ones who, when they expend, are neither extravagant nor grudging; and between that is an upright (mean)."
More often than not, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) advised in favor of such a truthful approach. In their respective collections of sound Hadiths, Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that Anas, may Allah be satisfied with him, said, "Three persons headed for the houses of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) to ask about his acts of worship. Once told thereof they considered it to be just a few, and so said, 'we are far lagging behind the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him); he is the one whose previous and potential faults are forgiven. 'Accordingly, one of them said, 'I shall pray night-long for ever,' another said, 'I shall fast for ever,' while the third said, 'I shall do without women; I shall never get married." Thereupon the Prophet stepped in addressing them, "Are you the ones who said so and so… Surely I am the most fearful and pious to Allah among you, yet I do fast and break fasting, pray and sleep, and marry women. So whoever sheers from my tradition shall not be a follower of mine!"
Moreover, in his collection of sound Hadiths, Al-Bukhari reported Abu Hurairah, may Allah be satisfied with him, as saying, 'The Prophet, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, once said, "This faith is an easy one; it shall definitely win over any approacher."
Al-Bukhari and Muslim quoted Aeshah, May Allah be satisfied with her, as saying about the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him), "The Prophet has always made the easier choice when challenged by two matters, unless such easier option proves sinful."
Thus, pressure and coercion are no more as the Almighty says, "… And in no way has (He) made for you (any) restriction in the religion…" Another verse reads, "… In no way does Allah indeed will to make any restriction for you..."
Moderateness is the law of justice, anything else either belongs to extremism or remissness. Further, moderateness in our religion calls for learning and education, discarding prejudice and fanaticism, hence our religion's call for learning and education as Allah Almighty says, "So know that there is no god except Allah…", while another verse reads, "Surely only the ones of His bondmen who are apprehensive of Allah are the knowledgeable," and "Say, "Are the ones who know equal to the ones who do not know?"".
So speaking, moderateness necessitates sound knowledge based on clear evidence. Clearly, ignorance is the mighty disadvantage for people. Hence, Allah Almighty warns against whims and consequences thereof as saying, "So have you seen him who has taken to him his prejudice to be his god…", "And if the Truth ever followed their prejudices, the heavens and the earth and whoever is therein would indeed have been corrupted," And "So, in case they do not respond to you, then know that they are only closely following their prejudice. And who is further into error than he who closely follows his prejudice, without guidance form Allah? Surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."
On the contrary, fanaticism is a way of restricting one's life, so the Islamic law (shari'ah) came to ease such needless restrictions.
It is a distinctive feature of this religion to command patience, steadfastness and moderation in all aspects of life. Undoubtedly, this is a foundation for empowerment.
Allah Almighty says, "And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our Command, since they (endured) patiently and has certitude in Our verses (miracles)."
The great Ibn Taymiah's interpretation, may Allah have mercy on him, of this verse in his book 'Al-Istiqamah', offered clarification of the concept of moderateness and recommended non-hurriedness in matters to realize such concept as saying, "In spite of the fact that a person done injustice is allowed to fight back according to the Almighty's words "And indeed whoever vindicates himself after an injustice (has been done to him) against those, then in no way is there any way (for blaming) them"; such vindication is subject to two conditions: 1. the ability to do it; 2. not to transgress. Accordingly, if such a person lacks such ability, or in case of a potential transgression, such vindication is not allowed. This is the foundation against which sedition is prohibited. Any violation to the above conditions renders the whole matter invalid. Yet, commanding good deeds and forbidding bad ones are subject to the ability to set things right. Further, forbidding bad deeds and heresies is ability-conditioned as derived from the Qur'an, the Prophetic Tradition and consensus of scholars.
Consequently, the Prophet, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, forbad fighting rulers even if they are unjust, since fighting them yields more destruction than that caused by their injustice."
How sound and well-grounded this jurisprudence is especially as verified against Shari'ah-based controls under the umbrella of moderateness?!
If the solutions for such crucially and fatefully important issues are not sought from the Qur'an and the Prophetic Tradition, it will end up to a detriment or to a situation similar to that of the Khawarij (the Dissidents), and alleged graspers of philosophy, Sufism and jurisprudence whose non-Qur'an and Sunnah-based conceptualization of matters led them into endless aberration that, in turn, yielded a wider sedition than the ostensibly corruption they rose against.
Allah Almighty says, "Surely the ones who dispute concerning the verses of Allah without any all-binding authority having come up to them, decidedly in their breasts is nothing except pride; in no way will they be attaining it, so seek refuge in Allah; surely He, Ever He, is The Ever-Hearing, The Ever-Beholding."
Moderateness, which is now proven a distinctive feature of this nation, is fully compatible with the human nature since our Lord, glorified and extolled by He, does not assign any one unaffordable duties. Surely, affordability here negates the idea of restriction and coercion for Allah Almighty says, "… And in no way has (He) made for you (any) restriction in the religion…" Another verse reads, "… In no way does Allah indeed will to make any restriction for you..."
Ibn Taymiah, may Allah have mercy on him, said in his 'Is-tiqamah' (1 / 37), "Any thing resulting in sedition and disagreement is irreligious, whether verbal or action."
He also said (1 / 39), "Sedition is the corollary of a violation to Allah's commands. Allah Almighty commands us to follow the truth and adopt patience, but sedition is the corollary of challenging the truth or being impatient. A person done injustice, who is not short of knowledge, is required to be patient. If s/he behaves impatiently, then s/he will be a violator of the divine command. Yet, if s/he is a seeker of the truth but impatient, then s/he, again, will be off course. Yet, s/he is right about only one aspect, but patience must be adopted. In case of falling short of seeking the truth, the guilt shall be considered tri-fold, i.e., no truth-seeking, non-commitment to the truth, and impatience.
Moderateness is omnipresent, even in prayer and hymning, i.e., to have our voices some where between the loudness and lowness for Abu Mosa Al-Ash'ary, may Allah be satisfied with him, said, "We were accompanying the Prophet, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him; and once drew near of Medinah, people exclaimed 'Allah is Great' so loudly. The Prophet, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, thereupon said, "Oh, people, the One you are imploring is not deaf nor absent, He is rather among you and your riding animals…" Reported by Al-Bukhari on Al-Jihad (No. 2992), and by Muslim on Hymning and Prayer (No. 6822).
Our Lord, glorified be He, says, "Invoke you Lord in supplication and covertly…", since the One you implore knows the secret and even what is more concealed". So, if He hears covert prayers, no need to loud voices, then. The rest of the verse reads, "Surely He does not love the transgressors." Some commentators said, 'transgressors' here means those who implore Allah in loud voices.