Moderateness: Aversion to Extremism and Remissness
Islam is all about moderateness in all matters; belief, worship, ethics and behavior, and treatment and legislation.
The Islamic nation is the moderate one, being so described in the Qur'anic verse: "And thus We have made you a middle nation to be witnesses over mankind, and (for) the Messenger to be a witness over you. And in no way did We make the Qiblah which you had been (facing), except that We should know who closely followed the Messenger from him who turned over on his heels. And decidedly it was indeed a great thing except for the ones whom Allah ha guided, and in no way will Allah indeed waste your belief. Surely Allah is indeed Ever-Compassionate, Ever-Merciful to mankind," (2 / 143).
In the Prophetic Hadith, the Prophet, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him (peace and blessing be upon him), said, "On the day of Judgment Noah shall be summoned to say: Here am I and be it Your reward, my Lord! Allah Almighty then says, "have you conveyed the message?", "Yes," Noah replies. Then Noah's nation shall be asked, "Has he (Noah) conveyed the message to you?", "no herald has ever been to us!" Allah Almighty then says, "who testifies for you?", "Mohammed and his nation," Noah replies. So you testify for Noah's mission completion." The Qur'anic verse reads: "… and (for) the Messenger to be a witness over you." All of the above is meaning of the Almighty's
"And thus We have made you a middle nation to be witnesses over mankind and (for) the Messenger to be a witness over you." Moderateness is fairness(1).
So, it the nation of fairness and moderation; a virtue enabling it to be witnesses, in this world and the Hereafter as well, over every deviation from the middle path of righteousness.
Islam's moderateness in unmistakably obvious being so manifested in its methodology, the most upright and virtuous.
It is so since the Islamic methodology is based on belief in Allah, His oneness, glorification and singling Him out as the only worshipped as He is the only one who can afford people the ability to desert all other worshipped objects.
Hence, it is the moderate methodology that is extremism and remissness-free; no extravagance or negligence. The straightforward Islamic nation has never taken peers to Allah. Unlike the Jews who described Allah as being poor and hand-shackled, Muslims have never given non-divine descriptions to Him.
Nor have Muslims erred away along the lines of the Christians who likened the created to the Creator when they deified Jesus, may the peace of Allah be upon him. They further made him a partner to the Almighty.
In this respect, the Islamic methodology is the fair and upright one as regards the messengers and prophets of Allah since Muslims, unlike the Jews, do believe in them all, never hold them in different esteems, look down upon or kill any of them.
Allah Almighty says, "Indeed We already took compact with the Seeds of Israel and We sent Messengers to them. Whenever a Messenger came to them with what their selves do not yearn to, a group they cried to, and a group they killed." (5 / 70)
Nor have Muslims crossed the limits as did the Christians with Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary, may the peace of Allah be upon them both. Rather, Muslims set thing right.
On the authority of Ibn Abbas that he quoted Omar, may Allah be satisfied with them both, on the rostrum as saying, 'I listened to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) when he said, 'Never flatter me as Christians do son of Mary, I am rather the servant of Allah. So, say the servant and Messenger of Allah", reported by Al-Bukhari(2).
Consequently, the moderateness of rightly-guided Muslims manifests in striking a balance between the needs of this world and how they look at it on one hand, and the requirements of the Hereafter on the other with a view to mastering the tools needed therefore away form extremism, remissness, extravagance or miserliness. Allah Almighty says, "And seek, in whatever Allah has brought you, the Last Residence, and do not forget you assignment of the present (life); and be fair (to others) as Allah has been fair to you." (28 / 77)
Ibn Cathir, the commentator, said about the interpretation of the above verse:
"Allah means that You should use whatever gifts of money and bountiful blessings to achieve full obedience to you Lord, come closer to His satisfaction with all means of good deeds which shall guarantee you reward needed for the Hereafter. By '' He means that things made lawful for you in terms of foods, beverages, clothes, residences and human relations since you are indebted to your Lord, your self and your family."(2)
On one hand, Allah reprimanded the Jews for their clinging to this world, "And indeed you will definitely find then the eagerest of mankind for life…" (1 / 96).
On the other, He vituperated the Christians who crossed the limits and made up a sense of monasticism never requested by the Almighty as Allah says about them: "And monasticism they innovated for themselves; in no way did We prescribe it for them, except for seeking the all-blessed Satisfaction of Allah; yet in no way did they pay heed to it as it should be truly heeded." (57 / 27)
This is because of introducing non-religious practices into Allah's religion, while not adhering to what they have alleged to means of proximity to Allah.
When the Prophet, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, came to know that three of his companions wanted to push themselves to the limits and desert the upright and moderate methodology, he advised them otherwise. On the authority of Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be satisfied with him, he said, "A group of three persons came to the houses of the Prophet's (peace and blessing be upon him) wives asking about the manner adopted by the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) in worship, but once told thereof they considered it to be just a few, yet 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!"(4) A Hadith agreed upon.
Obviously, Islam is a moderate path between over-clinging to this world on one hand and over-clinging to the Hereafter while looking down upon this world on the other.
Further, Allah's commands in terms of worship are fair and moderate, i.e., no point of extremity can be spotted. Allah Almighty says, "… And do not be (too) loud in your prayer nor hushed therein, and seek for a way between that." (18 / 110)
On the authority of Jaber Ibn Samrah, may Allah be satisfied with him, he said, "I was performing the prayers with the Prophet, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him. His prayers and sermons were moderate,"(5) i.e., neither long no short!
Part of Islam's moderateness lies in eating lawful foods for Allah says, "O Seeds of Adam! Take your adornment at every mosque, and eat and drink, and do not be extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant." (7 / 31)
This moderate attitude manifests itself also in the Islamic perception of money use, ownership, and individual and collective rights thereto, since Islam enshrines money ownership by individuals, while stressing community rights thereto so specifically. This takes the form of Zakat (poor-dues) for poor Muslim. Allah says, "And in their riches, the beggar and the dispossessed have what is truthfully their due." (51 / 19) Other relevant verses read, "And (they) are the ones in whose riches is a truthful (duty) known. For the beggar and the dispossessed." (70 / 24, 25)
This is the most upright and the fairest perception of money, ever, in terms of organizing such a valuable tool of human life. Moreover, it proves compatible with man's instinct of ownership and holding. While naturally having the same, a Muslim would naturally strike a balance between such instinct and the community's right therein since it is Allah's wealth. So, even if it is private money, Allah and the community are entitled to a share thereof.
Further, Allah command us to be balanced and moderate in terms of spending for He says,
"And do not set up your hand shackled to you neck, nor outspread it widespread altogether, for then you will sit blamed and regretfully rejected." (17 / 29)
In this respect, another verse reads, "And the ones who, when they expend, are neither extravagant nor grudging; and between that is an upright (mean)." (25 / 67)
This moderateness in Islamic law, in terms of belief, worship, transactions, judgments and legislations, has enabled it as a religion to fit in well with people's interests across times and places, while keeping the nation away form extremism and extravagance which are present in many human-made laws which prove inconsistent and unfitting when it comes to temporal and spatial conditions, not to speak about whims and considerations behind the same.
1) Reported by Al-Bukhari (4487).
2) Reported by Al-Bukhari (3445).
3) The Interpretation of the Ever-Glorious Qur'an (6 / 253)
4) A Hadith agreed upon, reported by Al-Bukhari (5063) and Muslim (3469)
5) Reported by Muslim (2041).