Moderate Life in Islam (Part I)

Moderate Life in Islam (Part I)

Moderate Life in Islam (Part I)

The Islamic sharia urges simplicity, rather than difficulty and complexity, in everything related to both everyday life and religious duties.

Any sort of constraint and extremism on adherents of Islam, done by others or self-imposed, is not permitted. Moderation in everything is called for in all cases. Allah says in the Quran: “And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you…” (2:143). Prophet Muhammad said: “You are made to be a moderate people“, hence, call for moderation. Such noble meanings have been asserted in the branches and details of Sharia. The following Quranic verse, explains the necessity of creating a balance between worldly matters and working to inherit Paradise in the Afterlife, “But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.” (28:77).

We are sorry to say that within Muslim communities, there are those who maintain excess and fanaticism regarding religious concepts and practices; on the contrary, some others are lax as far as religion is concerned, under the pretext of calling for leniency. The best, balanced way in following Sharia is moderation as ordered by Allah in the Quran.

Allah has created Mankind, knowing its nature, instincts, passions, and needs, and so He has granted us with His divine revelation, i.e., the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran, in order to explain the rules that regulate the instinctual, social, environmental, and psychological aspects of Mankind. The following Quranic verses, arranged thematically, call us to follow moderation instead of both laxity and extremism.

Verses about general moderation:

1- “And thus we have made you a just community…” (2:143).This verse shows that moderation, justice, and fairness should be the mottos of Muslims.

2- “Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (2:286). This verse shows that Allah urges believers to pray for Him to lessen the religious duties and means of punishment imposed by Him in comparison to non-Muslim nations.

3- “But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world…” (28:77). This verse shows that Allah ordains Mankind to pay attention to work for one’s place in Heaven by seeking to obtain the satisfaction of our Creator and simultaneously enjoy one’s worldly lifetime.

Verses about moderation in matters of faith:

1- “Allah wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow [their] passions want you to digress [into] a great deviation.” (4:27).

2- “O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” (4:171).

3- “Assuredly, that to which you invite me has no [response to a] supplication in this world or in the Hereafter; and indeed, our return is to Allah, and indeed, the transgressors will be companions of the Fire.” (40:43).

Verses about moderation in religious duties:

1- “…Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” (2:185). This verse shows a call for easiness in the fasting rituals.

2- “…Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity …” (2:286). This verse shows that Allah takes into account our human capacity regarding religious duties imposed on us.

3- “…Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” (6:141). This verse tackles the harvest zakah and calls us to pay this type of zakah within moderation.

4- “So fear Allah as much as you are able …” (64:16). This verse explains the divine order to obey Allah as much as we can within our capacity, without extremism or laxity, because “…Allah knows the corrupter from the amender…” (2:220).

Verses about moderation in social dealings:

1- “And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.” (4:28). The context of this verse is about choosing a good wife from the believers.

2- “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.” (5:8). This verse urges for dealing with others in a just manner, be them Muslims or non-Muslims.

3- “… and eat and drink without going to excesses. For Allah does not like those who go to excess.“(7:31). This verse tackles the issue of moderation in food consumption and in everyday-life matters.

4- “Say, “Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?” Say, “They are for those who believe during the worldly life [but] exclusively for them on the Day of Resurrection.” Thus do We detail the verses for a people who know.” (7:32). This verse explains the fact that no one is to forbid halal things for believers, as this is a form of extremism.

5- “And do not obey the order of the transgressors” (26:151). This verse tells us about Thamud, the people of Prophet Salih, who ignored working for the Eternal Life and busied themselves with worldly possessions and taking pride in them.

6- “And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful. And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys.” (31:18-19). These two verses show the pieces of advice of Luqman to his son and urging him to deal with people moderately; i.e., without pride and self-deprecation.

Verses about moderation in financial transactions:

1- “And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful.” (17:26-27). “And do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and [thereby] become blamed and insolvent.” (17:29). These verses show that spending wastefully is a grave error, especially spending money on forbidden things, and the powerful image of chained/extended hands exemplifies in a graphic manner the miser and the spendthrift.

2- “And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate.” (25:67). “…And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul, it is those who will be the successful.” (59:9). Both verses describe believers in Allah as moderate in their money spending and in their demeanor, and that the successful ones are those who avoid imposing stinginess on themselves and on others.

In the next part of this article, you will explore further evidence on moderation in Islam in hadiths of Prophet Muhammad.


Translated by: Ahmad Fathy

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