No past nation has ever been defined as a moderate or ‘a middle’ nation. This particular definition in only in line with the charitable nature of this nation as what befits Allah’s words, “You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind. You enjoin what is good, and forbid what is evil, and you believe in Allah…” (TMQ, 3:110).
The charitable nature of this nation is evident in many facets;
1) It enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil; and it believes in Allah as stated in the above verse.
2) It is the most beneficial nation to mankind as in Abu-Hurayra’s interpretation for this very verse where he said, “The best of mankind to mankind; bringing them to Islam even when they were once cuffed in chains!”
3) Being the mostly responsive to all prophets. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “I would be the first intercessor in paradise and no apostle amongst the apostles has been testified (by such a large number of people) as I have been testified. And verily there would be an apostle among the apostles who would be testified to by only one man from his people.” (Muslim)
4) It would never unanimously agree on an evil.
5) Its book is the best divine book, its prophet is the best of all prophets and it will be ahead of all nations on judgment day according to the Prophet’s words, “We are the last nation but the first to be judged on judgment day.” (Agreed upon).
6) Its people will constitute the majority of the inhabitants of paradise, as per the Prophet’s saying, “…I hope that you would constitute one- half of the inhabitants of paradise…” (Muslim)
Hence the concept of moderation as in, “Thus We have made you a middle nation…” (TMQ, 2:143), coincides with the concept of charity as in, “You are indeed the best community that has ever been brought forth for [the good of] mankind…” (TMQ, 3:110).
Moderation; linguistically and idiomatically
Linguistically: Moderation “wasteya” in Arabic language demonstrates mastering the middle stance. Linguists give it multiple significances but they all lead to the same end; justice, middle, the fairest of anything is always its middle. So “middle” here means fairness.
Middle is the center between any two opposites; one opposite is commendable while the other is lamentable. Between these two lies the “middle” which is always the best part in the equation like the pendant is to the necklace.
We understand from this important description something very tangible that all moderation advocates must learn by heart in all the walks of life; dawa, economy, politics, literature, criticism… etc. This gravitational relationship between the middle and the end tells us that the middle is so singular. It requires effort, jurisprudence, knowledge and patience until it can be clinched from both its ends and cleared from any similarities. The suffering and endurance it takes to reach the middle ends up with the person in a status that we call “a moderate status”.
Idiomatically we can say that moderation is a commendable behavior (whether physical or moral). It safeguards us from slipping into opposite (or diverging) extremes that fall under the spell of either excessiveness or extremism; whether in the domain of religion of life.
The idiomatic meaning spins around moderation, avoiding extremism or dereliction. Ibnul-Qayem says, “Allah has not ordained any command except that Satan has two incitements in it; negligence and dereliction on the one side, and extremism and exaggeration on the other. He cares not in which trap of the two you fall as long as you eventually fall.” After thorough reading of the Qur’an and Sunnah texts we can say that moderation is the whole of religion. We can simply say that Islam is moderation as long as moderation does not deviate from justice, choice, integrity and balance. These are indeed the principles that Islam came to propagate! Ibnul-Qayem says, “The whole of religion of Allah lies between these two ends; negligence and extravagance!”
Moderation in the Qur’an:
This word was mentioned five times in the Qur’an and all of them were about avoiding dereliction and extravagance:
- First: “Thus We have made you a middle nation…” (TMQ, 2:143).
- Second: “Be ever mindful of prayers, especially the middle prayer; …” (TMQ, 2:238). The best of all five prayers, according to the Prophet, is the middle prayer which is the Aas prayer.
- Third: “…So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your [own] families…” (TMQ, 5:89).
- Fourth: “The most moderate of them said, ‘Did I not say to you, ‘Why do you not exalt [Allah]?’” (TMQ, 68:28).
- Fifth: “And raising clouds of dust, forcing their way into the midst of the enemy,” (TMQ, 100:4-5).
There are many other verses of course discussing the meaning as a whole without using the word “middle” explicitly.
Moderation in the Sunnah:
This concept also came in the narrations of the Prophet (SAWS) but none of them is different from the meanings mentioned earlier as agreed by the linguists and interpreters. As mentioned in the narration by Abu-Hurayra, “…so if you ask Allah for anything, ask Him for the Firdaus, for it is the middle part of paradise and the highest part of paradise, and at its top there is the Throne of the Beneficent, and from it gush forth the rivers of paradise…” (Al-Bukhary)
The Importance of moderation:
No doubt that Islam is distinguished from other rites and beliefs with its moderation because its whole method is based on this quality. Moderation is the insignia of Islam since Allah sent this true faith starting from the time of Noah up till the time of Muhammad (SAWS). True Muslims are always a middle nation and being middle is what we call “the straight path” same as; guidance and charity. Allah says describing it, “and guide you to a straight path,” (TMQ, 48:2), and “You are indeed guiding to the straight path,” (TMQ, 42:52).
Among the virtues of Islam is that it urges us to moderation in responsibilities and rulings. This can be seen clearly in all the legislative texts that require no interpretation. Allah says, “Allah desires ease for you, not hardship…” (TMQ, 2:185), and, “Allah wishes to lighten your burdens, for, man has been created weak.” (TMQ, 4:28).
The Qur’an came with a life style based on moderation in everything it calls for and everything it urges us to do. It is the fair judge that we can hold on to if we want to be saved, to be happy and to gain paradise in this life and the hereafter. Moderation is hinted in every single ruling, in every single verse and in every single meaning. We can’t even begin to count the implications since they are numerous, diverse, and frequent and in different contexts, provisions, sermons, rulings, news, supplications, requests, stories, reminders and statements.
It is an utter form of moderation that shines with every word and letter, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation and reason with them in a way that is best. Your Lord knows best those who have strayed away from His path, and He knows best those who are rightly guided.” (TMQ, 16:125). Also in, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend,” (TMQ, 41:34).
It is a call for moderation and rejecting extremism and exaggeration when confronting others. This is if we want to convey the message in the best way so it can be beneficial without stirring the grudges and spite that erase the efforts of preachers and lead to a totally undesirable backfire. The idea of dichotomy between the soul and the body has taken control over many faiths and philosophies and spewing from this dichotomy was a sharp inclination towards one at the expense of other thus giving us two major directions; one of them totally inclined towards the body and its rights while the other is totally inclined towards the soul and its rights.
Those who worshiped material values as the focal point of their lives turned man into a machine; they sanctified material things and they drowned themselves into their desires. They did not see anything save the quick mundane fixes and they formed this utilitarian material approach that was represented either in Marxist materialism or capitalist materialism. The others saw the body as the prison of the soul and they invented a harsh monastic approach the deprived the body from the pleasures of life and isolated it from life by suppressing its instincts. Allah says about this, “…But We did not prescribe monasticism for them: that was their own innovation by which they sought to please Allah…” (TMQ, 57:27).
Then Islam came to set things straight between both paths and to guide people to the straightest way, the middle way; between worshiping physical values and forgetting about the soul, and between fatiguing the soul and forgetting the body. Allah says, “But seek the Home of the Hereafter by means of that which Allah has bestowed on you; do not forget to take your portion [of the Hereafter] in this world…” (TMQ, 28:77).
The Prophet (SAWS) comes from the middle class of his people (the best in them) and his whole life expressed the meanings of moderation and toleration in all ways; worship, rites, transactions, rulings, justice, punishments, treaties, wars and others. His life story came as a model of moderation and a full proof that he was never “asked about anything except that he chose the easiest as long as it was not forbidden.” Anas narrated, “A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped Allah, and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, "Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven." Then one of them said, "I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever." The other said, "I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast." The third said, "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever." Allah's Apostle came to them and said, "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).” (Al-Bukhary)
The life of the Prophet (SAWS) in all its diversity was distinguished with moderation and balance. He gave the best example for moderation in his actions, behaviors and attitudes till his life became a model for his entire nation after him.
He was also keen on directing the companions to moderation to balance their lives between their religion and their life, between the time they give to themselves and the time they give to worship, between enjoyment of the body pleasures and the spirit pleasures. Whenever he found any indications of extravagance for one over the other he rectified them.
So the companions learned from him how to be balanced between the requirements of life and the hereafter. They learned how to toil for life and how to toil for the hereafter. This moderation in Islam that does not give precedence for the soul over the body (or the other way round) does not deprive from any pleasures nor indulge in them. Islam unites between the right of the soul in worship and the right the body in its pleasures: This is indeed the innate nature of mankind.
Moderation in all things is the most important advantage in Islam and the Muslim nation is a middle nation in the sense that it uses its full power in building, reforming, gaining profits, educating and teaching without any negligence or extravagance. It achieves a balance between the individual and the group, between life and religion, between the power of the mind and the power of the body, between idealism and realism, between spirituality and materialism… etc.
Characteristics of moderation in Islam:
The most prominent characteristics are:
Ease and mitigating difficulty or hardship.
Warning against any extremism and calling for moderation.
Requirement 1: Ease and mitigating difficulty or hardship
Allah says about fasting, “The month of Ramadan is the month when the Quran was sent down as guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and the criterion by which to distinguish right from wrong. Therefore, whoever of you is present in that month, let him fast; but he who is ill or on a journey shall fast a similar number of days later on. Allah desires ease for you, not hardship. He desires you to fast the whole month, so that you may glorify Him for His having guided you and so that you may be grateful to Him.” (TMQ, 2:185). Allah also says, “Believers, when you rise to pray, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows and wipe your heads and [wash] your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of impurity, take a full bath. But if you are sick or on a journey or when you have just relieved yourselves or you have consorted with your spouses, you can find no water, take some clean sand and rub your faces and hands with it. Allah does not wish to place any burden on you; He only wishes to purify you and perfect His favor to you, in order that you may be grateful." (TMQ, 5:6). These two verses explicitly say that Allah does not request from His bondsmen anything that they cannot tolerate or cannot do.
The Prophet (SAWS) applied this message of ease and this private and public magnanimity in an unprecedented way. It is said the Prophet (SAWS) was never asked about two options except that he chose the easiest of them unless it was forbidden. He became the living example of this very verse, “You have indeed in the Prophet of Allah a good example for those of you who look to Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah always.” (TMQ, 33:21). The companions also followed the same footsteps in words and in actions. I can’t help but wonder about the hardliners who wish to make everything so difficult for this nation, where do they come from? Allah Himself says, “Allah wishes to lighten your burdens, for, man has been created weak.” (TMQ, 4:28).
Requirement 2: Good manners
The Islamic social system is comprehensive and it organizes the relation between man and his Creator, between man and his brother (humanity), between man and the universe and finally between man and all the other creatures.
Hence manners are part and parcel of Islam and the Prophet (SAWS) confirmed this fact when he said, “I was but sent to complement the noblest manners.”
Mankind is created by Allah and every time mankind takes a step higher in manners he takes a stop higher in humanity and is able to practice humanity in its full spectrum.
When Allah commended His Prophet (SAWS) He did not do so because the Prophet was the most knowledged of mankind but because he was the best mannered of mankind. Allah says, “For you are truly of a sublime character.” (TMQ, 68:4). Ibn Abbas and Mujahid interpreted this as “… you are truly of a sublime religion.” The Prophet (SAWS) said, “No religion is more beloved to me, and no land is more beloved to me than Islam.” Lady Aisha (RA) always said that his manners were the Qur’an (in practice). Allah guided him saying, “Be tolerant; enjoin what is right; and avoid the ignorant.” (TMQ, 7:199). The one who expresses manners of moderation is always loved by others and he always holds them in awe. The Prophet (SAWS) was always described as, “Whoever sees him loves him and holds him in awe. Whoever knows him in person loves him.”
Requirement 3: Warning against any extremism and calling for moderation
Islam is a religion of moderation in worship, in obedience, in rulings and in every commandment. It calls for objectivity and balance in words, actions, looks, behavior and all other states. Allah says, “Thus We have made you a middle nation, so that you may act as witnesses for mankind, and the Messenger may be a witness for you…” (TMQ, 2:143).
Moderation is to establish fairness and equity
The Prophet (SAWS) was the best example for all human beings; he was a role model for anyone seeking righteousness and fairness. He was never asked to pick one out of two options except that he picked the easiest unless it was forbidden.
He urged his nation to pursue moderation and to economize in everything; eating, drinking, sleeping, marriage… etc. He said, “Those who abstain from my tradition are not of my nation…” He also urged us to make things easy for others and to propagate good tidings. He said to Abu-Musa Al-Asharei and Muadth Ibn Jabal (RA) when he sent them to Yemen, “Make things easy, not difficult. Give glad tidings and do not alienate people. Cooperate and do not disagree.”
It is known from the history of the nations that the reason they digressed from the prophetic tradition was that they either exaggerated or were derelict. They did not follow the right path that was brought by the prophets and so this nation did exactly what the past nations did. That’s why we see now the hardliners who are trying to make things difficult for everyone. On the other hand we see the derelicts who went easy with everything and started doing things the other way round; i.e. not obeying Allah’s orders or avoiding what He forbids. That’s why our revered forefathers used to say, “This knowledge will be conveyed by its fairest followers; they will obliterate from it the distortions of the hardliners and the inventions of the ignorant”.
Distortions of the hardliners convey nothing but extremism!
As for the ignorant they know so little about the sources from which to obtain their rulings, how to understand them or how to reference them.
The moderation of Islam urges us to avoid any exaggeration or dereliction in everything. If we add more to what is required we will be exaggerating and if we do less than what is required we will be derelict. Both methods derail us from the right path.
The moderation of Islam calls for finding a balanced Muslim personality that follows the path of the righteous forefathers in their comprehensive vision, their right approach and their straightforward behavior that takes a midway between exaggeration and dereliction; and this includes all institutes and individuals.
This moderation is not just a commendable quality but rather one of the greatest rights that the Islamic nation (dubbed by Allah as the middle nation) must follow and defend whenever the Islamic society deviates in ideology or behavior. This middle nation must defend its middle stance in creed, manners and behavior against any extremism.
Following the events of 9/11 the whole Islamic nation felt a real urge to convey the true message of Islam and moderation. They felt a real urge to spread this notion among others. So the moderation of Islam emerged as an authentic tool that can be used to confront the challenges of the modern age and protect Islam at the same time. It is indeed the logical alternative for solving tough problems; a moderation that encompasses legislation, society, politics, economy, culture and education.
Requirement 4: Tolerance in Islam
The word “tolerance” took a significance these days that is closer to facilitation and making things easier. But facilitation has got two indications one is negative and the other is positive. Surely we mean the positive indication which is the exact opposite of dereliction and negligence in ones duties. So tolerance in Islam is all about making things easy, when it comes to rulings and responsibilities, while taking into consideration the inclinations of human nature which will not tolerate or put up with difficult rulings. Allah says, “And the [divorced] mothers should nurse their children for two whole years, if they wish to complete the period of nursing; and during that period the father of the child shall be responsible for the maintenance of the mother in a reasonable manner. No soul is charged with more than it can bear. No mother should be made to suffer on account of her child, and no father should be made to suffer on account of his child. The same duties devolve upon the father's heir [in case of the death of the father]. But if, after consultation, they choose by mutual agreement to wean the child, there shall be no blame on them. Nor shall it be any offence for you if you desire to engage a wet-nurse for your children, provided you hand over what you have agreed to pay, in a reasonable manner. Have fear of Allah and know that Allah is observant of all your actions." (TMQ, 2:233). He also says, “Allah does not charge a soul with more than it can bear. It shall be requited for whatever good and whatever evil it has done. [They pray], 'Our Lord, do not take us to task if we forget or make a mistake! Our Lord, do not place on us a burden like the one You placed on those before us! Our Lord, do not place on us a burden we have not the strength to bear! Pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy on us. You are our Lord and Sustainer, so help us against those who deny the truth.'" (TMQ, 2:286).
If we add up all this together we will get the true meaning of tolerance in Islam as stated in the above verse.
Hence, tolerance in Islam is all about the broadness of its principles and the vastness of its legislations which inclines towards leniency and ease to accommodate the human nature with its moderation and temperance.
The principles of Islam include a whole method for life that befits mankind under any circumstance or status. It includes mercy to mankind, guidance to what is right, strength and immunity against anything that corrupts the innate nature or harms the body and the soul. It achieves peace of mind, serenity and guarantees happiness in both this life and the hereafter. All of this stems from the moderation of Islam, its justice, its honoring to human life and its siding with the fraternity that stems from the singularity of our origin.
Allah created mankind and created this whole universe for his use. He sent His messengers and made Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) the last of them a model of moderation, toleration, justice, and mercy to mankind till judgment Day.
Requirement 5: Examples about tolerance
Allah guides us to how we can treat mankind (Muslim or disbeliever) and says, “Allah does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you on account of your faith or driven you out of your homes: Allah loves the just. Allah only forbids you to make friends with those who have fought against you on account of your faith and driven you out of your homes or helped others to do so. Any of you who turn towards them in friendship will truly be transgressors.” (TMQ, 60:8-9).
So justice and kindness are not the only prerequisite for treating disbelievers there must also be justice. If Islam urges Muslims to do so with the disbelievers then what about the followers of other faiths like the Jews and Christians! The Qur’an presented a model for the ethics of dialogue when Allah addresses them all the way as, “People of the Book” to tell us that they are followers of divine book and that they are closer to the Muslims than any others because the origin of all divine books is one and Allah sent His message many times with all His prophets and messengers. They were called thus in more than 30 instances in the Qur’an and most of them come in Madinan chapters which were revealed before the migration (Hijra) like the chapters: Al-Baqara, Ali-Imran, Al-Teen. If this tells us anything it tells us that the origin of all faiths is one. Allah says, “Allah has ordained for you the same religion which He enjoined on Noah, and which We have revealed to you, and which We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus, so that you should remain steadfast in religion and not become divided in it. What you call upon the polytheists to do is hard for them; Allah chooses for Himself whoever He pleases and guides towards Himself those who turn to Him.” (TMQ, 42:13).
The Qur’an acknowledges the Bible and the Torah and this acknowledgment is even mandated as one of the six pillars of faith. Allah says, “The month of Ramadan is the month when the Quran was sent down as guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and the criterion by which to distinguish right from wrong. Therefore, whoever of you is present in that month, let him fast; but he who is ill or on a journey shall fast a similar number of days later on. Allah desires ease for you, not hardship. He desires you to fast the whole month, so that you may glorify Him for His having guided you and so that you may be grateful to Him.” (TMQ, 2:185). Hence Islam acknowledges the Jews and Christians as citizens of the Islamic State and consequently it acknowledges their freedom of faith, their churches, their synagogues and their right to practice their own rituals.
The Sharia cares for the people of the Book and it allows them to mingle with the Muslims, share their food, marry them and deal with them in every way. Allah says, “Today, all good things have been made lawful to you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them. The chaste believing women and the chaste women of the people who were given the Book before you, are lawful to you, provided that you give them their dowers, and marry them, neither committing fornication nor taking them as mistresses. The deeds of anyone who rejects the faith will come to nothing, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.” (TMQ, 5:5).
Islam urges us to argue with them gently so as not to create between us any grudges that would disturb our relations with them. Allah says, “Believers, argue only in the best way with the People of the Book, [but contend not at all] with such of them as are unjust. Say, 'We believe in what has been revealed to us, and what has been revealed to you; our Allah and your Allah are one; and to Him we submit.’” (TMQ, 29:46).
Moderation in dealing with legal texts:
Islam was revealed as a complete and comprehensive guide for life and religion. It is the faith Allah chose for His bondsmen till Judgment Day, it is the faith He asked us to hold on to and to follow. Islam is based on the concept of submission to Allah, submission to his commandments and obeying Him in every way.
Allah commends the good believers as those who submit fully to His command and His faith unlike the hypocrites who say one thing and do the exact opposite of it. Allah describes them as, “They say, 'We believe in Allah and in the Messenger, and we obey.' But then, even after that a group of them will turn away. Those are surely not believers, and when they are called to Allah and His Messenger so that he may judge between them, some of them turn away. But if the truth happens to be to their liking, they are quite willing to accept it! Is there a sickness in their hearts, or are they full of doubt? Or do they fear that Allah and His Messenger will be unjust to them? The truth is that they themselves are wrongdoers.” (TMQ, 24:47-50). After that He speaks about the believers and praises them as follows, “The response of the believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger in order that he may judge between them, is only, 'We hear and we obey.' It is they who will prosper: those who obey Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah, and are mindful of their duty to Him, are the ones who will triumph.” (TMQ, 24:51-52).
So real guidance is to submit fully to Allah and His command; to submit fully and to believe everything He says.
That’s why the Prophet (SAWS) urges us to take it all as one package; the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Jabir Ibn Abdullah narrated in a long narration this part that says, “I left in you what will never let you go astray if you hold on to it: The Book of Allah!” (Muslim)
He urged his companions to take his tradition (Sunnah) in full and he rebuked those who deny his Sunnah and suffice with the Qur’an. Imam Ahmad and others narrated this authentic narration in which Al-Miqdam Ibn Maadei says, “The Prophet (SAWS) forbade some things on the day of Khaibar and then he said, ‘Some of you will accuse me of lying while they sit leisurely on their couches conveying my words. They will say things like, ‘The Book of Allah stands between you and us. Whatever it allows we do and whatever it forbids we abstain from!’ But I swear to you that whatever the prophet of Allah forbids, Allah also forbids just alike.’”
So real moderation is to take religion as a single package (Qur’an and Sunnah) as Allah says, “Believers, surrender yourselves totally to Allah, and do not follow in the footsteps of Satan; surely, he is your sworn enemy.” (TMQ, 2:208).
Many people went astray when they handled the legal texts and this took many forms and shapes between exaggeration and extremism on the one hand and between dereliction and negligence on the other. An example of this can be seen in some deviant groups that only pick from the texts what suits their whims and supports their corrupted thinking. Then they disregard the rest of the texts that contradict their beliefs and actions.
On the other hand we see the righteous people who choose the middle stance; they didn’t believe in parts and disregards parts but they came in a middle ground that took everything and avoided both extremes.
Taking the whole thing as one package and understanding it fully was indeed the practice of the companions and the followers. Then the scientists followed their lead and handled the legal texts exactly the same way.
As for those who take some and leave some, those who interpret the texts according to their whims, they are all astray and are described as unjust and hypocritical.
The impact of the legal opinion (fatwa) on the middle approach
One of the established things is the importance of the fatwa and the seriousness of its impact on the ones requesting fatwa. So the mufti must always investigate diligently for the truth as much as possible. One of the objectives of the legislator is to urge us to take a middle stance in all the matters of our life and afterlife without any extremism or dereliction. Any deviation from this course would be a deviation from the objectives of the legislator.
Moderation in issuing legal opinions (fatwa) can be seen through two important issues:
First: Moderation of the scientific method used in issuing the opinion.
Second: Moderation in whatever this mufti issues.
The moderate fatwa is a natural outcome of a moderate approach and this moderation (as explained earlier) does not mean cutting and pasting a new method that suits the whims of the ones requesting fatwa or the requirements of the age. This latter method, even if its followers pretend that it is moderation, is still so far from moderation. There is no disagreement among the Muslims that the Qur’an and the Sunnah are both the two main sources of legislation but still there is a disagreement in the approach used to deduce the provisions and rulings from these two sources. This disagreement has its grounds but it’s not the subject of our study right now.
What we care to know is how the moderate approach can be used in deducing and this can never be conceived unless we inspect all the approaches that are used.
Among the scholars, old and contemporary, are those who chose to be limited to the apparent terms of the legal texts considering this to be a safe course away from any interpretations as much as possible and away from the deviations of the mind in matters that require working the mind.
Others were dominated by the reasoning of the mind when handling the texts under the pretext that the provisions of Sharia have reasonable meanings and hence the meaning needs to be brought out so we can build the rulings on them. Others went way too far in this direction and advocated that it is enough for the legal rulings to be included under general meanings marked by the texts as a whole. Taking this direction too far brought many legal opinions and interpretations away from the requirements of the texts. Other scholars chose a mid-way (the moderate way) which calls for taking the apparent meanings of the texts without revoking or disturbing its significance; in such a way that extends the implications of the text according to the preset scientific rules. That way they neither froze the apparent significance of the terms nor did they revoke the meanings.
Imam Al-Shatibi says, “If all these ways of thinking are but roads leading to Allah still we have to pick the best in them to avoid any capriciousness as explained. It also helps to investigate the intention of the legislator in matters related to ijtihad…”
Hence moderation in fatwa is, “A stand between two ends in how to understand the texts and deal with them. It is a stand between two directions; one is utterly exterior and the other utterly ulterior.”
Once the proper fatwa track is decided and once its features are apparent then the scholar who reaches the status of ijtihad and issuing fatwa has got an enormous duty. Through this moderate approach he has to exert every effort to achieve the objective of the legislator mention above: Urging the ones requesting fatwa to abide by moderation. This comes through urging the ones requesting fatwa to review the sources and proofs without any extremism of dereliction, without being too harsh or too lenient.
This is the first duty that must be shouldered by any mufti.
Many researchers and scholars brought this matter to our attention and among them Imam Al-Shatibi who said, “A mufti who matures to a peak status is the one who urges the ones requesting fatwa to moderation as befitting the majority. He must neither be too harsh nor too lenient. If he deviates from this he deviates from the objective if the legislator. That’s why anyone who deviated from the method of moderation was abhorred by the well-acquainted scholars.”
What befits the majority is actually indicated by the overall legal rules derived from the entirety of the Qur’an and Sunnah like; mitigating difficulty, hardship calls for ease, uncertainty can’t be lifted through skepticism; but all of this has to be done away from any personal whims.
The Prophet (SAWS) applied this method when he refused celibacy and asked Muadh not to prolong the prayer in saying, “Muadh do you want to tempt the people? Then do not ask them to carry that which they cannot bear!”
So what if the ones requesting fatwa deviated from this moderate approach? What will happen, and Allah knows best, is that they will take either of the two extremes instead and both as we said earlier are abhorred. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) says, “Read the Qur’an and act upon it. Do not abandon it, do not cheat in it, and do not eat and gain wealth through it.” (Ahmad)
This narration explicitly forbids us to take either of the two extremes; neither to abandon it nor to end up eating and gaining wealth through its excessive use. This faith is all about moderation; like a valley between two mountains. One extreme is to alienate yourself from it and the other extreme is to exceed your limits in it.
Let us also clarify the terms and meanings so as not to end up defining some actions as ‘exaggerations’ while they are basic parts of religion and basic duties that have to be done. Also when we say ‘exaggeration’ do we mean exaggeration in the action itself or in the means leading to it? If we don’t agree on precise definitions for these terms we might fall in the trap of confusion and conflict which eventually leads to corrupted perceptions and consequently; wrong rulings.
Scholars like Imam Al-Ghazali warn us from this saying, “Most of the faults and allegations stemmed from the passion to use terms without understanding their real implications.” Using the word “passion” here expresses better than anything the reality we live in.
Sheikh Ibn-Taymeyya said something similar. He said, “Many of our inner conflicts arise from some abstract terms and mixed up meanings. You find two men in conflict and insulting each other because of some terms and their opposites. If you stop to ask them both what they mean they won’t know and they won’t be able to bring a proof for it.”
Exaggeration and overstatement can be seen in many forms these days:
1) Exaggerating in the way we understand the texts away from the intended meanings. This comes when we lack knowledge of the scientific approach used in interpreting and deducing. This goes back to ignorance about legal Islamic sciences and lack of guidance.
2) Exaggeration related to rulings; either by committing others to actions or issues not commanded by religion or by forbidding things that are permitted as a form of worship.
3) Exaggeration in attitude; some people can praise others to the point of worshiping and others can insult them to the point of calling them disbelievers. Both cases happen without any proof and both cases are flagrant deviations from moderation.
4) Negligence on the other hand can be seen in neglecting our acts of worship (obligatory or voluntary), or estranging ourselves from the Prophet (SAWS) by not caring much for practicing his tradition or praying on him, visiting his mosque… etc. It can also be seen in lack of remembrance of Allah, being undutiful to our parents, abandoning mosques and the Qur’an… etc.
To cut it short, this is a middle nation! Middle in words, middle in actions, middle in perceptions and in attitudes! When we say middle here we do not mean compromises like when you listen to two opinions and pick a little from here and little from there to reach a compromise because compromises are reactions that seek to unite two opinions in one. But the moderation we’re talking about here means to say the right thing according to the legal texts and according to the scholars; i.e. to say what is already there and what we should all know.
The truth will always be “middle and moderate” without any extremism or dereliction; the right balance!
Extremism and exaggeration has two forms; being a hardliner in applying things that neither Allah, His Book nor His Prophet enlisted; because Islam is all about mitigating difficulty and the Prophet always chose the easiest among any two options unless it was forbidden.
The other form is to be negligent and derelict in the duties by being too easy to the point of carelessness. This form is also abhorred by Allah and His Prophet and the Muslims since we are all asked to protect the characteristics of our faith and to be strict with the derelict.
So we must never forget that while we deny the first form we also have to be strict with the second because in most cases the second form is just a consequence of the first as we see nowadays.
One of the most important causes we have to urge each other towards moderation is that we must always protect ourselves with knowledge. We must take every precaution to spread proper legal sciences and provide it for everyone who wishes to gain it. Scholars and professors must give of their time and patience for the sake of Allah and for the sake of educating others about their religion. It is a matter of fact that every single step you take towards the knowledge of religion takes you a further step towards the path of Allah. As the Prophet (SAWS) said, “When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of religion.”
Moderation in acts of worship
Moderation applies on all the origins and branches of religion just like water flows in the green stems and branches. Today we will discuss moderation in acts of worship; because exaggeration can get you bored and dereliction will deny you the pleasure of worship.
The narration of the three men marks the moderation in actions of worship: Anas narrated, ““A group of three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet asking how the Prophet worshipped Allah, and when they were informed about that, they considered their worship insufficient and said, "Where are we from the Prophet as his past and future sins have been forgiven." Then one of them said, "I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever." The other said, "I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast." The third said, "I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever." Allah's Apostle came to them and said, "Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).” (Al-Bukhary)
This narration agrees with the Qur’an in urging us to moderation in acts of worship and in abhorring those who deny this approach. Before the revelation of the Qur’an there were two main approaches related to acts of worship; dereliction and exaggeration.
First approach: dereliction
This was embodied by the Jews who got so easy on their acts of worship and if we look at the Torah we find that they left no mention of Judgment Day in it. All the promises it carries are related to this life and so this life is their main and basic objective. The Qur’an describes this as, “You will find them clinging to life more eagerly than any other people…” (TMQ, 2: 96), and their drifting away from worship is described as, “But then they were succeeded by generations who neglected their prayers and were driven by their own desires. They will assuredly meet with destruction,” (TMQ, 19:59). Allah also says, “He wishes to turn towards you in mercy, but those who follow their own passions want you to drift far away from the right path.” (TMQ, 4:27).
Second approach: exaggeration
This was embodied by the Christians who invented acts of worship to make things difficult on themselves. They invented celibacy, suppressing instincts and they denied all forms of life pleasures. They took this approach way too far till worship became more or less a form of body torture. Allah says about this, “…But We did not prescribe monasticism for them: that was their own innovation by which they sought to please Allah. But then, they did not observe it in the way that it should have been observed. So We rewarded only those who were truly faithful, for many of them were disobedient.” (TMQ, 57:27). Al-Qasemi says, “Monasticism is exaggerated worship and avoiding people through isolation.” Ibn-Katheer said, “They invented it and Allah never prescribed it for them. They chose it for themselves and they didn’t even abide by it.”
Hence they are abhorred twofold; once for inventing things that Allah never prescribed and once for not even abiding by what they invented. This above verse proves that Allah would never prescribe anything that brings hardship to mankind.
Between these two evident deviations in acts of worship Islam comes with the moderate and straight path. Islam comes in a fair way between total submission to life and forgetting about the soul, and total submission to worship and forgetting about the body. In this Allah says, “But seek the Home of the Hereafter by means of that which Allah has bestowed on you; do not forget to take your portion in this world.’” (TMQ, 28:77). Ibn-Katheer comments on this verse saying, “Use the blessings that Allah bestowed upon you (wealth and other blessings) in obeying Him and getting closer to Him; hence you will gain the reward of this life and the hereafter. Do not forget your portion of this life which is all the goodies that Allah bestowed upon you; eat, drink, wear good clothes, live in a good house and get married. Your Lord has a right, your self has a right, and your family has a right, so give everyone his fair right.”
Allah says, “So be mindful of Allah as best as you can…” (TMQ, 64:16). Ibn-Katheer commented about this saying, “This means exerting your best effort.” Ibn Abu Hatem narrated that Saeed Ibn Jabir said commenting on “Believers, fear Allah as is His due, and when death comes, be in a state of complete submission to Him." (TMQ, 3:102), saying, “When this verse was revealed the Muslims at that time thought to spend their whole time worshiping till their feet got swollen and their foreheads were sore. So Allah revealed the verse, “So be mindful of Allah as best as you can…” (TMQ, 64:16), abrogating the first verse to make things easier for the Muslims!
Clear evidence to moderation in worship can be seen in verses like, “O you who are wrapped up in your mantle, stand up to pray for much of the night. It may be half the night or a little less than that or a little more, but recite the Quran slowly and distinctly.” (TMQ, 73:1-4). Then Allah says at the end of this chapter, “Your Lord knows that you stand up praying for nearly two-thirds of the night, or one-half of it and sometimes one third of it, as do others among your followers. Allah determines the measure of night and day. He knows that you will not be able to do it, so He has turned to you in mercy. Recite, then, as much of the Quran as is easy for you…” (TMQ, 73:20). Al-Saady said commenting on this latter verse, “Allah makes things easy for you and commands you to do what is easy for you whether much or little. So read what you know of the Qur’an, what is easy for you to read. That is why we are asked to pray at late night only when we are active but if we are lazy or sleepy then we had better rest because praying should be done when we are relaxed and comfortable.”
Moderation in understanding the companions
The jurisprudence of moderation can be seen clearly in the lives of the companions (RA) in concept and in practice. This leads us to believe in the authenticity of this approach which prevailed over the lives of the revered companions who got their education at the hands of the Prophet (SAWS). We won’t go into the details of moderation in the Qur’an and Sunnah because this is all beside the point. We will just explain the features of moderation in their lives through the following parameters which range from understanding to revelation.
How the companions followed the Prophet’s moderation
They all saw how he preferred moderation and hated exaggeration. He always urged them to be moderate, kind and compassionate with friend and foe. They couldn’t help but follow into his footsteps and below are a few examples from his life that was teaming with model examples.
The companions followed the Prophet’s tradition in moderation, in counseling and in arguing just the way they saw the Prophet (SAWS) doing. It is narrated in Sahih Muslim, “Shaqiq reported: We were sitting at the door of Abdullah (Ibn Masud) waiting for him (to come out and deliver a sermon to us). It was at this time that there happened to pass by us Yazid Ibn Muawiya Al-Nakhaei. We said: Inform him (Abdullah) of our presence here. He went in and Abdullah lost no time in coming out to us and said: I was informed of your presence here but nothing hindered me to come out to you but the fact that I did not like to bore you (by stuffing your minds with sermons) as Allah's Messenger did not deliver us sermons on certain days fearing that it might prove to be boring for us.”
Abu-Jafaar said, “Whenever Ibn Omar heard the Prophet (SAWS) saying anything he would never exceed it or fall short of doing it.” So he followed him using two approaches:
- No excess.
- No shortage.
They submitted to the values and morals of Islam in a moderation that combined all the best manners from amidst all the bad ones. Allah describes them as, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Those who are with him are firm and unyielding towards those who deny the truth, but compassionate towards one another…” (TMQ, 48:29). Urwah Ibnul-Zubeir said, “I saw Omar Ibnul-Khattab carrying a huge bag of water on his back so I said to him, ‘Emir of Believers, you shouldn’t do this!’ So he said, ‘The delegations came to me in submission and I felt some conceit so I wanted to discipline myself.” The early Muslims understood well that glory is in humility and that conceit must never overtake them. This was their religion throughout their life and the examples are numerous.
How they always resorted to moderation
They always resorted to moderation and took it as a course for their lives away from any exaggeration or dereliction. We have many examples in this direction.
Abu-Megles said, “Ammar prayed as our Imam and he made it short so the people complained. So he said, ‘Didn’t I do all the steps right?’ They said, ‘Yes!’ He said, ‘Didn’t I supplicate just as I Prophet used to do and say: ‘Oh Allah with Your Knowledge of the unknown, Your Ability to create, let me live as long as living will do me good, let me die if dying will do me good. I ask You to make me fearful, I ask You for martyrdom, I ask You to let me utter the truth in anger, in ease, for rich and for poor. I ask You to grant me the pleasure of looking upon Your Face and to yearn for meeting You. I seek refuge in You from any harm that can damage me or any strife that can misguide me. Adorn me with faith and let me be a guide for other.’” So Ammar argued with them that he did not add or reduce anything from what the Prophet (SAWS) used to do.
Abdul-Razzak reported that Omar Ibnul-Khattab once sent him to collect zakat. Then he saw him once sitting in the mosque and asked him, ‘Don’t you want to be like a soldier fighting for the cause of Allah?’ He said, ‘How can I do that when they accuse us of being unjust to them?’ Omar asked him, ‘What do they say?’ He used to include sakhlas when assessing zakat, so he said, ‘Do you include sakhlas even though you do not take them (as payment)?’ So Omar said, ‘Yes, we include a sakhla which the shepherd is carrying, but you do not take it. Neither do you take an akula, or a rubba, or a makhid, or male sheep and goats in their second and third years, and this is a just compromise between the young of sheep and goats and the best of them.” Malik said, “A sakhla is a newborn lamb or kid. A rubba is a mother that is looking after her offspring, a makhid is a pregnant ewe or goat, and an akula is a sheep or goat that is being fattened for meat.”
The companions acclaim moderation
The companions did not just follow moderation as a way of understanding and behavior they even urged the generation that they brought up and took of their knowledge to follow moderation as well. They left behind treasures of commandments that our nation is in dire need for. One of these commandments that urges to moderation is narrated Abu-Qulaba who said that a man once said to Abul-Dardaa, “Your brothers from Kufa, and in Islam, are sending you their greetings.” So he said, “Send them my greetings and ask them to always get back to what the Qur’an says because it makes things easier for them and helps them overcome any injustice.”
Caring for work and avoiding affectation
This is one of the features that promote civilizations and nations. Ibn Masud described the companions (RA) as being moderate and lacking any affectation. He said, “These are the companions of Muhammad and the best of this nation, the kindest in heart, the deepest in knowledge and the least in affectation. Allah (SWT) chose them to be the friends of his Prophet (SAWS) and to complement His religion. So acknowledge their virtue and follow their lead because they are on the right path.”
Anas Ibn Malek said, “Omar Ibnul-Khattab read in one of his sermons the verse “…and fruits and herbage.” So they asked him, “We know fruits but what is herbage?” So Omar thought for a while and said to himself, “By my life, this is nothing but affectation!” Abul Muhallab also said once, “If you have any knowledge then convey it to the people and never say that which you don’t know or you will get out of religion and be one of those show-offs.” Ubai Ibn Kaab also said, “Follow the path and the Sunnah. Those who follow them, mention Allah and get Goosebumps from fearing Allah are but like a tree. This tree has dry leaves and it keeps those leaves till a wind is sent its way and the leaves start falling off just like sins fall off you. Striving for them is better than striving for a conflict in them. So let your actions and striving be on the path of the prophets and their tradition.”
Their fear from deviating off the tracks of moderation
Yahya Ibn Saad narrated that Abdullah Ibn Masud once said, “You are in a time that has many scholars but few readers, the commandments of the Qur’an are well studied but the letters are slipping from between our fingers, a few are asking and many are answering, the prayers are longer and the sermons are shorter, people show their actions but not their intentions. The time will come when there are a few scholars and many readers, many Qur’an readers but a few who maintain the commandments, many are asking and a few are answering, very long sermons and very short prayers, people showing their intentions but not their actions.” This narration warns us from what is happening right now when we see satellite channels dedicated for reciting the Qur’an but all the positive laws contradict it.
Denying the show-offs
Abu-Qulaba said that Abdullah Ibn-Masud once said, “Educate yourselves before knowledge is withdrawn back to its owners. Avoid affectation and heretic inventions; always resort to your heritage.” If this tells us anything it tells how much they understood Islam in its entirety and parts. It tells us how Islam is all about moderation. Our heritage is what we got from the Prophet (SAWS) and this is what we have to hold on to.
Their strictness with anything that attempts to reduce or deform religion
We all know Abu-Bakr’s famous position from those who refused to pay zakat after the Prophet (SAWS) died. Belal Ibn Abdullah also said that his father said he heard the Prophet (SAWS) once say, “Do not deny women off their share in the mosques!” So he said, “As for me I will prevent my woman from going and he who wishes to let his woman go is free to do it.” So the Prophet looked at him and said, “May Allah curse you (and repeated it three times). You hear me saying that the women must not be prevented and you want to do it?” And the Prophet (SAWS) left in anger.
Abdullah Ibn-Maghfal said once that he was sitting next to his nephew who was shooting pebbles with his fingers (by placing them between the thumb and index). So he asked him to stop it and said, “The Prophet forbids us to do this and said, ‘You are neither hunting nor pelting and enemy! This pebble can break a tooth or hurt an eye!’” Then he saw his nephew doing the same thing another day so he said to him, “I tell you that the Prophet forbids this and you still do it? By Allah I will not talk to you again!”
Being just to their people
After the Prophet (SAWS), history has never known anyone more just or merciful to their people than the companions (RA) that even the foes testified to this before the friends. We know that justice is the foundation of any settled rule, satisfied peoples and prosperous life. Thus, history has conveyed to us many pictures for the justice of the companions in such a way that large volumes of books could never carry. All of these pictures are about a type of moderation that falls in the middle distance between exaggeration in using power and leniency with the rights of the weak. We need not remind our readers with the relation between justice and moderation but if we tried to view the features of justice that hovered over the Muslim, the Dhimmi and the ones under the protection of Muslims we will surely realize the purpose from this topic but I will just give one example as narrated by Al-Bayhakei. Abu-Othman Al-Nahdy said, “Utbah Ibn Farqad sent to Omar Ibnul-Khattab some truffles with a messenger who carried them to him from Azerbaijan, so Omar asked, “Have the Muslims eaten their full of it?” The messenger said, “By Allah, no!” So Omar said, “Then I don’t want it!” Then he wrote to Utbah saying, “O Utbah, this is not from your wealth or the wealth of your fathers. Let the Muslims eat their fill in their camps of what you have eaten your fill of in your camp.” In our world these days we see those who get their full every day till they become insatiable but they still leave their peoples hungry.
Combining the implicit and explicit meanings of the texts
This is the approach of the fatwa people! Ali Ibn Abu Talib was asked once, “Has the Prophet (SAWS) bestowed anything special upon you apart from all other people?” He said, “No by He who splits the seed and sends the wind blowing! Except for some understanding that Allah bestows upon some of His bondsmen in understanding His Book.”
Understanding the ranks of duties and obligations
The basics of moderation call for giving each legal ruling its rank as proven by evidences. So not all the legal rulings fall under the same rank and they even vary according to entirety and partiality! Some of them fall under the duties of the individual and some fall under the duties of the community and hence absolve each individual from doing them. The companions did not lack this knowledge and from this we mention the below example.
When Omar Ibnul-Khattab read the Sajdah chapter on the pulpit and then he prostrated and the people prostrated after him, he read it again and once he got closer to the spot where they will all prostrate he did not prostrate and said instead, “Allah did not oblige us to prostrate in this location unless we wanted to.” Ibn Abbas also used to buy meat for 2 Dirhams on the Greater Bairam and he used to say to Ikrima, “If anyone asks you say that this is the sacrifice of Ibn Abbas!”, and we all know that he was a rich man.
One of the things they also understood about was that caring for the minutest details would be better for those who have rectified all their actions and became God-fearing and devout. As to those who are still falling in stark sins yet they seek to care for the minutest details this kind of action was abhorred and denied. Omar Ibnul-Khattab was asked once a question about the blood of the mosquito and he said, “They ask me about the blood of the mosquito and they spilled the blood of Al-Hussain! By Allah I heard the Prophet (SAWS) saying that he and his brother are the apples of his eyes!”
The companions were actually the first to abide by what the fundamentalists stated later on that each person can only urge the people to do what is moderate and unanimous but if he wishes to do more then it is enough that he commits himself to it. One of the examples we see in this direction is that Othman Ibn-Khattab dropped the license of shortening prayers while travelling and said, “I am the Imam of the people and I fear that the Bedouins might see me praying two units and keep on doing it thinking that this is how it’s done!”
Observing the change of time and circumstances when issuing rulings
Ibnul-Qayem dedicated a whole lengthy chapter about this topic in his book of rulings. This is the exact opposite of what is done nowadays when some of the old fatwas are just copied as they are without any consideration to change of time and circumstances. Our understanding for these things should be more advanced in understanding the circumstances under which the texts were revealed and the causes of their revealing. Our tafsir and hadith students care to study these things but unfortunately the jurisprudence students don’t, which is a flagrant shortcoming for those who wish to issue fatwas one day.
The answers of the Prophet (SAWS) himself differed according to the respondents. Al-Wanshirisi said in his book Al-Me’yar, “It is agreed upon that the fatwa must vary according to the givens. A mufti must take into consideration the objectives of the people and hence build on them his fatwa and reply. But those who see the differences in the givens yet insist on issuing the same fatwa are surely mistaken if they do this intentionally.”
They even used analogy
It is mentioned in Sahih Al-Bukhari that the Prophet (SAWS) forbids picking the lost camels since they are not to be feared for like the others. Yet in the time of Othman he ordered to pick them and sell them unlike what the Prophet (SAWS) used to do and once their rightful owners were found they were reimbursed with their value. He did this when he found the people starting to resort to stealing so he acted upon that in order to restore the lost rights.
It is also narrated that Ibn-Abbas said, “Divorce at the time of the Prophet (SAWS) and Abu-Bakr and two years staring the rule of Omar used to be applicable if the man said to his wife that she is divorced thrice in one utterance. But Omar found that the people became so hasty in an issue that called for more thinking so he counted each divorce as one even if the utterance itself said thrice.”
Taking the initiative to admit their mistakes
This is one important feature of moderation; when you release that you are mistaken but still insist on your mistake is utter dereliction and negligence to what is right although what is right is more worthy of being followed. We have many examples in this particular direction. Omar returned back on a famous ruling related to some inheritance when the brothers objected to the ruling on the second year because Omar ruled to deprive them from the inheritance. They said to him, “Let’s just assume that our father was a donkey or a stone thrown in the sea, aren’t we the sons of the same mother?” Omar realized his mistake and ruled for them to inherit.
Accepting criticism and being polite with the different opinion
The old books of history have conveyed to us a lot about how the companions differed with each other and how these differences never split them apart. They loved criticism and they had an open mind about their differences. Abu-Bakr said when he became the Emir of Believers, “O people, I have been elected your leader, although I am not better than anyone from among you. If I do any good, give me your support. If I go wrong, set me right. Listen, truth is honesty and untruth is dishonesty. The weak among you are powerful in my eyes, as long as I do not get them their due, Allah willing. The powerful among you are weak in my eyes, as long as I do not take away from them what is due to others, Allah willing.” Lady Aisha (RA) also criticized many of those who issued fatwas at the time.
Their politeness and civility with those who differed with them filled the books of Seerah and so I will just refer you to a book by Dr. Taha Jabir Al-Elwany titled “The Ethics of Difference in Islam” where he tells us magnificent examples about this topic.
Their moderate fatwas
Even their fatwas did not deviate from the path of moderation and the wordings of their fatwa were the best proof to that. Ilqima narrated that Ibn Masud was asked about a man who married a woman but gave her no dowry and did not consummate the marriage until he died. So Ibn Masud issued a fatwa that this woman must have a dowry, must have a waiting period and must inherit. So Miqal Ibn Sinan Al-Ashajaei said, “The Prophet of Allah made the exact same fatwa for one of our women during his time.” So Masud was happy to hear this.
Calling others to the way of Allah using moderation
Calling others to the way of Allah is one of the most supreme objectives of our religion. Every sincere Muslim wishes for this status from deep within his heart. No one speaks better, talks better or guides better than those who call others to the way of Allah. Allah says, “And who speaks better than one who calls to Allah and does good works and says, 'I am surely of the Muslims’?” (TMQ, 41:33). Al-Hassan Al-Basry read this verse once and said, “These are Allah’s beloved, Allah’s advocates, Allah’s elite, Allah’s best, and Allah’s most beloved of mankind. They answered His calling, called the people to the way of Allah and responded in the very best reply ever, ‘I am surely of the Muslims!’ This is indeed the vicegerent of Allah.”
The first tool used is the tongue! So we must use logic and elucidation to deliver this call. This will surely vary from one to the other because some people have the needed tools while others lack them. But the tool that we must all have and can never do without is our actions. Our actions will have a better influence because they are more sincere and much clearer than words.
So calling others to the way of Allah is not just confined to sermons or some well written words. We are asked to watch our actions before anything, we are asked to have good manners and to show the best in Islam and Muslims by having cheerful faces, uttering only the truth, forgiving the ignorant, fulfilling our promises, being truthful in our dealings, spending in charity, alleviating the suffering of the poor and all other forms of good dealings.
When people see the Muslims acting as thus they will surely admire them and they will surely realize that it is their religion that is urging to act this way.
One of the best things that got the attention of so many non-Muslims to Islam was the high manners and values manifested by some Muslims who touched their lives. Islam actually got spread in east Asia not because the Muslims conquered their lands but because their good manners conquered their hearts.
We must all remember that dawa is not limited to lecturing or well-written sermons, the most effective and influential form of dawa is done by manifesting the manners of Islam wherever we go. Actions will almost always capture the attention of others more than words and the model Muslim is the one who abides by the teachings of his religion and hence becomes a cause for guiding others to it even without uttering one single word.