Islam and Moderation

Posted on January 31, 2012


Rashard Jedaar/Cape Town/South Africa

Allah SWT enjoins in the Holy Qur’an:

Thus have We made of you an Ummah, Justly balanced, that you might be witnesses over the nations. “Quran (2: 143)

A question most frequently asked when Muslims meet, is: Why are we so divided today? […] Common sense tells us that the more we discard our human values — the values prescribed by Allah SWT and exemplified by His Prophet Muhammad (saws), the more we estrange ourselves from one another and destroy the coherence of the ummah.

We often wrongly emulate what we perceive as “commendable values” only to find ourselves moving further from the mainstream of the community. One such perception is the so-called the bigger-the better-syndrome which dictates our mode of functioning. Extremism is a new sickness that seems to plague us individually and collectively in relationships with one another. We express extremes in our interpersonal behavior, extremes in our lifestyles, extremes in our habits, like eating and sleeping and even talking, extremes in our interpretation of our d�n or political ideals, extremes in our expectations of our children’s abilities and many, many more.

These extremes are often not related to natural, God-given values and make it difficult for anyone…even our closest kin… to live in peace and harmony with us.

In the above verse of the Holy Qur’an, Allah SWT offers us a clear direction on our stand in life: to be justly balanced in everything that we do ! Only then, says Allah, can we truly be witnesses over the nations . Parties often argue with one another because they hold extremely opposite views and refuse to compromise and accommodate each other’s views. It is only an outsider who is just that can bring them back to reason and make them realize their faults. […]

How often do we not suffer untold misery because of our excessive practices? Do we constantly have to blame market forces or use other capitalist euphemisms to justify our excessive spending? Sure, everyone loves a beautiful home, but do we have to land ourselves into financial difficulty and subject our families to humiliation and ridicule to acquire one? We would all love to have the beautiful things in life …and why not — most of them are free. But let us plan and budget carefully, even if it means taking longer to get the things we want. Allah SWT advises us in the Holy Qur’an on the management of our spending:

Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly,But hold a just balance between those extremes…..” (25: 67)

The secret of success in any effort lies in our ability to keep a “just balance” between the extremes. There are some of us who are by the means to eat or dress properly, but we are thrifty to the extreme — to the extent that we starve ourselves and our families and dress like tramps. Once again let us keep the just balance between the extremes of extravagance and stinginess. We are reminded of the Hadith in which Prophet Muhammad saws advises the ummah to dress according to their means. Abul Ahwas reported from his father who said: “I came from the Messenger of Allah while there was a torn cloth on my person. Rasulullah saws asked: “Do you have wealth ?” “Yes,” said I. He asked: “What wealth do you have?” “Every kind of wealth,” replied I, “Allah has given me camels, cows, sheep, horses and slaves.” Rasulullah (s) said: “When Allah has given you wealth, let the signs of the gifts of Allah and Allah’s generosity be shown upon your person.” (Nisa-i)

In another Hadith Rasulullah saws said: “The generous man is near Allah, near the Jannah (Paradise), near the people, and far from the Jahannam (Hell); and the ignorant charitable man is dearer to Allah than the pious miser.” (Tirmizi)

In our ‘ibadat, the extremes in which we express our piety may well nullify our efforts. Let us consider the person who reads the Qur’an so loudly in the mosque that his/her reading disturbs the mussallee next to him/her–similarly, a mussallee who recites his/her prayers so loudly that it distracts others around him/her. Hence Allah SWT reminds us:

“……..neither speak your prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between.” (Q. XVII:110)

[Please click here to read more of this khutbah.]

Understanding and Moderation in Islam

Imam Suhaib’s talk on understanding and the principle of moderation as part of the “A Taste of Sweetness” series. The talk took place at the Ibrahim Khallilulah Islamic Center (IKIC) in Fremont, CA on 8/6/09. Visit for more articles and videos.