The Ummah of Moderation

(Eid-ul-Adhaa speech delivered by Mohamed Baianonie, Imam of the Islamic Center of Raleigh NC on December 30, 2006)

Alhamdulilaah , we are blessed to be gathered here together to pray the Eid prayer and listen to the Eid speech. Allaah, the Glorious, has guided us to this deen (of Islaam) and without His guidance we would be lost. We should be grateful we belong to this Ummah , the best nation that has ever existed. One of the most prominent characteristic of the Muslim Ummah is Wasatiyyah that they live their lives and practice their Deen in the most moderate and balanced way.

Allaah ﷻ says in the Noble Qur'aan, what may be interpreted as, "Thus We have made you [Muslims] a Wasat nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger [Muhammad] be a witness over you." [Surah Al-Baqarah Verse 143]

In this verse, Allaah ﷻ says He has made this Muslim Ummah , an Ummah of Wasat . And no one has the right or authority to change the Ummah's status of Wasatiyyah .

In the same verse, Allaah ﷻ indicates to us what the objectives of Wasatiyyah are. They are "That you [Muslims] are witnesses over mankind and the Messenger [Muhammad] is a witness over you." And no one has the authority to change the objectives of Wasatiyyah .

We will go over three points. First we will go over the meaning of Wasat , second what it means for us to be witnesses over mankind, and third what it means for the Messenger to be a witness over us.

What is the meaning of Wasat ?

In an Arabic dictionary, the term Wasat has three meanings. The three meanings are: to be moderate, to be in the middle, and to be the best. Therefore, when Allaah describes the Muslim Ummah as a nation that is Wasat , Allaah means that we are moderate, we are an Ummah that is in the middle, so that we are the best nation.

Attawassoot in an Islamic sense means that the Muslim should be moderate in all of his affairs, and he should keep away from all extreme practices and making extreme statements.

The Importance of Moderation:

The best way for a Muslim to behave is in moderation. In trying to explain the importance of moderation, Imaam Ibn Al-Atheer said: "Every good manner has two extreme bad sides. For example, generosity, a good and moderate behavior, comes between two extreme bad behaviors, on one side stinginess and on other side overspending. Braveness, another good and moderate behavior, comes between two extreme bad behaviors on one side cowardness and on other side carelessness. So humans have been ordered to avoid all extreme behaviors; by staying away from two extreme bad behaviors, a person will be exactly in the middle which is the farthest point from each extreme."

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, "Islaam as a religion is the midpoint among all other religions. The Muslims believe in the messengers of Allaah in a moderate way. The Muslims always stand in the middle when it comes to all matters of Deen ."

Imaam Ibn Al-Qayim said: "Always encourage people to take a moderate stand, because it will rescue you from transgression. So we find the middle position between two extremes to be the most balanced and just, where a person will find all the benefits and comforts of this worldly life and the Hereafter. Furthermore, even the human body cannot live normally without the benefits of moderation. If a person is moderate when sleeping, waking, eating, drinking, exercising, in staying away or mixing with others, then the body will function properly. However, if a person goes to an extreme in one of these aspects, then the body will not function properly and the person will not live a normal life."

Imaam Ash-Shaatibee said: "All matters of Deen and its obligations came to man in the most moderate way, so that man could apply those obligations without severe hardship or too much leniency. All of those obligations were very well-balanced, which requires those who practice them also be very moderate."

So we find that there are many Quranic verses and Ahaadeeth of the prophet ﷺ that has ordered us to be moderate and balanced. They also forbid us from extremism in all matters of life or religion.

In the Qur'aan Allaah ﷻ has ordered us to be moderate when we spend and also ordered us to be moderate in our food and drink.

The Messenger ﷺ taught his companions to be moderated in what they say and what they do. The Messenger ﷺ always made sure that he and his companions always behaved moderately. And whenever any of his companions went to the extreme with a sincere intention to increase their reward, he used to condemn them and not remain silent. This is because the Prophet ﷺ knew that it contradicts with the characteristics of Wasatiyyah -moderation in the knowledge and practice. In this way the Messenger ﷺ is a witness over his Ummah with what he conveyed and raised them with.

Now I will explain how the Muslim Ummah will be a witness over mankind.

Firstly, this Ummah will be a witness over mankind in this life by establishing justice, and also by providing people with the most accurate scale that has been given by Allaah. This accurate scale will bring forth the truth and balance in all aspects of life and Deen without being extreme on either side. And also, this Ummah will be a witness over mankind by monitoring and examining mankind's way of life. If the Ummah sees extreme practices on either side of the scale, then the Ummah will correct the practice by returning the people to being moderate in all areas of life without exception including their belief, in their worship, in their relationships.

Secondly, this Ummah will be a witness over mankind on the Day of Resurrection. On this day, there will be some nations that will deny that the message was ever conveyed to them. So the Muslim Ummah will come forth as a witness to support the messengers that they had conveyed the message.

I pray to Allaah to make this day of Eid a good day for all of us and for all Muslims all over the world. And we ask Allaah ﷻ to help us fulfill our duties, and to accept our righteous deeds. We ask Allaah ﷻ to forgive our faults and mistakes, and we beg Him to keep us on the straight path. We ask Him to give us the strength to be good examples of Islaam like the prophet ﷺ and his companions. May Allaah ﷻ bring this day every year while you are in good health and Imaan . Peace, mercy, and blessings from Allaah ﷻ upon you all. "Aameen"