Friday, September 4, 2009

Need for balance and moderation in religion

It is well-known occurence when people gather together on some matter, and that the group which becomes strong and has many followers. You will find among them the pure and the impure, the justly-balanced and the imbalanced, the extreme and the moderate.

And a well-established fact is that the extremists are more vocal and have greater acceptance, since the ones who are justly-balanced follow a middle course.

And those who seek this balanced approach are few in number, in every age and group. As for extremism, that is what most people thrive upon, and what the overwhelming majority incline towards - and this has been the path of the various sects and religions as well.

So the extremists try to monopolize their hold among people and seek to be single out in their Da’wah. Such people did not find any way to gain dominence over people except through extremism, which they achieve by degrading people and belittling them at every possible opportunity, either by their tongues, or in other ways.

And the first to open this door - the door of unleashing their tongues against those who oppose them - were the Khawarij.

This is the route through which they came to the masses, through the door of takfeer (declaring a Muslim to be an unbeliever), in order that the masses would flee from people other than them, so that they could then secure a following with the people for themselves.

Then this disease was transmitted to others, such that the extreme elements of each group started unjustly declaring Muslims to be either unbelievers, sinners, innovators or deviants ...”

1.Dealing with those who are in err or deviate

Ibn Taymiyah (d.728H) said: “The Imams of the Sunnah and the Jama’ah, and the people of knowledge and Iman (faith) have in them qualities of ‘adl (justice), ‘ilm (knowledge) and rahmah (mercy), and they know the truth which conforms to the Sunnah and which is free from innovations.

They do justice to those who deviate from the Sunnah and the Jama’ah, even if they have been wronged, just as Allah said:

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allâh and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well­Acquainted with what you do.” (Qur’an, 5:8)

Likewise, they are merciful to Allah’s slaves, wishing for them good, Allah’s guidance and knowledge. They never intend for them any harm or evil. Rather, when they criticize them and explain to them their error, ignorance or wrong-doing, their purpose in doing so is only to clarify the truth, and to be merciful to Allah’s slaves, to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and to make the word of Allah uppermost so that the way of life becomes purely for Allah.”

For more read here.

The inner secrets of fasting

Know, that in the fast (Sawm) is a special quality that is not found in anything else. And that is its close connection to Allah, such that He says: ‘‘The Fast (Sawm) is for Me and I will reward for it.’’

This connection is enough to show the high status of fasting. Similarly, the Ka’bah is highly dignified due to its close connection to Him, as occurs in His statement: ‘‘And sanctify My House.’’

Indeed, the fast is an excellent act of worshipd due to two significant reasons:

1. It is a secret and hidden action, thus, no one from the creation is able to see it; therefore riya‘ (showing off) cannot enter it.

2. It is a means of subjugating the enemies of Allah. This is because the road that the enemies (of Allah) embark upon (in order to misguide the son of Adam) is that of desires. And eating and drinking strengthens the desires. There are many Prophetic traditions that indicate the merits of fasting, and they are well-known

Recommended acts of fasting

The pre-dawn meal (suhoor) and delaying in taking it are preferable, as well as hastening to break the fast and doing so with dates. Generosity in giving in charity is also recommended during Ramadan, as well as doing good deeds and giving more and more in charity. This is in accordance with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

It is also recommended to study the Qur‘an and perform I‘tikaf (seclusion for worship) during Ramadan, especially in its last 10 days, as well as exerting in doing good deeds in it. In the two Saheehs, ’Aa‘isha said: ‘‘When the last 10 days (of Ramadan) would come, the Prophet would grid up his loins’’

The scholars have mentioned two views concerning the meaning of ‘girding up his lions.’ The first is that it means the turning away from women.

The second is that it is an expression denoting his eagerness and diligence in doing good deed. They also say that the reason for his making an extra effort the last 10 days of Ramadan was due to his seeking of the Night of al-Qadr (Laylatul-Qadr). For more read here.