What is Moderation

I would like to discuss the word I’tidaal/moderation in Islam.


“I’tidaal” by definition means “to be moderate” or a state between two extremes. It is a special trait of this Ummah which makes it stand out in front of other religions and their ideologies.  Allah Ta’ālā says in the Holy Quran:


And in the same way We made you a moderate Ummah (community), so that you should be witnesses over the people, and the Messenger a witness to you. [Al-Quran, 2:143]


Allah has granted this quality of moderation to this Ummah so we may be an example to others. It is a quality that defines Islam and manifests itself through its teachings. To understand this concept more accurately, we will expound through a few examples:


(1) Doctrinal Moderation: As Muslims we believe that our Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) was the greatest of prophets sent by Allah Ta’ālā to all of mankind. While we revere our prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) in every way, we do not raise him to levels of godhood by attributing to him titles such as “the son of god” nor do we consider him to be nothing but a man who delivered a message and deserves no respect otherwise. On the other hand, we affirm his status by following him, imitating him, and making him an example for all of us to follow in terms of our worldly and religious life; but never do we forget that he is also a slave of Allah the Almighty, as proclaimed by us in our Shahadah:


And I bare witness that Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is His (Allah’s) slave and His messenger.


But as a Slave, Nabi sallallahu alaihi wa sallam is the best of slaves.


(2) Religious Moderation (in terms of practice): Taking a closer at look at other religions, we find that some have completely cut themselves off from the world and have been absorbed into monasticism. Conversely, we also find religions that have lost their teachings and in terms of practice, nothing is left but their name. Islam on the other hand encourages us to live a moderate life governed by a system that inculcates laws and principles for all facets of life; whether it be at our masajid or in our local stores and malls. Whether it is prayer, fasting, inheritance, business, marriage, etc. Islam covers each and every aspect by giving us the ability to engage in such activities without sacrificing our religious obligations. Unlike other religion, Islam has demonstrated in its practice that religion is meant to be put into action in every step of our daily lives.


(3) Economic Moderation: Islam also gives room for economic equilibrium which neither tramples of the rights of free trade nor does it give freedom for one to exploit others in business transactions. To understand this more clearly, take the example of Capitalism and Socialism; two economic systems based on two different ideologies. While one vies for private ownership and gives absolute power to the profit motive, the other enforces public ownership and gives way for absolute distribution of wealth among the masses. On the other hand, Islam does not allow the concentration of wealth in the hand of one by making accumulation of wealth one’s life goal; nor does it restrict the market from establishing a free enterprise system while still maintaining certain laws to protect the rights of the poor and needy in terms of distribution of wealth. A simple example of this would be Zakah; while the rich earn money through their businesses, they still have to reserve 2.5% for the poor.


There are many more examples of moderation is Islam, but I will suffice with these as my purpose is to simply outline the just principles of Islam and its dynamic laws that make it stand out from the rest.


May Allah Ta’ālā keep us all on the straight path and grant us success in this life and the hereafter. Ameen.

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