THE MIDDLE PATH
Allah Ta’ala mentions in His beautiful Kitaab, The Quraan Shareef:
“And Like that We have made you a moderate nation so that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (i.e. Muhammad Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) be a witness over you”. (Surah Al-Baqarah, verse: 143)
Furthermore, our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam has mentioned in the Hadeeth Shareef :
“Verily Deen is easy and whoever is extreme in Deen, he will be overpowered. So be moderate in your actions, and gain the proximity of Allah Ta’ala through them and give glad tidings. Use a portion of the morning, the evening and the night for the obedience of Allah Ta’ala”. (Bukhari)
Through these two guides viz. The Quraan and the Hadith Shareef, we establish that our Deen is a perfect code of life wherein there is no extremes. This is further understood by the personal aamaal (actions) of Nabi Kareem Sallallaahu alaihi Wasallam who said: “I fast also, I eat also, I get married but I fear Allah Ta’ala….”
Therefore, as followers of our Beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam, we should be asking ourselves, “Are my aamaal (actions) conforming with those of my Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam or “Am I suffering from extremism whether it be by neglect or exaggeration?” i.e. extremism at both ends i.e. either complete disregard of practicing Deen or the other extreme “ghuloo” going beyond the guidelines of Shariah.
By means of his speech and action, Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam demonstrated the middle and moderate Path as a Standard to be followed in all aspects of life like Worship, Social Behaviour and Mutual Dealings. Now, one will stray from the Right Road if one has exceeded the limits of this Middle Path, or neglected this Right Road by maintaining a Standard below it. Both are incorrect and if carried out with the belief that the deed (whether exaggeration or neglect) is the correct manner of performance, then this will be called. ’INNOVATION’ about which the Shariah warns us gravely:
e.g. Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam has said, “Every innovation is an error and every error will be in the Fire of Hell.”
Simply speaking, innovation refers to anything which has not been said or done explicitly or implicitly by Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam. Shah Waliullah Alaihir Rahmah has written that Islam views innovation in a most serious light as it is the means of introducing changes into the Religion.
In the Religions of the former Prophets, some people introduced a minor change or two in the Divine Books and in the Teachings of the Prophets. Thereafter, the following generations continued to add and make other changes so much so that the original Religion could not be differentiated from the innovations.
Shah Waliullah Alaihir Rahmah, in his Hujjatoel Law hil Baali Gah, has explained the reason due to which innovations creep into a Religion and the measures that Islam has adopted to prevent this evil from spreading in the Ummah. A major reason explained by Shah Waliullah Alaihir Rahmah is exaggeration in Deen. In many aspects of Deen, “guloo” or exaggeration has crept in. This is especially noticed in matters relating to the Islamic Scholars and Leaders.
Islam teaches moderation in Respecting and being Obedient to its Religious Scholars. Yet one group of Muslims have relegated the Pious Scholars to non-entities, saying that the Book of Allah is quite sufficient for them; if the Pious Scholars of Islam can understand the Divine Book, they argue, then they too can understand it, saying
They are men (humans) and we are men.
The result of this attitude is that even those who do not understand Arabic and are ignorant of the Sayings of Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam, assume themselves to be great Scholars of the Qur’aan and Religion, merely after reading a translation of the Qur’aan!
Then they explain the Qur’aan according to their own personal understanding without due regard to the explanations and Commentaries provided by Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam.
If a Book by itself without a teacher was sufficient for the guidance of any people, then Allah has the Power of revealing an entire Divine Code without the agency of any Messenger. But Allah never revealed any Divine Book without a Nabi or Rasool to expound on it. This rule of Guides and Teachers being essential applies even to the Secular Sciences. Books alone, without the aid of Professors and tutors, will not be adequate for one wishing to study Medicine to become a doctor and similarly for an Engineer or for that matter any other profession. Yet it is surprising that many of the so called ’Intellectuals’ find it unnecessary to consult qualified teachers of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah (i.e. the Ulama) in order to fully understand the Divine Book. This attitude is one type of “guloo” [exaggeration in Deen] which is prohibited.
Another type of “guloo” in which many ordinary laymen are also involved, is the blind and indiscriminate selection of just anyone as their Religious leader and thereafter following him recklessly without ascertaining whether the person who is being accepted as one’s Religious Mentor, has proper Islamic Knowledge, and whether he has Taqwa, etc. Furthermore, there is no check made to verify whether the teachings of such mentors are Islamic or not, i.e. whether it is contrary to the Qur’aan and Ahaadith or not.
Islam has stressed that mankind should save itself from both these types of “gulouw” by adopting a moderate, Middle Course. This can easily be acquired by studying and understanding the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, by consulting the men of Allah, who can be recognised by means of the Book of Allah, i.e. through the clear-cut popular teachings of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah, identifying those who are sincerely involved in the study of the Qur’aan and the Hadith and whose lives reflect the colour of the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. Thereafter, every difficult Verse or concept of Deen should be understood by their explanation and then practiced upon accordingly.
Sourced from Qur’aan Tafseer – by Husainiyyah Publications – Vol 6.