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Balance and Moderation of the Islamic Civilization

Kairouan Mosque Tunisia
The timeless civilization of Islam combined a balance between human materialism and spiritualism
The Great Kairouan Mosque in Tunisia

Balance and moderation are of the main features of Islamic civilization.

This feature means moderation or equality between two opposite parties so that no party will have exclusive influence and expels the other; no party will get more than its right, thus dominating and repressing the other. Such balance and moderation fit a general and immortal message that came to contain the four corners of the earth and the phases of time.

The civilization of Islam combines spiritualism and materialism, or the needs of soul and the needs of material. It also combines Shariah sciences and life sciences. It is interested in this world and the hereafter as well. It combines idealism and realism. It strikes a balance between rights and duties.

Balance between these opposites means that each party should be given a scope and should get its right equitably without hyperbole, omission, tyranny or injustice, as noted in the Quran: {And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of Justice). In order that you may not transgress (due) balance.  So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.} (Ar-Rahman 55: 7-9)

 

Combination of Material and Spiritual Aspects

It was clear from previous civilizations that both purely spiritual and purely material aspects alone cannot bring happiness to man. Pure spiritualism has nothing but underdevelopment, undermining of will, thinking and the energies of work, killing of the humanity of humans, and loss of the benefits of the universe. On the other hand, pure materialism has nothing but tyranny, oppression, enslavement, humiliation, and brutal control of lives, property and honor.

The timeless civilization of Islam came to combine and strike a balance between the requirements of spirit and the requirements of material, or between human materialism and spiritualism. Thus, polite spiritualism has become the basis of polite materialism. Then, man would enjoy will, freedom, thinking, and the fruit of efforts and work within a framework of faith and morality based on justice, security, stability, compassion and love.

This balance is meant to achieve harmony between human nature and mental purpose, as well as response to and full harmony with one’s ideas, imaginations, will and intentions.

 

Combination of Islamic Shariah and Life Sciences

As for the combination of Shariah and life sciences, Islam establishes its noble civilization on the methods of science, knowledge, reason, research, experiment and induction. Islam appreciates the vitality of science in building the state and society. In this regard, Islam praises science and scientists in various fields. These fields include every understanding that helps man accomplish his mission in life, i.e. reconstructing the earth and taking advantage of its wealth and treasures, namely the combination of Shariah and life sciences.

As for the combination and balance between this world and the hereafter, perhaps the clearest evidence to mention here are the verses that ordain the Friday prayer.

The word "science" mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah was absolute without restriction or limitation. It includes every beneficial science aiming at a better world and reconstruction of the earth. It also includes every science aiming to reform people so that they perform the duties of human succession properly on this planet. It means - most often - science with its both religious and living branches. All the praise given to scholars was given in the sense to every scholar who benefited people with his knowledge, whether religious or life-wise. The history of Islamic civilization expressed this quite honestly. Perhaps Muslims’ contributions and innovations in life sciences, which we will present next, are the best expressions of this combination.

This balanced approach is different from those civilizations, whose religions dominated the intellectual power, and where science was prohibited, and thinking was restricted.

 

Combination of This World and the Hereafter

As for the combination and balance between this world and the hereafter, perhaps the clearest evidence to mention here are the verses that ordain the Friday prayer. God says: {O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! And when the Prayer is finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the Bounty of Allah, and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and without stint): that ye may prosper.} (Al-Jumu’ah 62: 9- 10)

This is the case of Islamic civilization in combining the world and the hereafter. The above-mentioned verse shows that even on Friday, which is considered the Holy day of Muslims, there is sale and business for the world before the prayer, then mention of God, praying, and leaving buying, selling and similar aspects of life, then dispersing through the land and seeking livelihood after finishing the prayer, without forgetting to mention God in every case, as this is the basis of success. The grace of God here is livelihood and earning.

Imaginary idealism has no existence in the Islamic civilization, but it exists only in the world of dreams, like that established by Plato in his utopia.

In another verse showing moderation between work for this life and work for the afterlife, God says: {Seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world.} (Al-Qasas 28: 77)

Islam did not ask a Muslim to be a monk in a monastery, or a worshiper in an isolated place, praying all night and fasting during the daytime, with no chance or luck in life. Rather, Islam asked a Muslim to work in this world, reconstruct it, and seek livelihood and peace in it. Thus, sons of the Islamic civilization work for this world and the hereafter as well, seeking good and happiness in both.

 

Combination of Idealism and Realism

One of the features of balance that characterized the Islamic civilization is the combination of idealism and realism in a perfect and wonderful form. Islam is an ideal and realistic religion at the same time. It always seeks perfection and ideals for its followers, but it urges them to do everything they could and does not place much burden on people. Therefore, it was difficult to separate idealism from realism in Islam. Both are an integrated piece of legislation for human beings, leading them to good, and showing them the rules of conduct and transactions.

As far as idealism is concerned, the Islamic civilization is keen to enable man to reach the highest possible level easily, comfortably and tranquilly. In realism, Islamic civilization takes into account the condition and nature of man, the limits of his capacity, the nature of his composition, and the reality of his life.

Imaginary idealism has no existence in the Islamic civilization, but it exists only in the world of dreams, like that established by Plato in his utopia, which is completely far from the reality of man and his instincts, attitudes, shortcomings and deficiencies.

The Islamic civilization does not have such realism that means satisfaction regardless of its manner or shape, or means that the Islamic civilization subdues its principles to cope with life by any means or to keep pace with reality in any form. The civilization of Islam did not come to dab on the desires of people and their systems, or to accept their dysfunctional conditions and traditions, but it came to abolish all forms of ignorance and its systems, and establish a special system for itself. This system may or may not look similar to some parts of the reality of people.

Striking a balance between idealism and realism, Islam has made a minimum level of perfection that should not be exceeded, as this level is necessary to form the character of a Muslim reasonably, and this is the least for a Muslim to be considered as Muslim. This level was set in a way that enables the less people willing to do good and keep away from evil to reach it. This level consists of obligatory duties and forbidden taboos. These duties and taboos were made in a way that enables everyone to handle them. The Islamic law observes these duties and taboos and puts them in their size when necessary.

In addition to this compulsory level, which every Muslim has to reach, the Islamic law set another level that is higher and wider, and urged people to reach it. This high level includes preferable duties and other acts of worship that the Islamic law urges. It also includes abominations, from which a Muslim should distance himself.

Islam tends to strike a balance between rights and duties of individuals and groups in order to make a balance between individualism and social interest.

Reaching this high level needs great efforts that not all people can exert. It has to do with special talents and special willingness that a few people have. So, Islam does not impose this ideal level on everyone, but it draws it for them and then leaves them to their energies: {On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear} (Al-Baqarah 2: 286)

Islam accepts all good deeds that one can do: {To all are degrees (or ranks) according to their deeds} (Al-An’am 6: 132) & (Al-Ahqaf 46: 19)

 

Combination of Rights and Duties

The last balance we wanted is the combination of rights and duties. The Islamic civilization believes that every right of an individual or a group is a duty on others. The rights of the governed are duties of rulers; the rights of tenants are duties of owners; the rights of children are duties of parents, and so on and so forth. Through performing duties, rights are preserved.

Islam tends to strike a balance between rights and duties of individuals and groups in order to make a balance between individualism and social interest. Man is not an independent unity of life that is isolated from the rest of society. Rather, man must live within the circle of society, share benefits and interests, and establish relationships. Thanks to these links, the Islamic law has created rights and duties. Thus, the civilization of Islam is characterized by balance and moderation.
References
Source: Article titled (Balance and Moderation are of the Characteristics of Islamic Civilization), published by author at the Islam Story web site http://en.islamstory.com
Related Links:
Science and Religion: A Love-Hate Relationship?
Islamic Medicine: 1,000 Years Ahead of its Time
Islam: The Call For Humanity & Equality
Respect in Islam: An Attitude of Admiration (P.1)
Muslim Civilization (Book Review)

Dr Ragheb El-Sergany is an Egyptian Muslim preacher, surgeon and academic who is best known for his studies of Islamic history, and his founding and current supervision of IslamStory.com, a website that deals with the studies of the history of Islam. He is also an assistant professor of uro-surgery in Cairo University School of Medicine . Ragheb has hosted and co-hosted several well-known satellite-TV programs in the Arab world, which has contributed to his reputation between Arab audiences.

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