(Surat al-Baqara: 143)
In this way, we have made you the community of the middle path
This article was written by Shehzada Dr Aziz bhaisaheb Qutbuddin in 2016.
In one of his Majalis, Syedna al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi writes that life in either of the extreme climates – extreme cold or extreme heat - does not flourish. In the blistering cold of the Arctic or the sizzling heat of the Sahara, life is nearly impossible to sustain. Life flourishes most where the climate is temperate. The abundance of the flora and fauna of the equatorial belt of the earth is astounding.
Syedna al-Mu’ayyad uses this analogy to represent the extremes in religion and to underscore the importance of balance. Balance is the key to success in this life and it is also the key to preparing for life in the Hereafter. The analogy of extreme climates is applicable in many different contexts. For example, to believe only in the esoteric hidden meaning (batin or tawil) of the Shari’at and Qur’an is comparable to extreme heat while believing only in the exoteric literal meanings and practice (zahir) of the Shari’at and Qur’an corresponds to the extreme cold. It is only through the middle ground of embracing both zahir and tawil that life in the Hereafter is possible.
Another context: to believe that Ali Amirul-Mumineen SA is God is one extreme (ghulu) that leads to perdition, and to believe that Rasulullah SA is a mere mortal is another extreme (qulu) that also leads to perdition. The middle and correct path in this is that Rasulullah is a human being (bashar), but he is unlike the rest of us because he is the only one who receives revelation (wahy). This balanced concept is conveyed in this ayat in which Allah Ta’ala instructs Rasulullah SA: “Say O Mohammed, I am but a human being like you, (but) I receive revelation” (Surat al-Kahf: 110).
The principle of balance applies in almost every aspect of life: faith, spending, diet, exercise, work etc. Any of these in either extreme leads to disaster. For example, with respect to spending, the Qur’an Majeed asserts, “do not keep your hand chained to your neck, nor open it completely, or you will sit blameworthy and destitute” (Surat al-Isra’: 29). In another ayat, the Qur’an Majeed instructs us to, “eat and drink but do not waste [or be excessive]” (Surat al-A’raf: 31). Balance is one of the cornerstones of our philosophy and belief and it is one of the fundamentals of our Hudaat’s guidance. The Shari’at of Islam embodies this principle in every stipulation and aspect.
The Qur’an Majeed clearly establishes this core principal of balance and moderation in this ayat ‘we have made you the community of the middle path’ (Surat al-Baqara: 143). Syedna al-Qadi al-Nu’man RA explains in the Da’aim that this ayat refers to our Imams. Our Imams guide us to the middle of the path, away from the cliffs of extremism. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA has contextualized the meaning of this ayat beautifully in the first bayt of one of his qasidas in the praise of A’immat Tahereen, “O progeny of Mustafa, O community of the middle path. It was in your praise that Jibraeel came to earth with the Revelation” (ya ‘itratal Mustafa wal-ummatal wasata * jibreelu bil-whayi fi midhatikum habata). In another qasida, Syedna Taher Saifuddin emphasizes that the Imams path, the middle path is indeed the best path, “The Imams are the community of the middle path, their road is the middle road, and the best of roads is the middle one.” (hum ummatun wasatun mahajjatuhum atat * wusta wa khayrul anjudil awsaatu).
Rasulullah SA said, “this knowledge is preserved by Just (i.e. fair) Maulas in each successive generation who follow the moderate path--they remove the corrupt changes made by the ignorant, the deceitful alterations made by its enemies, and the false interpretations put forward by the exaggerators” (yahmilu hazal-‘ilma min kulli khalafin ‘udulahu yanfun ‘anha tahrifal-jahileen wantihaalal-mubtileen wa ta’wilal-ghaleen). Our Just Maula today is our Dai, Syedna Qutbuddin. He guides us to the middle path in our faith and aqeeda and guides us to strike the correct balance in our life between deen and dunya.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the tawfeeq and inspiration to follow the middle path by following the Imams and Du’aat. May we always strive the correct balance in our lives between deen and dunya, while prioritizing deen. May Allah Ta’ala grant longest life in full health to Syedna Qutbuddin TUS, the personification of the middle path (ummatan wasata).