Islamic Studies

Moderation in Religious Verdicts

By Dr. Abdullah Bin Bayyah | Translated by Suhaib Webb

What is meant by moderation?

“By moderation we mean a comparison between the universals [of Shari’ah] and its particulars; a balance between the core aims [of Shari’ah] and its secondary branches and a strong correlation between the fixed [texts] and consideration for the changeable [texts related to] benefits [where applicable] when giving religious edicts and opinions without additions or subtractions.”

Imam al-Shatibi said in al-Muwafaqat:

“The competent mufti, of the highest authority, is one who carries people to a natural balance which is appropriate for the masses. He does not lead them to the way of extremism, nor does he lean with them towards the excess of unbridled liberalism. The evidence for this is that it [the way of balance and moderation] is the straightway which the Shari’ah brought. Thus, it operates on the premise that the goal of Shari’ah, for the one charged with worship, is to bear [his-her religious articulation], upon moderation, without any excessive hardship nor disproportionate ease. Therefore, if the Mufti goes beyond this [balance], in dealing with those who seek fatwa, then he has left the aim of the law giver [Allah]. For that reason, anything that goes beyond the range of moderation is considered debased by the scholars. “


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