Not Balanced, Caring, Loving, Wise? Not Islam.

The following is a transcript of a khutba by Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui. It contains minor modifications from the spoken word for ease of readability.

“O you who have attained faith, be reverent and constant of Allah ‘azza wa jall in a way that is worthy of who He is – of His beauty and majesty, of His perfection and His beauty and majesty, of His infinite favors upon us. And make sure that we do not die except in a state of Islam – in a state of true, loving surrender of our souls and spirits, of our minds and hearts, of our words and deeds, of our actions and inactions, of our commissions and omissions, all in loving surrender to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. May Allah make us among those. Ameen.

My dear brothers and sisters, the world is the world. It’s a created reality; it’s not the Creator. And the created reality always has ups and downs. Always positive and negative. This is the nature of the created realm and of this dunya.

هذه دنيا ليس دار نعم و انَّما هي دار البلأ

This world is not an abode of blisses; it is the abode for challenges and afflictions.

This is the world and the reality of the world. And in His divine wisdom Allah sent His messengers to us, and ultimately His most beloved of creatures and messengers: Muhammad, Sayyiduna wa Maulana , to show us and to help us navigate in this world in a way that is stable and balanced, not extreme. In a way that the outcome is everlasting happiness and everlasting, noble freedom.

Allah Sent Rasulallah to Establish Balance

In this context we need to remind one another what constitutes the balance that this deen is all about. What I share with you here is not intended to be exhaustive or a full list of the elements of balance, but rather to focus on several important elements we need to pay attention to. This will help us to recognize within ourselves balance or the lack thereof, and to recognize the balance in those who speak to us and speak on our behalf and teach us about balance, in a world that does not often recognize balance.

We should look at several things. First, Allah ‘azza wa jall sent Muhammad in order to establish balance and by that balance ‘adl (justice or equity). ‘Adl is actually balance. It is to do things in the right way, in the balanced way – to put everything where everything belongs. That is ‘Adl. For example, if there are shoe racks in which I need to put my shoes and I [still] put them anywhere in a disorderly way, that is an act of lack of ‘adl (justice) and balance. We put things where they do not belong. We set things where they do not belong. And then of course, there are grander issues of ‘adl, fairness and equity and balance and justice.

Allah ‘azza wa jall says [in Surah al-Ma’ida 5:8]:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

“…let not the hatred of others to you or the injustices and the swerving from justice of others towards you make you swerve from justice yourselves.” Do not do that. Let alone swerving from justice under regular non-extenuating circumstances. In family life, we swerve from justice. Women and men swerve from justice, in family life, by not putting and setting things where they ought to be and how they ought to be. We do it in trade and business, in teaching and learning, in agreeing and disagreeing, and in fatwa-solving. If it lacks justice, equity, balance, and fairness then that is not our way. It must not be our way, regardless of who uttered it.

If It Lacks Merciful Love, It’s Not Islam

Second, and most essentially, perhaps as essential or more essential than the previous point: rahma. Merciful love. Or loving-mercy. In the life of a scholar, teacher, mufti, or in the fatwa of a mufti, the teaching of a teacher, the preaching of a preacher, or the interactions of those who interact with others – if what we argue, do, say, or suggest of fatawi solutions is swerving from or stripped and deprived from rahma, then it has nothing to do with this deen. If it is stripped from rahma…! Rahma at home, rahma at school, rahma in the masjid, rahma in politics, rahma in military activities, rahma at all levels. [In Surat al-Anbiya 21:107] Allah says to His Rasul “One thing We have sent you for [most essentially]: rahma.”

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

And towards that Rasulullah also said1, and many others said it after him,

لاَ تُنْزَعُ الرَّحْمَةُ إِلاَّ مِنْ شَقِيٍّ

Rahma (loving-mercy) shall be stripped only from a miserable one,” – one whose end is misery, in this dunya and akhira, and we seek refuge with Allah. If in your actions and words, my dear brothers and sisters – and in ours, or in those of teachers, preachers, and muftis – if you are lacking rahma despite your arguments and the result is lack of rahma, please don’t say this is the shari’ah or this is what Allah loves or what His Rasul ﷺ loves. Say, “This is what I think it is.”

If It Intends Undue Harm, It’s Not Islam

Consequently, and thirdly, Allah ‘azza wa jall sent this deen in order to fulfill, accomplish, and achieve the well-being of His servants and creatures in this dunya and in akhira. That’s why our scholars summarize all of that concept in saying, “The shari’ah is all about the fulfillment of the well-being and benefit of the servants of the Divine in this world and in the Hereafter.” Allah ‘azza wa jall says [in Surat al-A’raf 7:56],

وَلاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلاَحِهَا

“Do not go cause disorder or mischief on Earth after Allah established in it its salaḥ (that which makes it run well).” Do not do that. Rasulullah said2,

لاَ ضَرَرَ وَلاَ ضِرَارَ

“You shall not be of those who harm, and you’re not allowed to initiate something harmful.” Nor should you reciprocate harm with harm with the intent of inflicting harm, simply. So, if I violate this norm in my attitude at home, school, or the masjid or in teaching, preaching, learning, or in fatawi, please say, “This is my opinion.” Don’t say, “This is what I believe the shari’ is.” For this is an axiom of this deen. And axioms are supposed to be known easily, at least to the experts. If you don’t know the major axioms in mathematics you cannot be an expert mathematician, not even a good student in mathematics! And this is axiomatic.

If It Lacks Ḥikma, It’s Not Islam

Fourthly, it cannot be part of this deen or its shar’ when it lacks ḥikma (wisdom). When we do things, say things, suggest things, produce solutions, give fatawi, argue, teach, and learn in ways that lack ḥikma, all of that is not of this deen. Rasulullah said3,

الْكَلِمَةُ الْحِكْمَةُ ضَالَّةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ حَيْثُمَا وَجَدَهَا فَهُوَ أَحَقُّ بِهَا

Ḥikma is the lost property of the faithful one (of the believer). Wherever he or she finds it, it is their own.”

[What of] speaking without worrying about the probable consequences of what we say, write, think, or of the fatawi we give? Acting without worry about the consequences at the level of one’s deen, individually and collectively, or at the level of life and the protection and promotion of life, or the lack thereof? Or at the level of preserving and promoting the human faculty of reason and common sense? Or not paying attention to the consequences to one’s property and to property of others, the community, and the world? Or not paying attention to the consequences of how that would affect the honor and the family and the social structure of families?

[All of] this is not ḥikma. Ḥikma is to speak the beneficial truth in the right moment under the right conditions and the right modality, [all while] weighing the probable consequences. Allah ‘azza wa jall says [in Surat al-Nahl 16:125],

ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ

“Invite to the path of your Lord with ḥikma.

The path of your Lord is ḥikma, not aimlessness and lack of purpose. Not because something is and seems to be right, where I say it and I do it. No.

To this our scholars have said, and one of them put it in this beautiful way, “The shari’ah is all about ‘adl – fairness, balance, justice, and putting things where and how they belong. And all of it is about rahma merciful-love. And all of it is about maṣaaliḥ – the fulfillment of the well-being of the world and its inhabitants (God’s servants) in this dunya and in akhira. And all of it is about ḥikma doing things with wisdom, purpose, and aim, wisely and sagely.” And therefore, they said, “Every solution, at all levels of life, that leads from justice to injustice, or from loving-mercy to the opposite (i.e. cruelty), or from preserving well-being to disorder (i.e. spoiling, corruption, impropriety, or harm), or from wisdom to aimlessness (i.e. lack of purpose or consideration of practicality) – has nothing to do with shari’ah (even if the interpretive powers have ‘made’ it out to be so).”

[O Allah, send your prayers and peace and blessing upon our leader Muhammad and upon all his family and companions. Ameen.]

1. Sunan Abi Dawud; Jami' at-Tirmidhi
2. Sahih
3. Sunan Ibn Majah; Jami' at-Tirmidhi