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10 Characteristics of Shariah

10 Characteristics of Shariah

Balanced and moderate

Shariah is also balanced and moderate: It balances between the body and the soul, between the intellect and the emotions, between this life and the eternal one. It balances between theory and reality, between thinking and acting, between the unseen and the apparent. It promotes freedom, yet it commands responsibility.

It places a balanced focus on the individual versus the community. It strikes a balance between copying and following, and creativity and innovation. It is really a balanced guidance.

The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) always promoted this moderate and balanced understanding of Islam. He used to bring his companions back to this moderation whenever he saw any imbalance in their actions or thoughts.

The famous story of the three people who wanted to be excessive in their rituals by fasting every day, praying the whole night, and abstaining completely from marriage is a clear example of that. He commented on their act,

I am the most fearing and the most conscious of Allah. However, I fast but also break my fast; I pray at night and sleep at night and I marry. Whoever turned away from my Sunnah (my tradition and way of life) does not belong to me.” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) agreed to the advice Salman al-Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him) gave to Abu Ad-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) when he told him

“Your body has a right upon you; your eye has a right upon you; your family has a right upon you; and your guest has a right upon you.” (Al-Bukhari).

He meant, you need to rest, eat, sleep, spend time with your family, and take care of your guests. These are rights upon you. These rights cannot be ignored while doing extra prayer, fasting, and recitation. Salman told this to Abu Ad-Darda’ when he noticed an imbalance in his life.

Release from burdens

One important attribute of Shariah is that it came to make things easy and remove burdens. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was described in the Quran to be one who

{commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them.} (Al-A`raf 7:157)

Allah also says, {Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties.} (Al-Baqarah 2:185) He described Muhammad as the {Mercy to the worlds.} (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107)

The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) describes himself as a “gifted mercy” (Ad-Darimi) and he says “Allah did not make me someone who makes things difficult for himself or others, but he sent me as a teacher who makes things easy.” (Muslim)

He (peace and blessings be upon him) would advise his companions to make things easy as he commanded Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari and Mua`dh Ibn Jabal when he sent them to Yemen, “Make things easy and do not make things difficult.” (Al-Bukhari)

He gives the clear advice to people “Make things easy and do not make things difficult. Give the glad news and do not chase people away.” (Al-Bukhari)

For that, Allah gives permission and easy rulings in almost all rituals when they create a burden: Tayammum can replace Wudu’ if water is missing; Salah can be shortened and combined in the case of traveling; one can pray sitting or lying down if it is difficult to stand; it is permissible to break the fast in Ramadan for the traveler, the sick, the pregnant, and the nursing mother.

Another aspect of the ease of Shariah is that it is simple to understand. Although the Quran and the tradition of the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) are deep, sophisticated, and command intellect, they are made easy for people to understand and reflect. Allah says about His book, {And indeed, We have made the Quran easy to understand and remember.} (Al-Qmar 54: 17)

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About Dr. Wael Hamza

Wael Hamza is a Muslim writer, thinker and an active figure in MAS (Muslim American Society ), U.S.A.

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