Freedom of Conscience, Balanced Attitude, Hadith Forgery

Issue 664 » December 16, 2011 - Muharram 21, 1433

Living The Quran

Freedom of Conscience
Al Maidah (The Repast) - Chapter 5: Verse 92

"Obey God, and obey the Messenger, and be ever on your guard. But if you turn away, then know that Our Messenger's only duty is a clear delivery of the message [entrusted to him]."

Complete social justice cannot be assured, nor can its efficiency and permanence be guaranteed, unless it arises from an inner conviction of the spirit; it must be claimed by the individual, it must be needed by society; there must be a belief that it will serve the highest purpose of mankind. It must also rest upon some material reality to which the individual may cling while accepting the cost involved and being prepared to defend it. No man will claim justice by law unless he has first claimed it by instinct and by the practical methods that ensure the preservation of instinct. Similarly, society will not persevere with such legislations, even when it exists, unless there is a belief which demands it from within and practical measures which support it from without. It is these facts that Islam has in mind in all its ordinances and laws.

There is a way to achieve the realization of the powers latent in human nature together with the elevation of that nature above submission to the demands of material necessity; it is even the soundest and the safest way. This is what Islam aims to do - to integrate the needs of the body and the desires of the spirit in one unity and to satisfy by freedom of conscience the inner instinct as well as practical reality. So it is not unmindful of either side of the question.

Where equality has its roots in a profound freedom of the conscience as well as in law and its implementation, and if the instinct for it is powerful among the strong and the weak alike, then it will be accepted as a rise in status for the weak and for the strong as humility. It will join in the soul with a belief in Allah, and with the unity and mutual responsibility of the community; more, it will inculcate, a belief in the unity and solidarity of humanity. Such is the aim of Islam when it grants complete and absolute freedom to the human conscience.

Compiled From:
"Social Justice in Islam" - Syed Qutb, pp. 53, 54

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Balanced Attitude

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, regarded extremism indin(way of life) as a basic fault of the people before the advent of Islam. He said:

"Beware, do not adopt extremism, because your predecessors got annihilated by adopting extremist attitudes indin."[Muslim]

Extremist, rigid and strict attitudes did not exist during the time of Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet himself, as can be gathered from documented evidence, was very tolerant, he listened to others with respect, avoided arguments and quarrels and adopted the best available course of action even though it may have been suggested by someone else.There was a balance between his personal, family, social and public life.

Acquiring a deep and balanced understanding of Islam assists in leading a balanced and moderate personal and social life. However, some people are found to give more emphasis to certain aspects of Islam over others, or they place unjustified burdens on themselves that have no reference in the Islamic sources of guidance.

Islam enjoins wisdom, balance, moderation and tolerance in all affairs, and it condemns excessiveness, extravagance and fanatical attitudes. To achieve a balanced attitude, Muslims need to understand the objectives of Islam, stay close to Islamic guidance, and give as much weight to an aspect of Islam as the noble Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) and his faithful Companions gave, no more and no less.

Extremist attitudes, practices and customs, make their entrance into an organisation, community or groups, through various ways:

  • through views based on ignorance,
  • superficial knowledge,
  • imbalanced understanding, or
  • impatience.

Extremism is bred when certain verses of the Quran, sayings of the noble Prophet or certain of his deeds are exaggerated or understood out of their context. It even arises from exaggerated love or hate of someone or something.

Extremism is a disease and leads to intolerance, disrespect, inflexibility and cause conflict amongst people. These, in the long-run, destroy communities and are, therefore, alien to Islam because Islam is the "middle" way.

An extremist temperament is one of the major causes of Muslim disunity and weakness today. Cultivation of moderation and balance in people's temperaments is required for reforming the affairs of the world according to Islam.Muslims must avoid extremism and rigidity, learn and observe the ethics of disagreement is Islam, and show respect and tolerance to differing views and opinions that are within the boundaries of Islam.

Compiled From:
"Building A New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 200, 201


Hadith Forgery


Extensive forgery in hadith was commonly known and acknowledged to have occurred in the early decades of the advent of Islam. It is believed to have begun following the turmoil over the murder of the third caliph, Uthman, which dealt a heavy blow to the unity of the umma.

A forged hadith or al-mawdu, may be defined as a report, invented by a liar, who has attributed it to the Prophet and it may include either the text or both the text and isnad (chain of transmission) of the report. Even if this is done with a pious purpose in order to promote what is deemed to be a good cause, it would still count as a forgery and no credibility would be given to the motive and purpose of a deliberate forgery.

Hadith forgery may be divided into two types: (1) deliberate forgery, which is usually referred to as hadith mawdu; (2) unintentional fabrication, which is usually referred to as hadith batil and is due mainly to error and recklessness in reporting. For example, in certain cases it is noted that the chain of narrators ended with a Companion or a Successor only but the transmitter instead extended it directly to the Prophet. The result is the same and fabrication whether deliberate or otherwise must in all cases be abandoned.

[to be continued ...]

Compiled From:
"A Texbook of Hadith Studies" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 66, 67