The model of the Prophet Muhammad MHMD may God honour him with His unitive graces and His salvific peace - illustrates the equilibrium (temperance) which he observed in everything under the rule of a divine and omnipresent wisdom. From this follows that any persistent negligence or acute excess can only drive the muslim toward an imbalance (loss of self-control) or the privation of (divine) graces.



On The Notion Of The Golden Mean

In Everything According To The Islamic Tradition

The revelation of the following quranic verses:
{ O you who believe! do not forbid (yourselves) the good things which Allah has made lawful for you and do not exceed the limits; surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. And eat of the lawful and good (things) that Allah has given you, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, in Whom you believe.}
Qur'ân 5-87,88

These verses were revealed at the occasion of an explanation given by the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him - to different questions put to him by the companion Othman ben Mas`√Ľn. According to a report by Sa`îd ben al-Musayib, Othman came to the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings upon him and said the following:

- “O Messenger of Allah! I am constantly afflicted by my soul speaking to me (hadith nafs), but I do not want to act before having consulted you concerning it. The Prophet asked: “What does your soul suggest?“

- “O Messenger of Allah! It incites my to castrate myself (to preserve my chastity)“ he said. The Prophet peace and blessings upon him - answered: “Not that fast, oh Othman! For you have to know that the equivalent to castration in my community is the practice of fasting (al-siyâm).“

- “O Messenger of Allah! My soul talks to me and says I should withdraw to the mountain-tops to live a monastic life, he said. And the Prophet - peace and blessings upon him - answered him: “Not that fast, oh Othman! The monastic life of my community lies in the practice of retiring to the mosques while waiting to perform the prescribed daily prayers (al-salawat).

- “O Messenger of Allah! My soul tries to engage me to live the life of a travelling pilgrim (al-siyâhah)“, he said. But the Prophet peace and blessings upon him - answered him: “Not that fast, oh Othman! You have to know that the life of a travelling pilgrim (al-siyâhah) is in my community consists in fighting in the way of Allah (al-ghazwu fi sabîli Llâhi), the pilgrimage (al-hajj) and the visit (al-`umrah) to the Holy House at Mecca.

- “O Messenger of Allah! My soul insists I should rid myself of all my belongings“, he said. The Prophet peace and blessings upon him - answered him: “Not that fast, oh Othman! For charity done from time to time to care for your needs and the needs of your family, and your charity for the poor and the orphans is much more excellent than what your soul incites you to do.

- “O Messenger of Allah! My soul commands me to repudiate my wife Khaulah“, he said. The Prophet peace and blessings upon him - answered him in the following general way: “Not that fast, oh Othman! For the emigration in my community consists in fleeing from what Allah has forbidden, to emigrate to me in my earthly life or to visit my tomb after my death, or again to leave behind after your death your wife (or wives), two, three or even four.

- “O Messenger of Allah! Having forbidden for me to divorce my wife, my soul hinders me to carry out the sexual act“, he said. The Prophet peace and blessings upon him - answered him: “Not that fast, oh Othman! You should know that when a muslim man has intercourse with his wife or his captive and if from this sexual relationship no child is born, he will never-the-less has assigned to him a servant in Paradise (wasîf) (who will serve him); but if a child is born out of this relationship and it dies before his father, it will be a forerunner (faratan) for him and an intercessor (shafi`an) on the Day of Judgement (ie. his child will take him by the hand to lead him into Paradise); if however this child dies after him, it will then become a special extra light on the Day of Judgement“.

- “O Messenger of Allah! My soul pushes me to abstain from eating meat“, he said. The Prophet peace and blessings upon him - answered him: “Not that fast, oh Othman! For concerning me, I love meat and I eat it willingly on occasion. Had I asked my Lord to nourish me with it every day, He would have certainly accorded it to me“.

- “O Messenger of Allah! My soul suggests me to refrain from perfumes“, he said. The Prophet peace and blessings upon him - answered him: “Not that fast, oh Othman! Because the archangel Gabriel - peace and blessings be upon him - has ordered me to use perfume from times to times. First of all don't abandon it on Fridays (on the occasion of the Friday prayer)! Don't forget this, oh Othman and never turn away from my sunnah (life-pattern)! For whoever turns away from my sunnah and dies before having had the chance to repent, will see the angles turn him away from my basin (haud) (meaning it will not be allowed for him to quench his thirst after which he would never again feel any thirst)“. It was then when the above quranic verses were revealed.