Despite popular belief portrayed by the media and what the society has been brainwashed to believe, there is no extremism in Islam. Perhaps the only extremism is that it is extremely moderate! What a minority group of Muslim does is a different story, and in no way portrays the teachings of Islam.
First, there are some major balances that need to be taken into consideration, such as the balance between this world and the aakhira. We can't take either of them to any extreme. This is similar to balance in Huquq Allah and Huquq al-Ibaad, which is balance between the rights of Allah and the rights of people.
However, there are acts we carry out in our daily lives that we hardly ever think twice about. This article's focus will be on eating, sleeping, and talking in moderation.
There is a hadith in Tirmidhi which says, "The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air".
The Prophet (SAW) never ate so much food as to make him overweight. He only ate enough to keep him going. It's obviously important to stay fit, but overeating is not a part of the Islamic lifestyle. One of my favorite quotes is, "you should eat to live, not live to eat!" While eating, we should make intention that we are consuming food so that we have energy to do good deeds, inshaAllah. Therefore we should not eat so little so that we do not have enough energy during the day.
Another important aspect is having a balanced diet. We shouldn't excessively be eating one type of food because our body is in need of all nutrients. This is also a part of moderation.
Decreasing food intake naturally elevates the soul, and eventually leads to less sleep. Haven't we felt that if we eat too much sometimes we end up feeling really sleepy? Frankly speaking, we don't have time to spend half of our lives sleeping. You see some of the youth today almost boasting about how they slept 12-15 hours straight. We need to realize that there is so much to do to achieve our Ultimate Goal, the Raza of Allah (SWT). This life is the only chance we've got. It isn't a PlayStation game where if we die once we automatically come back to life with a new chance. We have to take advantage of this one, precious life we have got, and not waste time. And in order to do this, we have to be awake and maximize our times.
Unless we learn how to sleep less, we won't be able to wake up for tahajjud prayers. Imagine how many opportunities in our lives we've missed to have this personal time with our Lord. And there is also, of course, the Fajr prayer, which is obligatory. Missing out on this is no joke. It is one of the 5 daily prayers that define us as Muslims, and the first question on the Day of Judgement will be about our prayers.
Sleeping too little, on the other hand, is also unhealthy. Allah (SWT) has said in the Quran,
As a side note, there's also an issue of most people "sleeping it out" while fasting in Ramadan. This is such a blessed month that only comes around once a year. We are given, by the Mercy of Allah (SWT), multiple amounts of reward doing the same thing we do daily on other days. It is a kind of promotion. If ladies see a promotion going on in a mall they would rush to get the best deals. Why do we then back out when it comes to this promotion? We sleep in, waiting for iftaar time to arrive so that we can "dig in". May Allah (SWT) give us the tawfiq to make extra prayers, do dhikr, read Quran, make duas and gain more knowledge in the blessed month of Ramadan from here on, inshaAllah.
What we need to realize first and foremost is that everything we do is being recorded by the kiraman katibeen. These are the honorable recorders. We will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement for how we used each of our organs; eyes, ears, heart, tongues etc. We have to try and rectify each of these organs individually.
The tongue is something we tend to overlook. Yet, it is especially dangerous. Imam Nawawi stated about the tongue that it is a "jirm sagheer, jurm kabeer" - small body part which can cause a lot of damage.
The problem with the tongue is that it never gets tired. A person can't feel it if they are talking excessively. Another thing is that people usually don't think about what they're saying. There is a hadith that "whoever can guarantee me two organs - guarding what is between the jaws and what is between the legs, I will give him or her the guarantee of Jannah". Another hadith is narrated as follows:
A person came to the Prophet (SAW) and said, "Inform me of one deed that will help me enter Jannah". The Rasul Allah (SAW) listed the 5 pillars of Islam, then asked, "Should I not guide you to the door of good?" He then began to state how "Fasting is a shield, zakat extinguishes mistakes (like water extinguishes fire)" and he went on until he said, "And the essence of everything I said: watch for this", he said as he (SAW) held his tongue. "There will be people who are thrown into Jahannum on their faces only because of the harvest of their tongue".
The effects of our tongue are therefore extremely powerful, and can place us either in Jannah or Jahannum. By saying just the kalima, a person is considered a Muslim, one who submits to Allah.
Imam Nawawi gave some words of advice on this issue:
i) Think before you speak. Ask yourself, "should I say it? What will the effect be? Will it hurt someone?"
ii) Think about, "If what I am saying is good, then is it correct? Will I be able to stand up for it in front of Allah?" An example of this is misquoting ayahs and hadith. This is a very dangerous thing to do, because it may be teaching others something apart from what the Quran and Sunnah state. We should make sure what we are saying are entirely valid.
iii) We should refrain from exaggerating and be accurate in what we say. Saying things like , "Can you hold on a sec?" when you obviously know it will take longer than a second should be avoided. "It's freezing in here!" is another example. Unless you see icicles dripping from the ceiling, this should be avoided as well. I would love to hear more examples of what we should avoid saying because of the fact that it isn't completely true. We should always reflect on our words.
Quoting another hadith, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or remain silent" We are so caught up in speaking about other people. What justification do we have to pick out their faults when we ourselves have flaws? If we pick out the faults of others in this world, then Allah (SWT) will pick out our faults on the Day of Judgement, and if we forgive people and conceal their faults in this world, inshaAllah Allah (SWT) will also forgive us and conceal our faults.
However, not speaking at all and being socially uninvolved is also not a part of Islam. Muslims are told to be friendly with those around them, take care of neighbors, sick ones etc, and overall have a considerate and welcoming attitude towards others.
We should strive to use our tongue by busying ourselves with dhikr, reciting Quran, enjoining good and forbidding evil, complimenting others, doing da'wah, teaching others etc.
May Allah (SWT) give us the tawfiq to do good and live in moderation in our daily lives, Ameen.