By: Khalid Baig
“Thus have We Made of you an Ummah justly balanced” [Al-Baqara 2:143]
Ummatan Wasatan can be translated as the middle nation, the best nation, and an Ummah justly balanced. The Phrase captures the essence of Islam, which is to shun all excesses. At other places [e.g. Al-Ma’idah 5:12] the Qur’an refers to the path it shows at as Sawaa as-Sabil. Abdullah Yusuf Ali explains: “The Arabic word sawaa signifies smoothness as opposed to roughness; symmetry as opposed to want of plan; equality or proportion as opposed to want of design; rectitude as opposed to crookedness; a mean as opposed to extremes; and fitness for the object held in view as opposed to faultiness.”
Extremism is a product of ignorance. Given two extreme points on a straight line, anyone can point out where the middle point lies. But a person that cannot see the entire line will also miss the middle point. He may be sitting on an extreme edge, yet congratulate himself for being in the middle.