What is meant by being balanced in the religion? We hope from you (O honorable Shaykh) a complete clarification of this issue. May Allaah reward you with the best of rewards.
Shaykh Ibn alUthaymeen. Being balanced in the religion means that a person does not have Ghuloo (exaggeration/extremism) in the religion, whereby he goes beyond the bounds set by Allaah-the Mighty and Majestic. It also means that a person does not neglect the religion, whereby he falls short of the limits set by Allaah-the Most Perfect and Most High.So being balanced in the religion is to hold onto and follow the biography of the Prophet (SAllaahu ‘Alaihee Wasallam). Where as extremism in the religion is to go beyond its bounds and to fall short means to not even reach its boundaries. An example of this is where a man says: I want to stand and pray all throughout the night and I do not want to sleep, because the prayer is from the best forms of worship, so I wish to spend the whole night in prayer. We say that this type of person has gone to extremes with the religion of Allaah and is not upon the truth. Indeed the like of this occurred in the time of the Prophet (SAllaahu ‘Alaihee Wasallam), where a group gathered and one from amongst them said; I will stand in prayer all night and will not sleep, another said; I will fast and not break the fast, the third said; I will not marry women. So this reached the Prophet (SAllaahu ‘Alaihee Wasallam) and he said: “What is wrong with a people, who say such and such, I fast and break my fast, I stand in prayer and I sleep and I marry women; so whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.” So these individuals went to extremes with regards to the religion. As such the Messenger (SAllaahu ‘Alaihee Wasallam) freed himself from them, because they turned away from his Sunnah, which encompasses fasting and breaking the fast, standing in prayer and sleeping and marrying women.As for the one who is negligent and falls short, then he is the type of person who says: I have no need to carry out optional acts of worship, I will simply carry out that which is obligatory. And perhaps he will fall short in the obligatory duties as well. So this type of individual is negligent and falls short of what is required.Where as the one who is balanced is the one who takes the path of the Messenger (SAllaahu ‘Alaihee Wasallam) and follows his rightly guided Khulafaa and is upon what they were upon.
Another example is where there are three men; before them is a sinful person. One of them says: I will not give salaams (salutations) to this sinful person and I will make Hajr of him (abandon him) and I will keep well away from him and I will not speak to him.
The second man says: I will be with this sinful person and I will give him salaams and I will smile and be cheerful with him. I will even invite him round and accept his invitation and to me he is nothing except like a righteous person.
The third says: This is a sinful person, I hate him for his sins and love him for his faith (Eemaan) and I will not make Hajr (abandonment) of him, except where the Hajr is the cause of his rectification and if it is not a cause towards his rectification, rather if it only increases him in the sin, then I will not abandon him.
So we say the first man has gone beyond the bounds and has exaggerated, the second falls short and compromises, whereas the third is balanced. This also applies to all other forms of worship and dealings with the creation; meaning that people will either fall short, exaggerate or be balanced.
A third example is where a man is a prisoner to his woman, she directs him to wherever she wants and he does not rebuke her against sins, nor does he encourage her towards any goodness. Rather she completely controls his intellect and thus becomes the one who protects him and maintains him. A second man we find is oppressive, arrogant and looks down upon his woman. He pays no attention to her and she is to him less than a mere maid. A third man is balanced and deals with her as ordered by Allaah and His Messenger:
“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them, to what is reasonable.” [Al-Baqarah: 228]
And the statement of the Prophet (SAllaahu ‘Alaihee Wasallam):
“Let not a believing man hate a believing woman, if he dislikes from her a particular behavior, he will be pleased with another” [Muslim]
So the third man is balanced, where as the first falls short and compromises and the second goes to the extremes in dealing with his wife. This can also be compared to and analogized with the rest of the actions and the different forms of worship, and Allaah the Most High knows best.
Reference: Fataawa Ash-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen, Vol: 1, P: 190-191 taken from madeenah.com