Yusuf Al-Qaradawi; Voicing the Middle Path of Islam

Yusuf al-Qaradawi states that Islam has taught its adherents to be wasathiyyah (moderate) in every aspect of life.3 min

Sumber gambar: CNN Indonesia

Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi is a well-known and well-respected religious scholar in the Muslim world. Anne Balen Soage states that Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s thoughts can be considered a moderate voice from the Muslim world who opposes both Westernization and Islamist fanaticism (Soage, 2010, p. 563).

Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi has introduced Islam as the middle way through wasathiyyah concept. Hence, this article will examine Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s thoughts on wasathiyyah. It is critical to discuss since many terrorist acts have been associated with and perpetrated in the name of Islam (Bar, 2004, p. 27).

What is wasathiyyah, according to Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi?

The term wasathiyyah is an Arabic term derived from the word wasat, yasitu, sittah, which is equivalent to wa’ada, yaidu, ‘iddah. The word wasat appears in the Qur’an as nouns (QS. Al-Baqarah: 143), verbs (QS. Al-‘Adiyat: 5) and adjectives (QS. Al-Baqarah: 238; QS. Al – Qalam: 28; QS. Al-Maidah: 89).

The word wasat means “the middle” (Al-Qardhawi, 1430, p. 18-20). According to Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, wasathiyyah is the right balance action in all aspects. 

Baca juga: Moderasi Islam: Wajah Akhir Islam Indonesia?

As he explained below:

“Wasathiyyah is the (right) balance between mind and revelation, matter and spirit, rights and duties, individualism and collectivism, inspiration and obligations, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the permanent and the transient, relaying on the past and looking forward to the future.” (Al-Qardhawi, 1430, p. 18; Soage, 2010, p. 566).

Furthermore, al-Qaradawi explained that wasathiyyah‘s attitude does not only mean in the middle but can combine the two; such as reason and revelation, as well as the goodness of the world and the hereafter(Al-Qardhawi, 1430, p. 24).

Because the Qur’an demonstrates that the word wasatiyyah has multiple meanings. Al-Qaradhwai explaines several other meanings of wasathiyyah, including below.

First and foremost, wasatiyyah means ‘adl which can be deduced from QS. Al-Qalam: 28 as the prophet Muhammad’s interpretation described by Imam Ahmad and al-Bukhari.

Second, wasatiyyah refers to istiqamah (consistency). Wasatiyah, according to al-Qaradawi, is a manhaj (path) that is straight and free of deviations and deviations (QS. Al-Fatihah: 6).

Third, as explained in QS. Al-Baqarah 143, wasatiyyah means khairiyyah (best). As mentioned in a hadith, the best case is the middle one (khair al-umur awsatuha).

Forth, wasatiyyah also means safety and keeping away from harm.

Fifth, wasatiyyah refers to dalil al-quwwah (strength), as mentioned in QS. Al-Rum: 54.

The last, wasatiyyah means markaz al-wahdah (center of the unity) (Al-Qardhawi, 1430,p. 25).

All the meanings of wasathiyyah above represent the characteristic of Islam. Therefore, Islam should be applied to these characteristics.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi states that Islam has taught its adherents to be wasathiyyah (moderate) in every aspect of life such as in belieft/ faith, worship, morality, social life.

In terms of faith(aqidah), Islam teaches moderation in belief, which distinguishes its adherents from groups that believe in everything without clear evidence (as mentioned in QS. Al-Najm: 28), from those who deify humans, from those who purify prophets to make them gods, from those who have many gods, and from those who believe in reason as the only source of knowledge (Al-Qardhawi, 1430,p. 33-35).

This viewpoint is similar to Shaykh Nawawi al- Bantani’s explanation of wasatiyyah in belief (Nawawi Al-Bantani, 1997, p. 603-604).

In terms of worship(shari’ah), Islam is moderate religion which requires the right balance in action. This distinguishes Islam from religions that emphasize spirituality, such as Buddhism, and religions that only emphasize afterlife issues, such as Christianity, which forbids priests (monks) from marrying.

Islam also orders its people to do good deeds and worship as prescribed in QS. Al-Jumu’ah 9-10. Islam does not take advantage of its people’s time to worship; instead, Islam orders prayer five times a day, pilgrimage once in a lifetime, fasting once a year, and so on (Al-Qardhawi, 2008, p. 28-29). This explanation shows that Islam is moderate in shari’ah.

In terms of morality(akhlaq), Islam also teaches moral moderation. Islam emphasizes the importance of balancing reason and lust. Islam is moderate in its outlook on the world and the afterlife.

Baca juga: Urgensi Jihad dalam Islam dan Perdamaian

Besides, regardingtasyri’ or regulation, Islam also applies moderation in determining what is legal and forbidden. Islam is wasatiyyah in terms of halal and haram among Jews who are excessive in their prohibitions and Christians who are excessive in their permissibility (QS. Al-Nisa: 60-61).

Moderation occurs within the family, such as in the case of restricted marriage (polygamy), the permissibility of divorce, and moderation in peace and war. (Al-Qardhawi, 1430, p. 39)

Thus, al-Qaradawi’s explanation above shows that Islam is a middle path in all aspects of life. Wasathiyyah is a characteristic unique to Islam.

As a result, these characteristics must be applied in all aspects of life, both personal and social. Moderation in all aspects taught by Islam would be sufficient to break the arguments or views that frequently dismiss Islam as a source of violence and extreme teachings.


Al-Qardhawi, Y. (1430).Fiqh al-Wasathiyyah al-Islamiyyah wa al-Tajdid. Markaz al-Qaradhawi.

Al-Qardhawi, Y. (2008).Kalimat fi al-Wasatiyyah al-Islamiyyah wa Ma’alimuha. Dar al-Shuruq.

Bar, S. (2004). The Religious Sources Of Islamic Terrorism.Policy Revies. https://www.aclu.org/

Nawawi Al-Bantani, M. bin U. (1997).Marah al-Labid Li Kasyf Ma’na al-Qur’an al-Majid. Dar al-Kutub al-’Ilmiyyah.

Soage, A. B. (2010). Sheikh Yūsuf al-Qaradawi: A Moderate Voice from the Muslim World?: A Moderate Voice from the Muslim World?Religion Compass,4(9), 563–575. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-8171.2010.00236.x

Editor: Sukma W.

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Ph.D student in Islamic Studies at Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII).


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