The sun and moon revolve to a computation; And the grasses and the trees bow to God in adoration. He raised the sky and set the Balance so that none may err against the scales, and observe correct measure, weigh with justice, and not cheat the balance.
God is the king of balance. From the start He created creation to be a balanced whole. This can be easily perceived when we see how day and night, masculinity and feminity, sky and earth, water and fire all balance one another. God therefore is the circle around what is often called 'yin and yang'.
When the Qur'an says that the grasses and the trees ‘bow in adoration’, the imagery emphasizes the fact that they do not go against Gods flow of life. They ‘bow’ because they accept Gods law and ‘exist’ accordingly. The same cannot always be said of humans since they often disrupt the balance in their own life and in their surroundings.
Our egos often illusion us that we do not have to live according to the divine flow of life. But our soul is divine like our body is natural. If we deny the balance of nature we would kill our bodies. If we would only breathe in and refuse to breathe out, we’d die. The same is true for the soul. If we only wish to receive but never give, we become cold and lifeless. If we deny the balance of the divine, we will disrupt our soul. So the best way for us to adore God is not by merely uttering words of thanks but to actively seek balance in our lives and observe the correct measure in our dealings with others.
What Christians can learn
Often Christians have an emphasis on moral principles of which they forget how they have to be linked to the search for balance. As such, the search for correct proportion gets overshadowed by insistence on a certain idea or moral rule. One example is that we find ourselves in a society that constantly insists on ‘human rights’ on the one hand but on the other creates a global economic system that structurally enriches the rich and exploits the poor. Of course man-made laws that are created to procure more justice are to be supported, but we should never forget that they will fail to produce that justice if it doesn’t go together with an active effort to create the proper balance in society.
We therefore need to become more sensitive to the disruption of balance on the economic and political level and try to rebalance our world. And it is therefore good for many Christians to remember that God does not only ask some well-intended philanthropy of us but calls us to actively strive towards more economic and social balance.
Questions for Muslims
Does this balance simply mean that we all should know our place in life? Does it mean that the tasks of everyone are properly set out? That sort of role-based balance seems incompatible with the nature of reality for nothing stays the same forever and the world around us always changes. We are constantly confronted with new situations and as such we always need to redetermine how to balance those situations. Sometimes there needs to be a bit more of one thing and sometimes a bit less of another. When one aspect of life goes out of hand in one way, we often need to counter it with its opposite.
Balance can therefore never be strict and final. It is by definition something that needs to be sought again and again and again.
Therefore I wonder whether the balance between man and woman is not wrongly conceived in certain Muslim communities. Are the relationships in balance and are women given enough of their share? When the Quran granted rights to women, did it not do so to balance the unbalanced situation where previously they had no rights at all? And is it the letter of the Quran that should be followed or the spirit? Should women be stuck in rules that applied in one time or should we acknowledge all the changes in the world and seek for new forms of balance that give a more just share to all? Is it specific forms and role-patterns that determine the balance of our relationships or is it the way in which love and equality can freely flow between people?
It seems to me that the Quran implies that no-one can be the king in a relationship for only God is the king of true balance, not people. It is love and compassion that will give rise to real balance, not specific role-patterns.