Friday, 17 June 2011

When Friends Hurt Each Other

When Friends Hurt Each Other

By Muhammad Alshareef, LL.B Shari’ah

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Imam Malik one day entered the Masjid after Asr. Towards the front
of Masjid An-Nabawee he drew closer and sat down. Rasulullah (saw)
had commanded that anyone who enters the Masjid should not sit until
he first prays 2 rakas as a salutation of the Masjid. Imam Malik
was of the opinion however that Rasulullah’s (saw) forbiddance
of praying after Asr took precedence and so he would teach his students
to not pray the tahiyyatul Masjid if they entered between the Asr
and Maghrib time.

At that moment that Imam Malik sat down, a young boy had seen him
sit without first praying the 2 raka’s of Tahiyyatul Masjid.
The young boy scorned him, “Get up and pray 2 rakas!”

Imam Malik dutifully stood up once again and began praying the
2 rakas. The students sat stunned: What was going on? Had Imam Malik’s
opinion changed?

After he had completed the salah, the students swarmed around and
questioned his actions. Imam Malik said, “My opinion has not
changed, nor have I gone back on what I taught you earlier. I merely
feared that had I not prayed the 2 rakas as the young boy commanded,
Allah may include me in the Ayah…

[And when it is said to them, ‘Bow (in prayer)’, they
do not bow.] - al mursalat 77/48.

Imam Ahmad held the opinion that eating camel meat nullifies ones
Wudu, an opinion that the majority of scholars differed from. Some
students asked him, “If you find an Imam eating camel meat
in front of you and – without first making Wudu - then leads
the Salah, would you pray behind him?” Imam Ahmad replied,
“Do you think I would not pray behind the likes of Imam Malik
and Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyab?”

Allah created humans with differences. It is the law of creation.
Different tongues, different colors, different cultures… all
that on the outside. On the inside, humans were created with many
degrees of knowledge, intellect, and comprehension of concepts.
This is all a sign of Allah’s all encompassing power to do
whatever He wills:

"And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the
earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily
in that are signs for those who know." [30:22]

Humans shall differ, that is not the issue. The issue is: How as
a Muslim should one confront these differences of opinions and what
should be our relationship with someone of a different opinion.

Allah ta’ala commanded us to call and advise people in this
Deen of Al-Islam. Many Muslims set off on this mission blindfolded,
not realizing that the map was there in the Qur’an also. In
fact, in the very same verse where Allah commanded us to call and
advise people in this Deen, Allah taught us how to do it. Read the
following verse carefully:

[Invite (fi’l Amr – Allah is commanding) to the way
of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction and argue with them
in a way that is best! ] – Surah An-Nahl 16/125.

There is no need to philosophize. No need to talk in the flower
gardens. It is right there, plain and simple for anyone who would
take heed.

There in that Ayah are the three ingredients to apply when we disagree
with someone. The same Allah that taught us to debate the truth,
taught us how to do it:

1. With Hikmah

2. With good instruction, and

3. To argue in a way that is best.

What does it mean to have Hikmah when differing with someone?

The nephews of Rasulullah (saw) once set one the most beautiful
examples of Hikmah in advising others. Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn –
in their young age - once saw a senior man performing Wudu incorrectly.
Together they arranged a plan to teach the man without insulting
him, advising him in a manner befitting of his age.

Together they went to the senior and announced, “My brother
and I have differed over who amongst us performs Wudu the best.
Would you mind being the judge to determine which one of us indeed
performs Wudu more correctly.”

The man watched intently as the two grandsons of Rasulullah (saw)
performed Wudu in an explicit manner. After they had completed,
he thanked them and said, “By Allah, I did not know how to
perform Wudu before this. You have both taught me how to do it correctly.”

We must understand that there are two dimensions to Hikmah. Firstly,
there is the Hikmah of knowledge – Hikmah Ilmiyyah. And secondly,
there is the Hikmah of Action – HikmahAmaliyyah.

Some people may have Hikmah of knowledge. But we see that when
they try correcting others, advising them, they lack the Hikmah
of Action. This causes many a common folk to reject the Hikmah of

To illustrate this hikmah of knowledge without Hikmah of action,
a brother once completed the Salah in a local Masjid and then proceeded
to shake hands with the people on his right and left. The brother
to his immediate right slapped his hand and snapped, “That
is not part of the Sunnah!” The man replied most correctly,
“Oh, is disrespect and insult part of the Sunnah?”

To show Hikmah when we differ requires the following:


One: If we differ, our intentions should be that we are differing
in the sincere hope of coming away with the truth. Our intentions
should be sincere to Allah.

We should not differ just to release some hate or envy in our heart.
We should not differ to embarrass someone like we may have been

Rasulullah (saw) said, “Whoever learns knowledge –
knowledge from that which should be sought for the sake of Allah
– only to receive a commodity of the material world, he shall
not find the fragrance of jannah on the day of resurrection.”

- An authentic hadith narrated by Abu Dawood in Kitab Al- Ilm.

Kindness and Gentleness

Two: To have Hikmah when differing means we should rarely depart
from an atmosphere of kindness and gentleness, we should seldom
allow ourselves to become angry and raise our voices.

Fir’own was one of the evilest people that lived. Musa was
one of the noblest. Look at how Allah told Musa to advise Fir’own…

[Go, both of you, to Fir’own. Indeed, he has transgressed.
And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or
fear (Allah).]

A man once entered upon the Khalifah and chastised him for some
policies he had taken. The Khalifah replied, “By Allah, Fir’own
was more eviler than me. And by Allah, Musa was more pious than
you. Yet, Allah commanded him…[And speak to him with gentle
speech, perhaps he may remember or fear (Allah).]

Take Your Time and Clarify

Three: To have Hikmah when dealing with others is to be patient
and clarify things before snapping to conclusions.

Imam Ahmad narrates with his chain of narrators leading to Ibn
Abbas who said, “A man from Bani Saleem passed by a group
of the Prophet’s companions. (At that time of war) The man
said ‘as salamu alaykum’ to them. The companions concluded
that he only said ‘as salamu alaykum’ to them as a deception
to save himself from being caught. They surrounded him and Malham
ibn Juthaamah killed him. From that event Allah revealed the verse…

[O you who have believed, when you go forth (to fight) in the cause
of Allah, investigate, and do not say to one who gives you (a greeting
of peace), “You are not a believer,” Aspiring for the
goods of worldly life; for with Allah are many acquisitions. You
(yourselves) were like that before; then Allah conferred His favor
(i.e. guidance) upon you, so investigate. Indeed, Allah is ever
with what you do, acquainted.]

- Surah AnNisa, 4/94. From Tafseer Ibn Katheer.

Speak Kindly

Fourthly, never trade in kind words for harshness, especially when
dealing with other Muslims.

Look at the power of a sincere and polite word:

Mus’ab ibn Umayr was the first of ambassador of Rasulullah
(saw) in Madinah. Before Rasulullah (saw) had arrived in Madinah,
Mus’ab taught ahl al-Madinah about Islam and they began to
enter the Deen.

This enraged Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah, one of the chieftains
of Madinah. He sheathed his sword and set off for the head of Mus’ab
ibn ‘Umayr. When he confronted Mus’ab he threatened,
“Stop this nonsense you speak or you shall find yourself dead!”

Mus’ab replied in the way that should be a lesson for us
all. This man before him did not stop at rudeness and ignorance,
he wanted to slit his throat.

Mus’ab said, “Shall you not sit and listen for a few
moments. If you agree with what I say then take it, and if not,
we shall desist from this talk.” Sa’d sat down.

Mus’ab spoke about Allah and His messenger until the face
of Sa’d ibn Ubaadah’s face shone like a full moon and
he said, “What should a person do who wishes to enter into
this Deen?” After Mus’ab had told him he said, “There
is a man, if he accepts this Deen, there shall be no home in Madinah
that will not become Muslim. Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh.”

When Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh heard what was happening, he
was infuriated. He left his home to go and kill this man called
Mus’ab ibn Umayr for the dissention he had caused. He entered
upon Mus’ab and announced, “You shall desist of this
religion you speak of or you shall find yourself dead!”

Mus’ab replied, “Shall you not sit and listen for a
few moments. If you agree with what I say then take it, and if not,
I shall desist from this talk.” Sa’d sat.

Mus’ab spoke about Allah and His messenger until the face
of Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh’s face shone like a full moon
and he said, “What should a person do who wishes to enter
into this Deen?”

Look at what a kind word did. Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh went
home to his Madinan tribe that night and announced to them all,
“Everything of yours is Haram upon me until you all enter
into Islam.”

That night, every home in Madinah went to bed with Laa ilaaha illa
Allah … all because of a kind word.

Part II: Who wins?

Mu’aawiyah ibn al-Hakam al-Salami. When he came to Madeenah
from the desert, he did not know that it was forbidden to speak
during the salaah. He relates: “Whilst I was praying behind
the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
a man sneezed, so I said ‘Yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have
mercy on you).’ The people glared at me, so I said, ‘May
my mother lose me! What is wrong with you that you are looking at
me?’ They began to slap their thighs with their hands, and
when I saw that they were indicating that I should be quiet, I stopped
talking (i.e., I nearly wanted to answer them back, but I controlled
myself and kept quiet).

When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) had finished praying – may my father and mother
be sacrificed for him, I have never seen a better teacher than him
before or since – he did not scold me or hit me or put me
to shame. He just said, ‘This prayer should contain nothing
of the speech of men; it is only tasbeeh and takbeer and recitation
of the Qur’aan.’” (Saheeh Muslim, ‘Abd al-Baaqi
edn., no. 537).

Islam showed us how to differ with one another. Some people think
that we should never differ at all and all disagreements should
be avoided. Nay, this is an incorrect assumption, for the Qur’an
and Sunnah show clearly that when a mistake is made it should be
corrected. Indeed helping others do what is right is a requirement
of the Deen, sincere Naseeha.

We see when Rasulullah (saw) turned away from AbdAllah ibn Umm
Maktoom, the blind man, Allah corrected him in the Qur’an…

[The Prophet) frowned and turned away, Because there came to him
the blind man But what could tell you that perchance he might become
pure (from sins)? Or that he might receive admonition, and that
the admonition might profit him?] – surah Abasa, 1-4

When Haatib ibn Abi Balta’ah (may Allaah be pleased with
him) made the mistake of writing to the kuffaar of Quraysh and informing
them of the direction in which the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) was headed on a military campaign against
them, Allaah revealed the words:

[O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends…]
- Surah Mumtahinah/1

And so on. Thus we learn that when a mistake happens it should
be corrected. However, the method of correction is what needs our

Whenever Muslims argue, it is as if each party carries a banner
of: ‘I must win and you must lose!’ Careful study of
the Sunnah however shows us that this is not always the case with
the way Rasulullah (saw) acted. Consider the following examples:

“I lose and you win!”

A Bedouin came to Rasulullah (saw) and told him, “Give me
from what Allah gave you, not from the wealth of your mother nor
from the wealth of your father.” The Sahaabah were furious
at the man and step forward to discipline him for what he said.
Rasulullah (saw) commanded everyone to leave him.

Then by the hand, Rasulullah (saw) took him home, opened his door
and said, “Take what you wish and leave what you wish.”
The man did so and after he completed, Rasulullah (saw) asked him,
“Have I honored you?” “Yes, by Allah,” said
the Bedouin. “Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah, wa ashhadu
anna Muhammadar Rasulullah.”

When the Sahabah heard of how the man changed, Rasulullah (saw)
taught them. “Verily the example of myself, you and this Bedouin
is that of a man who had his camel run away. The townspeople tried
capturing the camel for him by running and shouting after the camel,
only driving it further away. The man would shout, ‘Leave
me and my camel, I know my camel better.’ Then he took some
grass in his hand, ruffled it in front of the camel, until it came

‘By Allah, had I left you to this Bedouin, you would have
hit him, hurt him, he would have left without Islam and eventually
have entered hellfire.”

“I win and you lose!”

A Muslim should not have an apologetic stance to everything he
is confronted with. There are times when the truth must be said,
when there is no room for flattery.

When the Makhzoomi women – a women from an affluent family
– stole, people approached Rasulullah (saw) to have her punishment
canceled. Rasulullah (saw) became very angry and stood on the pulpit
and announced, “By Allah, had Fatima the daughter of Muhammad
stole I would have cut her hand off.”

No room for flattery, the truth must be stood up for. It is here
that the etiquette of disagreement that we talked earlier about
should shine.

“I win and you win!”

There doesn’t always have to be a loser. We see in many cases
that Rasulullah (saw) gave a way out for the people he differed

When he sent the letter to Caesar, he said in it, “Become
Muslim and you shall be safe, Allah shall give you your reward double!”

He did not say surrender or die! Nothing of the sort. Become Muslim
and you shall win, rather your victory shall be double.

I shall end with this shining example of how to act with other
Muslims from our role model, Abu Bakr:

Abu Bakr once disputed with another companion about a tree. During
the dispute Abu Bakr said something that he rather would not have
said. He did not curse, he did not attack someone’s honor,
he did not poke a fault in anyone, all he said was something that
may have hurt the other companion’s feelings.

Immediately, Abu Bakr – understanding the mistake - ordered
him, “Say it back to me!” The companion said, “I
shall not say it back.” “Say it back to me,” said
Abu Bakr, “Or I shall complain to the Messenger of Allah.”
The companion refused to say it back and went on his way.

Abu Bakr went to Rasulullah (saw) and related what had happened
and what he said. Rasulullah (saw) called that companion and asked
him, “Did Abu Bakr say so and so to you?” He said, “Yes.”
He said, “What did you reply.” He said, “I did
not reply it back to him.” Rasulullah (saw) said, “Good,
do not reply it back to him (do not hurt Abu Bakr). Rather say,
‘May Allah forgive you O Abu Bakr!’”

The Companion turned to Abu Bakr and said, “May Allah forgive
you O Abu Bakr! May Allah forgive you O Abu Bakr!” Abu Bakr
turned and cried as he walked away.

Let us leave today with a resolve to revive this air Rasulullah
(saw) and his companions breathed, an air of mercy and love and

And Allah knows best.


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