“Waste no time debating what a good Muslim should be. Be one!”
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. Rasul Allah 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 Rasul Allah's 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
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
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
"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 grandsons of Rasul Allah once set one of 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
The man watched intently as the two grandsons of Rasul Allah 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 - Hikmah Amaliyyah.
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 knowledge.
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
Rasul Allah 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
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
"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.
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 Rasul Allah in Madinah.
Before Rasul Allah 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
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
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.
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
We see when Rasul Allah 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
"O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends…" -
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 Rasul Allah acted.
Consider the following examples:
“I lose and you win!”
A Bedouin came to Rasul Allah 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. Rasul Allah commanded everyone to leave
Then by the hand, Rasul Allah 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, Rasul Allah asked him, “Have I honored you?” “Yes, by
Allah,” said the Bedouin. “Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah, wa ashhadu
anna Muhammadar Rasul Allah.”
When the Sahabah heard of how the man changed, Rasul Allah 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 willingly.
‘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
“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 Rasul Allah to have her punishment canceled. Rasul
Allah became very angry and stood on the pulpit and announced, “By
Allah, had Fatima the daughter of Muhammad stole I would have cut her
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 Rasul
Allah gave a way out for the people he differed with.
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
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 Rasul Allah and related what had happened and what he
said. Rasul Allah 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.” Rasul Allah 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
Let us leave today with a resolve to revive this air Rasul Allah and his
companions breathed, an air of mercy and love and brotherhood.
And Allah knows best.