Unity - resolving differences
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
Prophet (SAW) had given the title of “the wise man of the Ummah” to Abu Darda (RA). He commanded much respect for his intelligence, foresight, understanding, wisdom and upright conduct. He relates that once Prophet (SAW) asked his companions:
“Shouldn’t I tell you a virtue which excels Salat, [prayer] Sadaqah [charity] and Saum [fast]?”
The companions knew well the reward for the Salat and that of Sadaqah, for which reward is multiplied a hundred times. The also knew the virtue of the Saum for which Allah (SWT) says that “Fast is for me and I Myself will give its reward”, and according to another narration, “Allah (SWT) will Himself be its reward.” The companions were all curious to know the excellence of the act, which surpasses the Salat, Sadaqah and Fasting, so they fondly submitted.
“Please advise us Yaa Rasul Allah.” Prophet (SAW) said: “It is through bringing mutual reconciliation between two estranged Muslims.” Prophet (SAW) meant that if differences have ruptured the relations between two brothers, then bringing them closer and creating harmony and peace between them is a virtuous act, which excels the supererogatory (Nawaafil) prayers and the fasts. In yet another tradition, Prophet (SAW) said: “Mutual discords and differences are shavers.” Explaining it further, he (SAW) added: “I don’t mean that it shaves your hair, but it shaves of your faith, because the environment of hatred gives birth to other sins like anger, backbiting, and accusations. These sins extinguish the light of Faith and darken the heart. Prophet (SAW) has advised us to be safe and away from differences, quarrels and disputes.
This is an important advice of our beloved Prophet (SAW) with regards to our social life. We should be very careful and should not let the peace and harmony of our individual and collective life be tarnished by discord. If we see that there exists an estrangement between two individuals, two families, or two groups, then we should sincerely work for reconciliation between them.
Every one of us knows that Prophet (SAW) is Imaam ul Ambia, the leader of all Prophets. He used to lead the prayers and in his presence no one could do that. How fortunate it was for his (SAW)’s companions to pray behind him and under his leadership. You will be surprised to know that once he (SAW) couldn’t go to the Masjid on time to lead the prayers and the prayer was led by Abdul Rahman bin Auf (RA). Do you know the reason? It was because that Prophet (SAW) had learned about a discord between two groups of Muslims, so he (SAW) spent his time in bringing back the lost love between them and that is why he was late for prayers. What can be said more to emphasize the importance of peace and reconciliation between two brothers or groups!
Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an in Aayah 114 of Surah Nisa:
“There is no good in most of their secret talk, only in commanding charity, or good, or reconciliation between people. To anyone who does these things, seeking to please Allah, We shall give [him] a rich reward…”
and Aayah 10 of Surah al-Hujuarat:
“The believers are brothers, so make peace between your two brothers and be mindful of Allah, so that you may be given mercy.”
Prophet (SAW) said: “I guarantee a house in the middle of Paradise for him, who quits a quarrel in spite being on the Haq”, i.e. being right and justified on his stand and yet giving up the argument to prove himself right. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) had taught us that for bringing two estranged brothers back together in love and for resolving their dispute, if one says a thing which is not true, than the person wouldn’t be considered a liar. The fact further underscores the importance of reconciliation. [Bukhari & Muslim]
Our religion has clear instructions to resolve problems arising out of disputes and differences among individuals and groups. These instructions can protect us from many evils. Haji Imdadullah Muhaji Makki (RehmA) has diagnosed our ailment and prescribed the medicine. He said that we don’t get tired calling for unity and preaching others to get united, but are ignorant ourselves about unity’s very root and basic requirement. We fail to do what we preach. He recommended us to inculcate two essential characteristics, namely Tawa’zo [humility] and Eesaar [sacrifice and consideration for others]. The main cause of our differences, disputes and quarrels is lack of Tawa’zo and over consciousness of “self pride”. Unknowingly we suffer from ‘superiority complex’. We think that we have rights over others, but at the same time disregard the fact that others have rights over us too. We expect others to be dutiful to us, but forget that we owe duties towards others also. We have a frail ego and keep feeding it with over sensitivity about our own importance. We think that we have all the wisdom that there is, and others are less intelligent and so less important. The second flaw in us is the lack of Eesaar, [consideration for others] i.e. the lack of the spirit of sacrifice for a brother by giving him more importance over the self and preferring his need over our own need.
Reconciliation and peaceful conduct of our affairs is very essential for the good of our society. It is a great sin to further the breach and widen the gap of differences between two brothers or two groups. Such a sin generates more sins causing the sinner to sink deeper and deeper into sins. Our faith dictates us to act as a bridge between two estranged brothers, work to ease the tension between them, and help resolve their dispute, bring them closer to each other in peace and harmony, and strengthen the bonds of love.
We should clean our hearts of anger, envy, jealousy, pride, prejudice, rancor, self importance, selfishness, and showmanship. We should evaluate our words, examine our actions and interactions, pay attention to our verbal and non-verbal communication, i.e. body language and continue to be our own unbiased judge. We should build our character on healthy lines, be vigilant to guard our own conduct and continue to purify the heart. We should learn to be polite and humble. We better correct ourselves before jumping to correct others. If we are sure that our brother needs to be corrected, we should then learn the tact and wisdom; choose the right time, the right method and the right words, otherwise our act is bound to be counter productive. Forgetting and forgiving are virtues and we can find these attributes only in a Momin, who is always considerate, generous, gracious, large-hearted, noble and forgiving.
Interpretation of the Holy Qur’an by Haafiz Ibne-Kathir (RehmA) mentions an incident related by Anas (RA). He says that he once saw Prophet (SAW) smiling. Sayyidina Umar (RA) submitted: “Yaa Rasul Allah, what brought smile to your blessed lips?” He (SAW) replied: “I saw two people of my Ummah kneeling before Allah (SWT).
One person said: “Yaa Allah, I want revenge because this person has oppressed me, i.e. has done wrong to me.”
Allah (SWT) commands the oppressor to pay the grieved person his due.”
The oppressor submits; “My Lord, I have no single good deed left in my account, to give him exchange for the wrong I did to him.”
Listening to this excuse, the oppressed person requests Allah (SWT) to have his bad deeds transferred to the account of the oppressor.”
Allah (SWT) commands the oppressed to look up and see the Paradise.
The oppressed looks up and exclaims: “Yaa Allah, to whom belong these palaces of gold and mansions of silver; they must be for the prophets, the exalted truthful believers, and the martyrs?”
Allah (SWT) says: “They belong to whoever pays their price.”
The oppressed submits again: “My Lord, who can afford their price?”
Allah (SWT) responds: “You can pay its price.”
The oppressed submits: “How my Exalted Lord, how?”
Allah (SWT) replies: “By forgiving your brother.”
Stunned and amazed by the answer, the oppressed submits: “I forgive him my Lord, I forgive him.”
Allah (SWT) commands: “Then hold on to the hand of your brother and both of you enter Paradise.”
Having narrated the incident Prophet (SAW) added: “O, People fear Allah; keep reconciled with each other, Allah (SWT) will also reconcile people on the Day of Judgment. [Tafseer ibn Kathir. Vol. 2 p. 269].
May Allah enable us to realize the importance of the gift of life and the countless blessings we have been bestowed with and utilize our time prudently and wisely and the way it pleases Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (SAW). Aameen!
SWT = Subhanahu Wa Ta'Ala
SAW = Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam
RAnha= Radhiyallaho anha
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.