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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 An-Nabawee 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 rak`as 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 Tahiyyat ul Masjid if they entered between

the Asr and Maghrib time.


At that moment when  Imam Malik sat down, a young boy had seen him sit

without first praying the 2 raka's of Tahiyyat ul Masjid. The young boy

scorned him, "Get up and pray 2 rak`as!"


Imam Malik dutifully stood up once again and began praying the 2 rak`as. 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 rak`as 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 one’s 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 he  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:


With Hikmah With good instruction, and To argue in a way that is best.

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


The nephews of Rasul Allah 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 person 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 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 embarrassed.

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 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 (AS) was one of the

noblest. Look at how Allah (SWT) told Musa (AS) 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 An Nisa, 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  ambassador of Rasul Allah in Madinah.

Before Rasul Allah had arrived in Madinah, Mus'ab taught ahl al-Madinah (people of Madinah) about Islam and they began to enter the Deen.


Mus'ab  said,  "There is a man in Madinah, if he accepts this Deen, there shall be no home in Madinah that will not become Muslim. That person’s name is 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 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 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."

Then Sa'd  ibn Mu’aadh sat down.


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?" He recited the Kalima and became a Muslim.


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 Madinah 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’an'" (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 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 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 attention.

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 this man and stepped  forward to discipline him for

what he said. Rasul Allah (SAW) commanded everyone to leave him alone.

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 (SAW) asked him, "Have I honored you?" "Yes, by Allah,"

said the Bedouin.  The Bedouin announced "Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasul Allah."  Allah (SWT) gave the TAWHID to our prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the Bedouin wanted what Allah (SWT) gave to our prophet Muhammad (SAW) which is the TAWHID.


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



'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



When the Makhzoomi woman – that is a woman from an affluent family - stole, people

approached Rasul Allah (SAW)  to have her punishment cancelled. Rasul Allah (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 Rasul

Allah (SAW)  gave a way out for the people he differed with.





When the Prophet (SAW) sent the letter to Caesar, he wrote in it, "Become a  Muslim and you shall be safe, Allah shall give you,  your reward will be doubled!"


He did not say surrender or die! Nothing of that sort. Become a Muslim and you

Shall win, rather your victory shall be doubled.


I shall end with this shining example of how to act with other Muslims from

our role model, Abu Bakr Siddiqui (RA)


Abu Bakr  (RA) once disputed with another companion about a tree. During the

dispute Abu Bakr (RA)  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



Immediately, Abu Bakr (RA) – realizing his 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 (RA) went to Rasul Allah (SAW) 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 (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 (RA)  turned and cried as he

walked away.


Let us leave today with a resolve to revive this air Rasul Allah (SAW) and his

companions breathed, an air of mercy and love and brotherhood.


And Allah knows best.


By Muhammad Alshareef

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