A series of lectures based on the Etiquette and Manners to be Observed by Muslims When Differing delivered by Shaykh Abdur Rauf Shakir, May Allah, ar-Raheem be pleased with him, grant him good health, endow him with strength and facilitate him so that he continues to benefit the Muslims, accept his efforts and reward him abundantly, as only He, the Almighty, can reward, Aameen.
Islam has imposed high standards for how the Muslim who follows the methodology of the Prophetic Sunnah (tradition) should deal with his brother who has differed with him on an issue of ‘Ijtihaad’ (exercise of independent judgment in matters that have no specific mention in the Quran or Sunnah).
How outstanding is the statement of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (may Allaah exalt his mention): “Indeed I have been sent to perfect noble manners.” [Reported by Al-Bukhaari in Al-Adabul-Mufrad]
From these manners are:
1 – To have an open heart by accepting what comes to you when your Muslim brother points out some mistakes you have made, and to know that this is from sincere advice which he is giving to you as a gift for Allaah’s sake. This is what is referred to as humility. Refusing to accept the truth and becoming angry as a result is actually from pride.
Indeed, the most truthful person – Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Pride is to reject the truth and to scorn others.” [Al-Bukhaari]
There are many examples of humility that our pious predecessors have demonstrated to us; from them is what Al-Haafith Ibn ‘Abdul-Barr, a famous Muslim scholar, once related: “A number of people informed me that Abu Muhammad Qaasim bin Asbagh said: ‘When I travelled to the east, I stopped at Al-Qayrawaan (in Tunisia) and listened to a Hadeeth that was memorised by Musaddad from Bakr bin Hammaad. I then proceeded to Baghdad and stayed there for some time.
“When I left, I returned to him (i.e., Bakr) to complete the Hadeeth of Musaddad; then, one day, I read to him the Hadeeth of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “A people from Mudhar (a famous Arab tribe) came in striped woollen shirts” (in Arabic: Mujtaabi An-Nimar). He said to me: ‘It is Mujtaabi Ath-Thimar.’ So I said: ‘’Mujtaabi An-Nimar’ is how I read it out to all those I read it to in Andalus (Andalusia) and Iraq.’
“So, he (i.e., Bakr) said to me: ‘By entering Iraq, you have contradicted us and become arrogant with us.’ Then he said: ‘Let us go to that Shaykh (scholar) – a Shaykh who is in the mosque – for he has the like of this knowledge.’ So I went with him and we asked him about this issue, so he replied: ‘It is Mujtaabi An-Nimar, just as you said. They used to wear ‘Nimar’ (striped clothing), with pockets at their fronts, and Nimar is the plural of Naamirah.’ Bakr bin Hammaad then said, whilst holding his nose: ‘My nose lowers itself to the truth, my nose humbles itself to the truth’ and then departed.”
Do you not see this amazing sense of justice? How dire is our need for it today! However, this is not possible except for those who purify their intentions for Allaah’s sake. Imam Maalik, the founder of one of the four schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “There is nothing more scarce in our time than justice.”
So, what is the case in our present time, a time in which false desires are plentiful? We seek refuge in Allaah from misguiding trials.
2 – To use the finest and most appropriate words when discussing and debating with one’s brother, for Allaah, the Exalted, Says (what means): “…And speak to people good [words]…” [Qur’aan 2:83]