Allah, the Exalted, says:
"The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers.'' (49:10)
Anas bin Malik (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sal’Allahu alaihe wassalam) said, "Do not desert one another, do not nurse hatred towards one another, do not be jealous of one another, and become as fellow brothers and slaves of Allah. It is not lawful for a Muslim to stop talking to his (Muslim) brother for more than three days.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Arabic word ‘hijran’, which has been translated into English in the Hadith above as ‘desert’, means to terminate contacts and speech. All the things mentioned in the Hadith are prohibited because they go against the spirit of Muslim brotherhood. Muslims are ordained to maintain the bond of Islamic fraternity. Since Islam is a religion based on the nature of man, it has suitable concessions in all of mankind’s natural affairs. When there occurs a dispute between two Muslims, unpleasantness is bound to result from it and, in such situations, they naturally do not like to speak or maintain contact with each other.
Islamic Sharia has acknowledged the validity of this reaction and granted permission to the parties to suspend speech for three days. Since longevity of suspension of contact leads to severe hatred and animosity, which increases dissension in society, creates obstruction in family relations and injures the bond of friendship, Muslims have been ordered not to let this temporary unpleasantness and turbidity go beyond a period of three days.
Sadly, gossip, in the form of backbiting & slander, runs rampant throughout the Ummah like a virus, and it is the worst sickness to affect the unity that Allah has prescribed for all Muslims. We are not even allowed, except in certain circumstances, to say anything about anyone, if that person would dislike that thing being said about him/her, even if it is true.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (sal’Allahu alaihe wassalam) asked his Companions (RA): "Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of Allah said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him."
And, even in those circumstances where it may, possibly, be considered permissible to backbite, it then becomes incumbent on those who receive the information to seek clarification, verify whether the accusation is indeed true, and to inform the person that has been spoken against about the charges. We should do that in order to give the accused person the opportunity to, firstly, confirm or deny the accusation and then, if it is confirmed, to give him/her the chance to either justify the action/s, with Islamic proofs, or in order to inform the person that it was wrong to do it, so that he/she may learn and correct himself/herself.
We definitely shouldn’t make assumptions or take just one side of a story, without listening to the other, and make judgements. If, for example, we see a Muslim Brother with a woman whom we know is not his wife, should we then assume that he is doing wrong before clarifying? The woman may, for all we know, be his biological sister.
Dawud (alaihe salaam) was one of the greatest Prophets of Allah (subhana wa’ta’Allah), yet Allah (subhana wa’ta’Allah) tells us in the Qur’an that, although Dawud (alaihe salaam) was one of the wisest men to have ever lived, even he shouldn’t have passed judgement without first hearing the other side of the story:
Has the Story of the Disputants reached you? Behold, they climbed over the wall of the private chamber;
When they entered the presence of Dawud, and he was terrified of them, they said: "Fear not: we are two disputants, one of whom has wronged the other: Decide now between us with truth, and treat us not with injustice, but guide us to the even Path..
"This man is my brother: He has nine and ninety ewes, and I have (but) one: Yet he says, 'commit her to my care,' and is (moreover) harsh to me in speech."
(Dawud) said: "He has undoubtedly wronged thee in demanding thy (single) ewe to be added to his (flock of) ewes: truly many are the partners (in business) who wrong each other: Not so do those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and how few are they?"...and Dawud gathered that We had tried him: he asked forgiveness of his Lord, fell down, bowing (in prostration), and turned (to Allah in repentance).
So We forgave him this (lapse): he enjoyed, indeed, a Near Approach to Us, and a beautiful place of (Final) Return. (35:21-25)
Although the accusation of the brother with just one sheep seemed compelling enough, on the face of it, to justify Dawud’s (alaihe salaam) judgement, the brother with the ninety-nine sheep may have just wanted to help him out by putting the one sheep among his own so that it may breed with them and, thereby, increase the poorer brother’s stock…one sheep alone can’t, after all, reproduce itself…and, Allah (subhana wa’ta’Allah) knows best.
Rasulullah (sal’Allahu alaihe wassalam) has given us an analogy of Muslim unity in the following Hadith narrated by Nu'man Ibn Bashir (RA): “The Muslim Ummah is like one body. If the eye is in pain then the whole body is in pain and if the head is in pain then the whole body is in pain”
So we, as part of the Muslim Ummah, whatever colour, nationality or gender, wherever we are, are part of this body. If any part of the Ummah is suffering, we should feel the pain and help alleviate it. Likewise, a body without one of its organs is not complete, and therefore weakened. And, sometimes the symptoms of illness appear in one part of the body, but the sickness originates in another part…should we, in such cases, amputate the part of the body where the symptoms have appeared, without first finding the cause of the illness and managing it? Of course not, yet some Muslims are quick to reject others that they don’t even know, based solely on gossip that they’ve heard, when they should, instead, reject the gossip and get to know the people (that are being gossiped about) for themselves. It could be that those who speak badly of people are the ones with the real problem, e.g. they could be envious, jealous or have some other sickness of the heart, or they may have ulterior motives, so we should never blindly accept gossip, and we definitely should not pass it on to others, because it’s a major sin to convey it and to listen to it.
Do not help one another in sin and transgression. (5:2)
O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor, for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts, lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well acquainted with all that you do. (4:135)
Thread: Muslim Unity
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21-Apr-2012 12:19 PM
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