Reconciling people

Reconciling people
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The difference between people is a factual reality and part of the human natural disposition given people’s different morals and natures, and due to their contention and vying for worldly gains like wealth, status and the like. Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ. Except whom your Lord has given mercy...} [Quran 11:118-119] Ibn Katheer  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “It means that people will always differ in their religions, creeds, ideologies, affiliations and opinions.” However, such difference should not lead to conflict, breaking off ties and discord.

Many of the disagreements and problems that occur between a Muslim and his fellow Muslim, a husband and his wife, or between friends could be traced back to the ill thoughts and doubts that the devil casts in people’s hearts and they yield to them, causing enmity, dissension and discord among them. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) referred to that when he  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Satan despaired of ever being worshipped by the people of Arabia, but he is still hopeful that he would incite them against each other.” [Imam Muslim] At-Teebi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “It means causing dissension, enmity and killing among them.” It was narrated on the authority of Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Satan places his throne on the water, then he sends his troops to people; the closest of them in position to him is the one who causes the most mischief. One of them comes to him and says: ‘I did such and such.’ Satan responds: ‘You have done nothing.’ (This process continues) until one (devil) comes and says: ‘I did not leave so-and-so until I separated between him and his wife.’ Thereupon, Satan brings him close to him and says: ‘You have done well!’” [Imam Muslim] Al-Qadhi ‘Iyadh  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: You have done well means, ‘You are the one who has caused serious damage and achieved the greatest accomplishment.’ It may also mean, ‘You are the one who sufficed me and fulfilled my desire,’ or ‘You are the dearest to me,’ or ‘You are the closest to me of all my messengers’ ... or ‘You are the daring and pleasing one,’ and the like. His remark is indicative of the gravity of separating spouses or divorce, its serious harm and evil, and the seriousness of the sin of seeking to separate the spouses as it involves severing the solemn bond that Allah, the Exalted, has commanded to maintain, breaking up a relationship in which Allah instilled mutual mercy and affection, destroying a family founded on Islam and making the disputants vulnerable to incurring sin.”

The Seerah (biography) of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) abounds in incidents and Ahadeeth that indicate the prohibition of discord and the warning against it, commanding and urging Muslims to seek to reconcile disputing people, as it involves upholding the ties of kinship that were severed and strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and companionship that were weakened.

Prophet’s warnings against disagreement and dispute:

To underline the gravity of rancor and discord between Muslim brothers, it is sufficient to say that it prevents attaining the forgiveness of Allah, the Exalted. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The gates of Paradise are opened on Mondays and Thursdays. Every Muslim who does not associate anything with Allah is granted forgiveness except a man who has enmity between him and his brother. It would be said: Delay these two until they reconcile; delay these two until they reconcile!” [Imam Muslim] An-Nawawi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “His saying ‘delay these two’ means delay the forgiveness of their sins until they reconcile and restore mutual affection.” It was narrated on the authority of Abu Ayyoob Al-Ansari  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “It is unlawful for a Muslim to forsake his fellow Muslim for more than three nights. When they meet, each of them turns his face away from the other. The better of the two is he who initiates the greeting of peace (i.e., initiates reconciliation).” [Al-Bukhari] He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) also said: “Whoever forsakes his (Muslim) brother for a year is like one who sheds his blood.” [Abu Dawood, and Al-Albani remarked it authentic]

A distinction should be made between forsaking one’s Muslim brother for the Sake of Allah, the Exalted, (i.e., for religious reasons) and forsaking him for the sake of oneself (i.e., for worldly reasons). The first is enjoined, when the due conditions and Sharee‘ah guidelines of forsaking one’s Muslim brother are observed, and if it is hoped to yield its desired purpose and benefit; whereas the second (forsaking him for worldly reasons) is forbidden because the believers are brothers. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Do not nurse grudge against one another; do not envy one another; do not turn your back on one another (in discontent and enmity); (but) be slaves of Allah as brothers. It is unlawful for a Muslim to forsake his (fellow Muslim) brother for more than three (days).” [Imam Muslim]

Endeavoring to reconcile disputing people:

Reconciling people is better than performing voluntary acts of worship, because it involves spreading love and affection among people, and this brings happiness to the individuals’ hearts and enhances the strength and cohesion of the society. There is no doubt that reconciliation is better than dissension, upholding the ties of kinship is better than severing them, and love is better than hatred. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Ad-Dardaa’  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Should I not tell you what is better in degree than prayer, fasting and charity.” They (the Companions) said: “Yes, please do.” He said: “Reconciling people, for grudges and disputes are the razor (that shaves faith).” Another version reads: “I do not mean that they shave hair but they rather shave religiosity.” [At-Tirmithi, and Al-Albani remarked it authentic]

Reconciling people means eliminating the causes of dispute and conflict by means of mutual forgiveness and pardon or by conciliation. At-Teebi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The Hadeeth urges reconciling people and avoiding spoiling their relationships, because reconciliation is a reason for holding firmly to the rope of Allah, the Exalted, and avoiding disunity among Muslims, whereas grudges and disputes are a crack in a person’s religiosity. Whoever endeavors to reconcile people and eliminate the harm of dispute will attain a degree that is greater than that of a person who offers much fasting and night prayers and is preoccupied with his own benefit only.”

When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) learned that some of his Companions in Qubaa’ had a disagreement, he went to reconcile them. It was narrated on the authority of Sahl Ibn Sa‘d As-Sa‘idi  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that he said: “Once the people of Qubaa’ fought together till they threw stones at each other. When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was informed of it, he said: ‘Let us go to reconcile them.’” [Imam Al-Bukhari]

Ibn Hajar  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Fat-h Al-Bari: “Among the lessons deduced from this Hadeeth is the virtue of reconciling people, unifying the members of a group, and resolving disputes. It is also inferred therefrom that the Imam (ruler) may go personally to his subjects for this reason, and that the like of this may be given priority over leading the prayers himself.” Ibn Battal  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The Hadeeth reflects how the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was humble, caring, and keen to resolve disagreements and eliminate the causes of disunity and dissention among his Ummah as Allah, the Exalted, described him.”

It was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that: “The husband of Bareerah was a black slave called Mugheeth, as if I am seeing him now, following her and weeping with his tears flowing down his beard. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said to ‘Abbas, ‘O ‘Abbaas! Are you not astonished by the love of Mugheeth for Bareerah and the hatred of Bareerah for Mugheeth?’ The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) then said to Bareerah: ‘Why don’t you return to him (remarry him)?’ She said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do you command me to do so?’ He said: ‘No, I am only interceding for him.’” [Imam Al-Bukhari]

Ibn Hajar  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “His  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) statement, ‘I am only interceding for him,’ means I am only interceding with you for his sake and I am not commanding you to do so.” Ibn Battal  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “At-Tabari said, ‘A Fiqh ruling deduced from this Hadeeth is that it is permissible for the scholar and the Caliph to intercede for the sake of people, offer them their help, and fulfil the needs of those who ask for it, and that it is a manifestation of noble morals. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Intercede for people and you shall earn a reward.’

Permissibility of lying to reconcile disputing people:

Given the importance of reconciling people, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) permitted lying to reconcile disputing people, such as the case when one tells one of them that the other person is praising and lauding him while he did not actually say that. It was narrated on the authority of Umm Kulthoom Bint ‘Uqbah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “He is not a liar, he who tries to reconcile people so he says what is good or exaggerates what is good.” [Imam Al-Bukhari]

Ibn Al-‘Arabi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “Lying in this situation and similar ones is permissible according to the relevant text and this is a manifestation of the divine mercy for Muslims given their need for it.” It was narrated on the authority of Asmaa’ Bint Yazeed  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Lying is unlawful except in three cases: when a man speaks to his wife to please her, lying in war, and lying to reconcile people.” [Imam At-Tirmithi, and Al-Albani remarked it authentic]

Lying to one’s spouse here means lying regarding the expression of love and affection to perpetuate intimacy and maintain the stability of the family, and it does not mean lying that leads to violating the rights of one’s spouse or avoiding the enjoined fulfilment of their duties towards one another and the like. An-Nawawi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “As for his lying to his spouse, it means to lie regarding the expression of love and promising to do what is not obligatory, and the like. As for deception to withhold the rights of one another or take what he or she is not entitled to, lying in these cases is prohibited according to the consensus of Muslims, and Allah Knows best.”

Reconciling people is one of the noble morals and virtuous qualities of our Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and he urged us through his words and deeds to keenly reconcile people, because reconciling people is a reason for reforming the individual and the society. So, glad tidings are for those whom Allah, the Exalted, brings good at their hands and makes them means to reconcile disputing people. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Should I not tell you what is better in degree than prayer, fasting and charity?” They (the Companions) said: “Yes, please do.” He said: “Reconciling people.” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) also said: “Verily, some people are keys to good and locks to evil, and, verily, some people are keys to evil and locks to good. Glad tidings to those in whose hands Allah places the keys to good, and woe to those in whose hands Allah places the keys to evil. [Ibn Majah, and Al-Albani remarked it authentic]  

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Reconciling people

The difference between people is a factual reality and part of the human natural disposition given people’s different morals and natures, and due to their contention and vying for worldly gains like...More