Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Do's and Dont's of Arguments on Islamic Pages/ Forums

These days it's a common sight to see people arguing via comments on many of the Islamic pages on the Internet. While reading such comments, it makes us wonder at many times if the person is arguing for the sake of proving their point, or rather for the Truth to be known.

If the argument is for the sake of proving their point only, then this is what is said in the Hadith:
“Whoever sought knowledge for the purpose of using it to compete with the learned or showing ability to be contentious with stupid people, or to draw people’s attention to him, Allah will put him in hell.” (Authenticated by Al-Tarmidhī, on the relation of Ka‘b Ibn Mālik)

If the argument is rather for the Truth to be known, then this is what is said in the Qur'an:
"Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error; whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things." (The Qur'an: 2.256)

"So (O Prophet) exhort them (to the right path). (for) Your task is only to exhort. You cannot compel them (to accept the truth). Whosoever turns away and disbelieves, Allah will punish him with a mighty punishment. Surely to Us they will have to return, then it will be upon Us to call them to account (for what they used to do)." (The Qur'an: 88.21-26)

According to the above Ayat, we should only let the Truth be known but not enforce it on anyone because the Truth is self-apparent. In the end, we can only pray that Allah [Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala] guides them to the right path.

When we argue, the devil [Shaitaan] joins us!

Once the Prophet [SallAllahu Alayhi Wasallam] was sitting with his Companions, and one person used insulting words against Abu Bakr [Radhiallahu 'Anhu] causing him pain. But Abu Bakr [Radhiallahu 'Anhu] remained silent. The person again used bitter words against Abu Bakr [Radhiallahu 'Anhu], and still Abu Bakr [Radhiallahu 'Anhu] did not respond. The third time when this ignorant person hurt Abu Bakr [Radhiallahu 'Anhu] with his tongue, Abu Bakr [Radhiallahu 'Anhu] tried answering back.
At this point the Prophet [SallAllahu Alayhi Wasallam] got up. Abu Bakr [Radhiallahu 'Anhu] asked him, “Are you displeased with me, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet [SallAllahu Alayhi Wasallam] replied, “No, but (when you remained silent) an angel came down from the heaven responding to this man’s talk. But the moment you started replying to that man, the angel went away and the devil sat down. And I cannot sit where the devil is sitting.” (Abu Dawud B41#4878)

Some points to remember if we are involved in an argument:
(whether here on the Internet or in person)

1. "Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth, best who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." (The Qur'an 16.125).
First of all, if the topic of dispute is not an Islamic one, then it is better to be quiet and not waste our time and effort on something that is not beneficial. If it is in regards to Islam, then as the above Ayah states, we must be polite and choose our words carefully. We should not insult, curse, swear, or get angry. We should always remember that we are representing how a Muslim behaves to everyone around us [i.e. adults and kids]. We should not do anything to blemish the image of an Ideal Muslim.

2. We should keep an open mind. Sometimes because of our limited knowledge, we believe that our opinion is the correct one. However, it could be that the other person's argument could actually be the Truth.

3. We should not assume that there is only one correct answer. There are many topics that have different opinions between the Scholars. We may believe one to be true, but that does not mean the other person is wrong. However, what is stated as Haram is Haram, Halal is Halal, and doubtful is better to avoid as per the below Hadith:

Prophet Muhammad [SallAllahu Alayhi Wasallam] is reported to have said: "Halal is clear and Haram is clear; in between these two are certain things that are suspected. Many people may not know whether those items are Halal or Haram. Whosoever leaves them, he is innocent towards his religion and his conscience. He is, therefore, safe. Anyone who gets involved in any of these suspected items, he may fall into the unlawful and the prohibited. This case is similar to the one who wished to raise his animals too close to a restricted area, so that the animals may step into that area. Indeed for every landlord there is a restricted area. Indeed the restriction of Allah are the Haram." (Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

4. Our intention should only be to inform the other person of the Truth. It should not be to make them think that we are right, or that we are very knowledgeable, or to make them feel inferior.

5. We should only provide guidance given in the Qur'an and Hadith with reference in regards to the topic of dispute. We should not include our personal opinions or present day scenarios. We should remember that Islam is a perfect religion for all times.

6. Lastly, if we do not have any knowledge of the topic, then we should not try to get involved just for the sake of argument. This will not only take a lot of our time and effort, but in the end it might make us lose some respect in the minds of others.

Finally, we should always remember this Hadith when we are involved in an argument:
"I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.'' (Sunan Abu Dawud)

May Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) help us All in keeping away from time and energy wasting arguments, and allow us to be one of those who help others as well as themselves in following the guidance given in the Qur'an and Hadith in our daily manners. Ameen.

~ Manners In Islam ~

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