FAMILIAL DISPUTES AND THEIR SOLUTION – PART 5
It has been narrated by Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said;
“Do not fight with your brother. Do not do inappropriate jokes with him. Do not make a promise to him that you cannot fulfil.”
DO NOT FIGHT WITH YOUR BROTHER
The first commandment the Holy Prophet ﷺ has given is;
“Do not fight with your brother.”
The word ‘تمار’ has been derived from the Arabic word ‘مراء’ which carries a very broad meaning. Having arguments with someone, confronting someone, having physical fights, verbal aggression, are all included in the meaning of this word. These all three things, physical fights, verbal fights, and arguments, all disrupt the harmony, unity, cordiality, and love and affection between Muslims. Therefore, try to avoid these at all costs.
SEEKING LEGAL RECOURSE WHEN NEEDED
Sometimes, it does happen that a person feels that he has been wronged and if he does not take legal action, he won’t be able to get his rights and will have to live with injustice. If he has to go to court because of such injustice and unfairness it is a different matter. Otherwise, a person must make his best effort to resolve disputes and avoid getting into conflicts.
AVOID UNNECESSARY ARGUMENTS
This advice is especially for those people who are always trying to find fault with others, and who always try to negate everything anyone else says. It becomes part of their nature that they have to argue against what anyone says. A trend of unnecessary arguments and discussions has taken root in our society. These discussions are of no benefit either in this world or the next one. No one will be questioned about these either in their grave, nor in the Aakhirah (Hereafter). These unnecessary arguments lead to conflicts, growth of new sects, and hatred between people.
ARGUMENTATIVENESS DESTROYS DIVINE LIGHT
Hazrat Imam Malik (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) has said;
“Unnecessary arguments destroy the Noor (divine light) of knowledge.”
You should just convey to the other person what you believe to be true, in the right way, and with the right niyah (intention). If the other person then accepts it, well and good. If not, then it is between him and Allah Ta’ala. You have not been sent here to stand guard over other people. You are not supposed to force them to accept the truth. Educate the other person with wisdom, love and affection, and softness, as much as is within your capacity. You are not accountable for anything more than that. You have not been sent by Allah Ta’ala as other people’s supervisor with the duty to sort other people out. If they do not follow the right path, you won’t have to answer for them.
YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS TO CONVEY ALLAH’S MESSAGE ONLY
Allah Ta’ala says in the Holy Qur’an;
“The duty of Our Messenger is only to convey the Message…” (5:99)
When Allah Ta’ala Himself is saying in the Holy Qur’an that His messengers are accountable for conveying His message only, then why do you force people to follow what you are saying? Just answer people’s questions to a reasonable extent, but if you feel that the conversation is descending into pointless argumentativeness, then become quiet and do not engage in any more discussion.
Some people have a habit that they have to complain about everything. As soon as they meet a friend or an acquaintance, they make a complain e.g. “you did or didn’t do this, on such and such occasion”. When someone points this out these people say, “But we only do it out of love”, or that “you only feel aggrieved by people you love”. It may be true to some extent, but one shouldn’t carry it too far. It is okay to complain if one feels aggrieved by something major, but complaining about minor things like, “you invited so-and-so for dinner on that day but didn’t invite us” causes hurt to the other person.
If a person wants to invite some people for a feast, Shariah has given him the right to choose who he wants to invite and who he doesn’t. You have no right to complain why he didn’t invite you to the feast. There could be any reason why they didn’t invite you. They may not have felt like it, or they may not have been able to invite everyone, but you are not prepared to forgive them for this slight. These days we start complaining over the most trivial of matters. As a result, the other person also comes up with his own complaint that you had also not invited me on such and such occasion. This starts an endless cycle of complains and counter-complaints. As a result of this love and affection between people is being replaced by enmity, and disharmony is on the rise.
LEARN TO LET GO
I am saying this from experience that because of these trivial grievances whole families have broken up. Even if someone has made a genuine mistake, just forgive him and let the matter rest with Allah Ta’ala.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ has advised us numerous times to forgive other people’s mistakes. If we forgive someone’s mistake, what harm will come to us? So, forgive him and just think that there must have been a genuine reason why that person didn’t invite me.
MUFTI AZIZUR RAHMAN’S (RE) PRACTICE
Hazrat Maulana Mufti Azizur Rahman sahib (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) was my father’s (Mufti Muhammad Shafi RE) teacher and the Grand Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband. My father used to tell us that he never saw him contradict anyone to his face, or tell him that what he had said was wrong. Even if someone said something that was wrong, he would say, “So you meant to say…”, and would then indirectly tell what was correct. In this way he also conveyed that what you said was wrong, but if you said it like this, it would be correct. But he never contradicted someone to his face his entire life.
MAKE PEACE WITH PEOPLE
Therefore, if you have a family member, a friend, or an acquaintance, who you feel has treated you wrongly, then first try to think that there might have been some genuine reason why they did what they did. Clear your heart towards them that way. Even if you feel that you do have to complain to them, do it gently and in soft words, for example, just say that what you did at that time hurt me. If they then give a reason, accept it. Do not let those hurt feelings develop into a long-term feud. That is why the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said, “Do not fight with your brother.”
THIS LIFE IS TEMPORARY
This life is temporary. No one knows how long they are going to live for. Most of the complaints people have towards each other are related to worldly affairs, e.g. so-and-so didn’t invite me to their home, so-and-so didn’t show me respect, etc. This worldly wealth, worldly status, worldly fame, are all temporary. They do not mean anything. So many people lose them in the blink of an eye. Rather, we should think about the world where we are going to live forever. What will happen to us in that permanent life? How will we answer to Allah Ta’ala for all we have done in this life? That is what we really need to worry about.
In a Hadith, the Holy Prophet ﷺ said,
“Make as much effort for this world as you are going to live here, and make as much effort for the Aakhirah (Hereafter) as you are going to live there.”
THE UPSIDE DOWN IN PEOPLE’S FORTUNES
People who were in power yesterday, who other people were terrified of, who were famous in the whole world, are rotting away in prisons today. Those people who had all sorts of titles before their names, today they are facing criminal charges for corruption, embezzlement and dishonesty. On what basis should one feel proud of one’s fame, one’s status, one’s wealth? Who knows when Allah Ta’ala will take away all of these. We get into feuds for such small matters, causing rift between entire families. That is why the Holy Prophet ﷺ said,
“Do not fight with your brother.”
WHAT KIND OF HUMOUR IS ALLOWED?
The second commandment the Holy Prophet ﷺ has issued in this Hadith is;
“Do not joke with your brother.”
The joking that is referred to in this Hadith is that kind of joking which hurts someone’s feelings. If a person is making jokes which are within the limits of Shariah, being told with the intention of making the other person happy, and the listener is enjoying it too, then there is no harm in making such jokes. In fact, if that joke is not a lie, and the intention of telling that joke is making the other person happy, then the person will also get thawab (reward) on it.
DO NOT MAKE FUN OF OTHER PEOPLE
One type of fun is having fun with someone. Another type of fun is making fun of someone. It is completely alright to have fun with friends. However, making fun of someone which includes ridiculing him, or saying things that he doesn’t like and which hurt his feelings, is Haraam (impermissible under Shariah). Some people identify other people’s weak spots and deliberately mention these again and again in front of that person so that he would become angry and they would enjoy it. It is this kind of jokes that the Holy ﷺ Prophet has prohibited.
Only joke with someone to the limit that he can tolerate it. If you make so much fun of someone that he gets distressed and feels hurt by it, then remember! You may be enjoying making fun of someone in this world, but there will be great punishment for it in the Aakhirah (Hereafter), because you caused distress to a human being by doing so, and causing undue distress to another human being is a grave sin.
MORE EXALTED STATUS THAN BAITULLAH
It is narrated in a Hadith that once, while doing Tawaf of Baitullah (Masjid al-Haraam), the Holy Prophet ﷺ said;
“O Baitullah (house of Allah)! How exalted you are. Your status is so exalted that Allah Ta’ala deemed you His house on this earth. How grand your honour is. But O Baitullah! There is one thing the honour of which is even greater than your honour, that is a Muslim’s life, his property, and his honour.”
If a person is so cruel and cold-hearted that he demolishes the Baitullah (Ma’az Allah), then the whole world will condemn him for attacking and desecrating the Ka’abah. However, the Holy Prophet ﷺ is saying that attacking a Muslim’s life, his honour, his property, and hurting his feelings, is a greater sin than demolishing the Ka’abah. But you make fun of other people and derive pleasure from hurting their feelings, and consider this a trivial matter? This is even worse than demolishing the Ka’abah and desecrating its honour. Therefore, ridiculing other human beings, and deriding and mocking them is Haraam (unlawful).
THE TEASING THAT CREATES HATRED
This teasing is one of those behaviours which create rifts between people and gives rise to hatred in their hearts. If you keep thinking about someone all the time that they make fun of you, they belittle you in front of others, would you ever feel love and affection towards them? You will never feel affection towards them. Rather, you will resentful towards him that this person humiliates me in front of everyone. Such resentment then often leads to conflict and discord. On the other hand, if close friends or relatives are joking with each other in which no one’s feelings are being hurt, and in which no untruths are being told, then such joking is permissible under Shariah.
FULFIL YOUR PROMISES
The third commandment the Holy Prophet ﷺ gave in this Hadith is,
“Do not make a promise that you cannot fulfil.”
In fact, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has declared not fulfilling a commitment a sign of hypocrisy.
THE THREE SIGNS OF A HYPOCRITE
The Holy Prophet ﷺ said,
“That person is a complete hypocrite who has these three attributes; when he talks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, when he is entrusted with something he breaches that trust.”
It tells us that breaking a promise is a sign of hypocrisy. If you are unsure whether you would be able to keep a promise, then don’t make it. However, once you have made a commitment, then you have to keep it unless there is some major reason for not being able to do so.
KEEP YOUR PROMISES TO CHILDREN TOO
The Holy Prophet ﷺ said that even if you make a promise to a child, then you must keep it. It has been narrated in a tradition that a Sahabi (companion), while calling a child to him, said, “Come here. I will give you something.” The Holy Prophet ﷺ asked, “Did you really intend to give him something, or did you just make an empty promise to placate him?” The Sahabi replied, “O Prophet of Allah. I have got a date. I intended to give it to him.” The Holy Prophet ﷺ said, “If you had made an empty promise and did not intend to give him anything, then you would have committed the sin of lying to this child.” The reason was that breaking one’s promise with a child means teaching the child from an early age that breaking a promise is okay, it is not a bad thing to do, and that way you are teaching a child bad habits from day one. That is why it is really important to keep one’s promises with children too.
Some breach of promises are of a nature that most people understand that they have given their word to so and so, and they need to keep it. However, there are some types of breaches of promises when people are not even more aware that these are promises too, and they are breaking them.
FOLLOWING THE RULES OF AN INSTITUTION
Every institution has some rules. For example, when we join an institution as an employee, we give an undertaking that we will follow the rules of that institution. Or if we join an educational institution as a student then we agree to abide by the rules of that institution that we will do this, and not do that. Even if we do not sign a written agreement, even then seeking admittance in an institution knowing its rules is a tacit undertaking that we will obey its rules. If we now break those rules it will be a breach of that promise, and would be Haraam and a sin.
FOLLOWING THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY ONE LIVES IN
Similarly, when a person applies for the citizenship of a country, he gives an undertaking that he will obey all the laws of that country, except for any laws that may force him to break any laws of Shariah. However, if there is such a law which orders him to break a law of Shariah, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said about such a situation;
لا طاعة لمخلوق فی المعصیة الخالق
“There is no obeying of the creation in disobedience of the Creator.”
If Shariah stops you from doing something, then whether it is the prime minister, the president, or any law that orders you to carry out that act, you are not supposed to obey that order, you are supposed to obey the order of Allah Ta’ala.
BREAKING LAWS IS BREACH OF PROMISE TOO
Therefore, if the law is not forcing you to commit a sin, but there is a law which orders you to do something which is permissible (مباح), then every citizen of a state, regardless of whether it is a Muslim majority or non-Muslim majority state, has given an undertaking to its government that he will obey its laws, and if you break that law you are also committing a sin. Breaking laws of the country one lives in, is also a breach of promise.
OBEYING TRAFFIC LAWS
For example, traffic laws dictate that when the red light is on a person should stop, and when the green light is one the person should go. Following this law is a rule of Shariah too, because you have a made a commitment that you will obey the laws of the country you live in. If you now break this law you are committing the sin of breach of promise, and this is regardless of whether you live in a Muslim majority country or a non-Muslim majority country.
CLAIMING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT
The government of UK gives an unemployment benefit. This is an allowance to support the unemployed till they can find a job. This is a great source of support for people who are struggling financially. However, some of our brothers who have gone there have made this unemployment into a profession. These people work covertly, hide their incomes, and also claim unemployment benefits. Even people who are quite religious and regularly perform Salah, are also engaged in this practice.
Once someone asked me whether this practice was permissible or not. I told him it is completely impermissible and Haraam (unlawful under Shariah). “First of all, you are telling a lie that you are unemployed when you are not. Second, you are breaking a law of the country you live in. When you have entered this country after vowing to follow its laws, then it is incumbent upon you to follow all those laws of this country which do not force you to do something in contravention of the Shariah.” That gentleman replied that this is a non-Muslim government and it is allowed to take money from a non-Muslim government by whichever means and spend it. (May Allah protect us). O’ brother. When you entered this country, you gave an undertaking that you will follow the laws of this country, therefore, it is not permissible for you to break the laws of this country. Just like it is not allowed to break a promise one has made to a Muslim, similarly, it is not allowed to break a promise one has made to a non-Muslim, and any money obtained as result of that breach of promise will be Haraam (unlawful).
Anyway, this breach of promise is a major source of conflict between families and people. May Allah Ta’ala give us the motivation to follow all the commandments of the Holy Prophet ﷺ mentioned above. Aameen
وآخر دعوا ان الحمد ﷲ رب العالمين