Bismillah Ir-Rehman Ir-Raheem
May Allah enable us to use the best of words, have the best of character, and conduct ourselves in the best of manners.
I write herein that which is first and foremost a reminder to my own heart as any others. Sometimes, we forget that which we should do, instead settling for doing what we can do and simply do because we can. However, we must not forget that Time retains our words (even should we forget our own utterances) and we must strive to ensure that we are not of those who feel loss in akhirah over how carelessly we used our words.
Therefore, I wanted to ask that we please try to observe the ethics and etiquettes of disagreement as much as possible and uphold Islam with best of adab, knowing that Allah is All-Aware and would wish for ourselves to engage in what is best.
The following is not a discourse on Islamic ethics and etiquettes disagreement but only common sense engagement of our own values concerning what Prophet Muhammad (may the blessings of peace and peace of be Allah bless upon him) taught or what his companions (may Allah bless them) learned from him, applied over the Internet.
“All Muslims are like a foundation, each strengthening the other; in such a way they do support each other (Muslim).”
10 Ethics & Etiquettes of Disagreement
1. Think. Think before you write (and make sure your facts or information is correct). Your words matter. They matter very much. And you do not know what effect your words will carry with others who read them. So, please be sure of your information before you use the avenue of the Internet to spread them. More importantly, Prophet Muhammad knew the importance of words. Therefore, he refrained from speaking unnecessarily and spoke only for his Lord.
2. Language. Understand that Prophet Muhammad: saw: asked us to refrain from hurting people’s feelings by means of bad language or name-calling. Derogatory words and ridicule hurt others. And in so doing, we betray ourselves to others by having them know that Allah has chosen in those exact moments to have us taste the humiliation of expressing ourselves with foul or ill-chosen language and honored the individual opposite us who refrains from the same (as the manifestation of ill-chosen words is a sign manifest of having befriended the whisperings of Satan and nafs). Thus, if you must be party to one of the two, choose to be the one who refrains and your reward for this will be with Allah.The Prophet Muhammad said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent.” (Bukhari.)
3. Knowledge. Knowledge is power. But to use any knowledge that you have to seek dominance over another is not in accordance with what had been revealed onto Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Speak for the sake of Allah, otherwise seek to hold your peace. Differences in positions is a natural outcome of applying knowledge but let that be born of certain and true knowledge, not ego.Prophet Muhammad said, “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Ibn-Majah.)
4. Argument. If you want to convince an individual of his or her rightness and your incorrectness in a matter, argue with the individual. The more and more you argue with the individual, the more and more the individual will become convinced that he/she is right and you are wrong because your approach does not conform to the principle of open and respectful discussion. To convince others, you must first be willing to engage with the individual on terms of equality and respect. Only such an interaction can carry hidden blessings from Allah so that the discussion proves fruitful for both you and the other individual. Know that argument sours an individual on the other person and does not allow any progress to be made (even if the person is right). That is why Prophet Muhammad (SAW) forbade himself three things: 1) argument, 2) arrogance, and 3) that which did not concern him.The Prophet Muhammad said: “A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth and from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body and how he used it.” (Tirmidhi.)
5. Uniqueness. Understand that one of the beauties of Islam and what Islamic teaches is that even while we are all so different from one another, Allah’s mercy on us as believers made us one another’s brothers and sisters in faith. Keeping in mind this design, we must expect, accept and respect the personality, cultural, linguistic and other such differences in us as unique individuals.Prophet Muhammad said, “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.” (Abu Dawud.)
6. Criticism. Learn to take criticism of your words in a positive light. You are not your words. Therefore, do not attach importance or become attached to your words. Sometimes, whether you realize or not, you may say that which deserves genuine criticism. Thus, you must set aside the urgings of your blameworthy nafs and instead be willing to take a step back and examine whether the criticism leveled at your words was earned. And if after examination of your words should you then still be convinced the criticism was unearned, see the criticism as a beautiful opportunity given by Allah to humble your nafs. Learn thus to love criticism as criticisms will benefit Insha-Allah if you see them in a positive light.The Prophet Muhammad said, “None of you will have faith till he wishes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” (Bukhari.)
7. Discretion. Your words must be in accordance with what is required. If your written speech requires gentleness, then use gentleness. Or if you see your point may be better received couched in sternness, then use sternness. We are an Ummah that has been required by Allah and his Prophet (SAW) to forbid evil and enjoin good. But strive to do this with wisdom and for the sake of Allah.“God bless the man who makes me a gift of my own shortcomings,” said Umar (may Allah bless him), as provided in the book Islamic Treasury of Virtues.
8. Patience. Everybody is at different levels of knowledge and iman. Therefore, seek to be patient with the people, just as you would prefer that for yourself.The Prophet Muhammad said, “Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam).”
9. Forgiveness. Do not harbor ill will over some disagreement or the other for your fellowmen. Learn to forgive and then understand if you learn to forgive you will find for yourself forgiveness from Allah. It may well be that you have some ill feeling in your heart on account of what the person did not mean. So, please, please, please, brothers and sisters, forgive and move on.The Prophet Muhammad said, “…Prayer is light; charity is a proof; patience is illumination; and the Quran is an argument for or against you. Everyone starts his day and is a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin.” (Muslim.)
10. Last word. You do not have to have the last word. Or even the first word. After you have said what you genuinely believe is right (and perceive that no further engagement is necessary), leave the matter as the matter is not anymore your concern.The Prophet Muhammad said, “Son, if you are able, keep your heart from morning till night and from night till morning free from malice towards anyone.” Then the Prophet said: “O my son! This is one of my laws, and he, who loves my laws verily loves me.” (Bukhari.)
If I have said anything that is good and true, it is from Allah, and anything other than that is my own mistake.The Prophet Muhammad said, “The proof of a Muslim’s sincerity is that he pays no heed to that which is not his business.” (Tirmidhi.)