Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Starting Point is Kindness...part 4

Asalamu alikum

A Cause Of Fitnah (Trial)
Now there is the case of where a sister or brother is neither openly sinful nor exhibiting any bad character and in fact may be known for their good works and is considered an example of diligence and adherence to the Sunnah in the Muslim community. However they may make a statement or hold a position that disagrees with ours or that of a scholar or student of knowledge whom we respect. The hasty to judge then look upon them with suspicion and make statements about them and spread impressions to others that sully their reputations or lessen the respect or regard they had in the eyes of some and turn others away from them. Every association the person has is examined and any fault they may have is exposed. Perhaps their words become open to interpretation thereafter and they are discouraged from participation in the good deeds they had perviously been known for. Allah knows that they may in fact be in error or it could merely be a misinterpretation of their intent. Shaytaan may fuel the fire even more and harsh words are exchanged and battle lines drawn.
No time is taken to sit with the individual in question, speak with them, learn if they take their position based upon their understanding of evidence or the opinion of a scholar or even the interpretation of a hadeeth or the acceptance of a weak narration or opinion. They may be further accused of following some deviant sect or another. The issue may get taken to where an Islamic ruling about the person is sought from those who are very distant from them and the impressions are carried to the mufti by those who themselves are subject to error in their assessment and presentation of the matter which may lead to boycott or further recriminations.
Such is a clear injustice especially if it leads to castigation, and the spread of suspicion regarding them among the Muslims, even if "well-intended". This is simply thulm (wrongdoing) that may stem from anything from over-eagerness and impatience, jealousy or partisanship or insincerity to lack of knowledge and arrogance. No good purpose is actually served (other than perhaps to expose the incorrect approach of making false and unfounded accusations). Instead, what usually happens is that rumors get spread and backbiting becomes the order of the day - and in these days of the Internet the evil is magnified when the matter gets immediately sent around the world! Some zealous individuals may believe it is their duty to even physically confront the individual when they had nothing at all to do with the matter in the first place and all their information is gotten second-hand! When good people are attacked and vilified, it is very discouraging to others and demoralizing to the community!
Ironically it could be that after such treatment is shown to be clearly unjust, it still leads to the residual effect of creating distrust and disdain of those who initiated such actions and any good they attempt is rejected or negated and relationships get tarnished. They may just try to take a low profile so as to give the impression they had nothing to do with the fitnah they instigated and may even start to point fingers at each other!
A Wake Of Destruction
How sad is the resultant build-up of animosity between Muslims and the infusion of partisanship with innocent Muslims being pushed to take sides in disputes and an "You are either with us or against us" attitude develops that poisons relations in the community often over matters most really have no idea about in detail. The above even seems a case of the hunters "shooting themselves in the foot", as they alienate those who would be their allies, and give the impression of companions who turn upon themselves and people who don't know who their friends are.
In these times of confusion with so many parties and ideologies all claiming to be correct, the effect of harsh treatment may be to further distance Muslims from the truth, making them defensive, or more clinging to the parties of misguidance, wallaahul-Musta'aan! In the end the ranks of the Muslims are weakened and dissension and argumentation helps the cause of the deviants and the enemies of Islam.
We are not those who believe the word bid'ah should never be mentioned or pointed out and that we should remain silent about it when it is plain and obvious. This is a "head-in-the-sand" approach that only encourages more innovation. Muslims need badly to be educated about Islam and what is bid'ah and what is not along with what its dangers are and who is an innovator and who is not and whose place it is to make such determinations.
None of the above described scenarios included the person who practices innovation, teaches it, advocates it, and calls to it even after having been repeatedly given clear evidence they understand that clearly refutes their position. Such is the bona fide innovator who is deluded into believing that his whims and desires are determiners of what is or is not Islam. Such a one is dealt with in an altogether different manner which indeed may entail using harshness and even this should be determined by the people of knowledge and not just anyone who thinks that what they have done is sufficient.
Concluding Point
The scope of this article prevents us from addressing how to handle each of the cases above in detail, but the main point we hoped to make is that great thought must be given before treating a Muslim with harshness as to the consequences and justice of such action. The intent should be to guide one's brother or sister in faith for the sake of Allah. We must remember that the foundation of dealing with other Muslims in general is one of employing kindness, having patience and overlooking of faults, while harshness and sternness are the exception and not the rule, wallaahul 'Alam.
What follows is a body of evidence from the Qur'aan and the authentic Sunnah to substantiate the above so that it is clear that there is a genuine basis for it and not merely emotionalism.
May Allah forgive me for any errors and verily He is the Generous Provider of Success and all praise is His

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