Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Starting Point is Kindness

Asalamu Alikum

All praise and thanks is due to Allah and may salaat and salaam be upon the Messenger of Allah and upon his family, companions and supporters as well as all those who adhere to his Sunnah until the Day of Resurrection, ameen.
In this article we address a trend among some Muslims to emphasize the aspect of harshness towards other Muslims when correcting them or warning others against them. There are admittedly circumstances that warrant being tough and hard, and many of the articles alluded to make those circumstances clear, however due to their emphasis on that aspect, harshness has become the starting point and is resorted to very quickly by some as opposed to being something employed after all else has actually been tried in an attempt to guide others to the correct path. Let it be clear that we are limiting this discussion to relationships between the common Muslims and not the criticisms of scholars of the innovators and deviants.
The fact is that we have too often experienced that those who apply harshness while claiming to adhere to the way of the salaf, leap to conclusions and tactics based upon statements of scholars without always first looking closely at the circumstances of the individuals they apply that harshness towards. Moreover, although claiming to want to correct and guide others, we find that they often never use the approach of kindness or courtesy of actual personal contact or generosity such as a call or a visit or a friendly meeting to deal with the issue in question. Instead we have found Muslims being hastily judged as innovators and then getting vilified publicly and privately, boycotted, warned against, rumor spread about, wrong suppositions made about inward motivations, the bearing of false witness, and even personal correspondence sent around the world justifying harshness towards them all in the name of protecting the "da'wah". We find this regrettable and in some cases reprehensible because it is being put forth as the way of salaf and moreover the Sunnah of our noble and generous Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam).
Many relationships have been damaged and suspicion sewn due to the harsh approach. We therefore find it prudent to present evidences from the Qur'aan and the authentic hadeeth first that clearly establish that the starting point when dealing with Muslims, even if astray or in error, is gentleness and kindness to what some may consider a fault. This, as opposed to rapidly seeking to find fault in or condemning other Muslims whom Allah may have already forgiven or who seek His forgiveness.
Also keep in mind that the error, sin or deviation in question is often only in the perception of others when it may not in fact be the absolute case according to shariah. More dangerous is that the drive to lambaste or condemn often stems from what amounts to a difference of opinion on a given matter where there is indeed room to differ. When a position is taken that is not in agreement with that of one's preferred scholar or student of knowledge, then it is assumed that some deviation or ill-motive is afoot! Undoubtedly when expressing opinions one must take care to stay as closely to the principles and tenets of Islam and utilize solid evidence. Great scholars have differed and still do on many matters of the religion yet they do not always raise those differences to the level of loyalty and disassociation nor make them a cause of enmity and disrespect as we do!

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