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Ramadan’s 5 Golden Rules of Difference of Opinion

By Yawar Baig

A difference of opinion indicates interest and commitment. Not stupidity and ignorance.
Only the interested and committed, disagree.

 

We Muslims are perhaps a people who have the highest number of differences of opinion in the world, when it comes to understanding our religion. I am sure someone will disagree with this statement as well. However be that as it may, we should therefore be the greatest experts in expressing those differences in the most positive ways, building trust and friendship and encouraging further enquiry and debate to understand better. Sadly the opposite is the case. The way we express our differences breaks hearts, creates angst and anger, is insulting and aggravating and encourages nothing but a worse response. So here goes a short 101 on how to disagree positively.

Five Golden Rules

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1. I repeat my quote above: A difference of opinion indicates interest and commitment. Not stupidity and ignorance. Only the interested and committed, disagree. So if you want to disagree, first appreciate the other person’s interest and commitment. Start by saying, “May Allah bless you for your interest in this matter and enable us to do what is pleasing to Him.”

2. Always remember that in matters of opinion which are not clearly defined in the Qur’an or Sunnah, stating an opinion as the only correct way,  is incorrect. Neither you nor the other person is getting Wahi. So don’t talk as if you are. You have an opinion based on your subjective understanding. The other person has an opinion based on his understanding. Both of you are ordinary people, not Anbiya. Remember that always.

Remember the principle of the Fuqaha: I believe my opinion is correct with the possibility of being wrong. And I believe that the other opinion is wrong with the possibility of being correct.

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Humility is the safety net that saves us from arrogance and the anger Allah.

3. Don’t criticize the other opinion even if you think it is wrong. After all we can all agree that at worst the opinion may be a mistake in understanding or a lack of attention to a particular aspect of the case. It is not a case of an evil Shaytan trying to destroy Islam.

So make excuses for the brother as Rasoolullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) advised and don’t criticize. Don’t use words like silly, shallow, stupid, narrow minded or anything like that. Don’t attack the individual personally because that only shows you up in the worst light and closes the door for any objective consideration of what you’re about to say.

4. State your perspective on the matter and give your opinion with your evidence objectively, confidently and independently of whatever the other opinion stated.

Don’t refer to the other opinion or to its maker at all. It’s there for people to read if they please. You’re not trying to compare yourself to the other person and you’re not trying to show how much smarter you are. So simply state your case.

Guard your own Ikhlaas, Niyyah and fear Allah’s anger if He should consider your approach to be arrogance.

Remember the Hadith of Rasoolullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who said that on the Day of Judgment Allah will humiliate the one who insults and attacks the honor of his brother. So stay far away from anything which may appear to be insulting or humiliating in the way you refer to the other opinion or its maker.

5. Finally thank the other person for his opinion and interest and remind your audience that only Allah knows best and that we’re all only trying to please Him.

One word about what to do if you or your opinion are attacked without regard to the rules above : do and say nothing. Don’t acknowledge the dishonorable. Give it the importance it deserves. Simply ignore it.

I hope this will be useful for those who take the trouble to read, reflect, and differ.

A difference of opinion in a matter of interpretation that creates a division among Muslims is a tool of Shaytan. Let us not help the Shaytan to achieve his aim.

 

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Mirza Yawar Baig is the Founder & President of Yawar Baig & Associates. He is an international speaker, coach, trainer and facilitator, specializing in leadership in family businesses.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    saeed khan

    July 4, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    Alhamdulillah some very good points which we should all try to remember. We should however remember that difference of opinion is not permitted in matters which are definite. For example the quran is the speech of Allah (swt), the sunnah of Rasool Allah (saw) is a source of legislation, interest/alcohol/gambling/ruling by anything but Islam are prohibited. Likewise prayer/fasting/hajj/kindness to parents, ruling by what Allah has revealed, giving the baya to the Khalif are all obligations.

    We should also remember the ulema base their opinions on their understanding of the reality and apply the Islamic texts to it. Even the lay person who is not an ulema can read and ask questions to determine which opinion is stronger. At the end of the day our goal is jannah and we achieve this through striving to please our Creator.

  2. Avatar

    Shareen

    July 4, 2014 at 5:24 AM

    Alhamdulillah nice article.I surely remember and follow all the points quoted above.Now i realise how rude i am to my brother by irritating him with my opinions and by constantly comparing him to others.May Allah forgive me for all my sins in this blessed month ramadan

  3. Avatar

    niha

    July 4, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    Alhamdulillah. this is a very good article, i got to know what is wrong with my way of arguing.

  4. Pingback: ধর্মীয় মতপার্থক্যমূলক বিষয়ে ভিন্নমত প্রকাশের পাঁচ গোল্ডেন রুল (অনুবাদ) | আমার স্পন্দন

  5. Avatar

    baseerah

    June 18, 2016 at 1:53 AM

    Alhamdulillah. Jazakallhu khayran, its really moved me to reflect on my own innerself. This article taught us to becareful of how we judge others so as not to earn the anger of the master of all judges. Jazakallahu khayran once again.

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#Current Affairs

This Eid And Beyond Boycott Goods Made With Enslaved Labor Of Uyghurs Even If It Is Your Favorite Brand

Bidding farewell to Ramadan, celebrating Eid?

Well, the Muslims of East Turkestan under Chinese occupation had neither Ramadan nor will they have Eid…

Not only that, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) run government has transferred Uyghurs and other ethnic minority citizens from East Turkestan to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Nike, Gap, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Carters and others. Read Uyghurs for Sale for more information

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CCP is also pressuring governments across the world to extradite Uyghurs back to occupied East Turkestan.

Here is what you can do to help them:

Action Items

  1. Keep making dua for the oppressed of East Turkistan and the world.
  2. Boycott Chinese products! Do not be complicit in slave labour. Start with focusing on the companies in the graphic. Share it with #SewnWithtTears, #StopChina, #BoycottChina. Write to them and demand that they do better.
  3. Raise awareness on the plight of Uyghurs and the East Turkistani cause. Learn more at SaveUighur.org
  4. Work towards reducing your country’s economic dependence on China.
  5. Build alliances with all people of conscience to demand a cessation of China’s oppression of all faith groups, be it Muslim Uyghur, Hui; Chinese Christian; or Tibetan Buddhist.
  6. Encourage and promote fairer trade and commerce with Muslims and others rather than China.
  7. Inquire about Uyghur diaspora members in your area. Organize to help out orphans, widows, and students.
  8. Pressure governments to provide legal protection to Uyghur refugees-exiles by granting either citizenship or refugee/asylee status. Stop the “extradition/repatriation” of Uyghurs to China!
  9. Get your universities/endowments to divest from China. Raise awareness about Chinese espionage and hired guns in academia. Demand academic and financial support for Uyghur scholars and students. Request more academic attention and funds for Central Asian, Uyghur, Turkistani studies. 

Read a greater discussion of action items in A Response to Habib Ali Al-Jifri’s Comments on the Uyghurs, which also contains a greater discussion on East Turkistan’s history and its current situation. A condensed Arabic version of the article can be found here

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 9: A Good Word

Now that we have learnt about the life of this world, let’s talk about a good word.

I want you all to close your eyes and think of a beautiful tree. 

Question: Who can tell me what their tree looks like? Is the tree big and strong? Does it have lots of branches and leaves? Does it have fruit?

Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something really nice to you.

Question:  What are some of the nice statements you remember people telling you?

Question: How did those statements make you feel?

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Yes, they fill us up with a warm feeling. We may have felt proud of ourselves and we may have felt loved. Do you know that Allah [wt] describes a good word to a good tree? 

In Surah Ibrahim, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ 

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تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ 

Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? [Surah Ibrahim; 24]

It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. [Surah Ibrahim; 25]

Question: Now, I want you to think of a time when someone said something mean to you. How did that make you feel?

It’s not fun to remember the mean stuff right? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) continues in Surah Ibrahim and says:

وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ

And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. [Surah Ibrahim; 26] 

Question: What do you think are good words we can use to build strong, firmly rooted trees?

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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History and Seerah

Podcast: Five Historic Events That Rocked The World During Ramadan | Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter

We all know that Ramadan is the month of fasting, abstinence and reflection. Ramadan also just happens to be a month of awesome history defining events that shaped the world we live in today.

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