Our Brothers Who have Transgressed Against Us | Imam Omar Suleiman

As the Khawarij rebelled against Sayiduna Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), murdered his companions and relatives (and even eventually him), and inflicted all sorts of havoc on the Ummah during his reign, his followers who were bewildered by these people that read Quran and appeared so religious yet acted so ungodly asked him if they were disbelievers or hypocrites (in the major sense of the word that entails disbelief). Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) who had suffered at the hands of the Khawarij more than his followers responded by saying, “rather they are our brothers who have transgressed against us.” For Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) to still consider them his brothers despite all they had done to him was alone noble, but he went a step further saying that these people flee from disbelief ie. Their intentions may actually be sincere despite the abhorrence of their actions. So the person who had the softest approach towards the Khawarij from the companions was actually their most prominent target. That was due to the softness of his heart and his commitment to a mission that demanded mercy even while upholding the noble call of Islam and standard of justice. To Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), they were still his brothers even if they were failing to be brotherly.

In an age of separation, where not swords or arrows but taunts and tweets, have the potential to cause permanent rifts, this gives us a lot to ponder upon. It is so easy to hit the block or ban button and move on from a rift even if you are completely justified in doing so because your brother or sister may have failed to be brotherly or sisterly to you. But as you move to do that next time, I implore you to remember Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him). The transgression of the person against you is not of the greatness of the transgression of the Khawarij against Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) , and none of us have the greatness of the honor of Ali (ra) that was assaulted by the Khawarij that would make us more worthy of responding with contravention.

The next time you have a heated discussion with someone online with valid arguments on both sides, I implore you to remember Imam Al Shafiرحمه اللهwho after a passionate debate with one of his contemporaries followed him outside and held his hand saying, “can’t we be brothers even if we disagree?” None of us have more convincing arguments than Al Shafi رحمه الله , nor his brilliance or status, yet he humbled himself to ensure that what remained after the debate was not just the conclusion of the argument, but the continuity of the brotherhood. It is for this reason that Al Shafi رحمه الله sought both when he said that before any debate he would pray that Allah put the truth on the tongue of his opponent so that the truth would remain without his ego being stroked or his brother being humiliated.

Social media squabbles aren’t worth real life separation. And they certainly aren’t worth separation from the Divine.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ ،أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ:
” تُفْتَحُ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ يَوْمَ الِاثْنَيْنِ، وَيَوْمَ الْخَمِيسِ، فَيُغْفَرُ لِكُلِّ عَبْدٍ لَا يُشْرِكُ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا، إِلَّا رَجُلًا كَانَتْ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ أَخِيهِ شَحْنَاءُ، فَيُقَالُ: (1) أَنْظِرُوا (2) هَذَيْنِ حَتَّى يَصْطَلِحَا، أَنْظِرُوا هَذَيْنِ حَتَّى يَصْطَلِحَا، أَنْظِرُوا هَذَيْنِ حَتَّى يَصْطَلِحَا”
رواه مسلم (وكذلك مالك وأبو داود)

As I write this on a Sunday, I remind the reader of Monday based on the hadith: He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)  said:”The doors of Heaven are opened every Monday and Thursday, and Allah pardons in these days every individual servant who associate no partner with Him, except those who have enmity between them; Allah Says: ‘Delay them until they reconcile with each other’.”

May the doors of the Heavens not be shut to us or our brothers/sisters due to the fires we either create or fuel out of our lowly selves.

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Oh Allah, clear our hearts from enmity, give us the ability to forgive, and pardon us for we have wronged ourselves.


Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center, and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.

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6 responses to “Our Brothers Who have Transgressed Against Us | Imam Omar Suleiman”

  1. Avatar Alexander Brown says:


  2. Avatar Sana Sarama says:

    This is beautiful! Subhanallah. May Allah purify all of our hearts and guide those who transgress.
    What if you abide by everything you Said in this article and your heart is pure towards your transgressors but the other party insists on the hate. What if you try to fix it with the transgressors and they refuse, how is it your fault that you won’t be forgiven?

  3. Avatar Yusuf Smith says:

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I was blocked last week by a friend I’ve known for years because she was offended at remarks I’d made about Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters on social media. She assumed they were directed at her and rather than just ask me, she just blocked me. She is also Muslim but we had other interests in common. It’s sad and people will do this all too easily because they’re annoyed at something someone has said, even when they have nothing to do with the deen and are about something people are worried about for good reason.

  4. Avatar Silent. whisperer says:

    Hai, I just left from my family whatsapp group. And block my sister who is the admin of the group temporarily. Now I have unblocked her back but still have no interest to re-included in the group. The reason is, I can’t stand how they practice injustice and promote violance and injustice towards wives while say nothing to the oppressing husband. They will always say that husband is to be respected and o eyed NO MATTER What because husband is the paradise of the wives. And when I say something that violance and oppression against wives is not part of islam, they will just get angry at me almost all the time. They even call me a deviant from Islam. This made me feel hopeless and stressful. I don’t want to encourage the oppression and zulm against my sister, and I have to express my stand towards the oppressor so he will not get more big headed. While I know that they (my family) hate me for it. What do I do? Is the door of jannah will not be opened for me too? What should I do to stop the injustice in my power?

    • Avatar Yusuf Smith says:

      I think there’s a difference between removing someone you know from your social media contacts but still keeping in contact with them and simply blocking a friend for something they’ve said on there. I’ve removed a relative from my Facebook because their opinions kept showing up in conversations I was having with people they don’t know (because FB tells all your friends if you post a comment on any public post, unlike with, say, a blog post) but I still meet that relative at any family gathering. Terminating a friendship without discussing whatever it is that caused the offence is what is unacceptable.

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