Etiquette of Disagreement

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Event Name: Etiquette of Disagreement
Transcription Date:Transcription Modified Date: 5/9/2019 6:20:50 PM
Transcript Version: 2

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e of ikhtilaf is for conviviality, for the ability of live together and he said it is an essential quality and for this reason Imam al Makhani said a beautiful thing he said “learn the differences of the ulema and allow your breast to expand because in learning the differences of opinion and the fact that the ulema differed on so many things, it enables you to look with a broader vision of things and to see things with more generosity and he said that is why the ulema their view, their opinion of ikhtilaf has always been a positive one. It is not a negative one. They have understood it in a positive light not a negative light and this is why Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad who were the two primary students of Abu Hanifah they differed immensely with their Imam even thought he was their primary teacher, they learned from him, they differed with him. Imam Shafi who was a student of Imam Malik, he differed with him and this is because things change. Conditions change, time changes. He said there is a difference in a time, there are opinions that you might have held in an earlier period that more appropriate opinions that you considered less appropriate at that time became necessary at a later time and this is clear in the lives of the Imams. Their opinions changed when they moved geographically to places. He said your condition here in the lands of non muslims is different to the conditions of muslims living in the land of muslims where the primary population are muslim.


So these are differences, also you have normative differences of the actual habits of people and the normals of a people, these differ so all of these aspects of different are very important to understand why things differ. He said that for instance if you look, the ulema do not greet non muslims with their greetings and there is hadith and also opinions of the ulema to indicate that. He said from the unusual position of Ibn Taymiyyah he said that he actually said that it was permitted to greet non muslims with the greetings that they use and they greet you and he said there are three opinions from Imam Ahmad. One was permissibility, one was prohibition, the other was was it undesirable and so he said Imam Ibn Taymiyyah chose this from among those positions and some of the ulema considered it to be one of his appropriate choices in the Hanbali madhab. So he said you should apply that principle here, you are living with people here who are not doing anything, they are not causing you any harm and if they greet you, you should greet them and exchange those greetings. He also said that it was permissible to visit them and visit them during their festival occasions so when they were having festivities you could visit them for that reason and visiting their sick people if they were in hospital or somebody that you were working with or something like that was sick that that was also something that should be encouraged in their land so he said these are very important. Even though Ibn Taymiyyah, people that quote him, often quote him to use him as a stick, use him as a source of harshness and severity, that opinion is there.


Imam Ahmad was of the opinion that if blood was actually flowing from a wound that it invalidated the wudu so somebody asked him “you wouldn’t pray behind somebody who had that situation”. He said “SubhanAllah you do not think I would pray behind Imam Malik”. That was his opinion of course I would pray behind him. Even though he was of that opinion he recognised the other opinion was valid and it would not prevent him from praying with that person. He also said about Ishaq ibn Rahay he said “I never met anybody in the land of Iraq that was more learned than that man yet I differed with him” and then he said “people will continue to differ” even though he saw that that man was the most learned man he had seen in that country, he said “I have differences of opinion with him but those differences of opinion do not stop me from recognising his virtue and his excellent qualities”. Then he said that Imam Shafi differed with Imam Malik in some really essential matters even though he was his student and he said that Imam Shafi despite that said if the ulema are mentioned, Malik is the north star and he said on the day of judgment my proof is between me and my Lord is Imam Malik. So these differences should not be a cause for animosity to be prevalent amongst the muslims. They should not be a reason for people to cut each other off.


Abu Yusuf when he came to Madinah and he heard the adhan and the people of Madinah, the adhan of the Maliks only has two takbir Allahu Akbar instead of four like the Iraqi adhan and then it repeats the shahadatain. When Abu Yusuf heard that he said I have a hadith on so and so and so that he says the adhan is like this and he heard that from his teacher. Imam Malik said do you think I care about a hadith from so and so and so and so when 10,000 sahaba died in this city and this is the adhan we have been hearing since we were little kids and the sahaba heard it themselves and the tabieen heard it and nobody has ever said the adhan was otherwise so that was his opinion even though the hadith differed. He said “it is clear to me that this is the adhan of the city of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and nobody came and changed it at some point so I am not going to take your hadith” so there is an example of a difference of opinion.


Abu Yusuf said that if my teacher Abu Hanifah had heard the proof that Imam Malik had said he would have probably changed his opinion. It is not the opinion but he was just saying it is a strong proof for him.


Then he said really when you look at this, there is a democratic aspect to this because he said at the essence of a democratic world view is that people dismiss things and then they differ about things but they recognise the right of the other person to differ with them. He said wisdom is the lost beast of the a believer so it is the idea of just rejecting that principle because it seems alien to us, the word is alien to us, he said it is not, it is very Islamic principle and he said Muslims need to expand their breast. He said we have to have broader breasts when we deal with each other. We have Muslims now when they hear anything that disagrees with their opinion or goes against what they believe they become like a bull and begin to snort and be aggressive. He said that is not at the essence of this teaching. He said if you look at the Quran, the Quran has really established the principles of hiwar which is the dialogue and the Quran mentions in the Quran that Allah Himself had heard the dialogue of the woman and the wife when she went and complained to the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and Allah told the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) to debate with them in the best of ways and you will find that in many verses in the Quran.


When Imam Ali sent Ibn Abbas to the Khawarij he said “when they debate with you debate with them using the sunnah because the Quran is open to any many interpretations” whereas the sunnah is very specific because the sunnah is to clarify the Quran so he was telling him to do that.


So he said this is an essential virtue of our Islamic religion. This is an essential value of our religion in Islam which is the ability to accept the opinions of the other. He said the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) the first khutbah that he gave when he went to Madinah was “love each other in the spirit of Allah, love each other in the grace of God”. He said this is something that we have to do, we have to really begin to open our hearts to our brothers and sisters amongst the community and begin to be much more broadminded in this approach. It said anyone who comes to sow dissention amongst you, there are two possibilities:


  • He is just somebody who is very narrow minded and constructed by nature so he has just a psychological problem


  • He has bad intention. It is somebody who is trying to provoke the muslims to fight amongst each other because disunity enables some people who have their own personal reasons for the muslims to be disunited.


So it is very important to be aware of that. It is one of two reasons. In both cases you should reject them. Anybody that comes with this narrow constricted way of looking at things and condemning everybody else that this person is a trouble maker, that people should avoid and he said that we, the muslim is the brother of the muslim. He does not oppress him, he does not turn him over to his oppressors, he protects him. The muslims are like one body, they are like bricks in a building, each is supporting the other and the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said do not cut each other off, do not fight amongst one another, do not play one’s commercial benefits over another’s commercial benefits but rather be brothers for the sake of Allah. Do not return ingrates after my teaching has come to you, each striking the neck of the other so he said my advice is to you to love one another for the sake of Allah. He said also love other people for what they share in humanity, for the people out there, we should love for them what we love for ourselves. We should love for them guidance and goodness. When you go out there and look at other people, you have to look at them with compassion and look at them with the eye of humanity and not with some type of contempt or hatred.


So this is my message to you that I want to leave with you that you really need to expand your horizons. Work together, have shura amongst you, have dialogue and mutual consultation in your affairs, and listen to the other attentively and do not cut each other off.