Dispute and Arguments bring about Enmity

In sessions, forums and dialogue, it is easy to observe people engaged in arguments, debate and disputes that may arouse discord and hostility. This is an evil and incurable characteristic that occupies many people.

Dispute is Part of Man’s Nature

The Noble Quran clearly states that man is naturally argumentative, despite the evidence, arguments, proofs, clear signs and varied examples that he sees. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And We have certainly diversified in this Quran for the people from every [kind of] example; but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone to] dispute.} [Quran 18:54]

Two Types of Dispute

Disputes are either disliked or laudable. They can be commendable when they are intended to show the truth, to direct others or to call them to it. This is what Allah The Almighty ordered the Prophet ﷺ to adopt. Allah The Almighty Says (what means):

{Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is Most Knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.} [Quran 16:125]

{And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say, “We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is One; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.”} [Quran 29:46]

In this respect the Prophet ﷺ said: “Struggle against disbelievers with your money, souls and tongues.”

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas debated with the Khawarij (an extreme sect in Islam) at the time of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib in compliance with the latter’s order. Ibn ‘Abbas and his father, informed and educated them beyond the excuse of ignorance and then renounced them. Consequently, many of them renounced their religious innovations. That was an example of a praiseworthy argument that helps to show the truth with corroborative evidence.

Another kind of dispute, which is the subject of our discussion, depends on falsehood, and it has many forms:

Dispute to Conceal the Truth

Dispute may be used to suppress the light of truth and to distract people from it. Allah The Almighty Says (what means):
{And indeed do the devils inspire their allies [among men] to dispute with you. And if you were to obey them, indeed, you would be associators [of others with Him].} [Quran 6:121]

{They disputed by [using] falsehood to [attempt to] invalidate thereby the truth. So I seized them, and how [terrible] was My Penalty.} [Quran 40:5]

{And among them are those who listen to you, but We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And if they should see every sign, they will not believe in it. Even when they come to you arguing with you, those who disbelieve say, “This is not but legends of the former peoples.”} [Quran 6:25]

Arrogance is the motivation behind this sort of dispute – the arrogance that prevents people from accepting the truth and acting upon it. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Indeed, those who dispute concerning the Signs of Allah without [any] authority having come to them – there is not within their breasts except pride, [the extent of] which they cannot reach. So seek refuge in Allah. Indeed, it is He who is The Hearing, The Seeing.} [Quran 40:56]

This sort of dispute destroys, misleads, blinds and makes those who practice it losers on the Day of Resurrection. Allah The Almighty Says (what means):

{And of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge and follows every rebellious devil. It has been decreed for every devil that whoever turns to him – he will misguide him and will lead him to the punishment of the Blaze.} [Quran 22:3-4]

{And of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening book [from Him], twisting his neck [in arrogance] to mislead [people] from the way of Allah. For him in the world is disgrace, and We will make him taste on the Day of Resurrection the punishment of the Burning Fire.} [Quran 22:8-9]

Dispute in Showing One’s Merit and Belittling Others

This is a great evil that few people manage to avoid. It is the habit of many in their speaking as well as in their sessions and forums. This sort of dispute is aroused by a person’s feeling of superiority and intelligence, and his attempts to deprecate the opinions of others. This is a sign of deviation. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “No people have gone astray after the guidance they used to follow except because of their engagement in disputes.” Then he ﷺ recited the verse (which means): {They did not present the comparison except for [mere] argument. But, [in fact], they are a people prone to dispute.} [Quran 43:58] [Ibn Maajah, Al-Albaani – Hasan]

Allah The Almighty does not like this kind of people. The Prophet ﷺ said: “The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the most quarrelsome one.” [Al-Bukhari]

People who build their arguments upon falsehood expose themselves to the wrath of Allah The Exalted. The Prophet ﷺ said: “If a person engages in a dispute based on falsehood while he knows that it is falsehood, he incurs the wrath of Allah on himself until he stops.” [Abu Dawood, Al-Albani – Saheeh]

Knowing that this sort of dispute is difficult for people to avoid, the Prophet ﷺ assured those who abandon it that they would thereby receive a magnificent reward; He ﷺ said: “I guarantee a palace on the outskirts of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he is right.” [Abu Dawood, Al-Albani – Hasan]

These people are in grave danger, and their attitude indicates deviation in their hearts. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.} [Quran 2:7] The Prophet ﷺ read this verse and said to one of his wives: “O ‘Aa`ishah, when you see those who dispute concerning the Quran, be sure that they are whom Allah intended here; so beware of them.” [Ibn Majah, Al-Albani – Saheeh]

Dispute Makes People Lose Out on Good

This sort of dispute causes the loss of good. ‘Ubadah Ibn As-Samit said, “The Prophet ﷺ once came out to inform us about the [date of the] Night of Al-Qadr. However, a quarrel took place between two Muslim men. The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘I had come out to inform you about [the date of] the Night of Al-Qadr, but due to the quarrel that occurred between so and so, its knowledge was taken away, and maybe this is better for you. Now, look for it in the seventh, the ninth and the fifth [of the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan].’” [Al-Bukhari]

As it leads to the loss of good and mars acts of worship, such disputes were declared impermissible. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Pilgrimage is [during] well-known months, so whoever had made Pilgrimage obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of Ihraam], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Pilgrimage.} [Quran 2:197]

With regards to fasting, the Prophet ﷺ said: “When any one of you is fasting, he must not have sexual relations…” and the wording that is narrated by Sa‘eed Ibn Mansoor reads: “…He must not dispute.”

This form of dispute causes grudges and enmity among people.

Disputing for Usurping the Rights of Others

The most evil form of all is disputing to usurp the rights of others. The Prophet ﷺ said: “I am merely a human being, and you [disputants] come to me with your cases. Someone may present his case eloquently and in a more convincing way than another. I give my verdict according to what I hear. So if ever I judge [by error] and give the right of a brother to his other [brother], then he [the latter] should not take it, for I am giving him only a piece of the Fire.” [Al-Bukhari]

A person from Hadhramawt and another from Kindah once came to the Prophet ﷺ. The one who came from Hadhramawt said, “O Messenger of Allah, this man has appropriated a land which belonged to my father.” The one who came from Kindah said, “The land is mine and it is in my possession. I cultivate it and he has no right to it.” The Messenger ﷺ said to the Hadhramite: “Do you have any evidence [to support you]?” He replied in the negative. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Your case is then to be decided by his oath.” The Hadhramite said, “O Messenger of Allah, he is a liar and cares not what he swears and has no regard for anything.” The Prophet ﷺ remarked: “You have no right to demand anything from him except that [which you stated].” The man from Kindah then set out to take an oath. When he left the Messenger ﷺ said: “If he has taken an oath on his property to consume it unjustly, he will certainly meet Allah while He is turning away from [i.e., shunning] him.” [Al-Bukhari]

The Righteous Predecessors Warned Against Dispute

As disputes that are based on falsehood or not based on evidence result in such previously-mentioned harms, the righteous warned against disputes and advised us to avoid them. The following are some reported citations in this regard.

Prophet Sulayman (Solomon) said to one of his sons, “Avoid dispute, for it is of little benefit, and it stirs enmity among brothers.”

Ibn ‘Abbas and his father, said, “What a sinful action it is for you to be disputant.”

Al-Awza‘i said, “If Allah The Almighty wants evil to befall some people, He keeps them in continuous dispute and makes them stop doing [good deeds].”

Muhammad Ibn Husayn Ibn ‘Ali said, “Dispute erases one’s religion and implants enmity among people.”

‘Abdullah Ibn Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Husayn was asked, “What do you think of dispute?” He replied, “It spoils old friendship and severs firm relations. It is at the very least a means of overpowering others in argument, which is the strongest cause for the severance of relations.”

Ash-Shafi’i said, “Dispute in religion hardens hearts and causes grudges.”

In the past, it was said, “Do not dispute with either a forbearing or a foolish person – the former will overcome you and the latter will harm you.”

O Allah, keep us away from dispute and the disputant, and help us to be upright, and do not let our hearts deviate after You have guided us.

2017-12-30T08:33:41+00:00 June 7th, 2017|Beliefs, Islam, Society|