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An Illustration of The Excellent Conduct of The Sahaabah During Disputes and Their Sincere Efforts to Maintain Harmony Without Hiding the Truth or Downplaying Mistakes

In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Rabee’ah Al-Aslami [may Allah be pleased with him] narrated: I used to serve Allah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him], so he gave me a piece of land and gave Abu Bakr [may Allah be pleased with him] a piece of land. Then, the worldly life came and we argued over a bunch of palm trees, so Abu Bakr said, ‘It is in my piece of land’ and I said, ‘It is in my piece of land’. There was an exchange of words between Abu Bakr and myself, so Abu Bakr said something to me that I disliked, and he regretted that. He said to me, ‘O Rabee’ah! Say in return to me what I said to you so that it becomes retribution’. I said, ‘I will not do so!’ Abu Bakr said, ‘Say it, or I will call Allah’s Messenger on you!’ I said, ‘I will not do so’. So Abu Bakr abandoned the piece of land and went to the Prophet and I followed him. The people from (the tribe of) Aslam came and said, ‘May Allah have mercy on Abu Bakr! Why would he call Allah’s Messenger on you when he has said to you what he has said?’ I said, ‘Do you know who that is? That is Abu Bakr -the Truthful (as-Siddeeq). He is the one who was in the Cave with the Prophet, and he is the elder of the Muslims! So beware that he turns around and sees you helping me against him and it makes him angry, then Allah’s Messenger comes along and becomes angry because of Abu Bakr’s anger, and then Allah becomes angry due to their anger, and thus Rabee’ah is destroyed!’ So, they said, ‘So what do you want us to do?’ I said, ‘Go back to where you came from’. Abu Bakr went to Allah’s Messenger and I followed him by myself and continued until he reached and informed him of our conversation as it happened. So he (the Prophet) raised his head to me and said, ‘O Rabee’ah! What is going on between you and as-Siddeeq?’ I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! This happened and that happened, so he said something to me that I disliked, and he told me to say the same thing back to him so that it would be a retribution’. Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Do not return his comment to him, rather say, may Allah forgive you O Abu Bakr! May Allah forgive you O Abu Bakr!’ Then Abu Bakr turned his face and began to cry”.

Al-Allamah Zayd Bin Hadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allah have mercy upon him] commented below: The hadith contains a remarkable story that provides us with an exhortation and a lesson. It demonstrates the pure hearts of the companions towards each other, showing that even in times of disagreement over worldly matters, they did not boycott one another, nor harboured grudges or hatred, instead, they offered sincere advice. This narrative highlights that the Sahaabah were people of fair play and justice, and they feared falling into disobedience and evil deeds. And if punishment was legislated for an evil deed, they preferred that it is received in this life rather than in the hereafter. This story illustrates the excellence of AbuBakr, his esteemed position among the Sahaabah, in the view of the Prophet, and also in the sight of Allah, as the Prophet held him in great regard and elevated him to his deserved status, just as Allah says in the Qur’an:

إِذۡ هُمَا فِى ٱلۡغَارِ إِذۡ يَقُولُ لِصَـٰحِبِهِۦ لَا تَحۡزَنۡ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَنَا‌ۖ

The second of two, when they were in the cave, he [Muhammad] said to his companion [Abu Bakr], “Be not sad (or afraid), surely Allah is with us”. [Surah At-Tawbah. Ayah 40]

Abu Bakr was the Prophet’s fellow in the cave. He holds the highest level of virtue among the Ummah after the Prophet, as agreed upon by Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah past and present. Indeed, the Prophet said to some of his other companions regarding Abu Bakr: “Would you not leave my companion for me” – meaning AbuBakr [i.e. don’t bother him, etc][Bukhari 3661]

This narrative highlights the importance of forgiveness and pardoning those who have wronged you, when you can do so and due to a (lawful or overriding) benefit because being forgiving and pardoning others will only bring you honour and a loftier status in the sight of Allah.

This narrative also demonstrates that the companions of the Prophet were not infallible. They made unintentional mistakes, but they were people whom Allah favoured with the privilege of being in the company of the Prophet. They did not persist in their mistakes, as can be seen in this story. Disagreements did arise among them, but they humbled themselves to the truth. They did not reject the truth with falsehood or engage in oppression. Instead, they promptly sought the guidance of Allah’s Messenger to resolve (the disagreements). The Messenger resolved those issues, and all of them were content with the judgment and submitted wholeheartedly.

This narrative highlights the importance of making supplications for others, especially those who have wronged you. Therefore, you supplicate for them that (Allah) rectifies their affairs and forgives them because you have an angel who responds, saying, “Ameen, and may Allah grant you the same”. One should be eager about this practice! The story shows that fulfilling the rights of others in this life is better than delaying it until the Day of Judgment, where no one will forgive another, even if they are close relatives. Additionally, it showcases the wisdom of Rabee’ah Al-Aslami, who advised his companions not to support or argue against Abu Bakr, recognising his esteemed status in the sight of Allah and the Messenger.

What do we derive as a benefit from this story: We must forgive and maintain love for each other when we have disagreements about worldly matters. A person should be eager to give others their rights and also seek forgiveness from those they have argued with. [1] [End of quote]


Do Not Conceal Facts During a Dispute

Allah [The Exalted] says:

وَإِن تَلۡوُ ۥۤاْ أَوۡ تُعۡرِضُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا

And if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim [may Allah have mercy upon him] said: Allah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] mentions two reasons that will inevitably lead to concealment of truth then He warned against them and issued a threat: the first of them is distortion and the second is to turn away from giving truthful witness. That is because when a proof that supports the truth is manifested and the one who wants to repel it finds no way of doing so, he refrains from mentioning it and thus becomes a silent devil, and sometimes he distorts it. Distortion is of two types -distorting words and meanings. Distorting words occur when one utters a word in a context in which it does not establish the truth – either adding to the word, omitting something from it, or substituting it with something else to the extent that the listener is made to believe something, while something else is intended, just as the Yahood [i.e. those Yahood in Madinah who disbelieved in the Prophet and hated] used to distort words when giving Salaam to the Prophet [i.e. saying As-Saamu Alayka (death be upon you), instead of saying Assalaamu alaykum)]. This is one type of distortion. The second type of distortion is related to meanings – distorting the wording, giving it an interpretation that is not intended by the one who uttered it and pretending not to know its unintended meaning; or dropping other meanings intended by it. Allah [The Exalted] says: [وَإِن تَلۡوُ ۥۤاْ أَوۡ تُعۡرِضُواْ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرً۬ا – and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do].

When it is the case that a witness is required to bear witness based on what the affair should be [i.e. the wholesome truth], therefore neither should he hide nor change it. Turning away from the testimony is tantamount to concealment and distortion is tantamount to alteration and substitution. [2]


Do Not Seek to Establish Something Based On a False Analogy

Allah [The Most High] says that the brothers of Prophet Yusuf [peace be upon him] said about him and his brother Bin Yameen: [إِن يَسْرِقْ فَقَدْ سَرَقَ أَخٌ لَّهُۥ مِن قَبْلُ َ – “If he steals, there was a brother of his [Yusuf (Joseph)] who did steal before (him)]. [Surah Yusuf. Ayah 77]

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim [may Allah have mercy upon him] stated: Allah informs us about Yusuf’s brothers that when they found the (golden) bowl in their brother’s (Bin Yamin) bag, they said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his (Yusuf) who did steal before (him).” Therefore, they did not draw a (sound) comparison (regarding this affair) between the basis of the affair and its shared characteristics based on a (sound) reason nor its evidence; rather they attached one to the other without comprehensive evidence other than the mere similarity between Bin Yamin and Yusuf (as blood brothers); so, they said, “This is analogy regarding the similarity between him and his brother in many ways, and that this one (Bin Yamin) has committed theft just as that one (Yusuf) committed theft (in the past). This (analogy of theirs) is a void comparison between similarities (in the reality of this specific affair) and an analogy based on a mere comparison between (two) images that is devoid of a shared cause (or reason) that would necessitate that the two are the same. It is a corrupt analogy. The similarity due to being blood brothers is not a shared cause (or reason) for being similar with regards to committing theft. There is no evidence of similarity in this, so the comparison is one devoid of a (sound or real) shared reason (or cause) and its evidence. [3]


Beware of Burdensome Speech

The Messenger [peace and blessing of Allah be upon him] said: “Indeed, Allah hates the eloquent one among men who moves his tongue round (within his teeth), as cattle do”. Al-Allaamah Abdul Muhsin Al-Abbaad [may Allah preserve him] said: “The person intended in this hadeeth is the one who speaks eloquently while using obscure or ambiguous language, immerses himself in speech, and burdens himself. He burdens himself in speech and thus utters something blameworthy. However, if this [eloquence] is not done by way of burdening oneself in speech, such as the one Allah has granted eloquence and he utilises it in his speech to clarify the truth, then this is not blameworthy. Allaah hates the person who speaks eloquently and utters that which is blameworthy due to deliberately utilising obscure, ambiguous, and burdensome speech. This person is likened to a cow that moves its tongue round [among its teeth] when eating. It is said that a cow is not like other animals because other animals use their teeth but a cow uses its tongue. This hadeeth forbids the likes of this action [i.e. eloquent burdensome speech] and the one who does so is hated by Allah. [4]


Do Not Be Quarrelsome

The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “The most hated of men in the sight of Allah is the one who is most quarrelsome”. Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadi al-Mad’khali [may Allah have mercy upon him] said: “A warning against (blameworthy) argumentation, falling into wicked behaviour and its evil, especially if the argumentation is based on falsehood. As for when it is based on truth, there is nothing wrong with that for the one who has a right to do so; but he should be just in his argument so that he does not enter into oppression or error, and Allah knows best. The hadeeth is related to a warning against lying during argumentation, falsehood, and adorned speech within it until one changes falsehood into truth and truth into falsehood; not bothered about making an oath, lying, or giving false witness. All this occurs from an extremely quarrelsome person, who goes into excess in the affair and does not feel shy in the presence of Allah- neither fears punishment in this life nor the next life. When it is the case that the extremely quarrelsome person is blameworthy, then indeed the person who has good conduct – if entitled to something – during an argument and other affairs will not utter except truth, and will not seek after anything except the truth- neither lies nor deceives the Shariah judge. This is one of the characteristics of the people of Imaan – those whom Allah praised in the Qur’an and the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] praised them in the pure Sunnah. [5]


Do Not Misuse Eloquence

Imam Al-Bukhari [may Allah have mercy upon him] said: Chapter: Chapter: [Whoever is given the right of his brother through a judicial decision]: Umm Salamah [may Allah be pleased with her] reported that Allah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “Indeed, I am only a human being and you people (i.e. disputants) come to me with your disputes. And it may be that one of you can present his case more eloquently than the other and I consider him truthful, and judge in his favour. So if I ever judge and give the right of a brother to his brother, then it is a piece of hellfire and let him not take it”.

Some Benefits Derived From This Hadeeth: The Ummah (i.e. the Shariah Judges) judge based on what is apparent; however, the judgment of a judge cannot prohibit the lawful and allow the unlawful (i.e. when proven erroneous). This Hadeeth contains a refutation against those who say that the Messengers possess knowledge of the unseen. This hadeeth also shows that speech can be seen to be true based on what is apparent, but it is truly falsehood concerning what is hidden within it. This hadeeth shows that the one who receives a judgment in his favour is more aware than every other person as to whether he is entitled to it or whether he is a falsifier. So, he takes it if entitled or leaves it if he is a falsifier because, in reality, a judgment cannot change an affair from what it was in origin (i.e. the original truth in the affair before its distortion or concealment]. This hadeeth shows the sinfulness of the one who argues based on falsehood until he receives what he wants publicly, whilst he is upon falsehood. This hadeeth is proof to show that a scholar can make a mistake and it is a refutation against those who say that every Mujtahid is correct. This hadeeth shows that the Mujtahid is forgiven (when he makes a mistake). [6] [End of quote]

We ask Allah to bless us with fear of Him, good behaviour, and truthfulness during disagreements. It is crucial to be cautious of downplaying bad behaviour out of a desire to be not seen as mistaken. By minimising the seriousness of bad behaviour, one aims to manipulate others into believing their distorted version of events. This behaviour is not only driven by a guilty conscience but rather by a desire to deceive and control the observers. Avoid adopting the strategies employed by those who attempt to convince others that their actions are not as dreadful or detrimental as they may appear. Similarly, be cautious of tactical manipulators who may confess to a fraction of their wrongdoing, just enough to create the illusion of accepting responsibility. However, it is important to note that admitting to a few minor points does not equate to fully acknowledging their actions. These tactics are merely a part of the game of managing impressions. Changing their ways becomes exceedingly challenging for these individuals as they downplay the gravity of their actions. It has been observed many times that individuals who consistently downplay the significance of matters are unlikely to tackle the problems they need to fix and take responsibility for. Trivializing is just one of the tactics they use to hinder the progress of sincere discussions and rectification. Therefore, it is important not to be influenced by excuses and attempts to minimise the importance of an individual’s obligation to fulfil on behalf of others, regardless of any appeals for unity or exaggerated statements.

Since 1995, we have met two categories of individuals. The First Group: Individuals who have consistently upheld integrity, provided valuable advice, stood firmly against Ahlul Bidah, promoted unity, avoided causes of disunity, and earned the trust of the people through their unwavering commitment by the Tawfeeq of Allah. This is Salafipublications and others known to us. The Second Group: People who slowly disclosed their aspirations for leadership, placed their importance above all else, and later proclaimed themselves as advocates for unity, but it became evident to anyone with even a small amount of common sense that every person seeking leadership immediately undermines themselves by downplaying significant matters while claiming to promote unity. This is because the desire for leadership itself is one of the main causes of division, and trivializing important issues during this pursuit has always been a tactic used to divert attention from one’s misdeeds. And Allah is the one whose Aid is sought!

We ask Allah: [اللهم كما حَسَّنْت خَلْقِي فَحَسِّنْ خُلُقِي – O Allah! Just as You made my external form beautiful, make my character beautiful as well].

[1] An Excerpt from “At-taleeqaat Al-maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah”. Pages 1/42-44

[2] An Excerpt from ‘Badaa’i At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim. Vol 1. Page 300-303

[3] I’laam Al-Muwaqqi’een 1/198. paraphrased:
قوله تعالى : إِن يَسْرِقُ فَقَدْ سَرَفَ أَخٌ لَهُ مِن قَبْلُ
[يوسف: ٧٧]
أخبر عن إخوة يوسف أنهم قالوا لما وجدوا الصواع في رحل أخيهم : إن يَسْرِقُ فَقَدْ سَرَفَ أَخٌ لَهُ مِن قَبْلُ . فلم يجمعوا بين الأصل والفرع بعلة ولا دليلها، وإنما ألحقوا أحدهما بالآخر من غير دليل جامع سوى مجرد الشبه الجامع بينه وبين يوسف، فقالوا : هذا مقيس على أخيه، بينهما شبه من وجوه عديدة، وذاك قد سرق فكذلك هذا ، وهذا هو الجمع بالشبه الفارغ، والقياس بالصورة المجردة عن العلة المقتضية للتساوي، وهو قياس فاسد والتساوي في قرابة الأخوة ليس
بعلة للتساوي في السرقة، ولو كانت حقاً، ولا دليل على التساوي فيها، فيكون الجمع لنوع شبه خال عن العلة ودليلها.
إعلام الموقعين (۱۹۸/۱)

[4] Explanation of Sunan Abu Dawud. Audio number 569

[5] An Excerpt from ‘At-taleeqaatul Maleehah Alaa Silsilatil Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. 1/26

[6] Sahih Al-Bukhaari. Kitaab Al-Ahkaam (Book of Judgements): Chapter 29. Hadeeth Number 7181 with Fathul Baari]