Our Behavior in Case of Dissension

We are totally unaware from the manners of dissention or difference in opinion. Especially, in case of religious differences, our first reaction is that we start doubting the intention of people disagreeing with us and think that they are paid agent of some world forces. Some people take one step ahead by humiliating those who disagree with them and start personal attacks instead of criticizing in a positive way.

We assume that views of the creed, in which we were raised, is the only truth and the rest of views are nothing more than deviant versions of the true religion. If this is true, then what about those innocents who were born in the families of different sects and deemed their creed true as well. If we regard it as a mistake that they did not investigate the truth instead of just blindly believing on their own creed, then we also need to revisit our forefather’s beliefs with an unbiased attitude.

Normally we strongly encourage a person who willingly wants to study our creed but, on the contrary, we strongly discourage if a student of our group starts reading books of different religious doctrines. Reading books of other religions and sects and listening their scholars is misleading in our opinion. It has been implanted in our minds from the start that X person is an infidel, that man is heretic and that one has been deviated from the right path. Some people consider it a sin meeting with member of other sect.

Islam, our religion, is the vanguard of justice and equality. Is it fair that any court of the world announces penalty to an accused person without even giving him a chance to explain his/her position? Unfortunately, some people regard themselves as champions of Islam but can also straightforwardly term other’s as infidels, heretic or deviants. And they even do not deem killing any member of other creeds as a religious sin. This is not specific to only one of the religious groups but such extremism could be found in all religions and their sects. Thus, we neglect that such behaviors deteriorate the ideals of justice and equality.

The Quran not only guides us on such petty religious differences but also on national rivalries:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ ۖ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا ۚ اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ۔

O “Faithful! Be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” [Al-Mā’idah 5:8].

It is imperative to comply the manners while criticism during dissention for the retention of justice and equality. Manzoor ul Hassan, a religious scholar presented etiquettes of dissention as follows:

—– Honestly understand the view of whom you are going to criticize.

—– If it is required to present the controversial opinion, then it must be demonstrated without any alteration and modification. 

—– Limit the criticism in the boundaries of discussions only and do not personally attack the other.

—– If any allegation or proposition is made, then clear arguments must be provided.

—– Limit yourself to the arguments only and do not attack on the intention of the opponent.

—– The argument should proceed from agreed-upon points to disagreement, rather than starting from disagreement.

—– The objective of the discussion should not be negation of others but correction of ourselves.

—– The language should be polite enough which we like for ourselves.

If we take a look, we hardly comply any of these standards.

(Adapted from the work of Muhammad Mubashir Nazir. Translation: Tahira Malik Tabassum)

Think about it!

—– Recall any belief contrary to your opinion and review your attitude in the light of above mention standards that whether you comply the standards while dissention.

Our Behavior in Case of Dissension
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