SUNDAY, 13 JULY 2003 12:47 HABEEB HITS: 1704
How to resolve conflict? Six Points.
As if the winds of Peace that have blown over the Heartland ages ago, have now lost our address. Hatred and acrimony seems the order of the day. Worse yet, before mundane scenarios ordinarily plagued the press. Now we have religious wars between organizations, leaders, and even Dawah co-workers making the news daily. I firmly believe Islam remains the solution but at the same time reconciling a conflict takes two listening hearts. Here are six suggested points on resolving some common conflicts around us.
Faith-based solutions still unrivalled.
As we take the Bill of Rights to Parliament once again, the issue between gays wanting legal rights and religious people, who are the majority, objecting to such inequity is slowly boiling to a conflict. What God ordained as natural- marriage to the opposite sex- is being challenged with spurious arguments and faulty scientific formulas. But hasn’t democracy promised rights for the Majority? Have we forgotten about Allah’s punishment on Lot’s wife and her homosexual confederates? Surah 7 verses 80-84 conclude the affair but many are still contemplating “escape clauses” as witty legislators bargain for the People. Let’s be reaffirmed as a believing people that Iman is the basis of Laws. The more we build our Faith the less likely are we to suffer at the hands of callous irreligious savants. A believer sees in Yahya, son of Zakariyya, a fine example. He was killed by a tyrant who confronted him, yet Allah who made him a prophet, did not intervene nor defend him. Jacob cried for eighty years when Joseph son of Jacob, peace be upon them, was gone, he never gave up; all he said when his other son was gone too is “May God bring all of them back to me”. Moses, owbp, prayed against Pharaoh, who killed children and crucified Believers and cut their hands, for 40 years before he was answered. The people should be firm on Faith and the rulers should respect their voters’ taste! “The religion of Islam is a lenient one – so go into it with ease and patience. No one who attempts to storm his way into it will come out victorious.” Bukhari. Abu Bakr too was a World Leader but he would rather die than succumb to the capriciousness of his immoral comrades. He said once: “Always fear Allah; He knows what is in men’s hearts.”
Like Salah, regard the commandment of Shura equally important.
What unpalatable taste it leaves, to witness major organizations kneeling at the petticoats of Magistrates, like children without parenting, begging for the destruction of other Muslims. Proudly, we have been leaders in dialogue and consultation throughout the Golden Era of Islam. The Prophet, owbp, even entertained Christians in his Masjid for three days only for this reason. Surah Shura was revealed only on this- and consult them and when you have decided put your trust in Allah. Not politicians and lawmen! Come on! Look at your communication. If it is confrontational, people will react negatively. If it is cooperative, even difficult people will be more likely to “work with you. Don’t enter a meeting overloaded with words and emotions, deaf to the words of the other! Not only that, your organization is much more likely to be recognized, if you are a more cooperative sounding person. People are in need of the cure more than the blame, so instead of you look at women as if Allah does not see you, you stare at this part of the body and that part of the body it is wiser to address the issue by talking about it from a positive angle, such as “Today, I’ll talk about the merits of lowering the gaze.” People will understand what you’re intending and the same point will be made without hurting their feelings. Don’t over generalize, and be careful not to get carried away. Sometimes you find people such as Farrakhan, who think that selling alcohol is worse than the polytheism. Nation of Islam believes strongly that Elijah is a messenger of Allah and Muhammad is only the Last Prophet and not Final Messenger! They would say, “Before Muslims come to us to teach us, take care of your own who are selling all these bad things to the black neighborhoods!” “Never let hatred of others lead you to deviate from Justice. Be just for this is closest to Righteousness. Remember God is well aware of all that you do”. Quran
Not forgetting Allah’s sublime knowledge.
Imam Ali used to say, “Wealth is diminished by spending while knowledge grows by use.” Take the regular media columns about husband and wife conflicts and its just appalling to see how Muslims seem carried away with so called “freedom” and forget that we already have revealed duties to each other. We know our duty at work and the boss knows just how to exact the hardest duty from the laziest employee. But do we really know our mates and have we understood the power of the Sunnah as yet? Here are some clues. Don’t get carried away with looks. Reputation is what you are in the light; character is what you are in the dark. Mr. Al Amir told Khaleej Times: “Last year we sent 150 couples on Umrah trips, because we believe that convincing the couples facing problems, to go together on a pilgrimage trip made available to them, at the minimal possible expenses, is a means of treatment for all the problems which surface in the day to day life, as a result of the pressures which lead many to drift away from the teachings of Islam.” Yes take her for a trip or invite him to some Halal dinner! A Bedouin came to The Prophet, owbp and told him, “Give me from what Allah gave you, not from the wealth of your mother nor from the wealth of your father.” The Companions were furious at the man and stepped forward to discipline him. The Prophet, owbp commanded everyone to leave him. Instead the Prophet, owbp, took him home, opened his door and said, “Take what you wish and leave what you wish.” The man did so and after he completed, the Prophet, owbp, asked him, “Have I honored you?” “Yes, by Allah,” said the Bedouin, “Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasul lullaah. When they heard of how the man changed, the Prophet, owbp explained, “Verily the example of myself, you and this Bedouin is that of a man who had his camel run away. The townspeople tried capturing the camel for him by running and shouting after the camel, only driving it further away. The man would shout, “Leave me and my camel, I know my camel better.” Then he took some grass in his hand, ruffled it in front of the camel, until it came willingly. “By Allah, had I left you to this Bedouin, you would have hit him, hurt him, he would have left without Islam and eventually have entered hellfire.”
Mutual respect is the key to close all conflicts.
Imagine we do Allah’s work but insult Allah’s servants. When co-workers are pitted against each other, the Barakat of the Dawah is gone sooner or later. The hearts are the main objects in the Islamic Movement- when fine all is well and when wounded it cries the dua of the oppressed. Beware! Gheebah, or backbiting, is to talk about someone else’s actual faults, in the absence of that person without having a positive reason to talk about such faults. The Qur’an says: And the true servants of God are those, who when ignorant people address them in a provocative manner, turn away from them, and say: ‘Peace to you’. Quran 25: 63. “Verily, anger corrupts faith just like how the juice of bitter plants corrupt honey”. Hadith. A man once entered upon famous Caliph, Haroon Rasheed and remonstrated him for some policies he had taken. Haroon Rasheed replied, “By Allah, Pharoah was eviler than me. And by Allah, Musa was more pious than you. Yet, Allah commanded him: And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or fear Allah.” Courtesy through and through, isn’t it?
More sincere greater the effect.
Organizational politics and Ulama squabbles have ruined our sacrifices like a mad dog let loose on a flock. While we struggle to teach Quran and acquire handouts for the needy, the greed for a bigger following and desire to show ostensibly the works of religion have robbed us the sincere effects of this Noble Dawah. Why am I being dragged into “my sheikh and my org” cultist mentality, when this Ummah is a single brotherhood? We have to understand that “Every good work is charity. Bukhari and Muslim. No one has exclusive rights to Allah’s work. “Anyone whose feet are covered with dust in Allah’s cause, shall be saved by Allah from the Hell-Fire.” Bukhari
Struggle in the Path to settle differences.
Sectarian differences will always be there. Having 73 sects is a foretold reality. But Iktilaf Ummati Rahmatun- the differing opinions in my Ummah is a mercy. Hadith. While we debate in our own academic circles about proofs and evidences we cannot deny good countenance and cooperative ventures on issues that affect us as an Ummah. Cooperate in goodness and Taqwa is a Quranic command. How can someone want Islam but not the Schools of Thought? How could we spit hate-filled speeches against Imams and Scholars, whilst begging to end the sectarianism fire? The rhetoric of following the Shari’a without following a particular Mazhab is like a person going down to a car dealer to buy a car, but insisting it not be any known make-neither a Lexus nor Camry nor Hilux-but rather ‘a car, pure and simple’. Let’s prepare for the audience, an Amanat entrusted to us by Allah, rather than expending our energies on hair splitting. Remember the A nalysis – Who are they? How many will be there? Understanding – What is their knowledge of the subject? Demographics – What is their age, sex, and educational background? Interest – Why are they there? Who asked them to be there? Environment – Where will I stand? Can they all see & hear me? Needs – What are their needs? What are your needs as the speaker? Customized – What specific needs do you need to address? Expectations – What do they expect to learn or hear from you? A man once urinated in the mosque and bystanders rushed to beat him. The Prophet, owbp, ordered them to leave the man alone and said: “You have been sent to make things easy. You have not been sent to make things difficult for them.” Again he, owbp, said on another occasion, “He who consumes things acquired lawfully and acts according to my example and from whose mischief others are safe, shall enter Paradise.” Tirmidhi.
Poem on Friendship is Excusing not backstabbing!
People can be vengeful,
And knife you in the back
Isn’t it a terrible thing?
When friends do act like that?
A friend’s faithfulness is rare-
Very hard to find,
As to this characteristic,
Not many are inclined