Dear Friday Jemaah,
Let us strive to increase our taqwa to Allah s.w.t., by heeding all of His commands and avoiding what He has prohibited upon us. Strengthen our faith by displaying good akhlak. Hopefully, by doing this, we can spread the good values of our beautiful religion.
Blessed Friday Jemaah,,
It is our culture, in this month of Syawal, to seek visit one another and seek forgiveness from each other. The month of Syawal is a wonderful opportunity for us to strengthen our ties with all Muslims, regardless of race or differences of opinion amongst ourselves.
My dear brothers,
As we go about our daily lives, we are bound to have differences of opinion with our friends and even family members. In fact, having these differences is the way Allah has created us. Thus we find, in surah Huud verses 118 – 119, Allah says:
Which means: “And if your Lord had willed, He could have made mankind one community; but they will not cease to differ. Except whom your Lord has given mercy, and for that He created them.
This verse teaches us that differences are the will of Allah s.w.t. However, Dr. Taha Jabir Alwani in his book called Ethics of Disagreement (or Adab Ikhtilaf), wrote that differences in opinion should not lead to disunity of the ummah. He also reminds us differences of opinion can be long-standing and result in discord when it influences jealousy, sows malicious intent and causes one to be boastful.
Let us reflect upon a hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad, on how Nabi s.a.w. promised that a man will be rewarded with Paradise. When Abdullah ibn Umar studied the deeds of that particular man for three consecutive nights, he noticed that the man was not among those who performed many sunnah deeds. Thus Ibn Umar asked him what was the reason that he was promised the reward of Paradise from the Prophet s.a.w. The man replied: My deeds are as what you saw. However, as I reflect on myself daily, I realise that there is not a hint of jealousy or malicious intent in my heart toward other Muslims.
Ya Allah! That is the character of a future dweller of Paradise; he does not allow his heart to be filled with hatred, malicious intent and envy toward others. And that is the attitude that we should adopt when we have differences of opinion with our brothers. It doesn’t matter if these are opinions regarding daily lives or religious matters. As long as the matter in which there exist differences of opinion is a matter of khilafiyah, or in other words,there is no unanimous opinion amongst scholars, then we must approach it with an open mind.
As such, I would like to share several matters that we need to take into consideration when we differ in our opinions with our brothers.
First: Begin by acknowledging that the existence of differences of opinion is a sunnatullah (Allah’s way of creating us).
When we begin by acknowledging that differences of opinion is decreed by Allah, then we need to realise that we have to respect these differences. Thus, it is unrealistic and in fact, we are disobeying Allah’s will when we try to impose our opinions on others. Such efforts will only cause a regression in intellectual thought and the death of the spirit of research.
Always remember that differences enrich our thoughts and intellect. It is the source of creative ideas and thoughts, rather than the source of discord.
Second: Discuss with adab and wisdom.
If we study what Allah s.w.t. says in surah Taha verse 44, when Allah s.w.t. commanded Prophet Musa a.s. and Prophet Harun a.s. to spread the message of Islam to Firaun. Allah s.w.t. said:
Which means: “And speak to him (Firaun) with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [ Allah ].”
See how Allah s.w.t. commanded His two Prophets to speak gently and with calmness when facing Firaun. This is the person who had oppressed the people of Prophet Musa a.s., and ascribed partners to Allah (syirk) by claiming that he is God. Thus, if this is the treatment and manner encouraged by Allah s.w.t. to such a vile person, then is it fair for us, is it permissible for us, to hurl abusive words to our brothers in Islam? It is normal to have differences in opinion. For example you of a certain opinion based on certain evidences. So put forth your evidences, but remember that it is up to others whether or not to accept your opinion. Do not criticise and hurl insults and abusive words, and put aside good manners in our discussion.
Third: Ensure that the intellectual differences do not bring about misunderstanding.
My brothers, the purpose of discussing and engaging in dialogue session is to help us discover the truth, and so we should not let syaitan influence us and cause us to end our friendship and ties with others.
Reflect upon the story narrated in the book Siyar ‘Alaam An-Nubala’:
Imam As-Syafiee once had a difference of opinion with a man called Abu Musa Yunus As-Sadafi regarding an issue. Abu Musa then said: After that, I met Imam As-Syafie out in the streets and Imam As-Syafie held my hand and said: Oh Abu Musa, is it not possible for us to continue being friends, even though we are not in agreement over an issue?
Thus during this blessed month of Syawal, let us take the opportunity to strive to reconcile old ties that have long been forgotten. Or seek forgiveness from each other for past mistakes and wrongdoings. May Allah s.w.t. mould us into an ummah that receives His blessings. An Ummah that loves islah or betterment. An Ummah that does not sacrifice kinship because of differences and misunderstandings between Muslims. Amin ya Rabbal Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 9 August 2013 / 2 Syawal 1434