As Muslims and dawah carriers we interact with others regularly to convey the Islamic message. Islamic teachings provides much advice on how we need to deal with people in our daily lives. These teachings can help us when encountering troubles in our relations with others. It often focusses on our own behaviour towards the other and helps us deal with them in a manner which will be pleasing to ourselves but most important, pleasing to Allah (swt). A few beautiful examples of Islamic advice on our conduct towards others are:
Being humble towards the believers:
وَاخْفِضْ جَنَاحَكَ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And make yourself gentle for the believers.”
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنْ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لاَنْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
“And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him).”
Thinking good thoughts about one another:
It was narrated from ‘Umar (ra) that he said: “Do not think badly of a word uttered by your brother, when you can find a good interpretation for it.”
Finding excuses for mistakes they might make:
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,«أَقِيلُوا ذَوِي الْهَيْئَاتِ عَثَرَاتِهِمْ» “Overlook the slips of respected people.” [Abu Dawud, from Abu Hurayra (ra)]
Being forgiving towards another believer:
«ارحَموا مَن في الأرضِ يَرحَمْكُم مَن في السَّماءِ» “Have mercy on those on the earth, and the One in heaven will have mercy on you.” [Tirmidhi]
Not bearing a grudge towards one another:
Bin Hazm and Abdur Razzaq narrated that Omar ibn Al-Khattab (r.a.) said: “Whoever gave a witness against somebody over a punishment that he did not give at the time when the person committed it, the he gives witness with grudge.”
The above points can help the believer in building good relations with one another. It can help bring our relationships to a higher level in which our bond actually becomes a means to get closer to Allah (swt).
Saying this we also need to arm ourselves with Islamic concepts for situations where our dealings with others doesn’t lead to having a fruitful relationship. We as dawah carriers need to understand in depth the great influences growing up in non-Islamic societies has on the development of our shakhsiyya (personality). We need to appreciate that all societies whether in the West or in the East are in varying levels troubled with concepts such as disbelief, individualism, egocentrism, nationalism, immorality and many more concepts alien to Islam. These concepts are influencing everyone in society even the ones doing their best to adhere to Islam. When you aren’t educated from a young age with Islamic concepts which can help us build strong relationships with each other, it becomes harder to get rid of the negative concepts we have. Concepts such as forgiveness, humbleness, mutual respect, thinking well of one another all lay at the basis of a good relationship.
So what to do when you are trying your utmost to show good character and have been doing so for a very long time but this doesn’t seem to have a positive effect on the troublesome relationship. How then can we help ourselves and the other to still maintain a correct relationship in which Allah will understand your efforts and be pleased with your actions. Here are a few points we can hold on to when dealing with this specific problem:
As with all problems, Allah (swt) has ordered us to seek help with patience and prayer.
It has been authenticated that the Messenger ﷺ would, if something was important to him, retreat to the prayer. It is the consolation of the believer, meeting his Lord Most Glorified through it, filling his heart with tranquillity by performing it. You should ask Allah to help you deal with the troublesome relationship in such a way that it brings khair (good) to you and the dawah. You might start noticing that Allah (swt) will change your situation or the company you keep.
Now more than ever it is important to shape your behaviour with the best of manners given to us through Islam.
Often when growing up for example in the West we get familiar with the concept of getting one’s own back. This could practically mean that we forget our good manners and react emotionally and with anger. We need to do our best not to fall in to this way of thinking. We should always stay true to ourselves and our commitment to Allah. So we need to excel in behaviour which is pleasing to Allah.
When we put pleasing Allah (swt) as our main goal, we never need to feel disappointed in the reaction of the other.
Even though it will remain difficult to not have the feedback you deserve or the acknowledgment of your efforts, know that Allah is All Seeing and that you have dealt with things in a way pleasing to Allah. This is such a strong and positive feeling which nobody is able to take away.
Seek Allah’s forgiveness for any mistakes made on your side.
As believers we can turn any problem around so it becomes a blessing. Any problem can help focus our attention on Allah (swt) and our relationship with Him.
And finally always remember the following hadith:
«مَا يُصِيبُ الْمُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ وَلاَ وَصَبٍ وَلاَ هَمٍّ وَلاَ حُزْنٍ وَلاَ أَذًى وَلاَ غَمٍّ حَتَّى الشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا، إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ»
“No misfortune or disease befalls a Muslim, no worry or grief or harm or distress – not even a thorn that pricks him – but Allah will expiate for some of his sins because of that.” (Agreed upon. Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5641)
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