Without reconciliation we can never be a strong Ummah
In Surat Al Anfal, Allah Almighty said:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَنفَالِ ۖ قُلِ الْأَنفَالُ لِلَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ ۖ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَأَصْلِحُوا ذَاتَ بَيْنِكُمْ ۖ وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
They ask you about the bounties. Say, “The bounties are for God and the Messenger, so be mindful of Allah and reconcile between yourselves and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you are believers. (8:1)
إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
In Surat Hujurat, Allah Almighty said:
The believers are brothers, so reconcile between your brothers, and remain conscious of God, so that you may receive mercy. (49:10)
In Surat An Nisa, Allah Almighty said:
وَإِنِ امْرَأَةٌ خَافَتْ مِن بَعْلِهَا نُشُوزًا أَوْ إِعْرَاضًا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا أَن يُصْلِحَا بَيْنَهُمَا صُلْحًا ۚ وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ ۗ وَأُحْضِرَتِ الْأَنفُسُ الشُّحَّ ۚ وَإِن تُحْسِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا
If a woman fears ill-treatment or indifference on the part of her husband, it shall be no offence for her to seek a reconciliation, for reconciliation is best. But people are prone to selfish greed. If you do good and fear Him, surely God is aware of what you do. (4:128)
Allah confirms the importance of reconciliation (Islah). He says As-Sulhu khayr ‘Reconciliation is best’ (4:128).
The sunnah is filled with well-known narrations which also corroborate this. For instance, Abu al-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
روى أبو داود (4273) والترمذي (2433) عن أبي الدرداء رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: «أَلا أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِأَفْضَلَ مِنْ دَرَجَةِ الصِّيَامِ وَالصَّلاةِ وَالصَّدَقَةِ ؟ قَالُوا: بَلَى. قَالَ: صَلاحُ ذَاتِ الْبَيْنِ، فَإِنَّ فَسَادَ ذَاتِ الْبَيْنِ هِيَ الْحَالِقَةُ» قَالَ الترمذي: وَيُرْوَى عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم أَنَّهُ قَالَ: «هِيَ الْحَالِقَةُ. لا أَقُولُ تَحْلِقُ الشَّعَرَ، وَلَكِنْ تَحْلِقُ الدِّينَ».
Shall I not inform you of something more excellent in degree than fasting, prayer and almsgiving (sadaqah)? The people replied: Yes, Prophet of Allah!
You can sense the eager anticipation of the Companions, wanting to discover what could possibly be more rewarding than fasting, salah and sadaqa (charity). It was puzzling and they were keen to find out. Then the Prophet (peace be on him) replied:
It is reconciliation: putting things right between people, and beware of spoiling relations with each other – it strips you (of your deen) haliqah shaves the Deen. (Abu Dawoud)
Better than prayer, fasting and charity
Scholars such as Mullah Ali al-Qari and commentators on Abu Dawood have dwelt on the fact that the hadith says reconciliation is better even than salah. Yet the fard salah, is a main pillar of Islam, so is this hadith referring to the sunnah and nawfil (voluntary) salah?
It actually depends on the whether the consequence of the reconciliation is more critical than salah. For instance if the reconciliation is to prevent murder, then it is more important than praying the fard salah. In this situation, one should delay salah to save a life. Otherwise it is highly recommended to reconcile others.
Haliqah – the razor
It is somewhat strange that the Prophet (peace be on him) compared Islahu dhatil bain (reconciliation) and fasadu dhatil bain (spoiling relations) with haliqah, which means shaving hair. He often made these unusual connections to shake up people’s minds and enable them to grasp the point.
Here he was saying that if you are satisfied with spoiling relations then it is akin to shaving your deen. Why? When you have hatred, it can lead you to insulting someone, be violent or even kill someone, so it destroys the religion. Hence, the Prophet (peace be on him) said: “Make peace between each other. For indeed spoiling relations with each other is the haliqah (the razor).” “I do not say that it shaves the hair, but it trims the religion.” (Tirmidhi)
Allah Almighty said:
ۚ وَٱذْكُرُوا۟ نِعْمَتَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَآءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِۦٓ إِخْوَٰنًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ
Remember Allah’s favour upon you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts, so you—by His grace—became brothers. And you were at the brink of a fiery pit and He saved you from it. (3:103)
When you reach a position where you do not want reconciliation, you are going down shaytan’s path. Each time you choose division it will affect you, your religion, your family, and your community. This is why it ‘shaves off’ a bit of the religion.
Religion is based on cooperation. The community should be loving and caring and harmonious, but if we refuse to reconcile, we destroy the pillars of our deen. This is why reconciliation can be better than salah, fasting and sadaqa, because it is bringing hearts together.
The bitter reality of our Ummah today
We are 1.8 billion Muslims, but are we well respected in the world? Sadly no, because we are not one hand, one heart. We are scattered. We have the best resources, minds and manpower, yet we cannot harness any of these as we are divided into different sects. We are an Ummah by name but not in practice.
This is why the Prophet (peace be on him) said:
“A time will come when the nations (of the world) will surround you from every side, just as diners gather around the main dish. Somebody asked, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, will it be on account of our scarcity at that time?’ He said, ‘No, but you will be scum, like the scum of flood water. Feebleness will be in your hearts, and fear will be removed from the hearts of your enemies, on account of your love for the world, and your abhorrence of death.'” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
We do not have true bondship based on the Book of Allah, we have divisions based on our whims and desires and self interest. However, public interest is more important than my interest or your interest, that is why it is our obligation to sort out any issues we have in our families. If you have problems with your parents, sort them out. If you have issues with your siblings or extended family, sort them out.
Above all, the command of Allah is to reconcile between yourselves, so we have to say sami’na wa at’na ya rabb, ‘We hear and we obey Ya Rabb’. Regardless whether we like it or not, we need to make our desires in line with the shariah.
‘None of you believe unless your likings and desires are in line with the shariah.’ (Kitab al Sunnah by Ibn Abi ‘Asim).
One of the 8 categories of those who are eligible for zakat is the garimeen – those who borrow money and end up with big debt to reconcile between people.
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Charities are for the poor, and the destitute, and those who administer them, and for reconciling hearts, and for freeing slaves, and for those in debt, and in the path of God, and for the traveller in need—an obligation from God. God is All-Knowing, Most Wise. (9:60)
Scholars commented that among these are those who bring people together – they reconcile individuals, families and disputing parties in the community. These are entitled to receive zakat money because this is such an important thing.
We need to work on reconciliation on a macro level and micro level. Allah commanded us to be united and cooperate with one another in goodness and righteousness.
And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves. (3:104)
May Allah enable us to follow His commands and overcome our conflicts and divisions. Ameen.
Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Khutbah 17th June 2022
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