Sincerity, The Key to Successful Social Life
For a muslim, socializing with others should be based on correct intention and motivation. If he hates or loves them, encourages or discourages them, and does or doesn’t do something because of Allah the Glorified and Exalted, he will obtain pleasures in socializing with anyone.
Regarding these notation, Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taimiyya composed a beautiful saying, “You could obtain your pleasure in socializing with other people if you interact with them because of Allah, you expect for Allah’s please and not their please, you fear Allah and not them, you do good to them because you’re expecting Allah’s rewards and not their, you do not oppress them because of your fear of Allah, and not of them. It is as mentioned in a narration, “Expect your rewards from Allah regarding the human affairs, and do not expect for reward from human in Allah’s affair. Fear Allah in regards to the human affairs, and do not fear human regarding Allah’s affair.”
What he meant was, “Do not let yourself do any kind of worship and deed in order to be closer to Allah the glorified and Exalted because of them, wishing for their praises, and because of (you) fearing them, instead, expect for Allah’s rewards. And do not be afraid of human in Allah’s affair, be it what you do or what you choose to leave. In fact, do whatever you are ordered to even though they hate it.”
When You meet Another Person
It is inevitable that a person Will often see others, in the mosque, on the street, at work, at home, and at other places. What should he do when he meet another person? The companions of the Prophet had set for us an excellent example regarding how he should act upon seeing another person.
Abdur Rahman Ibn Mahdi said, “It is said that if a man meets someone whose knowledge is better than him, then that day is like the day he obtain spoils of war (because of the knowledge he is about to Learn,-ed), and if he meets someone on his level, he should learn together with him and also take lesson from him, if he meets a person whose intelligence is below his, he should be modest and teach him.” (See:Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’ 9/203)
How to Deal with People who Deviates while Seeking for the Truth
Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed, which can be translated as,
“(Believers! Pray thus to your Lord): “Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or commit mistakes. Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden such as You laid on those gone before us. Our Lord! Lay not on us burdens which we do not have the power to bear. And overlook our faults, and forgive us, and have mercy upon us. You are our Guardian; so grant us victory against the unbelieving folk.” (Chapter 2/286)
Sheikh al Islam said, “It is no doubt that people who seeks for the truth that comes from the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, and then he did mistake in some part of it, Allah the Glorified and Exalted will forgive his mistakes, as the realization of the Prophet’s and the believers du’a that Allah the Glorified and Exalted granted for them, i.e., when they prayed, ” Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or commit mistakes.” (Chapter 2:286) (Refer to: Dar’u Ta’arudl Bainal Aqli wan Naqli, 2/103)
Therefore, if there is a person who has attempted with his best to seek for the truth -which the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had taught-, and then he was mistaken in that attempt, then based on the above verse, he is forgiven. Likewise, if a learned scholar has worked his best in trying to find the truth that came from the Prophet’s teaching -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- , and then he was mistaken in some of the matters of creed, then he isn’t labeled as heretic and shouldn’t be exiled, because of his mistakes. Even though his saying or opinion was a heresy, it didn’t necessarily caused him to be labeled as a heretic. As the words that imply infidelity do not necessarily cause the one who says it to be labeled as an infidel/disbeliever, the one who utters words of heresy shouldn’t be labeled as a heretic, except after the necessary requirements have been met and there are no inhibiting factor left for the verdict to be applied.” (See: al-Fatawa 28/233-234)
Therefore, if there was a scholar whose righteousness and devotion in seeking for the truth has been well known, then he committed mistake in a certain matter, and fell into one kind of heresy, we shouldn’t label as a heretic. We should explain that although he did mistake regarding the matter, or he agreed with certain sect in it, he was not a part of their sect, nor that he held their beliefs.
However, even if he was forgiven since he had tried to find the truth, we should say that his opinion was wrong, or it was a heresy, and we should abandon that opinion and hold onto another scholarly opinion which is closer to the truth. It is different from people who takes his religion from other than the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, this kind of people is a heretic in his source of religion, in his saying, and his belief.
Imam Adz Dzahabi said, “We love the sunnah and its followers, we love the scholar in anything that fits the sunnah and commendable matters. And we do not love anything innovated based on a wrong interpretation, and the judgement is based on the amount of the goodness.” (See: Siyar a’lam an Nubala’ 20/46)
Badmouthing Others is like Disease, and Remembering Allah is like Medicine
Ibn Aun said, “Mentioning other people’s disgrace is like disease, whereas mentioning Allah the Glorified and Exalted is like medicine.”
Imam Adz-Dzahabi commented, “By Allah, it is true, but strangely, because of our ignorance, why would some of us leave the medicine and indulge in disease? Whereas Allah the Glorified and Exalted had declared, which can be translated as,
“So remember Me and I shall remember you; give thanks to Me and do not be ungrateful to Me for My favours.” (Chapter 2:152)
“And Allah’s remembrance is of even greater merit.” (Chapter 29:45)
“Such are the ones who believe (in the message of the Prophet) and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in Allah’s remembrance do hearts find rest.” (Chapter 13:28) (See: Siyar a’lam an-Nubala’6/369)
Likewise, there are plenty of verses that command us to restrain our tongue, and warn us not to let it loose uncontrollably. For example, Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed, which can be translated as,
“He utters not a word, but there is a vigilant watcher at hand.” (Chapter 50:18)
And in another verse of Allah the Glorified and Exalted,
“And then the Record of their deeds shall be placed before them and you will see the guilty full of fear for what it contains, and will say: “Woe to us! What a Record this is! It leaves nothing, big or small, but encompasses it.” They will find their deeds confronting them. Your Lord wrongs no one.” (Chapter 18:49)
Therefore, a person with a sound mind will always fight to subdue his evil desire, and keeps remembering verses and hadith regarding the restraining of the tongue from uttering useless words, always prioritizes his remembrances, thus, he will always be occupied by something that’ll only does him good in the world and in the hereafter.
Giving Appreciation to The Rightful
This tenet is not really different from the principle of justice and objectivity upon mentioning about others; however, what we mean here is limited in things that is specific for the subject, which distinguish him from others. Because there are some people who are prominent in their profound knowledge, some in their struggles (jihad), some in their da’wa, and so on.
For example, Ubay Ibn Ka’b, was one of the experts in the Qur’an; Ibn Abbas was the expert in Qur’an interpretation (tafseer); ‘Ali Ibn Abi Thalib was the expert in giving verdict; Abu Ubaidah was the trusted companion; Khalid Ibn Walid was the expert in horse riding, -may Allah be pleased with them all. The expert in fiqh (jurisprudence) was Imam Malik, the expert in hadith was Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, the most devoted worshipper was Al Fudhail Ibn Iyadh, the expert in Nahwu (one branch of Arabic grammar) was Sibawaih, -may Allah have mercy on them all-, and so on. And Allah knows best.
Reference: Summarized from the book “Manhaj Ahlus Sunnah fin-Naqdi wal Hukmi ‘alal Akharin”, by Hisyam bin Ismail ash-Shiini, page 67-74 (Ibn Djawari)