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Tolerance and Forgiveness Are the Keys to Success - By Dalia Mujahid Print E-mail
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Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakathuhu...

Nura's eyes blurred with tears as she heard the Imam proclaim, "The
Prophet, [sallallahu alayhe wa sallam (SAWS)] said, "Do not sever
relations. Do not indulge in mutual enmity. Do not entertain rancor and
jealousy against one another, and not be jealous of others. Be brethren among
yourselves and become Allah's slaves. It is not permissible for a man to
have severed his relations with any of his brethren for more than 3 days."


She realized then that almost six months had passed since the last time she
spoke to Aisha, and now she could not even remember what their fight had been

We all have had disagreements with our brothers and sisters, but why is it so
wrong to harbor animosity? Why does Islam emphasize freeing the heart from
hatred and enmity?

Even more dangerous is that harboring hatred will eat away at our faith. The
Prophet said, "Listen, may I not tell you something more important than
salah, fasting and charity?" The companions requested him to do so. He
said, "To keep the mutual relationship on the right footing, because the
defect in the mutual relationship is the thing which shaves a thing clean. I do
not mean that it shaves the hair, but that it shaves (removes) the
religion." (Tirmithi)

Hatred consumes the heart, so much that we forget Allah's justice and
mercy. Our gratitude to Allah is repelled by resentment of others.

That is why Satan's favorite method for destruction is instilling enmity in
the believer's heart. He uses this weapon to weaken the Muslim community and
make it vulnerable to both physical and spiritual enemy attacks.

Our physical enemies do not stand a chance against the Muslim Ummah unless
disunity has weakened it. Our spiritual enemies, Satan and our lower desires,
do not stand chance against our faith unless animosity has weakened it.

Most importantly, however, we should purify our hearts continuously to attain
Allah's forgiveness, a blessing we all desperately need. The Prophet
(SAWS), assured us that, "Every Monday and Thursday men's acts are
placed before Allah. On these days, Allah forgives the sins of everybody,
except the polytheists. However, if there is a person who has spite and hatred
against his bother, he says about them, 'Leave these two alone in their
condition till they reconcile." (Muslim)

Clearly, purity of heart is a quality we must acquire, and so Allah, the
Merciful, has given us the means to attain it.

We should begin by keeping our hearts free from jealousy. The Last Messenger
(SAWS), warned us, "Keep away from jealousy, for jealousy eats up virtues
in the same way as fire eats up wood." (Abu Dawud)

We must realize that all blessings are from Allah, which He gives to whom He
wills without measure. Failure to accept this and be grateful is rebellion
against the will of Allah. This, in fact, was the crime of Satan when he
refused to submit to Allah's ordinance to make Adam Allah's khalifah on

Maintaining our brotherhood also means to never sever relations. The Prophet
(SAWS), admonished us against this serious sin, "There are three persons
whose prayer does not rise even a fist above their heads. One is that man who
leads the prayers of others who do not like him. Second is that woman who
spends her night in such a way that her husband is displeased with her. And
third are those two brothers who have severed their relations with each
others." (Ibn Majah)

While it may seem that severing relations is just a result of harboring hatred,
and not a cause, it actually prolongs and hardens angry feelings by allowing
them to go unresolved. Even worse is that severing relations distorts our
perception of the incident and causes us to become more bitter.

Instead, we should rush to resolve disagreements. If our brother wronged us, we
should give him sincere advice. If we wronged our brother, we must race to seek
forgiveness from him and from Allah.

The Prophet (SAWS), has instructed, "He who has harmed his brother's
rights or has hurt his honor, then he should please him today, before the day
comes when there will be neither Dirham nor Dinar with him. If he would have
virtues, then they would be taken in proportion to the aggression that he had
committed. If there would be no virtues in his record, then the evil deeds of
the oppressed would be thrust into his account." (Bukhari)

We should also soften our hearts and forgive if we were wronged. This requires
great inner strength, as was the case for Abu Bakr when his relative spread a
rumor against Aisha. Though Abu Bakr was rightfully angry, but when he heard
the verse, "Let them forgive and overlook; do you not wish that Allah
should forgive you?" [Qur'an 24:22], he responded by pardoning his
relative, saying, "I like that Allah may pardon me."

Covering each other's faults is part of forgiveness, and comes with a great
reward as the Seal of the Prophets, alayhemus-salam, has promised, "Any one
who knows about the defect of his brother and he has concealed it, then Allah
will cover his defects on the Day of Judgment." (Tabarani)

Clearly, this means we should never backbite. Because not only does it cause
others to share our anger, but it also causes our hatred to flare and multiply.
Even more serious is that it will surely make the conflict harder to resolve.

We see the wisdom in the Prophet's words when he said, "None of you
should convey to me any hurtful thing about my companions, for I want that as
long as I may come to you my bosom should be clean in respect of every one of
you." (Abu Dawud)

Let us all then hearken to the call of Allah when he ordered us to
"….hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah, and do not
separate." [Qur'an 3: 103]

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