By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers.
Dear brothers and sisters! Know that reconciling people is among the great noble morals. The Shari’ah urged it in more than one occasion as Allah the Almighty Says:
“So fear Allah and amend that which is between you and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you should be believers.” [Qur’an, 8: 1]
And our beloved Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Sadaqah (i.e. charity) is due on every joint of a person every day the sun rises. Administering of justice between two men is also a sadaqah. Assisting a man to ride upon his riding animal, or helping him load his luggage upon it is a sadaqah; a good word is a sadaqah; every step that you take towards prayer is a sadaqah, and removing harmful objects from the pathway is a sadaqah.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Respected brothers and sisters! Due to the importance of this virtue (reconciliation), Islam assigned one of the disbursement channels of Zakah for those who seek to reconcile people. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The best charity is to reconcile between people.” [At-Tabarani]
Even the Poets did not forget the virtue of reconciling people, so they immortalised it in their poems. One Arab poem said a line of verse that means:
“All merits are referred to two matters; glorifying the Orders of Allah the Almighty and seeking to reconcile people.”
Reconciling people is a branch of faith and an Islamic moral code through which grudges are eliminated, hearts are purified, and flames of fitnah and discord are extinguished. Regarding this quality Allah the Almighty Says:
“No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.” [Qur’an, 4: 114]
Dear servants of Allah! Islam urges the believer to regard ‘reconciling people’ as one of his most important aims in his worldly life, as it is through reconciliation that the Ummah (Islamic nation/Islamic society/Islamic community) becomes a coherent unit where one part thereof seeks to amend the other part. Thus, it becomes like a single body; if one organ of it complains, the rest of the body suffers sleeplessness and fever. Neglecting this matter leads to the disintegration of the Ummah and the severance of its ties.
That is why Islam considered reconciling people better than many acts of worship. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Should I not tell you what is better in degree than prayer, fasting, and charity.” They (the companions) said: “Yes.” He (Peace be upon him) said:
“Reconciling people, for grudges and disputes are the razor (that shaves faith).” [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmithi]
Reconciliation should be realised by bridging the gaps that occurred because of disputes and conflicts over worldly affairs and by removing their bad effects.
Some scholars maintain that the prayer, the fasting, and the charities that are mentioned in the Prophetic Hadith refer to the voluntary, not the obligatory. Imam Al-Qari may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“Allah the Almighty Knows best about the intended meaning. However, it could mean that bringing reconciliation to conflicts and disputes that might lead to shedding blood, plundering money, and violating sanctities is better than fulfilling obligatory acts of worship whose benefits do not extend to others, taking the possibility of making up for them, in case they are missed, into consideration. This is so because such acts of worship are among the Rights of Allah the Almighty and that are less significant in His sight than the rights of the servants.”
As regards his saying, “Grudges and disputes are the razor,” the author of An-Nihayah said: ” ‘The razor’ refers to such a bad quality that removes faith, just like a razor removes hair. It was also said that it refers to severing ties of kinship and injustice.”
Imam At-Tibi may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“The Hadith urges reconciling people and avoiding corrupting relations between them, because reconciliation is a reason for holding firm to the rope of Allah the Almighty and avoiding disunity between the Muslims, whereas disputes are a crack in the religion. Whoever seeks to amend the relations between the Muslims and removes the corruption thereof will attain a degree that is greater than that of the fasting person who observes night prayers and is preoccupied with his own benefit only.”
From the sum of these Hadiths, we reach an important result, which is that our great religion (Islam) aspires for reconciliation and seeks for it. Allah the Almighty informed us that settlement of disagreements is best. Allah the Almighty Says:
“…there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them – and settlement is best.” [Qur’an, 4: 128]
Reconciling people is a great act of worship that Allah the Almighty loves. The one who seeks to reconcile people is the one who offers his effort, money, authority, and power to reconcile the disputing parties. He is a person whose soul loves goodness and yearns for it. He does not care about the people’s opinions or criticism as long as he seeks the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. He exposes himself to embarrassing situations and shares the concerns of his Muslim brothers in order to reconcile two persons.
Many are those homes which were about to collapse because of a simple dispute between the spouses. Then, when a person interfered seeking reconciliation between them by means of a good word, a sincere advice, or sometimes a sum of money, he restored peacefulness between them and saved the family from loss and destitution?
How many ruptures of relations were about to occur between two brothers, friends citizens or relatives because of a mistake or a minor error, but then a person succeeded in reconciling them.
How many lives and properties were saved and satanic temptations were suppressed after they were about to start thanks to the favour of Allah the Almighty and then to those good people who reconcile others!
Congratulations, O Muslims, to those who were guided by Allah the Almighty to reconcile two opponents, spouses, neighbours, friends, partners, citizens or groups.
What further indicates the great virtue of reconciling people is that Islam allows even lying to reconcile quarreling people. The intended meaning of lying here is to exaggerate in describing and confirming the good aspects of the other party so as to reconcile hearts and to assert that such a dispute was not intentional. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The one who reconciles people is not considered a liar if he exaggerates what is good or says what is good.” [Ahmad]
A scholar said:
“Allah the Almighty likes lying for the sake of reconciliation and dislikes truthfulness for the sake of corruption.”
Thus, pay attention to this.
We have to realise that we are human beings and that disputes breaking up among us is something normal. Rare are those people who are safe from disagreement. It might occur between you and your brother, relative, spouse, or friend… This happens often. So, we have to rid ourselves of this by reconciliation, shaking hands, forgiveness, condescendence, love, and brotherhood so that everything becomes alright again.
Let us reflect upon this Hadith of our beloved master, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) of those who reconcile people. He said:
“The gates of Paradise are opened on two days: Monday and Thursday. Every servant who does not associate anything with Allah Almighty is granted pardon, except the person in whose (heart) there is rancour against his brother. It would be said: delay both of them until they reconcile; delay both of them until they reconcile; delay both of them until they reconcile.” [Muslim]
Imam Al-Awza‘i may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“There is no step that is dearer to Allah the Almighty than a step towards reconciling people. Whoever reconciles two people, Allah the Almighty will grant him safety from Hellfire.”
O my loved ones for the sake of Allah Almighty! Someone may say: ‘I want to go to so-and-so to reconcile, but I fear that he rejects me, he refuses to receive me, or he depreciates my visit!’ But remember that your Prophet (Peace be upon him) is telling you: ‘Go to him even if he dismisses you or he talks badly about you. Go to him once, twice, and thrice and hasten to give him a present, smile at him, and treat him nicely.’ The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Allah Almighty augments the honour of he who forgives.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
If you pardon, Allah the Almighty will increase your honour; if you reconcile people, Allah the Almighty will increase your honour. If you were expelled or the door was not opened for you and you returned, then know that this is one of the wishes of the predecessors of the Ummah because it is proof of the purity of the heart since Allah, the Exalted, Says:
“And if it is said to you, “Go back,” then go back; it is purer for you.” [Qur’an, 24: 28]
So, take care of this, O believer, and do not leave for Satan a way to yourself.
Try reconciliation today. Call the one who is disputing with you and treat him nicely. Perhaps this call might be a reason, after the mercy of Allah the Almighty, for forgiving your sins. Allah Almighty Says:
“Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Qur’an, 24: 22]
Go to him. There are people who went to sit with their opponents for only fifteen or thirty minutes, but they ended up sitting for long hours because of the great happiness, comfort, familiarity, and love they felt.
Try to be the one who takes the initiative of reconciliation and do not let Satan’s whisper overcome you. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“It is unlawful for a Muslim to forsake his fellow Muslim for more than three consecutive days. When they meet, each of them turns his face away from the other. The better one is the one who starts the greeting.” [Ahmad]
The one who seeks reconciliation should keep the etiquettes of settlement in mind so that Allah the Almighty supports him and so that he receives the fruits of his endeavour. The greatest of these etiquettes include:
- He should make his intention sincere for the sake of Allah the Almighty. He should not intend money, prestige, ostentation, fame or any position with the reconciliation, but he should seek the countenance of Allah the Almighty, Who Says:
“And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.” [Qur’an, 4: 114]
- He should adhere to justice and completely avoid injustice. Allah Almighty Says:
“Then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” [Qur’an, 49: 9]
- Let your conciliation be based upon knowledge. It is preferable that you consult scholars in this regard, study the issue from all its sides, and listen to each of the parties.
- Do not be rash in your judgment and take your time because hastiness may lead to corrupting more than what has been amended.
- You should choose the appropriate time for reconciling between the conflicting parties. That is to say that you only start the reconciliation when the issue becomes cool, the severity of the dispute is alleviated, and the fire of anger is extinguished; then you start to reconcile them.
- What is more important also is using nice words, you should say: “O father of so-and-so, you are known for such-and-such.” You should mention his merits and good deeds and you may exaggerate even to the point of lying; then warn him against grudges and disputes.
Dear brothers and sisters! The differences between people and citizens is a factual reality and part of the human natural disposition given people’s different morals and natures, and due to their contention and vying for worldly gains like wealth, status, position and the like. Allah Almighty Says:
“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…” [Qur’an, 11:118-119]
Imam Ibn Kathir may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“It means that people will always differ in their religions, in their creeds, in their ideologies, in their affiliations and in their opinions.”
However, such differences should not lead to conflict, ethno religious crisis, war, shedding blood, breaking off ties and discord.
Respected servants of Allah! Many of the disagreements and problems that occur between a Muslim and his fellow Muslim, a husband and his wife, between friends or between citizens could be traced back to the ill thoughts and doubts that the devil casts in people’s hearts and they yield to them, causing enmity, dissension and discord among them. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) referred to that when he said:
“Satan despaired of ever being worshipped by the people of Arabia, but he is still hopeful that he would incite them against each other.” [Muslim]
Imam At-Tibi may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“It means causing dissension, enmity and killing among them.”
It was narrated on the authority of Jabir Ibn Abdullah may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Satan places his throne on the water, then he sends his troops to people; the closest of them in position to him is the one who causes the most mischief. One of them comes to him and says: ‘I did such and such.’ Satan responds: ‘You have done nothing.’ (This process continues) until one (devil) comes and says: ‘I did not leave so-and-so until I separated between him and his wife.’ Thereupon, Satan brings him close to him and says: ‘You have done well!’” [Muslim]
Al-Qadhi Iyad may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“You have done well” means, ‘You are the one who has caused serious damage and achieved the greatest accomplishment.’ It may also mean, ‘You are the one who sufficed me and fulfilled my desire,’ or ‘You are the dearest to me,’ or ‘You are the closest to me of all my messengers’ … or ‘You are the daring and pleasing one,’ and the like. His remark is indicative of the gravity of separating spouses or divorce, its serious harm and evil, and the seriousness of the sin of seeking to separate the spouses as it involves severing the solemn bond that Allah, the Exalted, has commanded to maintain, breaking up a relationship in which Allah instilled mutual mercy and affection, destroying a family founded on Islam and making the disputants vulnerable to incurring sin.”
The Sirah (biography) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) abounds in incidents and Hadiths that indicate the prohibition of discord and the warning against it, commanding and urging Muslims to seek to reconcile disputing people, as it involves upholding the ties of kinship that were severed and strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and companionship that were weakened.
When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) learned that some of his Companions in Qubah had a disagreement, he went to reconcile them. It was narrated on the authority of Sahl Ibn Sa‘ad As-Sa‘idi may Allah be pleased with him that he said:
“Once the people of Qubah fought together till they threw stones at each other. When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was informed of it, he said: ‘Let us go to reconcile them.’” [Bukhari]
Imam Ibn Hajar may Allah have mercy upon him said in Fat-h Al-Bari:
“Among the lessons deduced from this Prophetic Hadith is the virtue of reconciling people, unifying the members of a group, and resolving disputes. It is also inferred therefrom that the Imam (leader) may go personally to his subjects for this reason, and that the like of this may be given priority over leading the prayers himself.”
Imam Ibn Battal may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“The Hadith reflects how the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was humble, caring, and keen to resolve disagreements and eliminate the causes of disunity and dissention among his Ummah as Allah, the Exalted, described him.”
It was narrated on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that:
“The husband of Barirah was a black slave called Mughith, as if I am seeing him now, following her and weeping with his tears flowing down his beard. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said to Abbas, ‘O Abbas! Are you not astonished by the love of Mughith for Barirah and the hatred of Barirah for Mughith?’ The Prophet (Peace be upon him) then said to Barirah: ‘Why don’t you return to him (remarry him)?’ She said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do you command me to do so?’ He said: ‘No, I am only interceding for him.’” [Bukhari]
Imam Ibn Hajar may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“His statement, ‘I am only interceding for him,’ means I am only interceding with you for his sake and I am not commanding you to do so.”
Imam Ibn Battal may Allah have mercy upon him said:
“Imam At-Tabari said, ‘A Fiqh ruling deduced from this Hadith is that it is permissible for the scholar and the Caliph to intercede for the sake of people, offer them their help, and fulfil the needs of those who ask for it, and that it is a manifestation of noble morals. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: ‘Intercede for people and you shall earn a reward.’”
O Allah, purify our hearts from grudge, envy, and cheating.
O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives and between all the citizens.
O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones.
O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.
I ask Allah, the Most High to grant us success and enable us to be correct in what we say and write.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Shawwal 22, 1444 AH (May 12, 2023).