Do not argue unnecessarily!
Maulana Muhammad Imran Attari
Chairman , Central Advisory Committee, Dawat-e-Islami
It was on 16th January 2021, when I was returning to Pakistan, and per the SOPs that were in place, all passengers were wearing facemasks. The airplane had not yet taken off when an elderly man, who appeared to be over 70 years old, was heard screaming at another passenger, telling him to put on a mask. The man explained that he was talking, but the elderly man kept on yelling. They continued to argue for quite a while.
You may agree or disagree with the elderly man’s concerns. In my opinion, despite his unnecessary and disproportionate approach, his sentiments were valid. Nevertheless, the other person could have shown a little consideration by putting on the facemask because the elderly are more vulnerable to Covid-19 and the elderly man, in this case, was obviously concerned for his safety. The situation would never have escalated.
Instead of arguing, he should have thanked the elderly person for reminding him to follow the law as wearing a facemask was mandatory at the time. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who prefer starting an altercation and straining relationships instead of acknowledging and correcting their mistakes.
My advice is simple: you should attempt to correct others only if you are in the right and you feel that they might heed your words. Otherwise, if the other person begins to argue, move away and do not reciprocate. This is the sensible approach as people of sense do not waste their time arguing.
Of course, there are exceptions where arguing is unavoidable, such as in dialogues about certain religious notions that have to be corrected and justified with proofs. Imam Ghazali رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه has detailed this in the third volume of his Ihya-ul-Uloom.
Disputes are usually born out of excessive arguments. Siblings fighting, hatred between spouses, hostility between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, and confrontations between juniors and seniors usually begin with needless argumentation. If you are ever in the wrong, then I urge you to admit your fault; this is the secret to instilling peace and respect in our lives. Whenever possible, pay careful attention to the words of people senior to you and do not argue with them unnecessarily.
I am not suggesting you to acknowledge a mistake even when you are in the right . My request is that you avoid arguing with them and instead embrace the path of peace, affection, and love. If the other person is correct but his approach is problematic, then accept his words for the moment, and when the opportunity arises, speak to him about his approach. Alternatively, you can gain rewards by remaining patient. For example, if somebody berates you for a misdemeanour, apologise, but later on, highlight the problematic nature of their tone or manner and how it made you feel. This is far more productive than reciprocating their rudeness with an outburst.Remember, fire cannot extinguish fire.
Sayyiduna Ma’roof Al-Karkhi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states, ‘When Allah Almighty wills good for a person, He opens the door of good actions for him and closes the door of argumentation for him. When Allah Almighty wills evil for someone, He closes the door of good actions for him and opens the door of argumentation.’ (Hilyat-ul-Awliya, vol. 8, p. 405, Hadith 12690)
Sayyiduna Abu Ayyub Maymoon Bin Mihraan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه was asked, ‘Why is it that no friend of yours has ever hated you and left you?’ He رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه replied, ‘I neither argue with them nor attack them with my words.’ (Hilyat-ul-Awliya, vol. 4, p. 110, Hadith 4817)
It is my heartfelt appeal to all followers of the Prophet: Keep both your words and conduct concordant with the Shari’ah. Avoid pointless arguments, readily accept your mistakes, and be grateful to the person who highlights your mistakes. Even when you are in the right, turn away from disputing with others and demonstrate positive behaviour towards everyone. If Allah Almighty wills, this approach will prove helpful to make progress in your religious activities.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم