Agree to Disagree

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Locally, most people here have a gathering of dhikr in a house or at a masjid every Thursday night. Now there are two groups concerning this issue, those for it and those against it. For the first group, the ahadith which speak about the eminence of those who gather for dhikr, are sufficient as dalil for them and they regard this as an act of virtue.* The others on the other hand, would ask, “Did the Salaf do such a thing”? The answer is no, so they would regard it as a bid’ah and something blameworthy. I do not wish to go into the debate of which of the two views is the correct one, but I just wanted to show how each group arrived at its conclusion. Each group follows the way which it deems best, based on its understanding of the Sunnah. So why is it that we find ourselves fighting about such things? Why can we not just accept these differences of opinion amongst ourselves? Instead we find each group staunchly affirming that it alone is correct and they do not admit that the other might have any legitimacy whatsoever. They are right and everyone else must come into adherence with their way of thinking or they will be misguided. And this kind of attitude leads to nothing but discord and dissension amongst us. It is madness to think that the entire Ummah could ever possibly be of one mind. It will never come to pass that one would get everyone else to agree with his way of thinking, for Allah (swt) has endowed us each with our own minds and we all have our own way of thinking. So why is this so hard for us to accept? Why can’t we just agree to disagree, and do so amicably. Instead we see people fighting and insulting one another and falling into all sorts of evil.

Although I have just given this one example above, this can be extended to many other things as well, such as the debates about Mawlood, Tawassul, reciting Khatams etc. How many debates don’t take place about such issues? And what is the result of all of it? Did any one side happen to convince the other that it is wrong and that they should adopt the way of the former? I don’t think so. It always just degenerates into fighting and petty name-calling and hurling abuse at one another, which is unbecoming of us as Muslims. How much better wouldn’t it be for us to try and understand the thinking of those who disagree with us, and then just leave it at that and agree to disagree? Because try as you might, in most cases you will not be able to convince the other person that he is wrong in what he is doing.

Wassalaam.

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* For example:

ibn `Umar (ra) reported that the Prophet (saw) said: “When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them.” The Companions asked: “What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “The circles of dhikr. There are roaming angels of Allah who go about looking for the circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them closely.”

Tirmidhi narrated it (hasan gharib) and Ahmad.

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