In life there will be certain instances where you or the people you know will have disputes and differences. It could very well be that due to these disputes certain rifts appear in relationships. This is natural, humans by nature will always argue and at times fall out. However, what distinguishes people is the ability to forgive and to reconcile a once strained relationship.
This reconciliation is encouraged and commended in Islam. Many of the arguments that happen in many households are over trivial matters and if they were solved then not only the family members embroiled in the dispute, but the whole community would benefit. We see that it has become alarmingly common for brothers, sisters, parents and children to argue and to never reconcile, effectively ending the cohesive family unit. The message of the Prophet (SAW) was not one of severing ties or holding grudges, it was one of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Allah has mentioned in the Quran, “Indeed all believers are brothers, so reconcile between them.” (49:10) Reconciliation is imperative if the Muslims wish to unite and stay united, you should not hold grudges, this does not benefit anyone. It is toxic and insidious. We have to understand this if we want to be the leaders of humanity, how can we help mankind if we are busy squabbling and nursing grievances?
If we look at the Prophet’s (SAW) life, he was the manifestation of mercy, there were so many instances where he was the oppressed, yet he forgave and overlooked past contentions. No day is more famous for showing this than when he was granted victory over the Polytheists of Makkah. To put this into perspective, these were the very same who has persecuted him, they had killed his family and close friends, they had ridicules him, exiled him, they had exhausted every effort in trying to make his life as difficult as possible, yet he forgave them. He allowed them respite and upon seeing his lofty moral character the staunch enemies of Islam became some of the most prominent Muslims history has ever recorded.
Disputes within the community should be everyone’s concern, if no party wishes to reconcile a third-party should step in to take up the gauntlet. They should try their utmost to facilitate a return to normal relations as soon as possible. It is easier to treat a fresh wound than waiting for it to fester and become putrid. The third party should ideally be recognised and respected by the two disputing parties. They should not take sides and act in an impartial manner to solve the problem not to aggravate it or to play the blame game.
This role of arbitrator will not go unrewarded, as the Prophet (SAW) has said, narrated by Abu Darda (RA) that “Nabi (SAW) asked the Companions ‘Should I not inform you of an action that is more superior than [optional] Salah, Fasting and Charity?’ The Sahaba (RA) replied, ‘Surely, O Messenger of Allah (SAW).’ Nabi (SAW) said, ‘Reconciling two parties.'” (Abu Dawud) This is an indication of how virtuous the act of reconciliation. We should therefore try our earnest to involve ourselves in this.
Reconciliation is so profound in our religion, that even something that is impermissible becomes permissible, the Prophet (SAW) has said, “The one who speaks lies when reconciling between two people, does not receive the sin for lying, if he fabricates favourable remarks, and conveys it to the other party.” (Bukhari) We can understand from this narration just how important it is to settle disputes, we cannot even fathom how beneficial it can be. The benefit of a resolved grievance far outweighs a fabricated remark, here the priority should be clear, it is the solving of arguments which will then lead to harmony.
Allah grant us the ability to forgive and to reconcile with people. May He make us a force for good in our communities. May He allow us to become those people who enjoin ties and not sever them. Ameen.