, by SYED AKBAR HASSAN
The first five ayats of Surah Al-Hujuraat teach us the manners we should observe with regard to Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). The next hukm which relates to solid foundation of Muslim Culture is regarding rumours; it is a sort of universal instruction to the Muslim Ummah.
Allah gave us a guiding principle to be followed on receipt of news: “Whenever you receive important news bearing upon a vital matter, you should not accept it immediately but should first examine the man who has brought it. If he is an evil man whose report may not be authentic normally, you should inquire into it carefully to ascertain the truth instead of accepting it and reacting on it immediately.” However, scholars agree that as far as the common worldly matters are concerned, it is not necessary to verify every news item and the reliability of every informer. For the word used in the verse is naba, which does not apply to every piece of news but only to the news of consequence. That is why the jurists say that this principle does not apply to ordinary matters. For example, if a person goes to visit somebody and seeks permission to enter the house, and a person comes out and conveys the permission, he can enter the house accordingly no matter whether the one conveying the permission from the master of the house was good or bad.
It is important for a healthy Muslim culture that there is no infighting between two groups. If, however, when two parties indulge in some sort of fight, it is imperative upon us to stop it and make peace among them. That is what the next hukm says. Allah does not approve of our just sitting and watching the clash; whenever such a sad situation arises we the believers should be concerned and do whatever we can to bring about peace and reconciliation between the parties. We should urge the parties to desist from fighting for the sake of Allah. Our influential people should go and talk to the responsible men of the two sides, should find out the causes of the dispute and do whatever they can to effect reconciliation between them. This sort of infighting is a great threat to the integrity of Muslim Ummah and it sends a wrong message and image of Muslim culture to the rest of the world. Therefore, it becomes our duty not to allow our disputes grow intense and to ensure that it is settled at the earliest. Attitude of indifference is not allowed.
Now, the second clause of this very hukm says: “But then, if one of them transgresses against the other, fight the one that transgresses until it reverts to Allah’s command. And if it does revert, make peace between them with justice…” We, the Muslims, should not allow the aggressor to continue his aggression and leave the victim alone, or, still worse, join hands with the aggressor. Our duty is that if all our efforts at reconciliation between the parties fail, we should find out who is in the right and who the aggressor is. Then we should join hands with the one who is in the right, and fight the aggressor. This fight not necessarily means fighting with weapons or fighting to kill but use of just force for the removal of aggression. Fighting is not meant to punish the aggressor for his aggression, but to force him to return to Amr-e-Allah (the Command of Allah) which implies that the aggressor should submit to what is haq (right) according to the Qur’ān and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). As soon as a rebel group becomes ready and willing to follow this hukm, use of force against it should be stopped immediately and the one who commits an excess after this would himself become the aggressor.
The third clause of the hukm says: “And if it does revert, make peace between them with justice, and be equitable for Allah loves the equitable.” The hukm is not only to make peace but to make peace with justice and equity. The peace (and reconciliation) which is brought about only to stop fighting, overlooking the distinction between the haq wa batil (truth and falsehood), and in which pressure is used against the party that is in the right to come to terms with the aggressor, is not commendable. True peace is that which is based on justice which alone can avert disaster and mischief, otherwise, the inevitable result of pressing those in the right and encouraging the aggressors would be that the real causes of the evil would remain as they were, rather would go on adding up, and cause the mischief to appear and re-appear over and over again.
Therefore, the hukm as mentioned above in detail is of immense importance in today’s world for a healthy Muslim culture and Muslim Ummah as a whole. It must be acted upon at all levels in our society i.e. if there is fighting among two brothers, two families, two parties, two countries, and so on, we as individuals or group or country must not be mere spectators but must act to stop the evil and reconcile. Lack of this has put us in a very miserable position. So, actually, from the lowest to the highest level our attitude should be “If two parties of the believers happen to fight, make peace between them…” It is our duty to intervene and make them settle the dispute.
The spirit behind the hukm as mentioned above is in the very next ayat which says: “Surely the believers are none but brothers unto one another, so set things right between your brothers, and have fear of Allah that you may be shown mercy.” We can understand the importance of this hukm and its full significance and spirit from the hadith quoted by Jarir bin Abdullah which says: “The Holy Prophet took a pledge from Me on three things: That I will establish the Prayer; that I will continue to pay the zakat: and that I will remain a well-wisher of every Muslim.”