To Debate or not to Debate?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

argue

Narrated by Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) : The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the most quarrelsome person.” (Bukhari)

 

There’s an amazing Hadith found in Musnad Ahmad, Tabarani, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi and others… It says, “No people have gone astray after having been upon guidance, except that they were given argumentation.”
ما ضل قوم بعد هدى كانوا عليه إلا أوتوا الجدل
If you’ve been around Muslim life long enough, you can sense when a time-wasting black-hole is developing. It’s very tempting to go in swinging. Most youth do simply out of lack of experience. But for those who’ve been around the block, what is the point of experience, if you simply keep falling for the allure of the black hole.
Whenever an issue comes up, our stance is that we just state the position—insist on it no matter what—and move on. One of the signs of misguided groups is that they’re always arguing. In contrast, the path our Ulama have put us upon — Allah guard them and protect them — is one in which we’re really just too busy for nonsense. We have Quran to review, and still more to memorize. We have to brush up on our Arabic regularly. Fiqh needs to be delved into. Sound Aqidah needs to be taught. Hours of dhikr need to be logged. And on top of that, there is charity to be given, youth-work to be done, Janazahs to attend. Before all of that we have families to take care of. And then suddenly, it’s Ramadhan and all of that goes on hold and we put our souls through the car-wash.
Through Masajid, retreats, trips abroad, etc, life as a Muslim makes you meet so many different types of people, that it broadens your experience and polishes your Akhlaq. People are always changing. One year they’re into something knee deep and another year, they’ve balanced out. One becomes more forgiving, calm and over-looking. With every year that passes, and every drama that comes around, reaches its high point and then and rolls away like a receding wave, you come to realize what really matters in life and in deen. And that causes a person to side-step jidaal, argumentation. State your point—you may have to state it often—then move on and leave off arguing.
Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) was approached by a man who asked him for a debate. Malik said, “What happens if I win?” The man said I will follow you. Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) said, “And if you win?” The man said, then you follow me. Then Imam Malik (Allah have mercy nn him) said, “What if a third person comes and defeats both of us?” The man said, then we both follow him. Malik concluded: “Constantly changing your beliefs is not a sign of steadfastness. I know what I am upon and I have no doubt. You however, are upon doubt. So leave me alone and go debate someone else filled with doubt.”
(Tartib al-Madarik)
One of his students said, “Shall I not try to argue with them to prove to them the truth?” Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) replied, “Just state the position and leave it at that. If he wants to follow it, he will.”

(Tartib al-Madarik)

It was narrated that Hudhaifah (Allah be pleased with him) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) say:‘Do not acquire knowledge in order to show off before the scholars, or to argue with the foolish, or to attract people’s attention, for whoever does that will be in Hell.'” (Ibn Majah as weak)
Those who will last the test of time are those who have something to offer. Something objective, meaty, beneficial, balanced and diverse.
Allah make us from those people, both as students and transmitters.
And Allah keep us away from argumentation, the sign of misguided people and groups.

Ameen.

Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ): “Do not argue with your brother, do not joke with him, and do not make a promise, only to not fulfill it.” (Tirmidhi as weak)
Dr Shady Elmasray (Hafidhahullah)
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