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Mending broken ties

Salman Rasheed

The writer is a Karachi-based research analyst and political consultant.

Misunderstandings of any magnitude can lead to strains on relationships.  However, the Quran and Sunnah encourage us to fix those broken ties and help our friends and relatives to reconcile.

Fixing or mending the bonds between people is an opportunity Allah (SWT) provides us as an act of charity to earn blessings and rewards.  But how many of us act as facilitators to bring people or parties back together?  Including myself, likely a few.

After the battle of Badr, heated disputes, and arguments broke out among the Sahaba regarding the distribution of the war booty.  This shows that despite having high levels of iman and taqwa intense arguments can occur between Muslims.  Because of this, Allah (SWT) revealed Surah Al-Anfal, and in the first Ayat Allah (SWT) commands, “They ask you ˹O Prophet˺ regarding the spoils of war. Say, “Their distribution is decided by Allah and His Messenger. So be mindful of Allah, settle your affairs, and obey Allah and His Messenger if you are ˹true˺ believers.”

Imagine that Allah (SWT) reveals this Ayat on the plains of the battlefield of Badr and the Muslims haven’t even returned to Madinah yet but the strong pain and anger felt in the hearts of the Muslims needed to be immediately addressed.  Therefore, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) came out to patch things up between the Sahaba.

In Surah An-Nisa Ayat 114, Allah (SWT) allows us to hatch a plot for good, namely to reconcile people, “There is no good in most of their secret talks—except those encouraging charity, kindness, or reconciliation between people. And whoever does this seeking Allah’s pleasure, We will grant them a great reward.” Usually, several people meeting in secret occurs when plotting evil which is never good but here Allah (SWT) is permitting us to do so when trying to bring arguing friends and family back together again.  Also, Allah (SWT) tells us in this Ayat that whoever acts as a facilitator to reconcile people will earn a great reward.  

Our Nabi (SAW) emphasized the importance of patching up things between people in the following hadith, “Do you want me to tell you of what is better than the rank of fasting, prayer, and charity?” The Companions said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allaah. He said, “Making peace between people among whom there is discord, for the evil of discord is the shaver.” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4919). 

The Prophet (SAW) in the above hadith is teaching us that prayer, fasting and charity are good deeds that benefit ourselves but bringing others together benefits society.  Thus, we can earn more blessings and rewards by reconciling people than by performing the personal rituals of prayer, fasting, and charity.

An example from the Sunnah illustrates the above point.  The Prophet (SAW) went to Kuba to bring peace between two feuding camps that resulted in bloodshed.  When our Nabi (SAW) reconciled these two camps, he headed back to Madinah and Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was leading the salah.  Everyone stopped praying and Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) stepped aside for our Nabi (SAW) to lead the prayer even though he (SAW) permitted Abu Bakr (RA) to continue leading the prayer.  This shows that remaining in Kuba to reconcile the people there was more important to the Prophet (SAW) than trying to reach Madinah on time for the salah.  

There are many examples of our Nabi (SAW) trying to patch things up between the Sahaba or a husband and wife.  Thus, reminding us that reconciling people is fundamental to the Quran and Sunnah and considered to be one of the greatest acts of charity.

We can expand this concept to the macro-level when it comes to the Muslim World.  When there is a dispute or feud between Muslim countries, the other Muslim countries must get involved as honest brokers to resolve the feud/dispute for the benefit of the Muslim Ummah.  However, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and individual Muslim countries are not fulfilling this responsibility which allows outsiders to interfere making the situation worse.