Celebrate Diversity, Strengthen Unity
Issues of differences and disagreements often cloud the soul and mind of mankind. But, it is an inevitable fact and part of the sunnatullah governing the creation of man.
Conflicts not only exist in worldly affairs, but have also expanded into religious life.
Differences and disputes have occurred due to diversity of ability, differences in way of thinking, and in variety of languages, cultures, customs and backgrounds, as well as different perceptions and conclusions towards a particular argument or passage.
In verses 118 to 119, Surah Hud at the beginning of the sermon; Which means: "And if the Lord (O’ Muhammad) has so willed, He could have made mankind one people. (But he did not do so), and that is why they will not cease to dispute. Except those on whom the Lord has bestowed His Mercy, (they are united in the religion of Allah SWT); and for (the purpose of the dispute and grace) that Allah SWT made man. And thus completed the promise of the Lord: Behold, I will fill Hell with the jinn and mankind (the guilty)."
Ibn Kathir r.h states that it is clear, through the verse above, that disputes still exist among people in matters of religion and belief, they are divided into various sects and opinions. Ikrima r.h also felt that they still disagree in terms of the instructions.
Thus, Islam has outlined the ethics and etiquette of managing differences, especially among Muslims, which are discussed as follows:
First: Identify the limits of different opinions and do not transgress The differences occurring among Muslims since the time of the Companions until now manifests the celebration of diversity within Islam. This phenomenon is helpful and positive if the differences do not exceed the limit and become offensive, while still maintaining manners and proper etiquette as outlined by the law. Keep in mind that we are only permitted to accept differences of opinion for matters considered juz'i (partial) or Zanni (not conclusive), while in matters of policy or Qat'i (ultimate) we are totally prohibited from questioning and disagreeing.
Second: Sincere intention and not by impulsion or driven by desire Sincerity is a virtue which is demanded of all Muslims for any deed to be accepted by Allah SWT. It is an obligation and a key for someone who wants to find or uphold the truth so that he would not be overcome by desire.
Arrogance in the search for truth is also a trait or habit that should be eliminated. As reported by Imam al-Tirmidhi and narrated by Ka'b bin Malik RA, Rasulullah SAW said: جوهَ الَّن ا ِسِإ ُ ُ َأ ْو يَصْرِ َف بِهِ و َ ُ سفََُاء اَرِ َي بِهِ ال ُ َأ ْو لِيم َ لَمَاء ل َيْهِ ُ جَارِ َي بِهِ الْع ُ مَ ْن َطلَ َب الْعِلْمَ لِي الَّن ارَ ُ َأ ْدخَلَه ُ الل . )رواه الترمذي( َّ ه Which means: "Whoever seeks knowledge for the sake of arguing with the scholars, or to mock the ignorant, or to gain attention, then Allah SWT will commit them to the damnation of Hell."
Third: Avoid self-glorification, prejudices and always preserve Islamic unity One of the properties that we should avoid when differences of opinion occur is being uncompromising and adamant, even when faced with the fact that our position is indefensible, like the Malay saying ‘menegakkan benang yang basah’. Truth belongs only to God and He alone has the right to determine, whether for an individual or a group.
Allah SWT has declared in Surah al-An'am verse 159: Which means: “As for those who divide their religion (with disputes based on lust) and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them (on the Day of Resurrection) the truth of all that they did”.
Fourth: Embrace brotherhood and the Islamic camaraderie Islam emphasizes on Muslim camaraderie. Accordingly, even if a discrepancy arises, every Muslim should preserve manners, behaviour, and actions, so as not to cause strife. Harsh words, insults, vilification and slander should be avoided.
As stated by Allah SWT in surah al-Hujurat, verse 12: Which means: "O, you who believe! Shun much suspicion (lest you think thoughts that are prohibited) Indeed, some assumption is sin; and do not spy nor find fault and stigmatization of people; and do not some of you swear at each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? (If so slander) then of course you loathe it. (Thus, abhor such) and fear Allah; Allah is Relenting, Merciful. "
Differences of opinion is by no means a hostile act. Although our views may differ, it is still not an excuse for the community or society to break apart.
First: Disputes and differences of opinion among mankind is natural and is proof of the greatness of Allah SWT.
Second: Disputes and differences which are extreme and unmanageable will invite discords and divisions among mankind.
Third: Any dispute that occur must be referred back to the Al-Quran and As-Sunnah, which are the major sources of reference and guidance in Islam.
As stated by Allah SWT in Surah al-Nisa, verse 59: Which means: "O you who believe! Obey Allah SWT and obey Rasulullah and the ulil Amri (leaders) among you. And if you disagree (dispute) in a matter, then go back to (the Book of) Allah SWT and the (sunnah) of Rasulullah SAW, if you truly believe in Allah and the Day of Resurrection. That is better (for you), and more deserving in the end. "