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The Virtue of Reconciling People

Reconciling people is among the great noble morals. The sharia urged it in more than one occasion as Allah the Almighty Says (what means): {So fear Allah and amend that which is between you and obey Allah and His Messenger, if you should be believers} [Quran 8: 1]

The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: Sadaqa (i.e. charity) is due on every joint of a person every day the sun rises. Administering of justice between two men is also a sadaqa. Assisting a man to ride upon his riding animal, or helping him load his luggage upon it is a sadaqa; a good word is a sadaqa; every step that you take towards prayer is a sadaqa, and removing harmful objects from the pathway is a sadaqa. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Due to the importance of this virtue, Islam assigned one of the disbursement channels of zakah for those who seek to reconcile people. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "The best charity is to reconcile between people." [At-Tabarani]

Poets did not forget the virtue of reconciling people, so they immortalized it in their poems. One Arab poem said a line of verse that means: All merits are referred to two matters; glorifying the Orders of Allah the Almighty and seeking to reconcile people.

Reconciling people is a branch of faith and an Islamic moral code through which grudges are eliminated, hearts are purified, and flames of fitnah (discord) are extinguished. Regarding this quality Allah the Almighty Says (what means): {No good is there in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or conciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.} [Quran 4: 114]

Islam urges the believer to regard 'reconciling people' as one of his most important aims in his worldly life, as it is through reconciliation that the Ummah (Islamic nation/society) becomes a coherent unit where one part thereof seeks to amend the other part. Thus, it becomes like a single body; if one organ of it complains, the rest of the body suffers sleeplessness and fever. Neglecting this matter leads to the disintegration of the Ummah and the severance of its ties.

That is why Islam considered reconciling people better than many acts of worship. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Should I not tell you what is better in degree than prayer, fasting, and charity." They (the companions) said: "Yes." He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Reconciling people, for grudges and disputes are the razor (that shaves faith)." [Ahmad, Abu Dawood, and At-Tirmithi]

Reconciliation should be realized by bridging the gaps that occurred because of disputes and conflicts over worldly affairs and by removing their bad effects.

Some scholars maintain that the prayer, the fasting, and the charities that are mentioned in the hadeeth (teachings of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )) refer to the voluntary, not the obligatory. Al-Qari  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

Allah the Almighty Knows best about the intended meaning. However, it could mean that bringing reconciliation to conflicts and disputes that might lead to shedding blood, plundering money, and violating sanctities is better than fulfilling obligatory acts of worship whose benefits do not extend to others, taking the possibility of making up for them, in case they are missed, into consideration. This is so because such acts of worship are among the Rights of Allah the Almighty and that are less significant in His sight than the rights of the slaves.

As regards his saying, "Grudges and disputes are the razor," the author of An-Nihayah said: " 'The razor' refers to such a bad quality that removes faith, just like a razor removes hair. It was also said that it refers to severing ties of kinship and injustice." At-Teebi  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said:

The hadeeth urges reconciling people and avoiding corrupting relations between them, because reconciliation is a reason for holding firm to the rope of Allah the Almighty and avoiding disunity between the Muslims, whereas disputes are a crack in the religion. Whoever seeks to amend the relations between the Muslims and removes the corruption thereof will attain a degree that is greater than that of the fasting person who observes night prayers and is preoccupied with his own benefit only.

From the sum of these hadeeths, we reach an important result, which is that our great religion aspires for reconciliation and seeks for it. Allah the Almighty informed us that settlement of disagreements is best. Allah the Almighty Says (what means): {…there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them – and settlement is best.} [Quran 4: 128]

Reconciling people is a great act of worship that Allah the Almighty loves. The one who seeks to reconcile people is the one who offers his effort, money, authority, and power to reconcile the disputing parties. He is a person whose soul loves goodness and yearns for it. He does not care about the people's opinions or criticism as long as he seeks the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. He exposes himself to embarrassing situations and shares the concerns of his Muslim brothers in order to reconcile two persons.

Many are those homes which were about to collapse because of a simple dispute between the spouses. Then, when a person interfered seeking reconciliation between them by means of a good word, a sincere advice, or sometimes a sum of money, he restored peacefulness between them and saved the family from loss and destitution?

How many ruptures of relations were about to occur between two brothers, friends or relatives because of a mistake or a minor error, but then a person succeeded in reconciling them.

How many lives and properties were saved and satanic temptations were suppressed after they were about to start thanks to the favor of Allah the Almighty and then to those good people who reconcile others!

Congratulations, O Muslims, to those who were guided by Allah the Almighty to reconcile two opponents, spouses, neighbors, friends, partners, or groups.

What further indicates the great virtue of reconciling people is that Islam allows lying to reconcile quarreling people. The intended meaning of lying here is to exaggerate in describing and confirming the good aspects of the other party so as to reconcile hearts and to assert that such a dispute was not intentional. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "The one who reconciles people is not considered a liar if he exaggerates what is good or says what is good." [Ahmad] A scholar said: "Allah the Almighty likes lying for the sake of reconciliation and dislikes truthfulness for the sake of corruption." Thus, pay attention to this.

We have to realize that we are human beings and that disputes breaking up among us is something normal. Rare are those people who are safe from disagreement. It might occur between you and your brother, relative, spouse, or friend… This happens often. So, we have to rid ourselves of this by reconciliation, shaking hands, forgiveness, condescendence, love, and brotherhood so that everything becomes alright again.

Let us reflect upon this hadeeth of the master (Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )) of those who reconcile people:

The gates of Paradise are opened on two days: Monday and Thursday. Every slave who does not associate anything with Allah Almighty is granted pardon, except the person in whose (heart) there is rancor against his brother. It would be said: delay both of them until they reconcile; delay both of them until they reconcile; delay both of them until they reconcile. [Muslim]

Al-Awza‘i  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "There is no step that is dearer to Allah the Almighty than a step towards reconciling people. Whoever reconciles two people, Allah the Almighty will grant him safety from Hellfire."

O my loved ones for the sake of Allah, the Exalted! Someone may say: ‘I want to go to so-and-so to reconcile, but I fear that he rejects me, refuses to receive me, or depreciates my visit!’ But remember that your Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) is telling you: ‘Go to him even if he dismisses you or talks badly about you. Go to him once, twice, and thrice and hasten to give him a present, smile at him, and treat him nicely.’ The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Allah Almighty augments the honor of he who forgives." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] If you pardon, Allah the Almighty will increase your honor; if you reconcile people, Allah the Almighty will increase your honor. If you were expelled or the door was not opened for you and you returned, then know that this is one of the wishes of the predecessors of the Ummah because it is proof of the purity of the heart since Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {And if it is said to you, "Go back," then go back; it is purer for you.} [Quran 24: 28] So, take care of this, O believer, and do not leave for Satan a way to yourself.

Try reconciliation today. Call the one who is disputing with you and treat him nicely. Perhaps this call might be a reason, after the mercy of Allah the Almighty, for forgiving your sins: {Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} [Quran 24: 22]
Go to him. There are people who went to sit with their opponents for only fifteen or thirty minutes, but they ended up sitting for long hours because of the great happiness, comfort, familiarity, and love they felt.

Try to be the one who takes the initiative of reconciliation and do not let Satan's whisper overcome you. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "It is unlawful for a Muslim to forsake his fellow Muslim for more than three consecutive days. When they meet, each of them turns his face away from the other. The better one is the one who starts the greeting." [Ahmad]

The one who seeks reconciliation should keep the etiquettes of settlement in mind so that Allah the Almighty supports him and so that he receives the fruits of his endeavor. The greatest of these etiquettes include:

1- He should make his intention sincere for the sake of Allah the Almighty. He should not intend money, prestige, ostentation, or fame with the reconciliation, but he should seek the countenance of Allah the Almighty, Who Says (what means): {And whoever does that seeking means to the approval of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward.} [Quran 4: 114]

2- He should adhere to justice and completely avoid injustice. {Then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.} [Quran 49: 9]

3- Let your conciliation be based upon Sharee'ah knowledge. It is preferable that you consult scholars in this regard, study the issue from all its sides, and listen to each of the parties.

4- Do not be rash in your judgment and take your time because hastiness may lead to corrupting more than what has been amended.

5- You should choose the appropriate time for reconciling between the conflicting parties. That is to say that you only start the reconciliation when the issue becomes cool, the severity of the dispute is alleviated, and the fire of anger is extinguished; then you start to reconcile them.

6- What is more important also is using nice words, you should say: "O father of so-and-so, you are known for such-and-such." You should mention his merits and good deeds and you may exaggerate even to the point of lying; then warn him against grudges and disputes.

O Allah, purify our hearts from grudge, envy, and cheating. O Allah, amend our relations with our relatives. O Allah, amend our relations with our loved ones. O Allah, make life an increase for us in every good and make death a relief for us from every evil with Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.

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