Tahzeeb: Avoiding Argument

Tahzeeb: Avoiding Argument

Preamble

Argument can be either good or bad depending on the context of application. Both praiseworthy and blameworthy argument will be analyzed briefly in this article with some emphasis on avoiding the blameworthy arguments.

Symptoms

  • Finding faults in the sayings and actions of people.
  • Suspicion against the intent of people. Misinterpreting the intention of people against their actions.
  • Finding faults in the competence of other people.

سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلاثَةٌ رَابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ قُلْ رَبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِمْ مَا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلا قَلِيلٌ فَلا تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلا مِرَاءً ظَاهِرًا وَلا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِمْ مِنْهُمْ أَحَدًا.

(some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth, guessing at the unseen; (yet others) Say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say (O Muhammad): “My Lord knows best their number; none knows them but a few.” so debate not (about their number, etc.) except with the clear proof (which we have revealed to you). And consult not any of them (people of the Scripture, Jews and Christians) about (the affair of) the people of the Cave.[1]

Types

  1. Argument against the truth with the truth

This is the situation where facts are being presented to establish a truth over another truth. Example is a debate of two parties trying to establish a better option among two correct options, both sides will present facts to support its claim.

  1. Argument against falsehood with falsehood

Both parties in this argument will be wrong.

  1. Argument against the truth with falsehood

This is when an ignorant or arrogant is trying to overcome the truth by presenting some crooked evidences. An example is when king Namrood argued with prophet Ibrahim over the existence of Allah.

  1. Argument against falsehood with the truth

An example is when prophet Ibrahim argued with king Namrood over the existence of Allah. The Qur’an narrated the story:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ وَاللَّهُ لا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Have You not looked at Him who disputed with Ibrâhim (Abraham) about his Lord (Allâh), because Allâh had given Him the kingdom? When Ibrâhim (Abraham) said (to him): “My Lord (Allâh) is He who gives life and causes death.” He said, “I give life and cause death.” Ibrâhim said, “Verily! Allâh causes the sun to rise from the east; Then cause it you to rise from the west.” so the disbeliever (i.e. Namrood) was utterly defeated. And Allâh guides not the people, who are wrong-doers.[2]

Categories

  1. Blameworthy
  • Dialogue without sufficient proofs
  • Extensive dialogue on matters of low importance.
  1. Praiseworthy
  • Dialogue to enlighten the ignorant
  • Dialogue in order to clear misconceptions and establish the truth

Examples

  • Prophet Ibrahim with Namrood
  • Prophet Musa with Firaun

Prophet Nuh with his people

[1] Surat-ul-Kahf 22

[2] Surat-ul-Baqarah 258

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