Argumentation: [Abandon Trivialities And Flee From Blameworthy Debater, But Understand Why Falsifiers Are Refuted By Ulamaa, Even When They Are Verbally Abusive]


In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

The Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right….. [Reported by Imaam Abu Dawud (rahimahullaah). Hadeeth Number 4800. Declared Hasan By Imaam Albaani (rahimahullaah) in his checking of Abu Daawud. Publisher Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif]

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) stated that it may be that a person is in the right whilst arguing with another person about something that is not related to the religion, for example he says: “I saw such and such person in the market” and the other person says, “Rather I saw him in the Masjid”, and thus an argument occurs between them. This is the type of argument mentioned in the hadeeth (i.e. the one that should be abandoned by a person even if he is in the right). [Sharh Hilyah Taalib Al-Ilm page 245. Paraphrased]

Shaikh Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] said: O student of knowledge! Likewise, it is obligated on you to abandon [blameworthy] debate and argumentation, because indeed [blameworthy] debate and argumentation is a means to cutting off the path [that will lead to] what is correct. [That is] because [blameworthy] debate and argumentation make a person speak [solely] to give the upper hand to himself. Even if the truth is made clear to him, you will find him either rejecting it or misconstruing the truth -out of disliking it- to give himself the upper hand and to compel his opponent to accept his statement. Therefore, if you notice [blameworthy] debate and argumentation from your brother when the truth is very clear, but he does not follow it, then flee from him like you would flee from a lion, and say, “I do not have anything other than the truth I have mentioned to you. [Source: Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm’ page 26. paraphrased]

Some people refrain from debating even if they are right and they site this hadeeth as evidence: “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right”. So they abandon debate.

Shaikh Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] Responded: The one who abandons debate in the religion might not be completely right in doing so, because this might obstruct the truth and lead to defeat. [NB: The Shaikh (rahimahullaah) stated on page 243 that many people argue based on falsehood and defeat a person who is upon truth, so we do not say that such a person gained the upper hand over the truth, rather he gained the upper hand over the person who is upon truth due to his inability to debate] [Ref 2]

However, it may be that a person is in the right whilst arguing with another person about something that is not related to the religion, for example he says: “I saw such and such person in the market” and the other person says, “Rather I saw him in the Masjid”, and thus an argument occurs between them. This is the type of argument mentioned in the hadeeth (i.e. the one that should be abandoned by a person even if he is in the right). As for the one who abandons debate in the path of aiding the truth, then he is not completely right in doing so and this action of his is not sanctioned by the hadeeth. [Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. page 245]

Also in Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm pages 253-254, Shaikh Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] spoke about the six distinguishing signs of beneficial knowledge, then he stated that the third of them is that a person increases in humility whenever his knowledge increases, so he does not become arrogant towards the people. Then the Shaikh [rahimahullaah] said:

 

If there is a clash between humbling oneself to the truth and humbling oneself to the people, then one should give precedence to humbling himself to the truth.  For example, if there is a person who curses [or abuses, reviles etc] the truth and rejoices due to his enmity against the one who acts upon the truth, then in this case one should not be humble in the presence of this person; rather one should humble himself to the truth and debates this man [i.e. the one who abuses the truth]; even if he belittles or speaks against you, do not give concern to what he says [or to him], because the truth must be aided. [paraphrased]

Finally, you can find a series of very beneficial lectures on the principles of debate by Ustaadh Abu Hakeem on this link:

https://soundcloud.com/masjidassunnahaston/sets/principles-of-debates

[Ref 1: Reported by Imaam Abu Dawud (rahimahullaah). Hadeeth Number 4800. Declared Hasan By Imaam Albaani (rahimahullaah) in his checking of Abu Daawud].

Ref 2:

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