Repel evil with that which is better
From Al-Istiqaamah Magazine , Issue No.7 , Rabee’ ul-Awwal 1418H / July 1997
Allaah – the Most High – said:
“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel evil with that which is better; then indeed, he between whom and you there was enmity, will become as though he was a close friend.” [Soorah Fussilat 41:34].
Imaam as-Sa’dee (d. 1376H)- rahimahullaah – said:
“Not equal are acts of goodness and obedience, which are done to earn the pleasure of Allaah; and acts of evil and disobedience, that bring about the anger of Allaah, and not His good pleasure. Likewise. not equal are those acts of goodness and kindness that are done towards the creation, and those acts of evil done against them – neither in their nature, their characteristics, nor in their rewards: “Is not the reward for good acts, goodness.” Then, a particular, but important act of ihsaan (goodness and kindness) is commanded, which is: showing ihsaan towards the one who has ill-treated you; because Allaah commanded to repel evil with that which is better. This means that whenever you are ill-treated by anyone from amongst the creation – in particular those that have great rights over you; such as relatives, friends, and their like – then return their ill-treatment of you with acts of kindness and goodness towards them. Thus, if you have been cut-off from then seek to join the ties of relation; if you have been oppressed, then be forgiving; if you have been spoken ill of, either in your presence or behind your back, then do not retaliate, but rather be forgiving and speak to them with mild and soft words; if you have been boycotted and abandoned, then continue speaking to those who have done so, with good words, and continue giving them the greetings of salaam. So if you return acts of evil with acts of ihsaan (goodness and kindness), then you will indeed acquire a tremendous benefit.”1
Consider also, the following incident.
‘Aaishah radiallaahu’anhaa said:
I asked the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: O Allaah’s Messenger, has there ever been a day more severe upon you than the day of Uhud? So he said: “Your tribe troubled me greatly, and the most troublesome thing which I experienced from them was on the day of ‘Aqabah when I presented myself to Ibn ‘Abd Yaaleel ibn ‘Abd Kulaal, and he did not respond to my Message as I had hoped. So I returned overwhelmed with grief and sorrow, and did not recover until I reached Qarnuth-Tha’aalib. I raised my head and saw a cloud shading me. Then I looked and saw (the Angel) Jibreel in it, and he called me saying. Allaah has heard what your people have said to you, and their reply. And Allaah has sent the Angel of the mountains to you to do whatever you wish. So the Angel of the mountains called me, greeted me with Salaam; and then said. O Muhammad. Allaah has heard what your people said to you, and I am the Angel of the mountains. My Lord has sent me to you, that you may order me as you wish. So what do you wish? If you should so wish, I will crush them beneath the two mountains.” So Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “No, rather hope that from their offspring will come who will worship Allaah alone, and not worship anything else along with Him.”2
Ibn Abee Haatim (d.328H) – rahimahullaah – said:
“I entered Damascus and came upon the students of hadeeth, and I passed by the circle of Qaasim al-Joo’ee (d.248H). I found a group sitting around him and he was speaking. Their appearance amazed me; and I heard him saying: “Seize the benefit of five things from the people of your time: when you are present, you are not known; when you are absent, you are not missed; when you are seen, your advice is not sought; when you say something, your saying is not accepted; and when you have some knowledge, you are not given anything for it. I also advise you with five matters: when you are treated unjustly, do not behave unjustly; when you are praised, do not become happy; when you are criticised, do not become upset; when you are not believed, do not become angry; and if people act deceitfully towards you, do not act deceitfully towards them.” Ibn Abee Haatim said: So I took that as my benefit from Damascus.”3
1. Tayseerul-Kareemur-Rahmaan (p.695).
2. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.3231) and Muslim (no.1795).
3. Related by Ibn al-Jawzee in Sifatus-Safwaa (2/200)