On Harshness | 4 | An Advice to the Salafis to Show Kindness and Softness: Revelation did not Come Down upon You
The First Point: That we should bear in mind–that every one of us should keep in mind that revelation did not come down upon him regarding the opinion he holds, and that it is possible that he is mistaken and the person he is arguing and debating with is correct.
When a person discusses [an issue] with him, each one of us should spontaneously bring to mind the fact that we are not infallible, whatever one’s level from amongst us is, whether he is learning or a scholar.
How often the statement of the scholars is proven to be correct, ‘There can be found in the inferior person, what is not found in the superior.’ It is possible that the scholar is mistaken and the student is correct. The student maybe incorrect and the illiterate one who does not know may be correct.
Summoning this reality makes a person careful and causes him to stop at the truth [not being arrogant and rejecting it when it is pointed out by] the person he is having a discussion with.
And this is a type of manners taken from the Noble Quran, because Allaah the Mighty and Majestic mentioned in His Book that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to address his people, who were polytheists–and what a difference there is between the polytheists in their misguidance and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and his Companions in their eemaan–yet along with that Allaah the Mighty and Majestic taught him this lofty [part of] manners which we expressed as tolerance, so He said in the Noble Quran, “And indeed, we or you are either upon guidance or in clear error. Say, ‘You will not be asked about what we committed, and we will not be asked about what you do.’” Saba 34:24-25
So this is the highest degree of tolerance during a debate, it does not mean a Muslim relinquishes his belief but in it is an assumption that one of the two groups is on the truth and the other is upon misguidance.
Who is this group [which is on misguidance]? He did not specify it here but whenever he calls them to having faith, telling them that if they disbelieve in what he صلى الله عليه وسلم has brought from Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, then, “Indeed, you [disbelievers] and what you worship other than Allaah are the firewood of Hell. You will be coming to [enter] it,” Anbiyaa 21:98 [this is] when he declares his belief to them and explains their lot if they continue to oppose him صلى الله عليه وسلم.
[But] when he debates with them he صلى الله عليه وسلم says, “And indeed, we or you are either upon guidance or in clear error.” This is how the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام addressed the polytheists, so how then should one of us address one of his own?
There is no doubt that he must be humble with him and show him tolerance, and not launch an all-out attack on him and become distant from him as one enemy does from another.
This aayah is very important, and we should remember it well, “And indeed, we or you are either upon guidance or in clear error. Say, ‘You will not be asked about what we committed, and we will not be asked about what you do.’”