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Rules to gain the moral right in debate

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Nausheen View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 March 2005 at 12:48pm
Topic: Rules to gain the moral right to enter a debate (1 of 1), Read 24 times
Conf: Issues: The Islamic Personality
From: Mustafa - Mathsson
Date: Monday, January 24, 2005 01:57 AM

A sequel to this piece of writing was originally posted by DavidC on another 'conference' section, but I think they both fit 'The Islamic Personality' section better. May Allah make you enjoy it and, more importantly, benefit from it.

Taken from the website whose main page is

Debates and disputations

by Al-Imam al-Ghazali (Radhi Allahu Anhu)

Know, O Reader, that after the Holy Nabi, the Khulafa Rashideen were the leaders of the learned in the science of Allah. There were the eyes of knowledge and were experienced in the legal decisions. They did not take the help of jurisprudents except in cases where consultation was necessary. They decided on the strength of Ijtihad and their decisions were recorded in their lives. After their death, Khulafat went to those who not so experienced in legal matters and administrative affairs. They were compelled to seek the aid of jurisprudents. At that time, a band of Tabi'een were alive and they persisted in following strictly the injunctions of Deen.

Whenever Khalifs called them, they fled. But some learned men used to mix with the Khalifs ans consequently became humiliated. Therefore there were differences of opinion and among the learned men and there grew different mathahib as a result, and in some cases, a sect sprung up. There were argumentations and disputations over the intricate questions of religion. They composed also many works on these subjects. This induced the people to take to controversies and disputations.

There are eight conditions of debates

1. The first condition is that where debate for search of truth is one of Fardh Kefayah duties, one who has not already fulfilled his part in duties of Farze Ain should not engage himself in the debates even for searching truth.

2. The second condition is that one should not consider debates more important than Fardh Kefayah duties.

He commits sin who does other works leaving aside a more important Fardh Kefaya. He is like a man who does not give water to drink to people who are thirsty and facing death even though he has got power to do so, because he remains then busy in giving lessons of cupping. Once the Holy Nabi (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) was asked: When will the people give up enjoining good and forbidding evil? The Holy Nabi (Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam) said: When flattery will grow in good people among you, kingdom will go to the meanest of you and theology to those who will be corrupt.|

3. The third condition which justifies debate is that the debater should have ability and give decision on his own responsibility without referring to the opinion of al-Imam al-A'zam Abu Hanifah or any other Imams. He who has not the ability of independent interpretation should not express his opinion but should refer it to an Imam.

4. The fourth condition which justifies debate is that the subject for decision should be about actual cases that crop up, for example, the question of inheritance and not about future cases. The Sahabi (Radhi Allahu Anhum) also held consultations as questions arose or were likely to arise in order to arrive at truth.

5. The fifth condition is that debate should be held in private in preference to open meetings in presence of noted people and in grandeur because privacy is more suitable for clear thinking and to examine what is right and what is wrong.

6. The sixth condition is that the debater should like truth in the same spirit as a lost thing is searched for. He should not mind whether the truth is found by him or by his adversary. When Hazrat Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) was once giving sermon, a woman pointed out to him his mistake to which he submitted. At another time, Hazrat Ali Karam Allah wajhu) was asked a question by a man and he replied. When the man pointed out his mistake, he admitted it.

7. The seventh condition is that the debater should not prevent his adversary from giving up one argument in favor or another and one illustration in favor of another.

8. The eighth condition is that debate should be held with such person from whom benefit is derived and who is learned.

From these eight conditions, you will be able to distinguish those who debate for the sake of Allah and those who debate for other purposes.


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