SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Agency) – Success in social behavior directly relates to certain rules which we must learn and build our conduct upon. For man’s role in his relationships with others and his knowledge of the limits of his duties are among the issues which are determinative to his/her misery or happiness.
The need for harmony and establishing relationships is a trait deeply implemented in man’s nature. Everyone is inclined to love and harmony; hence resents loneliness and secluded ness. However, unless a person reaches peace of mind and soul, he will be incapable of living in peace with others, or with himself.
Peace, harmony and cooperation are essential factors for a healthy and peaceful social life; and respecting other’s rights and feelings is the first conditionto be observed in the art on constructive interaction. In this case, interpersonal relationships enjoy strength and continuity. Those who lack the foresaid traits are naturally deprived of balanced relationships with others, and the basis of love and harmony are weakened in them. They cannot, under the circumstances, keep their relationships with others at an acceptable level.
One of the evil traits which severely hurts the feelings of others and destroys the ties of love between people is disputing with them. Arguing individuals should realize that excessive self-love is one of the main factors which create this evil trait; it grows only when irrigated by the flow of this treacherous instinct.
A disputatious person, in order to quench the thirst of his conceit, opposes every opinion that may be brought up in any gathering, not to present a righteous idea or eradicate a mistaken concept, but to destroy his opponent’s personality by false accusations. He attempts to create a sense of false excellence for himself by doing so. Such a person might conceal his aims under exclamatory or wondering vocabulary. In this manner, the disputatious looses the spirit of a just judge, and dares to commit all kinds of oppression and encroachments upon other’s rights.
Furthermore, the opponent’s reaction, in this case, should not be disregarded for when an individual’s pride is violated, it is inevitable that he reacts to the cause. Therefore, he may exploit the appropriate opportunity to revenge, using all his powers to do so. Thus, if this trait is widespread in any given nation, it can result in disunity in both the way of thinking and the manner of conduct.
A scholar commented on this subject by saying:
“Reason is a shinning light that guides mankind away f r o m the darkness of ignorance and relieves him from his problems. We boast about the fact that we are the only creatures to possess reason saying that with reason we have come to understand matters, their causes, results, and their relations to other entities. Yet, woe unto us if we attempt to unveil the truth by means of discussion and argumentations; for disputing results is nothing save mental anxiety. Disputing also reveals the ignorance of the disputants and their errors in scientific fields; it never changes the way others think nor makes them adopt our ideologies.
Islam has closely considered all aspects of social life, and scrutinized every element of love and harmony, hence it strongly condemns all that creates dissention among Muslims and shakes the foundation of their unity. The leaders of religion have shown their followers how to follow the path of purity and protect their hearts from the filth of all obscurities.
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said:
“It is a virtue that a man hastens to his brother when the latter speaks to him”.
Nahj al-Fasahah p. 633
Imam Baqir (A.S.) said:
And learn good listening just as you learn good speech; and do not interrupt another’s words.”
The leaders of religion have repeatedly criticized disputation, and reminded people of its evil results up to the point that they prohibited their followers from disputations even in righteous issues.
Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said:
“A worshipper does not reach the essence of belief until he abandons boasting even when right.”
Safinah al-Bihar V.2, p. 522
No one becomes victorious in the arena of disputation. Imam Hadi (A.S.) gave the following advice to those who advocate defeating their opponents by means of disputation:
“Boasting ruins long-standing relationships; ends strong relations, and the least of its evils is competition (trying to excel over one s foes), and competition is the main (factor in) alienation.”
Dr.Dale Carnegie wrote:
“In every ten verbal disputes, the disputant comes out in nine out of ten cases believing more in their opinions and claiming that their opponents are wrong. There is not a winner in these disputes where the one defeated runs away. Yes, you crack your fingers in happiness over your victory; but you think about the condition of your opponent! You made him feel ignorant and hurt his feelings leaving a scar on his heart.
‘“Disputing is an inappropriate way to convince others, and to influence the way that other’s think. In fact, there is no relationship between convincing and disputing, nor can misunderstandings be removed by disputing. Selected advice and a peaceful approach are the elements needed in this case. It is incumbent on man to sympathize with his opponent.”
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said:
“Avoid bragging for the lack of its goodness; and avoid bragging for its advantages are few and it instigates enmity between brothers.”
A famous doctor once said:
“There are not many advantages to disputing. The intention for the disputant can turn on the side of his foe, for feelings can erupt during arguments. No matter how calm conversations are, they still have adverse affects on the opponent’s heart. Thus, whenever we attempt to outsmart him he insists on his opinion. One word can destroy a love relationship forever. Furthermore, disputes never cause others to adopt our way of thinking.”
Disputants always have a sense of anxiety in their hearts.
Imam Sadiq (A.S.) said:
“Avoid disputing for it occupies the heart, results in hypocrisy, and creates hard feelings.”
Usule Kafi. p. 452
Therefore, by observing the divine Islamic teachings we can pave the way for ourselves to create a spiritual revolution in our spiritual characteristics in an attempt achieve excellent human morals. Allah is the Best Helper and on Him do we depend.
By: Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi