Islah dhat al-bayn
References of Ethics
Qur'an • Nahj al-balagha • Misbah al-shari'a wa miftah al-haqiqa • Makarim al-Akhlaq • Al-Mahajja al-bayda' fi tahdhib al-ahya' • Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir • Jami' al-sa'adat • Mi'raj al-sa'ada • Al-Muraqabat
Iṣlāḥ Dhāt al-bayn (Arabic: إصلاح ذات البين) is making reconciliation between people, turning bad relation between persons and groups to a good one and strengthening social and individual bonds. Islah dhat al-bayn is among moral virtues mentioned against calumny, slander, and making division and enmity. Following concepts such as sulh (peace), ta'lif qulub (drawing hearts close to each other) and silm (truce), several verses in the Qur'an have discussed the importance and necessity of reconciliation among people.
In religious texts, different methods and examples are mentioned for making reconciliation and peace among people, such as solving family conflicts, preventing conflicts by correcting the wills, inviting the parties to rationality, mediation in disagreements, giving advice and consults and finally fighting the rebellious side.
The expression "Islah dhat al-bayn" is adopted from the first verse of Qur'an 8 and mean development of relationship between people, making reconciliation and peace among them, strengthening their social and individual relationships and keeping away from hostility and disputes. Islah dhat al-bayn is also interpreted as correcting between people and explained as drawing people together through love and kindness.
The expression "Islah dhat al-bayn" is considered against "ifsad dhat al-bayn" (corrupting between people) meaning division, enmity and hypocrisy among people and is meant as removing disagreements, drawing hearts together, trying to keep this peace and removing the causes of division. In his Tafsir al-Mizan, Allama Tabataba'i defined Islah dhat al-bayn as turning the bad condition and relation between individuals or groups to good condition and relation and removing darkness in their relations.
Islah dhat al-bayn is also mentioned among moral virtues against the vices of calumny and slander.
Importance and Position
Following concepts such as Islah (correction), ta'lif qulub (drawing hearts close to each other), silm (truce), sulh (peace), tawfiq (meaning to develop agreement, peace and reconciliation between two people) and shaf', several verses in the Qur'an have discussed reconciliation among people. Most usages of the word "islah" in the Qur'an are about the relationships of a person with others and improvement of mutual relationships.
The importance of making reconciliation among people is deduced from the above-mentioned verses. In verse 103 of Qur'an 3, God introduces Himself as the cause of reconciliation between Muslims and the brotherhood between them and considers this reconciliation and closeness of the hearts among the blessings people should always remember. In most of these verses, God uses the word "‘amr" to address believers and other people which shows the necessity of establishing peace and reconciliation among people and keeping away from war, confrontation and hostility.
Being deserved to receive rewards for reconciliation among people, benefitting from the mercy and forgiveness of God and His promise to those who reconcile among people because of achieving the consent of God are considered as the signs of the importance, goodness and priority of this action before God.
Islah dhat al-bayn is considered so important that the Qur'an does not consider a swear given to abandon reconciliation among people valid. Islah dhat al-bayn is also so much emphasized in hadiths that in some hadiths, it is considered better than all prayers, fastings and acts of charity; and in a hadith, even telling lies is not considered bad if it is to prevent an oppressor and to reconcile between people. Also, in a hadith, a person who tries to make reconciliation between two people is included in the praises of angels and receives the reward for understanding the night of Qadr.
Examples and Methods
In religious texts, some methods and examples are mentioned for making reconciliation between people and establishing peace and bond between them. Removing family conflicts, preventing disagreement by correcting the will before dying, inviting people to rationality, advice and consult and finally fighting with rebels and mediation in removing conflicts are mentioned among these methods.
- Preventing disagreement: based on the opinion of exegetes, preventing disagreement and disputes among one's heirs is the message of verse 182 of Qur'an 2 which suggests that it is upon the executor or anyone who has the duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil to advise the one who writes his will to observe justice and to act according to obligations and prevents a will which causes division and doing so, they would have no sins. Some also believe that the Islamic government has to correct a will which provides the grounds for disputes.
- Inviting to rationality: the root of many disagreements and disputes between people is considered to be turning off the lamp of reason, following ignorance and ignorant bigotry. Imam Ali (a) considered the following of people of Basra from the leaders of the battle of Jamal leading to bloodshed and division among people because of their foolishness and lack of rationality.
- Solving family conflicts: for solving family conflicts, and upon having fear of divorce between spouses, it is advised that two persons are chosen by the parties to judge and reconcile between them. Reconciliation between a husband and his wife is the message of several verses in the Qur'an.
- Advice, consult and fighting the rebellious party: according to verse 9 of Qur'an 49, when a conflict occurs between two groups of believers, peace should be established between them first through advice, consult and inviting them to the Qur'an and the rule of God, and if one group rejects them and does not accept reconciliation, they should be fought so that they accept the rule of God and then they should be judged with justice.
- Mediation in solving conflicts: solving conflicts among people is considered as the duty of the government and believers so that in cases of reconciliation through dialogue, there is no need for permission of the religious authority.
Finding the root of conflicts, inspecting all their aspects, benefitting from emotional issues, having patience and tolerance and avoiding bias in order to make reconciliation between people are mentioned among the methods of reconciliating between people.
Causes of division among people are considered as the obstacles of reconciliation among them.
- Following Satan: According to Qur'an 2:208, following the steps of Satan which is corruption itself is mentioned among the obstacles of making reconciliation.
- Seeking worldly desires: one of its examples was trying to gain greater shares of the booties of the battle of Badr and it is mentioned as one of the ways of making conflict.
- Stinginess is considered as one of the roots of arguments, conflicts and disputes among people; because, due to love of the self, human nature is prone to stinginess. Under verse 128 of Qur'an 4, exegetes considered stinginess among the obstacles of success in reconciliation among people which causes division between a husband and his wife.
- Diminishing moral values: Imam Ali (a) mentioned diminishing moral values, impure hearts and intentions as the causes of conflict among his companions after the battle of Siffin.
Jurists have mentioned some religious rules and secondary issues under the topic of reconciliation between people.
Reconciling between two or some people who have grudge toward each other is recommended and in a case, when the life of a believer depends on that, it becomes obligatory.
One of the cases of spending zakat is spending it for reconciliation between people.
In an argument between a husband and a wife, two persons from both parties should be assigned to judge and reconcile between them based on mutual benefits. Jurists do not have agreement on whether this is recommended or obligatory.
- Qur'an 2:182,224. Qur'an 4:35,224,128,129. Qur'an 8:1. Qur'an 42:40. Qur'an 49:9-10
- Qur'an 3:103. Qur'an 8:63
- Qur'an 2:208. Qur'an 8:61
- Qur'an 4:128
- Qur'an 4:35,62
- Qur'an 4:85
- Remember Allah’s blessing upon you when you were enemies, then He brought your hearts together, so you became brothers with His blessing. Qur'an 3:103
- Qur'an 4:85
- Qur'an 4:129
- Qur'an 4:114
- Qur'an 4:128
- Qur'an 2:224
- Qur'an 2:228. Qur'an 4:35,128,129.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from اصلاح ذات البین in Farsi WikiShia.