Unity in Difference

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Hazrat Qari Siddeeq Ahmad Baandwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) used to say that differences of opinion in those days were not like how it is today. Nowadays if we have a difference of opinion with someone then we drag his name, respect and honour to the gutters. There is absolutely no understanding and consideration for people left anymore. One does not even go to meet or speak with his counterparts. A veil is thrown over all his good qualities.

Our elders were such that they maintained unity despite having a difference with others. They would show kindness and sympathy to one another, share in one another’s sadness and happiness. In this regard, Hazrat Qari Saheb (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) mentions the following incident,

“There was some difference of opinion that occurred between two people which had reached up to the courts. Both parties needed to go to the courthouse in Baanda to fight the case, but the relationship between them was such that they were still on talking terms and were in and out of each other’s homes. Their relationship was such that before the final hearing, one of the parties asked the other party if he knew the correct date for the hearing and whether he made any arrangements for transport. (In those days it was very difficult to travel from the village to the town. One had to either travel by foot or by ox-cart.) The other replied that he had not yet made any travel arrangements. The first person replied, ‘Don’t worry. I have made arrangements for transport. You can come with me.’

Hence both the parties (the plaintiff and the defendant) went together the next day to the courthouse. Since much time had passed before their case could commence, they both went to one corner and opened up their lunches to eat together. Whilst they were eating, their names were suddenly called out. Both of them presented themselves immediately. The judge looked strangely at them and asked in surprise, “Who is the claimant and who is the defendant? Where is your opposition?” The claimant pointed to his companion and said that he is my opposition. The officer was surprised and said, “You people are very strange. Your fighting is also very unique. Both of you come together in one vehicle and go back together in the same vehicle. You both sit together and eat. How strange is this?”

Hazrat Qari Saheb (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) used to mention these incidents and say that this was how our elders differed with one another. Their differences did not become an obstacle in respecting and revering one another. Despite their difference they would be in and out of each other’s homes and join in their moments of happiness and grief. They would not even tolerate backbiting or speaking ill of one another. May Allah Ta‘ala also grant us the ability to adopt this beautiful example, aameen. (Hayaat-e-Siddeeq, pg. 44)

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