How Imam Shafi'i dealt with differences
Whilst sitting in Imam Shafi'i's class one day, his student Yunus ibn Abd al A'ala differed with him. He got so angry that he left the class and went home.
That night, Yunus heard a knock on his door and asked who it was. The one knocking answered, "Muhammad Ibn Idrees!"
Yunus thought of everyone who he knew by that name except the Imam. Upon opening the door, he was shocked to see Imam Shafi'i.
The Imam said: "O Yunus! Hundreds of issues unite us, and only one issue divided us? Don't try to be triumphant in all differences; sometimes, winning hearts is more important than winning situations. Don't demolish bridges you built and crossed, for you may need them again one day for your return.
Always hate what is wrong, but do not hate the one who errs. Hate sin with all your heart, but forgive and have mercy on the sinner. Criticise speech, but respect the speaker. Our job is to wipe out the disease, not the patient."
This is truly very sound advice. It is easy to lose it. It is easy to burn the bridges. It is easy to hate the person. It is easy to take vengeance. But where does that get us? It only makes us bitter and empty.
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