The Book of Life


Muhammad Javed Attari Madani

In an earlier edition of Monthly Magazine Faizan-e-Madinah, I read about a businessman who was travelling with his driver when a truck suddenly appeared and would have hit their car had he not told the driver to quickly pull into the hard shoulder.

When the businessman asked the driver why he had not acted on his own initiative and instead waited for him to tell him to pull away, the driver replied, “We were on the correct side of the road. It was the truck driver’s fault. As this side of the road belonged to us, there was no reason for me to move first.” The experienced businessman explained, “If I did not compromise on what you call ‘our side of the road,’ you would not be alive to explain your reasoning.”

This is compromise. If individuals from all fields and walks of life were to learn to compromise, society would be alleviated of so many problems, making everyone’s lives easier. Compromising yields many benefits:

1.   Husband and wife can compromise if one says something the other dislikes. This can even save their lives and households from falling apart. If compromise is adopted, their time with one another can be spent peacefully.

2.   If an employer and employee compromise with one another, they can both remain happy. For example, if a worker is late sometimes or does not carry out work to the employer’s wish, the latter should make do with giving a gentle reminder. If an employer rebukes the employee over a mistake or anything of the like, the latter should compromise. In this way, they both remain in advantageous positions. The employer’s business will continue to grow whilst the employee will continue earning to support his household.

3.   The domestic lives of siblings can also pass peacefully with compromise if they listen to each other and remain patient if anything happens against their wishes.

4.   If your child fails to understand your advice or concerns, compromise. This is good for the children and a way to make one’s parents happy. If they do not listen to you, do not harshly rebuke them. Instead, find a constructive way to resolve the situation and be willing to compromise.

5.   Friends are considered a key part of one’s life. As for those who do not compromise, become angered quickly, fight with others or become upset at the slightest issue, they have few or no friends at all.

6.   When travelling with others, each should be willing to support the other and compromise if needed. Their journey will be enjoyable as a result. If a sick or old person is standing, offer them your seat. If someone needs help, come forward to support them and earn great reward.

7.   Masjid committees, imams, muezzins, staff, and attendees should compromise with one another within the bounds of Islam. The entire masjid system will flourish as a result. If the imam or muezzin is late or a cleaner misses an area, masjid attendees and the committee should compromise.

8.   One major reason for traffic jams can be unwillingness to compromise. One person rushing can result in major blockages and difficulty for a huge number of others. All should compromise in this situation. For example, by waiting and giving room to others to move, thereby opening further space for traffic to flow. If compromise was implemented this way, perhaps everyone involved will be quickly absolved of this problem.

9.   If doctors and their patients compromise with one another, many worries can be avoided entirely. If a patient asks about the illness he is suffering from, doctors should reply with professionalism and empathy. This will calm and relax the patient. Healthcare providers should respect the patient’s questions and not become irate. In countries where medical fees are charged, medical practitioners should charge reasonable fees.

10.   Children are raised whilst being showered in the love and affection of their mothers. If a mother does not compromise when her child cries consistently or shows stubbornness, she may not go on to raise the child properly.

11.   If a shop owner does not remain patient upon the harsh words of his customers and display good conduct in return, his shop may quickly lose business or liquidate altogether.

Dear readers, the true essence of compromise is tolerance, patience and forgiveness. Quran and hadith openly encourage us to take these qualities on. Allah says:

 خُذِ الۡعَفۡوَ وَ اۡمُرۡ بِالۡعُرۡفِ وَ اَعۡرِضۡ عَنِ الۡجٰہِلِیۡنَ (۱۹۹)     

Translation from Kanz al-Īmān: “And O Beloved; adopt forgiveness, and command good, and turn away from the ignorant.”[1]

In another verse, Allah describes pious people as those who pardon and forgive:

وَّ اِذَا خَاطَبَہُمُ الۡجٰہِلُوۡنَ  قَالُوۡا سَلٰمًا (۶۳)

Translation from Kanz al-Īmān: “And when the ignorant address them (rudely), their only response is, 'Salaam' (i.e. a greeting of parting).”[2]

A hadith states:

صِلْ مَنْ قَطَعَكَ وَاَعْطِ مَنْ حَرَمَكَ وَاعْفُ عَمَّنْ ظَلَمَكَ 

“Join ties with whoever severs them from you, give to whoever deprives you and forgive whoever oppresses you.”[3]

Compromise, and you will lead a joyous life.

[1] Al-Quran, 7:199

[2] Al-Quran, 25:63

[3] Musnad al-Imām Amad: 17,452.




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