Do we have the right to hurt people? How should we react against the insults and bad deeds that we are exposed to?

The Details of the Question
Do we have the right to hurt people? How should we react against the insults and bad deeds that we are exposed to?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The religion of Islam is against all kind bad deeds and hurting. For, Islam tries to make man real man. It elevates man to the rank of real humanity. Therefore, Islam gives orders that lead man to all kinds of perfection and beauty; and it forbids deeds that will lead man to all kinds of disgrace and ugliness.  

Acting upon these general rules, we can say that all kinds of deeds that will hurt and disturb other people are sins and haram. For, it is haram to hurt Muslims and it makes a person a sinner. In the religion of Islam, it is forbidden to disturb even an unbeliever if he is innocent. For, the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“I am the enemy of a person who oppresses a dhimmi."(al-Hindi, Kanzu’l-Ummal, IV / 618; al-Jamiu’s-Saghir, I / 1210)

It is not permissible to hurt them in any case.

We should show patience to the insults to us and regard them as addressing our evil-commanding soul. For, mentioning the faults of the soul will improve it and atone for our sins. It will enable us to have sincerity and to eliminate the feelings aiming to gain people's liking.

Patience is a faculty of the spirit; it is a nice character. One can put up with the things that are hard to endure and that are difficult for the soul only through patience. Perseverance shown to defend and maintain a right is possible only through patience. It is necessary to be patient and to get used to being patient in order to fulfill Allah's orders, to resist the requests and desires of the soul that are not liked by the mind and religion and that are illegitimate, to endure the troubles and misfortunes that inflict great pain and grief upon man and to overcome them.

This trait is the mother of all virtues and the secret behind being successful in life and attaining perfection. Patience is superior to all virtues.

"For,Allah is with those who patiently persevere." (al-Baqara, 2/153, 155)

Patience leads to salvation and success. Patience is bitter but its result is sweet. Hz. Prophet (pbuh) stated the following to inform us about the virtue of patience:

"He who shows patience succeeds." 

"Patience is the key to success."

"Patience is a light."

"Patience is a treasure among the treasures of Paradise."

"There are a lot of good things in showing patience to the things that trouble you."

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) emphasized the importance of patience shown as soon as a misfortune hits as follows: 

"True patience is patience shown at the time the misfortune hits."(Bukhari, Janaiz, 32)

To show patience does not mean to accept condemnation, poverty and humiliation, to put up with unjust violations and the attacks that harm human dignity and to keep silent when they take place. For, it is not permissible to show patience to illegitimate things. It is necessary to feel disturbed and to struggle against them. It is weakness and laziness for a man to put up with the bad deeds that he can overcome through his own power and will or to take things easy when he can do something. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prayed as follows:

"O Lord! I take refuge in you from weakness and laziness."(Bukhari, Jihad, 25)  

There are some troubles that a person cannot overcome with his own power and will. When misfortunes like that happen to a believer, he needs to show patience to divine predestination without panicking and complaining; it is one of the characteristics of believers. As a matter of fact, Allah orders comely patience in the Quran. (Yusuf, 12/18). The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Comely patience is patience that does not make a person complain."

In fact, it is of no use and unnecessary to show patience when one can do something and to show impatience when one cannot do anything. 

Patience, which is mentioned in more than seventy verses of the Quran, means to act in accordance with the compulsory situations that are contrary to human nature and to resist difficulties. The aim of patience is not to feel uneasy, not to panic and to endure when unexpected things happen and difficulties arise. Allah gives glad tidings that He will reward endlessly those who show patience and praises them.

Believers are often exposed to the oppression and bad deeds of the enemies of Allah, are tortured and are forced to fight them just because they believe in Allah. At that time, patience is the source of power for a believer and the protector of his belief. When the Pharaoh wanted to torture those who believed in Hz. Musa (Moses), they prayed Allah as follows:

"Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and Take our souls unto Thee as Muslims (who bow to Thy will)."(al-Araf, 7/126)

It is very well known how our beloved Prophet (pbuh) and the first Muslims showed patience and endurance to the tortures and torments inflicted upon them.

The aspects of the worshipping that our souls find difficult get easier with patience. Thus, we perform prayers five times a day in peace and perform fasting on hot summer days without any difficulties. The same thing is valid for the other kinds of worshipping and ethical deeds:

"But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs."(ash-Shura, 42/43);

"And We shall try you until We test those among you who strive their utmost and persevere in patience; and We shall try your reported (mettle)."(Muhammad, 47/31).

Man often obeys his soul; he finds it difficult to obey Allah's orders and to avoid what He forbids; he wants to meet the bad desires of his soul and avoids good deeds and virtues. For instance, he finds it nicer to spend his money for entertainment and his pleasure than giving it to the poor. Playing games is more attractive for a child than studying. People prefer wandering about to working and earning money. 

In that case, it is a nice attitude for man to choose the good and useful alternative even if he finds it difficult and to try to do it by showing patience and endurance.

Besides, people can live in abundance or poverty, live healthily or become ill, be exposed to disasters like flood, earthquake and fire; then, the biggest support and assistance for man is patience. Doing the opposite will lead man to rebellion and ingratitude. God Almighty states the following regarding the issue:

"…Behold, he that is righteous and patient, never will Allah suffer the reward to be lost, of those who do right."(Yusuf, 12/90).

Prophets are the greatest examples of patience. For, they showed patience to all kinds of difficulties. We hope that Allah will make us among the people who are "firmly patient and constant― grateful and appreciative". (Ibrahim, 14/5)

Patience leads to salvation. Patience is the beginning of belief, worshipping, knowledge and wisdom, in short, all virtues. A patient person is a good person. Allah states that those who do righteous deeds, and join together in the mutual teaching of the truth and patience will attain salvation. Patience is the way that leads to victory. (al-Asr, 103/1-3)

The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"Allah gives patience to a person who perseveres and endures. Nobody has been given a better and bigger bounty than patience."(Tirmidhi, Birr, 76)

"It will be very useful for you if you show patience to what you do not like."(Ahmad b. Hanbal, Müsned, I, 307)

Furthermore, God Almighty states the following regarding the issue:

"Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives and the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere."(al-Baqara, 2/ 155).

We learn from the verse above and similar ones that Allah tests man through various troubles and that those who patiently persevere pass this test.

All of the problems are settled and obstacles are overcome through patience. As the saying goes, "Everything comes to him who waits."

Hz. Prophet (pbuh) says,

"Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks God; thus, it is good for him; and if he gets into trouble, he endures it patiently; thus, it is good for him."(Riyadus-Salihin, 1, 54)

Patience, which we believe to be definitely good for us, is a common attribute of all prophets. All prophets were exposed to various troubles, were tortured and expelled from their hometowns while they were conveying the religion of Allah to people. They were put to prison by kings but they always showed patience. There are many verses in the Quran mentioning the patience of prophets. The life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is full of examples of comely patience. Therefore, the duty of every Muslim is to ask for patience from Allah and to be patient by thinking that patience leads to salvation.

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