What is beshrewing? How is beshrewing considered in Sufism? Is it permissible to beshrew regarding the issues that we are right or wrong?

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What is beshrewing? How is beshrewing considered in Sufism? Is it permissible to beshrew regarding the issues that we are right or wrong?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Beshrewing means wishing harm upon somebody, praying against somebody.

There are some verses and hadiths indicating that it is permissible to beshrew if it is based on justifiable reasons and the deeds that are regarded as oppression and injustice by the religion. As a matter of fact, most of the interpreters of the Quran state that the following verse allows those who are oppressed to beshrew the oppressors: "Allah loveth not the evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done." (1) In addition, there are hadiths stating that the Prophet beshrewed some polytheists who were known by their bad deeds against Islam. According to one of those hadiths, the Prophet beshrewed seven people, among whom were, Abu Jahl, Umayya b. Khalaf (or Ubay b. Khalaf), Utba b. Rabia, Shayba b. Rabia and Uqba b. Abu Muayt; according to what Ibn Masud, the narrator of the hadith, said, all of those seven people were killed during the Battle of Badr and what the Prophet had said came true(2). It is also known that Hazrat Muhammad beshrewed some people who kind of worshipped money (3), who disobeyed their parents (4)without mentioning their names in order to warn Muslims.

There are some hadiths stating that the beshrewing of the oppressed would be accepted. As a matter of fact, according to a hadith that exists in many resources, when the Messenger of Allah sent Muadh bin Jabal to Yemen as the governor, he listed his duties and then warned him against oppression and injustice by saying, "Beware the beshrewing of the oppressed because there is no veil between him and Allah." (5) In some other hadiths, it is stated that the prayer of a guest, the prayer of a child for his father, the prayer of a just ruler and a person who is performing fasting and the beshrewing of an oppressed person will be accepted (6); the Prophet himself took refuge in Allah from the beshrewing of the oppressed.(7)

However, beshrewing is one of the words that was almost never heard from the Prophet. It is because forgiving and granting are given more importance than justice in Islamic ethics. As a matter of fact, the following verses show the superiority of forgiving clearly: "The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due, from Allah"(8); "But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs"(9) In some interpretations of the Quran, it is even stated that the verse, "Not for thee, (but for Allah) is the decision: whether He turn in mercy to them or punish them; for they are indeed wrong-doers"(10) was sent down in order to warn Hazrat Prophet , who beshrewed some polytheists; as a matter of fact, it is stated that those people embraced Islam later. (11). In fact, it is known that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) usually prayed for the people who resisted Islam so that they would become Muslims instead of beshrewing them. (12)

Islamic scholars have pointed out that it does not comply with Islamic ethics for Muslims to beshrew each other due to unimportant reasons. Especially sufists say that beshrewing does not comply with the manners of Sufism. As a matter of fact, while listing the rules that the people who trust Allah need to obey, Ghazzali says that a person whose things are stolen should not beshrew the thief and adds that if he does, his trust in Allah will be invalid; after that Ghazzali reports some narrations (13) stating that devoted people and sufists feel pity for the oppressors and pray for them so that they will improve instead beshrewing them. (14)

It is not permissible to beshrew someone unjustly whether he is a Muslim or non-Muslim. The hadith, "I will sue a person who oppresses a dhimmi. If I sue a person in the world, I will sue him in the hereafter, too." (15) shows that it is not permissible to beshrew even non-Muslims unjustly.

There are narrations that when someone beshrews unjustly, he will be affected by his beshrewing himself. (16) A person who beshrews unjustly must repent.  

Footnotes:

1- an-Nisa 4/148

2- Musnad, I/393-397

3- Bukhari, Jihad, 70, Riqaq, 101

4- Musnad, II/346; Muslim, Birr, 8

5- Bukhari, Mazalim, 9

6- Musnad, IV/154; Ibn Majah, Siyam, 7, Dua, 11

7- Musnad, V/82-83; Ibn Majah, Dua, 20

8- ash-Shura 42/40

9- ash-Shura 42/43

10- Aal-i Imran 3/ 128

11- Ibn Kathir, II/96-97; Bukhari, Maghazi, 21

12- see Bukhari, "Da'awat", 59

13- see Ihya, IV/283

14- DİA, Beddua Item

15- Ajluni, Kashfu'l-Khafa' II/218

16- Tirmidhi, Birr, 48; Abu Dawud, Adab, 45

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