Staying away from Tit-for-Tat

tit for tat

Every one of us, at some point in life, may encounter enemies in the form of envious colleagues, disagreeable supervisors or unreasonable in-law relations. Our heart directs us to treat them the same way they treat us. However, what is the most appropriate way of dealing with such people according to our Deen?

  1. Be the Mohsin

Like always, the Quran holds our hand and guides us to the precise solution. Allah (swt) has said: “The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better…” (Fussilat 41:34) The Arabic word used here is ‘Ahsan’ which is the superlative form of goodness. In the face of negative attitudes, Ihsan melts away hatred and cultivates love. For example, in an exchange of uncomfortable words, Ihsan would be to remain calm and instead, make sincere Dua. Your composure should not be out of powerlessness, so that you sit crying afterwards. It should be voluntary, for the sake of Allah (swt). Nonetheless, this is easier said than done and requires a great deal of forbearance, as stated in the aforementioned verse.

  1. Speak Good or Remain Silent

From the golden, (albeit difficult!) rules of life is to speak good or remain silent. The moment you start answering back, angels forsake you and Shaitan takes their place. Be smart and let the angels do your part in a quipping duel.

  1. Dua can work wonders!

Make earnest Dua for cordial relations and love to develop between you and your rival. Also, recite the Duas taught by Rasulullah (sa) regarding protection from the evil of adversaries. One is stated below. For more, refer to Hisnul Muslim or other Dua books.

“O Allah, we place You before them and we take refuge in You from their evil.”

اللّهُـمَّ إِنا نَجْـعَلُكَ في نُحـورِهِـم، وَنَعـوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شُرورِهـمْ

  1. Spread Smiles and Salam

Smile and Salam are the ice breakers that pave way for reconciliation. That is why it is prohibited for two believers to forsake Salam for more than three days. Muhammad (sa) has said: “It is not lawful for a Muslim to desert his brother beyond three nights, the one turning one way and the other turning to the other way when they meet; the better of the two is the one who is the first to greet the other.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

  1. Be cautious of the real enemy!

Remember! The feelings of animosity and hatred placed by Allah (swt) have a positive direction, too. They belong for you to exercise towards your actual enemies: Shaitan and the enemies of Allah (swt). Don’t exhaust them among your wrongful relatives and colleagues. Save up some for the real enemies. After all, Allah (swt) wants to see us Muslims as ‘severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.’ (Fath 48:29)

A wining situation is not when you defeat your opponent, shun them and quieten them. It is when you are able to overcome the traps of Shaitan and stay firm on the principles of truth, morality, sincerity and Ihsan.

The Five ‘Don’ts’ of Tarbiyah


First and foremost, we need to understand the perceptions of parents regarding Tarbiyah. Tarbiyah is a natural part of life in the safety of a family home. It’s not a rehabilitation centre procedure, where people go for treatment. Tarbiyah is about nurturing the best aspects of human nature and not about fixing a problem. Thus, Tarbiyah of children becomes a sacred and challenging yet enjoyable task. It does not become a ‘yelling issue’ or ‘I told you so about 1000 times’, or ‘stop doing that or else…’ sort of scenario.

We must remember that we live in an economic world. Major problems with teenagers arise because of freedom of choices, mass media and peer pressures. Lack of direction and guidance from parents and school add fuel to fire.

When we think of Tarbiyah, some of the ‘don’ts’ are as follows:

  1. Don’t lose communication with them! Don’t disconnect with your children in anger or frustration. Very often, parents lose communication with their children, whereas the children have hundreds of ways to communicate. Talk face to face in all cases. Keep in touch through SMS, emails or Facebook, if you have given them these facilities. This will help you to know their friends as well; however, avoid giving the impression that you are spying on them. Kids, especially teenagers, tend to resort to emotional blackmail by saying: “You don’t understand.”
  2. Don’t teach Islam in isolation. Children need solutions for their problems. Relate day to day events to Aqeedah and practical solutions. When your children claim that you don’t understand them, don’t argue over this statement; rather, take it as an opening statement for further dialogues. Don’t disassociate yourself from their lives. Take an interest in their activities, friends, likes and dislikes. Don’t disrespect their ideas, feelings and suggestions.
  3. Don’t despair when they have done something wrong. Even if your efforts seem to fail, don’t become unmotivated. Don’t condemn them. Disappointments are a part of parenting, and mistakes are a part of growing up. Don’t use excessive words in anger. Don’t use threats or physical force to get what you want or to express anger. Make Dua. It’s the greatest healer. Clarify what you don’t want them to do from a very early stage. For instance, when your child yells, demonstrate the desired tone.
  4. Don’t expect immediate compliance all the time. Give a time frame and stick to it, instead of nagging. Don’t compare your child with another sibling or other children. It is most humiliating for them. Don’t discuss your child’s behaviour with others, especially in front of them. Don’t forget to kiss your teenaged kids. They still want physical contact with you.
  5. Don’t say yes to such social evils as smoking, drugs, dating and outings in late nights. Teenagehood is an experimenting and experiencing age. Don’t fall into the trap of ‘let me do it only once’. Most parents believe their child is drug and dating proof. Sadly, it is a fact that a majority of our youth is involved in one thing or the other. This includes teenagers belonging to religious families as well.

We need to connect our children to the worldview, where all our actions emerge from our religion, with the sources being the Quran, the Sunnah and traditions of the Prophet’s (sa) companions. Our extremely rich Islamic culture and heritage should be practiced to gain success in all fields of life and then in the hereafter. Excellence, or Ihsan, in all aspects is so desirable that Allah (swt) Himself taught us the Dua: “O our Lord, give us the best in this world and the best in the Hereafter and protect us from Hellfire.”