Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I started talking with a man with the intent to marry. He recently told me a story about how he was treated poorly by another person (with strong language and disrespect), and his response was to do the same to them. Eye for an eye. He almost seemed proud and like it was the right thing to do. He said he wouldn’t allow people to treat him that way.
While I understand and there is something to be said about him defending himself, I don’t know how comfortable I am with this. What should we do when others treat us unjustly, and how should we defend ourselves appropriately?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
I pray you are well. Thank you for your important question.
His response that he will repay what was done to him is an angry response. One’s response to a situation, when agitated by something, is to break it by forgiving them with patience and self-discipline. One has to develop patience and only react by reason, and when Sacred Law demands it, just like Hunter’s dog, it is disciplined and only reacts to reasoned situations. One has to continually persevere until one becomes patient.
“You who believe! Show integrity for the sake of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to faith. Heed Allah (alone). Allah is aware of what you do.” [Quran, 5:8]
Muadh Ibn Anas (Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The best of virtues is that you maintain relations with one who cuts you off, that you give to one who deprives you, and that you forgive one who insults you.” [Aḥmad]
As Muslims, if someone mistreats us, we must learn how to respond. How? By learning how to deal with situations by seeking knowledge from local circles of knowledge, purifying one’s heart by adopting good character traits and removing bad character traits, and befriending and being in good company and people of exemplary character by attending circles of remembrance. We need to acknowledge our mistakes and continue developing ourselves spiritually and purifying our hearts.
I want to recommend you, myself, and others to watch and follow the lessons on practical spirituality—how to truly follow the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) through operationalizing mindfulness of Allah (taqwa).
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.