own opinions. I was appalled at these evil results of political involvement. I said: “I take refuge with God from Satan and politics,” and from that time on withdrew from politics.
Obstinacy and partisanship are extremely harmful in social life.
I f i t i s s a i d : There is a Hadith which says: “Difference among my people is an instance of divine mercy,”1 and difference requires partisanship.
The sickness of partisanship also delivers the oppressed common people from the oppressor elite, for if the elite of a town or village join together, they will destroy the oppressed common people. If there is partisanship, the oppressed may seek refuge with one of the parties and thus save himself.
It is also from the confrontation of opinions and the contradiction of views that truth becomes apparent in its full measure.
T h e A n s w e r :
To the first part of the question, we say: The difference intended in the Hadith is a positive difference. That is, each party strives to promote and diffuse its own belief; it does not seek to tear down and destroy that of the other, but rather to improve and reform it. Negative difference is rejected by the Hadith, for it aims in partisan and hostile fashion at mutual destruction, and those who are at each other’s throats cannot act positively.
To the second part of the question, we say: If partisanship is in the name of truth, it can become a refuge for those seeking their rights. But as for the partisanship obtaining now, biased and self-centred, it can only be a refuge for the unjust and a point of support for them. For if a devil comes to a man engaged in biased partisanship, encourages him in his ideas and takes his side, that man will call down God’s blessings on the Devil. But if the opposing side is joined by a man of angelic nature, then he will – may God protect us! – go so far as to invoke curses upon him.
To the third part of the question, we say: If the confrontation of views takes place in the name of justice and for the sake of truth, then the difference concerns only means; there is unity with respect to aim and basic purpose. Such a difference makes manifest every aspect of the truth and serves justice and truth. But what emerges from a confrontation of views that is partisan and biased, and takes place for the sake of a tyrannical, evil-commanding soul, that is based on egotism and fame-seeking – what emerges from this is not the flash of truth, but the fire of dissension.
al-‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’, i, 64; al-Manawi, Fayd al-Qadir, i, 210-12.