By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider delivered at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town.

Imam Zainul Abideen (as) continues to pray to Almighty Allah (swt) for the ability to repel evil with goodness with the following dua:

وَأَجْزِيَ مَنْ هَجَرنِي بِالبِرِّ

“Reward one who forsakes me with goodness”.

The word “Hijr” which the Imam (as) has used in this prayer is present in the Quran and literally means “separation.”

Sheikh Raghib Isfahani (ra) has classified hijr in the Quran under three categories – the first of them being desertion by body. When one does not enjoy the company of an individual, they physically isolate themselves from that person.

The second level is hijr of the tongue, where one refuses to talk to an individual due to their dislike of that person. Although these two parties may meet each other from time to time, their refusal to engage with each other is seen as a form of desertion.

The third and final degree of hijr is that of the heart, where the mere thought of that individual holds little to no value in the mind of the other.

At this stage physical interaction still occurs, but with no sincerity shown from either side.

According to the Islamic teachings, hijr has no place in the Muslim community.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in a famous narration has said: “ The Muslim community is like one body. If one part of the body is in pain, the entire body reacts with sleeplessness.”

The reality of the words of the Prophet (SAW) is that Muslims have a responsibility to be concerned about each other, and this is only possible when there is mutual interaction taking place.

The traditions of the Ahlulbait (as) therefore warn against the dangers of hijr.

Although there may be disagreements between believers, the narrations state that this issue must be resolved within three days. The Prophet (SAW) has said: “If two Muslims are angry with each other – and they remained in this state for three days or more – and they don’t want to resolve the situation, then both of them are out of the fold of Islam.”

In today’s time, various factions are declaring each other as disbelievers in order to create disunity within society, however the Prophet (SAW) declares people out of the fold of Islam for creating disunity in the Ummah in the first place!

Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) has said: “A believer is a gift from Allah for another believer – So if he accepted this gift with happiness, then he has accepted the gift of Allah. But if he cuts his ties with him, then he has rejected Allah’s gift.”

The narrations of the Ahlulbait (as) have gone to the extent to say that the worship and prayers of those who have deserted their brothers in faith are not accepted.

Furthermore, the Prophet (SAW) had said to Abu Dhar (ra): “ I warn you from fighting with your believing brother or sister, because Allah (swt) does not accept the actions of a believer while he is in this state.”

If one’s heart is infected with hate towards others, then the pleasure of Allah (swt) cannot be achieved.

In certain scenarios where only one party is willing to compromise and the other remains reluctant, we are then instructed to fulfil our responsibility. Our primary concern should be our own actions instead of the response of others.

Imam Sajjad (as) in this dua is therefore asking Allah (swt) to be blessed with the ability to mend ties with those who have deserted him.