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An Appeal by Habib Ali Al-Jifri

God created human-beings with an innate nature to know each other and a preference of community to solitude which requires of them that they co-exist with people of different affiliations, approaches and beliefs. Therefore, an individual must continuously seek to perfect their understanding of how to deal with others in order to achieve the loftiest meanings of the Prophetic inheritance and characteristics.


In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

I claim not that my soul is innocent for indeed the soul of man incites to evil, except inasmuch as my Lord had mercy; truly my Lord is All-forgiving, All-compassionate (Quran 12:53)

And it is He who accepts repentance from His servants, and pardons sins, and knows all that you do (Quran 42:25)

God created human-beings with an innate nature to know each other and a preference of community to solitude which requires of them that they co-exist with people of different affiliations, approaches and beliefs. Therefore, an individual must continuously seek to perfect their understanding of how to deal with others in order to achieve the loftiest meanings of the Prophetic inheritance and characteristics.

Divergent hearts, abusive speech, and disembracing hands are the conditions of some people at present  and they breed only suffering and alienation. These conditions are the result of issues within which no opportunity should be left to the satan to disrupt the harmony and compassion which generally exists between people.

People who have lived amongst others generally find that there is nothing as effective as kind words, a soft disposition and good character in affecting them.  The impact of this affect causes others to lend an ear to what one has to say and nothing is greater in fostering friendliness, inviting agreement, achieving unity and avoiding divisiveness.

Such was the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace. Once, he was approached by Zayd b. Sa’na, a Jewish rabbi, who came to demand repayment of his debt two or three days before it was due. He narrated, “I approached him (the Prophet) and gripped him by the shirt and cloak. I looked at him with a harsh face and said, ‘O Muhammad, will you not pay my dues? By God, I have not known the House of Abdul-Muttalib to be ones who evade payment, and I have know that from living amongst you. I looked towards Umar to find that his eyes were rolling like a round ship. He then gazed at me and said, ‘O enemy of God, are you addressing the Messenger of God with what I hear and doing unto him what I see? [I swear] by He who has sent him with the Truth that, if not for what I fear I could sacrifice, I would strike your head with my sword.’ The Messenger of God, upon him be peace, was looking at Umar with serenity and patience, and then said, ‘O Umar, myself and him were in greater need of other than this; that you command me with good fulfillment [of my debt] and command him with good manners in demanding his dues. Umar, take him and give him his due and increase it by twenty saas[1]of dates in compensation for threatening him.’” Zayd said, “Umar escorted me and granted my dues and added twenty saas of dates. I said, ‘What is this increase, O Umar?’ He said, ‘The Messenger of God instructed that I increase [your dues] in place of threatening you.’ I said, ‘And do you know me, O Umar?’ He said, ‘No, who are you?’ I said, ‘I am Zayd bin Sa’na.’ He said, ‘The rabbi?’ I said, ‘The rabbi.’ He said, ‘So what led you to do unto the Messenger of God, blessings and peace be upon him, what you did and say unto him what you said?’ I said, ‘O Umar, there was nothing of the signs of prophethood that I did not identify in the face of the Messenger of God save two [qualities] that I did not learn of him; his forbearance overrules his anger and the anger practiced unto him only increases his forbearance. Now I have witnessed them. So bear witness O Umar that I accept God as lord, Islam as religion, and Muhammad as prophet, and bear witness that half of my fortune, and I hold great fortune, is charity for Muhammad’s nation.” (Related in Al-Mu’jam al-Kabir by al-Tabarani 5/222 number 5154, and the al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, in the Book of Knowing the Companions may God be pleased with them, 4/34 number 6626. al-Hakim said “The chain of transmission of this hadith is authentic even though it is not cited by Bukhari and Muslim, and it is among the finest of hadiths, and Muhammad b, Abi al-Siri al-’Asqalani is trustworthy.”)

In the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, Lady ‘Aisha, the mother of the believers, narrates, “That the Prophet, upon him be peace, told her, ‘Whosoever is granted their share of gentleness has received their share of good bounty in this world and the hereafter; and honoring the ties of kinship, good manners, and good neighborliness spread prosperity amongst households and prolong the lives of people.” (Ahmad 6/159 number 25298)

In light of the above

I appeal to every Muslim, man and woman, young and old, Arab and non-Arab, scholar and ignorant, present and absent, distant and near, living and dead and everyone with whom I share the belief of divine unity (tawhid) and they who find a space for themselves, as I do, in the sacred law of the messenger of God, that they pardon and forgive their brother, the writer of these modest lines, for God’s messenger, upon him be peace, said “God increases the honor of a servant who forgives, and elevates a servant who shows humility for His sake” (narrated in the Sahih Muslim 4/2001: 2588 and musnad of Imam Ahmad 2/386:9008),

How relevant are  the words of the scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his book Madaarij as-Salikeen (Ranks of the Wayfarers): “Whoever has offended you and then approached you to apologise, humility obligates that you accept his apology whether it is truthful or not, and that you leave his secret thoughts to God. The sign of generosity and humility is that if you notice a defect in his apology, you do not address it nor hold  him against it.” (2/338)

The most precious thing in life is the ability to touch the hearts of those we love, and the worst is to hurt them without any apology that is met by forgiveness.

However, the above does not mean in any way that I abandon or deny what I believe to be documented and accurate within the doctrine of the Ahl al-Sunna wa al- Jama’a in its wider, universal understanding. This understanding is not exclusive to any particular sect or group even though they may make claims of their sole representation of it and refer to other communities of the umma as deviant and misguided.

The request for forgiveness that has preceded is a Quranic principle that calls to the practice of having constructive self-criticism, as mentioned in Sura Yusuf, “Yet I claim not that my soul was innocent.”

I use it to retract the unintentional wrong that has taken place for reasons of:

  • Hastiness or confusion in citing Prophetic hadiths
  • Vexation that overcome the discourse at times and was brought to my attention by people for whom I ask God reward, regardless of how they approached it.

I firmly believe that the presentation of ideas, debating of views and dealing with others are most appropriately done through committing to the Quranic principles of discourse of having wisdom, exhibiting good admonition, avoiding the ignorant, and recognizing that multiplicity and diversity in opinions are a manifestation of God’s mercy. When a man wrote a book called The Book of Difference, Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “Call it The Book of tolerance.” (narrated in Ibn Taymiyyah’s Fatwas 14/159). Likewise, Anas b. Malik narrates, “We used to travel with the Prophet, upon him be peace, and the fasting ones among us did not criticise the ones not fasting neither did the ones not fasting criticise the ones fasting.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2/678 number 1845)

I requested from the management of this website that a section be dedicated to the revival of the Quranic principal of self-criticism “Yet I claim not that my soul was innocent – surely the soul of man incites to evil.” This will be done through first presenting and then correcting the errors that I, the needful servant, have committed in citing Prophetic sayings (hadith) due to inattentiveness, the manner of speech or any other context in which it may have been. I plead to everyone who identifies an error on my part to be charitable and point it out by communicating it through the website or otherwise.

May God have mercy on whoever guides me to my shortcomings that I may rectify them while I can, before the final day when remorse will not be useful anymore. May God make us and you amongst the people of safety.


Your brother who is poor unto the forgiveness of his Lord

Al-Habib Ali Zain Al-Aabideen Al-Jifri

May God grant forgiveness to him, his parents, and all Muslims

He is Patron of this and capable of it


[1]A saa is a measure of volume that is relevant to many Sacred Law rulings related to the Muslim zakat (obligatory almsgiving) and other topics. Modern estimates of the weight of a single saa place it at 2.035 kilograms.


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