How to avoid misunderstandings?

Verify and Then Accept

The cause of a majority of misunderstandings is miscommunication which creates a rift between two people or parties. Excerpts from Quran gives us a clear direction of what exactly needs to be done to avoid misunderstandings.

Misunderstanding is a common phenomenon of social life. People tend to believe everything that is reported to them without scrutiny. And it is a common experience for reporters always to report things selectively or in a partial manner. It is selective reporting or partial reporting that creates problems. Sometimes people fall into grave misunderstanding, and the result is disastrous. Chapter Al-Hujurat (The Apartments) of the Quran deals with this problem. It gives a clear direction in this regard. The translation of the relevant Quranic verse is as follows:

Believers, if an evil-doer brings you news, fully ascertain the correctness of the report, lest you unwittingly harm others, and then regret what you have done.

There is a background to this Quranic verse. When the prophet of Islam established a state in Arabia, making Madinah its capital, he sent one of his companions, Walid ibn Uqba, as a collector, to a tribe called the Banu al-Mustaliq. When Walid reached the tribal area, he saw a crowd gathering outside the town. He feared, due to some preoccupation, that the tribe wanted to kill him or beat him. After seeing this, Walid returned to Madinah and told the Prophet that the Banu al-Mustaliq had rebelled and they must therefore send an army against them.

Then the chief of that tribe, Haris bin Zarar, himself came to Madinah. He said that they had gathered on the outskirts of their town only to receive the collector, Walid bin Uqba, but that without meeting them, he had returned to Madinah. The above verse was revealed in the Quran after this incident.

By taking this example, the Quran gives the general direction that, before forming an opinion, we should scrutinize any news we receive. That is, before proper scrutiny, we should not accept its veracity.

The principle to be followed is that if you are going to form a positive opinion, then scrutiny is unnecessary. You can believe that Mr So and So is a very good person, but when you are going to form a bad or negative opinion about anyone, you have to investigate the matter before forming your opinion. In such a situation, you have only two options: either to remain silent or, if you want to form an opinion, you must go into the matter in depth. Only then do you have the right to form a negative opinion.




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