the Message Continues ... i6
The Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazali
by W. Montgomery Watt
Kazi Publications, 1982
Wrangling, arguing and disputing with people about matters of theology Metaphysics.
That involves injuring and disparaging the other party and showing his ignorance, and likewise involves self-praise and self-justification on the grounds of having superior intelligence and knowledge. Moreover it disturbs one's life, since when you contend with someone who is a fool he annoys you, and when you contend with an intelligent person he hates and feels rancor against you. Muhammad (God bless and preserve him) said: 'If a man avoids disputing when he is in the wrong, God builds for him a mansion in the middle of Paradise; if a man avoids disputing when he is right, God builds for him a mansion in the highest part of paradise'. The devil must not deceive you by saying to you, 'Make the truth evident, do not dissemble about it'. The devil is always trying to entice fools to evil, presented in the guise of good. Do not become a laughing -stock for the Devil and have him scoff at you. To make truth evident is good when there is someone who receives it from you, that is, by way of counsel in private, not by way of disputation.
Counsel, however, has a distinctive form and character, and requires tact. Otherwise it becomes criticism, and produces more evil than good. If a man associates with the theologians (mutafiqqihah) of this age, disputation and argument come to dominate his nature, and is difficult for him to be silent, since bad professors have suggested to people that such things constitute excellence and that what deserves his praise is the power to demonstrate and debate. Flee from them as from a lion. Assuredly disputing is the cause of hatred with God and man