Argumentation and Dispute

Overall Meaning: Meaning of argumentation and dispute:
Jidal linguistically: It is fierceness and rigidness in opposition, having ability to manifest it, responding to an argument with another. Mujadalah means debate (munazarah) or opposition (mukhasamah). It was referred to as opposition due to its intensity. [844] Mujmal al-Lughah, Ibn Faris (1/179); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (11/105).
Jidal technically: It is negotiating with the purpose of antagonising and beating one’s opponent. [845] al-Mufradat, al-Raghib al-Asfahani (p. 189).
Mira’ linguistically: It is arguing. Tamari and mumarah is debating out of doubt and uncertainty. A debate may be referred to as mumarah. [846] Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (15/278); al-Misbah al-Munir, al-Fayyumi (2/569).
Mira’ technically: It is excessively calling upon a person to highlight his errors and rebuke him, all with the intention of haughtiness. [847] al-Ta`rifat al-I`tiqadiyyah, Sa`d Al `Abd al-Latif (p. 265).

Synonym of argumentation:
Debate (munazarah): It is the going back and forth between two people, each intending to showcase his position’s correctness and falsify the other’s. Both nonetheless seek the truth.
Discussion (muhawarah): is the going back and forth of speech. Tahawur is of the same root and means responding to one another (tajawub). It is a high literary form and one of its styles. [848] Manahij al-Jadal fi al-Qur’an al-Karim, Zahid al-Alma`i (p. 25).

Difference between argumentation, dispute, and contention (hijaj): [849] al-Furuq al-Lughawiyyah, al-`Askari (p. 158-159); al-Misbah al-Munir, al-Fayyumi (2/569).
Argumentation and dispute mean the same thing, except that dispute is blameworthy because it is opposing the truth once it is clear, whilst argumentation is not like this. Dispute is also only as an objection, unlike argumentation, which may manifest as an initiation or as an objection. The goal of contention is presenting proof, whereas the goal of argumentation is retraction from an understanding.

Dispraise of argumentation and dispute in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
❖ Allah, exalted, says, “Among mankind is he who disputes concerning Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening book.” (al-Hajj: 8)
❖ He also says, majestic in His affairs, “Among mankind is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of adversaries.” (al-Baqarah: 204) Meaning, intense in his opposition, dispute, and animosity to the Muslims. [850] `Umdat al-Qari, al-`Ayni (18/114).
❖ Abu Umamah, Allah be pleased with him, said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘A people did not go astray after they had been guided but argumentation was rife among them.’ He ﷺ then recited, ‘They did not strike him `Isa, peace be upon him to you as a parable but out of argument. They are an adversarial people.” (al-Zukhruf: 58) [851] Reported by al-Tirmidhi (3253), Ibn Majah (48), and Ahmad (22164). Al-Tirmidhi said, “It is sound, authentic.” Al-Albani authenticated it in Sahih al-Jami` (5633).
❖ `A’ishah, Allah be pleased with her, said, “The most hated person to Allah is the fiercely adversarial.” [852] Reported by al-Bukhari (2458) and Muslim (2668). Obstinacy in argumentation carries with it a neglect from rights, wavering in their fulfilment, drawing them away from those deserving of them, and oppression of their possessors. Due to this, the one who was characterised by this trait deserved Allah’s hate and His punishment. [853] Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Ibn Battal (8/259).

Quotes of the Predecessors and scholars on dispraising argumentation and dispute:
❖ Ibn `Abbas, Allah be pleased with them both, said, “Do not dispute with your brother, for the wisdom of dispute is not understood, nor is its potential rage improbable...” [854] Jami` al-Usul, Ibn al-Athir (2/753) (1262).
❖ Ibn `Umar, Allah be pleased with them both, said, “No man will attain true faith until he leaves off dispute despite knowing he is right, and also leaves off lying when joking.” [855] al-Zuhd, Ahmad ibn Hanbal (p. 269).
❖ Malik ibn Anas said, “Dispute hardens the heart and begets grudges.” [856] Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/117).
❖ Muslim ibn Yasar said, “Beware of dispute, for it is the scholar’s hour of ignorance, and through it the devil seeks his errors.” [857] Akhlaq al-`Ulama’, al-Ajurri (p. 58).

Categories of argumentation:
Argumentation is categorised into two:
(1) Praiseworthy Argumentation: This type of argumentation is a means to clarifying and delineating the truth through the presentation of evidence in its favour. There is goodness in this for Islam and an honour to the Muslims. It is a form of calling to Allah and intellectually fighting for His religion. There are textual proofs to this type of argumentation, related to presenting the truth and debating on its behalf. It is a form of propagating it, and fending off all evil and false attributions from Islam and
 the Muslims.
(2) Blameworthy Argumentation: This type of argumentation is founded on affirming falsehood, desiring wealth and status. It is built on fabrication, neglection of rights, spreading desires and doubts, and questioning the metaphysical which Allah commanded us to believe in and submit to. This includes matters of revelation, Allah’s Names and Attributes, resurrection, life after death, and the Garden and Fire.

Impacts of dispraised argumentation and dispute and their harms:
1- It is considered useless talk the emitter of which is looked down upon.
2- Illegitimate argumentation may lead one to denounce others’ faith or deeming them as immoral.
3- Allowing for enmity, and begetting friction in society.
4- They lead to lying.
5- They lead to the tongue uttering profane and lowly words.
6- They lead to the truth being denied and rejected.

Etiquette of praiseworthy argumentation:
1- Having truthful intentions in giving victory to truth and calling to Allah’s way, exalted. 
2- Avoiding ostentation, fame, and desire for status and elevation. 
3- Adorning oneself with the authentic knowledge understood from the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger ﷺ, and what the Righteous Predecessors were upon. 
4- Making the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger ﷺ the arbiters for differences. 
5- Prioritising the tradition and its texts over the intellect and its beliefs. 
6- Adhering to lofty Islamic mannerisms when arguing. These include polite wording, respecting the interlocutor, and not resorting to character assassination. 
7- That the purpose be seeking truth and convincing others of it, simultaneously furtherance from falsehood and its obfuscation to the masses.

Adages, proverbs, and poetry in argumentation and Dispute: [858] Makarim al-Akhlaq, al-Khara’iti (p. 295); al-Amthal al-Muwalladah, al-Khawarizmi (p. 123); al-Adab al-Shar`iyyah, Ibn Muflih (1/18).
❖ “Dispute is ignobility.”
❖ It is said, “Do not dispute a sage or an idiot. The sage will beat you, and the idiot will harm you.”
❖ Luqman said, “My son, whoever does not control his tongue is regretful, whoever disputes often is insulted, whoever accompanies an evil friend is not safe, and whoever accompanies the righteous is prosperous.”
❖ Al-`Arzami said,
“I advise you in what I say and mention.
It is an obliged right of endearment.
Find no comfort in dispute, for it is
A caller to evil and brings temptation.”
❖ Zayd ibn Jundub al-Iyadi said,
“We were a people upon a single faith, then we were
Split up by arguing and mixing seriousness with play.
They were not in need of it, those men who went astray
Through argumentation - they needn’t deliver sermons.” [859] al-Bayan wa al-Tabyin, al-Jahiz (1/58).