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Ibn Umar reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The believer who mixes with the people and endures their harm has a greater reward than one who does not mix the people nor endures their harm.”

What does it mean? What kind of harm? Harm to the believer spiritually?

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As‘salaamu alaikum. I can deduce some of the “harms” one will encounter in “mixing with the people” from certain ayah in the Qur‘an and from personal experience, but I can‘t cite you to any scholars to support my position. Here goes....

“Mixing with the people” can mean different things, but, because the Prophet (a.s.) was our role model, (33:21), lets look to his life to determine what it means.

We know that the Prophet was very active in his community, and that includes all members of his society (muslims and non-muslims).

  • he preached Islam to non-muslims, answered their questions, and refuted their counterarguments against his message;

  • he educated and trained those who accepted his Message on how to think, speak, and behave as good muslims;

  • he was very active in charity;

  • he adjudicated disputes between people and meted out justice;

  • he planned, organized, implemented measures for the common defense and peaceful functioning of society; and

  • he mingled and socialized with the people, both hosting them and visiting them for meals and whatnot.

In the course of rendering service to the Cause of Allah and working with people he was:

  • called crazy and verbally disrespected in many other ways;

  • slandered, lied on, and gossipped about;

  • ran out of town (Taif) while being stoned;

  • boycotted and starved;

  • subjected to public humiliation (someone once threw animal guts on him while he was praying);

  • physically attacked many times;

  • betrayed (e.g., his Jewish allies conspired with the Meccans against him during the Battle of the Trench, and a Jewish woman poisoned him).

Again, the Prophet is our role model, which is to say we are to do the same kind of good work that he did, serving the Cause of Allah and working with people. In 22:78 Allah says, “that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and you be witnesses for mankind.” On the Day of Judgment the Prophet is going to be a witness for this Ummah, because he did all the work that Allah assigned to him, (and may Allah be well-pleased with him!). We will be witnesses for mankind, because we will have continued the Prophet‘s work after him.

In my own personal experience, dealing with people, the way we have a duty to deal with them, is a hassle and a headache TO SAY THE LEAST.

You will encounter all kinds of people while serving in the Cause of Allah. Some of them will be well-mannered and pleasant, but many of them will be ignorant, uncouth, petty, vulgar, inconsiderate, treacherous, mischievious, and some will be downright evil. You are going suffer harms and losses dealing with them. It is enough to make you want to stand aloof from most of them and deal only with those you know you can trust and rely on, but, as the hadith in question says, that is not the Way.

That‘s my understanding of the matter. Allah and His Messenger know best.

Ma‘as‘salaam.

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