Islam has imposed high standards for how the Muslim who follows the methodology of the Prophetic Sunnah (tradition) should deal with his brother who has differed with him on an issue of 'Ijtihaad' (exercise of independent judgment in matters that have no specific mention in the Quran or Sunnah).
How outstanding is the statement of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam (may Allaah exalt his mention): "Indeed I have been sent to perfect noble manners." [Reported by Al-Bukhaari in Al-Adabul-Mufrad]
From these manners are:
1 - To have an open heart by accepting what comes to you when your Muslim brother points out some mistakes you have made, and to know that this is from sincere advice which he is giving to you as a gift for Allaah's sake. This is what is referred to as humility. Refusing to accept the truth and becoming angry as a result is actually from pride.
Indeed, the most truthful person - Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Pride is to reject the truth and to scorn others." [Al-Bukhaari]
There are many examples of humility that our pious predecessors have demonstrated to us; from them is what Al-Haafith Ibn 'Abdul-Barr, a famous Muslim scholar, once related: “A number of people informed me that Abu Muhammad Qaasim bin Asbagh said: 'When I travelled to the east, I stopped at Al-Qayrawaan (in Tunisia) and listened to a Hadeeth that was memorised by Musaddad from Bakr bin Hammaad. I then proceeded to Baghdad and stayed there for some time.
“When I left, I returned to him (i.e., Bakr) to complete the Hadeeth of Musaddad; then, one day, I read to him the Hadeeth of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam: "A people from Mudhar (a famous Arab tribe) came in striped woollen shirts" (in Arabic: Mujtaabi An-Nimar). He said to me: 'It is Mujtaabi Ath-Thimar.' So I said: ‘'Mujtaabi An-Nimar' is how I read it out to all those I read it to in Andalus (Andalusia) and Iraq.'
“So, he (i.e., Bakr) said to me: ‘By entering Iraq, you have contradicted us and become arrogant with us.’ Then he said: ‘Let us go to that Shaykh (scholar) - a Shaykh who is in the mosque - for he has the like of this knowledge.’ So I went with him and we asked him about this issue, so he replied: ‘It is Mujtaabi An-Nimar, just as you said. They used to wear 'Nimar' (striped clothing), with pockets at their fronts, and Nimar is the plural of Naamirah.’ Bakr bin Hammaad then said, whilst holding his nose: ‘My nose lowers itself to the truth, my nose humbles itself to the truth’ and then departed."
Do you not see this amazing sense of justice? How dire is our need for it today! However, this is not possible except for those who purify their intentions for Allaah's sake. Imam Maalik, the founder of one of the four schools of Islamic Jurisprudence, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "There is nothing more scarce in our time than justice."
So, what is the case in our present time, a time in which false desires are plentiful? We seek refuge in Allaah from misguiding trials.
2 – To use the finest and most appropriate words when discussing and debating with one's brother, for Allaah, the Exalted, Says (what means): "…And speak to people good [words]…" [Qur'aan 2:83]
Abud-Dardaa', may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "There is nothing that will be heavier in the believer's scales on the Day of Judgement than good character. Indeed Allaah hates the wicked and the ill-mouthed person." [Abu Daawood]
3 – To discuss with one's brother and rebut with that which is better, for that is even more appropriate. Your guiding principle in this should be the truth and its clarification; it should not be to seek victory for yourself.
A person should be sincere when he speaks. If one feels that he will argue with his brother, then give him the greeting of peace (Salaam) and remind him of the saying of the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam: "I am a guarantor of a house on the outskirts of Paradise for the one who abandons arguing, even if he is in the right." [Abu Daawood]
`Abdullaah bin Hasan, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "Argumentation corrupts friendship and unties the strongest of bonds. The least harm it contains is conflict, and conflict leads to severing relations."
Ja'far bin `Awf, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "I heard Mis`ar saying, whilst addressing his son Qidaam: ‘I present to you my advice, O Qidaam; so, listen to a father who is compassionate to you. As for joking and argumentation, leave them; they are traits I do not approve of for a friend. Having tried them, I did not find them praiseworthy, neither for a close neighbour, nor for a close friend.
Our pious predecessors, may Allaah be pleased with them, have left us splendid examples of the etiquettes of differing; amongst them is what Imaam Al-Bukhaari and Muslim, may Allaah have mercy upon them, reported from Husayn bin `Abdur-Rahmaan, may Allaah have mercy upon him, who said: "I was with Sa`eed bin Jubayr when he asked: 'Who amongst you saw the shooting stars last night.' I replied: 'I did.' Then I said: 'Not because I was praying at that time, but because I had been stung by a scorpion.' He asked: 'So, what did you do?' I replied: 'I used Ruqyah (healing oneself or others by reciting verses of the Quran or prophetic invocations).' He asked: 'Why did you do that?' I said: 'Because of a Hadeeth related to me by Ash-Sha`bi.' He asked: 'What did he relate to you?' I replied: 'He related from Buraydah bin Al-Husayn who said: "There is no Ruqyah except for the evil eye or a sting."' Sa'eed said: 'He has done well in halting at what he has heard [of knowledge]. However, Ibn 'Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, related to us [and he went on to narrate the Hadeeth]...'."
Look at this magnificent mannerism from one who inherited knowledge from Ibn `Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him. He was not harsh; rather he was kind to the other person due to him acting upon evidence. Then he explained to him what was better, with a gentle rectification supported by proof.
[Summarised from an article by Shaykh Saalim bin Saalih al-Marfadi]