Imam Shafi’i and his Student

This is a very beautiful story. It’s a story that teaches to hate the sin, but not the sinner.

While sitting in Imam Shafi’i’s class one day, his student Yunus ibn Abd al A’ala differed with him. He got so angry that he left the class and went home.

That night, Yunus heard a knock on his door and asked who it was. The one knocking answered, “Muhammad Ibn Idrees!” Yunus thought of everyone who he knew by that name except the Imam. Upon opening the door, he was shocked to see Imam Shafi’i. What followed is what makes this story so beautiful.

Imam Shafi’i said: “O Yunus! Hundreds of issues unite us, and only one issue divided us? Don’t try to be triumphant in all differences; sometimes, winning hearts is more important than winning situations. Don’t demolish bridges you built and crossed, for you may need them again one day for your return. Always hate what is wrong, but do not hate the one who errs. Hate sin with all your heart, but forgive and have mercy on the sinner. Criticize speech, but respect the speaker. Our job is to wipe out the disease, not the patient.”

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