If one wishes to have a vague idea of the number of disputes that occur in the community, one will get a glimpse of this from the number of cases that come to the courts on a daily basis. However, due to the high costs and the time involved in bringing a matter to court, the majority of disputes don’t even come to the courts. Rather the disputing parties try to grab whatever they can from each other, thus bringing about further enmity. The resultant animosity sometimes continues for generations.
If one gets to the root of these disputes, one would find that they basically revolve around money and property. Disputes relating to money and property have destroyed many close relationships and have transformed many close friends into arch enemies. While there are various underlying reasons for this pathetic state of affairs, perhaps among the greatest reasons is the lack of complete financial clarity and order in one’s financial matters.
A golden rule that our Deen teaches us is: “LIVE LIKE BROTHERS — DEAL LIKE STRANGERS”. The lesson conveyed in this statement is that as far as our social lives are concerned we should treat one another like brothers. As much as possible we should assist one another and overlook one another’s shortcomings.
However, when it comes to money matters or aspects pertaining to property or partnerships, or the distribution of shares, etc. one should determine and clarify these matters like two total strangers. Just as two strangers would clarify the minutest detail, we should likewise conduct our transactions to the same degree of clarity and leave no ambiguity whatsoever. No aspect should be left totally in the dark, nor should anything be minutely unclear.
If this golden advice of our Deen is adhered to, during times of unity and good relationships, the door to many future disputes and problems will be completely closed. Unfortunately this golden rule is greatly ignored in most instances. The following are some examples of the disregard shown to this rule.