What To Do When Someone Insults You In Islam

What To Do When Someone Insults You In Islam

One of the most difficult things about being a Muslim is knowing what to do when someone insults you in Islam.

As a Muslim revert living in Australia, I’ve witnessed my fair share of Islamophobic hate comments. I’ve seen it on the news and on just about every social media platform.

Thankfully, I haven’t experienced it much personally, except for a few comments that were easy for me to brush off.

A Madman, A Magician, A Liar

Whatever hurtful insults we’ve had thrown our way, Rasool Allah (ﷺ) and his sahaba likely had way worse.

The Qur’an even mentions the fact that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was accused of being a madman, a magician and a liar. Here’s a few examples:

And indeed, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes when they hear the message, and they say, “Indeed, he is mad.”

Qur’an 68:51

Have the people been amazed that We revealed [revelation] to a man from among them, [saying], “Warn mankind and give good tidings to those who believe that they will have a [firm] precedence of honor with their Lord”? [But] the disbelievers say, “Indeed, this is an obvious magician.”

Qur’an 10:2

And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse – and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down – they say, “You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies].” But most of them do not know.

Qur’an 16:101

And when it is said to them, “What has your Lord sent down?” They say, “Legends of the former peoples,”

Qur’an 16:24

But they say, “[The revelation is but] a mixture of false dreams; rather, he has invented it; rather, he is a poet. So let him bring us a sign just as the previous [messengers] were sent [with miracles].”

Qur’an 21:5

If I fully delved into the harsh insults that the Prophet (ﷺ) and his sahaba received, I’d have to write a whole book.

We should learn what to do when someone insults you in Islam by following the example of the Prophet (ﷺ) and his sahaba. Here’s a few tips that show you what you can do when someone insults you in Islam.

Maintain Your Composure The Islamic Way

What to do when someone insults you in Islam
Don’t let a moment of anger lead you to do something that you’ll regret later on

Getting insulted with nasty words hurts. It doesn’t matter whether they’re from loved ones, strangers on the street or on the internet.

Of course, sometimes we can see the humour in insults and laugh. But sometimes, getting insulted can make us fume with rage.

“How could they say that about me? I’d never say the same thing to them.”

Thoughts like these can consume our minds.

Don’t let a moment of anger lead you to do something that you’ll regret later on. You can implement the following Islamic methods of controlling anger instead.

Seek Refuge With Allah From Shaitan

Narrated Sulaiman bin Surd:
While I was sitting in the company of the Prophet, two men abused each other and the face of one of them became red with anger, and his jugular veins swelled (i.e. he became furious). On that the Prophet said, “I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: ‘I seek Refuge with Allah from Satan.’ then all is anger will go away.” Some body said to him, “The Prophet has said, ‘Seek refuge with Allah from Satan.”‘ The angry man said, “Am I mad?”

Sahih al-Bukhari

Seek refuge with Allah from Shaitan. When you start to feel anger coming on, recite the following Arabic du’a:

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

A’udhu billahi minash-Shaitan nir-rajim.

I seek refuge with Allah from Shaitan, the accursed.

Change Your Position

Narrated Abu Dharr:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to us: When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise he should lie down.

Sunan Abi Dawud

Another method of controlling anger is to change your position. Recognise that you could be about to react badly and focus your attention on your position.

Are you standing? Change to a sitting position instead. Still angry? Have a lie down and continue to try to calm down.

You can do dhikr while you do this to help.

Ignore The Haters

What to do when someone insults you in Islam
You can always pick yourself up and walk away

Take what is given freely, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.

Qur’an 7:199

Most of the time, silence is the best answer. It’s important that we, as Muslims, take a deep breath and not let petty insults get to us so much.

When we’re angry, its all too easy to say things that we don’t mean or would later regret. We can never take our words back. We can only pray for forgiveness from Allah and do everything that we can to make the person forgive us too.

You can always pick yourself up and walk away from the person.

Delete nasty messages or comments. Block people if you have to.

How Did The Prophet (ﷺ) Ignore His Haters?

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Doesn’t it astonish you how Allah protects me from the Quraish’s abusing and cursing? They abuse Mudhammam and curse Mudhammam while I am Muhammad (and not Mudhammam).

Sahih al-Bukhari

Rasulullah (ﷺ) was often ridiculed by the mushrikeen from his own tribe, the Quraish.

What the mushrikeen of the Quraish would like to do is mock Muhammad (ﷺ) by calling him Mudhammam instead of his real name. The name Muhammad in Arabic means, “the praised one”. Mudhammam on the other hand, means, “the dispraised one”.

His response? “Who’s this guy called Mudhammam? I’m Muhammad (ﷺ)!”

Why should he respond to them if they’re addressing him as Mudhammam? What’s Mudhammam got to do with him?

See how he didn’t let it get to him and just laughed it off?

Show Kindness And Leniency

Narrated `Aisha:
(the wife of the Prophet) A group of Jews entered upon the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “As-Samu-Alaikum.” (i.e. death be upon you). I understood it and said, “Wa-Alaikum As-Samu wal-la’n. (death and the curse of Allah be Upon you).” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said “Be calm, O `Aisha! Allah loves that on, should be kind and lenient in all matters.” I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Haven’t you heard what they (the Jews) have said?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said “I have (already) said (to them) “And upon you!”

Sahih al-Bukhari

Some of the Jews used to say, “as-samu-alaikum” (death be upon you) to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his sahaba. They would say this very fast on purpose, in order so that the Prophet (ﷺ) and his companions would find it difficult to determine if they were wishing peace or death upon them.

As we all know, the standard Muslim greeting of peace is “as-salamu-alaikum” (peace be upon you). The slight change in words can make a huge difference to the meaning!

On one occasion when this had happened, ‘Aisha took it upon herself to stand up for the Prophet (ﷺ). She angrily said back to them, “wa-alaikum as-samu wal-la’n” (death and the curse of Allah be upon you).

At this, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) advised ‘Aisha to remain calm in events like this. If possible, we should respond with loving and kind words.

So how did the Prophet (ﷺ) respond back to those Jews? With, “wa ‘alaikum” (and upon you). Whatever greeting they were sending him, be it peace or death, he would simply send it back on them without insulting them any further.

How To Reply To Insults Wisely

‘Abdullah reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A believer is not a defamer nor a curser nor coarse nor obscene.”

Al-Adab Al-Mufrad

As Muslims, we definitely shouldn’t resort to name-calling, abuse or physical violence. Its important that we do our best to maintain good character at all times. Don’t stoop to that level, you’re better than that!

Its also important that we don’t engage in backbiting. We should speak the truth while not saying anything hurtful to the other person.

When we’re being insulted, we have two choices:

  1. Lose our cool and do things that we’ll later regret.
  2. Respond with calmness and wisdom.

Choose the latter and you’ll feel more at peace with yourself and other people.

Often, people who despise Islam end up embracing Islam wholeheartedly further down the line. Look at the examples of Safwan ibn Umaya, Abu Sufyan and Iqrimah ibn Abu Jahl. They were strong opponents of Islam but were eventually won over by the good character and conduct of the Muslims around them.

So how should you respond when someone insults you in Islam? Here’s a few suggestions.

Common Insults That Muslims Get

“You look like ___.”

Its common for Muslims to be made fun of for their appearance, particularly in areas where Muslims are a minority. The best response would be to laugh it off. Just literally laugh back at them. Or, if they’re insulting you via message, just reply back with a half hearted “lol”.

What they’re looking for is a negative reaction. Don’t give them what they want and don’t let them affect you like that. Or better yet, respond with silence. Just ignore it completely.

“You’re not Middle Eastern, how come you’re a Muslim?”

What to do when someone insults you in Islam

Here’s where you can remind them, “Islam isn’t a race”.

If they’re sincere and genuinely don’t know any better, maybe you can teach them the following hadith:

Ahmad narrated from Abu Nadrah: Someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) on the second of the days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O people, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) has conveyed the message.

As-Saheehah

In Islam, it makes no difference whether a Muslim is an Arab or a non-Arab, black or white or a city dweller or a desert dweller. What matters is a Muslim’s level of iman. A Muslim’s ability to adhere to the teachings of the Qur’an and the sunnah is also important.

If you want to prove your point further, you can also show them stats from Pew Research here.

As of 2010, the top ten countries with the largest Muslim populations were as follows:

  1. Indonesia
  2. India
  3. Pakistan
  4. Bangladesh
  5. Nigeria
  6. Egypt
  7. Iran
  8. Turkey
  9. Algeria
  10. Morocco

The top five countries aren’t Middle Eastern. Saudi Arabia isn’t on the list.

Reverts and Muslim immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.

“You don’t belong here.”

“I think that my passport/birth certificate can argue with that.”

“You should be deported.”

“I was born here. Where should I be deported to? The hospital?”

“Aren’t you hot in that?”

“Yes, I am feeling the warm weather today. Isn’t everyone?”

Final Thoughts

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
The strong-man is not one who wrestles well but the strong man is one who controls himself when he is in a fit of rage.

Sahih Muslim

Don’t be worried about what the world will utter about you. When non-believers say harmful things, remind yourself that you know the truth.

It shouldn’t matter to us what they have to say if its untrue or unhelpful. Don’t take it personally or read too much into it.

Shaitan is around making people jealous.

Focus on your relationship with Allah. Don’t complain to people, pour your heart out in du’a to Allah instead.

We can still maintain gratitude to Allah in situations like this. Say, “ya Allah, thank you for reminding me not to be like them” and smile! 🙂

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What To Do When Someone Insults You In Islam