A Statement on the ... Date Added: 21-02-2023

Glorifying the Prophet ... Date Added: 20-02-2023

Statement Issued by the ... Date Added: 19-02-2023

Islamic View on the Custom ... Date Added: 15-02-2023

Islamic Ruling on Begging Date Added: 12-03-2023

Statement on Sighting the ... Date Added: 07-03-2023

Statement on the Mobile ... Date Added: 23-02-2023

Statement on Preserving ... Date Added: 22-02-2023


Generalizing Judgments is one of the Leading Causes of Conflict

Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub

Date Added : 27-12-2022

Generalizing Judgments is one of the Leading Causes of Conflict


One of the biggest mistakes a man could fall into is generalizing judgments, and doing so is a signal of inaccuracy as far as judging things and people is concerned. Although generalizing is the first thing that crosses human mind, the wise person overcomes this dilemma by giving it further thought and arriving at a more precise result.

If a person bought some fruits and vegetables and after going home, he realized that they were of poor quality, he will immediately judge all greengrocers as cheaters. This reflects a high degree of injustice to other greengrocers. Here, the bad news is that this is what we do all the time. For example, when a woman discovers that her husband has been cheating on her, she would accuse all men of treachery and vice-versa. This leads to living in a sea of unfair generalizations, which aren`t accepted by reason and logic and, at the same time, are contrary to reality.

The question that arises here is how to handle such generalized judgments?

As a listener, one shouldn`t accept generalized judgments nor take them for granted. When your child tells you that all the other children go picnicking with their parents on Fridays, there is no doubt that this is inaccurate since many parents work on that day, some prefer to rest and relax while others conduct family visits and the like.

As a speaker, one should make sure not to generalize judgments. Thus, one should say: a greengrocer had cheated me, some husbands cheat on their wives and vice versa, some children go picnicking with their parents on Friday, and the like. This way is acceptable and accurate.

When something is said, it may seem simple, but extremely difficult to apply. If we give it more thought, we would realize that generalizing judgments ruins many relationships and undermines the security of the country and the people. For example, a member of a certain clan kills someone from another clan, then the family of the killed attack the family of the killer and set their properties on fire. The key question that arises here is that what is the fault of the killer`s family? One individual committed the crime but all his family members were harmed as a result. Why does such thing happen? It is because the judgment has been generalized and every member of the killer`s family was considered a killer. This is the practice of the people of Jahhiliyyah (Pre-Islamic times of ignorance) for they used to kill many for one. As a result, Allah prescribed Qisas ("Retaliation in kind", "Eye for an eye", or "Retributive justice.") where the killer alone is punished."

The same goes in case a non-Arab killed an Arab. A judgment is generalized whereby it will be said that non-Arabs are plotting to kill us so it is allowed to kill them in self-defense. The same goes when a non-Muslim kills a Muslim. It will be said that non-Muslims are killing Muslims so Muslims must kill them first. All of this is due to generalization, which makes a person feel that his/her identity is at risk and then becomes driven to wage a sacred war to defend that identity although the root of the problem has nothing to do with the issue of identity in the first place. It is simply a fight between two individuals each of whom belongs to a certain religion or denomination.

This is where the role of the wise people come into play. They address the problem according to its actual size and keep it under control. In fact, Islam teaches us to deal with issues in this manner since Allah says {What means}: "No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another." {Z-Zumar, 7}, "That man can have nothing but what he strives for;" {An-Najim, 39}, and "(Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds." {At-Tur, 21}. As reflected in these texts, each person must be held accountable for his/her own deeds.

As Muslims, we experience the injustice resulting from generalizing judgments on steady basis since whenever a terrorist attack takes place in the west, western countries adopt tough positions towards Islam and Muslims. In a survey conducted by Prof. Mohammad abu An-Nimer, it was found out that five thousand sources of the Library of Congress connect violence to Islam. 

As Muslims, we must portray the magnanimous image of Islam and never assume that the true beautiful image of Islam is self-evident. This is in addition to avoiding falling into the trap of generalizing judgments since the others aren`t essentially the same.

Article Number [ Previous --- Next ]

Read for Author



Name *

E. mail Address *


Comment Title *

Comment *


Warning: this window is not dedicated to receive religious questions, but to comment on topics published for the benefit of the site administrators—and not for publication. We are pleased to receive religious questions in the section "Send Your Question". So we apologize to readers for not answering any questions through this window of "Comments" for the sake of work organization. Thank you.