Hadith on Retaliation: Sin falls on instigator, unless another transgresses

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If two people exchange harsh words, it is against the instigator as long as the one wronged does not transgress.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2587

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim

Al-Nawawi said, “It means that the sin of using harsh words falls specifically and entirely on the instigator, unless the second person exceeds the limits of retaliation, such that he says to the instigator worse than what was said to him. In this is permission to retaliate and there is no disagreement on its permission… But despite this, patience and forgiveness is better.”

Source: Sharḥ al-Nawawī ‘alá Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2587

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ الْمُسْتَبَّانِ مَا قَالَا فَعَلَى الْبَادِئِ مَا لَمْ يَعْتَدِ الْمَظْلُومُ

2587 صحيح مسلم كتاب البر والصلة والآداب باب النهي عن السباب

قال النووي مَعْنَاهُ أَنَّ إِثْمَ السِّبَابِ الْوَاقِعِ مِنَ اثْنَيْنِ مُخْتَصٌّ بِالْبَادِئِ مِنْهُمَا كُلُّهُ إِلَّا أَنْ يَتَجَاوَزَ الثَّانِي قَدْرَ الِانْتِصَارِ فَيَقُولُ لِلْبَادِئِ أَكْثَرَ مِمَّا قَالَ لَهُ وَفِي هَذَا جَوَازُ الِانْتِصَارِ وَلَا خِلَافَ فِي جَوَازِهِ … وَمَعَ هَذَا فَالصَّبْرُ وَالْعَفْوُ أَفْضَلُ

2587 شرح النووي على مسلم