As-salaam Alaikum sisters and brothers.
The following is the lousy unauthentic hadith I want to discuss:-
"Do you know what is better than charity, fasting and prayer? It is keeping peace and good relations between people, as quarrels and bad relationships destroy mankind."
This offensive false hadith is from Tirmidhi 2509, Abu Dawud 4883 and Bukhari 391 (a collection which the Hadisthists call "Adabul Mufrad"). A few other smaller hadith sources like Ibn Hibban and Al-Ihsan etc. have also narrated this falsehood. All of these liars have declared this forgery as "authentic" or "sahih" by wickedly attributing it to our beloved Prophet (pbuh).
One hadithist tried to save himself from shame by claiming it refers to "voluntary" fasting though the hadith doesn't allude to that nor does it specify it. Then also, what about charity and prayer? He had no answers except the usual display of hostility.
So .... according to this hadith, there should be no reason why a clever disbeliever expert in the practice of constructing "good relations" (for all sorts of reasons) cannot be better than an honest and kind believer who prays to Allah, gives charity and fasts but cannot maintain friendly ties with sly and cunning kuffar. Well yes, this is precisely what the hadith under discussion includes and also alludes. The mere expression 'good relations' is hypothetical. It incorporates a huge assortment of relations many of which may not be Halal either.
But most importantly, would the Prophet (pbuh) ever say something to diminish the importance of the vital duties of every believer confirmed by the Noble Quran - prayer, charity and fasting - to promote general good relations between people? The Prophet (pbuh) would NEVER say any such thing even by defining good Halal relations. Good relations reflect good conduct, and good conduct enumerates from the principles set by Allah Almighty. Prayer, fasting and charity are the basic principles teaching good conduct - goodness with the thought of Allah - NOT separating Faith from good conduct. Bukhari & co. are clearly trying to dismiss this concept which must be indispensable for a true believer.
The Noble Quran has made it ample clear that mere good conduct without the thought of Allah Almighty or without belief in Him will be rendered useless in the Hereafter. This does not mean that Allah is referring to ritualistic worshipers who offer prayers, observe fasting and give charity in a customary manner without utilizing all its principles to benefit their character. Rather, belief in Allah The One and Only resulting in good conduct while interacting with humanity is the true Faith and the command of The Almighty.
To claim that maintaining "good relations" is better than prayer, fasting and charity also includes disbelievers, secularists or atheists who may establish "good relations" and their conduct might seem pleasing to you. Concerning such people, their deeds will not be fruitful in the Hereafter. You can read this topic in detail at Good conduct without belief NOT enough to enter Paradise.
Do not please misunderstand my point. Needless to say, I'm not against friendly relations and mending fences which is very important according to Quranic values, provided the persons concerned are worth it. But can anything be more important than our spiritual duties confirmed by Allah Almighty as the deriving source of excellence and good conduct without which majority of relations are thoroughly lacking in trust, selflessness and consistency?
Also, there are all sorts of folks around. Though good relations is a positive step, it's not a compulsion if you're not compatible with someone who is getting on your nerves. In that case we have every right to quit their company peacefully. Allah does not force us to keep in touch with those who aren't like-minded and with whom we have irreconcilable differences. For example, a true believer will never be comfortable in the company of a crafty kaffir or a hypocrite or some thick skinned secularist etc. In this case the believer is fully entitled to kick out those critters from his or her life with the words "Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion." But Bukhari, Tirmidhi etc. never believed in the Quran so it's pointless expecting them to consider Quranic principles of justice and fairness.
Bukhari & co. who were new converts from Zoroastrianism, paganism and altered Judaism are trying to promote secularism through this Hadith by very disrespectfully disregarding basic Quranic tenets imperative in the life of every true believer. You will find many more falsehoods written or compiled by these lowly scoundrels on similar lines to dupe unsuspecting minds hovering around a weak iman.