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The Dos and Don’ts When Correcting Others

“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allāh guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” [1]

All sorts of guidance comes from Allāh. From guiding our hearts to perform Salat-ul-Fajr on time to not forgetting to do our Adkhar after every Salah or to even an act as trivial as lowering one’s gaze.

Keeping in mind this notion that guidance only comes from Allāh, to anticipate everyone we know and don’t know to be in-par with our understanding and knowledge is merely not feasible.

Ponder over these examples of disagreements

1. A companion name Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh was a Muslim from early period of Islam but he left Islam and died as a Christian. How did Prophet (peace be upon him) handle this and apostasy in general?

2. During Battle Uhud‘s bitter defeat, how did Allāh and His Prophet (peace be upon him) dealt with those companions who defected from their positions?

3. How did Allāh and His Messenger (peace be upon him) handle the case of the slanders of the mother of the believers ‘Ayesha (may Allāh be pleased with her)?

4. What was the consequences of those who heard the Adhan but didn’t attend Salah in congregation?

5. How did the Messenger (peace be upon him) deal with the Bedouin who urinated in the Masjid?

The point is that we see throughout the history of Islam people have gone astray, some in a major sense while others in a minor. Like in the time of Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (may Allāh have mercy upon him), how did he handle al-Mihna?

Islam must be understood in its fullest context or else our Islamic realization will continue to be a source of disunity and hostility.

Knowledge and Character

So what to do in situations where we encounter incorrect thoughts or ideas in propagation about Islamic ethos? To never ever lose sight of our manners and noble character.

The Messenger of Allāh (peace be upon him) said about the reason why he (peace be upon him) was sent:

“Verily, I have only been sent to perfect righteous character.” [2]

Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allāh be pleased with him) explained how to gain knowledge and the ethics that go in spreading it:

“Acquire knowledge and teach people. Learn along with it dignity and tranquility and humility for those who teach you and humility for those whom you teach. Do not be tyrannical scholars and thus base your knowledge upon your ignorance.” [3]

Abu Darda (may Allāh be pleased with him) on learning:

“Verily, knowledge only comes by learning and forbearance only comes by cultivating forbearance. Whoever aims for good will receive goodness and whoever seeks to evade evil will be protected from it.” [4]

Ibn al-Mubarak (may Allāh be pleased with him) said to the people of Hadith about compared knowledge and manners:

“You are in greater need of little manners than a great deal of knowledge.” [5]

Al-Laith ibn Sa’d (may Allāh be pleased with him) said to the people of Hadith about the huge importance of forbearance:

“Learn forbearance (patient, self-control, restraint and tolerance) before seeking knowledge.” [6]

Make Dua

We must make abundance of Dua for those who are shackled with incorrect comprehension of Islamic fundamentals. Unfortunately, we are quick to belittle others and pour out our anger and frustration on them, which entirely defeats the value of own knowledge and wisdom. How can we not make Dua for those who believe in La Ilaha Ilallah Muhammadur RasoolAllah, even knowing they are involved in wrongful acts.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said about the value of making Dua for fellow Muslims:

“The Dua of a person for his Muslim brother in his absence will be answered. At his head there is an angel, and every time he prays for him for something good, the angels who has been appointed to be with him, says, ‘Ameen, may you have likewise.” [7]

Argumentative approach

Argumentative approach must be abandoned if our knowledge is to benefit others and ourselves.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on those who are in constant arguments:

“No people go astray after being guided except that they indulge in arguments.” [8]

Malik ibn Anas (may Allāh be pleased with him) said:

“Disputance and arguments about sacred knowledge cause the light of knowledge to extinguish in a man’s heart.”

And he said: “Disputance about sacred knowledge causes the heart to harden and results in hatred.” [9]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said about the status of those who avoid arguments:

“I guarantee a house on the outskirts of Paradise for those who abandons arguments even if he is right.” [10]

How best to correct

– Compassionate and love
– Understanding
– Humility and sincerity
– Grabbing the Dawah moment
– Fearing Allāh with the words

Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allāh have mercy on him) said:

“A believer to another believer is like two hands, one washes the other (correcting each other).” [11]

Abûd-Dardâ (may Allāh be pleased with him) said:

“The one who advises his brother in secret has beautified him and the one who advises his brother openly has uglified him.” [12]

So, brothers and sisters, avoid belittlement, degrading, arguments and signs which show your arrogance and ego. Rather, use soft speech, be patient and show an exemplary character.

May Allāh grant us all forgiveness, and shower His Mercy and make us of those who will benefit humanity by using good speech and wisdom when calling them to follow the right way.

And Allāh knows best.

by Jamal Mohamed Ashraf and Adeel Malik

___________________


References

[1] Al-Qur’an 28:56
[2] Musnad Ahmed 8729, Sahih
[3] Shu’b al-Imam 1659, Sahih
[4] Rawdat al-Uqala 100, Sahih
[5] Tarikh Dimashq 32918
[6] Jami Bayan al-Ilm 581
[7] Sahih Muslim and Sunan Ibn Majah
[8] Sunan al-Tirmidhi 3253. Sahih
[9] Jami al-Ulum wal-Hikam 1/248
[10] Sunnan Abu Dawood 4800. Sahih
[11] Majmou’ al-Fataawa, 53/28
[12] Al-Amr bil-Ma´rûf wan-Nahî ´an-il-Munkar, p. 39, by Imâm Abu Bakr al-Khallâl

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