Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The difficulty on giving advices?

Bismillahirohmanirohim (In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate)

It is not a surprise that we are concerned about the problem that are faced by other Muslims. Sometimes these concern turns into hatred. One of the common concern is intoxication. Due to this concern, one will try to advise the other to stay away from intoxication. Usually these advices will turn to a form of hatred due to frustration of the message not getting across to the one who is involved in intoxication. Usually the concerned Muslim will be gentle for the first few advices. After sometime this concerned Muslim is frustrated and may start cursing or hating the other muslim brother. This is an example of a frustrated adviser, "You said you are a muslim but you are doing things that are prohibited! Use your brain!", "I hate hypocrites, claiming to be a muslim!" Is this the right way to advise?

There is another situation where, a Muslim who is not well versed in the knowledge of Islam, but are trying their best to be in the path of Islam. Sometimes the Muslim who are not well versed may misinterpret somethings. I've seen some knowledgeable Muslim who mocks other Muslims (which apparently are "less knowledgeable"). For example, "Only muslim idiots think that it is right to wear silk" or "stupid muslims may think that interest(riba) is good for the economy"  Is it right for them to be called idiots or stupid?

No matter which is the case whether being a concerned Muslim or a more knowledgeable Muslim, cursing or name calling should be avoided. Doing these (cursing or name calling) will have its consequences.

In the first example, a Muslim will either follow the advise or, push away themselves from Islam. The second case will be that, the less knowledgeable Muslim will thrive themselves to be more knowledgeable or will also push themselves away from Islam. But usually with cursing and name calling, ppl will farther or push themselves away from Islam. Is this the way of Islam?

If we examine closely, its not right to associate with this kind of practises with Islam. Islam, is derived from the root word salam which means Peace. One is not creating any peace with cursing and name calling.

Next, have a look at the hadith quoted below.
Narrated Abu Musa: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other." The Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced.

Narrated Abu Dhar that he heard the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam saying, "If somebody accuses another of Fusuq(by calling him 'Fasiq' i.e., wicked person) or accuses him of Kufr(disbelief), such an accusation will revert to him (i.e., the accuser) if his companion (the accused) is innocent."

Narrated Ma'rur: I saw Abu Dhar wearing a Burda (garment) and his slave too was wearing a Burda, so I said (to Abu Dhar), "If you take this (Burda of your slave) and wear it (along with yours), you will have a nice suit (costume) and you may give him another garment." Abu Dhar said, "There was a quarrel between me and another man whose mother was a non-arab and I called her bad names. The man mentioned (complained about) me to the Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam. The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "Did you abuse so-and-so?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Did you call his mother bad names?" I said, "Yes." He said, "You still have the traits of (the Pre-Islamic Period of) Ignorance." I said, "(Do I still have ignorance) even now in my old age?" He said, "Yes they (slaves or servants) are your brothers, and Allah has put them under your command. So the one under whose hand Allah has put his brother, should feed him of what he eats, and dress him of what he himself dresses, and should not ask him to do a thing beyond his capacity. And if at all he asks him to do a hard task, he should help therin."

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet salallahualaihiwasalam said, "Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm(with glad tidings) and do not repel(them) (i.e. to make them hate good deeds and to run away from Islam)

[Sahih Bukhari]

The one who has knowledge of Islam should never call another muslim an idiot because there are hadiths that saying we shouldn't push people away from Islam. If a knowledgeable muslim does so, it means that the person is quite selective in the choosing of Qur'anic verses and hadith which I have demonstrated in my other entry that this is the practise of "the people of the book". This shouldn't be in the practises of Islam.

From another perspective, there are muslims who are always concerned with other muslims behaviour (I.e gambling, drinking and etc). They are too concerned with other muslims that they neglect their own self development. Despite of having knowledge in Islam, they think that it is sufficient because there are worse muslims out there. Self development in the knowledge of Islam is well important (I.e arabic, fiqh, usul ul fiqh, maqasid sha'riah and etc). But often we see that they stop learning when they think it is sufficient and there are muslims who are less knowledgeable.

In conclusion, even when our intention is pure and would like to strive for Islam, we should always beware of the way on advising. Not an easy task, but one can only try. This area "adab" is always being overlooked and not bothered because we usually think that it is not complicated and easy to give an advise. Those who give advice should not be too obsessed with the outcome (whether the other party change for the good/not). This is where patience is important and relying on Allah by asking Him to guide whom He wills. Knowing how to advise in my opinion is well important in the human development and especially in Islam where it is centred onto human development so that the path is easy for us to worship Him. Therefore, before we start to learn any knowledge, this should be the first step before it.