I used to exhibit a certain reactionary pattern that seemed to arise whenever I entered a masjid or Muslim gathering.  It was this pesky little habit of immediately taking in my surroundings and making a mental note of everything wrong that I could perceive.  I turned from one unknowing victim to another, ticking off all of the Islamic violations they were committing according to my personal pedestal of judgment.

“She is not wearing hijab, tsk! tsk!”

“He is laughing with that woman who is most certainly not his wife or family member, shame!”

“How can she possibly show up here with her clothing so tight?! Scandalous!”

“I know she does not buy Zabiha so I am sure she is serving people non-halal food!”

“Does his mom see how he is behaving…where is the Islamic upbringing?  That's what happens when you send your kid to public school!”

And the list went on and on.

Upon acknowledging the “sin” of others, I would begin to plan how I would correct them.

Then one day after becoming aware of the habit, I began to ask myself, “Why am I always looking for the wrong in others?”  Why did my natural inclination drift towards seeing the proverbial half-filled glass, looking for the “haram” in everything around me?  What purpose did this mental activity serve?

As I tried to understand my motives, I began my descent through several layers of mental awareness.  First, I excused myself by claiming I merely wanted to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.  Well, the argument went, I had to first recognize the evil in order to correct it, right?  So I sat smugly, glowing in my new found moral elitism.  Then why did I feel so guilty and ugly?

I probed deeper, asking again, why?  I came up with the wonderful excuse that I must merely hate what Allah hates. I would witness other's “IstaghfirAllah” actions, causing my blood to boil, until I felt the impulse to walk over and let the perpetrator have a piece of my mind.  So why did I stop myself from attacking?

My self awareness plunged deeper.  I began to think of my reaction when I had been attacked by self-righteous “enjoiners of the good”.  At first I would become embarrassed and question the fallacy of my actions.  Then I would realize that the method in which I was advised angered me and made me want to strike back.   Finally I would conclude that it really had nothing to do with me and more to do with the ego and insecurity of the attacker.

So was I guilty of the same thing?  I tended to think of myself as self-confident and secure, yet some recent experiences had shown me otherwise.  I had attended an Islamic class in which the instructor kept asking the class questions.  Each time I would answer out loud, sure of my knowledge.  And almost every time I was wrong.  It infuriated and embarrassed me.  I was overtaken by a strong desire to prove my correctness.

Another time I was leading a weekly halaqa.  Over time, I began to enjoy the respect I received from many of the new Muslims in the class.  Then one day a couple of Arab ladies sat in.  They spent the entire time overshadowing my talk by attempting to give the lecture themselves.   Then one recited a Quranic ayah in Arabic and looked to me to translate, of which I could not do.  It was very embarrassing, and I feared it ruined the credibility I had in front of the regular attendees.  My anger raged and my wrath turned towards the Arab women.  I felt the need to show them up as they had done to me.  Alhumdulilah, I held my tongue.

From these and other experiences, I realized that my desire to put others down in order to lift myself up seemed just as strong as with those who enjoyed striking me down.

Alas, I began to understand the ugly inner nafs, the self-preserving nafs that will do just about anything to protect itself unless forcibly regulated.  The nafs that wants to justify itself and refuse change at all cost.

As my mind achieved this level of self awareness and was faced with the ugliness of my thoughts, my immediate tendency was to deny or excuse my findings, quickly crawl out of the depths of the inner pit, and continue along the same incorrect path.  But that was not my purpose, not the reason I began the exercise.  So I forced myself to face the conclusions and deal with them.

After accepting my flaws and subverting my ego, I began to derive a formula for changing my inner thinking.

I knew that I loved my brothers and sisters in Islam and truly wanted the best for all of them. I also realized from my own experiences of being corrected in a harsh, public, condescending way that this manner of “advising” is rarely accepted and pushes the person into another spiral of sin (backbiting against the attacker, mental lists of all of the sins of the attacker, and possibly a verbal backlash).

I had to determine how to change my thinking and natural response system to see the good and positive in my fellow Muslims, rather than immediately seeing their so called shortcomings. I wanted to force myself to look inward rather than outward for flaws and weaknesses. I also needed to find ways to be motivational, affecting positive change in the community, rather than coming off as ill-mannered, degrading, or unapproachable.

So I committed myself to practicing the following steps each time the habit began to boil up from deep inside:

1.  Say something nice.

I would force myself to walk over to the unknowing target and immediately praise them for something good I found in them.  This challenged me to see the positives in each person and vocalize them.  It also increased the love between us.

2. Walk in their shoes.

I would recall the past times in my life, prior to committing myself to the study and application of Islam, when I was in that person's shoes, following a culture-based Islam that I inherited from my parents rather than from the authentic sources.  I remembered the split personality I had growing up, acting one way with the Muslims, and another with my friends.  I would realize that just as my Islamic knowledge is limited, so is theirs, and that many people follow their best understanding without purposely doing the wrong.  I also recalled the many times I sought to correct someone only to find out I was the one with incorrect knowledge.  This led to a true sense of humility, and I would thank Allah for opening my eyes to the truth and giving me even a small taste of the sweetness of iman. Then I would make duaa for the person.

3. Remember what works for me.

I would remind myself that it was the people in my life who practiced Islam in a consistent, welcoming, non-judgmental way that opened the door for me to ask questions, accept the answers, and evoke change in my life.  This challenged me to be patient and further work on myself in an effort to be that example for others.

The key to truly changing my thinking was when I finally understood that the point of correcting others was supposed to be to help them change to the good.  When this was done in an unsolicited way by someone who had not taken the time to get to know the person or their particular circumstances and to gain their trust and respect, it usually did the opposite.  It upset the person and made them think ill of me and all others who they began to consider “extreme”.  They assumed I was constantly judging them and mentally criticizing everything they did.  They avoided my company, and their heart closed to anything positive I did or said.  Rather than enjoin them to the good, I had turned them totally away.

Although I still have my “negative” days, I have committed to trying to hold my tongue from giving unwanted advice. Instead, I am deliberate in creating an environment where people ask and push to be corrected.  I realize that this is exactly how I best improve; by asking those more knowledgeable than me who never make me feel inferior for asking, and do not have expectations of me after they reply to my inquiries.

As a result, I have learned to become more oblivious and simply stop caring about what everyone else is doing or not doing.  I now see each individual as a work in progress, including myself.  Just because I happen upon a person at a singular point in their journey does not mean they have stopped progressing nor are they waiting for my unwelcome intervention.  If they ask me to join them on their path, I will do so insofar as I am able, or I simply refer them to someone who can.

The reactions from those around me prove that when I show, through beautiful manners and actions, that Allah's Way is the way that leads to inner and outer peace, I no longer have to shove people, kicking and screaming, to that Way.  Instead, they flock to it.

56 Responses

  1. Sayf

    Mash’Allah, one of the best articles I have ever read. Self-critique and honesty is a beautiful thing, insh’Allah it serves as encouragement for each and every one of us to continually search our hearts and hold ourselves accountable.

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  2. Sara

    Assalaam Alaikum sister Hebah,

    Excellent article, MashaAllah. We need to be often reminded that we should be focusing on our own flaws before pointing out those of others, even if we may have positive intentions. Reminds me a of a post on my own blog titled, A Believer is like a Mirror for a Believer, based on the following two Ahadith by the Prophet (SAW):

    “The believer is a mirror for the believer, and the believer is the brother of the believer. He safeguards his property for him and defends him from behind.”

    And also,

    “The believer conceals one’s faults and gives a person advice, and the hypocrite exposes and humiliates.”

    Insha’Allah, please keep up the great posts. =)

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      • Sara

        You are most welcome sister Hebah. =)

        Just wanted to clarify something (I also wrote this below, but think this may be a better place).

        Thank you to someone for pointing this out — the statement “the believer conceals one’s faults and gives a person advice, and the hypocrite exposes and humiliates” which I had read somewhere as being derived from Abu Dawud’s Sunan, is in actuality not a hadith of Prophet (SWT), but was said by one of the early scholars of Islam, Al-Fudayl Ibn `Iyad (may Allah be pleased with him).

        I apologize for any confusion.

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  3. muslimah

    great post! jazakAllah khayr. i hope some writers here take note..pls dont judge others for their choices, you haven”t lived the life they live.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      We Ayakum! I think one of the hardest things is to accept the different choices people make. Rather we like (me included!) to project incorrect intentions and our choices onto others. I think each writer here is writing from the experiences and choices they have had/made and that is to be expected. What other perpective can we write from? I think the key is for the writers not to be judgemental in their tone and for the readers to accept the piece for what it is…one person’s perpective and experiences. Take the good, leave what you think is incorrect, and ignore it if it is not applicable.

      Allah knows best.

      From your past comments I just want you to know I can relate to much of what you have said and what you are going through. Each new stage in life makes you rethink the stage before and it is quite humbling!

      Keep up the comments…you keep us on our toes! :)

      Your sister,
      Hebah

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      • muslimah

        I am not sure exactly what past comments you are talking about..but if im right..yeah i guess. your past shapes your present and future. You can cut down the influence, but from experience, it still lingers on..it modifies the way you react to situations. you can try and forget..but something, somewhere will always remind you of the past..

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  4. Another Ahmed

    Love it. For some time now, I’ve had similar incidents where I would mentally cast judgment on my brothers and sisters in Islam who I perceived as inferior or lacking in some manner. Stepping back, I cannot help but realize I’ve been in their shoes before and likely done worse than they have. I think it’s Shaitaan trying to pump us up, inflate our egos and sense of self-worth as compared to other people. It’s an ugly thing, this mental process of jumping to conclusions on others, and I am working to nullify it inshaAllah.

    Some things I find helpful to do:
    1. Like sis. Hebah said, make du’a for others. Try it; you’ll have a very hard time harboring negative feelings towards that person afterward!
    2. Again, like sis. Hebah said, talk to them. When you get to know them you’ll likely find common interests and be able to identify with them. This will help in stemming any ill emotions you hold regarding the person. SubhanAllah, how many people I would pre-judge, only to find such wonderful people when I began to speak to them!
    3. When the urge to judge comes, remind yourself of your own faults and sins. Doing so will stem the judging and allow you to more effectively help a brother/sister who you wish to help/aid.

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  5. Yasin Alam

    May Allah Almighty bless you and grant you increase in your Iman and understanding of Islam. This illness is a very dangerous deception of the nafs, as mentioned it can destroy lifes, may Allah Almighty grant us all the ability to look within ourselfs and purify our intentions, as every action is according to intention.
    Thank you Sister.

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  6. AbuMarjan

    Assalam alaikum,

    Thought of quoting a forwarded mail received on the same topic
    ———————————————————————–

    Give your brothers and sisters action the best interpretation

    Sa’eed bin Al-Musayyab was reported to have said:

    “Some of my brothers among the Companions of the Prophet, salallahu alayhi wa sallam, wrote me the following message:

    “Give your brother’s action the best interpretation you could find as long as you have not seen any proof that would make you think otherwise. Do not ever give the word uttered by a Muslim bad interpretation as long as you can find better interpretation for it.
    But he who makes himself vulnerable to suspicion should blame only himself. He who conceals his secrets has the options in his hand.
    The best reward you can give someone who disobeys Allah through you is to obey Allah through him. Be always truthful even if truth is going to kill you. Do not envy anyone except in regard to something for which the dead person is envied.
    And consult, in respect to your affairs, only those who fear Allah in their privacy

    The Leader of the Believers, ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, may Allaah be pleased with him, said, “Think only well of a word that leaves your believing brother so long as you find a way of understanding it in a good way.” [Quoted by ibn Kathir in the commentary of 49:12]

    Abu Qilabah ‘Abdullah bin Zayd bin al-Jurmi said, as quoted in Abu Nu’aym’s al-Hilyah,

    “If something of your brother is conveyed to you that you dislike, expend all your efforts in finding an excuse for him’ even then, if you cannot find an excuse say to yourself: perhaps he has an excuse that I am not aware of.”

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  7. SA

    I went through the same judging pattern as you Hebah.Its still an ongoing battle for me but what has proved most effective for me apart from making duas for the person I am judging is what you mentioned in your post “creating an environment where people ask and push to be corrected”.I personally hate it when people tell me what is wrong with me deen-wise.I prefer knowing people who do a certain deed and impress you so much that you want to know why/how they did it. Actions do speak louder than words!

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Glad to hear its not just me! :) May Allah heal all of our hearts from their diseases. Ameen.

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  8. Sara

    Assalaam Alaikum,

    Thank you to someone having mentioned this — I wanted to clarify a mistake I made in my previous comment where I erroneously quoted a statement, attributing it to the Prophet (SAW). Thank you to brother Omar for pointing this out in a very respectful manner.

    The statement “the believer conceals one’s faults and gives a person advice, and the hypocrite exposes and humiliates” which I had read somewhere as being derived from Abu Dawud’s Sunan, is in actuality not a hadith of Prophet (SWT), but was made by one of the early scholars of Islam, Al-Fudayl Ibn `Iyad (may Allah be pleased with him).

    I apologize for any confusion.

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  9. Perspective

    mA excellent article, thank you for writing such an honest piece. We should always remember to leave the judging to Allah (swt), and instead focus on improving ourselves.

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  10. ummmanar

    jazakallahu kairan sis for pointing this out and been honest. I go through the same thing then when I go to bed I bet my self up for thinking ill and judgemental.I always thought I am the only one and I donot know how to fix it I am afraid that I will abide in hell fire.may allah guid us all. this is very good advice how to solve your inner nafas.barakallahufiki.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      We Ayakum. Masha Allah the fact that you lose sleep over your daily thoughts (this is actually what pushed me to write the post!) is a very good sign. It is truly the fear of the hellfire that is sometimes the most effective means of pushing us to change. May Allah protect us all and help us to change before it is too late! Ameen.

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  11. Abu Zakariya

    As salaamu alaikum,

    What do you think of this:

    I believe this process is a tarbiya direct from Allah. It could potentially in fact be His response to the dua “ihdinas siratal mustaqeem”. The fact that sr. Heba was able to change the way she thinks did not come from her, it was a tawfique from Allah. Allahu akbar!

    Imagine of the hundreds of thousands of people who have similar experiences but are “stuck” in the same self-righteous spot for their entire life? Subhan ar-Rahman! What a mercy from He, who enabled us to identify this and correct it. May Allah grant us all wisdom, ameen.

    Yasser

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Jazak Allahu Khair and I could not agree more. This brings up probably the most important aspect of change and the first step I should have mentioned, making duaa for Allah to take pride and envy from our hearts and give us the humility and ability to change. Only Allah can change our hearts and give us the strength to stick to it.

      Thanks for the reminder!

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  12. Sally

    masha’Allah.. taking us all the way into the deep pit of your mind ;) Interesting, and brave of you to reveal this! I had an awakening of my own, and have compensated so much that I dont feel I have any right to judge. I struggle with the bit of judging required in religious matters for “forbidding evil and enjoining good” b/c i’ve learned that eventually things work themselves out..Only Allah knows why people do what they do, and when guidance will find them.

    I’m surprised Imam Shafie’s poem hasn’t been quoted:

    لسانك لا تذكر به عورة امرئ * فكلّـك عورات وللناس ألسـن
    وعينك إن أبدت إليك معايباً * فدعها وقل : يا عين للناس أعينُ

    Let not your tongue mention the shame of another
    For you yourself are covered in shame and all men have tongues.

    If your eye falls upon the sins of your brother
    Shield them and say: “O my eye! All men have eyes!”
    Imam Shafi’ee

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  13. Muhammad Aiman Azlan

    Astaghfirullah, this is exactly how I feel and behave. I want to write about it but I can’t find the words to describe it. You’ve put it so well for me. Jazakallah.

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  14. Middle Ground

    Salam

    Been there, done that, and ultimately suffered for it. I have observed a number of things about this.

    * Before judging anyone, think of a sin which you have done and no-one else knows about. Something very shameful (everyone has some secret like this). And assume that the person you are judging has not done this. Then rejudge that person. You may see things in a different light.
    * If Allah has guided you to do better than the person you are judging, you should remember that guidance, like wealth, is a gift from Allah, which He gives to people according to His wisdom. It’s NOT that Allah has favored you, in fact Allah has given you a responsibility for which you may be more accountable than the next person.
    * When we have a LITTLE knowledge, it’s so easy to start beating on someone who doesn’t. This is arrogance, and a common result of this is to turn people away from Islam. I remember when I got a little ‘religious’, along with a female cousin of mine and her friend, and how all three of us used to beat on my cousin’s brother. Fat lot of good that did…. 20 years later, he marries a Hindu girl (may Allah guide him and us).

    And Allah knows best.

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  15. muslimah

    im confused. If you see a sister let’s say flirting w/ guys, should you find excuses for her? At first i was under the impression you are talking about things we personally dislike and not necessarily haram. How does enjoining good and forbidding evil fit in all this? I mean it’s true we should first look at ourselves but the one who sees good and silently disagrees with it in his heart is the one with the lowest of eman.

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      • ehlam

        Salamualaikum,

        Isn’t that a christian concept (read it somewhere), but not saying we should hate the sinner. Somehow this is going into al wala’ wal baraa’, I’d still like to also know what the answer to Muslimah’s query is, because when I see a Muslim doing something un-islamic in public or infront of people like non-muslims I feel it makes Muslims look like hypocrites-not doing what they preach- and that it affects dawah negatively. I was finding it hard to relate to the article itself because often I find myself making excuses for them like: they started to practice/they grew up in a non-islamic environment/they’re having personal problems etc etc. Living in the West I just feel like we are not only harming ourselves but preventing potential converts from accepting Islam when they see us not being true to our identity.

        Sister Hebah,Jazakillahu khairan for your thought-provoking article and this approach of teaching by action is great method thats effective.

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      • Hebah Ahmed

        We Alikum Asalam,

        I did actually mean seeing things that are haram. Yes, we are suppose to forbid the evil but I guess the easiest (and sometimes more harmful route) is to simply go up to the person and tell them what they are doing is wrong. I believe this is harmful if you do not already have a personal relationship with the person and the person is not open to hearing about their sin.

        I think it takes a lot of wisdom and patience to correct others. The point of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with someone is to do it in a way that the person will accept it and not resent you for it (the example of the young boys who taught the older man how to make wudu without directly confronting him or telling him he is wrong).

        Rarely do people appreciate being corrected by someone who has not earned their respect and developed a personal relationship with them. This shows them that you care to speak to them all the time, not just when you see them doing something wrong. I also think personal behavior goes very far in correcting people without ever having to say a word to them. If non-Muslims question the actions of others that contradict Islam, we should explain the right way and say that everyone is at different stages and different levels of their practice. Islam is perfect but the followers are not.

        Additionally, you will find in many instances (including the example of a girl flirting with the guys) that people already know the right from wrong…you will not be telling them anything new and probably will turn them even more away from being around other Muslims. Usually this stems from low Iman. So I think we should prioritize the advice we give people. I mean if someone does not even pray or has never been exposed to the beauty of Islam in a way that has strengthened their iman or does not know how to get knowledge from authentic source, then advice is pointless and perhaps harmful as one should be focusing on the bigger issue of Iman and Tawheed and pursuing knowledge.

        That’s why I said I strive to create an environment where people ask and push to be corrected. When they see you acting in a way that is different from them AND they see you as a well mannered, easily approachable person AND they have a personal relationship with them, then they will ask you to explain the behavior or avoidance of certain behaviors. In this context the person is most likely to accept the advice and evoke change in thier life, which is the entire purpose of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Of course this process takes a lot of time (patience) and effort (to create a personal relationship with the person).

        Allah knows best!

        (Sorry for alot of “I think”s…someone please correct me if I am misunderstanding this issue or if there is evidence in contradication)

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      • muslimah

        but what about this hadith?

        “Whoever among you witnesses a bad thing, it is necessary for him to bring that to a halt with his hands, and if he does not have the potential for that; then he should stop him through his tongue, And if he does not have the ability to stop that with his tongue, then by his heart; he should think bad of this sin and that is the lowest level of Iman.”

        so you mean we should first develop a personal relationship with the person (of course of the same gender lol) and gain their respect before giving them out any advice? I guess that is hikmah but somehow from the abv hadith i get the message a muslim should hasten to correct any evil they come across.
        but ‘i think’ you are right. after all we are asked to use hikmah and be gentle. and it is hikmah to gain the person’s trust and respect. wallahu’alam

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      • elham

        Sister this was exactly what I would tell my friend, that if a person does not do salah then telling them to wear hijab should come after they have increased Iman.
        I can agree on developing a somewhat personal relationship with a person by striking up a conversation before subtly correcting or informing them in way that is respectful and humble, such that the person would not feel that you are undermining them or the intelligence that Allah has given them. You start by greeting them and then praising their good qualities and then adding that it would be better if they had done ‘xyz’ . I think it is a Prophetic method of giving advice wallahu’Alam.

        SubhanAllah I am reminded by the beauitful manner in which Shekih Al Arefe would give da’wah and advice even on a plane!

        Sheikh al-Arifi Advises a Woman on a Plane
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wODzqkpyuNE&feature=channel

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      • BrownS

        Jazakillahu khair Sr. Hebah for explaining this so well. Imam ibn Taymiyyah makes a similar argument in his book “Public Duties in Islam” (Arabic – Risalat amr bil maruf wa nahi an al-munkar) where if my memory serves me right he says that one needs to perform the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil in a manner that can lead to the actual fulfilment of enjoinment of good or forbidding of evil, rather than in a simplistic and kneejerk way. One needs to actually think it through.

        I’ll refrain from saying any more because it’s been a while, but actual students of knowledge familiar with the text can jump in inshaAllah.

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    • muslimah

      * i mean the one who sees evil and speaks against it silently in his heart.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Can you please explain what it is that you disagree with?

      Jazak Allahu Khair.

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  16. ibraheem

    I think it’s messed up that an article had to be written about this so people can learn how to be decent human beings. Stop backbiting and running your mouths. Simple.

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Unfortunately it is not that simple. We all need to be constantly reminder and re-reminded of habits that are easy to slide back into. We need to be reminded in many different ways from many different angles. Many times we are not even aware of what we are doing or that we are backbiting or committing haram…we can justify our thoughts and actions in many ways. Perhaps hearing (or reading) the way someone else is makes us realize how we actually are. Then we can begin to change.

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  17. Umm Umaama

    JazakAllah Khair for this insightful piece, and for your sincerity in sharing this with others. I personally have been struggling with this for some time, and was shocked at myself when I realized recently that I was actually (subconsciously) wishing for bad things to happen to people, so that they could see the error of their ways. Astaghfirullah. I think the issues you’ve highlighted are a serious disease amongst practising Muslims. I’m striving to rectify my character in this regard, so far I’ve found that it helps to:

    (1) Focus on your own sins, leave other people to deal with theirs. This is much harder said than done. We have made it our mission to save the world, and saving ourselves has become a holiday hobby….something to do when you’re bored….
    (2) Tell people (and yourself) that you may not be the best person to advise…yes, you think you “know the right answer”, but are you really the best person to convey it? Didn’t the companions refer everything back to the Prophet SAW, even though they knew the “right” answer? Since when did we become such “know-it-alls”?
    (3) Realize that even with Halaal and Haraam, it doesn’t have to be – “my way or the highway”….I think that’s the biggest problem, we think everything is black and white, and once we get it “right”, we become obsessed with telling everyone else. But, we should realize that we don’t know another person’s situation, we might not know all the conditions of a legal ruling…we might not even know the ruling (although, we think we do)…think, are you sure the issue is as black and white as you first imagined? There are many routes to the same outcome, even if they do it “their way” could they not (with a little guidance, and the Tawfeeq of Allaah) soon find their way back to Allaah?
    (4) The biggest eye-opener for me was to realize that I am not answerable for the outcome of Da’wah….only that I must continue to give Da’wah in the best way possible. We become so wrapped watching for the effects of our Da’wah that we lose all the sincerity of the act itself. Why is it so important to us to see that someone followed our advise? Could it ever be sufficient that they may change one day, a long time from now? Would you be content if they were more beloved to Allaah than anyone could imagine? Or that they would die with their sins forgiven? OR, do you NEED them to change?

    Don’t be afraid to share what knowledge you have, or correct something wrong when you see it, but be humble, and realize….as we’re often told (but rarely heed)…that you’re not always right…

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  18. BrownS

    Salaam

    Jazakillahu khair for the reminder. It is truly something I lose sight of too often.

    I’m reminded of a quote by one of the giants of the past (I believe it was Imam Ghazali), the gist of which is that when you give reminder or admonishment to someone, act as if that person is the most beloved to Allah. It works :)

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  19. Sadaf Farooqi

    Very well-written and sincerely introspective reminder for us all – the MM writers and the commentators. We all need to be reminded of thinking before speaking or typing away on our keyboards in criticism of others. :)

    May Allah reward you for sharing your honest self-evaluation with us for our betterment, Hebah!

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  20. Rafa

    This is exactly what I needed today. I have guests coming over tonight whom I do tend to judge without realizing it (may Allah forgive us all), but this article has been a great reminder for me to do otherwise. Insha Allah I can put the advise into practise! JazakAllah and may Allah reward you! :)

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  21. Bilal

    Jazakallah Khair,

    I can seriously relate to this, having grown up among friends at a young age, who took a different path as we got older… and I did go through the phase as you mentioned “making a mental note of everything wrong that I could perceive.” However, listening to talks by various ulema and students of knowledge definitely helped a lot in subverting the evil that can be caused by this ego.

    The attitude one has with others who may not be at the same level in deen as oneself is definitely a critical factor. In one of Br. Nouman’s talks (Improving Our Relationships @ ICNA 2010), he relates how one’s attitude with his/her child can close off the doors of communication. For example, the child would come relating something that happened in the day that was ‘taboo,’ and the parent would immediately respond, “We don’t talk about these things! Astaghfirullah! Say Astaghirullah!”

    That can close off the door of communication with the parents, and the child will just talk about these matters with their friends…

    Nonetheless, this statement hit me immediately while reading the post:

    “Keep yourself busy in remembering your faults, so that you have no time left to remember the faults of others.”

    – Sufyaan ath-Thawri

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  22. YMR

    Assalamalaikum,

    Ma’sha’allah ! Amazing article ! Stumbled upon this post from the web and liked it so much, I have immediately subscribed to the blog’s feeds.

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  23. Dalia

    I really wanted you to know that I saw your debate on CNN between you and Mona on the “Burka Ban” in France.

    I also wanted you to know that those last fifteen seconds in the argument changed my life.

    To put it simply, when I heard what you said, something inside woke up and the following day I put on the Hijab and haven’t taken it off since. I’ve been wearing it for half a year now and I don’t know how I could’ve lived without it before.

    So, thank you, Shukran, and Allhamdullilah. You helped me see that the largest things only need to be accomplished by the smallest of actions.

    So…Thank you. By the way, I’m fifteen and a princess of Islam who’s proud to wear her crown now. :]

    With love,

    Dalia

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    • Hebah Ahmed

      Masha Allah Dalia!!!!! Your comment made my day. May Allah increase your taqwa and make you an ambassador of Islam Insha Allah. I wish I had such conviction and courage to wear the hijab when I was 15…you are an inspiration!!!! :)

      Love,
      Hebah

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