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Turning Away from the Faults of Others Part-1

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The following is article-format of a timeless khutbah given by Amjad Rafiq perhaps 15 years ago. It is a khutbah that keeps giving, may Allah make this a source of great reward for the brother.The advice contained therein continues to be relevant and important, more so today than ever before. Before criticism was a bit harder because you didn’t have the internet to log on and jump right away. So, without further ado:

Part 1 | Part 2

As we know there are many ahadith stressing the excellence of having good manners, the very high status they give in the sight of Allah to the one who possesses them and how the one who possesses them reaches the level of the prophets and the martyrs and how even some of the Prophets and martyrs will envy such people.

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And this is not surprising as the Prophet (saws) is authentically reported to have said “Indeed I was sent in order to complete/perfect the righteous manners or characteristics”. In another narration the Prophet (saws) said

“Indeed I was sent to complete/perfect the noble manners/qualities”

So the Messenger (saws) has linked the whole of his message to the perfection of peoples manners. The whole deen, the religion of Islam has been linked to the completion of peoples manners.

And in another hadeeth the Prophet (saws) said

“The Deen is dealing with other people”.

Everyone of us needs to interact with other people in order to get by. To survive from day to day. Otherwise life would be very difficult.

So Allah and His Messenger, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, enjoin and call to everything which nurtures and brings about the best characteristics, manners and qualities.

This so that peoples everyday living is facilitated, made easy, enjoyable so that good feelings are made to develop and toleration of each other increases. (Qur’an 48:29)

There is one characteristic which if it exists within the Muslims then the society will have a support, a backbone and so it will continue to exist and which if it is removed then it will crumble, fall and hatred, envy, ill-feeling and dissension (divisions) will arise.

This quality is BEING TOLERANT OF THE FAULTS OF THE PEOPLE or TURNING AWAY FROM THEIR FAULTS.

To understand this quality so that we can practically bring it about and gain some benefit from it we can look at it from four aspects:

ONE: The first point is that there does not exist on this earth any person who is complete and perfect in every single respect and is free from defects. The Prophet (saws) said

“Indeed people are like camels, out of a hundred you will hardly find a single one suitable to ride.”

So this is clear indication from the Prophet (saws) that completeness is something very rare. If we have a hundred people and tried to select one of them for a particular task say leadership or giving a religious verdict then we would hardly find any one who would perform it in the most complete way.

The Prophet (saws) also said

“Let not a believing man hate a believing woman, if he dislikes one quality in her then he will be pleased with another.”

So in this hadeeth is a very important realization. That there is no Muslim who is completely wicked and evil and there is no Muslim who is perfect. In fact every one of us has some good characteristics even if they are scarce and  every one of us has some bad or evil characteristics even if they only small in number.

And a poet he said in a couple of lines:

“And who is that person with whose every single quality/inherent characteristic you are pleased with?”

(where is that person? can you find one?)

It is enough to make a man noble that his defects can be counted/listed.

(the fact that a persons shortcomings can actually be listed shows his excellence)

You wish that he should be perfect without any fault.

(How many times do we say regarding our Muslim brother “Oh why is he like that? Can’t he be like this? Why doesn’t he do it this way? Anas bin Maalik (ra) said “I served the Messenger of Allah for ten years and he never said to me ‘uff’. Whenever I did something he never said to me ‘Why did you do that?’, and whenever I did not do anything he never said to me Why haven’t you done that?’.”)

And does an incense stick give off a scent/fragrance without any smoke.

(That is even an incense stick, although it gives off something good something which is pleasing that is the fragrance, it also gives of smoke which is like a defect.)

So the first point every Muslim should teach himself is that no one is perfect and people: within them there is some good and some evil.

The one who realizes this will be the most patient in his dealings with the people and the least worried and annoyed. Whoever meets his brother realizing this point and fully understanding it will be the most patient of people in his dealings with others. He will be the least harmed and worried and annoyed. His heart will be firm and stable and calm.

The one who does not realise this point he will be the most annoyed the most anxious and worried person. His heart will always be moving here and there. He will always see peoples faults and never see their good points and this will
annoy him and he will always be worried when he deals with other people.

The second and third point we will look at together as they are related and they are:

TWO: How should a Muslim view himself. i.e look at his own self and to see what he is worth?

THREE: How should a Muslim look at others?

The best place to look for these two points is the companions and the people of the past because they possess an excellence which none other than them have.

The Prophet (saws) said:

“The best generation is my generation, then those that follow them, then those that follow them”.

So this is an indication from the Prophet (saws) that the best people to turn to in order to see Eemaan and Islam being practised is the first three generations.

It is reported that Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood said

“If you knew what I know about myself then you would have thrown dust over my face”.

This is a sign of extreme sincerity to himself and lack of pride and arrogance. It shows his acknowledgment of his faults and shortcomings. How many of us could admit such a thing to even one to one of his friends let alone a group of them? Which one of us would have enough courage and truthfulness to admit that?

One of our Salaf (Pious Predecessors) Bikr bin Abdillaahi al-Muznee used to say

“When you see one who is older than you then hold him in respect and say: ‘Indeed he has preceded/gone ahead of me in Islam and good deeds and when you see one who is younger than you then hold him in respect and say to yourself: ‘Indeed I have preceded him/gone ahead of him in sins.”

Isn’t this beautiful advice?

Listen also very carefully to the following:

Some of the salaf (the Muslims from the first three generations) used to say:

“One of you knows all his own faults and mistakes and he still likes himself, prefers himself (over others) yet he dislikes his Muslim brother on account of suspicion. So where then is the ‘Aql, (intellect, sanity)?”

That is each one of us knows his own mistakes and faults along with all his sins and he still does not hate himself for that. He still is satisfied with himself, likes himself and prefers himself to others.

But when he sees someone making a mistake or what he thinks is a mistake because he doesn’t know the intention of the person, he dislikes him, he feels in a bad way about him and all of this purely on suspicion and yet at the same
time he is aware of all his own faults and mistakes.

So whenever you look at another Muslim then follow the advice that was mentioned before. Bring to mind your own faults and weaknesses and this will put you in your place. If we all do this it will make us humble and merciful to other
Muslimsjust as Allah has mentioned :

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those who are with him are strong against the disbelievers and compassionate amongst each other(48:29)

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Umm Fulaanah

    April 21, 2009 at 5:02 AM

    Assalaamu 3alaykum

    So well said mashaa-allaah….Cant wait for part 2…

  2. Asiyah

    April 21, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    Assalamualykum,

    Mashaallah!! Excellent advice .May Allah protect us from pride, arrogance. I also read this quote in the fajr blog

    Aisha (radhiallaahu `anha):

    A man came to her and asked ‘When will I know that I am pious?’ She said, ‘When you realise that you are a sinner.’ He said, ‘And when will I know I am a sinner?’ She replied, ‘When you think you are pious.’

    – Tanbeeh al-Ghafileen

  3. Nazia

    April 21, 2009 at 2:17 PM

    Wowww. Awesome, awesome advice. I’m taping this to the fridge!

  4. Abu Ninja

    April 21, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    A question, which Amjad Rafiq?

  5. Abd- Allah

    April 21, 2009 at 10:17 PM

    Assalam Alaikum

    This hadith (“The Deen is dealing with other people”) is not true and has no basis, meaning it is not a hadith, so we should not attribute it to the prophet peace be upon him.

    If you can also provide references for the other ahadiths, that would be good.

    Jazakum Allah wa Baraka feekum!

  6. Sadaf

    April 22, 2009 at 12:01 AM

    This is excellent advice. Timeless.
    The only way to live the “humble Muslim” life is to focus on one’s own mistakes, shortcomings, and sins, and constantly seek repentance for them; also, with others, to keep ignoring their shortcomings, forgiving their mistakes by overlooking them, and praying for their guidance. This strategy is, indeed, the secret behind a peaceful and productive society.

  7. abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    April 22, 2009 at 2:52 AM

    bismillah. is it only me who sees irony in the posting of this article right after the foray-into-politics-article? this article could be compared to itthar or oud, and the other to the gore of a slaughterhouse. subhanAllah.

  8. Nabeel Shahzad Ul-Haq

    April 22, 2009 at 5:22 AM

    Comment removed. Pls see our “modus operandi” on comments. Apologize for any inconvenience.

  9. ibnkhalil

    April 22, 2009 at 10:18 PM

    Assalam o alaykum,

    MashAllah a nice article.

    I was wondering the verse,
    “This so that peoples everyday living is facilitated, made easy, enjoyable so that good feelings are made to develop and toleration of each other increases”. (Qur’an 48:29)

    is not in Surah al Fath. I looked but could not find it. Can the author please help? JazakAllah khair

  10. Amad

    April 23, 2009 at 7:12 AM

    This is Abu Iyaad Amjad Rafiq (I think)… the khutbah was from the hey-days of University of Essex MSA.

    I don’t know much about the person, but that is irrelevant. We take the good from anyone, and leave the bad. It also shows the power of online words that continue to live on and become a source of reward for the good, and a source of sin for the bad. Thus, may these articles become a source of ajar for the person from whom it emanated. And tangentially, talking about bad words, holding our tongues back from the evil words is no more important than it is online, as those words get immortalized (surely Shaykh Google will cache them, and Allah is above All, the Hearer and Seer).

  11. bint khalid

    April 23, 2009 at 7:23 AM

    Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those who are with him are strong against the disbelievers and compassionate amongst each other(48:29)

    That is the beginning of the Surah Fath….but yes, as IbnKhalil pointed it out, this verse ALSO was quoted as 48:29 –> “This so that peoples everyday living is facilitated, made easy, enjoyable so that good feelings are made to develop and toleration of each other increases”

    Could someone please tell us which Surah this is from and correct the mistake in the article itself? Jazakum Allahu Khaire

  12. student

    April 24, 2009 at 9:27 PM

    Sorry, I must admit I didn’t get past the introduction. I was sidetracked by a funny discussion about how people confuse ado and adieu.

    Will be back to read the actual article later, Insha Allah. :D

    • Amad

      April 24, 2009 at 9:57 PM

      good catch. I must admit, I didn’t know ado from adieu!

  13. Abu Ninja

    April 29, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    Amad said,

    This is Abu Iyaad Amjad Rafiq (I think)… the khutbah was from the hey-days of University of Essex MSA.

    I don’t know much about the person, but that is irrelevant. We take the good from anyone, and leave the bad.

    Akhee this is a serious mistakes in manhaj. This principle of taking the good from anyone and leaving the bad, apposes the way of the pious predecessors.

    Would you take the good from those who curse and swear at the wives of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam?

    Would you take the good from those who invent lies about the deen of Islam and falsely claim there was a Prophet after our beloved Nabi?

    I could go on.. but InshaAllah I think you get the point.

    Our great Imams of the past including the Companions of the Prophet sallalahu alayhi wasallam severely warned against listening and sitting with people of innovations. Many of them even forbade giving salaams to them or replying back to their salaams, as was the opinion of Imam Bukhari for example.

    However we need to differentiate between someone who is ignorantly doing bidah and someone who actually falls into the category of belonging to Ahlul Bidah.

    I just mentioned the above points to show the dangers of the incorrect principle you mentioned stating that “we” do this. Rather you should have mentioned that this is what “I” do.

    Also Amjad Rafiq is someone who is know to many of the du’aat and students of knowledge as a major fitna maker. If you dont believe me please ask Yasir Qadhi about SP in Birmingham. An Amjad Rafiq is one of the main people in charge of SP.

    Allah knows best

  14. Amad

    April 29, 2009 at 12:52 PM

    Abu Ninja, indeed we can take the good, even from the Shias or the non-Muslims, if it is based on sound textual evidence, let alone a person who is clearly a sunni Muslim. Perhaps it is not entirely relevant, but even the Shaytan gave Abu Hurayrah rh useful information. I know the SP well… I dealt with some of them from the University of Essex MSA days.

    There is nothing controversial in the message, esp. considering that it was given at a time when he wasn’t the figure that you believe he is now. We really need to be just in our criticism… even “fitnah-makers” aren’t untouchables, they are still our brothers.

    w/s

    P.S. I will still seek advice from people of knowledge and will post a comment if anything changes based on that advice.

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