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Turning away from the faults and shortcomings of others
Amjad Rafiq
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In the Khutbah a couple of weeks ago the brother talked about the importance 
of manners. He mentioned many hadeeths 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. 

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 Islaam 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 Allaah and His Messenger, the Qur'aan 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. (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 realisation. 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 does'nt he do it this way?) 

* Anas bin Maalik (ra) said "I served the Messenger of Allaah 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 havent
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: withiin them there is some good and some evil. 

The one who realises this will be the most patient in his dealings with the 
people and the least worried and annoyed. 

Whoever meets his brother realising 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. 

So that is the first point. 

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 
Islaam 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 acknowledgement 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 Islaam 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 doesnt 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 
muslims just as Allah has mentioned : Muhammad is the Messenger of ALlaah and 
those who are with him are strong against the disbelievers and compassionate 
amongst each other(48:29) 


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PART II 


So we have mentioned three points 

Firstly : Realising that everybody is not perfect 
Secondly : How we should view ourselves 
Thirdly : How we should view other Muslims. 

We should all individually view ourselves as deficient and see others as 
being better than us. Because we all know our own faults and weaknesses but 
we don't know all the faults of others except out of suspicion and that is 
forbidden. Therefore every Muslim should see himself as the essence of 
deficiency and others as being
much better than him. 

But do we just stop there. ie we realise these things in our minds and that 
is it. No we have to actively try and to remove them and this is done by 
reminding ourselves of our own faults and shortcomings or making each other 
realise our faults and defects with sincere advice. 

That is we desire nothing but reward from Allah and that a defect in a Muslim 
is removed. Not that we put the Muslim down and make ourselves look better. 

So the FOURTH point is mutually helping each other to remove from ourselves 
the bad characteristics and defects we all have. by informing each other, 
with extreme sincerity and concern for each other 

The Prophet (saws) said "The Deen is sincerity". The Companions said "To 
whom?" so the Prophet (saws) replied "To Allah, His Book, His Messenger to 
the leaders of the Muslims and the general people." 

So part of being sincere to other Muslims is advising them with sincerity. 
Advising them with what will benefit them and this includes informing them of 
their shortcomings so that they can remove them. 

There are two points to the fourth part. 

Firstly how do you tell people of their weaknesses and Secondly how do you 
react to someone who informs you of your faults. 
 
It was said to a wise man : "Do you like that a man should inform you of your 
faults?" He said "If a man comes to me and scolds me/rebukes me ie. begins to 
criticise me for my faults then no. And if he comes to me with sincere advice 
then yes."

So this is how advice is given out of sincerity and this is how advice is 
accepted when it is sincere. 

Imaam Shaafi'ee (rh) said in the form poetry: 

Give me your advice when I am alone 
And do not advise me when I am in a group 
Because advice, when it is given in front of the people is a type of 
criticism/rebuke. 
I am not pleased in hearing it 
And if you differ from me and disobey what I have said 
Then do not become saddened when you are not obeyed/followed. 

So he is saying that advice should be given in private not in public. In 
order to hide the faults of a Muslim and not to publicise them and so that 
the person is more likely to accept the advise. 

The Prophet (saws) said "Whoever conceals the fault of a Muslim Allah will 
conceal his fault on the day of Judgement".  So we give advice out of 
sincerity and not to criticise and we giveit in private not in public. 

Some of the salaf used to say, "May Allaah have mercy upon a man who guided 
us to our faults and shortcomings".

Do you see this attitude? 

May Allaah have mercy upon a man who guided us to our faults and shortcomings

So the earliest muslims loved that people should inform them of their faults 
so they can strive to remove them and therefore become more complete and 
moreperfect and better in the sight of Allaah. 

Umar (ra) stood on the pulpit in front of all the people and declared: (Laa 
yal'lamu ur-rajulu minnee 'ayban illaa 'aabahu) - If any man knows of a fault 
in me then let him point it out/criticise it. So a man stood up and said: Yes 
O Ameerul Mu'mineen. I see in you two faults... Yet in this day and age you 
cannot say a word to anyone sincerelyexcept that he will take it personally 
and see it as criticism. This is a big problemwhich all of us have and this 
is what causes ill-feeling and hatred and envy, because we are too proud to 
admit our own faults and weaknesses and to accept advise from others. 

So whoever wants to get on with other Muslims, then he should do thefollowing 
firstly: Look at his own weaknesses and faults before he notices andlooks at 
those of others and to deal with people always giving them a chance and 
makingexcuses for them. 

secondly: To accept with happiness and joy, the advice of his Muslim brother, 
just as the earliest Muslims did and thirdly: to offer his sincerest advice 
to his Muslim brother about his faults in private, not in public to humiliate 
him.
 
So whoever wishes that Allaah should show mercy and forgiveness to him and 
that Allaah should hide his faults on the day of Judgement. Then let him put 
this into practice.
 
And whoever does not want Allah to forgive him and show mercy to him and to 
conceal his fault on the Day of Judgement (that Allaah should forgive him) 
then let him continue to be heard hearted and proud of himself, thinking he 
is better than others and let him always look at the faults of other people 
and not to accept advice from others. Allaah will soon punish him with what 
he deserves. 

O Allaah guide us the best of manners to which none can guide except you and 
turn away from us the evil characteristics. None can turn them away except 
you.