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~ Muslim by Choice ~
"Allah! None has the right to be worshipped, but He." Surat Al-Baqarah: 255

A Lesson Learned - Look Past the Faults of Others

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bismillah Ir-Rahmaan Ir-Raheem

Why is it that we are so obsessed with the faults of others? We attend gatherings and the first word out of people's mouths are what someone wore to a function or that some people don't do the things that we think they should do (and of course, we do).

What's wrong with us - first of all - that we can't appreciate people as they are and if they do some things that are not in accordance with Islam - we should realize that we must be a good example to them or give them gentle naseeha? What's wrong with us secondly - that we don't realize the great harm to ourselves and others by engaging in this great sin?

In an authentic hadith reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim, the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said in his speech on the day of sacrifice, in Mina, during his pilgrimage journey, "O’ people, your blood, fortune and honor are sacred amongst you, as sacred as your day today in this month, in this place, here I thus informed".

In another hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari it is stated: “The Muslim is the brother of another Muslim; he does not betray him, lie to him or forsake him. The whole of the Muslim is sacred to his fellow Muslim – his honour, his wealth and his blood. Taqwa (piety) is here. It is sufficient evil for a man to despise his brother.”

If a muslim's blood, fortune and honor are sacred, then what is the punishment for always examining the faults of others - often speaking about them in the company of others? Don't we realize that having these thoughts also leads to another big sin - backbiting? If we think that we are above people and we constantly think of their faults, it's not too long before we take the next step and share those thoughts with others. Did we not hear about the punishment waiting for those who backbite?

Anas reported Allah's Messenger as saying, “When my Lord took me up to heaven I passed people who had nails of copper and were scratching their faces and their breasts. I asked Gabriel who these were, and he replied that they were those who were given to backbiting and who aspersed people’s honor.” (Abu Daud)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “One of the greatest of the major sins is to stretch out one’s tongue without right against the honor of a Muslim.” (Abu Dawud)

The other interesting thing that happens often is spouses (I'm sure many of us are guilty) complaining about their husbands/wives to other people. Often we nit-pic about little things that bother us about them - little habits we'd like to change, etc., but we must contantly remind ourselves that this is not a small matter!

Besides that, have we ever really looked at ourselves and realized that there are also habits we have that are annoying? Sometimes we are so busy worrying about things that they do that bother us that we totally miss the opportunity to fix the bad habits that we do ourselves and often forget or overlook that we even have these bad habits!

I recently was reading in my book entitled The Ideal Muslimah ( there is also The Ideal Muslim [for men] and I highly recommend everyone to purchase these books), written by Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi . The book also touched upon this topic. "The chaste Muslim woman does not disclose her husband's secrets, and does not talk to anyone about whatever secrets and other matters there may be between him and her." She would never accept for herself to be counted as one of those people whom the Prophet (PBUH) described as one of the worst types: "Among the worst type of people in the sight of Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement is a man who enjoys his wife's intimate company, and she enjoys his intimate company, then one of them goes and discloses the secret of the other."

Instead of revealing another's faults, we must try to cover or conceal them . . .

In Sahih Muslim, a hadith relates the following: "Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: The servant (who conceals) the faults of others in this world, Allah would conceal his faults on the Day of Resurrection.

Are we so heedless of our own faults that we don't realize the great blessing in this promise? Do we not realize that we, ourselves, have so many faults of our own. Do we not realize the importance of taking this time, this life that Allah has given us to work on those faults and improve our own souls?

It is a great blessing that Allah has shaded other people from our faults.

In a Qudsi Hadith, Allah the Almighty says, “. . .O My servant, I hide your sins in front of the other creatures, and you do not fear Me. . .”

Most of our faults are hidden from others - unless we choose to make them public. Don't we ever sit back and look at our faults and short-comings? Do we ever reflect that if other people openly knew what we did or did not do privately that most people wouldn't want to know us? I would think that sometimes, if we were truthful, we probably wouldn't even want to be around ourselves if we had the choice.

I don't want everyone to think that we must sit around and be depressed about our current state. What this is supposed to be is a reminder - we must use this knowledge to spur us into action. If we have shortcomings - we should spend more time working on improving our condition instead of reflecting on the shortcomings of others. If we find ourselves in gatherings where the faults of others are discussed, change the discussion or use the opportunity to remind the people that all of us have shortcomings and we must work to improve them. Better yet, if you find this type of conversation prominent in your discussions with others - think about whether these are the right people for you to be spending your time with.

If you spend all your time reflecting on the faults of others . . .
there will be no time left for you to reflect on your own.
If you spend all your time reflecting on the faults of others
there will be no reason for you to improve your situation . . .
because you will always at least be better than someone else.

Don't give yourself this false hope - when the Day comes when we will all be judged . . . no one else will be standing by our side . . . we will be compared with no one else . . . it will not matter that you didn't pray on time but some people don't pray at all . . . it will not matter that you talk about other's faults but some people actually lie, steal, cheat . . . Our deeds (whether good or bad) will be laid before us and there will be no excuses to hide behind.

On that day, we should all want to be prepared. We should want the light of faith to shine through us and illuminate the darkness. So the next step is ours, what are we going to do to make sure that happens?

Let's start by asking Allah to help us to be more aware of our faults . . . to ask for forgiveness and to ask for the ability to overcome them.

In a hadith related by Abu Musa Ash'ari, we are reminded of the dua that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) used to supplicate: " O Allah, forgive me my faults, my ignorance, my immoderation in my concerns. And Thou art better aware (of my affairs) than myself. O Allah, grant me forgiveness (of the faults which I committed) seriously or otherwise (and which I committed inadvertently and deliberately. All these (failings) are in me. O Allah, grant me forgiveness from the fault which I did in haste or deferred, which I committed in privacy or in public and Thou art better aware of (them) than myself. Thou art the First and the Last and over all things Thou art Omnipotent."

“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)” (Surat Al-Ra'd: 11)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
An excellent lecture to listen to is entitled Be Just in Your Judgement,
by Sheikh Riyadh ul Haq. It can also be found here.
I highly recommend this lecture as it really opens
your eyes to the importance of this topic.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

10:53 PM :: ::
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