The Prophet's Methods for Correcting People's Mistakes


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  • The Prophet's Methods for Correcting People's Mistakes


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    The
    Prophet’s Methods of Dealing with People’s Mistakes

     

    1- Hastening to deal with people’s
    mistakes and not putting it off.

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to hasten to deal
    with people’s mistakes, especially when it was not right for him to delay doing
    so at the moment when this was needed. His task was to explain the truth to
    people, teach them to do good, and warn them off from doing evil. So he hastened
    to correct people on many occasions, as is seen in the stories of the man who
    was not doing his salaah properly, the Makhzoomi woman, Ibn al-Latbiyyah,
    Usaamah, the three who wanted to go to extremes in worship, and others. These
    stories will be related in the course of this discussion, in sha Allaah.

    Not hastening to deal with mistakes
    goes against the interests of Islam and misses out on the opportunity to strike
    while the iron is hot, as it were.

    2 - Dealing with mistakes by explaining
    the ruling (hukm).
    Jarhad
    (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) passed by him when his thigh was uncovered. The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    “Cover
    your thigh, for it is part of the ‘awrah.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2796.
    Al-Tirmidhi said, this is a hasan hadeeth).

    3 - Referring people back to Islam when
    they make mistakes, and pointing out to them the principle that they are
    breaking.
    When someone
    is indulging in a mistake, the Islamic principle is far from their minds and is
    lost in the clamour of the moment. In such cases reiterating the Islamic
    principle and announcing it loudly can be an effective way of stopping the
    person in his tracks and making him wake up from the stupor that has overtaken
    him. When we look at what happened between the Muhaajiroon and Ansaar, because
    of the flames of fitnah stirred up by the munaafiqoon, we will see an example
    of how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used this
    tactic. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh that
    Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

    “We
    went out on a military campaign with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him), and some of the muhaajiroon went with him
    too, and they were very many. Among the muhaajiroon was a man who was very
    playful (a joker). He shoved an Ansaari (in jest), and the Ansaari got very
    angry with him and called others to support him, saying, ‘O Ansaar!’ The
    Muhaajir called out, ‘O Muhaajireen!’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) came out and said, ‘What is this call of the people of
    Jaahiliyyah all about?’ Then he said, ‘What is the matter with him?’ He was
    told about how the Muhaajir had shoved the Ansaari in jest. The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Leave it, for it (tribalism) is evil.’
    ” (al-Fath, 3518).

    According to a report narrated by Muslim,
    he said:

    “Let
    a man help his brother whether he is an wrongdoer or the victim of wrongdoing.
    If he is a wrongdoer, he should stop him, and if he is the victim of
    wrongdoing, he should come to his aid.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 2584).

     

    4 - Correcting misconceptions that are
    due to something not being clear in people’s minds.
    In Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Humayd ibn Abi
    Humayd al-Taweel reports that he heard Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased
    with him) saying:

    “Three
    people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him), asking about how the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) worshipped. When they were told about it, they thought that
    it was little. They said, “Who are we, compared to the Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him)? All his sins, past and future, have been forgiven.”
    (They thought that the one who does not know that his sins have been forgiven
    needed to go to extremes in worship and do far more than the Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him), in the hope that their sins might be forgiven).
    One of them said, “As for me, I will pray every night from now on.” Another
    said, “As for me, I will fast for the rest of my life and will never break my
    fast.” The third said, “As for me, I will have nothing to do with women and I
    will never marry.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) came to them and said, “Are you the people who said such-and-such? By
    Allaah, I am the one who fears Allaah more than anyone, but I fast and I break
    my fast, I pray and I rest, and I get married.”

    Muslim reported from Anas that a group
    of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    asked the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    about what he did in secret. One of them (those Sahaabah) said, “I will never
    marry women.” Another said, “I will never eat meat.” Another said, “I will
    never sleep on a bed.” [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him)] praised and thanked Allaah, then he said,

    “What
    is the matter with some people who say such-and-such? But as for me, I pray and
    I sleep, I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women. Whoever turns away from
    my Sunnah has nothing to do with me.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1041).

    Here we may note the following points:

    • The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to them and addressed
    them directly; when he wanted to teach all the people, he did not refer to them
    by name or expose them, he merely said, “What is
    the matter with some people…?”
    In this way he was gentle with them
    and covered up for them whilst at the same time acting in the common interest
    by teaching everybody.

    • The
    hadeeth describes finding out about the action of good people and seeking to
    emulate them. Investigating such things is the sign of a sound mind and efforts
    to improve oneself.

    • This
    report indicates that when it comes to useful matters of religion, if it is not
    possible to learn them from men, it is permissible to learn them from women.

    • There
    is nothing wrong with a person talking about his deeds so long as there is no
    element of showing off and it is for the benefit of others.

    • We
    also learn that going to extremes in worship may cause a person to get bored,
    which in turn could lead him to stop worshipping altogether; the best of things
    are those that are moderate. (see al-Fath, 9/104).

    • Mistakes
    generally come about as a result of misconceptions; if the ideas are put right,
    mistakes will decrease. It is clear from the hadeeth that the reason why those
    Sahaabah adopted those concepts of extreme worship and monasticism was that
    they thought they had to go beyond the Prophet’s actions in worship in order to
    attain salvation, because he had been told that all his sins were forgiven, but
    they did not have this advantage. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) set them straight, and told them that even though he was forgiven, he
    was the most fearing of Allaah among mankind, and he commanded them to follow
    his Sunnah in worship.

    A similar thing happened to another
    Sahaabi, whose name was Kahmas al-Hilaali (may Allaah be pleased with him), who
    narrated his story:

    “I
    became Muslim and came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) and told him that I had become Muslim. I stayed away for a year, during
    which I became very skinny, and when I came back, he looked me up and down. I
    said, ‘Do you not know me?’ he said, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I am Kahmas
    al-Hilaali.’ He said, ‘What happened to you?’ I said, ‘After I saw you, I never
    spent a day without fasting, and I never slept at night.’ He said, ‘Who told
    you to torture yourself? Fast the month of patience [i.e., Ramadaan], and one
    day of every month besides that.’ I said, ‘Let me do more.’ He said, ‘Fast the
    month of patience and two days of every month besides that.’ I said, ‘Let me do
    more, I am able for it.’ He said, ‘Fast the month of patience and three days of
    every month besides that.’” (Musnad al-Tayaalisi. Reported by al-Tabaraani in
    al-Kabeer, 19/194, no. 435. Also in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 2623).

    Some misconceptions may be based on how
    one judges people and regards them. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) was very keen to correct this and put people straight in this
    regard. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari, there is a report from Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi
    who said:

    “A
    man passed by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him), so he asked a man sitting by him, ‘What do you think of this man?’ He
    said, ‘He is one of the noblest of the people. By Allaah, if he proposes
    marriage he deserves to be accepted and if he intercedes he deserves to have
    his intercession accepted.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) said nothing. Then another man passed by and the Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked the man with him,
    ‘What do you think of him?’ The man said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he is one of
    the poor Muslims. If he proposes marriage he does not deserve to be accepted,
    if he intercedes he does not deserve to have his intercession accepted, and if
    he speaks he does not deserve to be heard. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘This man is better than an earth full
    of men like the other man.’ ” (al-Fath, 6447).

    According to a report narrated by Ibn
    Maajah: a man passed by the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him), and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said
    (to his Companions),

    “What
    do you think of this man?” They said, “We think that he is one of the noblest
    of people. If he proposes marriage he deserves to be accepted, if he intercedes
    he deserves to have his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he deserves to
    be heard.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said
    nothing. Another man passed by and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) asked, “What do you think of this man?” They said, “By Allaah, O
    Messenger of Allaah, he is one of the poor Muslims. If he proposes marriage he
    does not deserve to be accepted, if he intercedes, he does not deserve to have
    his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he does not deserve to be heard.”
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “This man is
    better than an earth full of men like the other one.” (Sunan Ibn Maajah, ‘Abd
    al-Baaqi edn., no. 4120)

     

    5 - Dealing with mistakes by repeatedly
    reminding people to fear Allaah

    Jundub ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali
    reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) sent a group of Muslims to fight some mushrikeen, and they met in battle.
    One of the mushrikeen was ambushing individual Muslims and killing them. One of
    the Muslims wanted to catch him out and kill him. [Jundub said:] “We used to
    think that that man was Usaamah ibn Zayd. When he raised his sword, the mushrik
    said ‘La ilaaha ill-Allaah,’ but he [Usaamah] killed him. A messenger came to
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and reported to him
    about what had happened in the battle. When he told him about what had happened
    to the mushrik who said Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, the Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) sent for Usaamah and asked him,

    ‘Why
    did you kill him?’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he had caused much grief to
    the Muslims, he killed So-and-so and So-and-so,’ – and he named a number of
    people – ‘I attacked him and when he saw the sword he said Laa ilaaha
    ill-Allaah.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) said, ‘And then you killed him?’ Usaamah said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘What will
    you do when Laa illaha ill-Allaah comes on the Day of Resurrection?’ He said,
    ‘O Messenger of Allaah, pray for forgiveness for me.’” The Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) simply said, “What will you do when Laa ilaaha
    ill-Allaah comes on the Day of Resurrection?” He did not say any more than
    that. (Reported by Muslim, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 97).

    According to a report narrated by
    Usaamah ibn Zayd, he said:

    “The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent us out on
    a military campaign and we reached al-Haraqaat near Juhaynah in the morning.
    [During the battle] I caught a man and he said, ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah,’ but I
    stabbed him. Then I felt bad about that, and I mentioned it to the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘He said Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah and you
    killed him?’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he only said it because he was
    afraid of my weapon.’ He said, ‘How can you know what is in his heart? How can
    you be sure whether he was sincere or not?’ He kept repeating this until I
    wished that I had not become Muslim until that day [because embracing Islam
    wipes out all sins that came before - Translator].” (Reported by Muslim, no.
    69)

    One issue that may be included under
    the heading of reminders is reminding people about the power of Allaah. An
    example of this follows:

    Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him)
    reported that Abu Mas‘ood al-Badri said:

    “I
    was beating a slave of mine with a whip, and I heard a voice behind me saying,
    ‘Listen Abu Mas‘ood!’ but I did not pay any attention to the voice because I
    was so angry. When the voice got nearer to me, I realized that it was the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he was
    saying, ‘Listen Abu Mas‘ood, listen Abu Mas‘ood!’ I dropped the whip from my
    hand (according to another report: the whip fell from my hand out of respect
    for him). He said, ‘Listen Abu Mas‘ood, Allaah has more power over you than you
    have over this slave.’ I said, ‘I will never hit a slave again.’” According to
    another report he said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he is free for the
    sake of Allaah.’ He said, ‘If you did not do this, the Fire of Hell would blow
    in your face, or the Fire would touch you.’ ”

    According to another report also
    narrated by Muslim, “the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) said:

    ‘Certainly
    Allaah has more power over you than you have over him.’ So he freed him.”
    (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1659)

    Abu Mas‘ood al-Ansaari said:

    “I
    was beating a slave of mine when I heard someone saying from behind me,
    ‘Listen, Abu Mas‘ood, listen, Abu Mas‘ood.’ I turned around and saw that it was
    the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said,
    ‘Allaah has more power over you than you have over him.’… I never beat any
    slave of mine after that.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 1948. Abu ‘Eesa said,
    this is a hasan saheeh hadeeth).

     

     

    6 - Showing compassion to the one who
    is making a mistake.
    This
    applies in the case of those who deserve compassion, who feel remorse and show
    that they have repented, as is sometimes the case when people come to ask
    questions and find out, as in the following story. Ibn ‘Abbaas reported that a
    man who had divorced his wife by zihaar and then had intercourse with her came
    to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said,

    “O
    Messenger of Allaah, I divorced my wife by zihaar then I had intercourse with
    her before I offered kafaarah (expiation).” He said, “What made you do that,
    may Allaah have mercy on you?” He said, “I saw her anklets in the moonlight.”
    He said, “Then do not go near her until you have done that which Allaah commanded
    you to do.” (Abu ‘Eesa said, this is a hasan ghareeb saheeh hadeeth. Saheeh
    Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 1199)

    Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased
    with him) said:

    “Whilst
    we were sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a
    man came to him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am doomed!’ He said, ‘What
    is the matter with you?’ He said, ‘I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was
    fasting.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    said, ‘Are you able to set a slave free?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Can you fast
    for two consecutive months?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Do you have the
    wherewithal to feed sixty poor persons?’ He said, ‘No.’ The Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) said nothing more about the matter for a
    while, and whilst we were sitting there like that, a large basket full of dates
    was brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He
    said, ‘Where is the one who was asking?’ The man said, ‘Here I am.’ He said,
    ‘Take this and give it in charity.’ The man said, ‘Who is poorer than me, O
    Messenger of Allaah? By Allaah, there is no family in Madeenah poorer than
    mine.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled until his
    eyeteeth were visible, then he said, ‘Feed your family with it.’” (Reported by
    al-Bukhaari, Fath, 1936).

    This person who had made a mistake and
    came to ask about it was not joking or taking the matter lightly. He felt
    remorseful and guilty, as is clear from his saying “I am doomed.” For this
    reason, he deserved pity and compassion. The report narrated by Ahmad (may
    Allaah have mercy on him) makes the man’s state even clearer:

    Abu
    Hurayrah reported that a Bedouin came, hitting his cheeks and tearing out his
    hair, and saying, “I am sure that I am doomed!” The Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “What makes you doomed?” He
    said, “I had intercourse with my wife during Ramadaan.” He said, “Can you free
    a slave?’ He said, “No.” He said, “Can you fast for two consecutive months?” He
    said, “No.” He said, “Can you feed sixty poor persons?” He said, “No,” and
    mentioned how poor he was. A large basket containing fifteen saa’ of dates was
    brought to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
    and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Where is
    that man? … Feed the poor with this.” He said, “O Messenger of Allaah, there is
    no one in Madeenah who is poorer than my family.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled until his eyeteeth were visible and
    said, “Feed your family.” (Al-Musnad, 2/516. Al-Fath al-Rabaani, 10/89)

     

    7- Not hastening to tell someone he is
    wrong.
    Something
    happened to ‘Umar which he himself told about: “I heard Hishaam ibn Hakeem ibn
    Hizaam reciting Soorat al-Furqaan during the lifetime of the Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). I listened to his
    recitation, and he was reciting it differently to the way that the Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to recite it. I nearly
    interrupted his prayer, but I waited until he had said the salaam, then I
    grabbed him by his cloak and said, ‘Who taught you to recite this soorah I
    heard you reciting?’ He said, ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) taught me to recite it.’ I said, ‘You are lying! The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught me to
    recite it differently.’ I took him to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘I heard him reciting Soorat
    al-Furqaan differently than the way you taught me to recite it.’ The Messenger
    of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    ‘Let
    him go. Recite, O Hishaam.’ He recited it as I had heard him recite it. The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘This is
    how it was revealed.’ Then he said, ‘Recite, O ‘Umar.’ So I recited it as he
    had taught me. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) said, ‘This is how it was revealed. This Qur’an was revealed with seven
    ways of recitation, so recite it in the way that is easiest for you.’ ” (Reported
    by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 4992).

    Among the educational methods we learn
    from this story are the following:

    • Telling
    each one to recite in front of the other and approving their recitation was
    more effective in confirming that both were correct and neither was wrong.

    • When
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told ‘Umar to let go of
    Hishaam, this was preparing both parties to listen in a calm manner. This was
    an indication that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) had been too hasty.

    • A
    person who is seeking knowledge should not be too hasty to condemn any opinion
    that differs from that with which he is familiar; he should first be sure of
    what he is saying, because that opinion may turn out to be a valid scholarly
    opinion.

    Another relevant point is that one should not
    hasten to punish someone who makes a mistake, as we see in the following story:

    An-Nisaa`i
    (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported from ‘Abbaad ibn Sharhabeel (may Allaah
    be pleased with him) who said: “I came with my (paternal) uncles to Madeenah,
    and we entered one of the gardens of the city. I rubbed some of the wheat, and
    the owner of the garden came and took my cloak and hit me. I came to the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asking for his
    help. He sent for that man and they brought him to him. He said to him, ‘What
    made you do that?’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, he went into my garden and
    took some of my wheat and rubbed it.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘You did not teach him if it was the matter of him
    not knowing, and you did not feed him if it was the matter of him being hungry.
    Give him back his cloak.’ And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) ordered that I should be given a wasq or half a wasq (
    measure of wheat).” (Al-Nisaa`i, al-Mujtabaa, Kitaab Aadaab al-Qudaat, Baab
    al-Isti’daa’; Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa`i, no. 4999).

    From this story we learn that we should
    find out the circumstances of the one who is making a mistake or acting in an aggressive
    manner, so that we may know the right way to deal with him.

    We may also note that the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not punish the owner of the garden, because
    he was in the right, but he had handled the matter wrong. He pointed out to him
    that the way he had dealt with someone who knew not better was inappropriate in
    such circumstances, then he taught him how to handle the matter properly, and
    told him to give back the garment he had taken from the hungry man.

     

    8 - Remaining calm when dealing with
    people’s mistakes - especially when being too harsh could make matters worse
    and do more harm than good.

    We can learn this from looking at how the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) dealt with the mistake made by the Bedouin who urinated in
    the mosque, as was reported by Anas ibn Maalik, who said:

    “Whilst
    we were in the mosque with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him), a Bedouin came and stood urinating in the mosque. The
    Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) said, ‘Stop it! Stop it!’ But the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not interrupt him; leave him alone.’ So they
    left him until he had finished urinating, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called him and said to him, ‘In these
    mosques it is not right to do anything like urinating or defecating; they are
    only for remembering Allaah, praying and reading Qur`aan,’ or words to that effect.
    Then he commanded a man who was there to bring a bucket of water and throw it
    over the (urine), and he did so.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 285).

    The principle which the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) followed in dealing with this mistake was
    to treat the man gently, not to be harsh with him. Al-Bukhaari reported from
    Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him):

    “A
    Bedouin urinated in the mosque, and the people got up to sort him out. The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to them,
    ‘Leave him alone, and throw a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to
    make things easy for people, not to make things hard.’ ” (Fath, 6128).

    The Sahaabah, may Allaah be pleased
    with them, were very keen to denounce the bad thing they had seen and to keep
    their mosque clean and pure, as is indicated in the various reports of this
    hadeeth, which describe them as shouting at him, getting up to sort him out,
    rebuking him and hastening to deal with him, or telling him to “Stop it!”
    (Jaami’ al-Usool, 7/83-87). But the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) was thinking of the likely consequences of the two options – stopping
    him or leaving him alone. If they tried to stop him, forcing a man to suppress
    his urination could do him harm, and if he was unable to stop but moved away because
    he was afraid of them, the impurity would be spread over a wider area of the
    mosque and on the man’s body and clothing. The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) had the farsightedness to see that leaving the man alone
    until he had finished urinating was the lesser of two evils, especially since
    the man had already started doing it, and it was a problem that they would be
    able to do something about by cleaning it afterwards. So he told his companions
    to leave him alone and not to interrupt him. He told them to leave him alone
    because this was in the better interests of all and would ward off a worse evil
    by putting up with the lesser evil.

    It was also reported that the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked the man the reason for his action.
    Al-Tabaraani reported in al-Kabeer that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with
    him) said:

    “A
    Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and
    pledged allegiance to him in the mosque. Then he went away and started to
    urinate. The people wanted to stop him, but the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not stop a man when he is urinating.’ Then he
    asked him, ‘Are you not a Muslim?’ He said, ‘Of course.’ He said, ‘What made
    you urinate in our mosque?’ He said, ‘By the One Who sent you with the truth, I
    thought it was just like any other place so I urinated in it.’ The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called for a bucket of water and poured it
    over the urine.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, no. 11552, vol. 11,
    p.220. Al-Haythami said in al-Majma’: its men are the men of saheeh, 2/10).

    This wise manner of dealing with the
    problem had a far-reaching effect on the Bedouin, as is clear from his reaction.
    Ibn Maajah reported that Abu Hurayrah said:

    “A
    Bedouin entered the mosque where the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) was sitting, and said, ‘O Allaah, forgive me and
    Muhammad, and do not forgive anyone else.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled and said, ‘You are narrowing something
    vast.’ Then (the Bedouin) went away to the furthest part of the mosque, opened
    his legs, and began to urinate. After he had learnt better, the Bedouin said,
    ‘He got up, may my mother and my father be sacrificed for him, he did not
    rebuke me or insult me. He just said, “We do not urinate in this mosque; it was
    only built for the remembrance of Allaah and for prayer.” Then he called for a
    bucket of water and poured it over the urine.’ ” (Sunan Ibn Maajah, ‘Abd
    al-Baaqi edn., 529; Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 428).

    Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on
    him) mentioned in his commentary a number of things we learn from the hadeeth
    about the Bedouin, among which are the following:

    • We
    should be gentle when dealing with one who is ignorant and teach him what he
    needs to know without rebuking him, so long as he is not acting out of stubbornness,
    especially if he is one who needs to be won over.

    • The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was kind and dealt nicely
    with him.

    • The
    idea of taking precautions against impurity (najaasah) was well-established in
    the minds of the Sahaabah, which is why they hastened to denounce it in the
    presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) without
    first asking his permission. The idea of enjoining what is good and forbidding
    what is evil was also well-established in their minds.

    • We
    should also hasten to remove anything objectionable when there is nothing to
    stop us from doing so, because when the man had finished urinating, the Prophet
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) issued instructions that the place
    should be cleaned with water.

     

    9 - Explaining the seriousness of the
    mistake.
    Ibn ‘Umar,
    Muhammad ibn Ka’b, Zayd ibn Aslam and Qutaadah reported (the following is
    compiled from their reports) that during the campaign of Tabook, a man said,
    “We have never seen anyone who loves food and tells lies more than our
    reciters, or anyone who is more cowardly on the battlefield” – referring to the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his Companions.
    ‘Awf ibn Maalik said, ‘You are lying! You are a hypocrite, and I am going to
    tell the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ ‘Awf
    went to the Messenger of Allaah to tell him, but found that Qur`aan had already
    been revealed concerning it. That man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him), who was riding his camel, and said, “O Messenger of
    Allaah, we were only talking idly and joking, just to pass time on the
    journey.” Ibn ‘Umar said, “It is as if I can see him hanging onto the reins of
    the Prophet’s camel, with the stones hitting his feet, saying, “We were only
    talking idly and joking,” whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) was reciting (interpretation of the meaning),

    ‘Say:
    Was it at Allaah and His aayaat (signs) and His Messenger that you were
    mocking?’ [al-Tawbah 9:65],

    …no more, no less.”

    Ibn Jareer reported that Ibn ‘Umar (may
    Allaah be pleased with him) said: “During the campaign of Tabook a man said in
    a gathering, ‘We have never seen anyone who loves food and tells lies more than
    our reciters, or anyone who is more cowardly on the battlefield.’ A man who was
    present said, ‘You are lying! You are a hypocrite, and I am going to tell the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),’ and Qur`aan
    was revealed.” ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar said, “I saw him hanging on to the reins
    of the Prophet’s camel, kicking up the stones and saying, ‘O Messenger of Allaah,
    we were only talking idly and joking,’ and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) was saying (interpretation of the meaning),

    “Say:
    Was it at Allaah and His aayaat (signs) and His Messenger that you were
    mocking?” [al-Tawbah 9:65].

    (Tafseer ibn Jareer al-Tabari, 14/333,
    Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, first edn., 1412. Its men are the men of saheeh,
    except Hishaam ibn Sa’d, from whom Muslim did not report except as a corroborating
    report, as in al-Meezaan. It was also reported by al-Tabari with his isnaad,
    and there is a corroborating report with a hasan isnaad recorded by Ibn Haatim
    from the hadeeth of Ka’b ibn Maalik. Saheeh al-Musnad min Asbaab al-Nuzool,
    p.71).

     

    10 - Explaining the harmful effects of
    the mistake.
    Abu
    Tha’labah al-Khashani said: “Whenever the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) broke his journey in a place, the people would disperse
    in the valleys and mountains. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) said,

    ‘Your
    dispersing in these valleys and mountains is from Shaytaan.’ After that he
    never stopped anywhere but they all stayed close together, so much so that if a
    cloak was spread over them, it would cover them all.” (Reported by Abu Dawood
    (may Allaah have mercy on him), in his Sunan, 2286; classed as saheeh by
    al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Abi Dawood, no. 2288).

    According to another report:

    “…
    until you would say that if you were to spread a cloth over them, it would
    cover them.” (Ahmad, al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 14/44).

    Here we may note the Prophet’s concern
    for his Companions, which was the leader’s concern for his troops. The army’s
    dispersing when they made camp was a trick of the Shaytaan to make the Muslims
    scared and to lead the enemy to attack them. (See ‘Awn al-Ma’bood, 7/292).
    Dispersing in this manner would make it hard for one part of the army to come
    to the aid of another part. (See Daleel al-Faaliheen, 6/130).

    We may also note that the Companions of
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) obeyed him in whatever
    instructions they received from him.

    Another example of how the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained how serious and dangerous a mistake
    was is to be seen in the hadeeth of al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer, according to which
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

    “Straighten
    your rows (for prayer), or Allaah will make you divided.” (Reported by
    al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh, Fath, no. 717).

    Muslim reported in his Saheeh from
    Sammaak ibn Harb, who said: “I heard al-Nu’maan ibn Basheer saying, ‘The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to
    straighten our rows strictly, until he realized that we had got the message.
    One day he came out and was about to say takbeer when he noticed a man whose chest
    was sticking out. He said,

    ‘O
    slaves of Allaah, straighten your rows, or Allaah will make you divided.’ ” (Saheeh
    Muslim, no. 436).

    Al-Nisaa`i reported from Anas (may
    Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) said,

    “Make
    your rows firm and close together, and make your necks in a straight line, for
    by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, I see the shayaateen (devils)
    coming among your ranks as if they are small black sheep.” (al-Mujtabaa, 2/92.
    Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa`i, no. 785).

    Explaining bad effects and negative
    consequences is very important when it comes to convincing people that they are
    making a mistake. The consequences may affect the person himself, or they may
    spread to other people. An example of the former is the report narrated by Abu
    Dawood (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Sunan from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah
    be pleased with them both), in which a man cursed the wind. Muslim said that a
    man’s cloak was snatched away by the wind at the time of the Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he cursed the wind. The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    “Do
    not curse it, for it only does as it is commanded, and if a person curses
    something that does not deserve to be cursed, his curse will come back upon
    him.” (Abu Dawood, no. 4908; Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 4102).

    An example of the latter was narrated
    by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Saheeh from ‘Abd
    al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Bakrah from his father, who said: “A man praised another man
    in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).”
    According to a report narrated by Muslim: a man said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah,
    there is no one other than the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) who is better than him in such-and-such.’ (Saheeh Muslim,
    no. 3000). [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said to
    him,

    ‘Woe
    to you! You have cut your companion’s throat! You have cut your companion’s
    throat!’ several times, then he said, ‘If any one of you insists on praising
    his brother, let him say, “I think so-and-so is such-and-such, and Allaah knows
    the exact truth, and I do not confirm anyone’s good conduct before Allaah, but
    I think him to be such-and-such,” if he knows that this is the case.’ ” (2662,
    Kitaab al-Shahaadaat).

    According to a report narrated by
    al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad, Mihjan al-Aslami (may Allaah be pleased with
    him) said:

    “…
    until when we were in the mosque, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) saw a man praying, prostrating and bowing. The Messenger
    of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me, ‘Who is
    this?’ I started to praise him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, this is
    so-and-so, and he is such-and-such.’ (According to another report also in
    al-Adab al-Mufrad, he said, ‘This is so-and-so and he is one of the best people
    in Madeenah in prayer.’) He said, ‘Be quiet, lest he hear you and you destroy
    him.’ ” (Saheeh al-Adab al-Mufrad, 137; al-Albaani said, it is hasan).

    Al-Bukhaari reported that Abu Moosa
    (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

    “The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard a man praising
    another man and going to extremes in that. He said, ‘You have destroyed him’ or
    ‘You have broken the man’s back.’” (Fath 2663).

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) explained that exaggeration when praising someone is a
    mistake which can have bad consequences. It may make the person who is praised
    feel proud, so that his heart is filled with arrogance and self-admiration, and
    he rests on his laurels or starts to show off because he enjoys the praise so
    much. This in turn may lead to his utimate doom, which is what the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant when he said, “You have destroyed him,” or “You have cut the man’s throat,” or “You have broken the man’s back.”

    Moreover, if a person goes to extremes
    in praising someone, and says something he is not certain of, or affirms
    something he could not possibly know, or maybe even tells lies or says something
    to please the person he is praising, this will be a disaster, especially if the
    person he is praising is an oppressor or wrongdoer. (See al-Fath, 10/478).

    Generally speaking, it is not forbidden
    to praise people. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    praised some people in their presence. An important explanation of this topic
    is to be found in Saheeh Muslim, where there is a chapter entitled Baab al-Nahy
    ‘an al-Mad’h idhaa kaana feehi ifraat wa kheefa minhu fitnatun ‘ala’l-mamdooh
    (Chapter: Prohibition of praising others if it is exaggerated or if there is
    the danger of fitnah for the one who is praised). (Kitaab al-Zuhd
    wa’l-Raqaa’iq, Saheeh Muslim).

    The person who sees himself as falling
    short will not be damaged by praise, and if he is praised he will not become
    arrogant, because he knows his own true nature. Some of the salaf said: “If
    a man is praised to his face, let him say: ‘O Allaah, forgive me for what they
    do not know, do not hold me responsible for what they say, and make me better
    than what they think.”
    (Fath, 10/478).

     

    11 - Practical teaching of the one who
    is making a mistake.
    In
    many cases practical teaching is more effective than theoretical teaching. This
    is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did. Jubayr ibn
    Nufayr reported from his father that he came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who called for water, then said,

    “Do
    wudoo’, O Abu Jubayr.” Abu Jubayr started with his mouth, and the Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do not start with
    your mouth, O Abu Jubayr, for the kaafir starts with his mouth.” Then the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called for
    water, and washed his hands until they were clean, then he rinsed his mouth and
    nose three times, washed his face three times, washed his right arm up to the
    elbow three times, and his left arm three times, wiped his head and washed his
    feet. (Reported by al-Bayhaqi in al-Sunan, 1/46; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no.
    2820).

    We may note here that the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) deliberately put this Sahaabi off from
    doing an incorrect action by telling him that the kaafir starts with his mouth;
    the meaning may be that the kaafir does not wash his hands before putting them
    in the vessel (I was told this by Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz when I asked
    him about the interpretation of this hadeeth), and that this is not hygienic.
    And Allaah knows best.

     

    12 - Offering a sound alternative. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas‘ood said, “When we
    prayed with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), we used to
    say, “Peace be upon Allaah from His slaves, peace be upon so-and-so.”
    (According to a report narrated by al-Nisaa`i, he said, “Peace be upon Jibreel,
    peace be upon Mikaa’eel.” Al-Mujtabaa: Kitaab al-Tatbeeq, Baab Kayfa
    al-Tashahhud al-Awwal. See also Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa`i, no. 1119). The Prophet
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    “Do
    not say, ‘Peace be upon Allaah,’ for Allaah is ‘The Peace’ (al-Salaam). But you
    should say, ‘Al-Tahiyyaatu Lillaahi wa’l-salawaatu wa’l-tayyibaat, al-salaamu
    ‘alayka ayyuha’l-Nabiyyu wa rahmat-Allaahi wa barakaatuhu, wa’l-salaamu
    ‘alaynaa wa ‘alaa ‘ibaad-Illaah il-saaliheen.’ If you say this, it will include
    every slave of Allaah in heaven or between heaven and earth. [Then say:] ‘I
    bear witness that there is no god except Allaah and I bear witness that
    Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.’ Then choose whichever du’aa’ you like,
    and recite it.” (al-Bukhaari, Fath, 835).

    Another report that deals with this
    topic was narrated by Anas (may Allaah be please with him), who said that the
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw some sputum in the
    direction of the qiblah and this upset him so much that his anger could be seen
    on his face. He stood up and removed it with his hand, then said,

    “When
    any one of you stands up to pray, he is talking to his Lord. His Lord is
    between him and the qiblah, so no one of you should spit in the direction of
    the qiblah; he should spit to his left or under his feet.” Then he took the
    edge of his cloak, spat on it and rubbed part of it against another part and
    said, “Or do like this.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 405).

    Another example was reported by Abu Sa‘eed
    al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “Bilaal came to the
    Prophet with some good-quality dates, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) asked him,

    ‘Where
    is this from?’ Bilaal said, ‘We had some poor-quality dates, and I sold two
    measures of those for one measure of these so that we could give them to the
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ When he heard that, the
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Oh, oh! The essence
    of ribaa, the essence of ribaa! Do not do that. If you want to buy, sell your
    dates for something else, then buy it.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 2312).

    According to another report, one day a
    slave belonging to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    brought him some fresh dates, but the Prophet’s dates were dry, so the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    ‘Where
    did you get these dates from?’ He said, ‘We bought a measure of these for two
    measures of our dates.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    said, ‘Do not do this, because it is not right. Sell your dates first, then buy
    whatever dates you want.’ (Musnad Ahmad, 3/67).

    But in the case of some da‘iyahs and
    people who seek to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, we notice that
    there is a shortcoming in their methods when they denounce some of the mistakes
    that people make. They only point out the mistakes and denounce them as haraam,
    without offering an alternative or explaining what must be done if one makes a
    mistake. It is known that the method of Islam is to offer alternatives to make
    up for any benefits that may have been gained through the haraam practice. When
    zinaa (fornication, adultery) was forbidden, marriage was allowed and
    prescribed; when ribaa (usury, interest) was forbidden, trading was allowed;
    when pork, dead meat and the flesh of every creature that has fangs or talons were
    forbidden, the meat of properly-slaughtered cattle and other animals was
    allowed, and so on. If a person does fall into error, Islam shows him the way
    out, through repentance and expiation, as is explained in the texts on
    kafaaraat (acts of expiation). So those who seek to call others to Islam must
    follow the sharee’ah in offering alternatives and finding acceptable ways out.
    (Another example of offering an alternative is to quote saheeh ahaadeeth which
    will replace da’eef and fabricated ahaadeeth).

    It is worth pointing out here that
    offering alternatives is something that depends on what is possible. Sometimes
    a mistake may be something that has to be stopped, but there is no realistic alternative,
    either because the general situation is bad and people are far removed from the
    sharee’ah of Allaah, or because the one who is seeking to enjoin what is good
    and forbid what is evil cannot remember what the alternative is – all he wants
    to do is denounce the mistake and change it, even if he has no alternative to
    offer. This happens a great deal in the case of financial dealings and
    investment organizations, which emerged in kaafir societies and were brought,
    complete with all their Islamically unacceptable features, to Muslim societies;
    the Muslims have shortcomings and weaknesses that prevent them from creating
    Islamic alternatives and applying them everywhere. So those shortcomings and
    weaknesses remain, even though the divine methodology contains alternatives and
    ways out that could alleviate the Muslims’ hardships, and there are some who
    know this and some who do not.

     

    13 - Guiding people to that which will
    prevent them from making mistakes.
    Abu
    Umaamah ibn Sahl ibn Haneef reported that his father told him that the Messenger
    of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out, and they
    travelled with him in the direction of Makkah, until they reached the ravine of
    al-Khazzaar near al-Juhfah. Sahl ibn Haneef did ghusl, and he was a white man
    with a handsome body and beautiful skin. ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah, the brother of
    Banu ‘Adiyy ibn Ka’b looked at him whilst he was doing ghusl and said, ‘I have
    never seen anything like what I have seen today, not even the skin of the
    virgin who is hidden away!’ [referring to the whiteness of his skin]. Sahl fell
    to the ground (he had an epileptic fit). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and it was said to him,

    ‘Do
    you want to see Sahl? By Allaah, he cannot raise his head or wake up.’ He
    asked, ‘Whose fault is this?’ They said, ‘ ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah looked at him.’
    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called
    ‘Aamir and rebuked him angrily, and said, ‘Why would any one of you kill his
    brother? If any one of you sees that his brother has something he likes, let
    him pray for blessing for him.’ Then he said to him, ‘Bathe yourself to help
    him’. So he washed his face, his hands up to the elbows, his knees, the sides
    of his feet and inside his izaar (lower garment) in a vessel. Then the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Pour that water over him.’ So he
    poured the water over his head and back from behind, tilting the vessel, and
    Sahl went with the people and there was nothing wrong with him.” (Al-Musnad,
    3/486. Al-Haythami said, the men of Ahmad are the men of saheeh. Al-Majma’,
    5/107)

    According to a report narrated by
    Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him), Muhammad ibn Abi Umaamah ibn Sahl ibn
    Haneef said that he heard his father saying: “Abu Sahl ibn Haneef did ghusl in
    al-Kharraar and took off the garment he was wearing. ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah was
    looking at him, and Sahl was a white man with beautiful skin. ‘Aamir ibn Rabee’ah
    said to him, ‘I have never seen anything like what I have seen today, not even
    the skin of the virgin!’. Sahl fell ill on the spot and became seriously ill.
    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and
    was told, ‘Sahl has fallen ill, and cannot go with you, O Messenger of Allaah.’
    Sahl told him what had happened with ‘Aamir, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    ‘Why
    would any one of you kill his brother? You should have asked for blessing for
    him. The (evil) eye is real. Do wudoo’ to help him.” So ‘Aamir did wudoo’, and
    Sahl went with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him), and there was nothing wrong with him. (Al-Muwatta’, hadeeth no. 1972).

    What we learn from this story is:

    • The
    teacher (i.e., the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) got angry
    with the one who caused harm to his Muslim brother.

    • He
    explained the harmful effects of the mistake and that it could lead to death.

    • He
    pointed the way to that which would prevent harm befalling a Muslim.

     

    14 - Not confronting people directly
    with their mistakes and addressing the issue in general terms may be sufficient.
    Anas ibn Maalik said:

    “The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘What is the matter
    with some people who raise their gaze to the heavens whilst they are praying?’
    He spoke so harshly about them that he said, ‘They should stop doing that, or
    else Allaah will take away their sight.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath,
    hadeeth no. 750).

    When ‘Aa`ishah wanted to buy a slave-woman whose name was
    Bareerah, her owners refused to sell her except with the condition that she
    would still be connected to them. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) found out about this, he stood up to address the people,
    praised and thanked Allaah, then said,

    “What
    is wrong with men who impose conditions which are not mentioned in the Book of
    Allaah? There is no condition that is not mentioned in the Book of Allaah but
    it is invalid, even if there were one hundred such conditions. The decree of
    Allaah is more true, the conditions laid down by Allaah are more binding, and
    wala’ (connection, loyalty, allegiance) is to the one who sets the slave free.”
    (Reported by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) in numerous places in
    his Saheeh. See Fath, 5636).

    ‘Aa`ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:

    “The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did something and made it
    permissible, but some people felt that they were above doing that. News of this
    reached the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so he
    addressed the people. He praised and thanked Allaah, then he said, ‘What is the
    matter with people who think themselves above doing the things that I do? By Allaah,
    I know more about Allaah than they do, and I fear Him more than they do.’”
    (Fath, 6101).

    Abu Hurayrah reported that the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw sputum in
    the qiblah of the mosque, so he turned to the people and said,

    “What
    is wrong with one of you that he stands facing his Lord and spits in front of
    Him? Would any of you like someone to face him and spit in his face? If any one
    of you wants to spit, let him spit towards his left, under his feet, and if he
    cannot do this, let him do this” – and al-Qaasim described how he spat on his
    garment and rubbed one part of it against another part. (Saheeh Muslim, no.
    550).

    Al-Nisaa`i reported in his Sunan that
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) prayed Salaat al-Subh
    and recited Soorat al-Room, but got mixed up in his recitation. When he had
    finished praying, he said,

    “What
    is the matter with people who pray with us but do not purify themselves
    properly? Such people are the ones who make us get mixed up when we recite Qur`aan.”
    (Sunan al-Nisaa`i, al-Mujtabaa, 2/156. Its men are thiqaat, but al-Haafiz said
    about ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Umayr that he was thiqah but his memory changed and he
    may have fabricated reports).

    Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him)
    reported that Abu Rawh al-Kalaa’i said:

    “The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) led us in
    prayer and recited Soorat al-Room, but he got mixed up in part of the
    recitation. He said, ‘The Shaytaan made us get mixed up in our recitation,
    because of some people who come to the prayer without wudoo’. When you come to
    pray, do wudoo’ properly.’”

    He also reported from Shu’bah from ‘Abd
    al-Malik ibn ‘Umayr, who said: “I heard Shabeeb Abu Rawh narrating from a man
    from among the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    prayed Salaat al-Subh and recited Soorat al-Room, and got mixed up, and he
    narrated (the same hadeeth).” (It was also reported from Zaa’idah and Sufyaan
    from ‘Abd al-Malik. Al-Musnad, 3/473).

    There are many examples, all of which
    indicate that the identity of the person who has made the mistake need not be
    exposed. This indirect approach and avoiding a direct confrontation has a
    number of benefits, including the following:

    1. It
    avoids a negative reaction on the part of the person who has made the mistake,
    and prevents him from being tempted by the Shaytaan to avenge himself or defend
    himself.

    2. It
    is more acceptable to people and is more effective.

    3. It
    conceals the person’s mistake in front of other people.

    4. It
    increases the status of the educator and makes the advisor more beloved.

    It must be pointed out that this method
    of using hints to convey a ruling to a person who has made a mistake, without
    exposing him and causing him embarrassment, is only to be used when what he has
    done is not known to the majority of people. If most of the people do know what
    he has done, and he knows that they know, then this method would be more in the
    nature of a rebuke and scolding, and exposing him in the most hurtful manner.
    The one who has made a mistake would most likely rather be confronted directly
    than be dealt with in this manner. Among the factors that can make a difference
    are: who is giving the advice, in the presence of whom the advice is being
    given, and whether the advice is given in a provocative and aggressive manner,
    or in a kindly and gentle manner.

    Indirect methods of teaching people may
    be of benefit to the one who has made the mistake and to others, if they are
    used wisely.

     

    15 - Provoking public opinion against
    the one who has made the mistake. This method is only to be used in very
    limited circumstances, when a great deal of thought has been given to the matter,
    to avoid any negative escalation of the situation. There follows an example of
    how the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used this method. Abu
    Hurayrah said:

    “A
    man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and
    complained to him about his neighbour. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) said, ‘Go and put up with him.’ The man came back two or three
    times, then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Go
    and put your belongings out in the street.’ So he went and put his belongings
    out in the street. People started to ask him what was going on, so he told
    them, and the people started to curse (the neighbour), saying, ‘May Allaah do
    such-and-such to him.’ Then the neighbour came to him and said, ‘Put your stuff
    back, you will not see anything else from me that you dislike.’” (Reported by
    Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Adab, Baab fi Haqq al-Jiwaar, no. 5153; Saheeh Abi Dawood,
    4292).

    This method has an opposite counterpart
    which is used in other circumstances to protect people from the public’s harm,
    as will be explained below:

     

    16 - Avoiding helping the Shaytaan
    against the one who is making a mistake. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab reported that at
    the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), there was
    a man called ‘Abd-Allaah whose nickname was Himaar (donkey), who used to make
    the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) laugh. The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had him whipped for
    drinking – he was brought to him one day and the Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) gave orders that he should be whipped. One of the men
    present said, “O Allaah, curse him! How often has he been brought [to be
    punished because of drinking]!” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) said,

    “Do
    not curse him, for by Allaah, all I know of him is that he loves Allaah and His
    Messenger.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 6780).

    Abu Hurayrah said: “A drunkard was
    brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he
    ordered that he should be beaten, so some of us hit him with our hands, others
    with shoes and garments. When he went away, a man said, ‘May Allaah put him to
    shame!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    said,

    ‘Do
    not be a help to the Shaytaan against your brother.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari,
    al-Fath, 6781).

    Abu Hurayrah also said:

    “A
    man who had been drinking was brought to the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) and he said, ‘Beat him.’ Some of us hit him with our hands,
    others with shoes and clothes. When he went away, some of the people said, ‘May
    Allaah put you to shame!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not speak like this. Do not help the Shaytaan
    against him.’” (Al-Bukhaari, Fath, 6777)

    According to another report:

    “Then
    the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to his
    Companions, ‘Rebuke him.’ So they turned to him and said, ‘You did not think of
    Allaah, you did not fear Allaah, you did not feel ashamed before the Messenger
    of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ Then they let him go,
    and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Say, “O Allaah,
    forgive him, O Allaah, have mercy on him”’ and some of them added similar sentiments.”
    (Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-Hudood, Baab al-Hadd fi’l-Khamr, no. 4478, 4/620.
    Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 3759).

    According to another report:

    “When
    he went away, some of the people said, ‘May Allaah put you to shame!’ The Messenger
    of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Do not speak like
    this, do not help the Shaytaan against him. Say “May Allaah have mercy on
    you.”’” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/300. Ahmad Shaakir said, its isnaad is saheeh.
    Al-Musnad, ed. by Ahmad Shaakir, no. 7973).

    What we learn from all of these reports
    is that if the Muslim falls into sin, he is still basically a Muslim and still
    basically loves Allaah and His Messenger, and this should not be denied. It is
    not permitted to pray against him in a manner that helps the Shaytaan against
    him; rather we should pray for him and ask Allaah to guide him, forgive him and
    have mercy on him.

     

    17 - Asking the person to stop doing
    the wrong action. It is very important to make the person stop the wrong deed
    so that it does not get any worse and so that there is no delay in the denunciation
    of evil.
    ‘Umar
    reported that he said, “No, by my father.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    “Stop!
    Whoever swears by something other than Allaah, is guilty of shirk.” (Reported
    by Imaam Ahmad, 1/47. Ahmad Shaakir said, its isnaad is saheeh. No. 329)

    Abu Dawood reported in his Sunan that
    ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Busr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said, “A man came
    stepping over the necks on the people (in the mosque) one Friday, whilst the
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was delivering the khutbah.
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    ‘Sit down!
    You are causing a disturbance.’”

    Al-Tirmidhi reported that Ibn ‘Umar
    said: “A man burped in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him). He said,

    ‘Keep
    your burps away from us! The ones who fill their stomachs most in this world,
    will be the ones who remain hungry longest on the Day of Resurrection. (Abu
    ‘Eesa said, this is a ghareeb hasan hadeeth with this isnaad. Sunan
    al-Tirmidhi, no. 2478; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 343.)

    These ahaadeeth show a direct request
    to the person who is making the mistake to stop what he is doing.

     

    18 - Explaining to the person who is
    making a mistake how to put things right.
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    did this in a number of ways, including the following:

    - Drawing an individual’s attention to
    his mistake so that he could put it right himself. An example of this is the
    report narrated by Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him), who
    said that he was with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him), and “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered
    and saw a man sitting in the middle of the mosque, clasping his fingers
    together and talking to himself. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) gestured towards him, but he did not notice. So he turned to Abu Sa‘eed
    and said,

    ‘If
    one of you is praying, he should not clasp his fingers together, because this
    clasping comes from the Shaytaan, and you are in a state of prayer so long as
    you are still in the mosque, until you go out.’” (Reported by Ahmad in his
    Musnad, 3/54. Al-Haythami said in al-Majma’ (2/25): its isnaad is hasan).

    - Asking the person to do something
    again, correctly, if this is possible. Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with
    him) reported that a man entered the mosque whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sitting in a far corner. He prayed,
    then he came and greeted him with salaam. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    “Wa
    ‘alayka al-salaam, go back and pray, because you have not prayed.” So he went
    back and prayed, then he came back and greeted the Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him), who said, “Wa ‘alayka al-salaam, go back and pray,
    because you have not prayed.” On the second occasion, or subsequently, the man
    said, “Teach me, O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “When you stand up to pray,
    do wudoo’ properly, then face the qiblah and say Takbeer (‘Allaahu akbar’).
    Then recite whatever is easy for you of Qur`aan, then bow until you are at ease
    in rukoo’, then stand up until your back is completely straight. Then prostrate
    until you are at ease in sujood, then sit up until you are at ease in your
    sitting, then prostrate again until you are at ease in your sujood, then sit up
    again until you are at ease in your sitting. Do this in all your prayers.”
    (Reported by all; this version reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 6251).

    We should note that the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pay attention to the actions of
    the people around him so that he could teach them. According to a report
    narrated by al-Nisaa`i:

    “A
    man entered the mosque and prayed, whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) was watching him and we did not realize. When
    he finished, he turned and greeted the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him), who told him, ‘Go back and pray, for you have not
    prayed’…” (2/193 Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa`i, no. 1008).

    Among the qualities of the educator is
    that he should be aware of the actions of those who are with him.

    1. It
    is a part of educational wisdom to ask a person who has made a mistake to re-do
    his action, so that he can notice his mistake and put it right himself,
    especially when it is an obvious mistake that does not befit him. He may have
    done it out of forgetfulness, so this will remind him.

    2. If
    the person who has made a mistake does not realize it, it must be pointed out
    and explained to him.

    3. Giving
    information to a person who is interested and has asked about it himself is
    more effective and is more likely to be remembered than handing it out to
    someone who has not made any such enquiries.

    The methods of teaching are many, and
    the educator can choose whichever are best suited in any given circumstances.

    Another example of asking a person to
    repeat his action correctly is given by Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him)
    in his Saheeh, where he reports that Jaabir said:


    ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab told me that a man did wudoo’, but missed an area on his
    foot the size of a fingernail. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) saw him and said, ‘Go back and do your wudoo’ properly.’ So he went
    and did it again, then he prayed.” (Saheeh Muslim, 243).

    A third example was narrated by
    al-Tirmidhi (may Allaah have mercy on him) in his Sunan from Kildah ibn Hanbal,
    who said that Safwaan ibn Umayyah sent him with some milk, yoghurt and
    daghaabees [an edible plant] to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him), when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was at
    the top of the valley. He said,

    “I
    entered upon him, and I did not greet him with salaam or ask permission to
    enter, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Go out
    and say “Al-salaamu ‘alaykum, may I enter?” ’ ” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no.
    2710. Al-Tirmidhi said, a ghareeb hasan hadeeth. The hadeeth is also in Saheeh
    Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2180).

     

    - Asking the person who has made the
    mistake to correct it as much as he can. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on
    it) reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) said,

    “No
    man should be alone with a woman unless he is a mahram (close blood relative to
    whom marriage is permanently forbidden).” A man stood up and said, “O Messenger
    of Allaah, my wife has gone out for Hajj and I have signed up for such-and-such
    a military campaign.” He said, “Go back and do Hajj with your wife.” (al-Fath,
    5233).

     

    - Putting right the consequences of the
    mistake. Al-Nisaa`i (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Sunan from
    ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) and said,

    “I
    have come to pledge allegiance to you and to make hijrah (migration) to you. I
    have left my parents weeping.” He said, “Go back to them and make them smile as
    you made them weep.” (Al-Majmaa 7/143. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in
    Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa`i, no. 3881).

     

    - Offering kafaarah (expiation) for the
    mistake. If some mistakes cannot be corrected or reversed, then there are other
    ways offered by Islam for wiping out their effects. One of these ways is
    kafaaraat or acts of expiation, of which there are many types, such as kafaarat
    al-yameen (expiation for swearing an unfulfilled oath), and expiation for zihaar
    (a jaahili form of divorce in which one says to one's wife “You are to me as my
    mother’s back”), manslaughter, having intercourse during the day in Ramadaan,
    and so on.

     

     

    19 - Denouncing only the mistake whilst
    accepting the rest.
    It
    may be the case that not all of what a person says or does is wrong, so it is
    wise to limit our denunciation only to that which is wrong, and not to
    generalize by condemning everything that is said or done as being wrong. This
    is indicated in the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on
    him) in his Saheeh from al-Rubay’ bint Mu’awwadh ibn ‘Afraa’, who said:

    “The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came and entered, and sat
    down on my bed the way you sat down. Some young girls of ours began beating on
    the daff (hand-drum) and singing songs eulogizing those of our forefathers who
    had been killed at Badr. Then one of them said, ‘Among us there is a Prophet
    who knows the future.’ He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him)] said: ‘Do not say that; say what you were saying before.’” (Fath, 5147).
    According to a report narrated by al-Tirmidhi: “… The Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her: ‘Do not say this; say what
    you were saying before.’” (Abu ‘Eesa said: this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth.
    Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Shaakir edn., 1090). According to a report narrated by Ibn
    Maajah, he said: “Do not say this; no one knows the future except Allaah.”
    (Sunan Ibn Maajah, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 1879. Classed as saheeh by
    al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah, no. 1539).

    There is no doubt that this kind of
    treatment makes the person feel that the one who is striving to point out mistakes
    and correct them is fair and just, and this makes him more likely to accept his
    advice. This is in contrast to some of those who want to denounce errors, but
    get so angry with the mistake committed that they go to extremes in their
    denunciation and condemn everything done and said by the one who has made the
    mistake, good and bad alike. This makes the person reject what they say and refuse
    to follow their advice.

    In some cases, the mistake consists not
    of the words themselves, but the occasion or context in which they are uttered.
    For example, when somebody dies, one person may say, “Al-Faatihah,” and
    everyone present will recite it. They believe that there is nothing wrong with
    this because what they are reciting is Qur`aan, not words of kufr. It has to be
    explained to them that what is wrong with this action is thinking that we should
    recite al-Faatihah on such occasions as an act of worship without any shar'i
    evidence for doing so, which is the essence of bid’ah. This is what Ibn ‘Umar
    (may Allaah be pleased with him) pointed out to a man who sneezed beside him
    and said, “Al-hamdu Lillaahi wa’l-salaam ‘ala Rasool- Illaah (Praise be to
    Allaah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah).” Ibn ‘Umar said, “I could
    say ‘Al-hamdu Lillaahi wa’l-salaam ‘ala Rasool- Illaah’, but this is not how
    the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us.
    He taught us to say ‘Al-hamdu Lillaahi ‘ala kulli haal (Praise be to Allaah
    whatever the circumstances).” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 2738).

     

    20 - Restoring rights and preserving
    positions.
    Muslim reported
    that ‘Awf ibn Maalik said:

    “A man of Humayr killed one of the
    enemy and wanted to take his possessions as booty, but Khaalid ibn al-Waleed,
    who was in charge of the campaign, prevented him from doing so. ‘Awf ibn Maalik
    came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and
    told him about it. He asked Khaalid, ‘What stopped you from giving him his
    booty?’ Khaalid said, ‘I thought it was too much, O Messenger of Allaah.’ The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Give it to him.’ Then
    Khaalid passed by ‘Awf, who pulled his cloak and said, ‘Did I not do what I
    told you I would do with regard to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him)?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) heard him and got angry, and said, ‘Do not give it to him, O
    Khaalid! Do not give it to him, O Khaalid! Why do you not leave my commanders
    alone? The likeness of you and them is that of a man who is asked to take care
    of camels or sheep, so he takes care of them, then when it is time for them to
    drink, he takes them to a trough and they start to drink, and they drink the
    clean water and leave the dregs behind. You take the clean water and leave the
    dregs for them [the commanders].’” (Muslim bi Sharh al-Nawawi, 12/64)

    Imaam Ahmad transmitted a more complete
    version of this report from ‘Awf ibn Maalik al-Ashja’i, who said:

    “We went out on a military campaign on
    the border of Syria,
    and Khaalid ibn al-Waleed was appointed as our commander. A man belonging to
    Humayr came and joined our band, and he had nothing but a sword, no other
    weapon. One of the Muslims slaughtered a camel and that man kept trying to
    snatch something until he managed to grab a piece of skin the shape of a
    shield. He spread it on the ground and cured it until it was dry, then he made
    a handle for it, like a shield. We met with the enemy, who were a mixed group
    of Romans and Arabs from (the tribe of) Qudaa’ah. They fought us fiercely.
    Among them was a Roman on a palomino horse with a golden-coloured saddle and a
    gold-plated belt, and a sword of similar material. He started attacking and challenging
    the people, and that Madadi man kept dodging around the Roman until he
    approached him from behind and struck the horse’s hamstring with his sword. The
    Roman fell off, and the man followed that with a blow from his sword that
    killed him. When Allaah granted them victory, the man came asking about the
    booty, and the people bore witness that he had killed [that Roman], so Khaalid
    gave him some of the booty and withheld the rest. When he came back to ‘Awf’s
    band, he told him about it, and ‘Awf said, ‘Go back to him and let him give you
    the rest.’ So he went back, but [Khaalid] refused to give it to him. ‘Awf went
    to Khaalid and said, ‘Do you not know that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) ruled that the booty should go to the one who
    kills?’ He said, ‘Of course.’ He said, ‘So what is stopping you from giving him
    his booty?’ He said, ‘I thought it was too much to give to him.’ ‘Awf said,
    ‘When I see the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    I am going to tell him about this.’ When he came to Madeenah, ‘Awf sent the man
    and he complained to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called
    Khaalid, whilst ‘Awf was sitting there, and said:

    ‘O
    Khaalid, what stopped you from giving this man his spoils of war?’ He said, ‘I
    thought it was too much for him, O Messenger of Allaah.’ [The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said, ‘Give it to him.’ [Khaalid] passed
    by ‘Awf, and ‘Awf pulled on his cloak and said, ‘Wasn’t it enough for you what
    I told you about the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him)?’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    heard him and got angry, and said, ‘Do not give it to him, O Khaalid. Why do
    you not leave my commanders alone? The likeness of you and them is that of a
    man who is asked to take care of camels or sheep, so he takes care of them,
    then when it is time for them to drink, he takes them to a trough and they
    start to drink, and they drink the clean water and leave the dregs behind. You
    take the clean water and leave the dregs for them [the commanders].’”

    We may note here that when Khaalid made
    a mistake in his decision (ijtihaad) to withhold the large amount of booty from
    the killer, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded
    that the matter should be put right by giving the booty to its rightful owner,
    but he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got angry when he heard ‘Awf
    (may Allaah be pleased with him) making insinuations about Khaalid and poking
    fun at him by saying,

    “Did
    I not do what I told you I would do with regard to the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?” and pulling on Khaalid’s cloak when he
    walked past him, so he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Do
    not give it to him, O Khaalid.”

    This was for the purpose of reinstating
    and reinforcing the position of the commander and leader, because upholding the
    leader’s position in front of the people serves an obvious purpose.

    But the following question may arise:
    If the killer had the right to the booty, how could he deny it to him?
    Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) answered this query with two possible
    outcomes:

    Either he gave the booty to the man
    later on, and he delayed it as a punishment to him and to ‘Awf for saying what
    they said to Khaalid (may Allaah be pleased with him) and showing disrespect to
    the commander and the one who had appointed him; or the one who had the right
    to take it gave it up willingly and donated it for the Muslims, and the point
    of this was to make Khaalid (may Allaah be pleased with him) feel better for
    the purpose of upholding the position of leaders. (Al-Fath al-Rabbaani, 14/8 4)

    Further evidence concerning restoration
    of the position of the person who has been wronged comes in the report narrated
    in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad from Abu Tufayl ‘Aamir ibn Waathilah, that a man
    passed by a group of people and greeted them with salaam, and they returned the
    greeting, but when he had gone, one of them said, “By Allaah, I hate this man
    for the sake of Allaah.” The others present said, “What a bad thing to say! By
    Allaah, we are going to tell him. Get up, O So-and-So – one of the people present
    – and tell him.” So their messenger caught up with him and told him what had
    been said. The man went to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I passed by a group of
    Muslims among whom was So-and-So. I greeted them with salaam and they returned
    the greeting, and when I had left, one of them caught up with me and told me
    that So-and-So had said, ‘By Allaah, I hate this man for the sake of Allaah.’
    Call him and ask him why he hates me.” So the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) called him and asked him about what the man
    had said. He admitted it and said, “I did say that, O Messenger of Allaah.” The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    “Why
    do you hate him?” He said, “I am his neighbour and I know him very well. By
    Allaah, I have never seen him pray any prayer except the prescribed prayer
    which everyone, good and bad alike, prays.” The man said, “Ask him, O Messenger
    of Allaah, has he ever seen me delaying any prayer, or not doing wudoo’
    properly, or not doing rukoo’ and sujood properly?” He said, “No,” then he
    said, “By Allaah, I have never seen him fast at all except this month which
    everyone, good and bad alike, fasts.” He said, “O Messenger of Allaah, has he
    ever seen me breaking my fast during [that month], or doing anything to
    invalidate my fast?” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) asked him, and he said, “No,” then he said, “By Allaah, I have never
    seen him giving to any needy person or spending any of his wealth for the sake
    of Allaah except for this charity [zakaah] which everyone, good and bad alike,
    gives.” He said, “Ask him, O Messenger of Allaah, have I ever withheld any part
    of the zakaah or kept it back from the one who asked for it?” The Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him and he said, “No.”
    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “I
    don’t know, maybe he is better than you.”

    Immediately following this report in
    al-Musnad, it says the following: “Ya’qoob told us, my father told us from Ibn
    Shihaab, that he was told that a man at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) passed by a group of people. He did not mention
    Abu al-Tufayl. Abu ‘Abd-Allaah said: I heard that Ibraaheem ibn Sa’d reported
    this hadeeth from his memory and said concerning Abu al-Tufayl that his son
    Ya’qoob narrated from his father, but he did not mention Abu al-Tufayl. I think
    he is mistaken, and the report of Ya’qoob is saheeh, And Allaah knows best.”
    (Al-Musnad, 5/455. Al-Haythami said: the men of Ahmad are thiqaat. Athbaat
    al-Majma’, 1/291).

    It is very important to maintain a
    person’s position after he has repented from his mistake and set matters
    straight, so that he will remain on the right path and live a normal life among
    people. It was reported in the story of the Makhzoomi woman who had her hand
    cut off (for stealing), which was reported by ‘Aa`ishah (may Allaah be pleased
    with her), that “she repented properly later on, and she got married and used
    to come to me and I would tell the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon her) what she needed.” (Saheeh Muslim, no. 1688).

     

    21 - Addressing both parties in cases
    where the blame is shared. In many cases, the blame is shared and the person
    who makes a mistake may himself have been wronged, but the blame is not to be
    shared equally. In this case both parties must be addressed and advised. There
    follows an example. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Abi Awfaa said: “ ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf
    complained about Khaalid ibn al-Waleed to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) said:

    ‘Do
    not upset any of those who were present at Badr, for even if you were to spend
    gold equal to the size of Uhud, your deeds would not equal theirs.’ He said,
    ‘They insulted me first, and I responded.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Do not upset Khaalid, for he is one of the swords of
    Allaah sent against the kuffaar.’” (Al-Haythami said: the men of al-Tabaraani
    are thiqaat. Al-Majma’, 9/349. See also al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer by al-Tabaraani,
    hadeeth no. 3801).

     

    22 - Asking the person to forgive the
    one who wronged him.
    Anas
    ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Arabs used to serve one
    another when they were travelling, and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar had a man with them
    who was serving them. They fell asleep then woke up, and he had not prepared
    any food for them. One of them said to the other, ‘This man sleeps too much.’
    (This is in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Daar al-Sha’b edn. According to the version
    quoted by al-Albaani in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 2608, …). They woke him up
    and said, ‘Go to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) and tell him that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar send their salaams to you and are
    asking for food.’ He (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him))
    said:

    ‘Send
    my salaams to them and tell them that they have already eaten.’ They got
    worried, so they came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, we sent word to you asking for food, and
    you told us that we had already eaten? What have we eaten?’ He said, ‘The flesh
    of your brother. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I can see his flesh
    between your teeth” – meaning the flesh of the one about whom they had
    backbitten.’ They said, ‘Ask for forgiveness for us.’ He said, ‘Let him ask for
    forgiveness for you.’” (Al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, no. 2608. It was attributed to
    al-Kharaa’iti in Masaawa’ al-Akhlaaq and to al-Diya’ in al-Mukhtaarah. Ibn
    Katheer mentioned it in his tafseer of Soorat al-Hujuraat, 7/363, Dar al-Sha’b
    edn.)

     

    23 - Reminding a person of the good
    qualities of the one whom he has wronged, so that he will regret what he has
    done and will apologize.

    This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did in the
    situation that arose between Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with
    them. Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh, Kitaab
    al-Tafseer, that Abu’l-Darda’ said: “There was a dispute between Abu Bakr and
    ‘Umar. Abu Bakr made ‘Umar angry, so he went away angry, and Abu Bakr followed
    him, asking him to seek forgiveness for him, but he did not do that, and he
    shut his door in his face. Abu Bakr turned around and went to the Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and we were sitting with
    him. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

    ‘This
    companion of yours has gotten involved in a dispute.’ Then ‘Umar regretted what
    he had done, so he came, gave the greeting of salaam, and sat down by the
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He told the Messenger of Allaah
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) what had happened. The Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got angry, and Abu Bakr
    started to say, ‘By Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, I am more wrong.’ The Messenger
    of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Are you going to
    leave my companion alone? Are you going to leave my companion alone? I have
    told the people: I am the Messenger of Allaah to all of you, and you (all)
    said, “You are a liar,” but Abu Bakr said, “You are telling the truth.” ’ ”
    (Fath 4640).

    Al-Bukhaari also narrated this story in
    Kitaab al-Manaaqib (the Book of Virtues) in his Saheeh, from Abu’l-Darda’, who
    said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) when Abu Bakr came along, holding the hem of his garment up in such a way
    that his knees could be seen. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) said:

    ‘Your
    companion has gotten involved in a dispute.’ [Abu Bakr] gave the greeting of
    salaam, then said: ‘There is something between me and the son of al-Khattaab. I
    upset him, then I regretted it, and I asked him to forgive me, but he refused,
    so I have come to you.’ He said, ‘May Allaah forgive you, O Abu Bakr,’ three
    times. Then ‘Umar regretted (what he had done), so he came to Abu Bakr’s house,
    asking, ‘Is Abu Bakr there?’ They said, ‘No.’ So he came to the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and signs of anger were so visible on the
    Prophet’s face that Abu Bakr felt sorry. He knelt down and said. ‘O Messenger
    of Allaah, by Allaah, I was more wrong,’ twice. The Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘Allaah sent me to all of you, and you (all) said,
    “He is a liar,” but Abu Bakr said, “He is telling the truth”, and helped me
    with his self and with his wealth. Are you going to leave my Companion alone?’
    He said this twice, and Abu Bakr was never hurt after that.” (Fath, no. 3661).

     

    24 - Intervening to calm people down
    and put a stop to the fitnah (discord) between those who are making mistakes.
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) did this on a number of occasions when fighting was about
    to break out among the Muslims, so he intervened, as was reported in the incident
    of the slander (al-ifk) against ‘Aa`ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her). She
    said:

    “The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up that
    day and asked for someone to deal with ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Ubayy for him, whilst he
    was on the minbar. He said, ‘O Muslims! Who will deal with a man who I have
    heard is attacking me with regard to my family? By Allaah, I know nothing about
    my family but good, and they have mentioned a man about whom I know nothing but
    good, and he has never entered upon my family except with me.’ Sa’d ibn
    Mu’aadh, the brother of Bani ‘Abd al-Ashhal, stood up and said, ‘O Messenger of
    Allaah, I will deal with him for you. If he is from Aws, I will strike his neck
    [cut his head off], and if he is from among our brothers of Khazraj, tell us
    what to do, and we will do it.’ Then a man of Khazraj stood up; Umm Hassaan was
    his cousin from the same clan, and he was Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah the leader of Khazraj.
    Before that he was known to be a righteous man, but on this occasion a spirit
    of tribalism took hold of him, and he said to Sa’d [ibn Mu’aadh], ‘You are
    lying! By Allaah, you will not kill him and you will not be able to kill him.
    If he were one of your people, you would not like him to be killed!’ Usayd ibn
    Hudayr, the cousin of Sa’d, stood up and said to Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah: ‘You are lying!
    By Allaah, we will kill him! You are a hypocrite defending the hypocrites!’ The
    two parties of Aws and Khazraj got so angry that they nearly began to fight
    whilst the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was
    standing on the minbar. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) kept smoothing things over until they calmed down.” (Agreed upon.
    Fath, 4141)

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) went to Bani ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf to reconcile between them, and
    stayed there for that purpose until the time for one of the congregational
    prayers came, as is reported in al-Saheehayn and in a report narrated by al-Nisaa`i.
    Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “A dispute
    arose between two parties among the Ansaar, to the point that they were
    throwing stones at one another. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) went to reconcile between them, and the time for prayer came, so
    Bilaal called the Adhaan and waited for the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him), but he did not come. So he made the iqaamah
    (call immediately preceding congregational prayer) and Abu Bakr, may Allaah be
    pleased with him) led the prayer…” (Al-Mujtabaa, Kitaab Aadaab al-Qadaah,
    8/243). According to a report narrated by Ahmad, Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saa’idi said:
    “Someone came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) and said: ‘Bani ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf are fighting and throwing stones at one
    another.’ So the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) went out to them to reconcile between them…” (Al-Musnad, 5/338)

     

    25 - Showing one’s anger about a
    mistake.
    When the
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw or heard about a
    mistake, he would show his anger, especially if it had to do with matters of
    belief (‘aqeedah). This includes indulging in disputes about al-qadar (divine
    decree) and the Qur`aan. In Sunan Ibn Maajah there is a report from ‘Amr ibn
    Shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather, who said:

    “The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out to his
    companions, who were disputing about al-qadar, and it was as if a pomegranate
    seed had burst on his face, i.e., his face was red with anger. He said, ‘Is
    this what you were commanded to do? Is this what you were created for? Are you
    using some parts of the Qur`aan to contradict others? The nations before you
    were destroyed by this!’ ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: ‘I never felt happy about
    missing any gathering with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him), but I was happy about missing that gathering.’” (Reported by Ibn
    Maajah, no. 85. He said in al-Zawaa’id: this is a saheeh isnaad and its men are
    thiqaat. It says in Saheeh Ibn Maajah: hasan saheeh. No. 69).

    According to Ibn Abi ‘Aasim in Kitaab
    al-Sunnah:

    “The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out to his
    Companions, and they were disputing about al-qadar, one quoting one aayah and
    another quoting another aayah. It was as if a pomegranate seed had been thrown
    in his face [because it was red with anger]. He said, ‘Is this what you were
    created for? Is this what you were ordered to do? Do not use parts of Allaah’s
    book against other parts. Look at what you are commanded to do, and do it, and
    what you are forbidden to do, avoid it.’” (Al-Sunnah by Ibn Abi ‘Aasim, edited
    by al-Albaani, no. 406. He said: its isnaad is hasan).

    Another example of the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) becoming angry at the denial of one of the
    basic principles was what happened in the case of ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased
    with him), with regard to sources. Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported
    in his Musnad from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab came to
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) with a book which he
    had got from some of the People of the Book. The Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) got angry. He said,

    “Are
    you confused about it, O son of al-Khattaab? By the One in Whose hand is my
    soul, I have brought you [the Message] pure and white, so do not ask them about
    anything, lest they tell you something true and you reject it, or they tell you
    something false and you accept it. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if
    Moosa (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) were alive, he could not but
    follow me.” (Musnad Ahmad, 3/387. Classed by al-Albaani as hasan because of corroborating
    reports in al-Irwa’, no. 1589).

    The hadeeth was also narrated by
    al-Daarimi, may Allaah have mercy on him, from Jaabir, who said that ‘Umar ibn
    al-Khattaab came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) with a copy of the Tawraat (Torah), and said, “O Messenger of Allaah,
    this is a copy of the Tawraat.” [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him)] did not say anything. [‘Umar] began to read it, and the face of the
    Messenger of Allaah changed [i.e., he was angry]. Abu Bakr said, “May your
    mother lose you! Do you not see the expression of the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him)?” ‘Umar looked at the face of the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “I
    seek refuge with Allaah from the anger of Allaah and the anger of His Messenger
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). We are content with Allaah as our
    Lord, with Islam as our religion and with Muhammad as our Prophet.” The
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said,

    “By
    the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if Moosa were to appear among
    you and you followed him and left me, you would go astray from the straight
    path. If he had lived until the time of my Prophethood, he would have followed
    me.” (Sunan al-Daarimi, no. 441, al-Muqaddimah, Baab maa yutaqqaa min Tafseer
    Hadeeth al-Nabi (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wa Qawli ghayrihi
    ‘inda Qawlihi (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The editor,
    ‘Abd-Allaah Haashim Yamaani, said: it was also narrated by Ahmad with a hasan
    isnaad, and by Ibn Hibbaan with a saheeh isnaad).

    Among the corroborating reports is the
    hadeeth of Abu’l-Darda’, who said: “ ‘Umar brought some pages of the Tawraat to
    the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said,
    ‘O Messenger of Allaah, (these are) some pages of the Tawraat which I took from
    a brother of mine from Bani Zurayq.’ The face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) changed, and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Zayd – the
    one who was shown the Adhaan in a dream – said: ‘Have you gone mad? Do you not
    see [the expression] on the face of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him)?’ ‘Umar said: ‘We are content with Allaah as our Lord,
    with Islam as our religion, with Muhammad as our Prophet and with the Qur`aan
    as our guide. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) relaxed and said:

    ‘By
    the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if Moosa were among you, and you
    followed him and left me, you would go far astray. You are my share among the
    nations and I am your share among the Prophets.’” (Al Haythami said in
    al-Majma’: It was reported by al-Tabaraani in al-Kabeer, and it includes Abu
    ‘Aamir al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad al-Asadi, and I have not seen anyone giving his
    biography, but the rest of its men are mawthooq. Al-Majma’ 1/174).

    We may note from these reports that the
    educator (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) had support
    from the other people present when they noticed how his expression changed and
    took their stance based on what they saw. There is no doubt that this combination
    of events had a great impact on the person who was being reprimanded.

    The process went through the following
    stages:

    Firstly, the anger that welled up in
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so that his expression
    changed even before he spoke.

    Secondly, [Abu Bakr] al-Siddeeq and
    ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Zayd noticed this and pointed it out to ‘Umar.

    Thirdly, ‘Umar realized his mistake and
    hastened to put it right and to apologize for what he had done, seeking refuge
    with Allaah from the anger of Allaah and the anger of His Messenger, and
    reaffirming the basic principle of being content with Allaah, His Messenger and
    His Religion.

    Fourthly, the Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) relaxed and calmed down when ‘Umar retracted
    and realized his mistake.

    Fifthly, the Prophet’s comment
    confirmed and reinforced this basic principle by reaffirming the obligation to
    follow the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and
    warning against taking any other source of guidance.

    Another example of the Prophet’s anger
    when he saw something objectionable was reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (may
    Allaah have mercy on him) from Anas ibn Maalik, who said that when the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw some spittle in the mosque in the
    direction of the qiblah, he was so upset that it was clearly visible on his
    face. He wiped it with his hand and said,

    “When
    one of you gets up to pray, he is talking to his Lord, or his Lord is between
    him and the qiblah, so he should not spit in the direction of the qiblah, but
    to his left or under his feet.” Then he took the edge of his garment, spat on
    it and rubbed part of it against another part and said, “or he can do this.”
    (Fath, 405).

    An example of the Prophet’s anger when
    he heard a mistake that led to wrongdoing was also reported by al-Bukhaari,
    from Abu Mas‘ood al-Ansaari, who said: “A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am
    going to go late to the prayer tomorrow because of so-and-so, who makes the
    prayer too long for us.’ I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) more angry in his rebuking than on that day, when he said,

    ‘O
    people! Some of you are putting others off. When any of you leads the people in
    prayer, let him keep it short, for among them are the elderly, the weak and
    those with pressing needs.’” (Fath, 7159).

    Another example is for the mufti to
    show anger towards the person who is asking questions when he starts to
    nit-pick in a ridiculous fashion. Zayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani (may Allaah be
    pleased with him) said: “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) and asked him about lost property that he finds. He said,

    ‘Announce
    it for a year. Remember the description of its container and the string with
    which it is tied, and if someone comes and claims it, and describes it
    correctly, give it to him, otherwise, utilize it.’ He said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah,
    what about a lost sheep?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) said: ‘It is for you, for your brother (i.e., its owner), or for the
    wolf.’ He said, ‘What about a lost camel?’ The face of the Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) became red (with anger), and he said, ‘You
    have nothing to do with it. It has its feet, and access to water, and can eat
    trees.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 2436).

    The educator may show anger in proportion
    to the mistake at the time when the mistake is made, or when he sees or hears
    it, in such a way that the anger may be seen in his face or recognized from his
    tone of voice. This is a sign that his heart is alert to wrongdoing and will
    not keep silent about it, so that the others present will feel afraid of making
    the same mistake. Speaking out when you are angry can have a greater impact
    than remaining silent and waiting until things have cooled down, because then
    the impact of your comments will be lost.

    On the other hand, it may be wise to
    delay commenting on a regrettable incident or seriously mistaken words until
    all the people have been called together or until a time when they meet,
    because of the seriousness of what is involved or because there are not enough
    people around to understand and convey the information to others. There is
    nothing wrong with addressing an individual immediately and delaying general
    discussion of the matter until later. According to Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Abu
    Humayd al-Saa’idi reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) appointed someone (to collect the zakaah). When he had
    finished his work, he came and said,

    “O
    Messenger of Allaah, this is for you, and this is what was given to me as a gift.”
    He said, “Why don’t you sit in your parents’ house and see whether anyone
    brings you a gift or not?” In the evening, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up after the prayer, pronounced the
    Shahaadah and praised Allaah as He deserves to be praised, then he said, “What
    is wrong with an employee whom we appoint, then he comes to us and says, ‘This
    is for you and this is what I was given as a gift”? Why does he not sit in his
    parents’ house and see whether anyone brings him a gift or not? By the One in
    Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, no one of you unlawfully withholds something
    from us, except he will come on the Day of Judgement carrying it around his
    neck: if it is a camel, he will bring it bellowing, if it is a cow he will
    bring it mooing, and if it is a sheep he will bring it bleating. I have
    conveyed (the message).” Abu Humayd added, “Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) raised his arm so high that we could see
    his armpit.” (Fath, 6636)

     

    26 - Turning away from the one who has
    made a mistake, and avoiding argument with him, in the hope that he may come
    back to the right way.

    Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib
    (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to him and Faatimah’s (peace be upon her,
    the daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) one night and said to them,

    “Are
    you not praying?” ‘Ali said, “O Messenger of Allaah, our souls are in the hand
    of Allaah. If He wants to bring us back to life (from sleep), He will do so!”
    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went away
    when ‘Ali said that to him, and he did not respond to it at all, but ‘Ali heard
    him as he was walking away, slapping his thigh and saying, “ ‘… But, man is
    ever more quarrelsome than anything.’ [al-Kahf 18:54 – interpretation of the
    meaning].” (The words of ‘Ali could be understood in different ways. See
    al-Fath, 7347).

     

    27 - Rebuking the one who has made a
    mistake.
    This is what
    the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did with Haatib (may
    Allaah be pleased with him) when he heard that he had sent word to the kuffaar
    of Quraysh, informing them of the Muslims’ intention to head for Makkah to
    conquer it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) asked him,

    “What
    made you do that, O Haatib?” He said, “I believe in Allaah and His Messenger
    and I never changed, but I wanted to make some gesture towards them through
    which Allaah might protect my family and my wealth. All your other companions
    have someone there through whom Allaah will protect their families and their
    wealth.” [The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said: “He
    has spoken the truth, so do not say anything but good to him.” ‘Umar ibn
    al-Khattaab said, “But he has betrayed Allaah and Messenger and the believers!
    Let me strike his neck [cut off his head]!” [The Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) ] said: “How do you know? Maybe Allaah looked at the
    people of Badr and said, ‘Do what you like, for Paradise
    is guaranteed for you.’” Tears welled up in ‘Umar’s eyes and he said, “Allaah
    and His Messenger know best.” (Fath, 6259)

    There are a number of important
    educational points we learn from this story:

    1 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) rebuked the Sahaabi who had make a serious mistake by
    asking him, “What made you do that?”

    2 – Enquiring as to the reason that
    motivated him to make the mistake undoubtedly has an effect on the way in which
    he is treated.

    3 – Those who have an excellent track
    record are not immune from committing major sins.

    4 – The educator must be open-minded in
    dealing with his companions’ mistakes so that they continue progressing on the
    straight path. The aim is to reform them, not alienate them.

    5 – The educator must appreciate the
    moments of human weakness that may overcome some of those who are with him, and
    he should not be shocked by a serious mistake on the part of one who is
    advanced or senior.

    6 – Defending one who deserves to be
    defended even though he has made a mistake.

    7 – If a person who makes a mistake has
    a great deal of good works to his credit, this should be taken into account
    when evaluating the level of his mistake and dealing with it.

     

    28 - Blaming the person who has made a
    mistake.
    An obvious
    mistake cannot be ignored; blame must be directed at the person who has made
    the mistake, and he must be rebuked from the outset, so that he will realize
    that he has made a mistake. Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh that ‘Ali (may
    Allaah be pleased with him) said: “I had a she-camel from my share of the booty
    of Badr, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had given
    me another she-camel from the khumus. When I wanted to marry Faatimah, the
    daughter of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him), I made an appointment with a goldsmith from Banu Qaynuqaa’ to go with me
    to Idhkhur. I wanted to sell him the two gold bracelets and use the money for
    my waleemah (wedding celebration). Whilst I was gathering together the saddles,
    sacks, ropes and other gear, my camels were sitting beside a room belonging to
    one of the Ansaar. After collecting the things I had to collect, I came back
    and found my camels with their backs cut open, their sides stabbed and their
    livers removed. I could hardly bear to look at this scene. I said, ‘Who did
    this?’ They said, ‘Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib. He is in that house drinking
    with one of the Ansaar.’ I went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him), and Zayd ibn Haarithah was with him. The Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him) knew something was wrong from my expression. The Prophet
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

    ‘What
    is the matter with you?’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I have never seen
    anything like today! Hamzah attacked my two she-camels and cut their backs open
    and stabbed them in their sides. He is in a house, drinking.’ The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) called for his cloak and put it on, then
    he went walking, and Zayd ibn Haarithah and I followed him, until he reached
    the house where Hamzah was. He asked permission to enter, and they gave
    permission. They were drinking, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to hurl blame at Hamzah for what he
    had done, but then he noticed that Hamzah was drunk and red-eyed. Hamzah looked
    at the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He
    looked up at his knees, then at his navel, then at his face, then he said, ‘You
    are no more than a slave to my father.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) realized that he was drunk, so he turned on
    his heels and we went out with him.” (Fath, no. 3091).

    This happened before drinking alcohol
    was forbidden.

     

    29 - Shunning the one who has made a
    mistake.
    Imaam Ahmad
    (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that Humayd said: “Al-Waleed came to me
    and a friend of mine and said, ‘Come with me, for you are younger than me and
    you know more about hadeeth.’ He took us to Bishr ibn ‘Aasim. Abu’l-‘Aaliyah
    said to him: ‘Will you tell these two your hadeeth?’ He said, ‘‘Uqbah ibn
    Maalik told us, Abu’l-Nadr al-Laythi said, Bahz, who was one of his group,
    said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent
    an expedition to attack some people. A man drifted away from the people, and
    one of the (Muslim) expedition followed him with his sword unsheathed. The man
    who had wandered off said, “I am a Muslim,” but the Muslim paid no attention to
    him, and struck him and killed him. Word of this reached the Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he spoke out angrily
    against it. News of this reached the killer, and whilst the Messenger of Allaah
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was delivering a speech, the killer
    said, “O Messenger of Allaah, by Allaah he only said that to protect himself.”
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned away from him
    and the people around him, and continued with his speech. The man said again,
    “O Messenger of Allaah, he only said that to protect himself.” The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) again turned away from him and the people
    around him, and continued with his speech. The man did not put up with that; a
    third time he said, “O Messenger of Allaah, by Allaah he only said that to
    protect himself.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) turned to him, and it was clear from his expression how upset he was.
    He said,

    “Allaah
    scorns the one who kills a believer.” three times.’” (al-Musnad, 5/289. See
    also al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 2/309)

    Al-Nisaa`i (may Allaah have mercy on
    him) reported from Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri that a man came from Najraan to the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), wearing a ring
    of gold. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    turned away from him and said,

    “You
    have come to me with an ember from the Fire of Hell in your hand.” (Al-Mujtaba,
    8/170; Saheeh Sunan al-Nisaa`i, 4793).

    Ahmad reported a more detailed version of this
    from Abu Sa‘eed al-Khudri: a man came from Najraan to the Messenger of Allaah (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wearing a ring of gold. The Messenger of Allaah
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) turned away from him and did not
    ask him about anything. The man went back to his wife and told her about it.
    She said, “There has to be a reason for that. Go back to the Messenger of
    Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).” So he went back, and threw
    away his ring and the garment he was wearing. When he asked permission to
    enter, it was given to him. He greeted the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him), who returned the greeting. He said, “O Messenger
    of Allaah, you turned away from me when I came before.” The Messenger of Allaah
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

    “You
    came to me with a coal from the fire of Hell in your hand.” He said, “O
    Messenger of Allaah, I came with a lot of coals.” He had brought some suits of
    clothing from Bahrain.
    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “What
    you have brought is not going to help us in any way (with regard to the
    Hereafter). It is no more use than the rocks of al-Harrah, but they are
    luxuries of this world.” The man said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, explain
    this to your Companions, so that they do not think you were angry with me for
    some reason.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) stood up and explained this, and said that the problem had been with his
    gold ring.” (al-Musnad, 3/14).

    According to a report narrated by Ahmad
    (may Allaah have mercy on him) from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb from his father from his
    grandfather, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw one of
    his Companions wearing a ring of gold, and turned away from him. The Sahaabi
    threw it away and put on a ring of iron, and [the Prophet (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him)] said,

    “This
    is evil, this is the jewellery of the people of Hell,” so he threw it away and
    put on a ring of silver, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) said nothing. (al-Musnad, 163. Al-Musnad edited by Ahmad Shaakir, no.
    6518. He said its isnaad is saheeh).

     

    30 - Boycotting the one who has made a
    mistake.
    This is one
    of the effective methods used by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) especially when a very serious mistake was made, because of the
    far-reaching effect that a boycott has on the person concerned. An example of
    this is what happened to Ka’b ibn Maalik and his two companions who stayed
    behind from the campaign of Tabook. After the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) had ascertained that they had no valid excuse, and they had
    admitted it, as Ka’b said:

    “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade the Muslims to speak to any of the
    three of us who had stayed behind. So the people avoided us and their attitude
    towards us changed so that even the earth I was walking on looked different to
    what I had known. We stayed like that for fifty days. As for my two companions,
    they resigned themselves and stayed in their homes, weeping, but I was the
    youngest and the most determined, so I used to go out and attend the prayers
    with the Muslims and go around in the market places, and no one would speak to
    me. I would come to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) whilst he was in a gathering after prayer, and greet him with salaam,
    asking myself whether he had moved his lips in response or not. I would pray
    near him, stealing glances at him. When I would turn to pray, he would turn
    towards me, and when I would turn towards him, he would turn away from me. When
    the people’s harshness had gone on too long for me, I went away and climbed
    over the wall of the garden
    of Abu Qutaadah, who was
    my cousin [son of my paternal uncle] and the dearest of people to me. I greeted
    him with salaam, but by Allaah he did not answer me. I said, ‘O Abu Qutaadah, I
    ask you by Allaah, do you not know that I love Allaah and His Messenger?’ He
    remained silent, so I repeated what I had said, pleading with him, but he
    remained silent. I repeated it again, pleading with him, and he said, ‘Allaah
    and His Messenger know best.’ My eyes filled with tears and I turned away and
    went and climbed back over the wall…

    When fifty nights had passed since the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had forbidden
    anyone to talk to us, after I had prayed Fajr on the morning of the fiftieth
    day, and I was on the roof of our house, whilst I was sitting as Allaah has described,
    with my own self constrained to me and the earth, vast as it is, constrained to
    me [cf. Al-Tawbah 9:118], I heard the sound of someone shouting from the mountain
    of Sal’ at the top of his voice: ‘O Ka’b ibn Maalik, rejoice!’” (Fath, 4418).

    We learn many great lessons from this
    story, which should not be ignored in any way. We read about some of them in
    the scholars’ commentaries on this story, as in Zaad al-Ma’aad and Fath
    al-Baari.

    Another indication that the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used this method was narrated by
    al-Tirmidhi from ‘Aa`ishah , who said: “No behaviour was more hateful to the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) than lying. If
    a man told lies in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him), he would remain upset about it until he knew that he had repented
    from that.” (Abu ‘Eesa said: this is a hasan hadeeth. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no.
    1973).

    According to a report narrated by
    Ahmad: “ … he would remain upset with him…” (al-Musnad, 6/152)

    According to another report: “If it
    happened that one of the members of his household told a lie, he would keep
    turning away from him until he repented.” (Reported by al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’,
    4675).

    It is clear from the reports mentioned
    above that turning away from the person who is making a mistake until he gives
    it up is an effective educational method, but in order for it to be effective,
    the person who is forsaking and turning away from the other must have some
    status in the eyes of the latter, otherwise it will not have a positive effect,
    and may even give the person something to be happy about.

     

    31 - Praying against someone who
    stubbornly persists in making a mistake.
    Muslim (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that a man
    ate with his left hand in the presence of the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him). He said,

    “Eat
    with your right hand!” The man said, “I cannot” He said, “May you never be able
    to!” Nothing was stopping him except pride, and he never raised it to his mouth
    after that. (No. 2021).

    According to a report narrated by
    Ahmad: “Iyaas ibn Salamah ibn al-Akwa’ reported that his father told him: ‘I
    heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    telling a man called Bisr ibn Raa’i al-‘Eer, whom he saw eating with his left
    hand, to eat with his right hand. He said,

    ‘I
    cannot.’ He said, ‘May you never be able to!’ And his right hand never reached
    his mouth after that.” (4/54)

    Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on
    him) said: “This hadeeth shows that it is permissible to pray against the one
    who goes against a shar‘i ruling for no good reason. It also demonstrates
    enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil in all matters, even in the
    matter of eating.” (Sharh Saheeh Muslim, 13/192).

    We may also note here that the du’aa’
    against him was not for something that would help the Shaytaan against him, it
    was for something that was more like a rebuke or telling-off.

     

    32 - Turning a blind eye to some
    mistakes and being content to just hint about them, out of respect to the
    person who is making the mistake.

    :And
    (remember) when the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his
    wives (Hafsah), so when she told it (to another, i.e., ‘Aa`ishah ), and Allaah
    made it known to him, he informed part thereof and left a part. Then when he
    told her (Hafsah) thereof, she said: ‘Who told you this?’ He said, ‘The
    All-Knower, the All-Aware (Allaah) has told me.’ ” [al-Tahreem 66:3 –
    interpretation of the meaning]

    Al-Qaasimi (may Allaah have mercy on
    him) said in Mahaasin al-Ta’weel:

    ‘And
    remember when the Prophet’
    refers to Muhammad (peace and blessings
    of Allaah be upon him). ‘To one of his wives’
    refers to Hafsah. ‘A matter in confidence’
    means that she was not allowed to disclose it, or what he forbade for himself
    although Allaah had allowed it. ‘When she told
    it’
    means that she told the secret to her companion (‘Aa`ishah ). ‘Allaah made it known to him’ means that Allaah
    told him what Hafsah had told ‘Aa`ishah . ‘He
    informed part thereof’
    means that he told her part of what she had
    divulged as a rebuke; ‘and left a part’
    means that he did not say some of it, out of respect to her.”

    It is noted in al-Ikleel: “The aayah
    indicates that there is nothing wrong with speaking in a secretive way to one
    whom you trust such as a spouse or friend, and that he or she is obliged to
    keep the secret. The aayah also indicates good treatment of wives, gentleness
    when rebuking and refraining from seeking out every fault.” (Mahaasin
    al-Ta’weel, 16/222)

    Al-Hasan said: “No noble person will
    pick on every little fault.” Sufyaan said: “Turning a blind eye is the action
    of noble people.”

     

    33 - Helping a Muslim to correct his
    mistake.
    Abu Hurayrah
    (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

    “Whilst
    we were sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a
    man came to him and said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, I am doomed!’ He said, ‘What
    is the matter with you?’ He said, ‘I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was
    fasting.’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    said, ‘Are you able to set a slave free?’ He said, ‘No.’ He asked, ‘Can you
    fast for two consecutive months?’ He said, ‘No.’ he said, ‘Can you feed sixty
    poor persons?’ He said, ‘No.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him) said nothing more about the matter for a while, and whilst we were
    sitting there like that, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) was brought a large vessel full of dates. He said, ‘Where is the one who
    was asking just now?’ The man said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take this and give
    it in charity.’ The man said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, is there anyone poorer
    between al-Harratayn [i.e., in Madeenah] than my family?’ The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled so broadly that his eyeteeth could
    be seen, then he said, ‘Feed it to your family.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, no.
    1936).

    According to a report narrated by Ahmad
    from ‘Aa`ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), whilst the Messenger of Allaah
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sitting in the shade of a large
    tree, a man came to him and said,

    “I
    am burnt, O Messenger of Allaah!” He said, “What is the matter with you?” He
    said, “I had intercourse with my wife whilst I was fasting.” ‘Aa`ishah said: this was in Ramadaan. The Messenger of Allaah
    (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Sit down.” So he sat
    down at the edge of the group of people. Then a man brought a donkey on which
    was a vessel of dates, and said, “This is my sadaqah (charity), O Messenger of
    Allaah.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    said, “Where is the burnt one who was here just now?” The man said, “Here I am,
    O Messenger of Allaah.” He said, “Take this and give it in charity.” He said,
    “To whom should I give it except myself? By the One Who sent you with the
    truth, I do not have anything for myself and my children.” He said, “Then take
    it,” so he took it. (al-Musnad, 6/276)

     

    34 - Meeting with the person who has
    made the mistake to talk it over.
    In
    Saheeh al-Bukhaari it is reported that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “My father
    married me to a woman from a good family. He used to come and check on his
    daughter in law, and ask her about her husband. She would say, ‘What a good man
    he is. He has never slept in our bed or disturbed us since we got married.’
    When this had gone on for a long time, he mentioned it to the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who said,

    ‘Let
    me meet with him.’ So I met with him after that, and he said, ‘How often do you
    fast?’ I said, ‘Every day.’ He said, ‘How often do you complete the Qur`aan?’ I
    said, ‘Every night.’ He said, ‘Fast three days of every month, and complete the
    Qur`aan once a month.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Fast three
    days every week.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said, ‘Don’t fast for
    two days, then sfast for one day.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He said,
    ‘Observe the best kind of fast, the fast of Dawood, fasting one day then not
    fasting the next, and complete the Qur`aan once every seven days.’

    I wish that I had accepted the
    dispensation of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him), because when I became old and weak I started to read one seventh of the Qur`aan
    to my family during the day, and whatever I read during the day makes it easier
    to complete it at night. If I want to help myself, I do not fast for a number
    of days, then I count the number of days I did not fast and fast the same
    number of days. I do not want to give up something that I promised the Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) I would do before he died.” Abu
    ‘Abd-Allaah said: “Some of them said in three, and in five, and most of them said
    in seven.” (al-Fath, 5052)

    A report narrated by Ahmad describes
    the matter more clearly and contains important lessons: ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr
    said: “My father married me to a woman from Quraysh. When she entered upon me I
    did not approach her because I was so enthusiastic about worshipping Allaah by
    fasting and praying. ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas came to his daughter in law and asked
    her, ‘How do you find your husband?’ She said, ‘He is the best of men, or he is
    like the best of husbands among men. He has never disturbed us and he has never
    slept in our bed.’ So he came to me and told me off. (Ibn al-Atheer said: …
    according to another hadeeth, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: ‘So my
    father came to me and told me off.’ Al-Nihaayah 3/200). He said, ‘I married you
    to a woman from a good family of Quraysh, and you are neglecting her (i.e., not
    treating her as a wife) and you are doing such and such.’ Then he went to the
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and complained about me.
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent for me and I came
    to him. He said to me,

    ‘Do
    you fast during the day?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Do you pray (qiyaam) at
    night?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘But I fast and I break my fast, I pray and I
    sleep, and I go to my wives. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah has nothing to
    do with me.’ He said, ‘Read the Qur`aan once a month.’ I said, ‘I can do more
    than that.’ He said, ‘Read it once every ten days.’ I said, ‘I can do more than
    that.’ One of them – either Husayn or Mugheerah – said, ‘Read it every three
    days.’ He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] said: ‘Fast
    three days of every month.’ I said, ‘I can do more than that.’ He kept increasing
    the number until he said, ‘Fast one day and do not fast the next day. This is
    the best of fasts, the fast of my brother Dawood.’

    Husayn said in his narration of the
    hadeeth: then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

    ‘Every
    worshipper has a time when he is motivated and keen, and after every such time
    comes a time of slackening, where he either follows the Sunnah or follows
    bid’ah. The one whose slackening follows Sunnah is guided, but the one whose
    slackening follows bid’ah is doomed.’”

    Mujaahid said: “When ‘Abd-Allaah ibn
    ‘Amr grew old and weak, he would fast for several days at a time, so that he
    could grow stronger, then he would break his fast for a similar number of days.
    He would read his portion of the Qur`aan in like manner, sometimes reading
    more, sometimes reading less, so that he would finish the entire Qur`aan in
    seven days or in three days. After that he would say, ‘I wish that I had
    accepted the dispensation of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him), for it would be better for me than what I chose for
    myself, or I left him saying that I would do something and I would hate to do
    something else.’” (Al-Musnad, 2/158. Ahmad Shaakir said: its isnaad is saheeh.
    Tahqeeq al-Musnad, no. 6477).

    Among the things we learn from this
    story are:

    1. The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) understood the cause of the
    problem, which was that [‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr] was exhausting himself in
    worship to the point that he did not have time to take care of his duties
    towards his wife, so he was falling short.

    2. The
    principle of paying due attention to everyone who has rights over one applies
    to anyone who is preoccupied with matters of worship, such as a student who is
    giving so many lessons, or a daa’iyah who is so busy with his da’wah that his
    wife complains of mistreatment. This can lead to a loss of balance in carrying
    out different acts of worship and dividing one’s time among all those who are
    making rightful claims on it. So there is nothing wrong with the teacher
    reducing the number of lessons he gives, or the daa’iyah reducing his
    activities so as to allow himself enough time to take care of his home, wife
    and children, and give them their rights as regards guidance, companionship and
    education.

     

    35 - Speaking bluntly to a person about
    the mistake he is making.
    Al-Bukhaari
    (may Allaah have mercy on him) reported that Abu Dharr said: “There was an
    argument between me and another man. His mother was a non-Arab, and I said
    something insulting about her. He mentioned this to the Prophet (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him), who asked me,

    ‘Did
    you trade insults with so-and-so?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Did you say something
    insulting about his mother?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘You are a man who still
    has something of jaahiliyyah in you.’ I said, ‘I said what I said because I am
    getting old.’ He said, ‘Yes, but they are your brothers. Allaah has given you
    power over them, but whoever is given power over someone, let him feed him as
    he feeds himself, clothe him as he clothes himself, and not give him more work
    to do than he is able. If he does give him too much work, let him help him.’ ”
    (Fath, 6050)

    In Saheeh Muslim it is reported that
    Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

    “I had an argument with one of my
    brothers. His mother was non-Arab, and I said something insulting to him about
    his mother. He complained about me to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him). When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
    be upon him) met me, he said,

    ‘O
    Abu Dharr, you are a man who still has something of jaahiliyyah in him.’ I
    said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, whoever insults a person, people will insult his
    father and mother.’ He said, ‘O Abu Dharr, you are a man who still has
    something of jaahiliyyah in him. They are your brothers[1],
    and Allaah has given you power over them, so feed them as you feed yourself and
    clothe them as you clothe yourself. Do not give them more work than they can
    do, and if you give them too much to do, then help them.’ ” (Saheeh Muslim, no.
    1661).

    The Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) spoke in this straightforward and open manner to Abu Dharr
    because he knew he would accept it. Such a blunt approach can be a useful
    method that saves times and energy, and gets the point across in the easiest
    manner, but it should only be done when it is appropriate to the situation and
    the people involved.

    This direct approach may be better not
    used if it will lead to something worse or if it means that a greater interest
    will not be achieved, for example if the person making the mistake is in a
    position of power and authority and would not accept such frank comments, or if
    a direct approach would cause too much embarrassment to the person who is doing
    wrong. It should also not be used if the person is extra sensitive and is
    likely to react badly. Undoubtedly a direct approach will be too much for a person
    to take if it is made in a spirit of confrontation and with the aim of causing
    embarrassment and showing him up at the time when his critic appears superior.
    Similarly it is essential to be cautious about using “indirect” methods whose
    multiple negative effects may outweigh the benefits of a direct approach,
    because they may make the wrongdoer think that the one who is advising him
    thinks he is stupid or that he is playing about, or because they may offend him
    because he thinks he is making snide remarks. This way of pointing out what is
    right may not be effective, because what is being said may not be clear to the
    person addressed, so he will keep on making the mistake. Generally speaking, people
    differ when it comes to accepting advice, and the right approach will differ in
    each case, but a good attitude in discussing mistakes and guiding people will
    also have the greatest effect in achieving the desired goal.

     

    36 - Persuading a person that he is
    making a mistake.
    Engaging
    in a discussion with a wrongdoer with the aim of convincing him may lead to the
    removal of the blinds over his eyes and bringing him back to the Straight Path.
    An example of this is the report narrated by al-Tabaraani (may Allaah have
    mercy on him) in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer from Abu Umaamah (may Allaah have mercy on
    him), who said that a young man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said,

    “O
    Messenger of Allaah, give me permission to commit zinaa (fornication or adultery).”
    The people shouted [at him] and [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
    upon him)] said, “Stop it!’ The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) said, “Let him calm down. Come here.” He came and sat in
    front of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him),
    who said to him, “Would you like it for your mother?” He said, “No.” He said,
    “Likewise, people do not like it for their mothers. Would you like it for your
    daughter?” He said, “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for their
    daughters. Would you like it for your sister?” He said, “No.” He said,
    “Likewise, people do not like it for their sisters. Would you like it for your
    (paternal) aunt?” He said, “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for
    their (paternal) aunts. Would you like it for your (maternal) aunt?” He said,
    “No.” He said, “Likewise, people do not like it for their (maternal) aunts.”
    Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put
    his hand on his chest and said, “O Allaah, forgive his sins, purify his heart
    and make him chaste.” (Al-Tabaraani, al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer, 7679 and 7759.
    Additional material is included between square brackets).

     

    37 - Making a person understand that
    his flimsy excuse is not acceptable.

    Some people who make mistakes try to offer made-up, unacceptable excuses,
    especially when they are caught red-handed. Indeed, some of them may appear to
    be stammering when they give their flimsy excuses, especially those who are not
    good at lying because they are basically good at heart. How should the educator
    act when he comes across a situation like this? The following story
    demonstrates the brilliant attitude of the Prophet (peace and blessings of
    Allaah be upon him) when dealing with one of his Companions in a situation of
    this nature. The story also shows us how the educator should persistently
    follow up until the person gives up his wrong attitude.

    Khuwwaat
    ibn Jubayr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We made camp with the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) at Mar
    al-Zahraan (a place near Makkah). I came out of my tent and saw some women
    talking amongst themselves. I liked them, so I went back, got out my trunk and
    took out a hillah (a suit of clothes). I put it on and came and sat with them.
    The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out
    and said, ‘O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah!!” (i.e., he was reprimanding him for sitting with
    those non-mahrem women). When I saw the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him), I got scared and started stammering (trying
    to come up with an excuse). I said, “O Messenger of Allaah, my camel got lost
    and I am looking for a rope to restrain it” (i.e., he came up with a false
    excuse to justify what he had done). He left, and I followed him. He threw his
    cloak at me and went in among some araak trees – and it is as if I can see the
    whiteness of his back against the greenness of the araak trees. He answered the
    call of nature and did wudoo’, and turned (to me) with the water dripping from
    his beard onto his chest, and said: “O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah, what happened to your
    lost camel?” Then we continued on our journey, and whenever he caught up with
    me, he would say, “Assalaamu aleika Abu ‘Abd-Allaah. What happened to that lost
    camel?” When I realized this, I hastened on to Madeenah and avoided the mosque
    and gatherings where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    was present. When this had gone on for a long time, I tried to go to the mosque
    when no one else was around. I went to the mosque and started to pray, but the
    Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came out of one
    of his apartments and started to pray two short rak’ahs. I made my prayer long,
    hoping that he would go away and leave me. He said, ‘Make it as long as you
    like, O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah, for I am not leaving until you finish.’ I said to
    myself, ‘By Allaah, I should apologize to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
    blessings of Allaah be upon him) and make him happy.’ When I had finished, he
    said, ‘Al-salaamu ‘alayka, O Abu ‘Abd-Allaah. What happened to your lost
    camel?’ I said, ‘By the One Who sent you with the truth, that camel has never
    gotten lost since the time I became a Muslim.’ He said, ‘May Allaah have mercy
    on you’ three times, then he never mentioned it again.” (Al-Haythami said:
    al-Tabaraani reported it with two isnaads. The men of one of them are all saheeh
    apart from al-Jarraah ibn Mukhallad, who is thiqah. Al-Majma’, 9/401. Upon
    referring to al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer by al-Tabaraani, 4/203, it becomes clear that
    the report from Zayd ibn Aslam is talking about Khuwwaat ibn Jubayr, who said,
    ‘We made camp …’ In the biography of Khuwwaat (may Allaah be pleased with him)
    in al-Tahdheeb it says: Zayd ibn Aslam reported mursal from him. In al-Isaabah
    it says that Khuwwaat died in 40 or 42 AH, and in al-Siyar it says that Zayd
    ibn Aslam died in 136 AH; on this basis there is a break in the isnaad).

    This is a brilliant study in training
    and the use of wise strategies to achieve the desired result. We may also learn
    the following points from this story:

    1. A
    person who has committed a sin will feel shy of a respected leader when he
    catches him out.

    2. The
    way the educator looks at and questions a person – even though it may be very
    brief – will have a great impact on him.

    3. Not
    discussing a false excuse at the time of hearing it – even though it is clearly
    made up – and turning away from the person may be enough to make him realize
    that his excuse is not acceptable, which will motivate him to repent and
    apologize. This is what we understand from the phrase “he left.”

    4. The
    good educator is the one who makes the person who has made a mistake feel too
    shy of him, so that he tries to hide away from him, but at the same time, his
    need for him makes him want to come to him. Then the latter takes precedence
    over the former.

    5. The
    change of attitude towards the wrongdoer is based – in this case – on the
    wrongdoer’s admission that he was wrong and his giving up the thing he had
    done.

    If the educator or leader is held in
    high esteem by his companions, then if he rebukes one of them or tells him that
    he has made a mistake, this will have an effect on him. The leader should pay
    attention to the interests of others when rebuking one of his companions, so
    that all may benefit from it. However, this should not mean that he should
    ignore any negative effect on that particular individual. That can be dealt
    with and its effects limited in many ways, even though a third party, as
    al-Mugheerah did when he asked ‘Umar to be a mediator whilst at the same time
    explaining the situation and affirming how highly the leader thinks of the
    follower.

     

    38 - Paying attention to things that
    are inherent in human nature.
    An
    example of this is the jealousy of women, especially in the case of co-wives,
    some of whom may make mistakes that, if they were made by anyone else under
    normal circumstances, would be treated quite differently. The Prophet (peace
    and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pay special attention to the issue
    of jealousy among his wives and the mistakes that were made by them as a
    result, and the patience, justice and fairness with which he handled the matter
    are plain to see. An example of this is the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (may
    Allaah have mercy on him) in his Saheeh from Anas, who said:

    “The
    Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was with one of his wives
    when another of the Mothers of the Believers sent a big vessel full of food to
    him. The wife in whose house the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
    him) was present struck the hand of the servant, and the vessel fell and broke
    in two. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) picked up the
    pieces and put them together, then he gathered up the food that had been in the
    vessel and said, ‘Your mother is jealous.’ Then he asked the servant to wait
    until he was given the vessel belonging to the wife in whose house he was, and
    he sent the whole vessel to the wife whose vessel had been broken, and kept the
    broken vessel in the house of the one who had broken it.” (Fath, 5225)

    According to a report narrated by al-Nisaa`i
    (Kitaab ‘Ishrat al-Nisaa’), Umm Salamah brought some food in a vessel belonging
    to her to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    and his companions, then ‘Aa`ishah came
    wrapped in a garment, carrying a stone, which she threw and broke the vessel.
    The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put the two halves back
    together and said,

    “Eat, your
    mother is jealous…”

    …twice, then he took ‘Aa`ishah’s vessel
    and sent it to Umm Salamah, and gave Umm Salamah’s vessel to ‘Aa`ishah.

    According to a report narrated by
    al-Daarimi (Kitaab al-Buyoo’, Baab man kasara shay’an fa ‘alayhi mithluhu) from
    Anas, he said:

    “One
    of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent
    him a vessel in which was some thareed [a dish of sopped bread, meat and
    broth], when he was in the house of one of his other wives, who struck the
    vessel and broke it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
    started to pick up the thareed and put it back into the vessel, saying, ‘Eat,
    your mother is jealous…’ ”

    Women’s jealousy is an inherent part of
    their nature, that may cause them to do bad things and prevent them from seeing
    the consequences of their actions. It was said that when a woman is jealous,
    she cannot see the bottom of a valley from its top.

     

     


    [1] It seems as if the man was a dervant or a slave. (e)

     

     

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