How to ad­vise a sin­ner

Daily Trust - - TRUST ISLAMIC FORUM - By Zakariyya Adaramola

The one who made a mis­take or sinned should be ad­vised or cor­rected sin­cerely for the sake of Al­lah, with­out de­bas­ing him or her.

So de­bas­ing or openly con­demn­ing some­one for a sin he com­mit­ted is de­tested in Is­lam, ac­cord­ing to the scholars.

It is re­ported in At-Tir­mid­hee and other col­lec­tions in mar­foo’ form [i.e. that the Prophet said]: “Whoso­ever con­demns his brother for a sin (he com­mit­ted) will not die un­til he has com­mit­ted it (i.e. the same sin) him­self.”

But Ibn Ra­jab said this hadeeth is re­fer­ring to a sin, of which the per­son who com­mit­ted re­pented from.

One of the right­eous pre­de­ces­sors of Is­lam, Al-Fud­hail (rahimahul­laah) said: “The be­liever con­ceals (the sin of his brother) and ad­vises (him), while the evil­doer dis­graces and con­demns (him).”

This is what Al-Fu­dail has men­tioned as be­ing from the signs of ad­vis­ing and con­demn­ing - and it is that ad­vis­ing is linked to se­crecy while con­demn­ing is linked to pub­li­ciz­ing.

It used to be said: “Whoso­ever com­mends his brother (to­wards do­ing good deeds) at the head of a gath­er­ing, then, he has con­demned him.”

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The Salaf (the right­eous pre­de­ces­sors) used to hate that com­mend­ing good and for­bid­ding evil be done in this man­ner. In­stead, they loved that it be done pri­vately be­tween the one com­mend­ing and the one be­ing com­mended, for in­deed, this is from the signs of sin­cere ad­vice. This is since it is not the goal of the one who is ad­vis­ing to spread and pub­li­cise the faults of the per­son he is ad­vis­ing, rather, his goal is only to put an end to the evil that he has fallen into.

As for spread­ing and ex­pos­ing some­one’s faults, then that is from the things that Al­lah and His Mes­sen­ger, sal­lAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sal­lam, have for­bid­den. Al­lah, may He be Ex­alted, says: “Ver­ily, those who love that the evil and in­de­cent ac­tions of those who be­lieve should be prop­a­gated (and spread), they will have a painful tor­ment in this world and in the Hereafter.

And Al­lah knows and you know not. And had it not been for the grace of Al­lah and His mercy on you, (Al­lah would have has­tened the pun­ish­ment on you) and that Al­lah is full of kind­ness, Most Mer­ci­ful.” Su­rat-un-Noor: 19-20.

The ahadeeth con­cern­ing the virtue of keep­ing the faults of oth­ers se­cret are many.

Some of the scholars would say to those who were com­mand­ing to­wards good: “Strive hard to con­ceal the faults of the sin­ners for, in­deed, ex­pos­ing their faults shows a weak­ness in Is­lam.

It is for this rea­son that spread­ing some­one’s evil and in­de­cent ac­tions is linked to con­demn­ing. And they are both from the af­fairs of the evil­doer, since it is not the goal of the evil­doer to put an end to the fault nor that the be­liever avoids that fault or de­fect. Rather his only goal is to spread and pub­li­cize the de­fects found in his be­liev­ing brother, and to de­stroy his honor. So he ini­ti­ates that and re­peats it. And his in­ten­tion is to be­lit­tle his be­liev­ing brother by ex­pos­ing his de­fects and bad qual­i­ties to the peo­ple so that some harm can fall upon him in this world.

But as for the per­son that is sin­cerely ad­vis­ing, his aim in do­ing that (ad­vis­ing) is to erad­i­cate the faults found in his be­liev­ing brother and to help him avoid it.


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