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Religion is to give sincere advice :Etiquette and arts of giving advice

Under category : Righteous and Reformers
5192 2012/01/07 2024/05/18
Article translated to : العربية Español


etiquette and arts of giving advice:


dear muslim brother, know that the etiquette of giving advice are that of calling people to allaah the almighty. allaah the almighty says:


{invite to the way of your lord with wisdom and good instruction}[an-nahl: 125]


so, get yourself accustomed to give people advice with wisdom and good instruction.


etiquette of giving advice:


1-adopting kindness and leniency in giving advice:


when allaah the almighty sent moosa (moses) and haroon (aaron) to fir‘awn (pharaoh), what did he the almighty say to them? he said:

{go, both of you, to pharaoh. indeed, he has transgressed. and speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [allaah]."}[ta-ha: 43-44]


a man entered upon ‘abdul malik ibn marawaan and said to him: “you have with me an advice that is severer that the striking of the whip! he (i.e. ‘abdul malik) said: where is the gentle good speech then? you are not for allaah the almighty better than moosa and haroon and i am not for allaah the almighty worse than fir‘wan for allaah the almighty said to them:

{and speak to him with gentle speech} [al-qasas: 44]


also, allaah the almighty ordered us to adopt the gentle good speech, so he said in his noble book:

{and speak to people good [words]}[al-baqarah: 83]


2-do not advise your brother publicly:


al-haafith[1]ibn rajab, may allaah have mercy upon him, said: “when our righteous predecessors intended to give advice to someone, they admonished him privately.”


ash-shaafi‘i said in a poem to the meaning of:

whenever you want to advise me, then do so privately,
and avoid advising me publicly.

advising in the presence of people is a form of rebuking i am not pleased to listen to.


it was said: “the advices of the believers were in their ears (done privately). moreover, ja‘far ibn burqaan said: maymoon ibn mahraan said to me, say in my face what i hate for the man does not advise his brothers unless he says to him in his face what he hates. so, if his brother who is advised is truthful with himself, he will love him along with his advice. however, if he loves him and hates this conduct (of giving advices), this then indicates the untruthfulness of his condition. allaah the almighty says describing the untruthful people:

{but you do not like advisors.}[al-a‘raaf: 79]


some of the righteous used to say: “the most beloved of people to me is the one who shows me my shortcomings.” furthermore, ‘umar ibn al-khattaab, may allaah be pleased with him, used to say and order his brother to do so: “may allaah have mercy on a man who shows his brother the shortcomings of his soul.”


however, it was said to mus‘ar ibn kidaam: “do you love who tells you your shortcomings?” he replied: “if he advises me privately, then yes; but if he scolds me publically, then no.”


amongst the morals of our righteous predecessors (in giving advice) is that if a man sees something bad of his brother, he used to admonish him in private or writes to him in a paper! this is really the difference between advice and scandal. so whatever occurs privately then it is an advice and whatever is done publically then it is a scandal. it implies hideousness (cruelty and scandal) [to advice someone publically], then, it is hard to be dedicated sincerely for al-lah the almighty. this is also the difference between admonishing and rebuking. admonish is what is done in private. however, rebuking cannot be done except in congregation. therefore, allaah the almighty will rebuke a man of the believers on the day of resurrection privately. he the almighty will conceal and make him confess his sins secretly. however, there will be some individuals whose record of their deeds will be given closed to the angels who will take him to the paradise and when they approach to enter it; they will give them their closed records to read them.


as for the people of rebuking, they will be called out before the witnesses, then their scandal will not be hidden from the people there and this will surely increase their punishment.


look attentively to the good conduct of our righteous predecessors about giving advice. ath-thahabi said in siyar a‘laam an-nubalaa‘reported from ‘abdullaah ibn wahb said: “i heard maalik asked about takhleel (running the fingers through) the toes in wodoo’ (ablution).” he replied: “this cannot be answered publically.” he said: “i left him until the people have dispersed.” then i said to him: “it is for us an act of sunnah (i.e. recommended by the prophet).” he said: “what is it? i said: “al-layth ibn sa‘d reported and mentioned its isnaad (chain of narrators) until al-mustawrad ibn shadaad al-qurashi and said: “i saw the messenger of allaah, peace and blessings be upon him, running his fingers among his toes.” he said it is a hasan (good) hadeeth and i have never heard it before. i heard him after this incident when he is asked (about this matter), he commands running fingers through the toes.”


dear muslim brother, consider thoughtfully the politeness of this great imaam ibn wahab and what he said: “i left him until the people have dispersed.” think attentively about the politeness of imaam of daar al-hijrah and how he accepted advice and did not feel arrogant to accept it. may allaah be pleased with them all.


3-choosing the suitable time for giving advice and not insisting on it:


because man has a nature of different modes, you may choose a time that is not suitable for your brother. so, he may reject and refuse it and then advice will have adverse effects.

this stems from the guidance of the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. abu mu‘aawiyyah reported from al-a‘mash, from sahfeeq, who said: “while we were sitting at the door of ‘abdullaah (ibn mas‘ud), waiting for him. yazeed ibn mu‘aawiyyah an-nakh‘i passed by us. we said (to him), inform him (‘abdullaah b. mas‘ood) of our presence here. he went in and ‘abdullaah ibn mas‘ood lost no time in coming out to us and said: “i was informed of your presence here, but the reason that prevents me from coming out to you, is that allaah's messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, used to preach to us at intervals during the days, lest we should become bored.”  [reported by al-bukhaari and muslim]


for example, if you enter upon your muslim brother while there is a difference between him and his wife, children, neighbors or any other person and anger overcame him, so do not advise him regarding the matter of difference for simply he will not pay attention to you. however, make your advice concentrate on how he can dissipate his anger. when his anger calms down, you can advise him in the way you please for he will listen to you by the permission of allaah. do not insist on advising someone regarding something, but advise him in distant intervals and remind him for he may remember.


4- one should do what he advises people with:


it is one of the most important etiquette of giving advice to do the good you advise people with, otherwise, you will be among those about whom allaah the almighty says:

{do you order righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the scripture? then will you not reason? }[al-baqarah: 44]


he the almighty also says: {most hateful it is with allah that you say that which you do not do.} [as-saf: 3]


or you will be like the one about whom the poet said:


o you man who teaches others,

yourself you should teach first.


never warn against misdemeanor, but yet you commit,

indeed, shame on you and a great discredit.


yourself admonish first against its misguidance,

if it is admonished, you are the wit.


then, your words find access,

 and benefits sprout from what you preach.


to the sick you provide medicine,

 to treat, yet you are the sick.


indeed, with guidance you heal our souls,

 but this guidance never reached you


giving advice regarding the matters of the worldly life is one of the most important rights of muslim over his fellow muslims. therefore, allaah the almighty has dropped the ruling of ghaybah (backbiting) when it is related to giving advice. it is what reported by muslim from faatimah bint qais, may allaah be pleased with her, when abu ‘amr ibn hafs divorced her, she said: "when my waiting period was over, i mentioned to him (the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him) that mu‘aawiyyah ibn abu sufyaan and abu jahm had sent proposal of marriage to me, whereupon allaah's messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "as for abu jahm, he does not put down his staff from his shoulder (i.e.: he travels a lot); and as for mu‘aawiyyah, he is a poor man having no property; marry usamaah ibn zaid.” then this is just an advice not backbiting.


moreover, imam muslim reported from abu hurairah, may allaah be pleased with him, who said: “a man came to the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and said: “i married a woman of the ansaar.” he, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “look at her, for there is something in the eyes of the ansaar.”


amongst the most wonderful matters mentioned in the sunnah regarding giving advice is what narrated by jareeb ibn ‘abdillaah who said: “i swore allegiance to the messenger of allaah, peace and blessings be upon him, pledging to establish prayer, pay zakaah and be sincere towards every muslim.” [reported by al-bukhaari and muslim] 


therefore, his slave bought him a horse for three hundred dirhams. then he went to the owner of the horse and said: “your horse is worth more than three hundred dirhams.” he went on raising its price until he reached eight hundred dirhams (is a unit of currency used in several arab or berber nations). when he was asked about this amazing act, he said: “i swore allegiance to the messenger of allaah, peace and blessings be upon him, pledging to establish prayer, pay zakaah and be sincere towards every muslim.”


may allaah be pleased with this noble companion who honored his allegiance with the messenger of allaah, peace and blessings be upon him, even if he will lose his money. the companions of the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, sold the worldly life and bought the hereafter.


once a poet said:


be an advisor for muslims,

 by guiding them to the right when it is hidden.


enjoin them with what is good in the religion,

forbid them with what is evil and prevent the one who does immorality to do it.


admonish them with the verses and judgment of allaah,

 for you may heal their malady with his remedy.


if our master guides with your admonishment a man,

you will get from him on the day of gathering the best gifts.


or you have fulfilled what was obligatory,

  upon you and you have nothing to do with his guidance.


5-adopting gradual approach in giving advice especially if you forbid something evil:


this etiquette is one of the most important arts and etiquette of giving advice. it refers to observing the weakness of the human soul; especially, if it became attached to something and get used to it since a long time. we have learned this gradual approach in denunciation from the noble quran. the verse of prohibiting alcohol was not sent all at once for it would have been impossible for the people of makkah to give up drinking alcohol. however, it was sent down gradually until it reached prohibition. the noble quran mentioned this in stages. now, alcohol was decisively prohibited, what shall we do then if we would like to advise the one who drinks alcohol?


we say that the arts of giving advice and denunciation include these matters:


1- manifesting the bad aspects of the matter you would like to forbid. for example, you may say: alcohol makes one lose his mind and harm himself and his children while he does not know. furthermore, it causes incurable diseases, poverty and worry to its drinker.

2-   frightening from the punishment of allaah the almighty on the day of resurrection. look attentively to this hadeeth that warns the one who drinks alcohol. jaabir, may allaah be pleased with him, narrated that

a man came from jayshan, a town of yemen, and he asked allaah's messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, about a drink they used to drink in their land and which was prepared from millet and was called mizr. the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “is it intoxicating.” he said: ‘yes.’ thereupon messenger of allaah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “every intoxicant is forbidden. verily, allaah the almighty has promised that whoever drinks intoxicants, he will give him to drink of the mud of khabaal.” they said: “o messenger of allaah, what is the mud of khabaal?” he said: “the sweat of the people of the hellfire” or “the juices of the people of the hellfire.”


3-manifesting the reward and virtue of giving up drinking alcohol for the sake of allaah the almighty and that allaah will exchange for him the alcohol of the worldly life with another in paradise which does not harm nor make one loses his mind, and that allaah the almighty will be pleased with him and forgive him his previous sins.


this is what is meant by adopting a gradual approach in giving advice. allaah knows best.


o allaah, show us the truth as truth and enable us to follow it; show us the false as false and enable us to avoid it.

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