following this exploration of the sunnah and the methods which the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) used in dealing with people’s mistakes, we should conclude by mentioning the following points:
1. correcting mistakes is obligatory and very important. it is part of naseehah (giving sincere advice) and forbidding what is evil, but it should be remembered that islam is not only about forbidding what is evil; we are also commanded to enjoin what is good.
2. education and training are not merely the matter of correcting mistakes; they also involve teaching and showing the basic principles of religion and the rules of sharee’ah, and using various methods to establish these concepts firmly in people’s minds and hearts, by example, by exhorting them, by telling stories, by discussing incidents, etc. from this it is clear that some parents and teachers are falling short by confining their efforts only to addressing mistakes without paying due attention to teaching the basics or dealing with mistakes before they happen by instilling that which will protect people from committing mistakes in the first place, or at least reduce their impact.
3. it is clear from the incidents and stories mentioned above that the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) used different approaches in dealing with different mistakes. this is because circumstances and personalities vary. whoever understands this and wants to follow suit must compare the situation he is dealing with, with these examples to find the one that most closely resembles it, so that he can determine the most appropriate approach to use.
we ask allaah, may he be glorified and exalted, to guide us and protect us, to make us openers of good and closers of evil, and to guide others through us, for he is the all-hearing, the ever-near, who answers prayers. he is the best of supporters and the best of helpers, and he is the guide to the straight path. may allaah bless the unlettered prophet and all his family and companions. praise be to allaah, the lord of the worlds.