Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
Criticism. Hard to take but oh so easy to give. Islam teaches us that we must love for our brother what we love for ourselves, so why do we dislike criticism if it’s coming from a place of love? Why will we criticise our brothers and sisters without realising that we ourselves could also do with a critique every now and again?
Criticism isn’t always a bad thing however, people take it badly because, we’re not used to being told about ourselves (to put it bluntly). I never used to take criticism well but when I realised the people who were giving me that feedback were coming from a place of love, I re-evaluated my situation.
In Islam we have naseeha (sincere advice). It’s an obligation among us all to give naseeha but we must first know the correct way to do so. Criticism given at the right place, time and environment can help to really transform someone’s life. Coming from the wrong place, it could lead away from Islam. They may not receive the criticism well BUT it is your responsibility to do it in the right way.
And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah] – Surah TaHa ayah 44
HOW TO GIVE POSITIVE CRITICISM IN ISLAM
PURIFY YOUR INTENTIONS
Actions are but by intentions. I’ve quoted this on my blog more than once and for good reason. If you purify your intentions BEFORE you give out your advice, then there’s no mistake when giving it whether you’re doing it for the right reasons or not. Do you sincerely want to help that person by advising them or are you trying to belittle, punish or expose them in anyway? Speak from a place of love and ask Allah swt to forgive you for your sins as well.
This gives you the opportunity to stop and prevent further harm by identifying your own hidden intentions. This means that you have to be honest with yourself first before being honest with someone else. The change really does start with you.
NEVER CRITICISE IN PUBLIC
We should always strive to give advice privately. No one likes to be exposed and we wouldn’t like someone to expose us either. Especially when we are advised as Muslims to hide the faults of our brothers and sisters so Allah swt will hide ours on the Day of Judgement.
It also helps with the previous point. if your intentions are pure you have no need for an audience when you’re giving advice.
DON’T GO LOOKING FOR FAULTS
“The believer conceals [the sin] and advises the person while the evildoer exposes the sin and disgraces the person.” al-Fudail ibn Iyaadh
If you turn out to be a bloodhound, sniffing out people’s faults and exposing them to the world, what do you think the punishment for this is? Allah swt will expose yours, especially if they’re faults you yourself have not asked forgiveness for.
“The believers, men and women, are Auliyā’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another.” Surah Tawbah ayah 71
Help each other, love each other, support each other and inshaAllah Allah swt will do the same for us in a way only He swt can.
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