Sunday, July 4, 2010

Naseeha on Naseeha

As-salamu alaikum,

Bismillah ar-rahman ar-raheem

After witnessing some interesting conversations, I would like to give some gentle naseeha on the subject of gentle naseeha. I am not an expert or anything, and as always this reminder is for myself first. Allah save us from intentionally or unintentionally pushing others away from our beautiful religion, ameen.

I found this quote that pretty much sums up the topic I wanted to discuss:

Shaykh Kamil Mufti writes in his article Directions to Giving Naseehah:

Naseehah is a wonderful weapon, but like most weapons, if the user does not know how to use it properly, it can cause more harm than good.

We should all be aware of the dangers of giving naseeha in the wrong way and the guidelines for giving effective advice.

1. Be sincere. Give advice for the sake of Allah and the love of your brothers and sisters in Islam. It is important, before you give naseeha, to check your intention. Are you doing it to make yourself feel better, or to please Allah and help a fellow Muslim? Be truthful!! This is really really important.

2. Be kind. Anger or rudeness is a quick way to guarantee the person you are advising will not listen to you and could be pushed farther away. Always Always Always Always Always use kind and understanding language with your brothers and sisters. As the saying goes, you can catch more flies with honey.

3. Give it privately. I know this one is tough online since our problems are posted publicly and so we feel compelled to correct people publicly, but this is a sure way to turn your naseeha into criticism and embarassment for the person you are trying to help. When possible, send an e-mail or give the person a call to discuss the issue calmly.

4. Be mindful of time, place, and setting. This includes privacy, giving yourself time to cool off if you are upset about the issue, and the mode of conveyance (e-mail, msn, phone, in person, etc.) Think of the best time and place to have the conversation and make sure that the mood is light and everyone is clear on the purpose of the discussion.

5. Be patient. The person may not implement your naseeha right away, but know that if you have done it correctly, there is a greater possibility that they will eventually change for the better. Don't keep pushing.

6. AVOID CHASTISING THE PERSON. Contrary to popular belief, naseeha is not the same thing as chastisement. It is not your job to "scold" others as if they are children.

7. Do not EVER EVER EVER question their faith. No matter a person's outward actions, only ALLAH knows what is in their hearts and you have no right to judge their level of previous, current, or future iman or their status as a Muslim.

8. Follow up. Show concern for the sister or brother outside of the initial naseeha. Praise them if you notice them doing something good. Express happiness if they achieve a goal. Let them know that you continue to think about them and care for them, even if they are still struggling to move forward.

If any of you have any other pointers to add, please feel free to discuss and leave comments below

Note: Some of the ideas in this post come from an article I read here, and the rest is from my own experience here online and in real life :-)


Banana Anne said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I think because the Internet is so anonymous, it's easy for people to say things they probably wouldn't say to someone's face (this goes for everything on the Internet, not just blogs).

LK said...

This is lovely advice. They use to tell us in art class to give criticism in this form: first say something good about the work, then give your suggestion for improvement. It works well with people too :) And kind language is a must.

qistina said...

i greatly agree to number 8 - follow up. but it gets kinda frustating when the other side does not give any thought on how we want them to change SO MUCH! but then, the prophet (peace be upon him) had had tougher situations and he remained patient mashaAllah. so maybe another point is, be EXTRA patient? hehe. oh yeah, and of course we have to give duas :)

جيسي فهد said...

Very nice : )
I always think about how can I do this or even to present Islam to non-Muslims in a positive/un-attack like way.

Musa said...

All very true points. Thank you for sharing sister :) May Allah (swt) reward you with the best of both this life and the next.

Xenia said...

Very true, Jazakallahu khair for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Giving nasseha is also being careful to lead someone astray with our advice or to publicly support their sins,that is as wrong as being too harsh.

When a muslim exposes their sins, and after being privately reminded of the right path, they sometimes need to be publicly guided.
Young reverts are very impressionable and give public impression of supporting such actions leading the person way off the right path.
I'm noticing that lately that a group young women following each others blogs are leaving and doubting Islam.It started with one listening to the whispers of Shaytan then one by one ,like a rotten apple, it has contaminated the others.
None of the young girls was able to publicly speak up against unislamic behaviors so it lead to this.

May Allah guide us


Little Auntie said...

asalamu aliakuam, sis

Just noticed your blog from qistina's blog, hehe. I just wanted to say I really liked this post. Ma'shaAllah. InshaAllah we can all benefit from it.

As the scholars have said, Allah commanded Prophet Moosa to speak 'gently' to Firaun, or Pharaoh and Pharaoh had been calling himself the Lord, audoo'billah. Nobody that we know could possibly be sinning to that extent, right....and none of us, also, are as good as Moosa, who 'spoke to Allah'....just goes to show you how much more we need to be gentle..

Ameera ^, if possible please send me the links to these blogs that you are talking about. I spent a long time going over a Christian woman's thoughts of the Qur'an and I noticed also that sometimes she would say something 'offensive' 'putting doubt' and other Muslims would just accept it because of lack of knowledge on their part.inshaAllah we can help these sisters :)

LK said...

Ameera: If you are going to send links to Little Auntie please do so privately through email. It would be rude to publicly call out a bunch of people on NeverEver's blog.

Someone called people out on my old blog once and it turned into a horrible mess. Just trying to help all of you avoid that :) Thanks.

Falling Up said...

Hey Jazak Allahu KHairan for this. Some people really need to learn the proper etiquette of naseeha. Many people just do it in a rude way that puts people off.

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