How to Stop Looking for Faults in People

The method that most of us take while trying to correct iur brothers and sisters is something like this.

“Excuse me, you know you’re not actually wearing proper hijab.”

“If you died tomorrow, imagine if this sin took you to hell.”

“Why are you reading that, like how can you even be attracted to that?”

“Muslims have so many issues, so many Muslims are like this and like that…”

As you can probably tell, such dawah efforts arent very successful. Rather than becoming compassionate and soft-spoken, we became judgmental and critical. We do look for ways to correct people and blamed them for not receiving any criticisms as heartfelt advices.

In our attempt to teach others about Islam, we try to perfect people’s ritual acts, whilst overlooking our own shortcomings.

Remember Allah sent Musa to Firawn, Allah told Musa to go to Firawn with gentle speech, so that perhaps Firawn would humble himself and fear Allah.Allah commanded soft speech towards a tyrant because perhaps his heart would be moved.

“And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah ].” [Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verse 44]

We must remember to be soft with people.

Start with yourself

The beloved prophet
 said “I was sent to perfect good character”. [Adab Al Mufrad]

“The Compassionate One has mercy on those who are merciful. If you show mercy to those who are on the earth, He Who is in the heaven will show mercy to you” [Abi Dawud]

Mercy and compassion are two main attributes that the Creator uses often to describe Himself, and yet in our attempt to call people to Him, we display neither of those traits. Recognising that our Iman would never reach a stage of comfort where it will stop needing to work to maintain it, means that we could no longer avoid our own shortcomings by focusing on others.

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The Prophet(pbuh) said,

“No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself.” [Bukhari]

Everyone has heard of this hadith, but when trying to share Allah’s
 message, it is so important to remember that just like we want to be treated with respect and kindness, we need to offer that to others. We’re not just carrying any message, we’re carrying a message of success and contentment in this life and the next.

Sometimes emotions like jealousy, paranoia, anxiety, and even our own failures can skew the sincerity of our actions towards others, and that’s why we constantly need to renew our intentions and maintain empathy.

Go with a soft word

Calling people to guidance is a beautiful thing, but it needs to be done with wisdom. Bring people up, don’t put them down. Focus on how a person can improve, not on what they lack. Building a love of Allah does far more to encourage someone than telling them they’re falling short in their practice.

“Make things easy and do not make them difficult, cheer the people up by conveying glad tidings to them and do not repulse (them).” [Bukhari]

Words are incredibly powerful. Think about the times when someone through their eloquence and softness has brought peace to your heart…

Think about the way you phrase something, and if it could be done better. It may just be words, but they have so much power.

The message of Islam would never have succeeded through harshness as Allah said:

“So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you.” [Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 159]

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Have wisdom in your approach

When Nuh gave dawah, he called people day and night, in secret and in public. He reminded them of the beautiful rewards of Allah. He was always thinking about what methods to use to bring people closer to their Creator.

When it comes to giving dawah to someone, pause, reflect and ask yourself if this is an action that will bring someone closer to Allah. Do you have a close enough relationship with this person to even have this conversation? Are you doing it at the right time? Will you like what you hear if it was spoken to you?

Do not be solely results-driven

You were never giving advice or enjoining the good to see an immediate result in people. If this was the case, Nuh would have given up centuries ago. You were doing it for the sake of Allah. If you quit being kind to someone and advising them because you think they’re a lost cause, then were you sincere in your compassion to them or your service to Allah?

“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” [Qur’an: Chapter 28, Verse 56]

When it comes to people, we only see what they want us to see. We can’t see their pain and struggles. We don’t know what experiences have shaped them into the person that they are, and so, with that in mind, maintaining a soft word consistently with no expectations does more good than you can ever imagine. Drawing our own conclusions on people’s behavior can make a situation much worse.

Empathizing with someone and being kind is the most you can do, the rest is up to Allah. Guidance comes from Him and we shouldn’t become frustrated with people for not listening to us. Maybe they will be guided in a few years and have stronger iman than us.There are so many possibilities.

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Never lose hope in others

Nafs is an empty vessel that can be good or bad depending on what we fill it up with. Meaning, everyone has potential to be better regardless of where they are.

That’s why Allah sent Musa to talk to Firawn with a soft word even though he was a tyrant. There was still a possibility that he would humble himself and accept the message. If Allah
 said that there was hope for Firawn, then what about the rest of us?

“What would Allah do with your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allah Appreciative and Knowing.” [Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 147]

Allah gives every one of us a clean slate whenever we want it, and doesn’t hold anyone’s sins against them. There’s mercy and inspiration in that every day you have a chance to be the best version of yourself. So reflect on yourself constantly, and never underestimate the power of the soft word.

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