Apr 19, 2012

The Prophetic Way Of Correcting Mistakes

By Nasmira Firdous


We live in an age where judging others has become the norm and mocking people for their mistakes has become a huge pastime. While some of us might do it unintentionally, others might fall into this out of ignorance or even arrogance. Calling ourselves the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam comes with certain responsibilities. One such responsibility is correcting people’s mistakes.

Quite often in this quest of learning the deen and implementing it in our lives, we become over judgmental of our own brothers and sisters. Instead of correcting their mistakes, we pass fatwas, turning them further away from the beauty of this deen. It is important to understand that this deen is very easy and correcting people’s mistakes should also be done in a beautiful manner.

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern (example) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.”[1]

We have been blessed with numerous bounties and gifts, which Allah subhaana wa ta'aala chose to specifically shower us with. He, subhaana wa ta'aala, gave us a blueprint in life to follow, the Glorious Quran. Additionally, Allah subhaana wa ta'aala also gave us a guide in Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam who inculcated this blueprint in his daily activities.

Therefore, let us look at how our Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used to correct people’s mistakes. Jot down certain specific characters of the Prophet, which you notice, while reading the ahadeeth mentioned below. Do remember to share your thoughts in the comments section inshAllah.

Anas ibn Maalik said, “Whilst we were in the mosque with the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, a Bedouin came and started urinating in the mosque. The Companions said, “Stop it! Stop it!’ But, the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Do not interrupt him; leave him alone.” So they left him until he had finished urinating, then the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam called him and said to him, “In these mosques, it is not right to do anything like urinating or defecating; they are only for remembering Allah, praying and reading Qur`an, or words to that effect.” Then he commanded a man who was there to bring a bucket of water and throw it over the (urine), and he did so.”[2]

Compassion and Love:
While correcting the Bedouin and pointing out his mistakes, Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam did not speak rudely to him, tell him off or humiliate him in front of others. Rather, he allowed the man to finish what he was doing, was patient the whole while and made him understand why he was wrong, softening the Bedouin’s heart and cooling the rising tempers of his companions at the same time.

Narrated Anas, “While the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was in the house of one of his wives, one of the mothers of the believers sent a meal in a dish. The wife, at whose house the Prophet was, struck the hand of the servant, causing the dish to fall and break. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam gathered the broken pieces of the dish and then started collecting on them the food which had been in the dish and said, "Your mother (my wife) felt jealous." Then he detained the servant till a (sound) dish was brought from the wife at whose house he was. He gave the sound dish to the wife whose dish had been broken and kept the broken one at the house where it had been broken.”[3]

Understand People:
This is a very important quality to develop while trying to correct people’s mistakes. More often than not, we tend to push our values and preach excessively without understanding why or what led that person to behave in such a manner. In the aforementioned hadeeth, we learn a mighty lesson.  Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam understood that jealousy run’s in a woman’s mind when she is given a dish prepared by her co wife. He didn’t chide her for breaking it, but made her replace the broken dish with a new one.The matter was done and over!

So, the next time you see your siblings do something which is inappropriate, rather than scolding them or scaring them away with harsh words, understand their psychology and get your point across in a polite manner. Winning people’s hearts is the first step towards correcting their mistakes. This is a great way to prevent misunderstandings and clear many misconceptions too!

Anas reported that a group of the Companions of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam asked the wives of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam about what he did. One of them (those Sahaabah, in an effort to become more religious by neglecting the dunya and increasing acts of i’badah) said, “I will never marry women.” Another said, “I will never eat meat.” Another said, “I will never sleep on a bed.” (When the companions left, the wives reported the incident to the Prophet). The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam praised and thanked Allah, then he said, “What is the matter with some people who say such and such? But, as for me, I pray and I sleep, I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah has nothing to do with me.”[4]

Grab your ‘dawah moment’:
Did you notice how Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam used a vague description “some” rather than calling names while correcting their mistaken believes? He also made it a moment to teach them that Islam is all about moderation and balance between dunya and akhira. Giving dawah is an obligation upon us Muslims. So, the next time you see someone making a mistake, a sister not fulfilling her duties in wearing the hijab modestly or someone gossiping, instead of shouting “astaghfirullah”, grab your ‘dawah moment’ and let them know what Islam says about certain things.

Emulate the Prophet’s akhlaq: 
Allah subhaana wa ta'aala has preserved the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam for centuries, so that it could reach us. There is a reason for this. We are supposed to make Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam our role model and emulate him in whatever we do. He used to smile often, so let’s remain chirpy and exude positive energy towards others. He was soft and kind when dealing with laymen and his companions. Let us be soft and kind to our own families and friends. He won people’s hearts with his character, leading to the rapid spread of Islam, so much so that even his staunchest enemies accepted Islam and died for the cause of Islam!

Let’s see how many hearts we can win over by emulating Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, inshAllah?

Maintain a diary. Jot down important points about how:
· You corrected someone,
· If you made use of the Prophet’s principles in doing so,
· The kind of outcome you expected, and
· The kind of outcome you received.

Add a star to each heart you managed to win, insha’Allah! Let’s see how many hearts we manage to collect. Our Prophet’s personality was like a magnet, attracting people naturally. Let’s see how many people we can attract by correcting their mistakes, the sunnah way, inshAllah.

1. Glorious Quran, Surah Al Ahzab 33:21
2. Saheeh Muslim, Number 285
3. Sahih Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 62, Number 152
4. Saheeh Muslim, Number 1041


Mashallah I loved the article. People do not like to be "wrong" when we correct them without humiliating them they will accept the correction and will be inteigued by the religion more. Subhanallah. May Allah guide us all. I was wondering how I can reach the writer


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