"The religion is naseehah." The people asked, "To whom?" The Prophet (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) replied, "To Allah and to His Book and to His Messenger and to the leaders of the Muslims and the common folk." [Collected by Bukhari, Muslim]
It lurks in the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves and waits expectantly for opportunities to strike. It attacks our defences of eeman, strategically tears down our walls of taqwa and ruthlessly diminishes our ihsan, or perfection of worship. Struggling against the evil that is inherent in all of us, is a battle that is fought on a daily, even hourly basis, and like most wars it is seldom won alone. Allah, through His eternal mercy, has given the believers the most powerful weapon available to assure victory in this constant struggle between good and evil - each other.
How many of us have looked to our brothers and sisters in Islam and have seen them straying from the path of Allah, and have turned our faces away? How many of us have seen our brothers erring and said to ourselves, it is none of my business? Well, it is our business for the Prophet (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) has made it our business. In the hadith related by Tamim ad-Dari, the Prophet (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) said, "The religion is naseehah." The people asked, "To whom?" The Prophet (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) replied, "To Allah and to His Book and to His Messenger and to the leaders of the Muslims and the common folk." [Collected by Bukhari, Muslim]
The Prophet (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) has equated the entire religion to giving naseehah, but what exactly is naseehah? Naseehah is an Arabic word that is usually translated to mean "sincerity" or "sincere advice", but actually embodies every type of virtue. As believers, this statement of the Prophet (sallAllahu `alaihi wa sallam) must be taken to heart. By learning what naseehah is, we can then act on it and bring about positive changes in ourselves and each other. 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.
How is Naseehah given to Allah?
i) By establishing His worship by offering the obligatory deeds with perfection.
ii) By believing in Him; negating partners from Him; not denying any of His qualities; describing Him with all the qualities of beauty and perfection; and declaring Him to be far removed from faults and qualities of imperfection.
iii) By establishing His obedience and turning away from His disobedience.
iv) By loving and hating for His sake; befriending and making allegiance to those who obey Him and taking as enemies those who disobey Him; and turning toward what He loves and distancing oneself from displeasing Him.
v) By appreciating His blessings, bounties and thanking Him for them by obeying Him out of love and drawing closer to Him through the heart.
vi) By calling to all of the above, teaching it and being sincere in it for His sake.
How is Naseehah given to the Book of Allah?
i) By firmly believing in the heart that it is the Speech of Allah and His revelation; it is not like the words of the creation; and none of His creation is capable of producing something similar to it.
ii) By respecting it.
iii) By learning and teaching it; reading, reciting, and writing it properly; understanding its meaning; staying within its bounds; acting upon what is contained in it.
It is wajib (obligatory) to give naseehah to the leaders of the Muslims, since they have faults and are not protected from committing errors, but who are the leaders of the Muslims
Naseehah to the common Muslims
The following includes giving naseehah to ALL Muslims, be they black, white, Arab or Pakistani; be they sinful, ignorant or heedless. It also includes giving naseehah to Muslims, no matter which organisation or group they belong to or if one likes them or dislikes them.
How is Naseehah given to the common Muslims?
i) By guiding them to what will bring them benefit in this life and in the Hereafter.
ii) By removing harm from them and bringing them benefit.
iii) By teaching them what one loves for oneself and hating for them what one hates for oneself.
iv) By teaching them what will benefit them.
v) By commanding them what is right and forbidding them what is wrong with gentleness and sincerity.
vi) By being soft with them, honouring the elderly, loving and being merciful towards the youths.
vii) By not being deceptive and jealous toward them.
viii) Protecting their honour and wealth.
MANNERS OF GIVING NASEEHAH
Seeking the Pleasure of Allah by giving Naseehah
It is necessary that a person has the intention of seeking the pleasure of Allah when giving naseehah. Only such an intention deserves reward from Allah and acceptance from His slaves.If the intention is other than that, then that person deserves the anger and wrath of Allah as well as the hatred and rejection of the people - including the one being advised.
Not slandering the one being advised
This is an affliction that has befallen many Muslims. Many times, after taking a closer look, we find that the person giving naseehah actually wants to slander the person he is advising because of personal hatred. This does not befit the one being advised and may lead to a worse situation with no benefit resulting from the naseehah.
Naseehah is to be given in secret
Naseehah is most likely to bear its fruit when given to a person when he is by himself, for in such a situation the person is less likely to be affected by the thoughts of others. The sincere advisor should not aid the Devil over his brother by publicly rebuking him and letting Shaitaan beguile his brother into not taking the naseehah. This closes the doors of goodness and acceptance, and reduces the chances of the naseehah from being accepted.
This is why our pious predecessors used to give naseehah in secret. Hafidh Ibn Rajab writes, "When the righteous predecessors intended to give naseehah to someone, they admonished him privately, to the point that some of them said, "The one who exhorts his brother between him and himself , then it is naseehah. The one who exhorts him in front of people, then it is merely scolding!"
Fudail Ibn Ayyadh, one of the pious scholars from our predecessors, said, "A believer covers up and gives naseehah, whereas an evildoer exposes and humiliates." Ibn Rajab commented on Fudail`s saying, "It is naseehah if it is with a cover, while humiliating is with broadcasting."