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Prophet’s Moderation in Correcting People’s Mistakes

The Prophet’s methods of correcting people’s mistakes were marked by moderation, deliberation, verification, and avoiding hastiness.

The Prophet’s methods of correcting people’s mistakes were marked by moderation, deliberation, verification, and avoiding hastiness.

By An-Numairi ibn Muhammad As-Sabbar

Translated from Arabic by the Editorial Team

It is absolutely taken for granted that erring is a human characteristic which no one can escape, regardless of their level of righteousness and uprightness. This fact is sustained by the hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.”  (At-Tirmidhi)

This fact should be taken into consideration by those concerned with reformation and education. They should adopt a practical approach that completely keeps away from the circles of human desires and personal inclinations, and avoids both extremes. In fact, this cannot be attainable except under the shade of moderation that has been laid down by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his treatment of the human errors. It should be a firm basis to be adopted by Muslims as a source, methodology and effective attitude in directing the process of life and rectifying its deviation with the goal of bringing benefits and warding off evils.

Proceeding from this, we will shed light on six features of the Prophet’s moderation hoping that we act upon them and reap their fruits.

  • Deliberation, verification, moderation and avoiding hastiness:

This feature is substantiated by many pieces of evidence topped by the story of Hatib ibn Abu Balta`ah (may Allah be pleased with him) with the Messenger of Allah when Hatib sent a letter to the infidels of Quraysh informing them about the Prophet’s plans to invade Makkah.

Did the Prophet (peace be upon him) hasten to judge him or make a decisive verdict regarding him, despite the atrocity and seriousness of Hatib’s action? Nay!

The Prophet asked him to verify the matter with utter calmness and forethought, “O Hatib, what is this?” (This was reported in the narration of `Ubaidullah ibn Abu Rafi` from `Ali (may Allah pleased with him) in Al-Bukhari.) He also said to him, “What made you, O Hatib, do what you did?” (This was mentioned in the narration of `Abdur-Rahman As-Sulami from `Ali ‘may Allah be pleased with them’ in Al-Bukhari.)

  • Kindness

The evidence of this feature is what was narrated by `Urwah ibn Az-Zubayr that `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “A group of Jews came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and said, “As-samu `Alayka” (Death be on you), and I understood it and said to them, “`Alaykum As-Samu wal-la`nah (Death and curse be on you).” The Messenger of Allah said, “Be calm! O `A’ishah, for Allah loves that one should be kind and lenient in all matters.” I said. “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)! Haven’t you heard what they have said?” The Messenger of Allah said, “I have (already) said (to them), “Wa `alaykum (and upon you).’” (Al-Bukhari)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) did not reply to the Jews with similar words. Rather, he taught `A’ishah in a wonderful way not to speak harshly to them. He (peace be upon him) said to her, “Be calm! O `A’ishah”. He explained this by saying, “Allah loves that one should be kind and lenient in all matters.”

  • Mercifulness

This is proved by the hadith narrated by Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) came into the mosque and noticed a rope stretched between two poles. He enquired, “What is this rope for?” He was told: “This is Zainab’s rope. During her voluntary prayer, when she begins to feel tired, she grasps it for support”. The Prophet said, “Untie it. You should perform prayers so long as you feel active. When you feel tired, you should sit down”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

  • Wisdom:

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “While we were in the mosque with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), a desert Arab came and stood up and began to urinate in the mosque. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Stop! Stop!” But the Messenger of Allah said: “Don’t interrupt him; leave him alone.” They left him, and when he finished urinating, the Messenger of Allah called him and said to him: “These mosques are not the places meant for urine and filth, but are only for the remembrance of Allah, prayer and the recitation of the Qur’an.” Or the Messenger of Allah said something like that. He (the narrator) said that the Prophet gave orders to one of the people who brought a bucket of water and poured it over.  (Muslim)

  • Good preachment

This feature is found in the story of Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) when he killed a man after he said, “La ilah illa Allah (there is no one worthy of worship but Allah)”. When they went back to Al-Madinah, news had reached the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) about what Usamah did. He said, “O Usamah, did you kill him?” Usamah replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said, “What would you do with “La ilah illa Allah” when it would come (before you) on the Day of Judgment?” Usamah said: “O Messenger of Allah, beg pardon for me (from your Lord).” He (the Holy Prophet) said: “What would you do with “La ilah illa Allah” when it would come (before you) on the Day of Judgment?” The Prophet added nothing but kept saying: “What would you do with “La ilah illa Allah” when it would come (before you) on the Day of Judgment?” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Al-Hafizh ibn Hajar (may Allah confer mercy upon him) said, “Ibn At-Tin said, ‘This blame implies teaching and strong preaching so that nobody will venture to kill a person who pronounced the testimony of monotheism.” (Fatah Al-Bari 12/195)

  • Dialogue, persuasion and argument with the way that is best:

Abu Umamah reported that a young man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, allow me to commit adultery.” People stood up to him and scolded him saying, “What! What!” The Prophet said, “Come near to me.” The young man drew close to the Prophet and sat down. The Messenger of Allah asked him, “Would you like it for your mother?” The young man said, “No by Allah, may Allah make me ransom for you!” The Prophet said, “People do not like it for their mothers as well.” Then, he asked the young man, “Would you like it for your daughter?” The young man said, “Nay by Allah, may Allah make me ransom for you!” The Prophet said, “People do not like it for their daughters as well.” Then, he asked the young man, “Would you like it for your sister?” The young man said, “No by Allah, may Allah make me ransom for you!” The Prophet said, “People do not like it for their sisters as well.” Then, he asked the young man, “Would you like it for your paternal aunt?” The young man said, “No by Allah, may Allah make me ransom for you!” The Prophet said, “People do not like it for their paternal aunts as well.” Then, he asked the young man, “Would you like it for your maternal aunt?” The young man said, “No by Allah, may Allah make me ransom for you!” The Prophet said, “People do not like it for their maternal aunts as well.” Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) put his hand on the young man and said, “O Allah, forgive his sin, purify his heart and make him chaste.” The narrator said, “This young man would not pay attention to anything of that thereafter.” (Ahmad)

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Source: Find the Arabic source on Alukah.net

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