In the Name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
The Manner of Criticism
It might have happened for you too that when encountering a bad behavior we have started criticizing the person. Instead of confronting the individual, we can remind the unacceptable behavior and show distaste for that. In such a case there would be no hatred toward the guilty person, as well as the fact that he too won’t regard that encounter as an offense against his personality. The teachings of the Holy Quran and the Ahl al-Bait (PBUH) encourage a culture of confronting the sin of an individual, not his personality. (1)
For example, we read in the Holy Quran that Prophet Lout (PBUH) said to people: “I am the stark enemy of your actions [not the enemy of yourselves.]”(2)
Or in another instance, Allah (SWT) orders His Prophet (PBUH&HP), in his confrontation with the disobedience of some people, to show aversion toward their action and not toward them. (3)
As also narrated from the Prophet (PBUH&HP), “There are many cases in which Allah (SWT) loves the individuals themselves, but despises their actions.” (4)
If the blameworthy person realizes that his dignity is reserved and his weakness is his unacceptable behavior, there would be more readiness and encouragement for him to relinquish. However, if he feels that he is damned, there would be less hope for him to return, and the possibility of his sinking into darkness will increase.
The same important rule applies to family issues and child rearing too. Good parents are not those whom their children fear them; good parents regard their children's dignity. In such cases the children know that when they have angered their parents they still have their parent’s grace, because they know what has angered their parents are their actions and not themselves.
For instance, when criticizing a child’s behavior, instead of humiliating him or comparing him to his peers, it is better to say: "My son, you were better last year than this year." Or they say: "One must improve every day; the better you are the more you are loved by Allah (SWT), parents and others." In other words, they should compare him with himself rather than others. This will lead to the guidance of the child.
Therefore in our confrontation with bad actions, we should not introduce a rival for the blameworthy person, igniting the feelings of hatred and revenge; on the contrary, his good deeds and traits and his good past should be noticed too. We should remind him of his family, speak about his capacities and skills so that he understands that he is still wanted and capable.
Lets for the ending go through this dignified culture in Imam Kazem’s (PBUH) way of life:
A person visited Imam Kazem (PBUH) saying: “One of your followers drinks wine and sins. Should we banish him?”
Imam (PBUH) said: “[no, not from himself, but] express distaste for his bad action, and don’t shy away from his good deeds. Show aversion for his bad act.”
The person asked once more: “So, can we call him a corrupt?”
Imam Kazem (PBUH) attentively explained the meaning of corruption and repeated: “…say that his action is bad, and he commits bad actions. He is faithful but his deed is bad.” (5)
Yes, this is the behavioral pattern of the Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) that when they face people’s wrongdoing they separate between their personality and their behavior; how is our reactions similar to theirs?
(The above is a selection taken from “Inviting to Good and Forbidding Evil”, by Hujatul Islam Qira’ati – with minor changes)
Roshd offers its condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend on the 25th of Rajab, Martyrdom of the manifestation of light and wisdom, inheritor of peace and calmness, the seventh Imam, Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kadhim (PBUH).
Roshd Islamic Shia Website
1-It should be reminded that this rule applies to the faithful; however, if the person leaves the faith and joins the unbelievers or pagans, then God will first banish him and then detests his action. There are lots of instances mentioned in the Holy Quran in this regard. As an example:
“And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters” (The Holy Quran 9:3)
“Indeed, there is for you a good example in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people: Surely we are clear of you and of what you serve besides Allah;” (The Holy Quran 60:4)
2- “He said: I am in truth of those who hate your conduct.” (The Holy Quran 26:168)
3- “But if they disobey you, then say: Surely I am clear of what you do.” (The Holy Quran 26:216)
4- Peak of Eloquence, pg. 216
5- Kanzul Jaame’ al-Fuwadi, pg. 304, Bihar al-Anwaar, vol. 27, pg. 137
6- Mafatih al-Jinan, An excerpt from the Ziarah of Imam Kazem (PBUH)