Avoid Fault-finding

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Nature & Science Views: 17438

As people of Faith, we have the duty of commanding good and forbidding evil. We thus engage ourselves, as social beings, in improving ourselves and working towards being instruments in improving the world we live in. Our Faith behooves us not to search for faults in others and we would do well to heed the advice of our Beloved Prophet : "Part of being a good person is minding your own business." 

While the purpose of commanding good and forbidding evil is to correct and restore; fault-finding inevitably leads to undermining the character of people and sometimes to destroying relationships. Prophet Muhammad said: "The worst of people are those engaged in slandering others, those who ruin relationships between dear ones who try to find fault with innocent people." 

The Prophet also admonished us that "when you pursue the faults of others, you corrupt them" and warned that "those who unduly pursue the shortcomings of others will have their own faults exposed." 

Fault-finding is the habit of the miserable 

Confucius said: "the great person calls to attention the good points in others while the miserable person calls to attention the defects in others." (Analects 12:16). That is perhaps why losers can easily say, "something is wrong" and winners usually say, "how can I correct it". Why losers say, "why don't you do this?" and winners usually say, "here is something I can do." 

Fault-finders normally tell others about someone's faults and rarely have the guts to face people; fitting the description of dhul-wajhayn (two-faced) which the Prophet Muhammad assigned to troublemakers and hypocrites. Fault-finders also tend to be miserable themselves, lacking self-esteem; and since they focus so much on blaming others, they become resentful; and rather than cherish people, tend to develop a desire to undermine and discredit people. 

Negativity consumes a person 

The negative feelings that a fault-finder harbors regarding others eventually consumes the person and this negativity eventually becomes part of the fault-finder's character. Prophet Muhammad therefore advised us "Refrain from holding bad opinions of people." 

Deflecting one's own shortcomings 

One of the common ways through which people deflect their own shortcomings and do not face up to their own faults is to blame others. The faults we see may well not be in what we are looking at, but rather in our looking. Prophet 'Isa/Jesus is reported to have said; "why do you look at the little speck in your brother's eye and forget the plank in your own eye". Hadrat 'Ali said: "The worst of people is the person who searches for faults in others while being blind to his own faults". Martin Luther King rightly said: "the highest form of maturity is self inquiry". 

Watch your Heart, your Emotions and your Tongue 

Speech is projection of thoughts and emotions; the content of speech reflects the culture of the heart, so consider carefully how you feel about others, why you feel the way you feel and what you say about people. Prophet Muhammad said: "None of your faith is correct unless your heart is upright and your heart will not be rectified until your tongue is in order". That is why Allah states in the Quran "speak what is correct, your actions will be rectified and your sins will be forgiven". Since virtually all fault-finding is conveyed verbally, we must be careful of the power of the tongue since wise people caution the fact that affliction caused by the tongue is more severe than the harm caused by the sword. The Prophet also provided a basic rule of good character when he responded to a question regarding salvation. He replied: "It is necessary for you to control your tongue and weep for your own faults". 

The prayer of the Prophet is the most appropriate expression for one who introspects and genuinely wishes to be a catalyst for a better world: "O Allah, forgive that which I did secretly and what I did publicly; What I did inadvertently and what I did deliberately; What I did knowingly and what I did out of ignorance". 

Always reflect on this advice of the Prophet : "glad tidings to the person more concerned about his own faults than bothering about the faults of others". 

Sadullah Khan is the Director of Islamic Center of Irvine. He has presented lectures on Islamic Civilization at California State University at Dominguez Hills. He is a frequent lecturer for the Academy of Judaic, Christian and Islamic Studies at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). He is also an advisor to the Chancellor's Committee on Religion Ethics and Values at UCLA and serves as Director of Muslim Affairs at USC (University of Southern California).

You can watch his lectures on Empowerment at IslamiTV

Dimensions of the Quran
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  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured, Nature & Science
Views: 17438
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Older Comments:
I've been such a bad wife, for the last almost 10 years of marriage. My husband is close to letting me go (make dua for me). The crux of the problem being that I live with all my inlaws, and couldn't stop finding faults in them. I've become such a negative person that I almost don't know how to get out of the situation. I've started just now to let things go, but I don't think it's soon enough! I hope and pray that others will read this article before it's too late, inshaAllah. Thanks, may Allah Reward all your efforts.

Articles like this illuminate your heart, soul and mind. We need to be reminded every so often of these social vices and how to avoid them. Perhaps that will clean us up so much. And thank you again for reminding how powerful the spoken and written word is, how we are commanded by Allah to build our lives upon truth. And mercy- little mercies and bigger ones; if we can achieve all this then imagine how beautiful we shall become as individuals and as a muslim society. This is very serious as well because Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)said that many people will go to hell because of their tongues. The projected derivation is that it's not what they did, but what and how they spoke/ wrote that they would land in hell. Allah save us from such an undesirable fate. Amin.

By Allah there is no day I read an article on this site that I am not moved.keep it up.

A Very good article May ALLAH reward you abundantly.This Article will help us to live peacefully with our wives and the general public KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK you are doing enlightening the Muslim Ummah.

i have just had misunderstanding with my poeple but seeing this article ilove and please that my lord wiil show mercy upon me and upon all the wrongs that i have made....//

Very good article, baraka Allah fikoum! In Sweden we say "When looking for faults use the mirror before using the binoculars" ...

This is the only way to be a good individual as Allah ordered us.

Wonderful article. Inspiring and lot to learn.

I think it is a great article. The problem I have is how to get someone to read it wit out making them made

I commend the great effort of passing such good moral values and ethics to all around the world, this article will certainly trigger the good conscience of individuals and lead us towards peace. May allah bless you all.

Great article

It will be a big achievement on part of a human being to start the process of self improvement. No adult Man or Woman can change for better unless he first acknowleges his/her short-commings and then try to mend his behaviour as much as possible to correct his faults. If only we understand what the author is trying to say in this article...

This article is a wake up call to all muslims. This past time of most of us these days is either finding faults in others or backbiting. May Allah forgive our sins and guide us aright. May Allah reward the writer abundantly for this good reminder.

True by all means.

When one is considering someone for marriage and you find the man's conduct to be unislamic, should one not comment on that? Guys always get defensive and say Dont be judgemental or Its between me and my God but does a person not have the responsibility to explore and know if the person can tell right from wrong? And tell the person if they dont realize their actions are
unislamic? and call it quits if the person is not willing to do things differently?? Or is it sufficient to just watch your step and let your partner-to-be do whatever?

Good artile but please allow me to add: It is the responsibility of every Iraqi parent to give advice to their children " Keep away form the us occupying force on the ground here in Iraq"
Brush landed on an aircraft carrier and declared all hostilities had ended. That was his arrogant and self-diluting expression. The insurgents viewed things differently. War goes on in Iraq. In addition, it is very nave to think other wise or simple call them terrorists. The Poor children who die by the side of American soldier in Iraq are nothing but collateral damage in the eyes of the insurgents. They are an expectable lost on the road to a higher achievement.
America use political bits such as cowards and evil to describe the complexities of the Middle East This a substitute for America's failed foreign policies.
From the Iran hostage situation in the 70's to the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut in the eighties to the invasion of Iran in the nineties to the war in Afghanistan to the invasion and occupation of Iraq today- American has been imbedded with and supportive of every idiosyncratic ruler in the middle east.
So, what does this have to do with the parents and children in Iraq or Avoid Fault-Finding?
The children of Iraq should know this. How can the Middle East become more productive when it is engaged in so much violence? Bush Is At Fault and is not interested in Middle East peace- only domination- and this will continue through destabilization and turmoil.
The Iraqi children have a right to grow up not thinking the American soldiers are angles sent from heaven. These children are born with the ability to map out their own destiny without being "con" into believing the American "western" way of life are the apex of where humans are to be. Instead, they are dying with this oppressor.. If I had children in Iraq, I would tell them where the occupiers could put their sweets because they are not worth dying for.