The right of a Muslim upon his fellow Muslim is to receive his advice:
Dear brother, we are still tackling the rights of the Muslim upon his fellow Muslim brother. I said last lecture that one of the most important rights amongst these rights is to offer advice to your fellow Muslim. In fact when a Muslim deceives sh3er, he is not a Muslim. Do you know what versus offering a piece of advice? It is cheating and betrayal. The Muslim who cheats and betrays other people is not a Muslim, and the proof to that is in the following Hadith. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((Whosoever deceives us is not one of us.))The Prophet, peace be upon him, meant that such a person does not belong to Islam. There is another Hadith in which the same issue is mentioned:
((Narrated Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, happened to pass by a heap of corn. He thrust his hand in that (heap) and his fingers felt wetness. He said to the owner of that heap of corn, "What is this?" He replied: "O Messenger of Allah! These have been drenched by rainfall." He remarked, "Why did you not place this (the drenched part of the heap) over the corn so that people might see it? He who deceives us is not of us."))
If you deceive a magus you are not considered a Muslim. Though this magus worships an idol and he is Mulhed (atheist), after all he is one of Allah's creations:
((All creatures are Allah's dependants, and the most loved ones by Him are the most helpful to His dependants.))
If you cheat or betray other people, you are not a Muslim, not a believer either. The proof is:
((Abu Umamah narrated: The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "The believer may acquire all sorts of characteristics except treachery and lying."))What is the opposite of cheating and betrayal? It is advising people, so be an advisor:
((The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "The believers advise one another, and they care for each other even if their houses are far from each other, whereas hypocrites deceive and envy each other even if their houses are close to each other."))
The most essential and the greatest right you should fulfill towards another Muslim brother is to offer him advice.
What is the meaning of advice?
What does Naseehah (advice) mean? Usually scholars start with defining a term linguistically, and so they start with the verb Nasaha (gave advice), but what does it mean? Linguists said, "The man Nasaha his clothes, means that he sewed it." It seems that the advice which the Prophet, peace be upon him, referred to is meant to mend the flaw (fix it or sew it) of other people. He, peace be upon him, said:
((If you see a hole in your brother's clothes you should Tansahahu (fix it, and it means give him advice)))
Tansah (the present of Nasaha) means Tarfoo (to fix) the clothes, to sew the hole in the clothes. Hence, linguistically, Nasaha is to sew the hole you see in your brother's clothes. The second meaning of Nasaha is to purify honey, and the honey becomes Nasooh (purified) honey. Now what is the relation between advice and this meaning? It means when you offer your brother (in Islam) a piece of advice, you offer him right and pure words free from any wrongness.
Dear brother, I think we are done with words, because nice words, eloquence and oratory are meaningless if they are not turned into action. Actions are what counts not words, so no matter how many times you shake hands with your brother Muslim and warmly welcome him, you will not be considered a Muslim if you deceive, cheat, mislead, or distract him from the important issues. The society to which such a Muslim belongs is not an Islamic one and doesn't deserve Allah's Triumph. Hence:
((Ad-Deen (religion) is An-Naseehah (sincerity and sincere advice).))
The Muslim should do the following:
Your sincerity at work should be manifested before you talk to your Muslim brother. Each person should be sincere in his job, the doctor in his clinic, the lawyer at his office, the merchant in his store, the seller in his shop and the employee at his desk. The person who stands in front of you is a creation of Allah, and he deserves your sincere advice. Moreover, f he is a Muslim, so he has two reasons to have his rights fulfilled: the first one is that he is your brother in humanity and the second is that he is your brother in Islam. Therefore, he deserves your sincere advice, which is like the pure honey; it is words free of flaws, it fixes errors and it mends gaps. This is how the sincere advice should be. Hence, the linguistic meaning of the word Naseehah is the basic one, then comes the figurative one. The believer is an advisor, and one of the characteristics of the believers is to be advisors to one another, whereas cheating and being envious are the characteristics of hypocrites.
The Almighty Allah tells us what our Master Nuh, peace be upon him, said:
﴾"I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord and give sincere advice to you. And I know from Allah what you know not. ﴿Who is entitled to offer a piece of advice? He is the one who Allah grants him knowledge that is not acquired by other people, so he is supposed to offer his sincere advice to Muslims as an act of fulfilling his scientific duty towards them. The second Ayah tells us what our Master Hud, peace be upon him, said:
﴾"I convey unto you the Messages of my Lord, and I am a trustworthy adviser (or well-wisher) for you.﴿
Is the Muslim obliged to offer advice to all people all the time?
1- Offering advice is Fard Kifayah:
Let me ask you a delicate question: Should I offer my advice to every person wherever and whenever? Scholars said, "Giving Naseehah is Fard Kifayah (The obligation which is not a mandatory on every individual Muslim), so when some Muslims give it, the rest of Muslims are excused from fulfilling this duty." For example, if you are in a picnic with a group of people, and you see someone torturing an animal, it is enough for one of you to advise that young man to stop doing that. Hence, the rest are excused from fulfilling that duty. I repeat, giving Naseehah is Fard Kifayah, so when some give it, the rest of Muslims are exempted from it. This is the first ruling on giving Naseehah.
2- You are exempted from offering advice in the following situation:
The second ruling: If you believe beyond doubt that the person, to whom you are about to offer advice, will reject it and take it sarcastically because he denies the existence of the religion, you don't have to offer him that advice. For instance, if you say to him, that Allah says so and so, he will say to you, "Do you really believe that these are Allah's Words?" In such a case you are not obliged to advise him based on the following Ayah:
﴾Therefore remind (men) in case the reminder profits (them). ﴿
Also, such a ruling is based on the following Hadith in which the Prophet, peace be upon him, asks you not to give your wisdom to the wrong person:
((He, who hinders wisdom from those who deserve it, is unjust to them them, and He, who gives his wisdom to those who don't deserve it, is unjust to wisdom.))
By doing this you will either oppress people or wisdom. Allah says:
﴾Therefore remind (men) in case the reminder profits (them). ﴿
Hence, this ruling is based on both the above mentioned Ayah and the following Hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him:
((He, who hinders wisdom from those who deserve it, is unjust to them, and He, who gives his wisdom to those who don't deserve it, is unjust to wisdom.))
Rulings on offering Advice:
The first ruling on offering Naseehah is that it is Fard Kifayah, so when some Muslims fulfill it, the rest are exempted from giving it. If a group of people see someone commit a mistake, the wisest, the most prudent, the most intelligent and the most eloquent person amongst this group should advise him kindly and politely saying, "O brother…", and the rest should not add a word to what he says, or else the advice will turn into a scandal. As you know there is a big difference between the two.
The second ruling is that if you believe that a person whom you want to advise is so far from Islam as far as the heavens from the earth, that he will reject the advice, that he will mock the advisor, that he will badmouth him and that he is distant from Allah and his heart is as hard as the rock, you are excused if you do not advise him according to Shari'ah rulings. .
A person, who you might run into in a bus, might be cursing Islam and saying bad words about the Divine Character, so if you advise him in that state, he may get worse and swears more till he says the word of Kufr. Therefore, in such cases, the wisest thing you do is to stay away from him.
3- You are also excused from offering advice in the following situation:
There is a third ruling: In some cases, you may be negatively affected if you offer a piece of advice. The advice you offer may cause, you lose your entire money, your freedom or one of your organs. In such cases you are exempted from offering your advice according to Shari'ah rulings.
Let me repeat the rulings according to which you are exempted from giving Naseehah: If giving advice will cause you a great harm, if the one you are about to advise is as far from Islam as the distance between the heaven and the earth and if a Muslim among the group you are in offers this advice to his fellow Muslim brother.
What does the following Hadith encourage us to do?
We have the following Hadith in our hands: Narrated Ibn Ruqaiyah Tameem Ad-Dari, before I go on let me first ask you, who is Tameem Ad-Dari?
((It was narrated that Tameem Ad-Dari, one of the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, brought lamps, oil and ropes from AshSham (the Levant) to Al-Medinah. When he arrived Al-Medinah it was Friday afternoon, he ordered his servant to tie the ropes, hang the lamps, pour the oil, and put the wick in it, so when the sun set, he ordered the boy to light them. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, went to the Masjid and he saw it enlightened, so he asked, "Who did that?" They answered, "Tameem Ad-Dari did." He said, "You enlightened the Islam, may Allah enlighten your heart in this world and in the Hereafter. If I had had a daughter, I would have given her to you as a wife."))
This Hadith should encourage our noble brother to look after their Masjid, for it is the House of Allah. Each one of us should participate in serving it by looking after its lightening, taking care of the speakers, helping in cleaning it, guarding it or serving the visitors of this Masjid. You should bear in mind that this is a great deed. It is enough honor for us to follow the steps of our Master Ibrahim, peace be upon him:
﴾And We commanded Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isma'il (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I'tikaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer).﴿He was ordered to purify the House (of Allah), wasn't he? We should wish to be like the one who cleans this masjid, the House of Allah. Who will reward you for taking care of it? The Almighty Allah will:
((The Prophet, peace be upon him, said to Tameem Ad-Dari, "You enlightened the Islam, may Allah enlightens your heart in this world and in the Hereafter. If I had had a daughter, I would have given her to you as a wife." One of the Prophet's Companions said, "O Messenger of Allah, I have a daughter and her name is so and so. She is at your disposal", so the Prophet, peace be upon him, got them married (Tameem and the woman).))
This Companion took advantage of the situation (in a good way), and he got his daughter a husband. That was what Tameem Ad-Dari did, and by the way he is called Abu Ruqaiyah.
An all-inclusive and comprehensive definition:
Narrated by Abi Ruqaiyah Tameem Ad-Dari, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said giving an inclusive and comprehensive definition of religion:
(("Ad-Deen (religion) is An-Naseehah (sincerity and sincere advice)." We said, "To whom?" He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk."))
The Muslim advises people, whereas the non-Muslim cheats them. Some sellers might wink to one another as a gesture between them to raise the price of the commodity and take more money from the customer if he is rich. Cheating marks the hypocrites, whereas the believer offers his sincere advice when he is asked for it as if he advises himself. He who cheats or hinder his sincere advice when he is asked for it will lose his Islam, for:
((Ad-Deen (religion) is An-Naseehah (sincerity and sincere advice).))This is the all-inclusive and comprehensive sufficient definition of Islam.
The types of the acts of worship:
I said earlier today that the acts of worship are of two types. The first type is the ritual acts of worship like Salah, in which you stand and read Al-Fatiha and a Surah, then you bow down and prostrate, like Sawm in which you stop eating and drinking and like Hajj in which you head to the sacred places (Makkah and Al-Madinah), you put on two pieces of white cloth which are not tailed, you circumambulate the Ka'bah, you kiss the black stone, you perform Sa'i between Safa and Marwah (Sai is the devotional act of walking seven times back and forth between the two hills of As-Safa and Al-Marwah) and you stand at Mount Arafat. These are ritual acts of worship, while the second type is the transactional acts of worship (they are deeds more than rituals) like honesty, trustworthy, sincerity, lowering the gaze, controlling the tongue, the hand and the other senses and refraining from saying lies, from backbiting, from gossiping and from listening to songs. The ritual acts of worship are like the exams one have at the end of the academic year, whereas the transactional acts of worship are like the academic year as a whole.
If a student does not study the entire year, and he wants to go the exam preparing two pens and a back up third one, putting on the best clothes he has, wearing perfume, taking a sandwich in case he gets hungry, taking money and driving a luxurious car to the exam, all these preparations for the three hour exam are worthless as long as he forgets to prepare the main thing for it, which is studying the subject hard throughout the academic year. Similarly, the ritual acts of worship should be preceded by the transactional acts of worship, lest they have no value.
The pillars of Islam do not stand for Islam as a whole:
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((Islam is built upon five [pillars]: the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; establishing regular prayer (Salah); paying the Zakah; Hajj (pilgrimage) and fasting Ramadan.))
These are the pillars of Islam but not the entire Islam, for Islam is about honesty, sincerity, advice, piousness, loving the Almighty Allah and giving sh3er from one's time, money, expertise and fame in the Cause of Allah. This is what Islam means. When someone applies all these teachings, he will be ready when his submission to Allah in Salah is tested. When he stands before Allah offering Salah, his tears will overflow, his heart will connect with Allah and his longing to meet Allah will increase, because he endeavored for a long time before reaching this point, exactly like the student who prepares himself the entire year for the three hour exam.
Be aware of the definitions in Islam; Salah according to scholars, whose words are very much true, is words uttered and deeds done. It starts with Takbeer (Saying Allahu Akbar'Allah is the Greatest), and ends with Tasleem (saying at the end of Salah: Assalamo Alaikum Wa rahmatu Allah: Peace and Mercy be upon you), but at the same time it is a connection with Allah. The proof is mentioned in the following Ayat:
﴾And perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) for My Remembrance.﴿
﴾Fall prostrate and draw near to Allah! ﴿
﴾And the remembering (praising, etc.) of (you by) Allah (in front of the angels) is greater indeed [than your remembering (praising, etc.) Allah in prayers, etc.].﴿
The following are some As7adeth about Salah:
((If only the Musalli (the one who is offering Salah) knows whom he is talking to, he will never stop praying.))
((Salah is the believer's Mi'raj (journey of soul to Allah).))
((Salah is light.))
((Salah is purification.))
((Salah is delight.))
What keeps Muslims behind other nations?
What kept Muslims lagging behind other nations is their misunderstanding of Islam. They think that Islam is about the ritual acts of worship only, forgetting about transactions:
((The Deen is about inter-human/social relationship))
((Ad-Deen (religion) is An-Naseehah (sincerity and sincere advice).))
((The head of the religion is piousness.))
((The head of all wisdom is to fear Allah.))
These are essential definitions:
((The Deen is about inter-human/social relationship))
((Ad-Deen (religion) is An-Naseehah (sincerity and sincere advice).))
((The head of the religion is piousness.)
((The head of all wisdom is to fear Allah.))A scholar, whom I think it is At-Tasatori, said, "Leaving a Daniq (a type of currency) of Haram is better than 80 Hijah (performing Hajj for 80 times) after embracing Islam.))
((To walk with a Muslim trying to help him get his need of something is more beloved to me (Prophet peace be upon him) than fasting for a month and worshipping Allah in my Masjid.))
An honest word:
Let me be frank with you: Islam will not spread unless we establish an Islamic society, for words become meaningless if not turned into actions. Islam should be applied starting with going to the Masjid regularly and ending with being devoted, honest in treating people, sincere in your job, chaste in your looks, pious in earning money and generous in spending it, having the same noble characteristics in public and in private, being a worshipper at night and a chivalrous during the day, eating from your own earning, having your hands cracked from working and serving Muslims and being a good member in the Islamic society. Only then, Islam will spread and people will embrace it in crowds.
In fact, when we comprehend Islam as ritual acts of worship such as Qiyam (night prayers), bowing down in Salah, prostrating, fasting, performing Hajj, adornments, titles, protocols, rituals and special dressing (for Muslims), perfumes, celebrations, gleefulness, refreshments and the like, we will be, in this case, turning our religion into rituals and contributing to ending it. The religion is the greatest social revolution on earth, and when a religion is applied in a society, it becomes a different society in terms of relation amongst its members. Therefore, when we comprehend Islam as Salah and fasting only we wrong ourselves (as Muslims). Our Master Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Let whosoever wants to offers Salah or Sawm do that, but Islam uprightness."
How should we offer advice for the Sake of Allah?
1- You should believe in Allah and call people to believe in Him:
(("Ad-Deen (religion) is An-Naseehah (sincerity and sincere advice)." We said, "To whom?" He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk."))Keep these words in mind. I will try in the time left in this lecture to explain four points. The first one, does Naseehah mean to offer advice to yourself or to sh3er? The answer is that the Hadith embraces both meanings, so first you offer advice to yourself then to sh3er. How does one offer Naseehah for the Sake of Allah? You can do that by believing in Allah, by inviting people to believe in Allah through explaining Allah's Ayaht, Allah's Graces, Allah's Affliction, by believing in Allah as one God Who has no partners, by persuading yourself with Tawheed (monotheism), by keeping yourself away from hidden and apparent Shirk (polytheism), by raising people's awareness of sins which they might fall into and by staying away from disbelieving in Allah's Beautiful Names and Attributes. When you deny Allah's Knowledge, Wisdom, Mercy, Glorification, Exaltedness, the Applicability of Allah's Religion, you are but a disbeliever in Allah's Names and in this true religion. Hence, offering Naseehah for the Sake of Allah is to offer Naseehah to yourself, to get yourself acquainted with Allah and to invite sh3er to get acquainted with Him.
2- You should refute all flaws ascribed (falsely) to the Divine Character:
One more thing is that you should negate all flaws from the Divine Character. You should not ascribe to Allah whatever characteristic you believe that it does not befit you. For example, you should not believe that Allah the Exalted has decreed that someone is one of the reprobate. What happens to such reprobate person in the worldly life? He says wrong things like, "Allah has decreed that I do so and so". Accordingly, he drinks wine thinking wrongly that Allah has decreed that he drinks wine and that he should be heedless as misguidance has been decreed for him. When death comes, he will be admitted to Hellfire eternally, because of his wrongdoings. Well, will you do that to your student, to your worker or to the man who works for you? Would you ordain evil for him and make him do it then punish him for doing it? You shouldn't ascribe any improper deed to Allah, and this is the meaning of saying Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala (Allah the Most Glorified, the Most High). Subhan Allah is Tabzeeh (clearing Allah of that which does not befit Him) and Tamjeed (glorifying) Allah, it is obeying Allah and it is inviting people to obey Him. This is how the Naseehah for the Sake of Allah should be. Furthermore, it is manifested in avoiding sins, warning people to take heed of sinning, loving people for the Sake of Allah, hating them for His Sake and building all your affairs on the basis of loving the Almighty Allah, for you should love what Allah loves and hate what Allah hates.
As for job relationships, they have nothing to do with love or hate. However, when you have a close friendship with someone, with who you spend all night and to whose speech you listen although he is an atheist, a sinner and a wine drinker, then you are considered a copy of him. I repeat, Naseehah for the Sake of Allah is manifested in avoiding sins, obeying Allah, loving people for the Sake of Allah, hating people for the Sake of Allah, supporting those who supports one another for the Sake of Allah, making those who consider Allah their enemy your enemies, striving in the Cause of Allah, controlling your ownself and desires, acknowledging Allah's Graces, thanking Allah for His Graces and devoting yourself entirely to Allah in all your matters.
Moreover, Naseehah for the Sake of Allah is to know Allah, to worship Him, to obey Him, to love Him, to refrain from associating partners with Him, to attribute Oneness to Allah, to clear Him of that which does not befit Him, to glorify Him and to invite people to His Path. If you meet someone in a travel, this person is your brother in humanity, so offer him advice and tell him about the Almighty Allah instead of spending your time with him talking about trivial things which are considered Laghw by scholars:
﴾And those who turn away from Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk, falsehood, and all that Allah has forbidden).﴿This is the advice to the Quran:
An-Naseehah (advice) to the Quran is to believe that whatever in it is the Words of Allah, to invite people to believe in it, to assure yourself and sh3er that these Words are not the ones of a human being, but rather they are miraculous Words, to honor Quran, to reauthor it at night and during the day, to reauthor it as it should be starting with Tajweed and ending with its interpretation, to be submissive while reading it, to believe everything that is mentioned in the Quran, to pay attention to the morals mentioned in it, to reflect on its miracles, to follow its clear Ayaht, to leave to Allah the meanings of the unclear Ayaht, to search for the common and private occasions behind its Ayaht and to spread the scientific facts which are mentioned in it amongst people. This is how you offer Naseehah to the Quran. Allah's Book (Quran) is your method and law and for its sake we live.
The Quran is but the Divine Instructions to us as humans, for we are like complicated machines. Whoever owns a very expensive, complicated and important machine will be very careful in using it, so he will follow the manual to the letter, and he will be very cautious. For example, if it is an electronic device, he won't start it till it cools down, and if it is an AC he will ask other people not to turn it off and to leave it working according to the manual and so forth. Why you are so cautious towards these machines, but you are not towards your ownself which is bestowed upon you by Allah? Why you are you so careless towards this self which is described by Allah as follows:
﴾Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself (i.e. obeys and performs all that Allah ordered, by following the true Faith of Islamic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds)* And indeed he fails who corrupts his ownself (i.e. disobeys what Allah has ordered by rejecting the true Faith of Islamic Monotheism or by following polytheism, etc. or by doing every kind of evil wicked deeds).﴿If you have an eye ache, you will not sleep at night, and you will hasten to have an appointment with the doctor even though this appointment might be after two months. Also, if the doctor asks you for any money you will pay immediately. You are ready to do whatever the doctor asks you, because the eye –as common people say- is dear to its owner. Your ownself should be of the same importance, and you should look after it. Allah says:
﴾O you who believe! Take care of your ownselves,﴿This means you should look after your ownselves.
What does the advice to the Prophet, peace be upon him, mean?
The meaning of Naseehah to the Prophet, peace be upon him, is to believe that he is the Messenger of Allah and he is a Prophet of Allah, to tell the people about the Prophet's keenness (on his religion and Ummah) and about his mercy, to explain to people how true the Prophet's words are, to explain the wisdom behind his Sunnah and to tell them how he was defended when he was alive (which we all know how) and how he is defended after his death (to defend the Prophet, peace be upon him, against those who offence him instead of keeping silence), to refute all false accusations against him, to take as whoever opposes him as an enemy, to support those who support him, to be honored to have him your Prophet, to revere him, to bring life to his Sunnah, to spread his Message, to spread his method, to make use of the Prophetic science, to understand the meanings of the Prophetic science and invite people to it and to be kind while teaching people Sunnah. This is the Naseehah to the Prophet, peace be upon him.
Teaching people Sunnah is a great deed because Sunnah clarifies many things mentioned in the Noble Quran which is the Divine Method to mankind. Besides, there is nothing nobler after teaching Quran than teaching Sunnah, given the Quran and Sunnah are the main sources of Shari'ah . An-Naseehah to the Prophet, peace be upon him, is manifested in being polite when you read Sunnah (some people perform Wudu before reading the books of Sunnah out of politeness), abiding by the Prophetic manners, loving the Prophet's Family and Companions, hating the people of Bida' (innovations) and hating those who offence the Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said to Salman:
(("O Salman, you will leave your faith if you hate me." (Salman Farsi replied), "How can we hate you? May my mother and father be sacrificed for you O Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Through you, Allah guided us to the right way, how can I not love you?" The Messenger of Allah replied, "If you don't love the Arabs, you don't love me."))
There are people who degrade the Arab nation trying in every occasion to speak evil of it by saying that she is a backward nation, and that she is so and so. This is your Ummah and the Ummah of your Prophet, peace be upon him, and she lags behind other nations at the end of days, so you will be the reason behind that (with that attitude)!!!
This is the meaning of the advice to Muslims' Imams (rulers):
We still have to know the meaning of Naseehah to Muslims' Imams. It means to help them follow the truth. For example, if you are an employee in a department and a close friend of the head of the department who listens to your opinion and consults you in taking decisions, you can do your job as a Muslim who should advise his fellow Muslim by helping this man refrain from taking a decision which deviates people from the Right Path by saying, "This is not the right decision to be taken in an Islamic society". The rulers are human beings just like you, so if you advise them to do the right thing, you will be greatly rewarded. You are supposed to draw their attention and remind them nicely and leniently of the truth. Allah the Almighty teaches us how to talk to tyrants when He instructed our Master Musa and his brother Harun, peace be upon them, by saying:
﴾And speak to him mildly﴿Though Fir'aun said:
﴾Saying: "I am your lord, most high",﴿
Our Lord the Almighty instructed our Master Musa, peace be upon him, who is a great Prophet:
﴾And speak to him mildly﴿Your duty towards rulers is drawing their attention to the essential matters they overlooked, making people tend to obey them and refraining from buttering them up. This is how you can advise the rulers.
This is the opinion of some scholars:
Other scholars considered that Imams are the Imams of religion and the scholars. The scholar is not infallible. If he backslides or commits a mistake, you should advise him instead of defaming him. The Prophet, peace be upon him, is undoubtedly Ma'soom (infallible), whereas the Wali (pious scholar) is Mahfooz (protected). What is the difference between Ma'soom and Mahfooz? Ma'soom is the Prophet, peace be upon him, who is Divinely protected from sinning or committing deadly mistakes, because we are Divinely ordered to follow the steps of the Prophets, peace be upon them. If the Prophet, peace be upon him, committed a mistake, we would follow him, and so as if Allah ordered us to commit a mistake or a sin, which is impossible. Hence, the Prophet, peace be upon him, is infallible in his saying, actions, approvals, moves, stills, content, wrath and all his conditions because he is a legislator. He is infallible, because we are ordered to learn from him, follow him and refrain from the things he forbids. It is an utmost priority that the Prophet, peace be upon him, is infallible which is an inevitable characteristic in all the Prophets, peace be upon them.
Whatever we were ordered to do by the Prophet, peace be upon him should be done, but whatever comes to us from other people has come to us from men like us (who might be right or wrong). Every scholar might commit a mistake, because to err is human, but the Wali is Mahfooz, and Mahfooz means that the sin will not harm him. In other words, when he backslides, Allah the Almighty will treat him promptly (showing him that he has committed a mistake). The believer is sensitive and prudent, so he knows right away that he is Divinely punished and treated for his sin. As a result, he repents quickly, and by repenting things will be fine again. The Wali is Mahfooz, whereas the Prophet, peace be upon him, is Ma'soom by Allah.
If a scholar commits a mistake or hastens to say something wrong which he shouldn't, your duty is to advise him in private, and he should say to you, "May Allah reward you for that." These are the manners of scholars; they should be all ears to every advice even if it comes from the youngest among his brother in Islam, and he should say to him, "May Allah reward you for that. I am not infallible." That is it. I repeat again, the Prophet, peace be upon him, is Ma'soom, whereas the Wali is Mahfooz and giving other people advice is obligatory.
There is a rule that says, no one is above being criticized, and no one is too young to offer his advice. You might be criticized by a little child and he might be right and you are wrong. Thus, accustom yourself to accepting advice with an open mind and heart, to be humble and to stop claiming that you are cleverer than other people, because you are but a human being like everyone else. Consider what the Prophet, peace be upon him, said about our Master As-Siddeeq (Abu Bakr), may Allah be pleased with him:
((If the faith held by Abu Bakr were weighed against the total sum of the faith held by all the other believers, his faith would weigh heavier.))
What did our Master Abu Bakr say in his first Khutbah? He said, "O People! I have been made Your Wali(it means ruler in this context), and I am not better than you"
Only Prophets, peace be upon them, are infallible, and since you are not a Prophet, you are not infallible.
Clarifying the following:
You may say something wrong, but let me tell you that there are big mistakes which are accompanied with insistence on committing them. Such mistakes shouldn't be made by Du'at(Islamic missioners), yet those Du'at might say something wrong or make a mistake unintentionally, and you should advise them as a brother, be nice in your advice and offer it in private. As a Da'iyah (singular of Du'at), he should listen to you and thank you for your advice. The following should be your motto "I love the person who gives me my blemishes as a present"
The advice which is presented to you should be more precious than the expensive gold watch which is given to you as a gift, and which might cost thousands yet hundreds of thousands of Liras. If only you knew how valuable a piece of advice is when someone says to you, "O brother, you should not do that, because it is against Sunnah."You would kiss his hand and said to him, "Thank you for your advice." This is the way the society of believers should be; advising and affection should prevail in it. Hence, when someone offers you a piece of advice, be all ears, be humble to the advisor, be polite to him and thank him for his advice.
On the other hand, when a notable brother committed a mistake or said something wrong, you should advise him. Advising one another is one of the characteristics of the believers. Each believer learns from the other one, and he advises his fellow brother if he commits a mistake, for the infallible is only ( the Prophets, peace be upon them. As I said earlier, scholars should be advised, and those who advise them are supposed to follow their teachings, apply their rulings (which are taken from the Quran and Sunnah) and have good thoughts about them.
It is narrated that a man was sitting with his friends when a flock of sheep passed by them. He said to one of his friends, "Go and take one of these sheep and slaughter it for us", to which his friend answered, "I seek refuge with Allah from doing such a thing" He said that, because he had wrong thoughts about his friend (he did not know that the sheep were his friend's). This anecdote is usually narrated to show you that it is preferable to have good thoughts about you believing brother. Someone may see a person who is putting his hand in another man's pocket, so he should think that this coat could be his of his son's. Hence, as a believer you should always have good thoughts about other people. This is the right stance towards other people, because having wrong thoughts about someone needs a rigorous proof, and if there isn't any, you should have good thoughts about other people.
An important point:
While I was in my friend's house, I asked for a towel to dry my hands, but I was confused when I saw the name of the hotel he works in written in the towel. I said to myself, "How does this towel reach his house?" I was deeply hurt, but I didn't say a word. Few months later, Allah sent me a notable brother who told me that the admin of the hotel used to give the towels every year to its employees as a gift. Things were clear in my head, so don't have wrong thoughts about other people before you know the truth.
The believer should have good thoughts about sh3er:
A brother told me once, "I have an excellent worker [this story occurred forty or fifty years ago], and I asked him once to get me the 100 packs of butter which I bought, but when he brought them, I found them short of one pack, and I found one pack of butter in the pocket of the worker (which was not an inevitable proof). I was about to fire him and to humiliate him, but I controlled my temper. Two days later, and when I wanted to pay for the 100 packs of butter, the seller told me to send him money for only 99 packs, because my worker bought one pack of them and paid for it".
You shouldn't hasten in judging sh3er or having wrong thoughts about them. The previous story has a moral lesson; that man saw a pack in the pocket of his worker, and the 100 packs were short of one, so he thought that the worker took the pack, but the seller proved him wrong. One should be careful, and he should take his believing brother at face value.
How should we advise common Muslims?
As for advising common Muslims, it can be done by guiding them to know their Lord, by raising their awareness of their interests in the worldly life and in the Hereafter, by helping them accomplish their missions in the worldly life through words and actions, by covering their blemishes, by helping them overcome their shortcomings, by warding off harm from them, by bringing benefits to them and by enjoining Ma'roof (goodness) and forbidding them from Munkar (evil doing) gently.
Practical practice of advising:
Someone told me once, "If you put the refrigerator horizontally then you put it in a vertical position and plugged it in right away, the compressor breaks down immediately, because the oil goes to the wrong place by putting it horizontally". Few days later, and while I was walking in Hariqah (a district in Damascus), I saw a man, who bought a refrigerator from the consumer cooperative, and he was about to put it in the car in a horizontal position. I expected that he had no idea about what might happen to it if the position changed and the refrigerator was plugged in, so I moved from one sidewalk to the other and said to him, "Wait eight hours before you plug it in", and I told him why. He said to me, "By Allah, no one told me that. May Allah reward you for this piece of information". This refrigerator might cost that man an arm and a leg, so if the compressor had burnt, it could have cost him money to get it repaired. Thus, the advise helped the man avoid that loss of money.
Who is the believer?
Don't hesitate to offer a piece of advice to someone in the street, for Naseehah should be given to every Muslim concerning his worldly matters or the religious ones. Some pharmacists use a bad handwriting when they write the instructions of using a medication. Well, as a pharmacist, you should use a good handwriting in writing how many times the patient should take the medicine, and whether he should take it before or after meals and so forth. Is this a Muslim? Same patients go to the doctor, but he doesn't explain his instructions concerning the medication he prescribes making them come back to him again, and pay him again for consulting. Your advice should be given to every Muslim whether he is a doctor, a lawyer, a pharmacist or an employee. Regarding the employees, they should treat citizens sincerely and guide them to whom they should go to finish their papers instead of sending them away. The one who does so is not a believer, so if you are a real believer you should take the citizen from his hand, and tell him where he should go. This is the believer's manners and this is how he should offer advice to every Muslim.
The is the Bai'ah (Pledge of allegiance):
People are servants of the Almighty Allah, and they are alike, so you shouldn't discriminate between them, and if you are a true Muslim, you should dedicate your time to serve people in order to deserve Allah's Love:
((Jarir bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: "I made my covenant (of Islam) with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on the observance of Salat, payment of Zakat, and giving counsel to Muslims."))This is the true Bai'ah; as long as you advise people, you are a Muslim, but when you cheat them, you are not a Muslim even though you offer Salah, you fast or you claim to be a Muslim. Giving advice to your fellow Muslim is the greatest, the most essential and the utmost right of a Muslim upon another Muslim. If you want to open a shop, let your intention be serving Muslims.
The following Hadith is for business and handcraft men:
A brother told me that pressure testing plumbing is mandatory for inspecting the leaks in the water piping. The water leaks cause a big problem to the owner of the house if the pipelines were not tested. Such a problem obliges the house's him to remove all the tiles to fix this leakage and pay tens of thousands of Liras accordingly. All of that might happen because the responsible workers do not test water pipelines with air. Hence, I thereby address all handcraft people, business men and everyone else: If you are Muslims, you should be sincere in your job. It is wrong to say that cheating prevails everywhere, because this is what ignorant people believe in. The truth should prevail everywhere, instead. You should be clear and sincere in dealing with customers. For example, you should tell your customer the price of your commodity, its quality and the instructions of using it.
All of you have jobs whether you are handcraft men, employees, doctors, pharmacists or lawyers, so all of you should offer advice and be sincere in order to be considered real Muslims. A man whose job has to do with glass may fix the glass using only two screws instead of more in order to finish his job quickly, but this will make the glass fall down due to a shake and cost lots of money. Also, the carpenter may sell you a couch which breaks after you sit on it, and he justifies his flaws by saying, "Did you really sit on it?" What are couches for, then? A table might fall apart the next day you buy it. The shoes might fall apart one week after buying them, and the shoemaker says to you, "Did your son wear the shoes?" What are shoes for if not for wearing them? Sincere advice should be offered for every Muslim, and cheating destroys the benediction of everything. Though you might make lots of money because of cheating, your money will be lost in having your goods confiscated simply because all your money is from Haram sources.
A serious matter:
There is a dangerous matter concerning food products. The dies which are used in coloring tiles, are used for coloring candies although they are very dangerous to health, and using them means that there is no fear from Allah. In Some factories, expired materials are added to food making it harmful. Let alone, that sawdust is added to Za'tar (Damascus local food) making it unhealthy. When a society overlooks religion, you should be worried about everything you eat or use because flaws are hidden. Some imported food products have little amounts of cocaine in order to make customers addicted to it. There are some drinks which contain cocaine, so you can notice that the child repeatedly ask for the same drink or food because he becomes addicted to it. When people forsake their religion, they will lose everything else. It was reported in Hadith Qudsi:
((O Musa fear Me, fear yourself and fear those who don't fear Me.))
You should fear the person who doesn't fear Allah:
((Jarir bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: "I made my covenant (of Islam) with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on the observance of Salat, payment of Zakat, and giving counsel to Muslims."))
The last thing I want to say about this topic is that whoever is headstrong,, will be ruined, and whoever consults men, will be granted their reasoning (wisdom). It is narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
((The basis of reasoning, after faith in Allah, is loving kindness toward the people. He who acts solely according to his own opinion gets ruined, while he who consults other people will never get ruined.))
Beware of acting solely according to your own opinion and consult your believing brother and the experts amongst the true believers. The following Hadith is very important:
((The basis of reasoning, after faith in Allah, is loving kindness toward the people. He who acts solely according to his own opinion gets ruined, while he who consults other people will never get ruined. If Allah has decreed that someone is ruined, He will let his own opinion ruin him.))
This is why we make Du'a to Allah with regard to our enemies, "O Allah, make their plots against us a cause for their destruction." When someone acts solely according to his opinion, when someone is headstrong and refuses the advice, he will get ruined the same way of those enemies.