Ramadan, The Dangers of Spiritual Pride and Etiquettes of Naseeha

Assalam Walaykum Warakmahtullahi Wabarakathu everybody 🙂 . I apologise for not having posted an article early on in the month – but like they say better late than never, in sha Allah may you all forgive me for my lateness. As always anything of benefit that I write about it from Allah and any errors are from myself and the Shaytan. If I am wrong in anything please correct me, as you should want for your sister what you’d want for yourself – in sha Allah

Ramadan is a time often associated with contemplation and reflection, improvement relations, love and solidarity amongst brothers and sisters in the Deen…but perhaps most centrally, the renewal of the covenant with our Lord – Allah azza wa jal. Having said this, while Ramadan has been a turning point in the lives of many Muslims for a plethora of reasons, most commonly the renewal of one’s covenant to become more practicing in the deen of Islam, some people who may be observant of the practices of Islam may develop the characteristic of spiritual pride.

Spiritual pride and its meaning has often been a bone of contention amongst many in ascertaining its definition, however it can be commonly defined as: a feeling  of superiority that a person whom follows a religion or spiritual group, may have towards another due to their perceived higher level of observance.

Usually in order to satisfy the ego, a person whom has spiritual pride has an inclination (of which they actualise) to point out the deficiencies in character and observance of a person they deem to be ‘lesser in religion’. Sadly within this ummah, spiritual pride has become a sickly and arrogant characteristic of which pervades many communities within the ummah and has a cumulative effect of which can often result in many people becoming less inclined to practice or enter the beautiful religion that is Islam.

For those that seem to suffer from spiritual pride, firstly in sha Allah I hope that your condition may be alleviated and eradicated. But hopefully you’ll find the following very helpful.

 

ETTIQUETTES OF GIVING NASEEHA ACCORDING TO FIQH OF DAWAH

“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]

When giving naseeha there are manners, and it’s vital that a person has the correct intent of pleasing Allah when giving naseeha. 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 person being advised.

Not disparaging/embarrassing/ridiculing the person you are advising

This action is something that seems to pervade many Muslims, and we find that the person giving naseeha actually wants to disparage the person he is advising because of personal hatred. This basically ruins the intention and as result the possible reward.

Naseehah is to be given privately, not publically

Naseeha is most likely beneficial and likely to be taken on when given to a person when he is by himself. The sincere advisor should not publicly embarrass him and let Shaytan tempt the Muslim brother or sister into not taking the naseeha, and reduces the chances of the naseeha from being accepted.

This is why Salafi saliheen used to give naseehah in secret.  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.”

 

Naseehah is to be given with kindness, not with an ulterior motive

A sincere advisor must be kind, soft and well-mannered in giving naseeha to others, as this might get the desired response from the one he is advising. Naseeha is like opening a door, and that the door will not open without the proper key. The Prophet (SAW) has said, “Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty, and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective.” [Muslim]

 

Do not force your Naseeha on others

It is obligatory on the advisor to give sincere advice to others, but it is not his right to compel others to follow his advice as well. Ibn Hazm writes that one should not give naseeha on the condition that it must be accepted, otherwise if one goes beyond this, he will be oppressing not advising, and seeking obedience and control.

Choosing the proper time to give Naseeha

Choosing a proper time in which to deliver naseeha can be really pivotal, as Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud said, “Hearts (sometimes) yearn and are attentive, but (sometimes) they go through lapses and feed repulsion. So take from them when they are (in a state of) yearning and are attentive, and leave them alone when they go through lapses and are feeling repulsion.”

 

FINAL THOUGHTS:

In sha Allah I hope this was helpful, spiritual pride is something that is rapidly dividing this Ummah. Do not be the cause whether actually or contributory, to the destruction of deviation of your brother or sister in Islam with naseeha that is scathing as opposed to constructive. We already have a lot of things up against us why add to this? If you truly cared for your sibling in faith instead of ripping them to shreds about their lack of observance of the deen, try helping them.  

Spiritual pride serves to reaffirm a few things: insecurities within your own observance that you are projecting to another – of which you will be answerable to by Allah azza wa jal.

 

N. AbdurRahman

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