How do we know when to advise others, is it appropriate or are we simply being nosey?
If you saw someone forget his/her wallet, knowing it belongs to him/her and it’s imprtant to him/her would you or would you not inform him/her knowing that it would please him/her and if you ignored it, he/she would be angry with you?
Of course you would inform him/her.
The same logic applies when we notice our Muslim brother/sister do a mistake/sin in Islam. We should inform them for the sake of Allah in the most humble, gentle way possible.
Ai’sha narated that the Prophet (Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) said: “Whenever gentleness is in a thing it beautifies it and whenever it is withdrawn from something it defaces.”
Another great attribute to have when advising others is wisdom. Allah says, “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom…”
Surah 16; Ayah 125 – Holy Qur’an.
Our job is only to convey the truth, to guide others – what they do with that information is up to them… we cannot force people to change.
Some people might look into what you advise them, others will ignore you, some might even feel offended and tell you to mind your own business – whatever happens, good or bad, is not up to us and we have to leave it at that. You done your part.
A fellow Muslimah once advised me that being on menses I should not be touching the Tafsir (explanation) of Qur’an in English. I told her that ok thanks for letting me know. I continued reading, and she continued and continued as she really wanted me to stop. The next day, I continued my reading and she asked me, “Again? You’re still reading it even though I told you.”
This is a mistake we should not make, we cannot force others to do what we want. We can advise by all means however whatever they decide to do is up to them.
Allah says in the Qur’an, “The only obligation on the messenger is to give the clear message.”
Surah 24; Ayah 25 – Holy Qur’an.
Another useful action is to put ourselves in their shoes. What if the person you are advising has been doing the same act for 5, 10 or 20 years and here you come along, telling them it is wrong. We have to be conscious of the individual and do our best to inform them in a kind, non-offensive way with all due respect given to them.
Also, short and sweet is usually much better than starting a full on discussion/debate. We must ask ourselves, “Is this the right time?” “Am I talking too much?”
Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam) said: “Among the signs of an individual’s understanding of his religion is the length of his prayer and the shortness of his speech.”
If you can, advise you Muslim brother/sister alone, one on one without an audience – this is most respecful. (If online, then private message would be appropriate).
Allah says, “I advise you with one thing to stand before Allah alone or in pairs and reflect.”
Surah 34; Ayah 46 – Holy Qur’an.
Sometimes, we have a hard time listening to others simply because they are not from our society. A British person would get the message across a lot faster and easier to another Brit than a Phillipino person would and vice versa.
Allah says, “I did not send any messenger except that he spoke the language of his people to explain to them.”
Surah 14; Ayah 4 – Holy Qur’an.
Lastly, we have to ensure that we are advising them for Allah. Not to show off, not to expect others to do that which we ourselves are not practising and so that Allah will reward you for following the path of His Messenger and promoting good and forbidding evil.
You don’t have to be perfect yourself to advise others, but you should at least be practising what you preech and be sincere.
Make a beautiful Du’a to Allah swt before you advise others. Ask Allah to open their heart and ask Him to make them accept your advise and that you offer your advise in the most elequent way. That is the secret.