بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه ومن تبع هداه
Abu Ruqayya Tameem ibn Aws ad-Daari رضي الله عنه narrated that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
قلنا : لمن ؟
قال : الله ولـكـتـابـه ولـرسـولـه ولأ ئـمـة الـمـسـلـمـيـن وعــامـتهم
“‘The Deen is an-Naseehah (sincerity)’. We asked: ‘To whom?’ He said: ‘To Allaah and His Book, and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their (general) common folk.'” [Saheeh Muslim, 65 and others]
In Arabic ‘An-Naseehah’ means something that provides purification (usually through clarification). In ‘Lisan al-Arab’, it also denotes pure honey (after it has been [processed and] purified); concluding, advising. mentoring and helping others and other than that.
The Naseehah to Muslim leaders and the common Muslim folk involves guiding them towards that which will correct their affairs of both this life and the next, and helping them in (achieving) that. It involves protecting them from harm and helping them in times of need and acquiring what is beneficial for them and ordering them with al-Ma’roof and forbidding them from al-Munkar with kindness and sincerity.
It involves showing mercy towards them, honouring and respecting their elders and showing kindness to their youngsters – supporting them with good advice and loving for them what one loves for oneself (of goodness) and hating for them what one hates for oneself (of evil). It also involves protecting their wealth and honour and other than that from speech and action. And leaving all that which is contrary to this. And Allaah knows best.
‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab رضي الله عنه said:
رحم الله من أهدى إلي عيوبي
“May Allaah have mercy upon the one who brought (to my attention) my faults…” [Sunan ad-Darimi, 649]
This is because only the one who has the best interests (of others) at heart, would do this, without fearing blame of the blamers or the praise of praisers.
Abbaad ibn Abbaad al-Khawwas رحمه الله تعالى said:
فليكن أمركم فيما تنكرون على إخوانكم نظرا منكم لأنفسكم ونصيحة منكم لربكم وشفقة منكم على إخوانكم وأن تكونوا مع ذلك بعيوب أنفسكم أعنى منكم بعيوب غيركم وأن يستطعم بعضكم بعضا النصيحة وأن يحظى عندكم من بذلها لكم وقبلها منكم
“Let your attitude be, when you find something (you disapprove of) in your brothers, as though you are offering help to yourselves (from yourself) and offering sincerity from yourselves to your Rabb, and offering sympathy from yourselves to your brothers. If you do this, then your own faults will be of (more) concern to you than those of anyone else; and (each of) you would seek to take sincere advice from each other. And whoever offers sincere advice to you, will enjoy your good grace.” [Sunan ad-Darimi, 1/160-163 (#649); Hilyat al-‘Awliya, 8/282]
Imam Abi Haatim (Ibn Hibban) رحمه الله تعالى mentioned that naseehah is obligated for all people and it should be given secretly and openly, as the circumstance dictates. It should not be restricted to those who are likely to accept it, but also to those who may not accept it. He wrote:
النصيحة محاطة بالتهمه وليست النصيحة إلا لمن قبلها كما أن الدنيا ليست إلا لمن تركها ولا الآخرة إلا لمن طلبها وليس على كل ذي نصح إلا الجهد ولو لم يقبل من نصحائه ما يثقل عليه لم يحمد غب رأيه ومشاورة الأصم أحمد من الناصح المعرض عنه ومن بذل نصيحة لمن لا يشكر كان كالباذر في السباخ وأكثر ما يوجد ترك قبول النصيحة من المعجب برأيه وأنشدني الأبرش
النصيحة تجب على الناس كافة على ما ذكرنا قبل ولكن إبداؤها لا يجب إلا سرا لأن من وعظ أخاه علانية فقد شانه ومن وعظه سرا فقد زانه فابلاغ المجهود للمسلم فيما يزين أخاه أحرى من القصد فيما يشينه
[Rawdat al-Uqlaa’, Ibn Hibban]
In his ‘Adab al-Mufrad’, Imam Bukhari brings a narration from Wahb bin Kaysan who narrated that:
“Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنه noticed a shepherd and some sheep that were grazing in a unworthy foul place. He (i.e. Ibn ‘Umar) knew of a place better than it for them to graze, so he said to the shepherd: ‘Woe to you, O shepherd. Move your sheep (to a better place), I heard the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم say: ‘Every caretaker is responsible for his flock.’” [Authenticated by Al-Albani in ‘As-Saheehah’, ]
Thus if one sees his brother doing an action that he believes is incorrect or which he thinks that the alternative is better, he should suggest it with wisdom and foresight; and not be shy or concerned about the response.
Ash-Shaykh Muhammad al-Aqeel has some beautiful words of advice on how to deal with those who err.
May Allaah make our intentions sincerely for His Sake.