Who Designed the Designer?

Excessive Praise Of People


Hanafi

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question:Is it true that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said to throw dust on the face of someone who gives praise to us?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

al-Miqdad (Allah be pleased with him) said that, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) ordered us to throw a handful of dust at the faces of those excessive in praise.” [Muslim (3002), Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja, and Ahmad]

There have been a number of interpretations to this hadith as mentioned in the works of hadith commentary.

The main opinions are:

1. That this is understood literally (as indicated by the actions of al-Miqdad himself and some others of the salaf);

2. That it is for the purpose of being stern with such excessive praises, so people realize their errors and stop since it can lead to the one being praised becoming deluded and haughty;

Imam Khattabi, the early commentator on Sunan Abi Dawud, explained that “excessive praisers” are those who make it a habit to do so, or seek material benefit from it with the one praised. As for the one who praised someone due to his good deeds or traits, with a good intention such as others recognizing the person’s virtue and benefiting from them or following their good example, such an individual is not an “excessive praiser”.

Imam Ghazali, however, cautioned against the dangers of careless praise, on both the one praised (such as haughtiness and delusion) and the one praising (such as exaggeration that becomes lying, or insincere motives in the praise).

This is why the best of ways in praise, like all matters, is moderation.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam,
Faraz Rabbani