Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: With regards to this quote, please could you tell me what the hadith refers to as regards
‘respected people ‘?
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Overlook the slips of respected people.”
[Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad; Abu Dawud; Nasa’i in al-Kubra; and others–rigorously authentic (sahih), from A’isha (Allah be pleased with her)]
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Overlook the slips of respected people.” [Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad; Abu Dawud; Nasa’i, al-Kubra]
The respected people (dhawi al-hai’at) are literally those of forms or states; states which occur time and again such that they are referred to as traits.
There are many interpretations to the meaning of “respected people”, of them that it is those of dignity (muru’a) and praiseworthy character traits. Others mentioned that it refers to those who are not known to do evil, and others still that it is those of piety, scrupulousness, or the friends (awliya) of Allah.
[Abadi, `Awn al-Ma`bud; Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami` al-Saghir; Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih]
Some have explained that “slips” could refer to minor sins (sagha’ir).
In general, it is recommended to cover over the faults of one’s fellow Muslim. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever shields [or hides the misdeeds of] a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the Hereafter.” [Tirmidhi]
See also: Making 70 Excuses for Others in Islam – A Key Duty of Brotherhood
And Allah alone gives success.