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Advising Others and Not Allowing People to Mistreat You

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahu Wa Barakatuhu,

I work with a non Muslim lady who seems to always have “grudges” against me. Once a week or every few weeks she tends to not talk to me or acts weird towards while she acts normal with the other staff.

Just last week and today it was obvious she had an issue with me so I politely asked her what was wrong.

She replied with that the compliment I made of her hair looking nice and lighter actually offended her. I learned my lesson to not give compliments to non-muslims as it could possibly back fire. I nicely said if I offend you please speak up. I would prefer to speak about it rather than you not speaking to me. After my little speech she said thats okay not to worry, though shes still the same. My boss always praises me, my hard work, and great attitude.

I would like some advice on how to deal this. I have never been ill mannered or rude towards her, and I want to represent Islam well.

Answer:

Advise in the Best of Fashions

If you are going to advise another person, you should do so in the best of methods (Quran 16:125) and avoid being harsh (Quran 3:159). At times, not saying anything at all will be the advice. For more on enjoining righteousness, see this answer: The Criteria of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil 

Stand Up for Your Rights

As you said, you do not want people to walk over you, so be sure to stand up to speak the truth. If a person makes an inappropriate comment about Islam, you have a duty to speak up. If you cannot address the issues with the person directly, then go to a manager and report workplace discrimination. If we let too many things go without addressing them, we may be enabling the person who is insulting us and discriminating.

Related Answers:

How Do I Motivate Someone to Perform the Good?

A Reader on Calling to Allah, Giving Advice, and Commanding the Good

A Reader on Calling to Allah, Giving Advice, and Commanding the Good

Guiding One’s Family Towards the Good: Advice & Tips

Changing Those Around One: Attaching One’s Self to Allah & the Prophetic Sunna

Attracting the Youth to the Religion

Calling People of Other Beliefs to Islam

How Do I Motivate Someone to Perform the Good?

Guiding One’s Family Towards the Good: Advice & Tips

Changing Those Around One: Attaching One’s Self to Allah & the Prophetic Sunna

My Husband Doesnt Pray: How Do I Advise Him?

Are there Contexts Which Excuse the Sunna of Sincere Counsel?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question : Are there contexts which excuse the sunna of sincere counsel?

For example, some Sufis may say that it’s just the nafs that likes to have advice given with sweet words. If we were truly sincere, then, even if it’s harsh or embarrassing we’d take it with open arms i.e. if done in front of people or in a blunt manner. I guess this kind of tarbiyya is like tough love (?)
It’s just many times i’ve noticed that the person is so upset or turned off that the focus of the advice is lost or at least takes some time to sink in after one calms down.
So, my question is are there excuses of not following the sunna of sincere counsel or are there hadith that show that the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, gave counsel to one in front of all or counsel in a blunt even harsh manner?

Answer : There is a difference in the sunna of giving and taking advice.

One should take advice that is correct, even if harsh, even from someone at enmity to one or one trying to put us down. This should be taken in the positive spirit of finding something one can do to make oneself more pleasing to Allah. (What a gift!)

As for giving advice, the sunna is gentleness. “Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness, and He gives for gentleness what He doesn’t give for harshness or for anything else,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He also said, “Allah loves gentleness in all things.”

And the sunna in advice and correcting is to do so in private; or without specifying the person or singling them out–unless there is a clear interest otherwise.

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani