Admit your faults
and do not be arrogant…
Many problems that cause enmity to continue for a year or
two years, or perhaps for life, can easily be solved by one person
saying to another, “I made a mistake. I am sorry.”
“Yes, I did not make it to the appointment.”
“Yes, I made a bad joke.”
“Yes, I said hurtful things.”
Be quick to put out the fire before it is set ablaze. Say,“I am
sorry. I owe you an apology.” You would only feel better after
There occurred an argument between Abu Dharr and Bilal
– may Allah be pleased with them both – and even though they
were both Companions of the Prophet , they were still human.
During the argument, Abu Dharr became angry and said to
Bilal, “O son of a black woman!” Thereupon, Bilal complained to
the Messenger of Allah . The Prophet called Abu Dharr and
said, “Did you insult Bilal?”
He replied, “Yes.”
The Prophet said, “Did you mention his mother?”
He replied, “When someone is insulted, usually his father and
mother are also mentioned, O Messenger of Allah!”
The Prophet replied, “You are a man with traits of pre-Islamic ignorance.”
He asked, “Even when I am this old?”
The Prophet replied, “Yes.”
The Prophet then taught him the manner in which he
should deal with those who may be seen as below his social status, saying, “They are only your brothers. Allah has placed them
in your care. And whoever Allah places in one’s care then let him
feed him with what he eats himself, clothe him with what he
clothes himself. Let him not overburden him with that which he
cannot bear. And if he does overburden him, then let him lend
him a hand.”
What did Abu Dharr do then?
Abu Dharr went to see Bilal and apologised. He sat on the
ground in front of Bilal and he became closer to the ground until
he rested his cheek on the dust, and said, “O Bilal! Put your foot
on my cheek!” (Muslim)
This is how eager the Companions were to set out the
flames of enmity before they became strong, and even if they
became strong, they would do their best to prevent them from
A disagreement took place between Abu Bakr and ‘Umar,
where Abu Bakr made ‘Umar angry. ‘Umar went away from Abu
Bakr in a state of anger. When Abu Bakr saw this, he regretted it
and feared that the situation may exacerbate. Thus he went after
‘Umar saying, “Forgive me, O ‘Umar!” But ‘Umar refused to turn
Abu Bakr kept apologising and following ‘Umar until he
reached his home and shut the door in Abu Bakr’s face. Upon
this, Abu Bakr went to the Messenger of Allah . When the
Prophet saw him coming from afar, he noticed something different about him and said, “This Companion of ours seems to be
Abu Bakr sat down quietly, and it wasn’t long until ‘Umar also
regretted his mistake. May Allah be pleased with them all! How
pure were their hearts!
‘Umar headed to the Prophet’s gathering, greeted everyone
and sat down next to the Prophet and told him the story,
along with how he turned away from Abu Bakr and did not accept his apology.
The Messenger of Allah became angry. When Abu Bakr
saw his anger, he began to say, “By Allah, O Messenger of Allah!
This is only because I was the wrongdoer. I was the wrongdoer!”
He began to defend and make excuses for ‘Umar.
The Prophet said, “Will you leave my Companion alone?
Will you leave my Companion alone? When I said, ‘O people! I am
the Messenger of Allah to you all’, all of you said, ‘You have lied!’
yet Abu Bakr said, ‘You have spoken the truth!’” (al-Bukhari)
Be careful not to be from those who rectify others while
corrupting their own souls. Such people go around in circles
with their faults like a donkey going around a mill.
Hence, if you ever are in a position to advise others or be
an example to them, such as a teacher with his students, a father
or a mother with his or her children, then think as if you are
under the watch of your customers. Everyone is monitoring you.
Always discipline yourself as much as possible. The same applies
to a couple dealing with each other.
Once, ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – distributed
clothes to people. Everyone received a piece of cloth that would
have sufficed him either as an upper or lower garment. ‘Umar
then stood up to address the people on Friday, and said in the
beginning, “Surely, Allah has ordered you to hear and obey…”
As he said that, there rose a man from amongst the people
and said, “There is no hearing, nor obedience!”
‘Umar said, “Why is that?”
He replied, “Because you gave us all one garment each, while
you yourself wear two new garments!” meaning, your upper and
lower garment, as we can notice they are new.
‘Umar then turned to the congregation as though looking
for someone, until he found his son ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar. He said,
“Stand up, O ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar!” He stood up.
He said, “Did you not give me your garment so I may deliver
my address to the people therein?”
He replied, “Yes.”
Then the man sat down and said, “Now we shall hear and we
shall obey.” and that was the end of the matter.
Although I agree that the manner in which the man objected to ‘Umar was inappropriate, our amazement is over ‘Umar’s
ability to understand the situation and extinguish the flames of
Lastly, if you would like others to accept your comments or
advice, no matter who they may be, your wife, son or your sister,
then be receptive to advice yourself without being arrogant.
A man is always saying to his wife, “Look after the children
better… Cook good food… How long have I been telling you
to sort out the bedroom?” She would always respond gently,
“Alright, Allah willing, I will do as you say.”
One day she suggests piece of advice for him, “The children are having their exams nowadays and they need you to be
present, so please don’t be late if you go out with your friends.”
The man merely hears these words and shouts at her, “I don’t
have time for them! And whether or not I am late, what has that
got to do with you? This is none of your business!”
Tell me, in the name of Allah, why you expect her to accept
your advice after this?
And lastly, the clever person is the one who seals the holes
in his wall so the people are not able to glance inside. Meaning,
do not give people the opportunity to doubt you.
I recall that once a Da‘wah organisation invited a group of
preachers to deliver lectures in Albania. The president of all the
Albanian Da‘wah centres was also present. We looked at him
and noticed that he did not have a single strand of hair on his
cheek! We looked at each other in amazement, for it is common
for a preacher to abide by the practices of the Messenger of Allah by growing his beard, even if it is light. How can a leader of
preachers be clean-shaven?
When the conference started, he said to us jokingly, “Dear
all! I am naturally beardless. My beard simply does not grow. Do
not arrange a whole lecture about me after we have finished!”
We smiled and thanked him.
If you will, let us travel back in time to Madinah and look
at the Messenger of Allah while he was making I‘tikaaf in his
mosque in one of the nights of Ramadan. There came his wife,
Safiyyah bint Huyay, to visit him and stayed with him for a while.
She then rose to go back to her house. The Prophet did not
like for her to go back home in the darkness of the night, so he
decided to go with her. He walked some of the way with her
until two men from the Ansaar passed by him.
When they saw the Prophet with a woman they began to
walk fast. Upon seeing this, the Prophet said to them, “Take
your time! She is only Safiyyah bint Huyay.”
They said, “SubhanAllah!” meaning, does it make sense that
we should assume that you are walking with a strange woman?
The Prophet said, “Indeed, the devil flows through the human being like blood in the veins. I feared that he may place evil
in your hearts, or may whisper something to you…” (al-Bukhari
Bravery is not to persist in your errors, but to acknowledge
that you are wrong, and not to repeat the error again.