Lessons from Hadith.

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said:

A believer is a mirror for [another] believer. (Abū Dāwūd)

When you stand in front of a mirror it shows your physical appearance. It reveals what is good about the way you look as well as any defects you may have. In this hadīth, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam instructs every believer to be like a mirror for other believers. A number of important points can be derived from this hadīth:

1. If you witness another believer behaving incorrectly, you should inform him, for you are a mirror for him and a mirror points out the defects of the one who stands in front of it. However, a mirror reveals the faults very quietly, without bringing disgrace; you should do the same too.

2. A mirror does not only reveal physical defects but also physical beauty. Similarly, when advising a fellow believer, you should highlight his mistakes in the overall context of his good attributes, an approach that is more palatable to the one being advised and less likely to breed resentment. Take the example of someone who performs sajdah in a manner contrary to the Sunnah: inform him of his mistake after commending him on the correctness of the rest of his salāh.

3. Just as you are a mirror for other believers, every other believer is also a mirror for you. So every Muslim is simultaneously a mirror and a person standing in front of a mirror; an advisor and one who is advised.

4. If a mirror reveals a defect in your appearance, you may be upset but you will not feel resentment or anger towards the mirror. Similarly, when another Muslim adopts the role of a mirror and advises you of something you are doing wrong, you should not get offended. Why should we take offence when someone points out a shortcoming in us that, if left unattended would make us unsuccessful at the time of death, in the grave and on the Day of Qiyāmah? Instead, we should be happy.

In fact, it is only those who have love and concern for us that will go to the trouble of informing us of our shortcomings.

 

 


 

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