Monday, 26 December 2011

The fine line between advising and judging

I still remember quite vividly the high school PHSE lesson we were taught regarding nasiha. Nasiha means giving good counsel and advice. We concluded by saying that nasiha should be given thoughtfully and honestly, so as not to embarass the person, but to sincerely advise them on something. We were always taught that the believers are like mirrors to one another, and should correct each other's faults (in an appropriate manner).

So why is it that now, I don't receive nasiha from my sisters in Islam? Why am I scared to give nasiha? I know there's a fine line between being judgmental and sincerely giving advice, but sometimes I feel I should say something but I don't know how. I feel it's not my place to say anything, because the general consensus seems to be that if you even try to kindly correct somebody, they'll jump to conclusions and think you're judging them. It's even harder to give nasiha to a "stranger" or somebody you don't really know.

Of course, Nasiha doesn't have to be regarding religion, it can relate to anything. I often hear that if you see another believer doing something wrong, it's your duty to give nasiha, because perhaps the other person isn't aware of what they're doing is wrong, plus, you'll get questioned if you didn't try to help them.

Now, I'm not saying that you should go all Haram Police on people and issue fatwas left, right and centre. There's a difference between saying "that's haram and you're going straight to hell!" and "look, as your fellow sister in Islam, I'm concerned that what you're doing is wrong." I'm also not saying that you should deliberately set out to correct other people's faults instead of your own, in fact, you should do the opposite. But a little, kind, sisterly advice wouldn't go amiss.

I'm interested to know what you think: have you given nasiha and what's your stance on this issue?

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