A couple of days back a friend called me and began to talk about how difficult life had become when everybody had become so selfish and neglectful of their duties. She is very very intelligent and so can analyse deeply about different issues… But lately I had been feeling that excessive criticism leads you to permanent irritation and the mind gets so negative that you can’t even appreciate any goodness at all… Shaitan is so clever that he uses our intelligence in excessive analysis about others to such an extent that we forget our own accountability which should be our main concern. So today I decided to caution my dear freind. I told her very politely that her attitude is damaging her own self and her energy is being wasted in non-productive complaints about things which will not change simply because you are angry at them. I told her to imagine she is in the akhirah, will Allah ask her about how good or bad any other person is and why is he the way he is? What if Allah asks you, what did you do to stop it? How you tried to change the situation? And if we are actually taking any steps to create a positive change then that is the only thing which should concern us…only when we shift our energy and observation to our own responsibility then we will be able to see how and where we can help. Otherwise just saying everyone is bad is of no use at all. Well she went very quiet (which is against her usual attitude) and I thought maybe she had been hurt by my open truth…I began to feel bad but then I thought maybe it will do some good…my intention was good and I had tried to remain as polite as possible and light and cheerful (normally I tend to get very angry too but that day Allah gave me some better sense!!)
Anyway it was such a pleasant surprise, that just two days after this episode, she called me to ask if she could come over…it is a miracle because for more than two years she has been living in the same city and had not found time to visit me even though I had gone a couple of times to her place…but now just when I was thinking that I had lost a friend, there she was in my house and the affection and courtesy in her attitude was amazing.
The lesson of the story is that we have this logic that if someone is told the truth then he will be hurt or annoyed… instead I learned that it doesn’t matter what you say but actually HOW we say it… so if you criticize in a pleasant way, this can be very beneficial… especially if you do it in 101% sincerity and helpfulness and in no way make the other feel that you are trying to act superior.
She said that my sentences had been inscribed in her mind and she had started applying it in all aspects…when someone annoys her she thinks that she is responsible only for her own deeds…. although she knew it before but had never really implemented it before….
So we must keep reminding and helping others, while remembering that we are also in need of such help… so if someone points out some flaw in me then I should also take it positively… after all it is in my benefit to accept my mistakes now when I have the chance to repent and make corrections… instead of finding out the truth when it is too late… May Allah save us from such a regret… Ameen