Sunday, November 21, 2004

Cover up the faults of others

Love For All, Hatred For None

He who covers up [the faults of] a Muslim, God shall cover up his faults in this world and the next.

Disclosing other people's secrets leads to social discord and at times to animosity. Therefore, it is considered a vice and has been condemned in a large number of traditions.

This vice may take various forms, one of which is to recount to someone the derogatory remarks made about him by another individual, thus creating discord and hostility between them.

Another form is to recount to someone in power and authority something that another may have said or done against him, thus inciting him to the detriment of the victim.

In general, the vice of creating conflict and discord among people and stirring up hostility between individuals can take various forms, and disclosing people's secrets is one of its forms.

The opposite of this vice is the virtue of working to create good feeling, harmony, and love amongst people, which is a quality of great value. In opposition to the vice of revealing other people's secrets is the virtue of guarding their secrets and concealing them.

Exposing sins lead to humiliation and embarrassment, which ceases the possibility that the sinner might someday regret his mistake, seek forgiveness from Allah and purify his soul from sins because one of the things that prevent one from committing sins is the fear of humiliation.

However, if the sinner knows that the people are already aware of his sins, then he does not experience the shame and distraction which he used to feel before and this might encourage him to commit sins openly!
Secondly, when sins are repeatedly mentioned in gatherings, etc. the fear of committing sins vanishes from the people's hearts.

We are opposed to those in this society enjoy talking about their sins, enjoy making personal confessions regarding old sins…they say as a means for personal therapy and freedom. We are opposed to this type of therapy.

We are opposed because the sin will become easy on people's tongue and gradually he, who does not feel any shame in mentioning the sin, will not find it difficult to even commit the sin.

How many times have we heard people say: “I’m saved, now I can share with others how I defeated drugs by confronting drugs…as a result of such public discussions, drug usage increases instead of decreasing…This is how, sins spread in the society!

So, if someone becomes aware of his brother's sins and realizes that nobody except him has seen him committing the sin, then he should keep the sin a secret. He should not encourage people towards sins by exposing his faults.

Allah, the Almighty, has not only condemned committing sins in the Qur’an but He has also condemned those people who mention sins in public.

The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "My entire nation is safe, except al-Mujahirin (those who boast of their sins). Among the Mujaharah is that a man commits an (evil) act, and wakes up in the morning while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret, he says: "O Fulan! Last night I did this and that." He goes to sleep while Allah has kept his (sin) a secret but he wakes up in the morning and uncovers what Allah has kept a secret!" [Saheeh al-Bukharee]

The Holy Qur’an says [24:20] “Those, who love that indecency should spread among the believers, will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not.” meaning, those who like to see evil talk about them (the believers) appear. [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Allah says in Surah an-Nisa: [4:149] Allah likes not the uttering of unseemly speech in public, except on the part of one who is being wronged. Verily, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
Ibn Abbas (radiyallahu anhu) commented on this verse, "Allah does not like that anyone should invoke Him against anyone else, unless one was wronged. In this case, Allah allows one to invoke Him against whoever wronged him…Yet, it is better for one if he observes patience." [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Today sins have become widespread in the society because we have forgotten the teachings of Allah's Messenger (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam), who discouraged people from revealing one's mistakes and sins as well as others. As a result, people have lost the fear of committing not only minor sins but even major sins - Moreover, we find people proudly attributing sins to themselves!

Today, there are also many novel channels through which sins are propagated in the society; like such book, magazines and television programs that mention the crimes of others, illicit acts, and immorality under the name of creating awareness among the people.

These programs which are meant to help people to be aware of and fight crimes are in reality, helping the crime to spread fast in the society! Crimes, which were previously unknown to people have become common offense.

In any case, all the various forms of 'ifsad bayn al-nas (corrupting mutual relations between people) are considered sins and condemned in many Quranic verses and traditions.

We have to be kind to each other: Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said: Aisha, verily Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness. Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective. Sahih muslim: Book 31, Number 6274.

A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him. The piety is here, (and while saying so) he pointed towards his chest thrice. It is a serious evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother Muslim. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith; his blood, his wealth and his honor. Sahih Muslim Book 31, Number 6219.

Qur’an says: “and speak to men kindly and observe prayer, (Baqarah 84) A kind word and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Self-Sufficient, Forbearing. (Baqarah 264). ‘A Muslim is brother of another Muslim. He does not wrong him, or insult him or humiliate him.’ (Muslim), and ‘The thing which will make the majority of people enter paradise is fear of Allah and good manner.’ (Tirmidhi).

From among the teachings of Allah's Messenger (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam) is to keep sins a secret matter. If someone commits a sinful act which is against the Commandments of Allah, or is against the moral character, or is such an act that may cause harm to one's honor, then he should keep it a secret and seek forgiveness from Allah in the darkness of night.

Abdullah Ibn Masoud (radiyallahu anhu) related, 'A man came to the Prophet and said: 'O Messenger of Allah! I have mingled with a woman in the far side of al-Medina, and I fulfilled my desire. So, here am I, judge me according to what you decide.' Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radiyallahu anhu) then said: 'Allah had kept your secret, why did not you keep your secret?' [Sharh Muslim]

Similarly, if one becomes aware of somebody else's sin, he should keep it a secret. Allah's Messenger (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “he who covers a Muslim (meaning his mistakes and shortcomings), Allah will cover him in the Dunya and the Hereafter…”[Muslim]

Abdullah Ibn Umar (radiyallahu anhu) related, "The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihe wa-sallam) once rose above the podium and then said with a loud voice, "O those who have embraced Islam only with their tongue, while Eemaan has not yet entered their hears, neither harm Muslims, nor mock them, nor try to expose their mistakes, for he who follows (searches for) the errors of his brother, Allah will follow his errors, and he whom Allah follows his errors, He will expose him even if he was in the middle of his home." [Saheeh al-Jamee]

Qur’an says: “and speak to men kindly and observe prayer.” Ahmadi Muslims should avoid the practice of labeling people as sinners, said Hazur in his sermon today. Allah says that the righteous servants are kind and merciful to others. Allah knows the faults of everyone and he covers those faults.

We need to focus on self. Focus on our own weaknesses and turn to God seeking repentance and forgiveness. If Allah were to put us to account for our sins today, we would all be destroyed but He covers our sins with the shadow of His Mercy.

And our last words are All praise is due to Almighty Allah, Lord of all the worlds. O’ Allah we seek your protection in this world and the next. We beg you to cover our weaknesses and grant us sanctity from our fears. Ameen!


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