Do we judge/treat others on the same scale as we would like ourselves to be judged/treated?

Do we judge/treat others on the same scale as we would like ourselves to be judged/treated?
Do we judge or treat others on the same scale as we

Masood Khan :

This is the yet again month of Ramadan during which I am writing this article. Allah has given us yet another glorious month as an opportunity to refine our character, to come closer to our Lord, to get our sins forgiven by Almighty Allah, and complete one of the greatest pillars of our religion (i.e. the Saum). It won’t be wrong on my part to say that this month is an excellent month to develop, cleanse and polish our characters.

I am picking a very important aspect of our characters for discussion today. The question in front of us is – Do we judge/treat others on the same scale as we would like ourselves to be judged/treated?

To explain this subject in easy manner, I will break-down the article into small sections, with each section throwing some light on one or other aspect of this subject, and highlighting the guidelines for us on that aspect from our scriptures.

Don’t we want our wrongdoings (sins, mistakes etc.) to be forgiven by Allah? Then, do we forgive others easily?

All of us would love to see our mistakes and sins forgiven by Allah (as well as by our fellow human beings). To ensure that, Allah has laid down a simple formula for us; refer to following verse of Qur’an:

وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا أَلا تُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

“..Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

(Aayah No. 22, Surah Al-Nur, Chapter No. 24, Holy Qur’an).

This Aayah was revealed concerning Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA), when he swore that he will not help Mistah bin Uthathah, after what he had said against Syeda Aishah (RA). When Syeda Aishah’s (RA) innocence was revealed by Allah, and Muslims were satisfied & happy, and those believers who had talked wrongly repented, and the prescribed punishment was carried out against them, Allah revealed this Aayah to soften the heart of Abu Bakr (RA) towards Mistah who was Abu Bakr’s (RA) cousin and had had no wealth except what Abu Bakr (RA) used to support him with.

Just think about this scenario. Allah is asking Abu Bakr (RA) to forgive that man who made lies against the character of his daughter. What can be a bigger test? The principle of Islam is that if someone is punished for his sin/mistake as per the prescribed punishment in this world, then his/her sin is cleaned and he/she won’t be held accountable for that in the Hereafter. As Mistah accepted his mistake, repented and then received the prescribed punishment, Allah asked Abu Bakr (RA) to forgive him. And he forgave. Subhan Allah!

So, the formula for us is that if we want our sins and mistakes to be forgiven by Allah, we should also adopt the same approach of forgiving others.

Don’t we want our wrongdoings/shortcomings to be kept hidden from public? Then, what do we do when we come to know about shortcomings of others?

Yes, none of us would like to get any of his/her shortcomings or mistakes getting exposed to public. That is a matter of honour for every human. So, what should we do in order to ensure that our shortcomings are not exposed in front of public? Refer to following:

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said, “Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: Whoever relieves a Muslim of some worldly distress, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Resurrection; and whoever conceals (the fault of) a Muslim, Allah will conceal him (his faults in this world and on the Day of Resurrection. And whoever relieves the burden from a destitute person, Allah will relieve him in this world and the next. Allah will help His slave so long as His slave helps his brother. Whoever follows a path in pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and teaching it to one another, but the angels will surround them, tranquillity will descend upon them. Mercy will envelop them, and Allah will mention them to those who are with Him. And whoever is hindered because of his bad deeds, his lineage will be of no avail to him.”

(Hadith No. 225, Book of Sunnah, Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 1; Hadith No. 6853 (2699), Book of Remembrance, Supplication Etc., Sahih Muslim, Vol. 7).

So, if we want our faults/shortcomings etc. to be concealed in this world and in the Hereafter, we should also conceal faults of our fellow human beings.

Now, there is a bit of explanation required here. This narration should be understood in context of two types of people.

One type is of those who are not habitual sinners or wrongdoers, but makes some slip-ups in his/her life, and ends up committing mistakes/sins. It is this category of humans which deserve their sins/mistakes to be concealed in this world.

As for the other type, they are those who openly commit sins, oppress people, and commit corruption on land. It is evident that their wrongdoings are open to world. Hence, concealing their faults is not applicable here.

Therefore, concealing faults of others is related to serving some positive interest in society. If concealing someone’s fault leads to negative results in society, then that is not correct.

Won’t we like our burdens to be relieved from our backs? But, how do we act when we see others around us laden with burdens?

If any one of us is in debt, won’t he/she make dua to Allah to relieve him of that debt? Definitely Yes; unless someone is not having clean intentions.

The hadith quoted in the Section B above tells us a way forward to succeed in such cases. But let me quote same hadith from Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, where the narration starts with relieving of burdens of Muslims:

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever relieves a Muslim of a burden from the burdens of the world, Allah will relieve him of a burden from the burdens on the Day of Judgement. And whoever helps ease a difficulty in the world, Allah will grant him ease from a difficulty in the Hereafter. And whoever covers (faults of) a Muslim, Allah will cover (faults) for him in the world and the Hereafter. And Allah is engaged in helping the worshipper as long as the worshipper is engaged in helping his brother.”

(Hadith No. 1930, Chapters on Righteousness, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4).

Therefore, if we want Allah to relieve us of our burdens, we should also try to relieve our fellow human beings from their burdens. If Allah has granted us wealth, and we come across our relatives, friends, neighbours etc. under debt and/or living under dire financial condition, it is our duty that we spend our money on them, to relieve them from their distress and destitution. When we do so, Allah will relieve us from our burdens, both in this world as well as in Hereafter.

Allah wants us to give time relief to the debtor; waive the debt if possible. Do we do so?

وَإِنْ كَانَ ذُو عُسْرَةٍ فَنَظِرَةٌ إِلَى مَيْسَرَةٍ وَأَنْ تَصَدَّقُوا خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

“And if the debtor is having a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay; but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you, if you did but know.”

(Aayah No. 280, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter No. 2, Holy Qur’an).

Here Allah advises us to grant respite to people who have borrowed from us and are facing difficulty in repaying the debt. And if we see that their financial difficulty is genuine and it is difficult for them to pay the debt off, then it is better to waive the debt off considering it as charity. That is the most preferred option by Allah, and He certainly rewards the person doing so. Following hadith tells us what that reward is:

“…Abul-Yasar (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said: Whoever waits (and allows more time) for one who is in (financial) difficulty or waives the debt, Allah will shade him with His shade.”

(Hadith No. 7512 (3006), Book of Ascetism and Heart Softening Reports, Sahih Muslim, Vol. 7).

Choice is ours; we prefer the money of this world, or, Allah’s shade in both worlds?

How do we act while bargaining (buying & selling)? Are we lenient; or, are we mean?

We tend to go overboard in bargaining when we are buying something, and try to reduce the price as much as possible. While it is not prohibited to bargain with the seller, but it not good to try reducing the price unreasonably, either. Special care should be taken that if a seller is offering his goods for already reduced price due to his necessity, we should not take it as an opportunity to get the deal in unreasonable reduced amount realizing his need and using it to our advantage. That’s not in accordance with teachings of Islam.

At the same time, when we sell something, we should take care that we do not ask for unreasonably high amounts. Care should eb taken where we come across a buyer who is in real need of that particular good, and we inflate the price knowing his need and using it to our advantage. That too is not acceptable in Islam.

We have to be honest, genuine, considerate and lenient in our bargains, ensuring we do not misuse someone’s helplessness or compulsion to our advantage, thereby, to his disadvantage. See what Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said about this act:

Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah (RA): Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “May Allah’s Mercy be upon him who is lenient in buying, selling, and demanding back his money!”

(Hadith No. 2076, Book of Sales (Bargains), Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 3).

Again, the choice is ours; we prefer the money of this world; or, Allah’s Mercy?

Concluding remarks

A careful analysis of our discussion above tells us that one of the big requirements of a righteous character, a character which will earn blessings of Allah, is that a person should judge and treat others on the same scale as he would like himself to be judged/treated by Allah (and by other people too), both in this world and in the Hereafter. In context of our discussion today, here is my summarized advice for all of us:

1) Let us be soft-hearted towards others; bring mercy for them in our hearts. Let not our ego turn our hearts cold.

2) We should cover faults of our fellow human beings; let us keep their honour intact and not make their shortcomings a topic of our daily gossip.

3) If Allah has blessed us with wealth, then we should take it as an obligation upon us to help our fellow Muslims who are poor and/or under financial debt by relieving them from their financial burdens. We should support them in paying off their debts; support them in their daily expenses; support them in education of their kids; support them in getting married in decent families. Remember, we should not stop at 2.5% of our wealth, claiming that that is it, I have paid my Zakat, and that’s all. No, that won’t work. When it comes to spending on our brothers and sisters, we should open our pockets and spend as much is required to improve their financial condition.

4) If someone has borrowed from us and genuinely finding it difficult to repay the debt, we should be lenient with him/her. If possible, try to waive that debt. That will help the person getting relieved form his burden.

5) We should not try to get others goods at throw-away price whenever we come to know about their financial necessities/problems. We should also not sell our goods at inflated price knowing someone’s need for that product.

We should be reasonable in bargains. But, do we really do so?

We generally tend to adopt a very mean approach. Let us take an example of forgiveness. We keep committing mistakes, and remain hopeful of Allah’s Mercy. But when someone else commits a wrongdoing against us, we tend to keep that wrongdoing glued to our hearts for years and years, sometimes even lifetime. We don’t tend to forgive him/her. Sometimes we even curse him for Allah’s wrath.

Isn’t that hypocrisy on our part? We know Allah is Al-Ghafoor (The All Forgiving) and Ar-Raheem (The Most Merciful). And at the same time Allah is Al-Muntaqim (The Avenger). These Names of Allah relate to His different attributes, which are applicable to whole mankind. It cannot be that He is Ar-Raheem for some and Al-Muntaqim for others. Therefore, we should stop thinking that I deserve my wrongdoings to be forgiven, as Allah is Ar-Raheem and Al-Ghafoor; but others’ wrongdoings cannot be forgiven because Allah is Al-Muntaqim. Such foolishness needs to be wiped out of our heads.

And as we introspect more, we will come to know that our approach is on similar grounds in other aspects also.

Dear brothers and sisters, please do not take these matters lightly. All these matters relate to honour of a human being. When we keep his faults covered, when we help him get out of poverty, when we waive off his debt, when we are fair in bargains with him, when we forgive him etc., we are in fact protecting his/her honour. And Allah loves this deed. See what is the reward for the one who protects the honour of his fellow beings:

Abu Ad-Darda narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever protects his brother’s honour, Allah protects his face from Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”

(Hadith No. 1931, Chapters on Righteousness, Jami’ At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4).

Let us get inspiration this Ramadan to initiate a positive change in our personalities. Let us strive to develop a virtue such that we start judging/treating others on the same scale as we would like us to be judged/treated by others and Allah. Let us protect honour of our fellow human beings. Let us get worthy of Allah’s protection from the Hell Fire on the Day of Judgement.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path…Ameen.