Self-Reflection: The Key to True Social Change


Everyone in this Duniya is responsible for fostering society. So, whenever we see any misdeed happening, we try to stop it and then try to correct it. If we aren’t able to stop it, then at least we hate it with our hearts. Our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم taught us the way, how to react after seeing any evil happening. He صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

We have some people in our society who are always trying to correct others but forget about themselves. By correcting, advising & refuting others, they forget to correct themselves first and their family. They always occupy themselves by refuting & criticizing others as if they have any copyright for doing this work. Yes, sometimes we notice them giving good advice, exposing innovators, Musrikeen & exposing the evil happenings in the society, but at the same time, they lag behind in good character, behavior & good deeds. They always engage themselves in studying the knowledge of criticism (Jarh wa Tadeel), how they can criticize, debate with others. They always occupy themselves by criticizing others. They love listening to speeches of criticism in which scholars criticize or refute anyone, and they always enjoy the speeches of Scholars in which they criticize someone. They never try to work on Tazkiyyah An-Nafs and never try to learn what is Halal & Haram etc. Sometimes, they themselves are in the same swamp of which they are criticizing, stopping & advising others. For example, you will see some people advising their children not to smoke, it’s haram, but they themselves smoke without any limit. Some people are involved in bigger sin than they are advising of, for example, you will see some people refuting innovators, but at the same time, they are innovating new principles and sometimes lying so that he will accept the truth or sometime you will see some people giving beneficial advice to others but he himself is destroying Islam. Undoubtedly, this Manhaj (way) is erroneous, creating only confusion among common people.

The Almighty Allah says:

“O you who believe! Beware of your own selves. No harm will come to you from those who are misled if you are truly guided.” [Surah Al-Maa’idah 5:105]

What is stressed in the above verse of the Quran is that rather than occupying himself unduly with examining, discussing, and refuting the faults of others, we should pay greater attention to ourselves first. Our primary concern should be with our own actions. Firstly, we need to safeguard ourselves, we need to fulfill obligations and if others persist either in false beliefs or in moral corruption, their errors cannot harm us.

Our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

“On the Day of Resurrection, a man will be brought and thrown into Hellfire. His intestines will then pour forth and he will revolve around them like a donkey revolves around a millstone. The people of Hell would gather around him and say, O so and so, what happened to you? Did you not use to command us to adhere to righteousness and forbid us to do wrong? He will say, Yes. But I used to enjoin righteousness but I did not practice it myself and I used to forbid wrong but I committed it.” [Al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 3267]

So, in the above hadith, it’s clearly mentioned that correcting others will not benefit until and unless we ourselves do not practice & follow it first.

The companion of our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab رضى الله عنه said:

“Whoever decorates himself by displaying to the people some characteristics that Allah knows are contrary to his real characteristics, will be disgraced and dishonoured by Allah.” [Ad-Daaraqutnee, 4/207]

You will see some people always examining the wrongdoings of others but they themselves are not doing any of the good deeds and behave as if they are Tahajud Guzar as we say in Kashmiri language, meaning they don’t even miss Sunnah ibadat (prayer). But they are not even fulfilling the obligatory ibadat like prayer, fasting, not fulfilling the promises, and lying etc. They neither teach their children about Islam nor do they care about doing good deeds.

Allah has ordered us to take care of ourselves first and your family. As the Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against Fire (Hell).” (66:6)

The Almighty Allah mentions yourselves first then your family. We need to understand this order. Whenever we advise anyone for good and stop or forbid him from bad, then we need to examine ourselves first whether I am enjoying good and staying away from bad actions, when we get a satisfying positive answer from our soul, then we can order or forbid others. In this verse, the Almighty Allah mentions two categories, one is ourselves and the second is our family. So, in order to start giving advice and start correcting, we need to start from ourselves then family. But, we start from others. Some people even go too far; they start from the leaders, which is the incorrect way of dawah. The Prophet told us the way where to start giving dawah and where to start correcting people. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم taught us the ways, not even a single Prophet started correcting society from the leaders. Every prophet started from their own families & friends. The first woman who accepted Islam was Khadeejah رضى الله عنها who was the Wife of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم and the first male who accepted Islam was the best friend of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. We all know all the Prophets were having perfect character, behavior, dealings with others. The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم showed us Islam practically and firstly followed the commandments of Allah by himself then taught his companions. That is one reason Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم successfully changed people like Umer رضى الله عنه who once was the enemy, filled with hatred towards the Prophetصلى الله عليه و سلم but later turned as the companion of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم by the grace of Allah.

At last, I want to say, Nowadays people want to change this Ummah but they are not willing to change themselves first. Everyone is criticizing others but never examines their own evil actions. Before we start to change or correct anyone, we need to change ourselves first and we need to examine our actions first. Just like our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم started with himself first then his family. We need to understand this Manhaj and we need to follow the same so that we will succeed in this Duniya and in Aakhira. (In shaa Allah)

Hopefully, my Little work will benefit Anyone.

Errors are expected, whatever there is present which doesn’t agree with Quran and Sunnah should be thrown away with acceptance of Quran and Sunnah. Whatever good you get from this is from Allah and whatever bad you get from this is from the author and Satan.

Courtesy: Zeeshan Rashid Bhat ©️



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