Parents should guide all the areas of life

The Concept of Humiliation in Islam

The reputation or honour of another Muslim is sacred and cannot be transgressed without serious justification. If a Muslim commits an error in public, it is best to criticize the wrong action or idea privately or in another forum without naming the person or humiliating them. We should not attack the identity of the person who made a mistake. After all, the goal is to correct their behaviour, not to harm them. Those who are humble before Allah, then Allah will raise them in the Akhira. Allah says:

إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلاَ مَرَدَّ لَهُ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَالٍ

“Allah will never change the condition of the people until they change it themselves (with state of Goodness). But when Allah wills a punishment for them, there can be no turning back of it, and they will not find a protector besides Him.” (Surah Ar Raad, 13, 1)

Muslims have failed to understand this Quranic truth.  Allah, Glorified and Exalted, and His Messenger, prayers, and peace of Allah be upon him, have forbidden adultery and shown its ugliness and dissolution. Also, they have warned the slaves against committing it as it is appalling. Allah Almighty has not just forbidden committing it; He has forbidden getting near to it. Allah says:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

“And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace.” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:63)

Humility is the one thing that every single person on the face of the earth would love to experience if they knew how sweet it was. It can turn hatred into love, enemies into friends, and strangers into family, all within a matter of seconds. It makes a person realize that their honour and self-respect comes only from Allah. Allah says:

وَإِمَّا تُعْرِضَنَّ عَنْهُمُ ابْتِغَاءَ رَحْمَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكَ تَرْجُوهَا فَقُل لَّهُمْ قَوْلًا مَّيْسُورًا 

“And if you [must] turn away from the needy awaiting mercy from your Lord which you expect, then speak to them a gentle word.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:28)

The idea of brotherhood in Islam entails more than just calling each other “brother” and “sister”. One of the essential elements of a stable Islamic brotherhood is to fulfil the rights of others. For most of us “fulfilling the rights of others” makes us think about feeding the poor, helping the orphans, and other such charitable endeavours. But there’s another group of rights owed a little closer to home which we often neglect.

We should start making good deeds and keep them to ourselves:

  1. Do not say a word of disrespect to your parents
  2. Do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly
  3. Do not walk in insolence through the earth
  4. Do not burden a person beyond his scope
  5. Do not take the blame or counterattack
  6. Do not despair of the mercy of Allah
  7. Do not be an advocate for deceit
  8. Do not follow anyone blindly
  9. Do not ridicule one another
  10. Discover a way to respond
  11. Don’t act out your feelings
  12. Do not be rude in speech
  13. Do not be arrogant
  14. Do not break promises
  15. Do not engage in bribery
  16. Do not spy and backbite
  17. Do not insult others’ deities
  18. Don’t walk on earth proudly
  19. Don’t speak to people loudly
  20. Don’t bad behaviour to others
  21. Don’t comment about body or looks
  22. Don’t forgive others for their mistakes

In general, Muslims should advise each other about their public errors in a private setting to respect the sanctity of their reputation. Those who frequently rebuke, scold, and disparage other Muslims in public, naming and shaming them without solid justification, are in reality committing a heinous sin against them. Allah says:

وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ 

“And do not turn your cheek [in contempt] toward people and do not walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful.” (Surah Luqman 31:18)

Finding faults in others is a doubly disturbing characteristic because, besides the fact that we are sinning by doing so, we fail to recognize our shortcomings and continue living the illusion that everything about us is perfect and without fault or flaws. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ

“O you who have faith, let not people ridicule other people; perhaps they are better than them. Neither let women ridicule other women; perhaps they are better than them. Do not insult each other, nor mock each other with nicknames.” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:11)

In Islam, we must limit our criticism to wrong beliefs and misdeeds without attacking the particular identity of people. By doing so, we focus on what is most worthy of criticism (concrete actions and abstract beliefs) while respecting the sanctity of Muslims’ public reputations.

Allah Most High says in the Holy Quran to the people who Hurt:

  • “Allah loves not those who do mischief.” (Quran 28:77)
  • “And they who turn away from ill speech.” (Quran 23:3)
  • Do not spy and do not slander one another.” (Quran 49: 12)
  • “So see what was the end of those who made mischief.” (Quran 7:103)
  • “Woe to whoever disparages others behind their back or to their face.” (Quran: 104:1)
  • “And hold in your mind’s eye what was the end of those who did mischief.” (Quran 7:86)
  • “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Quran 7:199)
  • “Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.” (Quran 3:134)
  • “Those who hurt believing men and women who have done nothing to deserve it shall bear the burden of a calumny and open sin.” (Quran 33:58).
  • “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah.” (Quran 39:53)
  • “Say not to them [so much as], “off,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” (Quran 17:23)
  • “And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah].” (Quran 20:44)

Disparagement in every form is forbidden; moreover, if the humiliated person experiences a feeling of disgrace and injury, this is bound to result in a metaphysical reaction that would reflect badly upon the esteem and personality of the offender. Thus, it is befitting to take regard of the weakest of Allah’s creations so that, we too are encompassed by His grace and compassion. Allah says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَن تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ 

“Verily, as for those who like [to hear] foul slander spread against [any of] those who have attained to faith grievous suffering awaits them in this world and in the life to come: for God knows [the full truth], whereas you know [it] not.” (Surah An-Nur 24:19)

Therefore, if the relationship between faith and behaviour is that close, our iman should be proven by good deeds and noble character. Being a true believer is not all about accumulating knowledge of `aqeedah (creed) and committing it to one’s heart without benefiting from such knowledge. Allah says:

لِّلَّذِينَ أَحْسَنُوا الْحُسْنَىٰ وَزِيَادَةٌ وَلَا يَرْهَقُ وُجُوهَهُمْ قَتَرٌ وَلَا ذِلَّةٌ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

“For those who do good (is) the best and more. And not (will) cover their faces dust and not humiliation. Those (are the) companions (of) Paradise, they in it (will) abide forever.” (Surah Yunus 10:26)

First and foremost, let us analyze ourselves and make sure we are not one of those people who hurt others. If we have done so, we must sincerely repent and seek forgiveness. In the future, be able to draw the line between a friendly joke and the prohibited act of hurting others. When in doubt, hold yourself back. Allah says:

وَإِن كَانَ ذُو عُسْرَةٍ فَنَظِرَةٌ إِلَىٰ مَيْسَرَةٍ وَأَن تَصَدَّقُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ 

“And if someone is in hardship, then [let there be] postponement until [a time of] ease. But if you give [from your right as] charity, then it is better for you if you only knew.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:280)

Gently approach those we associate with who intentionally hurt others and explain the gravity of such actions. Insha’Allah they will stop hurting others. If they continue to intentionally hurt others, disassociate with such people. Allah says:

أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ 

“Do you order the righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the Scripture? Then will you not reason?” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:44)

If someone is being intentionally hurt and insulted in front of you, step in and defend them like our Prophet and Imams (peace be upon them) would. Not only does it fit the mannerism of a believer to do so, but we will also be rewarded! Imam. May Allah have mercy upon the person who services a right and removes a wrong, or refutes an injustice and establishes justice.