Unasked pieces of advice

Three types of humans

Ameer-ul-Mu`mineen, Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ has said: There are three types of men. First is the one who holds strong and firm opinion on matters. Second is the one who does not hold a firm opinion but consults with those who hold a firm opinion and then manages his affairs. The third one is the man who neither holds a firm opinion nor consults with anyone and such a person remains worried. (Adab-ud-Duniya Walidayn, pp. 473)

Dear Islamic brothers! Advice means to ask someone for his opinion on a matter. No matter what type of work a person has to do it is very beneficial for him to consult with someone else for doing it. Allah Almighty asked the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, who despite being the one who holds correct opinion, to consult with the blessed companions عَـلَيْهِمُ الرِّضْوَانْ as it was an act of pleasing them as well as respecting them. To hold a consultation is a Sunnah of the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم took the advice of Sayyiduna Hubaab Bin Munzir رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ to choose the place in the plain of Badr which benefited Islamic army. (Tareekh-e-Islam, vol. 3, pp. 286)  To hold a consultation is a key to blessing due to which there is a less possibility of mistakes. Ameer-ul-Mu`mineen Sayyiduna Umar Farooq رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ would consult with both types of Islamic scholars - young as well as experienced Islamic scholars.  Before becoming the caliph when Sayyiduna Umar Bin Al-Aziz رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ became the governor of sacred Madinah, so the first thing he رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهُ did was to gather the blessed Islamic jurists of Madinah to hold a consultation with them and formed their Majlis Shura that used to give him advice from time to time. (Al-Bidayat-ul-Wan-Nihaya, vol. 6, pp. 332)

Wrong advice led to destruction

When Sayyiduna Musa Kaleemullah and Sayyiduna Haroon عَـلَيْـهِمَا الـسَّـلاَم invited pharaoh towards Iman (faith), pharaoh who made a false claim to be god, consulted with his wife Sayyidatuna Asia رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهَا. She replied: It is not suitable for anyone to reject the invitation of these both. Pharaoh did not use to carry out any work without consulting with his minister Haman. When he consulted with Haman, he said: I thought you were wise! You are a master; after accepting this invitation you will become a subject, and you are lord, after accepting it, you will become a bondman, so due to acting on Haman’s advice pharaoh remained deprived of accepting the invitation of Iman [faith]. (Tafseer Ruh-ul-Ma’ani, Part. 16, Taht-al-Ayah 49, Juz. 49, pp. 682)

Who should be consulted?

It is not wise to consult with everyone, and nor can everyone give correct advice on every matter. No one will consult a doctor about the tyres of a car, and nor can he consult a clothes trader about gold jewellery. علیٰ ھذاالقیاس (i.e. and so on). Consultation should be held with such people who are experienced, wise, pious, well-wishing and selfless. You will see its benefits yourself.
اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه عَزَّوَجَلَّ.

Do not give wrong advice

The one who is asked for advice should give correct advice, otherwise, he will be considered a treacher. The Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said: The one who deliberately gives wrong advice to his brother has committed treachery. (Abu Dawood, vol. 3, pp. 449, Hadees 3657) i.e. if a Muslim asks someone’s advice and he deliberately gives him wrong advice so that he suffers from troubles, so the advisor is a confirmed treacher. Breach of trust is not committed only in wealth; it is also committed in all matters such as secrets, honour and advice. (Miraat-ul-Manajeeh, vol. 1, pp. 212)

One should advise not order

There is a difference between advice and order. It is stated in the Holy Quran: واَقِیْمُوا الصَّلٰوۃَ And keep Salah (obligatory prayer) established (Part. 1, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 43) It is a command and the one who misses it is a sinner. In Ayah 282 of Surah Baqarah, it is stated: اِذَا تَدَایَنْتُمْ بِدَیْنٍ اِلٰی اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی فَاکْتُبُوْہ If you make an agreement of debt for a specified period, write it down (Part. 3, Al-Baqarah, Ayah 282) It is the Holy Quran’s advice. It will not be a sin if someone does not act on it. In giving the command the power of Allah Almighty is evident and in His advice His mercy is apparent. (Miraat-ul-Manajeeh, vol. 1, pp. 153)

Similarly, the Beloved Rasool صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has not only given us laws, but he صَلَّى اللّٰهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has also stated many things as advice at many places. The king, Qazi, etc., state many things like an order and some as advice, therefore the one who gives advice should consider advice to be advice. His style should not be the one who gives an order or final advice, but rather it should be like this: If it had happened to me, I would have taken this step or made this decision! After giving a piece of advice do not compel the person to accept your advice at all cost. After offering your opinion you should let him decide whether he should act on your advice completely or partially or should not act on it at all.

Do not worry a person and reduce your respect by saying utterances like: Why did you not act on my advice? If you had no intention to act on my advice, why did you ask for it? If you had followed my advice, you would not have suffered the loss. اَلْعَاقِلُ تَکْفِیْہِ الْاِشَارَۃُ i.e. “A word to the wise is enough”.

Do not give advice without anyone asking

The thing that is obtained after being asked is more valued and the thing that is gained free is less valued. Therefore stay quiet unless you are asked to give advice, therein lie respect and safety, otherwise, if the one who is talking to you is outspoken, he can also say: Has anyone asked your advice? But what can we say! In our society, there are a large number of people who give unasked pieces of advice.

Buy a car

A person said: Once at night, when I was going to my home, I stopped at a shop, that was at the corner of the street, to buy eggs, bread, etc. The shopkeeper gave me the change and then saw critically my old bike and offered me a free piece of advice which many people had already given me, ‘Now you should buy a car’. Having heard his unasked advice, I became angry for a while, but then I controlled my anger and said: Good! You have allowed me yourself, I was afraid that you would forbid me from buying a car. Having heard this, the shopkeeper was astonished for a while, but when he realized, he started apologizing to me. I made him understand like this: O brother! While riding the bike the discomfort I feel, you cannot feel. I also face hot weather, cold weather, rain and foggy weather. Despite all these things if I am not buying a car, there must be a reason behind it! Do you want me to admit to you that I am a poor man? He understood it very well. He apologized to him again and said: In the future, I will take care of it everywhere. I never thought of it in this way.

Spicy Korma is tasty

Some people instead of giving advice do it practically themselves. A housewife was busy making korma in her kitchen. In the meantime, the bell rang. As she opened the door, her female neighbour entered and directly went to the kitchen saying this: Sister, what are you cooking? Before the housewife would say something, she herself removed the lid and saw the curry, tasted a bit of it after taking out some of it and then she quickly picked up the box of spices and took one tablespoon full of it and put it into the Handiya [curry] and started saying: When korma is spicy, it is very tasty and then she left immediately. The housewife was astonished because she knew the choice of her husband and children; they liked light spices in curry.

Common examples of unasked pieces of advice

The way a technician carries his toolbox with him, in the same way, those who give unasked pieces of advice have pieces of advice with them. No matter whether they have any experience of that work or not, they do not abstain from offering advice, but rather they also insist on others acting on the advice. For example, v if they see someone ill, they immediately suggest the names of medicines. v If they see a car out of order, they immediately open its bonnet and start carrying out its operation and order to change such and such a part of it and by doing this they worsen the problem further. v If they go to a cloth shop, they insist on the customer next to them buying such and such a colour because according to them it would suit him. v If they see an overweight person, they advise: ‘Eat less’ – without taking any notice of the matter whether he has got swelling on his body due to a disease or any medicine. v ‘Walk swiftly’ – without taking any notice of the matter that this miserable person cannot even walk slowly. v If they see a thin person, they offer him advice free of charge: ‘Keep eating and drinking’, now no matter whether he eats to his fill or cannot eat to his fill due to a disease but the one who advises does not bother to know about it, he only wants to offer his advice. v Your mobile has been old, now buy a new one. v Your household furniture is old-fashioned, change it. v Buy a big animal [ox, camel, etc.] this time on Eid-ul-Adha. v Your bike starts when you push it, buy a new one. v Buy a car after selling the motorcycle. v Buy a big car after selling the small one. v If someone says that his son has got a job, so the advice is offered: ‘Get him married’. v Give such and such a piece of furniture in dowry. v Give so many grams of gold jewellery. v Perform Hajj when you are young, there will be no such power in the old age! v Your son is now three years old, but you have not got him enrolled in a school; get him enrolled tomorrow. v It is very hot in your home, install AC. v What is there in the job, leave it and do a business. v The curtains of your home are many years old, change them. v The lights of your home are very dim, get the new ones. v The TV has become obsolete, now buy an LCD.

Last thing

These few examples have been mentioned for indication. If you start pondering, many dozens of ‘unasked pieces of advice’ will be further added to the list. Remember, every unasked advice is not bad, but to insist on someone to do it makes it painful. Anyhow, we should ponder over ourselves lest we are also added to the list of those who give ‘unasked pieces of advice’ and insist on others to act upon them. If we do like this, so we should learn how to respect the personal life of others. We should develop flexibility in our words and tone so that the one talking to us does not feel any embarrassment. It is quite possible that your advice is right, but this poor person does not have sufficient money to act on it. Your insistence may embarrass him. The mental and physical conditions and feelings of everyone are different due to which the likes and dislikes, profit and loss of people are not same either. The same thing may lead someone to progress and may lead someone to regress. Perhaps you may say that you have given advice out of love and sympathy. So remember that a wise enemy is better than an unwise friend.  Every sensible person knows very well what is good and what is bad for him. He may not be sympathetic to others, but surely to himself. Therefore everyone is not allowed to have any right to interfere in his life. However, for parents, siblings, teachers, Murshid and Islamic scholars, things are different. They should also give advice with great care. This is the beauty of our social life which should be maintained. Make things easy and do not make life hard for others. May Allah Almighty bless us with common sense!

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم

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