Dr Zeerak Attari
It is human to err—we know this, yet very few will admit their mistakes. But why? Successful people acknowledge their mistakes and take them as opportunities for growth, gradually improving themselves to be the best they can. Not accepting your mistakes is destructive to one’s life in this world and the next. Most people say or imply that they cannot be at fault; the blame is always placed on someone else. The effects of not accepting one’s mistakes affects an array of issues.
If spouses do not admit their mistakes, there will be no peace in the home, and if parents and children do not confess their faults, the bond of compassion and respect will steadily dissolve. If siblings continue to accuse one another, these precious relationships begin to crack, weakening the foundation for future generations. If the employees of an organisation throw the fragments of their weaknesses upon others, the entire system of society will be buried beneath the debris. Hence, it is imperative for us to remove this bad trait from ourselves. Two key reasons drive people to not admitting their mistake:
1. Not realising an error has been made.
2. Deliberately not admitting to a mistake because of an inflated ego and stubbornness.
Avoiding the first scenario is simple for the one who is willing. There are four steps to this solution:
1. Learning enough knowledge of Islam to fulfil our basic obligations; i.e., knowledge of purification, worship, finances, marriage, and ethics. Attaching yourself to the religious environment of Dawat-e-Islami is an excellent way of gaining this knowledge.
2. Regularly accounting yourself and recognising your mistakes, because it is easy for a person to correct a mistake that he highlights himself.
3. Search for the faults you find in others within yourself and correct them.
4. Ask a trustworthy, sincere, and intelligent friend to point out your mistakes from time to time. Being corrected by others is challenging but its results are impactful.
Following these four steps will make you a conscientious person who is constantly improving.
The second cause of not admitting to mistakes is due to an inflated ego, and stubbornness. Curing this with worldly sciences is almost impossible because in order to cure this disease, one has to recognise himself. Psychologists try to treat this through the use of psychotherapy, but the success rate is very low.
On the other hand, what can be said of the treasures of self-recognition that can be found in the teachings of Islam. Imam Ghazālī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه said:
Allah Almighty has stationed an angel over the hearts of people who invites them towards good. The angel is called Mulhim and the invitation is called Ilhām. In opposition to this angel, a devil has also been stationed over humans who calls towards evil. This devil is known as Waswās and its whispers are known as waswasa. These two callers remain atop the heart of a person and continue to call him throughout his life. An individual can hear and sense their calls through the heart. Additionally, Allah Almighty has placed a faculty within the nature of humans that is inclined towards pleasures and desires, regardless of whether they are good or bad. These are the base desires of the carnal self (nafs) which can throw a person into calamities. These three (angel, devil and desires) are the callers.
The pious accept the angel’s calls towards righteousness and this is why they hasten in admitting their mistake. Through its blessings, the good effects of their actions influence others, thus forming pleasant relations. The homes of such people are centres of peace.
Contrary to this, the ego and stubbornness of those who fall prey to their desires and the devil, increases, and they consider the admission of their faults to be an insult. Such people do not consider the feelings of others and even violate their rights. But we should be aware that the matter of the rights of people is severe. Negligence in this affair will lead to loss in this world and the hereafter.
If you wish to have a pleasant life in this world and the Hereafter, learn to accept your mistakes and seek pardon for them; there is nothing but goodness in this. To do so, it is necessary to recognise yourself. Regarding this, reading Imam Ghazālī’s Minhāj al-ʿĀbidīn and Iḥyāʾ ʿUlūm al-Dīn is very beneficial.
If you wish to truly recognise yourself and embark on the path of realisation and self-development, I recommend that you become a disciple of the Ameer of Ahl al-Sunnah, Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ, and adopt his teachings wholeheartedly. You will witness the blessings of this first hand اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه. May Allah Almighty forgive all our mistakes.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم
 Minhaj ul Aabideen, p. 47