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How to Take Constructive Criticism Without Getting Angry

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the best Muslim of them all? Only Allah swt knows so don’t jump to conclusions and don’t talk to the mirror, there is actually a dua for when you look into the mirror, do you know it?

Here it goes: Alllahuma anta hasaanta khalqii fahassin khuluqii.

“Oh Allah! As you have beautified my outward/physical appearance, then beautify my inward appearance (character)”.

Yup there’s a dua or just about anything, sort of how Apple markets there is an app for just about anything.

Sorry for not posting a real article recently but I’m back again like mothers day, chill in Islam everyday is mothers day.

Anyways, I’ll begin with a quote from Imam Shafi (Rahimullah – which means May Allah have mercy on him), who was one of the greatest scholars in Islamic History.

Once he was asked how he attained such great character and he responded by saying

“I listened to my critics and took their criticism seriously”.

Often times we may realize that whenever people around us try to correct us in our actions, statements and most importantly in our ignorance, our anger overrides and shatan whispers to us saying “how can you accept that criticism”?.

Basically he gets you all gassed up and filled with pride, in reaction you may start an argument with the person who tried to give you sincere advice.

You may also start thinking about the negatives of that person. In the end, your relationship will get hurt and Shatan will be happy. The point is no one is perfect and you will always find faults in others, but once we focus on ourselves and internalize that constructive criticism for the Sake of Allah then not only will we change, but we can be an example for others.

On the other side, the one who gives the criticism should be gentle in his or her approach. This is important because different people are at different stages in how they are growing as Muslims. So we should be careful in how we offer that advice.

So there have been a couple of topics highlighted around accepting constructive criticism which include the following: Character, Anger and Advice.

I’ll mention 5 quick points that we can all benefit from insh’Allah and try to put into practice.

  1. Anger -Prepare yourself for constructive criticism from others, if you don’t your emotions will effect you negatively in the moment when someone does try to give you advice about one of your faults. Now obviously that advice has to be of importance in relation to an issue that will help you improve as a Muslim. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s) gave us a prescription in treating anger, which was to recite “Audhu billahi minashaytan nirajeem” which means “I seek refuge in Allah from shatan the accursed”.
  2. Character – The believers protect one another and are mirrors to each other. Take that advice seriously, we should look at it as guidance, because the quicker we find out our shortcomings, the sooner we can correct ourselves for the Sake of Allah.
  3. Advice – Our beloved Prophet said : ‘The Deen (religion) is naseehah (advice/sincerity)’. We said ‘To whom?’ He said ‘To Allah and His Book, and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.’ Related by Muslim] Naseeha is a serious arabic word, it can also mean clarification/purification.
  4. Saying it Right – If you want to deliver some constructive criticism, try not to hurt the persons feeling, choose the right time and place, be honest and keep your intentions clean and try to end with a compliment.
  5. Dua – I’ll end with another quote from Imam Shafi (R)

    “Never do I debate a man with a desire to hear him err in his speech, or to expose the flaws in his argument, and thus vanquish him. Whenever I face an opponent in debate I silently supplicate, ‘O Lord, help him so that truth may manifest itself in his heart and on his tongue. If it be that the truth is on my side, may he follow me; and if the truth be on his side, may I follow him.”

    Well there you have it, until next time insh’Allah my brothers and sisters.