Perhaps we have all been in the situation where we meant to convey constructive criticism with good intentions but unintentionally caused annoyance. What is the best way to increase the effectiveness of criticism?
The act of inviting good and preventing others from wrongdoing is in fact an important part of our religious responsibilities, but the manner in which it is done is very important.
A look into the life of Imam Hassan, the grandson of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) shows us a good example of how such suggestions can be made.
One day in their early years, Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Hussain (as) passed an old man who was performing Wudu (ablutions) incorrectly. Instead of criticizing his Wudu, the Imams pretended to be in a debate about their own performance of Wudu. Hence, they said to the old man,”We will perform Wudu; you be the judge, and decide who performs it correctly. Then, they performed Wudu and asked about its correctness from the old man. The old man, who had realized their intention, said, ”You both performed Wudu well. It was me who did not know how to perform Wudu correctly.” (1).
Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Hussain (as) neither criticized the man old man, nor reproached him for his ignorance of the ruling of Islam. Moreover, they did not refer to his way of performing Wudu, nor did they call his action void. Rather, they performed Wudu themselves and taught the man its correct way indirectly. The result of this polite and wise criticism was that the old man learned how to perform Wudu correctly, and thanked them with kindness and pleasure.
(The above is a selection taken from “Morality in Regards with Coexistence and Humane Values”, by Muhammad Taqi Falsafi (with some changes))
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