Allahu Akbar, just yesterday I heard with my own ears Shaykh Habib Yusuf Bakhour Al-Hassani saying: "I do not judge people. Only Allah can judge. I only judge myself." He said that to me when I told him I was afraid he was going to point out my wrongdoings. I thought he would be judging me on some inappropriate things he might have noticed about this blog or if I had wrongly quoted him. Astaghfirullah. Pardon me Shaykh!
And today I heard Habib Ali Al-Jifri conveying the same message - that we should not be judgemental towards others. Habib Ali asked, what would our reaction be if after leaving the masjid we saw some youth misbehaving in public? How would we perceive them while we, having just left a religious gathering and feeling good about ourself that our level of piety has increased a notch? Would we dismiss them saying Astaghfirullah, this is shaytan? Saying astaghfirullah in such instances is not seeking refuge from wrongdoing, said Habib Ali.
Would we look at them with compassion and make du'a so that Allah grant them hidayah? Would we care to smile and say Assalamualaikum? Think about the effects of our behavior on them.
Over time people progress in their level of understanding and practice of the religion. We may over time adopt a certain Islamic image. But in truth, the measurement of deen and piety is never about image, rather our character and how we interact with others. Worse still if the more we practise the religion the more rude, angry and intolerant we become towards our family, community and those who are 'less religious'. This is due to lack of sincerity in seeking knowledge and in practising the religion. We would not behave in such a manner if we truly understand our interaction with Allah and if we truly recognize Allah bounties.
So be cognizant of the difference between the standards of Iblees knowledge and that of Prophet Muhammad's knowledge (s.a.w). The former makes one proud and judgemental while the latter beautifies one's character. Habib Ali advised those seeking piety to look at themselves and find the truthfulness in their hearts, and to remember that "Wherever fine and pure character is present, religion is present. Wherever fine and pure character is present, pure knowledge is present." But "Let us not take this that we should judge other people. Let us judge ourselves!"
Subhanallah! Such amazing gems from Habib Ali Al-Jifri. We are grateful for this lesson and we are humbled that this is our first time quoting the venerated Habib Ali Al-Jifri. May Allah preserve him and may we continue to benefit from all the habaib we admire and love.
The above is not a verbatim transcript. Watch the full lecture here: