Supreme Religious Authority
The representative of the Shia Muslim Supreme Religious Authority, shaikh Abdul-Mehdi ElKerbela’i delivered Friday’s sermon on February 15, 2019 in which he talked about educational lessons every individual in the society needs.
ElKerbela’i said one of the most important educational lessons for people to learn is constructive criticism that everyone needs through honest advice.
He added that one realizes an important thing will be interested in it, and when one does not realize that important thing, they might treat it negatively and will, therefore, not benefit from it.
ElKerbela’i indicated that people, except for the infallible imams, are fallible. People make mistakes in all aspects of life, such as behavior, traditions and even in their prayers and relations with God. He noted that a mistake can be easy, and sometimes serious, especially when it is concerning ethics, culture, behavior, or science, and sometimes concerning a person, an important personality, or a social, cultural, or political entity, which can lead to greatly negatively affect the individual and society.
He said further, “Many Quranic verses talked about the human nature and human shortfalls, such as ignorance, strong worldly desires, the satin taking hold of the human, and other factors that may lead one to go astray,” adding that such issues must be paid attention for, citing the noble prophetic speech that says, “Every human being is fallible, and the best of the fallible are those who repent,” noting that people need to constantly be reminded of their mistakes to learn from them and avoid them.
ElKerbela’i mentioned words of wisdom Imam Ali (Peace Be Upon Him) said that every Muslim must review what they do every single day and correct their mistakes.
He pointed out that criticism is of two types: self-criticism and criticism directed to others. He advised that criticism should not be unethical, which may hurt others and people’s relations grow acrimonious.
ElKerbela’i stressed the importance of welcoming criticism and advice if they meet the ethics Islam calls for, adding that some people don’t welcome criticism, while a true believer ought to be receptive and correct their mistakes and avoid making them.
He then shed light on a fact that people like to be praised to feel self-satisfied – on the contrary, many don’t welcome criticism, he added, and view it as contemptible, because it makes them feel inadequate.
ElKerbela’i concluded by mentioning a positive method that should be followed when constructively criticizing a person, saying that it’s important for the criticizer to mention some of the virtues of the one criticized then mention their mistake without being belligerent toward them, like the way some of the infallible Imams (Peace Be Upon Them) did by advising others and telling them, “Everything in you is nice except for something, which is so and so.”
Editing: Wela’ EsSeffar
Translation: Mohammed ElObaidi