(34) Make it easy to rectify a fault
Errors that people make vary. Some are huge while others are small. Irrespective of the magnitude of the errors, it is possible to rectify them all. Although, it might not be possible to completely rectify the bad consequences of an error, it is still possible to rectify a lot. Many people fail to rectify their faults since they doubt their own ability to rectify.
Sometimes, the way we deal with others’ faults happens to be part of the fault itself. For instance, if my son were to err, I may blame and belittle him, and magnify his fault so much that he may start thinking that he has fallen into a well out of which there is no escape! Hence, he loses hope in any chance of rectification, and therefore remains at fault.
My wife may fall into an error, or my friend, and if you make him realise that he has indeed erred, but there is a way out, rectification is easy, and to return to the truth is better than persisting on falsehood, this would prove to be helpful in the rectification process.
A man came to the Prophet Peace be upon him to give him the oath of allegiance on migration. He said, “I have come to give you the oath of allegiance on migration, and I have left my parents weeping.”
The Prophet Peace be upon him was neither harsh towards him, nor did he belittle his action, nor demean his intelligence. The man had come with good intentions, and thought that what he was doing was best. The Prophet Peace be upon him made him realise that it is easy to rectify a mistake, thus he said to him in simple words, “Go back to them and make them laugh the way you made them weep”, and that was the end of the matter.
The Prophet Peace be upon him would deal with people in a manner that would encourage them to do good and make it easier for them, even if they were to make mistakes.
Here I present to you a painful incident. Although, the point behind this incident exists towards the end, I would still like to present the story from the beginning for our benefit. Whenever the Prophet Peace be upon him wanted to travel he would draw lots between his wives. Whoever won would accompany him in his travels. When he wanted to go on an expedition against Banu al-Mustaliq, he drew lots between his wives, which A’ishah won. Hence, she left with the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him and this was after the verses of Hijaab were revealed. She used to be carried in a howdaj.
Whenever they stopped, she would leave the howdaj to fulfil her needs. Whenever they wanted to set off, she would return to the howdaj.
When the Prophet Peace be upon him was finished with his expedition, he began his return journey to Madinah. When he arrived closer to Madinah, he stopped at a place to spend some of the night, and then ordered the men to set off, once again.
The people then began to gather their belongings before they set off.
Meanwhile, ‘A’ishah −may Allah be pleased with her− went away to fulfil some of her needs. She was wearing a necklace with Zafar beads, while she fulfilled her need, it slipped from her neck without her knowledge. When she went back to the camel and decided to enter the howdaj, she felt her neck but did not find the necklace, and the people were about to head out.
She quickly went back to the place where she had relieved herself and began to look for her necklace, and got delayed. The people came and carried her howdaj thinking that she was in it, and placed it on the camel. They then took the camel by the head and went off, as did the army.
As for ‘A’ishah, after a long, tiring search she eventually found the necklace and came back to the place where the army had stopped.
‘A’ishah said, “I came back to the place to find no one to call or to respond. The people had left. I then stayed where I was and thought that perhaps the people would miss me and come back to collect me. I then wrapped myself with my Jilbab.
As I was sitting, I was overcome by sleep, thus I slept. By Allah, I was lying down when Safwan bin al-Mu’attal passed by me.
He was also left behind due to some of his needs, and so he did not spend the night with the people.
He noticed a human form, thus he came over to me and recognised me upon seeing me. He had seen me before the Hijaab was ordained for us. When he saw me he said, ‘To Allah we belong and to Him we return! The wife of the Messenger of Allah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him!’
I woke up by hearing the words he uttered upon recognizing me, so I covered my face with my Jilbab.
By Allah, he did not speak a word to me. I did not hear from him anything except those words he spoke at first. He came and his camel knelt down, trod upon its forelegs and I mounted it. He took the camel by its head and headed off to catch up with the people.
By Allah, we did not reach the people, nor did they discover that I was missing, until we reached the morning and we found them resting. Whilst they were at it, they saw a man, leading me on a camel. Thereupon, the slanderous people said what they said. The entire army was shaking by the news. By Allah, I had no knowledge of any of that.
We then reached Madinah and I became severely ill. Nothing had reached me still from what the people were saying. It did reach the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him and my parents, but they would never even mention it to me in passing, except that I noticed that the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him was not showing me kindness.
Usually, whenever I fell ill, he would have mercy on me and show me kindness. But this time he did not. Rather, if he visited me whilst I was in my mother’s company who was looking after me, he would say, ‘How is that lady?’ and say no more. I felt this in my heart. When I noticed that he was distant from me, I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, do you give me permission to go to my mother so that she may nurse me?’ He replied, ‘No problem’.
Thus I moved in with my mother, without having any knowledge of what was happening. I then recovered from my illness after twenty odd nights.
One night I decided to go out to fulfil some of my needs, along with Umm Mistah, the daughter of Abu Bakr’s aunt, and as we were walking, she stumbled over her robe and fell, or was about to.
She said, ‘Let Mistah be ruined!’
I said, ‘How bad is what you have said! You are cursing a man who witnessed the battle of Badr!’
She said, ‘O you! Did you not hear what he has said? Hasn’t the news reached you, O daughter of Abu Bakr?’
‘What news?’ I asked.
She then informed me what the slanderous people had been saying.
‘Is this really the case?’ I remarked.
‘Yes, by Allah, it is!’ she replied.
By Allah, I was not able to fulfil my need so I returned and became more ill. By Allah, I would not cease to cry until I thought that my weeping would split open my liver.
I said to my mother, ‘May Allah forgive you! People are talking about all this, and you do not mention any of this to me.’
She said in reply, ‘O my daughter! Do not worry about it.
Very rarely do we find a beautiful woman married to a man who loves her, and that she has other co-wives, except that they all find faults with her, as do the people.’
I said, ‘SubhanAllah! Have the people been speaking about this?’ That night I cried until the morning. My tears did not stop, nor did I manage to sleep, until the morning broke whilst I was still weeping.”
This was the situation with ‘A’ishah. She was accused, whilst she was young and had not exceeded fifteen years of age.
She was being accused of fornication. Yet, she was a noble and chaste woman, a wife to the purest of all people, who never lifted her veil of dignity and never defiled her honour. But here she was, crying in her parents’ house.
As for the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him, he too was full of grief and agony over ‘A’ishah, for neither Jibril was sent, nor the Qur’an revealed to clarify the issue. He remained perplexed on this issue.
The accusations coming from the hypocrites were too much to bear, as was the people’s talk concerning his honour and that of his wife.
When the agony prolonged, the Prophet Peace be upon him stood up to address the people. He thanked and praised Allah, and then said, “O people! What is wrong with some people that they are hurting me with respect to my family? They are speaking falsehood about my family. By Allah, I have not known of them except good. They are talking similarly about a man, and by Allah, I have not known of him except good. He never entered any of my houses except that he was with me.”
When the Prophet Peace be upon him said that, the leader of al-Aws tribe, Sa’d bin Mu’adh stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah, if they are from al-Aws we will prevent them from harming you. And if they are from our brothers, al-Khazraj, then order us, for they are worthy of having their necks struck!”
When the leader of al-Khazraj tribe, Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah heard this, he stood up. Even though he was a righteous man, he was overcome by zeal. He stood up and said, “I swear you have lied!
Their necks would not be struck! By Allah, you only said this knowing that they are from al-Khazraj. If they were from your tribe, you would not have said this!”
Usayd bin Khudayr said upon hearing this, “I swear you have lied! By Allah we will kill him! But you are a hypocrite, arguing on behalf of the hypocrites!”
The people then leapt towards each other and they were about to fight, whilst the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him was still standing on his pulpit. He continued to calm them down until they finally became silent. The Prophet Peace be upon him, upon witnessing this, descended from the pulpit and entered his house.
When he realised that the situation could not be diffused by addressing the public, he turned to his family, and the most special people to him, to find a solution.Thus, he called ‘Ali and Usamah bin Zayd to seek their advice.
Usamah praised ‘A’ishah and said, “O Messenger of Allah! We do not know about your family except good. All of this is lies and falsehood.”
‘Ali said, “O Messenger of Allah, there are many women you can marry. You are always able to replace her. However, ask the slave girl, for she will speak the truth.”
The Messenger of Allah then called Bareerah and asked, “O Bareerah! Did you notice anything suspicious about ‘A’ishah?”
“Never! I swear by the one who sent you as a Prophet!” replied Bareerah, “By Allah, I do not know of her except good. I never noticed anything wrong with ‘A’ishah, except that she is a young girl. I would make the dough and ask her to look after it, but she would fall asleep instead and leave the dough to be eaten by domestic goats.”
How could the slave girl ever be suspicious of ‘A’ishah, for she was a righteous young woman who was brought up by the most truthful person of the Ummah, namely Abu Bakr, and was married to the best of mankind?
In fact, how could she ever be suspected of anything, whilst she was the most beloved of all to the Messenger of Allah? Surely, the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him would not love except good. Hence, she was completely innocent, yet, Allah decided to test her in order to increase her reward and exalt her fame.
Many days went by, as ‘A’ishah’s pain continued to increase, as she lay restless and bedridden due to her illness and did not look forward to eating or drinking.
The Prophet Peace be upon him tried to solve the problem by addressing the people, but it nearly turned into a war. He tried to solve the issue at home by asking ‘Ali and Zayd, but did not find a solution. At this stage, he wanted to end it with ‘A’ishah.
She said, “That day I cried unceasingly and could not sleep. I continued to cry for the next two days and could not sleep. My parents thought that my constant weeping would split my liver open.”
The Prophet Peace be upon him then headed for Abu Bakr’s house. He sought his permission and visited ‘A’ishah whilst she was with her parents and a woman from the Ansaar. This was the first time the Prophet Peace be upon him was entering Abu Bakr’s house since the people began to spread the rumour. He had not seen ‘A’ishah for a month, for he had been waiting for a month and nothing was revealed concerning ‘A’ishah.
The Prophet Peace be upon him entered upon ‘A’ishah to find her bedridden, as if she were a young bird with its feathers plucked out, due to her constant weeping and agony.
She was crying, as was the woman next to her, not being able to control themselves, the Prophet Peace be upon him sat down, thanked and praised Allah, and said, “To proceed, O ‘A’ishah, such-and-such has reached me concerning you,” the Prophet Peace be upon him then mentioned the slander, and whatever had been said about her falling into a major error. He then wanted to explain to her that no matter what mistake a person falls into, it is not difficult to rectify it. He said to her, “If you are innocent, then Allah Almighty will declare your innocence. But if you have committed a sin, then ask Allah for forgiveness and repent to Him. For when a servant of Allah recognises his sins and repents, Allah accepts his repentance”.
Hence, he presented an easy way out of the mistake, if it really occurred, without complicating it further or prolonging the issue.
‘A’ishah said, “When the Prophet Peace be upon him had finished his speech, my tears stopped and I waited for my parents to respond to the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him on my behalf, but they did not respond.
I said to my father, ‘Please respond to the Messenger of Allah about what he has said.’
He replied, ‘By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah!’
I then said to my mother, ‘Please respond to the Messenger of Allah on my behalf!’
She said, ‘By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah!’
By Allah! I do not know of a family who were as distressed as the family of Abu Bakr at that time. When I realised that they were both unable to say a word on my behalf, I began to weep more.
I then said, ‘Never! By Allah, I would never repent to Allah for what you have mentioned! By Allah, I now know that you have heard the rumours, they have settled in your heart and you have believed them. If I were to say to you that I am innocent – and Allah Almighty and Majestic knows that I am innocent – you would never believe me! But if I were to confess to something – even though Allah knows that I am innocent – you would believe me!
By Allah, I cannot find of you and myself an example except that of Yusuf’s father when he said, ‘Patience is more fitting for me, and Allah is my Aide over that which you claim!’”
She said, “I then turned away and lay on my bed. By Allah, I knew that I was innocent and that Allah would also declare my innocence. However, by Allah, I could not have imagined that revelation would be sent down concerning me, which would be recited forever. I was not worthy that Allah should speak about my calamity in a recital. I was only wishing that the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him would see a dream in which Allah Almighty would declare me innocent.
But, by Allah, the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him did not depart the sitting, nor did anyone leave the house, except that he was overcome by a state which he often became overcome with whilst receiving a revelation. Allah was revealing to His Prophet. As for me, then as I saw him receiving the revelation, by Allah I did not
become afraid or worried, for I knew that I was innocent, and that Allah would not wrong me.
As for my parents, then I swear by the One Who has the soul of ‘A’ishah in His Hands, as the Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him recovered, I thought that their souls would depart at any time in the fear that Allah confirms what the people had been saying. However, when the Prophet Peace be upon him recovered, he laughed and began to wipe the sweat of his face.
The first thing he said was,‘Glad tidings, O ‘A’ishah! Allah has declared your innocence!’
I said, ‘al-Hamdulillah!’
Allah had revealed, ‘Lo! They who spread the slander are a gang among you. Deem it not a bad thing for you; nay, it is good for you. Unto every man of them (will be paid) that which he hath earned of the sin; and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be an awful doom. Why did not the believers, men and women, when ye heard it, think good of their own folk, and say: It is a manifest untruth? Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they produce not witnesses, they verily are liars in the sight of Allah.’
Allah further threatened them saying, ‘Lo! Those who love that slander should be spread concerning those who believe, theirs will be a painful punishment in the world and the Hereafter.
Allah knoweth. Ye know not.’”
The Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him went out to the people and addressed them reciting what Allah had revealed unto him from the Qur’an concerning this affair. He then punished those guilty of slander.
Hence, it is imperative that you deal with the one at fault as if he is a patient in need of treatment, not that you should exaggerate in condemning him and being harsh with him. This is because the wrongdoer might reach a stage where he begins to think that you are actually happy with his wrongdoing. A caring doctor is someone who cares for the patients’ health more than they care for it themselves.
The Prophet Peace be upon him said, “The example of me and you is like that of a man who kindled a fire. Grasshoppers and butterflies start falling into the fire and the man continues protecting them against it. I am holding you back from falling into the fire and you are slipping out of my hands.”
An opinion…
Sometimes, our method of rectifying an error happens to be a greater error than the error itself.