The Advent of the “Awww” Culture

Scene 1: Bushra uploads new cover photo on Facebook

Scene 2: aww

Scene 3: awww <3
Scene 4: aww you look so pweeety
Scene 5: aww you two look like you`re made for each other
Scene 7: awww “THE PERFECT BRIDE” (plz plz tell me where you got your make up done from?)
Scene “N” (where N stands for infinite):

102 likes later (cover photos ARE open for public viewing) Bushra in all her ordinariness”s is positively GLOWING with happiness (and poor Tariq thinks his compliments did the trick:P). Whereas:

“The Prophet heard a man praising another man and saying good words about him while he was present with them. He said, ‘You have destroyed *or broken the back of the man!’”                                    [Al- Bukhari & Muslim]

Abdur- Ra’hman bin Abi Bakrah said that a man was once mentioned in the presence of the Messenger of Allah . Another man said good words of praise about him. The Messenger of Allah then said, what translated means, “Woe unto you! You have beheaded your friend. If one of you has to praise, let him say, ‘I think this and that’ (about the praised man), if he thinks that he deserves it, ‘And his reckoning is with Allah,’ and let him not ascribe purity (to anyone).”                                                                                                                                                       [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

Poor Bushra, in all her naivety (if there`s such a thing anymore, thanks to soaps) believes now from the bottom of her heart that she is “above ordinary”, has flawless beauty, immeticulate taste, and grace of the Queen herself. Whose fault is this? Can you be honest with yourself and blame Bushra for letting it “get to her head” or expect that she should just have taken it as “meaningless praise”.

It is just cruel to do this, to give someone false hope like that. Feel your friend`s pain when he/she discovers that it is not true. A good friend, nay a believer, ought to be like a mirror like the Prophet (S) said:

The believer is the mirror of the believer.                                                                                                            [Abu Dawud]

Remember those high school movies where the “Queen Bee” convinced the class geek of her singing prowess and the class geek ended up only embarrassing herself on stage. THAT is exactly what you are doing when you praise someone. You allow them to go on thinking that they are in possession of some talent or beauty when they in reality are not.

Side Effects of Being Praised:

1. It encourages the praised person to overestimate themselves, especially if they were people of position or wealth.

2. MAY lead to arrogance> over reliance on the self>complacence> laziness/non-productive and ultimately a lower number of good deeds.

3. It messes with one`s Niyyah (intention). Where once you were doing something solely for Allah s.w.t, then you start subconsciously doing that thing to get more praise. BEWARE of this!

When is it Okay to Praise Someone:

1. When he/she will not be trialed or deceived by this praise.

2. In order to motivate him/her to praiseworthy characteristics and noble manners. Therefore if you see Bushra being generous, sacrificing and generally nice with her sister in law and you mention this to make her firm/continue with what she is doing, then that is good and is what is intended by the saying of Allaah Ta’ala:
Help one another in Al­-Birr and At-­Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety)>> [5:2]

3. In order that their goodness maybe known among the people, as the Prophet (S) did with Abu Bakr (r.a)and Umar (r.a). About Umar r.a he said:

I do not see the Shaytan, except that he follows a pathway other than your path.’

4. To praise the spouse like Aisha r.a used to praise the Prophet s.a.w.

How to “Shield” Oneself from Praise:

1. Remember all praise belongs to Allah s.w.t.

I once met this amazing Aunti at a wedding. A very different Aunti she was. She praised someone with me and then hugged them spontaneously, so happy was she to meet this person and she says (and I canNOT forget these words):-
“I am so happy to finally meet you in person. I have heard so much praise of you. Yet indeed all praise is for Allah s.w.t!”

Maybe it was the way she said it, her accompanying smile or her genuine happiness but her words remained with me. Or maybe it was the fact that she appeared to look at people and see beyond, towards Him. Indeed all praise is for Him! And He is the source of all that is good. Alhumdolillah!

2. Make this masnoon du`a:

اللهم لا تؤاخدني بما يقولون واغفر لي ما لا يعلمون

O Allah , do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine].

Praising the Leader:

Abu Ma’mar said, “A man began to praise one of the amirs. Al-Miqdad began to throw dirt in his face and said, ‘The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded us to throw dust into the faces of those who praise people.’”

And what do we do?

Habib Jalib puts it aptly:

me ne us se ye kaha
ye jo das crore hain,
jehl ka nichor hain
inki fikr so gayi
har umeed ki kiran
zulmaton me kho gai
ye khabar darust hai
inki mot ho gai
be shaoor log hain
zindagi ka rog hain
aur tere paas hai inke dard ki dawa
me ne us se ye kaha
tu khuda ka noor hai
akl hai shaoor hai
qaum tere saath hai
tere hi wajood se
mulk ki nijaat hai
tu hai mehr-e-subh-e-nau
tere baad raat hai!

So beware of praise, for it kills. As Pakistanis, three or was it four, dictators later and Allah knows how many bad advisors/yes-men/insincere praise givers later we ought to understand this the most. Then again don`t just utter meaningless words to please your Sasu Ma, or to get a good bargain from the darzi. If you really love the people in your life you should not be doing things that harm them subsequently. And what can we say about sugar-coating the darzi. That’s just wrong on sooo many levels woman:P

‘Whoever believes in Allaah and the Last Day, then he should speak good or remain silent.’

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