How can we think of good things about people?

The Details of the Question
How can we think of good things about people?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

When a righteous believer evaluates people and events, he tries to have good intentions as much as possible and interpret things favorably. Having good intentions and thoughts are indications of a person's inner goodness and benevolence. Hz. Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"A Muslim who has the following three properties has no treason and grudge in his heart: doing sincere deeds for Allah, having good intentions for all Muslims and advising them, being in unison with Muslims in terms of thoughts and practice."(Ibn Majah, Muqaddama, 1 8).

Wishing good things for people, leading them to good deeds are among the basic duties of Muslims. Hz Prophet (pbuh) asked allegiance from people by making them promise "that they will have good intentions for all Muslims", attracting attention to this issue. (Bukhari, Iman, 42). However, what needs to be paid attention to here is the phrase "all Muslims".  It is the duty of a Muslim to wish good things for all Muslims without any exception and to have good thoughts about them.

A Muslim should be mature and perfect in his acts and deeds toward unbelievers and polytheists in terms of human relations in order to make their hearts soften toward Islam; his heart should not love them and their bad habits.

One of the attributes of righteous Muslims is not have bad thoughts and be suspicious about people. The following is stated in the Quran:

"O ye who believe! avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin."(al-Hujurat, 49/12).

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following about suspicion and talking about bad and untrue things behind people's backs, defining suspicion as the falsest talk:     

"Beware of suspicion (about others), as suspicion is the falsest talk." (Bukhari, Wasaya, 8, Nikah, 45, Muslim, Birr 28)

A true Muslim does not utter words that suggest lies. 

A Muslim should decide about people based on what he sees: He should keep away from slandering others based on thoughts, suspicion, gossip and apprehension. It is not among the ethical attributes of a Muslim to reveal people's secrets, to interfere in others' privacy and to talk about the chastity of others. However, a Muslim acts based on what he sees. He narrates what he sees. He does not decide based on suspicion and doubt. Hz.Umar b. Khattab (r.a) stated the following:

"During the period of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), people decided based on revelation. Now, revelation has ceased. We will make decisions based on what we see. We will protect those who do us favors and let them come near us. What he hides does not interest us. Allah will call them to account due to what they hide. We will not trust and approve those who do bad deeds to us even if they say their hearts are clean."(M. Y. Kandahlawi, Hayatu's-Sahaba, trnslt by A. Meylani, IV, 253)

Therefore, a conscious and muttaqi Muslim always keeps the following verse in his mind when he utters a word and makes a judgment:   

"And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)."(al-Isra, 17/36)

A Muslim does not speak against others. He believes that every word he utters is recorded by an angel:

"Behold two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and note them), one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it)."(Qaf, 50/17, 18)

A Muslim who is conscious of these orders fears the responsibility of every word that he utters. Therefore, we see him utter all of his words very carefully. For, he knows that the word he utters may make him elevate to the rank of his Lord's consent or lower him to the bottom layers of Hell. The Messenger of Allah states the following regarding the issue:

"A person utters a word that pleases Allah and he can never guess the high level it will elevate him to. Allah writes His consent for him up to the day when he meets Allah. A person utters a word that attracts Allah's wrath and he cannot guess the level that this word takes him down to. However, Allah writes wrath against him up to the Day of Judgment due to this word." (Bukhari, Riqaq, 23; Muslim, Zuhd, 49, 50)

A Muslim who is muttaqi (fears Allah) and whose heart is clean does not listen to people's illogical words and does not heed the rumors, gossips and suspicions that he hears; in addition, he does not report what he hears from other people before he makes sure that they are true; on the contrary, he knows that reporting others what one hears before finding out that they are true is regarded as haram by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh); he acts upon the following principle: "It is enough as a sin for a person to report whatever he hears to others."

(Şâmil İslam Ansiklopedisi)

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