Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA), Allah's Messenger (SAW) said: The believer is a mirror for the believer, and the believer is the brother of the believer..."-- Abu Dawud
I recently attended a weekend course by Sheikh Kemal Al Mekki who discussed the significance of this beautiful hadith. It is one that many of us are likely familiar with, but have we ever sat and thought about its meaning? The Prophet (SAW)'s descriptions were full of complete wisdom. A believer being a mirror to another believer-- What does it mean? What does a mirror do? What happens or even what is our intention when looking into a mirror? So based on what I learned over the weekend, I will post the points discussed in the course, but consider it yourself. What else can you think of. So, the we will discuss the mirror first.
-Shows the good of the person as well as pointing out the fault
-Doesn't communicate the flaw to others
-It can show more than one flaw at a time
-Doesn't remember previous flaws
-It is always there
-If it is a dirty mirror, the reflection is unclear. Likewise if the other person (mirror) doesn't come with the right intention, their advice may also be in error or unclear
-A warped mirror is one that people will avoid. -- Another believer who is not staying on the straight path, is one that other believers will not turn to for advice
-It has no impatience and lets you return to it again and again
-If the mirror is destroyed, it is of no benefit
-It gives the right information to the right person
-Different quality of mirror gives different quality picture.
Do you see the point we are making here? It would have been easy for the Prophet (SAW) to have said, the believer gives the other believer advice, but that wouldn't encompass the deep and true meaning behind how we should go about it, what the Akhlaq (manner) is or even the Ikhlas (intention). The depth of this hadith is so vast. Inshallah you will think more about it.
Now, what about the person who looks into the mirror? We will say that this is You.
-Appreciate the advice the mirror has given you, and are not angry or defensive by having learned it
-Act on what the mirror has shown you
-The more you stand in front of the mirror, the more you can see about yourself
-Likewise the closer you stand to it, the more in depth you will see elements. (The closer you are to other believers, the better they will be able to know you)
-You go to the mirror VOLUNTARILY
-You enjoy looking at the mirror
-You see a flaw, change it, and then look again to make sure it is changed
-You not only see yourself, but you see all that is around you
-IF YOU REFUSE TO LOOK INTO THE MIRROR, IT WON'T TELL YOU ANYTHING
Just as there was much to be said about the mirror itself, there is just as much that can be learned about us. We should not be angry when others give advice, in fact we should seek it out. Ever trying to better ourselves, and when given such advice, there is an Akhlaq that should be maintained in receiving it. Don't get defensive, don't make excuses. Thank your brother or sister in Islam and use the information to better yourself, then go back later and check. Let them hold you accountable. Draw close to others, form relationships so they can correct you, and likewise you correct them.
May Allah (SWT) make us consider all of His words, and the words of the Prophet (SAW) in such depth, contemplating their meaning and then give us the ability to apply them to our lives. Ameen.