Gentleness: An Important Trait for the Student and Teacher -Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymeen

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

Gentleness: An Important Trait for the Student and Teacher

By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen may Allah have mercy on him

The Shaykh mentions this point of benefit in his explanation of “Hilyatu Taalibil ‘ilm” under the chapter “The Etiquette of the Seeker’s Inner Self: 13. Adorn (yourself) with gentleness” on page 70. He was explaining the statement of Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd:

“Adhere to being gentle in speech, avoiding harsh words, for gentle speech wins over hostile personalities. And the proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah on this topic are abundant”

Shaykh ibn al-‘Uthaymeen says:

This etiquette is from the most important mannerisms for the student of knowledge, whether he is a student or teacher. Gentleness is as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

إن الله رفيق يحب الرفق في الأمر كله

“Indeed Allah is Gentle and He loves gentleness in all matters.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

And his statement:

إِنَّ الرِّفْقَ لاَ يَكُونُ فِي شَىْءٍ إِلاَّ زَانَهُ وَلاَ يُنْزَعُ مِنْ شَىْءٍ إِلاَّ شَانَهُ

“Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective.” [Muslim]

However, it is a must that one should be gentle without being weak. As for being humble to the extent where it is degrading and no one pays no attention to that person’s statements, then this opposes what is intended (by being gentle). Rather a person should be gentle in situations that require gentleness and a person should be stern in situations which require sternness. There is none more merciful to creation than Allah, but even so He said about the male and female fornicator that:

ٱلزَّانِيَةُ وَٱلزَّانِى فَٱجۡلِدُواْ كُلَّ وَٲحِدٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمَا مِاْئَةَ جَلۡدَةٍ۬‌ۖ وَلَا تَأۡخُذۡكُم بِہِمَا رَأۡفَةٌ۬ فِى دِينِ ٱللَّهِ

“The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah…” [Surah an-Nur: 2]

Therefore, every situation is different. If a person deals with his child with gentleness in every affair, even when it is required from him to be harsh, then he will not be able to nurture his child (properly). For example, if his son were to break the mirror, open the doors, damage his clothing, and then the father comes and finds him in this state and tries to educate him with soft speech, then this is not appropriate for that situation. This manner of speech from the father is not sufficient for this situation. Therefore, every situation is different (and one must know when is the correct time to be gentle and when to be strict).

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

مروا أولادكم بالصلاة وهم أبناء سبع سنين، واضربوهم عليها، وهم أبناء عشر، وفرقوا بينهم في المضاجع‏

“Command your children to perform prayer when they are seven years old, and beat them for (not offering) it when they are ten, and do not let (boys and girls) sleep together” [Abu Dawud]

However, if an affair revolves around either being gentle or strict, then being gentle takes precedence.

The author’s statement: “avoiding harsh words”, meaning to stay away from using harsh words and also actions.

The author’s statement: “for gentle speech wins over hostile personalities”, the general folk have a saying for this and it is that: “soft speech overcomes clear truth,” and this means that gentle speech in arguments can overcome the truth, and it can cause a person to forgo the truth for gentle speech. This does not mean that soft speech falsifies the truth, but rather it means that soft speech can overcome the truth in debates. Because if you are lenient with a person with your speech then that person will become lenient with you, and this is something witnessed. When you dispute with another and they are harsh with you, if you are gentle with them then you find them becoming closer to you.

This is why Allah said to Musaa and Harun when He sent both of them to Fir’awn:

فَقُولَا لَهُ ۥ قَوۡلاً۬ لَّيِّنً۬ا لَّعَلَّهُ ۥ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوۡ يَخۡشَىٰ

“And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).” [Surah Taha: 44]

Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam

الفقير الى الله

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2 thoughts on “Gentleness: An Important Trait for the Student and Teacher -Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymeen

  1. Pingback: Gentleness: An Important Trait for the Student and Teacher -Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymeen | qadirgreg's Blog

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