Practise what you preach
As much as it is important for us to help those around us know the right way and we are supposed to advise others to help them be guided, we must remember that we should first ensure we are following the right way ourselves. Of course, polite advice is thoughtful and always encouraged, but we have to keep in mind our responsibility to ensure we account for ourselves too. We must be careful of developing a mindset that focuses on the judging of others and what they are doing and not what we ourselves are doing.
When we focus on the actions of others, there is a danger of us becoming arrogant and developing a sense of pride. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said in a hadith:
“One will not enter Paradise if one has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his/her heart.” (Tirmidhi)
Focusing on judging the actions of others could also lead to us gossiping about them to other people. We must remind ourselves of the hadith:
Abu Huraira reported: Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “Allah and his messenger know best.” The Prophet said, “To mention your brother in a way he dislikes.” It was said, “What do you think if what I said about him is true?” The Prophet said, “If what you say about him is true, it is backbiting. If it is not true, it is slander.” (Muslim)
There are many times in our lives when we give advice to people, such as to our family and friends. Perhaps we have given them advice about how to cope through a struggle, or how to improve a certain aspect of their life. Whilst giving advice, we should not forget about our own lives too.
Often, we may not realise that if we applied the same advice we are giving others to our own lives, we would also benefit a great deal. Sometimes we do not realise this because the lives of other people are in front of us and we think we can clearly see what is wrong or right with the way they are going about their lives. On the other hand, with regards to our own lives, we become so caught up with dealing with our busy schedules and various different tasks that we have to do, that we rarely take a step back and assess what is going on in our own life and what needs to be changed.
When we begin to practise what we preach, we will also be setting an example to those around us about the importance of this notion. Whilst we give them advice about other good deeds or virtues, they will already be noticing the way we are and the way we choose to live our lives, and we may not even realise this. By striving to practise what we preach, we will be setting an example to others and helping them to understand the importance of this.