Your ultimate focus should be on improving yourself, not others

It is very important for us to ensure that our ultimate focus is on improving ourselves. The more we focus on what we think the faults of others are, the less we will be reflecting on our own actions.

Reflection is vital for us. If we do not reflect on our actions, it will be very difficult for us to acknowledge our deeds and think about how we can improve. For example, if we have just spoken to someone, and we are careless about we say, we will not even realise if we have hurt the opposite person. As Muslims, it is our duty to be careful of what we say and not be heedless, as we risk saying something that either we didn’t mean to, or something that is hurtful to others. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not harm his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent”. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Alongside saying something we didn’t mean to, we may hurt someone, which is not part of the attitude and behaviour we should have as Muslims. We read in a hadith that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

“Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness and He does not reward anything else like it.” (Muslim)

Focusing on the actions and deeds of others also causes us to fall into having pride and arrogance, which is something that our religion teaches us to stay away from. It causes us to only look at our good deeds and feel proud about them, disregarding our bad deeds. We read in a hadith that Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

The Prophet (SAW) observed: “There are three (types of) people to whom Allah will neither speak on the Day of Resurrection nor look at them nor purify them, and they will have a painful chastisement.” The Messenger of Allah (SAW) repeated it three times. Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) remarked: “They are ruined. Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?” Upon this, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “One who lets down his lower garments (below his ankles) out of arrogance, one who boasts of his favours done to another; and who sells his goods by taking a false oath.” (Muslim)

Ensuring that our main aim is to improve ourselves instead of judging others and their deeds helps us to establish more humility in our character. Humility is a great virtue in Islam and it is something that we should all strive towards. It helps us to be humble in general and avoid pride when we have done something good. We realise that we are accountable only to Allah and our only focus should be Allah. We read in the Holy Qur’an:

“Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” (Qur’an 2:262)