Do you like giving advice? Or being given advice? What is the role of advice in today’s human relationships? How do the new generation pedagogues see the parents or other elder family members giving advice to the younger ones? The fact that we get into an apologizing mode when we happen to be in a situation of giving advice or an ennui rushes when somebody starts to give us advice indicates that today’s man is not really on good terms with advice. I am not talking about the kind, the context, the amount of advice here (though each of these requires a fine care); I am talking about the very idea of giving advice itself. (And check out the Quranic verse: 7/79)
While we cannot stand just hearing some advice, we are ready to pay a whole lot of money for some others. We usually find advices about our beliefs, morals, social duties and religious requirements as interference in our private lives and thus unacceptable, but for those professional advices about our health, careers, wellbeing of our marriages and success of our children, we pay a small fortune.
However, one of the names of the Quran is “dhikr”, meaning advice and reminder (Quran 68/52). It defines its purpose as “giving advice” (Quran 10/57) and the Prophet in Quranic terms is only a “muthekkir”, a reminder (Quran 88/21). Both give advice. The Quran does so through words; the Prophet through all the ways of his existence: his words, his actions, his silence…
From the companions who used to go to listen to the Prophet alternately in order not to miss any of his advice (advice necessarily includes knowledge here), how have we turned into today’s Muslims who scorn the advice and the adviser? How did the institution of preachers, for example, which is established to give people advice, become subject to our own disdain? Wasn’t it the prophetic profession given its feature of a “muthekkir”?
Our attitude towards advice has a clear connection to our personality traits. The arrogant ones who have no doubt that they know and do the best of everything are not only completely shut off to listening to advice, but their way of giving advice is not for the purpose of betterment either, but is a method of mortifying. It is the principle of the humble ones who prioritize their improvement and the salvation of their loved ones to always be open to listen to and be willing to give advice, provided that they respect the manners. They are the ones who, for the sake of what they advise about (the truth), compromise their ego (nafs) when listening to advice and compromise their social status when giving advice. They are to be highly appreciated.
Do not say “what difference does it make whether you give advice or not” because we are not responsible for the results but for the process. “The admonition will be received by those who fear (Allah).” (Quran 87/10)