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15 July 2019 CE | 13 Dhul-Qadah 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Each one of you serves as a mirror to his brother. Hence, if you see any fault in your brother, eliminate it.” [Tirmidhi]

When a person stands in front of a mirror, it causes him to remove any apparent defect on his person and adorn himself. Let’s look at what qualities a mirror has so that we can be proper mirrors to our Muslim brothers and sisters:

1. A mirror that works well is one that is clean. If a mirror is dirty, smudgy, has oil stains on it, or is rusty, it won’t give a good reflection. To be a good mirror, you have to purify yourself of defects first. In the light of your exalted conduct and character others will see the shortcomings in their own, without your even having to say anything. For example, when a person witnesses your scrupulous honesty, their own untrustworthiness will strike them.

2. Since a dirty mirror will project onto you the dirt that is on it, look for your reflection only in another Momin, not in a Faajir, Faasiq or Kaafir.

3. A mirror reflects the spots and stains on your person when you stand before it. When you stand aside, the mirror ceases to reflect these blemishes. Similarly, you should expose the foibles of your friend only if he presents himself before you for criticism. Make sure his heart is receptive and eager to accept suggestions. In the absence of these conditions, keep silent and put the matter off wisely for a later occasion.

4. A mirror honestly reflects shortcomings; it neither hides their number nor adds to them. Likewise, you should present a true picture, neither suppressing the exposure of faults, nor exaggerating their dimensions or number.

5. A mirror only reflects those deformities that are outward and apparent. It doesn’t expose hidden blemishes nor does it probe inward. So a Momin points out only those faults which are exposed in the normal conduct of life without curiosity about others’ secrets or searching out their faults.

6. A mirror shows your reflection but doesn’t store the image to show it to others. Likewise, don’t expose the shortcomings of your Muslim brothers and sisters to others.

7. A mirror informs a person of how they look without any motives. A mirror nurses no grudge against anyone, nor wreaks vengeance on them. You should also be unaffected by personal motives. A Muslim is an emblem of sincerity and love for other Muslims. If the criticism is offered with sympathy, love and sincerity it will unite hearts and correct wrongs.

8. No one feels annoyed at seeing his true image in a mirror, nor commits the blunder of breaking the mirror in a fit of rage. Instead, they begin to remove defects on their persons and adorn themselves based on what they see. Similarly, when someone presents your true picture to you, do not retaliate in annoyance; express your gratitude to him and be thankful.

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