The Criterion for Praising a Person - By: Munir M Hasan, PhD

While watching Pakistani TV talk shows I have observed that many commentators praise the persons of their liking, or say disgraceful words for those whom they don’t like. Everybody has the right to form an opinion about other persons, especially about those who are working in prominent public positions. However, it should be with reference to their personal good or bad qualities. Many times I have observed that the commentators praise a person with reference to his father, mother or his family background rather than his own personal standing. I think, while doing so, they forget the established criterion for judging a person being good or bad. It should be on the basis of his own personal qualities and not on the basis of his parents or family background. I will not name any person here, but the readers can guess whom I am referring to. This criterion has been made clear in the holy Qur’an.

There are many stories in Qur’an about the past prominent persons, both Prophets and others who were not prophets, and also those who were unbelievers and wicked persons, and their family members. In all these stories it is clarified that the people are not to be judged with reference to their parents or families. Here are just a few examples.

The Prophet Ibrahim was the son of a non-believer who used to worship idols [For example, Verse 6:74], and in spite of the teachings of his son, he did not accept Islam. The son, the Prophet Ibrahim, cannot have any blame because of the beliefs and actions of his father.
The wives of the Prophet Noah and Prophet Lut were non-believer and wicked women as, according to Qur’an, they betrayed their husbands [Verse 66:10]. When Prophet Lut was ordered by Allah to leave the town, he was also ordered to leave his wife there to face the same fate as those of other non-believers. [11:81]
A son of Prophet Noah was a non-believer. While sailing in the Ark, Prophet Noah with his fatherly affection called his son to embark the Ark to save his life. He refused and was drowned in the flood. [11.42-43]
Fir’on (Pharaoh) was a staunch disbeliever who declared himself to be a god. But his wife was a believer. [66:11]
The Prophet Yousuf (Joseph) was the son of Prophet Ya’qub (Jacob). He had eleven brothers. While Yousuf was the prophet, other brothers were not of the same status. In fact they were of such a character that they tried to kill Prophet Yousuf when he was a young boy. While Prophet Yousuf was and is worthy of praise, his other brothers cannot be given the same respect just being brothers of Prophet Yusuf, or being the sons of the Prophet Ya’qub.
It is therefore concluded that a person is to be judged on his own personal merits and not on the basis of his parents, wife, brothers or family background.

Posted on May 09, 18 | 12:15 pm