The representative of the Supreme Religious Authority, Sheikh Abdul-Mehdi Al-Karbalai reviewed in Friday’s sermon held at the holy shrine of Imam Al-Hussein "peace be upon him", the educational lessons needed by individual and society to correct the path of life.
Al-Karbalai said on February 15, 2019, that "The principle and culture of positive and objective criticism in exchange for negative and destructive criticism are among the most important educational lessons needed by the individual and society," indicating that the individual and society are in urgent need for the culture of positive criticism through sincere advice and objective evaluation of the path of life."
"Regarding to any principle, value and thought, if the individual senses its importance and seriousness in their life, and the extent of giving and positive outcome to them, then it will be the subject of interest and work of that individual, and vice versa if they did not sense its importance, then they will deal with it negatively so they will lose the outcome of it." He added.
He stressed that "Except for the infallible Prophets and Imams, the individual is subject to error, misfortunes and failures in their life, as well as they in their worship and relationship with Allah or even in their career and behavior," pointing out that the error can be easy, and sometimes serious, especially when it comes to ethics, culture, behavior, or knowledge, and sometimes when it comes to an important figure, social or political entity, which can lead to massive effect on the individual and society.
Al-Karbalai said that "Many Quranic verses and Hadiths have pointed out to the human truth and the nature of human deficiency, such as ignorance, lusts, demonic possession and other factors that are sometimes fatal to the individual and society in the event of not being diagnosed and treated properly," citing the Prophet's Hadith: "Every human being is sinner, and the best sinners are those who repent", pointing out that the individual and the social entity are in dire need for continuous alerting to introduce them to their mistakes and slips, and to evaluate those mistakes and slips, so they can be awaken and out of the error zone.
The representative of the supreme religious authority noted that the accumulation of mistakes and slips without treating them will lead to the doom of individual and society. And the individual and society need to review the path of life and to inspect errors to diagnose them accurately so they do not accumulate and cause significant problems for individual and society.
Al-Karbalai pointed out that the Quranic verse: (Those who if they did obscene or wronged themselves, and they mentioned Allah and begged for forgiveness regarding their sins), has many meanings, including that the believer is permanently exposed to error, faults and failure, which obliged him to be constantly alert and away from indifference and slacking to their actions and behavior in the society so they won't fall into oblivion, as they should not compromise and consider the errors and faults as a minor issues, as they are under the supervision of Allah and the accurate accountability.
He also called for the necessity of self-criticism, indicating that the individual need to review their path of life in order to correct it, as stated in a Hadith of one of the infallible Imams, that (Thy will not be as one of us if did not hold themself accountable every day), stressing that they must review their knowledge, thought and ethics, so if they were correct and good, then they should thank Allah and ask it for more blessings, but if they were bad, then they should ask Allah for forgiveness.
He pointed out that "There are two types of criticism, a self-criticism and criticism to others." warning of the danger of getting the criticism out of its path and correct morals, because it will turn into a shovel to destroy the human personality and to break the relations of affection and love among the members of society and turn it into hatred, grudge and envy, as well as it will destroy the dignity of the individual and weakens their social status.
Sheikh Abdul-Mahdi al-Karbalai stressed on the need to accept criticism and advice from others if it was compatible with the rules and ethics of Islam. "There is a social, moral and intellectual problem lies in the non-acceptance of constructive advice and positive criticism of others,' he said, indicating that the believer can correct their path and rectify their mistakes If they have a transparent, fair and aware spirit that accept criticism and advice of others, and correct its path according to that criticism or advice," citing a Hadith of Imam Al-Sadiq "peace be upon him", that "The man is fine, as long as they had the bless of Allah Almighty, self-accountability and acceptance to those who advise them".
He demonstrated that "The individual in their nature like to receive praise and solemnity, as well as the feel of complacency, while criticism refer to weakness, so it is noted that most people do not accept to tolerate criticism by others and does not consider criticism as an assessment and correction, but a detract and attenuation to their personality, so they sublimate against accepting advice from others, as they think have a higher status of knowledge, culture and prestige, which makes them better than those who offer advises".
Al-Karbalai has concluded by addressing the elements and factors of positive criticism, as he pointed out that the first of these elements are represented by following the wise manner in which the critic reach the heart of the targeted person by mentioning some of their positives, followed by pointing out the mistake the did without insulting or hurting them. As it happened before when an infallible Imam said to one of his companions, that (Everything in you is a beautiful and good except for this certain matter), in addition to choosing the appropriate time and place so that the criticism does not come in the presence of people that the targeted person is ashamed to receive criticism in front of them, which will to another problem, not to mention that the criticism or advice should not be harmful or to demine the person's dignity, while the fourth element is emphasize on the need to learn the ethics of criticism and how to criticize different types of people without violate their dignity or social status, citing the story of Imam Al-Hassan and his brother Al-Hussein "peace be upon them" when they saw a senior citizen that cannot make "ablutions" properly, so they wanted to teach him despite their very young age then, so they came up with this ethical and wise plan by asking the senior citizen to judge on who can make the best ablutions between them, which drive the senior citizen to declare that both of them have made a correct ablutions and he had learned from them.