Your e-mail dated 24-01-2009 refers.
Islaah of the Nafs is of paramount importance. In all spheres of life, whether in business, in family affairs, or Deeni matters, never be neglectful of this aspect. It is essential to always examine the intention and the motive. Even when embarking on a Deeni project, reflect, do some soul searching and endeavour to fathom yourself to detect whether the niyyat is sincere or contaminated with some nafsaani motive.
When a person always adopts the practice of reflection before action, then after some time Allah Ta’ala bestows to him the capacity of swift detection of any thief which may be lurking in his heart. When we criticize those whom we believe are on baatil, we should do so with trepidation, recite Istighfaar and think deeply before the criticism to ascertain whether the criticism is indeed motivated by Ikhlaas and by a concern for the Haqq.
It is best and safest for laymen to strictly adhere to the issue and not deflect therefrom. For example, when you criticize Sanha, only point out to them their flaws, their errors and the harm they are causing with their halaalization projects. Do not degenerate to a personal level where you will brand them with labels and epithets in the way in which we (Mujlisul Ulama) do. We have our own Deeni agenda and we understand what we are doing. It is not for everyone to adopt our methodology.
If for example a person’s father is committing haraam, then it is the duty of the son to offer naseehat. He shall plead and advise his father. He will speak with affection and respect, addressing his father appropriately. If his father consumes liquor, he may not begin his naseehat by saying: “Drunkard! Faasiq, Faajir! On the other hand, if the father admonishes his son for the latter’s misdemeanours, it will be proper for him (for the father) to say: ‘O faasiq! O shaitaan!, etc. etc.
Thus if a layman admonishes a Molvi who has strayed, he should not address him as we do, e.g. ‘Ulama-e-Soo!, etc. Relationship, rank and position should be taken into consideration when criticizing. Everyone does not have the same right of acquittal.
Furthermore, make dua of hidaayat and general goodness for those who are being criticized and for those whom we believe to be on baatil, and at the same time supplicate for our own safety and protection of Imaan, for we do not know what the morrow holds for us.
So, do speak out strongly against baatil, but restrict the criticism to the acts and save the culprits from epithets. Don’t imitate our example in this respect…