Brotherhood & Sisterhood

Understanding Nasihah

I always used to think that nasihah literally meant to give advice because that’s how many of us use the term. Apparently, I was wrong:

Abu Raqiyyah Tamin bin Aws ad-Dari radi Allahu `anhu, may Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “[Islam] is an-nasihah.” We said, “To whom?” He said, “To Allah, to His book, to His messenger, the leaders of the Muslims and to the general populous of the Muslims” (Muslim).

Upon reading this hadith (saying of the Prophet ﷺ) it became clear that nasihah does not mean advice. How could one possibly advise God or His book? Nasihah actually means sincerity; it is striving to seek the best outcome in any situation in life. So when we have nasihah with Allah azza wa jal, that means that we are sincere in worshipping Him and following His commandments.

Nasihah is not so much about advice; rather it is about seeking the good and benefit in a situation. If we keep this in mind, we realize that when we give nasihah to our leaders and fellow Muslims it is not to prove our point, or because we feel violated; we don’t do it in anger or haste, but rather humbly, honestly and strategically. We look to improve the situation, or the individual, instead of debasing and humiliating them. Thus, we give nasihah in the best way possible: the way that it will be received.

This, in essence, is one of the very reasons we come together as a community. We seek to uplift each other in times of hardship and grow together in times of ease. It allows us to multiply our potential and seek the best in any situation. So don’t leave a brother (or sister) hanging and please keep the nasihah coming.

About the author

Omar Zarka

Omar Zarka

Omar Zarka was born in New Jersey and raised in Southern California. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Irvine, where he was involved with the Muslim Student Union. Omar is married and received a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles.


  • wow!!! this clarification in definition is powerful! i also always just thought of it generally as “advice” before.

  • Jajakallah, new things is learnt..

    And also Alhamdulillah.. cz i heard that Imam Abu hanifa (r) used to say Alhamdulillah when he learn something new. So that the knowledge might increase according to the aya i can’t remember it now…. it’s more or less like this.. if you praise me i’ll increase that (for thereason you praised me)

  • SubhanAllah I always wondered about hat that really meant! JazakAllahu khayran! I recently witnessed a situation where a woman (literally) shouted at another woman after salah, “Haram! Haram! Haram!!” I was angry at her methodology of conveying her message to the sister and actually causing the sister to feel anguished. I then saw this same woman walk in front of another woman praying while using a sutrah, causing a cut in her salah. I approached her and tried to politely ask why she had been saying haram to the other woman. She said she had put the Quran in a way which seemed disrespectful and I was like, isn’t hurting another Muslim more disrespectful? And she continued on her point but I wad like dude what’s up with the fact that you just walked in front of someone while praying and cut their salah? Isn’t that more wrong than what you personally consider disrespectful since there’s actually ahadeeth discussing that point specifically?

    You know her reply? She said, “yeah, but I was in a hurry..”

    Ok what?! Allah mustan. May Allah forgive me and her and us all and guide us all.

    We need to read this article and realize our deen isn’t about advising people through yelling at them to get a point across. It’s about sincerity while providing strategic guidance.

    JazakAllahu khayran for the needed reminder for me personally.

  • This is a very nice piece. Nasiha (nasiyat) in Farsi means advice, which is my mother tongue and what I’ve been used to knowing all my life. But it’s different in Arabic I guess. It’s good to know. Jzk.

  • Masha’Allah a beautiful and excellent reminder. Most particularly the clarification regarding its correct translation as sincerity rather than advice. Barak’Allahu feek

  • This is a great article about Nasiha and more clarified.
    Please if someone can translate in gooed english it’s beneficial for this site.

    قال الله – تعالى – : ولا على الذين لا يجدون ما ينفقون حرج إذا نصحوا لله ورسوله ما على المحسنين من سبيل والله غفور رحيم [ التوبة : 91 ] .

    قال أهل التفسير : إذا نصحوا لله ، ورسوله : إذا كانوا مخلصين مسلمين في السر ، والعلانية .

    [ حدثنا القاضي الفقيه أبو الوليد بقراءتي عليه ، حدثنا حسين بن محمد ، حدثنا يوسف بن عبد الله ، حدثنا ابن عبد المؤمن ، حدثنا أبو بكر التمار ، حدثنا أبو داود ، حدثنا أحمد بن يونس ، حدثنا زهير ، حدثنا سهيل بن أبي صالح ، عن عطاء بن يزيد ] ، عن تميم الداري ، قال : قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : إن الدين النصيحة . إن الدين النصيحة . إن الدين [ ص: 392 ] النصيحة . قالوا : لمن يا رسول الله ؟ قال : لله ، ولكتابه ، ولرسوله ، وأئمة المسلمين ، وعامتهم .

    قال أئمتنا : النصيحة لله ، ولرسوله ، وأئمة المسلمين ، وعامتهم واجبة .

    قال الإمام سليمان البستي : النصيحة كلمة يعبر بها عن جملة إرادة الخير للمنصوح له ، وليس يمكن أن يعبر عنها بكلمة واحدة تحصرها . ومعناها في اللغة الإخلاص ، من قولهم : نصحت العسل ، إذا خلصته من شمعه .

    وقال أبو بكر بن أبي إسحاق الخفاف : النصح فعل الشيء الذي به الصلاح ، والملاءمة ، مأخوذ من النصاح ، وهو الخيط الذي يخاط به الثوب .

    وقال أبو إسحاق الزجاج نحوه .

    فنصيحة الله – تعالى – صحة الاعتقاد له بالوحدانية ، ووصفه بما هو أهله ، وتنزيهه عما لا يجوز عليه ، والرغبة في محابه ، والبعد من مساخطه ، والإخلاص في عبادته .

    والنصيحة لكتابه الإيمان به ، والعمل بما فيه ، وتحسين تلاوته ، والتخشع عنده ، والتعظيم له ، وتفهمه ، والتفقه فيه ، والذب عنه من تأويل الغالين ، وطعن الملحدين .

    والنصيحة لرسوله التصديق بنبوته ، وبذل الطاعة له فيما أمر به ، ونهى عنه ، قاله أبو سليمان .

    وقال أبو بكر : ومؤازرته ، ونصرته ، وحمايته حيا ، وميتا ، وإحياء سنته بالطلب ، والذب عنها ، ونشرها ، والتخلق بأخلاقه الكريمة ، وآدابه الجميلة .

    وقال أبو إبراهيم إسحاق التجيبي : نصيحة رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – التصديق بما جاء به ، والاعتصام بسنته ، ونشرها ، والحض عليها ، والدعوة إلى الله ، وإلى كتابه ، وإلى رسوله ، وإليها ، وإلى العمل بها .

    وقال أحمد بن محمد : من مفروضات القلوب اعتقاد النصيحة لرسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – .

    وقال أبو بكر الآجري ، وغيره : النصح له يقتضي نصحين : نصحا في حياته ، ونصحا بعد مماته ، ففي حياته نصح أصحابه له بالنصر ، والمحاماة عنه ، ومعاداة من عاداه ، والسمع ، والطاعة له ، وبذل النفوس ، والأموال دونه ، كما قال – تعالى – : رجال صدقوا ما عاهدوا الله عليه [ الأحزاب : 23 ] الآية .

    وقال : وينصرون الله ورسوله [ الحشر : 8 ] الآية .

    وأما نصيحة المسلمين له بعد وفاته فالتزام التوقير ، والإجلال ، وشدة المحبة له ، والمثابرة على تعلم سنته ، والتفقه في شريعته ، ومحبة آل بيته ، وأصحابه ، ومجانبة من رغب عن سنته ، وانحرف عنها ، [ ص: 393 ] وبغضه ، والتحذير منه ، والشفقة على أمته ، والبحث عن تعرف أخلاقه ، وسيره ، وآدابه ، والصبر على ذلك .

    فعلى ما ذكره تكون النصيحة إحدى ثمرات المحبة ، وعلامة من علاماتها كما قدمنا .

    وحكى الإمام أبو القاسم القشيري أن عمرو بن الليث أحد ملوك خراسان ومشاهير الثوار المعروف بالصفار رئي في النوم ، فقيل له : ما فعل الله بك ؟ فقال : غفر لي ، فقيل : بماذا ؟ قال : صعدت ذروة جبل يوما فأشرفت على جنودي ، فأعجبتني كثرتهم ، فتمنيت أني حضرت رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – فأعنته ، ونصرته ، فشكر الله لي ذلك ، وغفر لي .

    وأما النصح لأئمة المسلمين فطاعتهم في الحق ، ومعونتهم فيه ، وأمرهم به ، وتذكيرهم إياه على أحسن وجه ، وتنبيههم على ما غفلوا عنه ، وكتم عنهم من أمور المسلمين ، وترك الخروج عليهم ، وتضريب الناس ، وإفساد قلوبهم عليهم .

    والنصح لعامة المسلمين : إرشادهم إلى مصالحهم ، ومعونتهم في أمر دينهم ، ودنياهم بالقول ، والفعل ، وتنبيه غافلهم ، وتبصير جاهلهم ، ورفد محتاجهم ، وستر عوراتهم ، ودفع المضار عنهم ، وجلب المنافع إليهم .

    • “The Deen (religion) is Naseehah (good advice)”. We said “To whom?” He said “To Allah and His Book, and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common people.” [Related by Muslim]

      Each of the categories regarding whom Naseehah applies in the above Hadeeth are given hereunder:-
      1. To Allah
      o To have Imaan (firm belief) on Allah; not to ascribe any partners to Him; to understand that He is free from all faults
      o To obey Him, fear Him and to worship Him alone
      o To love for His sake and to hate for His sake
      o To be grateful for the favours He has bestowed
      o To have sincerity in all actions, i.e. to perform every action solely for Him
      o To call others towards, and to want that everyone accepts, the above
      Note: Allah is free from needing any Naseehah; in reality, all the above are for one’s own benefit
      2. To His Book
      o To have Imaan that the Qur-aan is the Word of Allah and not a creation of His, revealed from Him
      o To believe that the speech of the creation can never match it in its excellence and that no-one from the creation can reproduce anything similar to it
      o To treat it with utmost respect and to fulfil its rights: to have full conviction in what is conveyed within; to recite it as it was revealed (with tajweed/tarteel); to take all possible steps to learn its meanings to enable one to ponder over its messages; to act upon it as much as one is able to and to spread its knowledge
      3. To His Messenger
      o To have Imaan in the risaalah (prophethood) of Rasoolullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and to believe in everything he was sent with and said
      o To follow his orders and to refrain from that which he has prohibited
      o To help his cause in every way possible
      o To revive his Sunnah, ways and manners
      o To have the highest respect for him (may our parents be sacrificed for him)
      o To spread his message far and wide
      o To seek ‘ilm (knowledge) and to keep quiet regarding that which one has no knowledge
      o To endeavour to uphold his morals and lofty character
      o To love his family and companions and to bear no ill-will towards any of them (رضي الله عنهم)
      4. To the Leaders of the Muslims
      This either refers to (a) rulers/Caliphs or (b) ‘ulamaa
      A. Rulers
       To help them when they are on the truth and to obey them as long as what they order is within the boundaries of the sharee’ah
       To remind them, when possible, about their responsibilities with kind words and in a mild-mannered fashion
       To ensure they fulfil the rights of the common people under their rule and not to rebel against them
      B. Scholars
       To accept their rulings
       To follow them
       To respect them and hold good thoughts about them
      5. To the Common Muslims
      o To guide them towards that which is good for them in both worlds
      o To work towards preventing any difficulty befalling them
      o To teach them that which they know not
      o To overlook and cover their faults
      o To enjoin them to do good and forbid them from evil with sincerity and kind words
      o To respect their elders and show mercy towards their young ones
      o To refrain from deceiving, backbiting or slandering them; to not be jealous of them in any way
      o To love for them what one loves for oneself; to hate for them what one hates for oneself
      o To work towards ensuring they also bring into practice all the types of Naseehah discussed above

        • I think Imam Suhaib can answer it much better than me.

          An example is to hate unbelieve instead of unbelievers. We have to hate what Allah hates.

          Like shirk, is the most hated. And much other things.

        • Salam, To hate for sake of Allah means when you hate something it’s because it is disliked by Allah, If I am wrong then maybe someone else will explain it better inshaAllah.

  • […] Understanding Nasihah I always used to think that nasihah literally meant to give advice because that’s how many of us use the term. Apparently, I was wrong: Abu Raqiyyah Tamin bin Aws ad-Dari radi Allahu `anhu, may Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “[Islam] is an-nasihah.” We said, “To whom?” He said, “To Allah, to […] […]

  • Assalamu alaykum dear brothers n sisters,

    SubhaanAllah , the article is so enlightening, alhamdulillah!

    The picture beautifully depicts companionship and comfort that Allah ta’ala blessed His servants with, especially in the case when He blesses us with the niyamah of being able to find tranquility with one’s spouse (someday, inshaAllah 🙂 )…subhaanAllah! Allah hu Akbar!

    2 sis Sara, i guess you can just right-click on the picture and select ‘save target as”, inshaAllah…i just did that. 🙂


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