What to do when people praise

People often praise you when they are inspired by any of your great qualities or due to some eye-catching belongings in your possession. Sometimes this praise is a token of appreciation, while on other occasions a person praises for flattery in order to gain worldly benefits or to avoid an unjust person’s mistreatment.

“You are so generous!”, “You are very kind hearted!”, ” You are a genius”, “You are a practicing Muslim”, “You’re pious”, “You are very intelligent”. These are some of the praising quotes that many of us hear from our colleagues, peers, disciples, subordinates, servants, friends, etc.

The desire to hear such praise from people around us is itself a spiritual disease which one should always avoid. This inner feeling that people should praise me ruins the soul. As a result, the person starts doing good or bad deeds for fame. The element of sincerity in the relationship with Allah swt weakens. On the contrary, when people bad mouth about them or even when they just doesn’t praise a praise-thirsty person, he becomes depressed and his heart starts sinking.

So what should be our response when people praise us.

My Shaikh Hazrat Maulana Hakim Muhammad Akhtar sb RA used to say that whenever people say kind words about you, always thank Allah taala that He has made our evil deeds hidden from the eyes of the people and revealed our good deeds to them, which are themselves gifted by The Almighty.

He used to say that on such occasions, unless the praise is for flattery or other ill-purpose, do not try to silence them. Just talk to yourself that this is a blessing from Allah taala that He has hidden my vices from my brother’s eyes. This increases the faith and love of Allah taala.

إِذَا مُدِحَ الْمُؤْمِنُ فِي وَجْهِهِ رَبَا الْإِيمَانُ فِي قَلْبِهِ

When a Mumin is praised on his face his faith/imaan increases.

المستدرك على الصحيحين

That can best be understood by following dua of Prophet Sallahoalaihewassallam.

اَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِىْ صَبُوْرًا وَّ اجْعَلْنِىْ شَكُوْرًا وَّ اجْعَلْنِىْ فِىْ عَيْنِىْ صَغِيْرًا وَّ فِىْ أَعْيُنِ النَّاسِ كَبِيْرًا۔

O Allah! Make me one who is patient and grateful; and make me small in my own eyes but great in the eyes of others

مجمع الزوائد

It is important to elaborate that supplicating to make myself small in my own eyes is obvious but supplicating to be great in other’s eyes is not a wanting of fame. Rather, it is a request to have a good repute so that it becomes easier to present deen to the masses.

He would also say about رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ that the hasanah of this world includes, but not limited to, good repute among the people.

He used to say that there are four categories of praises: Creator praises Himself, Creator praises His creature, Creature praise their Creator, Creature praise other creatures. All of these types of praise actually praise the Creator because any praise of the creatures is actually the praise of the Creator.

May Allah swt give us His love that everything we see and everything we hear increases our faith in Him.

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