The real honour

When faced with some form of opposition or argument, a person falls under three categories :

1. Honourable

2. Lowly

3. Shameful

1. With regards to an honourable person, when someone disagrees with him, goes against him or makes some objections against him, he refutes and corrects them using concrete evidence. He does not point out to the weaknesses of the person disagreeing with him nor does he run away from a proper discussion by exposing the shortcomings of that person. Rather, he justifies himself based on proofs. Furthermore, he does not bring up any personal flaws which have no connection whatsoever with the matter at hand. This is indeed an honourable person.

2. As for a lowly person, when faced with any objection, criticism or controversial issue, he attacks the personality of the one who objected due to his lack of knowledge of evidence so as to defend his stand. He tries to conceal his own ignorance by exposing the weakness of the person opposing him. He justifies his mistakes by exposing the shortcomings of the latter as he can bring up no evidence.

3. As for  a shameful person, in the face of criticism and since he lacks knowledge of evidence, he makes up false accusations on his opponent as he is unable to find any shortcomings to attack his personality. The likening of Gheebat, which is to mention behind a person's back that which is true but which he would dislike, is eating the flesh of a corpse. If Gheebat is considered worse than Zina, one can imagine, how worse are false accusations which shameful people level at others.

Let us take an example to illustrate the three categories of people. If an honourable person is reprimanded  for eating whilst standing, he would either accept his fault or explain his action based on solid proofs. If he is at fault, he does not see to justify himself. As for a lowly person, he would find a way to attack the person correcting him, using a weakness from the latter. He may say for example : ''and what about you? Are your troussers not below your ankles?'' As for a shameful person, being too proud to accept his faults and unable to find fault in his adversary to point out, he accuses him of things which are false. This is the worst type of lowness. 

In short, according to the Shariah, one is not allowed to mention personal flaws of an individual despite being acquainted with them just to defend one's stand.

May Allah make us all honourable and protect us from the lowness of the nafs.