Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Principles of Life
Sufyan ibn Husayn once spoke ill of a person in the presence of Ayas ibn Muawiyah. Ayas looked him in the face and asked: “Were you among those who took on the Byzantine Empire?” Sufyan said he was not. “And what about Sindh, India and Turkey?” Again, Sufyan replied in the negative: he had not been with the Muslim army when these countries were conquered. Ayas reprimanded Sufyan: “So Byzantium, Sindh, India and Turkey have been saved from your wrath, but not your Muslim brother.” Sufyan says that after this admonition he never repeated this error. (Shuab ul Iman by Al-Bayhaqi, Hadith No. 6351)
Now another incident. Sufyan Thauri came to Medina, where he heard AI-Muafiri saying irresponsible things just for the sake of making people laugh. “Shaykh,” Sufyan Thauri addressed AI-Muafiri, “Do you not know that a day will come when the dealers in falsehood will perish?” According to Ibn Abi Hatim, until Muafiri met his Lord, he could be seen to heed this warning. (Shuab ul Iman by Al-Bayhaqi, Hadith No. 4495)
In both these incidents the people who were reprimanded immediately took heed and corrected themselves. That is the way people whose conscience is alive react to good advice. As for those whose conscience is dead, no inner voice will echo the voice of admonishment when it reaches their ears. So, they fail to take heed. Missing the opportunity to mend their ways, they remain exactly same as they were before, or even go from bad to worse.