Questions & Answers

  • Issue 99 / May - June 2014



    Constructive Criticism

    The Fountain

    Question: When it comes to administrative and political issues, severe criticism is viewed as the major form of engagement. Are there any other means of engagement on these issues?

    Destruction is easy. Those who want to destroy something should first know how to construct something. Otherwise, the shortcomings that emerge after destruction will be impossible to solve. Some issues are not open to destruction unless a clear alternative has been set forth. I think one of the most significant missions of the prophets was to set the balance pertaining to this issue. They exposed all the fallacies in society, and exclaimed bravely, "this is incorrect." They did so convincingly, looking people in the eye. They immediately offered alternative "corrections," and prevented any sort of chaos or shortcomings. That is, they handled every matter on both positive and negative fronts and did not allow any kind of mental or sensual abyss to emerge. Without plans and projects of "construction" that have been built upon a firm foundation, any sort of destruction or demolition will be reckless.

    As a matter of fact, simply due to the lack of this approach, sometimes individuals, sometimes families, sometimes states - in a direct proportion to the dimension of the mischief committed - are destined to collapse. The Ottomans primarily come to our minds, if we want to examine the issue from a state or national perspective. Sometimes, sultans were dethroned with thoughts of replacing them with better ones. But these absences created a power gap, they couldn't find better rulers, and the people yearned for the old sultans. Because of this, the Ottomans were severely weakened, creating a power vacuum in the region.

    It's with deep regret that we must acknowledge this sort of historical mistake is still being committed. Without alternative, precise plans and projects in place, states or governments are being erased. That is, opposition consists only of loaded slogans and criticism. If they were asked how things really should have been, they would not know. A state or government may surely make mistakes. It should be open to criticism. But that criticism should never amount to, "let's destroy it and then figure out an alternative." Such a thought would weaken the state and could even cause the total loss of national credibility.

    Believers should have no affiliation with those pursuing incorrect actions. To prevent a serious dissolution of national will, and against the dangers presented, they should always do what is expected of them. To those who chase them and torment them, believers should merely utter, "everyone acts according to his own character" (Qur'an 17:84). On this issue, balance is very important.

    In conclusion, everything should be done in accordance with the proper rules. And while endeavoring to construct, the utmost care should be taken to avoid total destruction. Shortcomings should be avoided by heeding historical lessons. And the nation and state should not be recklessly sacrificed.

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