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Criticizing People – Good or Bad?

Criticism can be good if it results in a positive behavior change or it can be bad when it ends up hurting relationships and not causing the intended change. Lately, “criticism” has been used primarily in a negative sense because the way it’s used by people.

Nothing seems to gradually erode relationships (sometimes causing irreversible damage) than criticizing people around us negatively. The goal of constructive criticism, as it is sometimes called, should be to correct people’s mistakes – but not to bring them down. What good is criticizing someone when the recipient of the critical feedback ends up having negative feelings about the one providing the feedback? What good is criticism when the mistake or behavior is never corrected due to the ill feelings that one develops about the person showering that criticism? What good is criticism when the person being criticized pulls away from the person providing it?

No doubt, some people bother you by their frequent criticisms. Nothing seems to please them in the world. They cannot notice, in a delicious meal, except a strand of hair that mistakenly dropped therein. They cannot notice in a clean garment except a drop of ink that affected it by error. Neither can they notice in a beneficial book except an innocent printing error. Hence, none seems to be saved from their criticisms. They always have comments to pass. These people scrutinize everything, be it great or small.

You can say the same about someone who expects everyone to be exemplary, thus, he expects his wife to keep the house 100% clean twenty-four hours a day. He also expects his wife to keep the children nice and clean all day. If he is visited by guests, he expects her to cook the best dishes. If he sits with her, he expects her to talk about the best topics.

He expects the same from his children. He wants them to be perfect at everything, excellent with his friends and with whomever he meets on the street or a marketplace, etc. If anyone of them falls short, he would consume him by his speech, over-criticise and repeatedly pass comments, until people become bored of him. This is because he cannot see on a white page but a black spot.

Such people usually punish themselves by their nature. Their closest friends dislike them and avoid their company.

People dislike too much criticism.

However, if you really do need to criticize, then package it well and then present it with kindness to others. Present it as if it were a suggestion, rather than a criticism. Present it indirectly, or using vague expressions.

If the Messenger of Allah ever noticed a person making a mistake, he would not confront him directly. Rather, he would say, “What is wrong with the people, who do such-and-such?” which would indirectly imply, “I mean by that you, dear neighbor, so please pay attention!”

The summary, again is that lets be smart when criticizing our loved ones. First, lets use it sparingly. Second, lets direct it to the behavior rather than the person. Third, lets do it without hurting the other person. Therefore, package it well.

"The other messengers of God had their miracles,
mine is the Qur'an and will remain forever".

Prophet Muhammad