Whilst on the topic my respected teacher, Maulana Imran Sahib, gave an example of people who praise one another without the sincerity that should accompany it. He said:
There was once an individual that came to the king's court to meet him. Whilst in his presence he began to praise the king by attributing many qualities to him. The king continued to listen to the individual until he had finished and then told him to come the following day for his reward.
Upon hearing this, the man was extremely pleased and returned on the following day. When the king saw him in his court once again he asked, 'what brings you here?' The person reminded the king that he was here to collect his reward for the praising the king the day before.
On hearing this, the king replied, 'you praised me yesterday to please me and in return I pleased you by telling you come and collect a reward; we have both pleased each other with the tongue'.
After narrating this incident my respected teacher highlighted a few points:
- Praise should not be for the sake of merely pleasing another individual and therefore it should be sincere from the heart.
- When someone praises you never get too happy. Remember that true praise is from the sincerity of the heart and not just uttered through words.
- Refrain from praising people in their presence as this is forbidden by our Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم.
- When any person praises you then do not cross the boundaries of pleasure and satisfaction, instead evaluate whether such qualities are within you and be thankful to Allah. In the same manner, when an individual criticises you then again do not cross the boundaries of disappointment and displeasure, instead evaluate if such qualities are present within you, if they are then thank the individual for bringing them to your attention and if they are not then thank Allah that He has saved you from such qualities.
- Finally, do not confuse being thankful to being praising another. Our Nabi صلى الله عليه و سلم has stated that a person who is not thankful to people is not thankful to Allah. Therefore, thank individuals and Allah by not mere words but also in action.