Remember, people think and act differently all the time, and clashes are inevitable in life. When faced with some form of opposition or argument, a person would fall under three categories in terms of his composure and reaction :
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 these using concrete evidence, good language and a humble demeanour. He does not use vulgar language, nor allows emotions to cloud him. He realises that you could have differences of opinion and still be friends.
He also does not take the disagreement personally and lash out like a wounded animal.
Rather, when responding, he does not point out to the weaknesses and personal flaws of the person disagreeing with him, nor does he run away from a proper discussion by exposing the shortcomings of that person or bringing up his past.
Rather, he justifies himself based on proofs, logic and rational thought. Many a time, his thoughts may have been influenced by friends, his teachers, directly from the Quran and Sunnah, his environment, social media and other factors, and he is open to reexamine his actions, and if need be, even change his opinion. He may even stick to his point if he sees no merit in the objection against him.
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 to him, either due due to his arrogance or lack of knowledge of the evidence, so as to defend his stand no matter what. He tries to conceal his own ignorance by exposing the weakness of the person opposing him, and by diverting the topic and bringing up irrelevant issues during the discussion.
He justifies his mistakes using weird examples, sticks to his guns no matter what, and makes his opponent seem like the bad one to cover his own dirty tracks and by exposing their shortcomings.
This is a lowly person. Unfortunately, many lawyers use this technique in court to win their cases.
3. As for a shameless person, he goes a step further. In the face of legitimate criticism, he not only lacks knowledge of evidence, he actually makes up false accusations and charges against his opponent as he is unable to find any shortcomings in his personality or flaw in his actions. He is in denial, and everyone in the world is wrong besides him.
He then indulges in gheebat and buhtaan (gossip and malicious slander) against his opponent, and for many months thereafter, goes on a smear campaign and tries to destroy the honour and reputation of his so called enemy. Intelligence agencies normally do this in order to drain the energy and resources of the righteous so as to divert them from the noble task at hand.
Let us now paint an example illustrating the three categories of people. If a person is reprimanded for eating whilst standing, he would either accept his fault or explain his action based on solid reasons (maybe his knees or back was paining at that point). If he is at fault, he does not justify himself, and if not, he merely explains himself.
But a lowly person would find a way to attack the “approach” of the person correcting him, point out his weaknesses, or even divert the topic entirely by saying: ”And what about you? Are your trousers not below your ankles? Rectify yourself before worrying of others.”
As for a shameless person, being too proud to accept his faults and unable to find fault in his adversary, he accuses him of things which are false: “You were drunk two weeks ago in Sun City. You always defraud people, and if you don’t stop, I’ll bring the mafia for you or put your wife and kids up against you.” This is the worst type of lowness.
In Islam, one is not allowed to mention the 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 self (nafs)- Ameen
– Edited from an article from Jamiat Ul Ulama, Mauritius