I once asked a muslimah for advice on a matter that was bothering me. I asked her if I could speak to her in private, and began to explain to her the– in my head– complicated situation, and wanted to hear from her some words of wisdom. Keep in mind the sister was younger than me, and not one that others normally go to for advice, and I was aware of all of this. She was not necessarily one who was overflowing with knowledge and adilla (pl. for daleel – evidence), but she was known for her marvelous manners. Maybe that was not a good enough reason to go to her for advice, and maybe my decision would be questioned, but she still managed to teach me something amazing.
The Prophet sallallahu 3layhi wasallam said “The best among you is the best among you in manners.” Related by Bukhaaree (6035), Ahmad (6468), and At-Tirmidhee (1975).
The first day, she listened to me speak and did not say much. She smiled at me and allowed me to ramble. The next day, I received a text message from her, and she said she wanted to speak to me. So I met up with her, and she took me to the side, to speak to me privately, and she smiled and said something amazing, along the lines of: “So… what do you think about what you were telling me?” And I told her, “I think I was just being immature and silly, how could I have thought that way?” And I went on and on. She smiled at me, as I comfortably critiqued myself in front of her.
That day I received instruction in the art of advice-giving. You don’t always have to have a daleel in your pocket — though that has its place. Sometimes, a person comes to you for advice, when in reality, they already know what is right. Sometimes they just need confirmation from someone else. But really, sometimes the best advice one can give is honest advice from oneself, because we should be our harshest judge.
But note that this is something that should be done with wisdom, and if you don’t know the advice-seeker well enough, it is best to advise them yourself, with honesty and the best of manners.