One day in Madina, an old man was performing his Wudhu getting ready to say his prayers. By chance, both Imam Hasan (A) and Imam Husain (A) were also there and they noticed that the old man was not performing the Wudhu correctly.
Allah has asked us to correct people if they are not doing things correctly according to Islam. This duty is called Amr b-il-Ma'roof (enjoining what is Good). The Imams (A) knew that they had to guide the old man about his mistake. However, they were only young at the time, and they felt that the old man would be ashamed if he was corrected by young children. Then the Imams (A) had a wonderful idea on how to teach the man. They pretended to argue with one another. Imam Hasan (A) said to his brother, "I think my Wudhu is more correct than yours." Imam Husain (A) replied, "No I think my Wudhu is more correct than yours."
The old man was listening to their argument. Now Imam Hasan (A) turned to him and said, "Dear sir, will you judge between my brother and I to see whose Wudhu is more correct?" The old man agreed. The two Imams (A) both performed the Wudhu, one after the other. The old man watched closely, and realised they were exactly the same! He also realised that he was not performing the Wudhu correctly himself, He knew that the children were trying to correct him in a very polite way. He liked the children's good manners very much. He said, "My dear children, it is I who have been performing the Wudhu incorrectly. Thank you so much for the nice way in which you guided me!"1
We learn from the Imam that :
it is our duty to correct someone who is not doing something right. We must not just ignore them.
However, when we guide them, we must not be rude or mean. we must do it in a friendly and polite manner, so that they listen to us and are not offended.
Ahadith from Imam Hassan
Treat people the way you would like to be treated by them.2
1. Mutahhari, Daastan-e-Raastan
2. Bihar al-Anwar, v.78, p.116.