Al-Baqarah: 104 “O you who believe, do not say (to the messenger) ‘raa’ina’ but rather say ‘undhurna’ (make us understand), and hear. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment.”
The Muslims used to call upon the Prophet with the statement: “Raa’ina” which was a respectful way of calling him that implied, “care for us.” However, some of his detractors would twist these words and call out to him, “O Muhammad, Raeena” which had a rude meaning. So, the Muslims were instructed to leave this word and choose a new term: “undhurna”—“look to us, make us understand”.
Gem 1, The Diamond: Look at the beautiful Tarbiyah (training) of Allah for the believers. They were instructed to leave words of ambiguous meaning for a term that would be clearly understood. We are asked to hold ourselves to a high standard of character. If a type of speech could be ill-construed by others, it is from our akhlaaq that we leave that speech for one that is clear and unambiguous.
Furthermore, if we are to leave such words of unclear meaning, then how much more important is it to leave speech that is openly crude and ill?*
Gem 2, The Sapphire: This ayah gives us a model of giving people alternatives—when we command someone, be it a child or student for example, to leave off an action, let us not leave them be, but give them an alternative.* So when a child is doing undesirable behavior, instead of merely telling them “no” we can provide them with an alternative activity. Nature abhors a vacuum—if we leave that vacuum there without guidance as to how to fill it, we are negligent in our Tarbiyah. With da’wah this applies as well—rather than only telling people what is haraam, we should show them the myriad things that are halaal for them.*
Gem 3, The Amethyst: Look at who is doing the wrong action to begin with: The non-Muslim detractors around the blessed Prophet. And now look who Allah commands to change their behavior: the believers.
Rather than retaliating and responding to others’ ill behavior, it is more befitting for the Muslim to change her own conduct.* We are proactive people, let us not sit around waiting for others to change—if others are doing something incorrect, let us look to what we can do to rectify the situation.
* Points with an asterisk are taken from the Tafseer lessons of Dr. Farhat Hashmi “Taleem-ul-Qur’an” found here. The remaining points are from myself.