In face of the truth

بسم الله والحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

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The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

إِنَّ النَّاسَ إِذَا رَأَوْا الْمُنْكَرَ فَلَمْ يُغِّيِروه، أَوْشَكَ أَنْ يَعُمَّهُمُ اللَّهُ بِعِقَابِهِ

“Verily, if the people see a Munkar and do not change it, then Allaah will soon punish them all.”

[Musnad Ahmad, 1/121 and others – A mash-hoor and proven narration; graded as saheeh by Al-Albani and Ahmad Shakir]

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1. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى Said in the Al-Qur’an:

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

“The believers, men and women, are awliya’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’roof (all that is righteous and virtue), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (all that is evil and sin)…”

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2. There are varying degrees with regard to the Muslims denouncing evil actions. Some have to deal with the evil action by their hands (i.e., by taking action), such as the imaam or leader, or his deputy to whom he has given authority, e.g. a father with his children, a master with his slave, a husband with his wife, if the person who is committing the sin cannot be stopped in any other way. Some people are obliged to deal with the evil action by giving advice, teaching others, telling them off, rebuking them or calling them in a manner that is best, without taking action or using force, lest that provoke fitnah (tribulation) and spread chaos.

3. Some people have to respond to the evil action in their hearts only, because they are too weak to take action or speak out – and that is the weakest of faith. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم explained this in his hadeeth: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart [by at least hating it and believing that it is wrong], and that is the weakest of faith.” [Saheeh Muslim]

4. Changing evil by one’s hand should be done by those who are able to do that, such as those in positions of authority and the bodies in charge of such matters in the areas over which they have been appointed, the ruler in the area over which he has been appointed, the judge in the area over which he has been appointed, and by a man in his own house with his children and the members of his household, as much as he can. But if he is not able to do that, or if changing it with his hand will lead to fitnah (tribulation) and conflict, and cause more harm than good, then he should not change it with his hand, rather he should change it with his tongue, by speaking out. That will be sufficient lest changing it with his hand will lead to a worse evil that that which he is seeking to change. This was stated by the scholars.

5. In the case of changing evil with his tongue, it is sufficient for him to say, “O my brother, fear Allaah, this is not permitted, you should stop this, you should do such and such” and other good words spoken in a proper manner. After the tongue comes the heart, i.e., hating the evil in one’s heart, showing that one hates it, and not sitting with those who do it. All of these come under the heading of changing it with one’s heart. [see ‘Majallat al-Buhooth al-Islamiyyah’, 36/121 and ‘Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah’, 12/335]

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6. Some of the Ulema of the Salaf would say:

الساكت عن الحق شيطان أخرس، والناطق بالباطل شيطان ناطق. ويجب أن لا ننسى بارك الله فيكم، القاعدة الفقهية

“The silent one in face of the Haqq (truth) is a dumb, tongueless Shaytan; (and one) who speaks with baatil (falsehood) is actually a Shaytaan speaking. And we must never forget, may Allaah bless you, the Jurisprudential (Fiqhi) Principle:

لَا يَجُوزُ تَأْخِيرُ الْبَيَانِ عَنْ وَقْتِ الْحَاجَةِ

It is not permissible to delay clarifying (the ruling of an issue) from its necessary time.”

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7. In “Sharh al-Kawkab al-Muneer”, Ibn al-Fatuhi examplified and explained this principle thus.

8. A brief understanding of the principle of ‘enjoining the good and forbidding the evil’ can be found here.

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May Allaah make us from those who accept the truth when it is presented to them and continually enjoin the good and forbid the evil.

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