Narrated Abu Dharr Jundub bin Junada and Abu AbdirRahman Mu’adh bin Jabal رضي الله عنهما that the messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Fear Allah [have taqwa] wherever you are, and follow up a bad deed with a good one, and engage the people with good character” [Tirmidhi]
Shaikh al-Fawzan stated regarding this great hadith that within it are 3 advices, and these 3 advises are the methodology of a muslim that he treads upon in his life.
The First Advice: That a muslim has Taqwa of Allah wherever he may be, whether in front of the people or in isolation away from the eyes of the people. And Taqwa is to perform that which Allah has commanded and to leave that which Allah has forbidden, since that will protect him from the punishment and anger of Allah.
The prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم stated “wherever you are” i.e. that a person does not look toward the people and does not fear the people but rather he fears Allah whether he is alone or among the people. Allah stated, the meaning of which is, ” Truly, nothing is hidden from Allah, in the earth or in the heavens” [Ale-Imran:5].
And some people [regrettably] if they are in a muslim country they demonstrate openly that they are upon Islam, yet if they go to a land of non-muslims they conform to their ways [and leave Islamic ways], so they change colours like a chameleon, and this affair is not permissible, what is a must upon the muslim that he fears Allah in every place, in every country.
The Second Advice: To follow up evil deeds with good ones, and so if an evil action occurs from the servant it is upon him to repent to Allah; since the good deeds they expiate and wipe out the evil, and that is from the virtue and blessing of Allah, although this relates to the minor sins, the major must be actually repented from.
The Third Advice: To engage the people with good manners, and indeed the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم was upon the best of characteristics.
[Based on Explanation of 40 hadith Shaikh al-Fawzan p168-172]
[Translator’s note: An excellent advice for us to all remain upright upon the one and only correct methodology, and to practice that openly and secretly in all situations, and not to fall into the chameleon-like behaviour the Shaikh refererred to, since indeed changing colours and having disgraceful double standards is not from the religion of Allah. Similarly an excellent advice for the one who sins to repent to Allah, be sincere in the tawba as is required and not allow whisperings of the Shaitaan to prevent him and continue upon falsehood, since Allah is to be feared and not the people. We ask Allah to give us the ability to implement the advices].