Admonitions: The Souls Will Not Be Purified and Upright Until They Are Put to Test Through Afflictions- By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah]
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
This is a great principle; therefore, it is obligated on a sane person to be acquainted with it. Everyone will face afflictions, for indeed a person is a social being who must live with [other] people; the people have wants [or desires, wishes etc] and perceptions, and will seek to make him agree with them. If he disagrees with them, they harm and punish him; but if he agrees with them, sometimes they harm him and at other times he is harmed by others.
Whoever examines his [or her] circumstances and that of the people will find that this does occur a lot. Take for example the case of a people who desire lewd conduct and wrong doing -who make false statements related to religion or utter shirk – and commit sins similar to that which Allaah stated in Surah Al- A’raaf Aayah 33 [Ref 1], whilst they are in a place- such as a campus, a convoy, a large block of public buildings with stores, workshops, [or a roofed market place, bazaar], a school, a hospice, a town, a narrow mountain pass [or path] or a city- with other people and are not able to commit [the evil] they desire, unless others either agree with them or refrain from rebuking them; therefore, they either seek the approval of others or ask them keep quiet; if they [i.e. those asked to agree with evil] agree or refrain from rebuking the [perpetrators], they are saved from their evil in the beginning; but then they are the ones responsible for giving the upper hand to the perpetrators, who will humiliate and punish them in a manner that is more severe than what they feared at first, such as asking them for a false testimony or to utter false statements about the religion or to aid them commit lewd conduct and oppression. If they reject the request [of the perpetrators], they are harmed and shown enmity; but if they agree, they are responsible for subduing themselves and thus are humiliated more than what they feared at first or they are punished by others. Therefore, that which is obligated [on a person] is what Aa’isha [radiyallaahu-anhaa] said to Mu’aawiyah [radiyallaahu-anhumaa]:
Indeed, whoever seeks the pleasure of the people at the expense of Allaah’s Pleasure will (earn) Allaah’s displeasure and Allah will cause the people to be displeased with him. And the praise of the people will become blame against him. And whoever seeks Allaah’s Pleasure at the expense of people’s pleasure, will (earn) Allaah’s Pleasure and Allah will cause the people to be pleased with him.”
This [i.e. seeking after the pleasure of the people at the expense of Allaah’s Pleasure] is perpetrated by those who aid the kings and leaders in their corrupt goals [Ref 2], as well as the people who aid those people of Bidah -who attribute themselves to knowledge and adherence to the religion- to commit their Bidah. As for the one whom Allaah guides and enables to follow guidance in affairs of the religion, he [or she] is prevented from committing haraam and exercises patience when harmed and shown enmity by [the perpetrators of evil]. And thereafter, he [or she] will receive a praiseworthy outcome in this worldly life and the Aakhirah, similar to what happened to the Messengers and their followers, such as the Muhaajiroon in this Ummah, the [upright] scholars, worshippers, merchants and leaders when they faced those who harmed them and showed them enmity.
Source: Al-Fawaa’id’ pages 294-296. Abridged and slightly paraphrased
Ref 1:[قُلۡ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّىَ ٱلۡفَوَٲحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنۡہَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَٱلۡإِثۡمَ وَٱلۡبَغۡىَ بِغَيۡرِ ٱلۡحَقِّ وَأَن تُشۡرِكُواْ بِٱللَّهِ مَا لَمۡ يُنَزِّلۡ بِهِۦ سُلۡطَـٰنً۬ا وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ – say (O Muhammad): “(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are Al-Fawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge.” [Surah Al-A’raaf’ Aayah 33]