In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu-anhu) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said, ”Part of the perfection of a person’s Islaam is leaving that which is of no concern to him”. [Hassan Hadith. Reported by Imaam Tirmidhi and others]
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh al Uthaimeen [rahimahullaah] said: From the benefits of this narration are: Indeed, Islaam gathers all the excellent qualities. Our Shaikh Abdur Rahmaan Bin Sa’di [rahimahullaah] wrote a treatise on this topic [titled]: ‘The Excellence of The Religion of Islaam’. Likewise, Shaikh Abdul Azeez Bin Muhammad Bin Sulaymaan [rahimahullaah] has written a treatise on this topic.
And all the excellent qualities of Islaam are gathered in two statements. Allaah (The Might and Majestic) said: [ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ – ”Verily, Allaah enjoins Al Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allaah Alone) and Al-Ihsaan [i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allaah, totally for Allaah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet in a perfect manner.” 16:90
Part of the perfection of (a Person’s) Islaam is his leaving what is of no importance to him and that which has no connection to his affairs and needs. One cannot perfect his Islaam through preoccupying himself with what does not concern him. This happens to many people, so you either find him speaking about affairs that do not concern him, or a person asks him about affairs that do not concern him and he enters into what does not concern him. This weakening [one’s Islaam].
Indeed, it is incumbent upon the person to seek after the excellent qualities of Islaam, in order to abandon what does not concern him and to be at ease. He will exhaust himself if he busies himself with affairs that are neither important nor of concern to him. And an obscurity occurs on this point here, and that is: ‘’Does the slave’s abandonment of that which does not concern him [mean] that he is to abandon enjoining good and Forbidding Evil?’’
The Answer: No, because Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil is something that concerns the person, as Allaah (The Most High) said:
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ
”Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good and forbidding Al-Munkar” 3:104
So if you see a person upon evil, you should say to him, ”O brother! This is a munkar. It is not permissible.’’ The person who witnesses that (evil) has no right to say, “This does not concern me”, and it will not be accepted were you to say this. That is because enjoining good and forbidding evil concerns the whole Ummah.
And there is (also) what is connected to one’s family, his sons and daughters (with regards enjoining good and forbidding evil). It is the concern of the shepherd of the house to guide them towards good and command them with it, and to warn them against evil and prohibit them from that. He (The Mighty and Majestic) said: [ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ – “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones]. 66:6
Imaam Sa’di [rahimahullaah] said: The Good Doer busies himself with the obligations that concerns him and abandons disobedience and evil deeds. He [abandons] that which is not befitting – the detested affairs and those permissible things that bring him no benefit; rather he loses good by indulging in such affairs. So his [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] statement, ‘’Part of the perfection of a person’s Islaam is his leaving that which is of no concern to him’’ has a more general meaning than what we have mentioned. [Ref 1. End of quote]
Allaah (The Most High) said: [يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۖ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ مَنْ ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ – O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow the right guidance no hurt can come to you from those who are in error. The return of you all is to Allah, then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do].5:105
Allaah (The Most High) said: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۖ O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. That is: Strive in rectifying and perfecting your own souls, and keep them firm upon traversing the straight path; because if you are righteous, you will not be harmed by the one deviated from the straight path and is not guided to the upright religion; rather he only harms himself. (However), this does not indicate that the slave (i.e. the Muslim) is not harmed if he abandoned enjoining good and forbidding evil, and is negligent towards it; for indeed his guidance will not be complete except through fulfilling what is obligated on him with regards to enjoining good and forbidding evil. Yes, if he is (genuinely) unable to stop evil with his hand and his tongue, but rejects it in his heart, then indeed he will not be harmed by the misguidance of others.
[إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا -The return of you all is to Allah] That is: Your final destination is the day of Judgement and your gathering will be in the presence of Allaah (The Most High);فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ”then He will inform you about (all) that which you used to do” regarding (your) good and evil (deeds). [Ref 2. End of quote]
Question to Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz (Rahimahullaah): Is enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil by the hand an obligation on all Muslims, or is it limited to those in authority and their deputies?
Stopping wrong is obligated on all Muslims according to their ability, because the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] “Anyone of you who sees evil [i.e. that which is declared an evil deed by Islaam], let them stop it with their hand; if he cannot, then with their tongue; and if they cannot, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of Imaan’’. [Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi & others]
However, stopping evil by the hand must be based on ability and should not result in greater corruption or evil. A man has the right to rectify matters with his hand in his home [i.e. based on what the law of the land allows him]; a manager has the authority to make changes with the hand within the organization they are responsible for, in accordance with the instructions that were given to them [i.e. the authority given to them by the state authorities]; otherwise, people should not change with their hand anything they are not authorised to change. If they do make changes in matters that they have no authority over, this will result in more evil and great corruption between them and the people and between the people and the state.
In this case they should stop evil with their tongue (by speaking out). They may say: ‘’O Fulaan! Fear Allaah! This is not permissible; this is Haraam, or This is obligated on you,’’ and clarify it with evidence from Sharee’ah. [NB: In the UK, objecting to certain behaviour can be viewed as harassment or verbal abuse, therefore a Muslim should be aware of what the law allows him before he says or does anything whilst living in the West].
As for changing matters with the hand, this should be done where one has authority, such as one’s home [i.e. within what the law allows], with those under one’s responsibility, or those authorized by the ruler, such as organizations given permission and authority to enjoin Good. They should make changes in accordance with the authority they have been given- in the way prescribed by the Sharee’ah, without exceeding their jurisdiction. The same applies to the governor of a city; he should make changes with his hand, in accordance with the instructions he has. [Ref 3]
Some Statements of The Salaf
Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Umari (rahimahullaah) said: “If a slave is one who keeps away from the doubtful matters due fear of falling into the forbidden and ruining one’s hereafter, he will abandon what does not concern him and will concern himself with what concerns him.” [Ref 4]
Fudayl Ibn Iyaad (rahimahullaah) said: “The people claim that the affair of keeping away from the doubtful matters out of fear of falling into the forbidden and ruining one’s hereafter is very difficult; but I do not come across two affairs, except that I select the affair that is more difficult for me (to abandon); so leave what makes you doubtful for what is not doubtful.” [Ref 5]
Hassaan Bin Abee Sinaan (rahimahullaah) said: “There is not anything easier than the affair of keeping away from the doubtful matters due to fear of falling into the forbidden and ruining one’s hereafter; so when you are doubt about something, leave it.” [Ref 6]
Some of the people of knowledge and understanding said: “When you speak, remember that Allaah hears you; and when you keep quiet, then remember that He sees you.” [Ref 7]
Umar Bin Abdul Azeez (rahimahullaah) said: “Whoever makes his speech reckon with his actions, then his speech in that which does not concern him will be little.” [Ref 8]
[Ref1: ‘Sharh Al-Arba’een An-Nawawiyyah’ of Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh al Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah), (Hadith No: 12), (page 158-159). Sharh Al-Arba’een Nawawiyyah, with comments of Imaam Nawawi, Imaam Sa’di, Imaam Ibn Da-qeeq al Eed and Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh al Uthaimeen (rahimahumullaah jamee-an), page:96]
[Ref 2: Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer kalaam Al-Mannaan of Imaam as-Saa’di (rahimahullaah)]
[Ref 3: Fataawa Ibn Baaz 8/208. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref4: Jaami-ul Uloom Wal-Hikam: page:117]
[Ref 5: Jaami-ul Uloom Wal-Hikam: page:117]
[Ref 6: Jaami-ul Uloom Wal-Hikam: page:117]
[Ref 7:Jaami-ul Uloom Wal-Hikam: page:122]
[Ref 8: Jaami-ul Uloom Wal-Hikam: page: 122]