In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Enjoining Good And Forbidding Evil As an Obligation
Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri [radiyallaahu-anhu] reported that Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said, “Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith”. [Muslim 49]
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] said:
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]
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]-Meaning, strive in rectifying and perfecting your own souls, and keep them firm upon adherence to 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 person is not harmed if he abandons enjoining good and forbidding evil, and is negligent regarding it, because indeed his guidance will not be complete except through fulfilling what is obligated on him in relation 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]
Enjoining Good And Forbidding Evil Within The Confines of The Law of The Land
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] “Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith”.
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]
Demonstrations, Protests and Revolutions Are Not From Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil, Rather They Are a Satanic Corruption of The Khawaarij, Ikhwaanees, Marxists and Their Ilk
Al-Allaamah Saaleh al-Fawzaan [hafidhahullaah] said:
Allaah (The Most High) said:
وَإِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمُ رَبِّ ٱجۡعَلۡ هَـٰذَا بَلَدًا ءَامِنً۬ا وَٱرۡزُقۡ أَهۡلَهُ ۥ مِنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ مِنۡہُم بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِۖ
And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said, “My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” [2:126]
Indeed, he (Ibraaheem-alayhis-salaam) gave priority to security (in his supplication) over seeking sustenance, because security is a necessity. Security is a necessity and the people cannot enjoy sustenance alongside fear; rather sustenance cannot be reached in the presence of fear. This is what the enemies’ desire–those who try to destabilise the Muslim societies. They wish to disassociate the Muslims from their unity behind their Muslim rulers. This is what they desire and they do not desire good advice for the Muslims.
(They wish to disassociate the Muslims from their unity behind their rulers) in name of actualizing beneficial affairs, rectification, removal of oppression and the likes. All of this is lies and false pretences, because if ruler ship slips away chaos will be at large, corruption will spread and the beneficial affairs which they say will be actualized will be non-existent. Corruption will be at large and there will not be rectification.
Therefore, for this reason there has to be ruler ship upon which the Muslims unite. And even if (such ruler ship) has shortcomings and (affairs pertaining to) negligence, the (people) should exercise patience, because there is a prevention of that which is more severe and harmful in exercising patience. Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said: ‘’It is not known of a group that rose against their Muslim Ruler, except that their state of affairs after his removal was more evil than their state of affairs whilst he was present.’’
And this is something experienced at present. The rulers and heads of state who have been removed, what is the state of affairs of their countries after they were (removed)? There has not ceased to be fear, anxiety, chaos, bloodshed etc. [Ref 4]
Question to Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi [hafidhahullaah]: Going out to demonstrations, [initiating] revolutions and nurturing the youth upon it; is this from the methodology of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah or not, whether [carried] out within or outside the Muslim countries? Answer: This is the methodology of Marx (i.e. Carl Marx), Lenin (i.e. Vladimir Lenin) and those similar to them. It is not from the Islamic methodology. Revolutions, bloodshed, trials and troubles are Marx’s and Lenin’s school of thought. [Ref 5]
Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadi Al-Madkhali [rahimahullaah] said: Protests [or demonstrations] are newly invented matters in the religion. Every newly invented matter in the religion is a bidah; every bidah is misguidance and every misguidance is in the hell fire [i.e. is a path leading to the hell fire]. Allaah’s legislation is perfect and complete-based on The Book and The Sunnah-and we do not know of anything by way of the evidences in the Book and the Sunnah that makes it permissible for a handful of people to gather for demonstrations, which causes disturbance for the people and time wasting. And greater than this [disturbance and time wasting] is abandonment of the prayers [during protests] and the loss of life [i.e. murder]. If one was to kill a Muslim in a single protest, the one [or those] who called to such protests will carry his sins-be it an individual, a group or those who participate. It has been reported in an authentic hadeeth: The termination of the world means less to Allah than the killing of a Muslim [i.e. without right].[a] These protests are nothing but bidah and acts of misguidance advocated by shaytaan; [enticed] by the urge of the evil soul and desires. And these enemies [i.e. shaytaan, the urge of the evil soul and desires] do not come together in any affair except that the religion and worldly affairs are destroyed, just as it is the case in these demonstrations [or protests].
The end results of protests [or demonstrations]: Carnage, destruction, wastage of wealth and time and terrorising those living in peace. And how many disadvantages are there in [that]! It is enough to be considered something sinister due to the fact that the Noble Messengers and the Great Prophets who were put to trial and harmed by their people did not hold protests [or demonstrations]. Neither did they engage in plotting to cause explosions nor committing suicide; rather Islaam has forbidden all of that.
Those who call to protests [or demonstrations] and hold that there is success in it, they are mistaken and they have missed the correct path. Rectification of the affairs can only be by way of the Book and The Sunnah in accordance with the understanding of those scholars who are firmly grounded in knowledge. So whoever calls the people to this chaos, then indeed he has brought about a means to corrupting the land and the slaves, and what has occurred – in the past and at present- is a witness to that.
Therefore, we warn the students of knowledge that they are not persuaded by the speech of those who allow protests [or demonstrations]. They say that peaceful demonstrations are permissible-as they categorise it into this categorisation- without proofs and concrete evidence from the Book and the Sunnah- neither from the actions of the Messenger and the Noble Sahaabah nor from the Notable Imaams; rather the verdict on protests [or demonstrations] is only what has been stated earlier and as well as what has been written by other than myself [i.e. protests (or demonstrations) are not permissible] [Ref 6]
Closing The Door Of Rebellion Against The Ruler
The Ruling Concerning Street Demonstrations In Non-Muslim Countries (Shaikh Abdullah Al-Bukhari)
[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]
[Ref 4: Source: Excerpt From a Juma-ah Khutbah: Khutbah Number 1: dated 1432-03-15: http://www.alfawzan.af.org.sa/node/13208]
[Ref 5: An excerpt from كشف الستار Page: 18]
[Ref 6: Slightly paraphrased. Source: الأفنان وتوحيد ابن خزيمة وحديث عن المظاهرات4-4-1432هـ]