In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
You Cannot Please Everyone, So Just Do Your Best to Please Allaah!
This statement is truth, but it is uttered by everyone, whether when calling to truth or falsehood. Firstly, Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “One must know that neither is it conceivable to the intellect (i.e. sound intellect) nor (plausible) in the religion to seek the pleasure of the creation [i.e. mankind and Jinn] due to two affairs: First, Imaam AshShaafi’ee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The people are an unattainable goal”. Therefore, it is obligated on you to (pursue) that which would rectify your affairs and adhere to it; abandon its opposite and do not concern (yourself) with it. Second, indeed, we have been commanded to (seek) the pleasure of Allaah and His Messenger. “But it is more fitting that they should please Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), if they are believers].[Surah At-Tawbah. Verse 62]
It is obligated on us to fear Allaah and not fear anyone except Allaah: “So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers”. [Surah Aal Imran. Verse 175] “Therefore fear not men but fear Me”. [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Verse 44]. “Then, fear Me (Allaah) much [and Me (Alone), i.e. be away from all kinds of sins and evil deeds that Allah has forbidden and do all that Allah has ordained and worship none but Allah]. [Surah An-Nahl. Verse 51] “And fear Me and Me Alone”. [Surah AlBaqarah. Verse 41]
It is obligated on us to fear Allaah – fear Allaah concerning the (rights) of the people- neither harm them with our hearts (i.e. blameworthy hatred, malice etc) nor with our limbs (i.e. physical harm); fulfil their rights with our hearts and limbs (i.e. wish them good, love for them what we love for ourselves, physically do what willl benefit them etc), but do not fear them and leave what Allaah and His Messenger commanded. The one who adheres to this path will (reach) the (praiseworthy) outcomes, just as Aa’isha [may Allaah be pleased with her] wrote to Mu’aawiyah [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] and said, “To proceed: Indeed, whoever seeks the pleasure of the people at the expense of Allaah’s displeasure 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 displeasure, will (earn) Allaah’s Pleasure and Allah will cause the people to be pleased with him”. Therefore, a person’s concern and intention should be nothing else but to (seek) the Pleasure of Allaah and to avoid Allaah’s displeasure, and the (praiseworthy) outcomes will be his. (1)
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: If all the people were pleased with you and Allaah is not pleased with you, then indeed it will not benefit you except the Pleasure of Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic]; for indeed if Allaah is pleased with you, He will make people become pleased with you and make their hearts incline towards you, as it has been reported in a hadeeth, “Indeed, when Allah loves a servant, He calls Jibreel and says, ‘Verily, I love this person so you should love him’. Then Jibreel loves him and makes an announcement in the heavens, saying, ‘Indeed, Allaah loves this person and you should love him’, so the inhabitants of the heavens love him.
Then he is granted the [pleasure and acceptance] of the [people] in the earth. “Verily, those who believe [in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger (Muhammad)] and work deeds of righteousness, the Most Beneficent (Allah) will bestow love for them (in the hearts of the believers). [Surah Maryam. Verse 96]
However, if a person seeks after the pleasure of the people at the expense of Allaah’s displeasure, the affair will be the opposite. Allaah will be angry with him and will make the people become angry with him. This is why when Mu’aawiyah [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] became the Khaleefah, Aa’isha [may Allaah be pleased with her] wrote to him, saying, “I heard the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] say, ‘Whoever seeks the pleasure of Allaah at the expense of the displeasure of the people, Allaah will suffice him against the people. Whoever seeks the pleasure of people at the expense of Allaah’s displeasure, Allaah will leave his affair to the people'”. (2) [End of quote]
Secondly, anyone who utters this statement in the subject matter of Tawheed, Sunnah, Methodology, Dawah, Co-operation or any affair related to the religion, we remind them of the statements of Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan and Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi [may Allaah protect them].
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan stated: ” The cause of the differences that take place between the callers is the differing in methodologies. And had the callers (may Allaah guide them and grant them success) traversed a singular methodology; and that is the methodology of the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] – that which the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-sallam) and his companions were upon, then these differences would not have occurred. Therefore, it is obligatory upon all the callers to make their methodology one–upon the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam); and that their call is (carried out) for the sake of Allaah and to make the word of Allaah uppermost. Their call should not be for the sake of desires, raising individuals or parties; rather their call should be sincerely for Allaah’s Face, to make Allaah’s word uppermost, to follow the Messenger of Allaah and to aid his Religion. (So) by way of this the differences will cease”. [Source:Al-Ijaabaatul Muhimmah Fil Mashaakil Al-Mulimmah. pages 221-222]
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi said, “All of you hold onto the Rope of Allaah [i.e. The Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah]- Allaah will aid you in this and make you like the sun; return to the understanding of the righteous predecessors, and it is, as I said to you, transmitted (and established) in your presence. This is a challenge to those who oppose this. We are challenging ahlul bidah wal ahwaa [the proponents of innovation in religious affairs and followers of desires] in their creed and politics. We say, between us and you is the (path, understanding of the) pious predecessors and books (of the pious predecessors). Ahmad [i.e. Imaam Ahmad] used to say to the proponents of innovation in religious affairs, “Between us and you are the funerals (i.e. whose funeral will be attended by ahlus sunnah in great numbers)”. We say (i.e. at present), “Between us and you are the books (of the pious predecessors)- the books are present!
Allaah said to His Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]: [قل فَأْتُوا بِالتَّوْرَاةِ فَاتْلُوهَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ – All food was lawful to the Children of Israel, except what Israel made unlawful for himself before the Taurat (Torah) was revealed. Say (O Muhammad ): “Bring here the Taurat (Torah) and recite it, if you are truthful”]- So they bring the Torah and you proof them to be upon falsehood. We bring the books of the pious predecessors – the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the books of Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasaa’ee, and what was authored by Ahmad and others; we bring them (to prove) those who are on the path of these (pious predecessors) and those who turn away and oppose them. Just as Allaah challenged the Jews to bring the Torah, so the Torah was brought and they were exposed them, (likewise), we challenge these people to bring the books of the pious predecessors, so that the innovator in religious affairs is exposed, and to clarify who the deviants are- whether us or them? Are they able to challenge? Can they open their mouths like this? We fill our mouths with courage – challenge everyone who says that we are upon other than methodology of the pious predecessors. We, by Allaah, call to the methodology of the pious predecessors- to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. We use the book of Allaah and the Sunnah as proof for our beliefs, our acts of worship, dealings with rulers and their subjects, in dealing with the groups and sects. As for the others, they are upon tricks, deception etc By Allaah, you will not find with them anything but tricks and manipulating the emotions of youth”. Paraphrased. Listen here: https://youtu.be/mxXSfKhsjw
So, we say to them, regardless your statement that “One cannot please everyone, rather the goal is to do the right thing or seek only Allaah’s Pleasure”, you will be judged based on your beliefs, methodology and companionship, so if all these affairs are in agreement with the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the understanding of the pious predecessors, then your claim that you are doing the right thing – from what everyone can see – is affirmed, but if they are in opposition to the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the understanding of the companions, then either you are a liar or mistaken. In this case you are advised or refuted depending on what the circumstances require. Umar [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, The Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: “People were (sometimes) judged by the revealing of a Divine Inspiration during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger but now there is no longer any more (new revelation). Now we judge you by the deeds you practice publicly, so we will trust and favour the one who does good deeds in front of us, and we will not call him to account about what he is really doing in secret, for Allah will judge him for that; but we will not trust or believe the one who presents to us with an evil deed even if he claims that his intentions were good”. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 2641]
[Ref1: An Excerpt from ‘Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 3/233. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref2: An Excerpt from ‘Riyaadh As-Saaliheen 1/163. slightly paraphrased]