A Precise Distinction Between As-Saalih (The Righteous One) and Al-Muslih (The Righteous Reformer or Rectifier)

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated:

The scholars mention that the righteous amongst Allaah’s servants is the one who fulfils Allaah’s rights and the rights of Allaah’s servants. This is the righteous one- peace be upon us and upon Allaah’s righteous servants. So the righteous are those who fulfill Allaah’s rights by performing the obligations ordained by Allaah, abandon what Allaah has forbidden; fulfil the rights of Allaah’s servants, such as fulfilling trusts, advising the servants of Allaah, refrain from deceiving them, greeting with Salaams, reply to Salaams, (a) and the like. This is the Saaleh (the righteous one).

The Muslih (righteous reformer or rectifier) is the one who shoulders the responsibility of reforming people, directing them (to good) and guiding them, commanding them with what is good and forbidding them from evil, restraining the fools and so on. He is a righteous reformer, fears Allaah himself and strives to reform others. This is a righteous reformer. (b)

And the Faasid (the corrupt one) is the one who corrupts his religion by way of disbelief in Allah or sins and evil deeds; and the Mufsid (corrupter) is the one who calls to corruption, evil, fornication and immorality, encourages it- advance (or increase) it among people. We ask Allaah for wellbeing and safety. (1)

Question to Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi al-Mad’khali [may Allaah preserve him]: We know the difference between Saalih and Muslih in your speech, but is it plausible for a person to be Saalih and not a Muslih. Is there an opportunity for ahlul bidah to interfere in this differentiation?

This is an agreed upon terminology. Allaah stated about the hypocrites:

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمۡ لَا تُفۡسِدُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ قَالُوٓاْ إِنَّمَا نَحۡنُ مُصۡلِحُونَ
أَلَآ إِنَّهُمۡ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدُونَ وَلَـٰكِن لَّا يَشۡعُرُون

And when it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “We are only peacemakers.” Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayaat 11-12] (c)

The word Muslih (reformer) is from the word Islaah (reformation), and it is contrary to Ifsaad (corruption). So, you may think that we corrupt whilst we reform. As for the Saalih (the righteous one), he himself is righteous – his goodness may extend to others and he rectifies, and his goodness may be limited to himself due to his weakness. “The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them”. [Saheeh Muslim 2664] “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”. [Saheeh Muslim. 49] Therefore, the one who stops (evil) with his hand or with his tongue may be included among the righteous reformers. As for the one who rejects evil with his heart, he may be righteous and cannot reform others. (2)



(a) Shaikh Abdus Salaam Burjess [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Imaam Ibn Abdul-Barr [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The obligation of returning the Islamic greeting is [found in the] statement of [Allaah]:

[وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُم بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوا بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَا – When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally]. [Nisaa: ayah: 86]

Imaam Ibn Katheer [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: To give the Islamic greeting is voluntary and it is an obligation to return it. This is what all the scholars say- that it is an obligated on the one who is given the salaam to reply and he has sinned if he does not reply, because he has opposed Allaah’s command. The abandonment of returning the Islamic greeting is an evil and ugly deed and many people have been afflicted with it in this era. And they are prevented from it due to pride and self-amazement. So, we gently say to all of them, ”Who are you?! And from what are you from?!” Allaah said:

مِنۡ أَىِّ شَىۡءٍ خَلَقَهُ
مِن نُّطۡفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ ۥ فَقَدَّرَهُ

From what thing did He create him? From Nutfah (male and female semen drops) He created him, and then set him in due proportion. [Surah Abasa. Aayaat 17-18]

Are you greater in status than the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]? Indeed he returned the Islamic greeting of the young, the old, the free person and the slave, and he also greeted them. Therefore, let there be a good example in the Messenger of Allaah for you to follow. We ask Allaah for guidance and success for all. Also when a person is leaving a gathering and gives the salaam, it is obligatory to reply to him. [An Excerpt from ‘Al-Ilaam Bi-Ba’di Ahkaam As-Salaam’- pages 11-12]

Neither is Salaams given to a Mubtadi nor is his Salaams responded to: Hammaad Bin Zayd [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “I was with Ayyoub, Yunus and Ibn Awn, so Amr Ibn Bin Ubaid went past them – and he used to be a Mutazili, gave them Salaam and stopped, but they did not reply to him”. [Meezaan Al-I’tidaal 3/274 By Imaam Dhahabi]

(b) Surah Asr: By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! The human is in loss; except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, enjoin one another to the truth and enjoin one another to patience. https://salaficentre.com/2021/10/22/surah-al-asr-reminders-from-imaam-ibnul-qayyim-and-a-reminder-from-imaam-al-albaanee/

(c) Mischief and Mischief Makers In The Earth:

[16] Mischief and Mischief Makers In The Earth- [False Claims of Desiring Good For The Nation, Persecution, Distort Truth and Persist Upon Error at all Costs]

The Most Dangerous Liars In Society – By Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee

Rectification of modern society: https://salaficentre.com/2021/01/10/rectification-of-modern-societies-by-imaam-abdul-azeez-bin-baaz-rahimahullaah/

[Ref 1: https://binbaz.org.sa/fatwas/1687/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%82-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%AD-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AF-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%81%D8%B3%D8%AF ]

[Ref 2: https://rabee.net/alfatawi/%D9%86%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%82-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D9%82%D9%88%D9%84%D9%83-%D8%B5%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD-%D9%88%D9%85%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%AD-%D9%88%D9%84%D9%83%D9%86-%D9%87%D9%84-%D9%8A/ ]


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