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Understanding The Prophet's Life

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From Issue: 1038 [Read full issue]

Correcting Wrong

Abu-Said Al-Khudri, may God be pleased with him, said that he heard God's Messenger, may God's peace and blessings be upon him and his family, say, "If you see something wrong, you must correct it by hand. If you can't, you must correct it by condemning it verbally. If you can't, you must correct it by rejecting it in silence, for this is the weakest form of faith." Reported by Muslim.

The saying of the Prophet, may God's peace and blessings be upon him, "correct it," is an obligatory order for correction that's agreed upon unanimously by the nation. It is corroborated by the Qur'an's and Sunna's call on people to enjoin others to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong. It's also an advice, which is a form of the religion. Muslims are obligated to enjoin others to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong. If they perform that and people don't obey, they're not to blame. They can't force them into submission.

Also, enjoining people to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong is fard kifayah. If enough people offer the advice, it absolves the rest. If no one offers the advice, everyone bears sin except those with an excuse. It can also be fard ayn for an individual when this individual is the only one who knows of a certain wrongdoing or when this individual is the only one who's in position to correct a wrongdoing. It's also fard ayn for those who find their spouses, children, or servants (bondmen) committing sin. Scholars said that even when individuals think that their message will not be heeded by people, they still have to enjoin them to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong.

Scholars said that for people to enjoin others to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong, they don't have to be perfect, i.e. doing what is right and refraining from doing what is wrong. They have to enjoin others to do good deeds even when they themselves aren't doing what is right and refraining from doing what is wrong. That is so because people are obligated to do two things. First: They are obligated to enjoin themselves to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong. Second: They are obligated to enjoin others to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong. Performing only one of the two doesn't absolve someone from the other.

People should order others to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong amiably in order to make it easier for them to accept the message. Imam Al-Shafii, may he rest in peace, said, "Those who advise their brothers and sisters in private, help them and beautify them. And those who advise them in public, shame them and besmear them."

The statement of the Prophet, may God's peace and blessings be upon him, "correct it by hand ... correct it by condemning it verbally ... correct it by rejecting it in silence," shows the order of the steps to be taken to correct a wrong. "Reject it in silence" means hate it within yourself. This doesn't physically correct a wrong but that's all that can be done under the circumstances. The statement of the Prophet, may God's peace and blessing be upon him, "the weakest form of faith," means the least rewarding.

Compiled From:
"Ibn-Daqiq's Commentary on the Nawawi Forty Hadiths" - Ibn Daqiq Al-Eid

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