From Issue: 522 [Read full issue]
Reasons why people avoid action
There are many reasons why people are afraid to speak out, and allow wrong feelings or situations to continue. The first is probably the fear of losing the friend involved. Here you must examine your conscience and work out what is right and what is wrong. Nobody is perfect - your friend is not, and neither are you. You will yourself have plenty of faults that others may point out to you in due course. Sometimes it is necessary to be 'cruel to be kind.' Every parent knows this when dealing with children; sometimes the same principles have to apply towards our friends.
A second reason for keeping out of the business is the fear that perhaps you may be the only one among millions who is crusading against this particular evil, and therefore what possible good can you do? This is not a reasonable argument. I once attended a mass meeting at which all the lights were put out, and people who had matches were asked to produce them. The leader of the meeting struck the match, and it was a tiny little light in that vast space. However, when everybody lit their tiny match, the whole scene was transformed, and there was light.
Sometimes we do not interfere because of apathy, a 'couldn't care less' attitude. What our friends are doing is not really our business. But is that true? Usually what your friend do will soon affect you in one way or another, and if you do not like what they are doing, you will either be expected to condone it or turn a blind eye - and so your own standards will be compromised.
If your friends do not like their weaknesses and wrongdoings pointed out to them - then think about the quality of those friends. This negative attitude is against Islam. If everyone thought negatively no progress would ever be made. Muslims should do whatever lies within their power, simply to please Allah - and leave the results to Him.
'May God have mercy on anyone who gives me my faults as a gift.' (Caliph Umar, may Allah be pleased with him)
Some criminals gain courage because they see people doing nothing to stop them, and so they keep continuing with their evil actions. Islam does not seek heroes, but it does want the general attitude in society to be that evil must be prevented from taking place.
"Living Islam" - Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, pp. 166, 167