Advising sinners and disobedient people and one's attitude towards them
How should a Muslim deal with an abusive man who speaks evil utterances of disbelief and oaths of divorce along with seeking the help of Jinn and consuming bribes. The worse is still to come, he demolished a Masjid and turned it into a house, then a cattle pen claiming that he would build a larger Masjid, and he really did, but the Masjid he built is not fit for congregational Salah like the first one was. Needless to say, there are other sins that he committed, and he refuses all kinds of advice. Kindly give us your Fatwa in this regard.
A Muslim is obliged to enjoin right and forbid wrong with wisdom and good and wise argument. Allah (Exalted be He) says: “You [true believers in Islâmic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his Sunnah] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma‘rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden)” [Aal Imran: 110]
Allah also says: “Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islâm), enjoining Al-Ma‘rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful. And be not as those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.” [Aal Imran: 104-105]
Allah (Glorified be He) also says: “Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Dâwûd (David) and ‘Isâ (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). That was because they disobeyed (Allâh and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing beyond bounds. They used not to forbid one another from Al-Munkar (wrong, evil-doing, sins, polytheism, disbelief) which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do.” [al-Maidah: 78-79]
And “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islâm) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’ân) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” [al-Nahl: 125]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Religion is based on advising one another. Upon this we said: For whom? He replied: For Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and for the leaders and the general Muslims.” Related by Muslim.
It is narrated on the authority of Jarir Ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “I gave my Bay`ah (pledge of allegiance) to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that I would perform Salah (Prayer), pay Zakah (obligatory charity), and be sincere towards every Muslim.” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
Sincerity towards Allah (Exalted be He) is concerned with being honest and sincere to Him in word and deed; and towards His book by believing in it and acting according to the Shari’ah rulings it contains. On the other hand, the Muslim should be sincere to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) by believing in his message and obeying him, and towards the Imams of Muslims by not cheating them and commanding them with Al-Ma’ruf (that which is judged as good, beneficial, or fitting by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) and forbidding them from Al-Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) if he is qualified to do so. He should obey them in Ma’ruf and be sincere towards the majority of Muslims by loving for them what he loves for himself. He should not cheat them whether by word or deed, and should command them to do Al- Ma`ruf and forbid them from Al-Mukar, and help each other in righteousness and Taqwa (fear/wariness of offending Allah), but not in sin and transgression.
However, calling to the way of Allah (Exalted be He) varies in degrees, whether through teaching the ignorant and guiding them with wisdom or preaching a sermon to soften the hearts, or arguing in the best of manners when needed. Therefore, whoever finds himself qualified for the task of Da`wah to Allah (Exalted be He) should put things in the appropriate place and address every one according to what suits him, for Allah (Exalted be He) says: “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e. don’t punish them).” [al-A’raf: 199]
Similarly, those who call to Allah (Exalted be He), commanding Al-Ma`ruf and forbidding Al-Munkar, differ in the ways they adopt. Some are capable of denouncing evil with his hand, another with his tongue, a third is capable of nothing but abhorring evil from his heart, and some could benefit from all such ways, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever among you sees something abominable should rectify it with his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of Faith.”
Therefore, the caller to Allah (Exalted be He) should know his status and ability as to how far he could go in the field of Da’wah; propagating virtue and preventing vice. He should call others to Allah (Exalted be He) according to his knowledge and affect he expects to have. He should not go beyond his ability, otherwise he will turn into a source of Fitnah (temptation) to others. Allah (Exalted be He) is the One who guides to the straight path.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
Date: Muharram 14, 1442 AH
Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 556
Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Aal Al-Shaykh
Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify
Shaykh Abdullah ibn Mani'