The Hadith: 'Whoever among you sees an evil'

Question:

What is the meaning of the Hadith reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) in which 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.1 How does one rectify an evil by abhorring it in one’s heart? Is a person who tries to rectify an evil in this manner rewarded?

Answer:

The Hadith explains the stages of rectifying an evil which are three. First: rectifying it by the force of one’s hand, which is a duty on those who have the ability to do so such as rulers, a father with his children and a husband with his wife. Second: If rectifying the evil by force is not feasible, one may rectify it through speaking with one’s tongue, which is for scholars and their like. Third: If trying to rectify the evil through speaking is not also feasible, one should try to rectify it internally through abhorring it with one’s heart.

However, rectifying by the heart is an internal act which will be rewarded only if sincere. The perfect aspect of the heart’s denial of an evil is leaving the place where the evil is committed.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.


  1. Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 49; Al-Tirmidhy, Sunan, Book on trials, no. 2172; Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on faith and its laws, no. 5009; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on Salah, no. 1140; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on performing Prayer and its Sunan, no. 1275; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 3, p. 54.