When you see a Wrong, Change it with your Hand…

Posted: December 25, 2012 in Qur'an and Sunnah, Standing up against Wrongdoings, Unity
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Victims of attacks by Israel in Gaza

Victims of attacks by Israel in Gaza

Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem (in the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)

Another one of my favourite hadiths because it teaches us to get up and do something:

On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

This is an important hadith because it shows that Muslims should not be innocent bystanders – we are obliged to do something to stop wrongdoing. It also outlines to us the order in which we must do something.

If you see something wrong, the first point of call is to physically stop it (“…change it with his hand…”). For example, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The parable of myself and the people is that of a man who lit a fire. When it illuminated its surroundings, the moths and other creatures which are attracted to light began to fall into it. He began to pull them out of the fire, but they overwhelmed him and continued to fall into it. I am the one pulling you away from the fire, but you keep going headlong into it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6002)].

It is not enough for us to keep ourselves away from wrongdoing, we must help others as well, and stop them from falling into wrongdoing, and sins which could lead to the Hellfire. This part of the hadith also refers to stopping people from doing wrong to others or to yourself. Nowadays, there are many people who will not raise a finger to stop anti-social behaviour – this is not the characteristic of the righteous Muslim. If we have the ability to stop a crime or offence, then we must, no matter how small the action.

If you are not physically able to change things or stop wrongdoings, then you must speak out against it, or advise against it, or advise a better way, or even call for help (“…[let him change it] with his tongue…”). We shouldn’t remain silent when we have the ability to speak up. You can warn someone against doing wrong, advise them to change their ways. Communication is not a pointless action – it can lead to bigger things. Campaigning can help but people do need to be focused on campaigns that actual achieve something, rather than those that hit brick walls.

Finally, if you are powerless to act on any of the two methods above, then you must oppose it in your heart. As Muslims, we do not accept wrongdoings nor resign ourselves to living out lives where there is no opposition to wrongdoings. We do not lie and let the wrongdoers roll over us, step over us and spread their mischief to others. Wrong is wrong and the moment you let go of this in your heart, then you lose sight of what is good and what is wrong. You stop seeing wrong as wrong and good as good – the lines become blurred and what is wrong becomes allowable. If you hate the wrongdoing in your heart, then perhaps an opportunity will come in the future, where you can speak out or physically stop the wrong. As Allah Says in the Qur’an:

“Verily, with hardship there is relief” (Qur’an 94:6)

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Comments
  1. […] of Allah, such as loving and hating for the sake of Allah (al-Walaa’ wal Bara’aa), stopping evil with our hands, enjoining good and forbidding people from wrongs, providing guidance for those who are in error or […]

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