All She Did Was Advice...

By Asma bint Shameem

Fatima saw her sister’s kids straying from the guidance of Allaah. She became very concerned.
After all, those kids were like her own. She loved them dearly and wanted to save them from any sin they might fall into. Knowing that she will not have much control over the kids themselves, she decided to talk to her sister directly and advise her sincerely for the sake of Allaah about what she saw the kids doing.

But, instead of appreciating Fatima’s sincerity and understanding the motherly concern she had for her kids, her sister exploded. “Mind your own business!” she said. “This has nothing to do with you! Stop talking about my kids! Look at your own and what they are doing!” she shouted.
“But….but….” Fatima tried to explain.
“But what? I am sick and tired of you picking on my kids! And if we are so ‘bad’ in your eyes, leave us alone! From this day on, I don’t want to have anything to do with you! ”
Fatima cried.
Sad and hurt, she withdrew…..tears rolling down her eyes. She wasn’t ‘picking’ on her sister or her kids nor was she ‘judging’ them. All she wanted to do was to prevent them from committing haraam and prevent them from falling into sin.

Where did she go wrong? she thought to herself as she wiped her tears. She looked over her own action carefully. Did she cross the limits set by Allaah when advising her sister? She had followed the etiquettes defined by the Sharee’ah when enjoining good and forbidding evil.
She has always been very sincere and loving to her sister and her kids. She had advised her sister in a kind and soft manner. She wasn’t ever harsh with her. She tried to use hikmah and wisdom. She spoke to her sister in private so she doesn’t feel offended or insulted.
And whatever she advised her sister, she had always tried to implement that for herself and her family as well. It’s not like she is advising something to her sister and not practicing it herself. Then why did her sister react in this manner? she wondered. What made her sister so angry and defensive?

Isn’t it a duty of every Muslim to speak up against an evil, if he sees one? Isn’t it an order of Allaah?

“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful” [Surah Aal ‘Imraan:104]

Did my sister forget that enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil is one of the greatest principles of Islam? In fact, some scholars regard it as one of the pillars of Islam.

And didn’t the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) say,”

“Whoever among you sees an evil action, then let him change it with his hand [by taking action]; if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and if he cannot, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)

“And especially if it is my own sister’s kids?” Fatima said to herself, exasperated. How could she see her own loved ones do wrong and not say anything?!!

And what about what Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz said:
“The believing men and women enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and the believer does not keep quiet. If he sees his brother committing an evil, he denounces him. Similarly, if he sees his sister, paternal aunt, maternal aunt or anyone else committing an evil action, he tells them not to do that. If he sees his brother in faith or his sister in faith falling short in some duty, he denounces him for that, and enjoins him to do what is good. All of that is to be done with kindness and wisdom, and good manners.
If the believer sees one of his brothers in faith being lazy in praying, or engaging in backbiting or gossip, or smoking or drinking, or disobeying one or both of his parents, or severing the ties of kinship, he denounces him in kind words and with good manners, not with hateful words and harshness, and he explains to him that it is not permissible for him to do this thing.
All of these evils must be denounced by every believing man and woman and every righteous person, by husbands and wives, brothers, relatives, neighbors, friends and others. They must all do that, as Allaah says, describing the believing men and women:

“They enjoin (on the people) Al‑Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al‑Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden)” [al-Tawbah 9:71]”

(End quote)
All Fatima wanted was to teach her sister and her kids something good. And isn’t that something that Allaah is pleased with?
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:

“Allaah, His angels, and the inhabitants of heaven and earth, even the ant in its hole and even the fish, send blessings (pray for good) upon the one who teaches the people good.” (al-Tirmidhi– saheeh by al-Albaani)

In fact, if people stopped saying anything when they see an evil, it might be a cause of punishment for them.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:

‘If the people see an evildoer and do not take him by the hand [to put a stop to his evil], soon Allaah will punish all of them.” (Tirmidhi-saheeh by al-Albaani)

And Allaah warns:

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong” [Surah al-Anfaal:25]

Dear brothers and sisters, in this day of widespread evil and corruption, we as Muslims, have forgotten or neglected one of the biggest and most important obligations on each and every one of us. And that is to enjoin good and forbid evil.
And if you tell someone about the evil that their child, brother, friend or loved one is doing, it is not “telling” on them or complaining against them, or ‘picking’ on them, or judging them. It is the order of Allaah to prevent your Muslim brother or sister from committing evil. It is nothing to get defensive about or hurt. In fact, it is something that shows the sincerity and concern of the advising person for the one he is advising, and this is the very essence of Islaam.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:

“Religion is sincerity.” We said, “To whom?” He said, “To Allaah and His Book, and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” (Muslim).

Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil is one of the basic principles of this religion of ours, and doing this is jihaad for the sake of Allaah.

Al-Nawawi said:

“…..this (stopping evil) is obligatory according to the consensus of the Ummah, and there is overwhelming evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah and scholarly consensus that it is obligatory to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and it also comes under the heading of naseehah (sincerity or sincere advice) which is Islam.” (Sharh Saheeh Muslim)

Al-‘Allaamah al-Quraafi said: “The scholars said that enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil is obligatory and should be done immediately, according to consensus, and whoever is able to enjoin what is good should do so immediately.” (al-Furooq)

So, I say to Fatima and others like her, don’t give up or feel sad. You didn’t do anything wrong. You obeyed Allaah’s orders and fulfilled one of His basic commandments. Even if your sister didn’t understand, and she hurt you with her words, explain to her kindly the reason behind your advise to her and if she still doesn’t appreciate what you did, leave the matter in Allaah’s Hands. Surely He knows what lies in everyone’s heart and He knows the intentions behind every action. And rest your aching heart with the words of Allaah:

“Verily, Allaah will help those who help His (Cause). Truly, Allaah is All-Strong, All-Mighty. (Surah Hajj:40)