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Stopping Evil


QLiving in this society how do we practice the Hadeeth which says: whoever sees an evil, he should stop it with his hand. If that is not possible, he should stop it with his tongue. If he cannot do even that, he should detest it in his heart and that is the weakest state of Eemaan.


AIslam wants to see goodness flourish in the society and evil rooted out. This can happen only when everyone in the society develops aversion to evil and plays his/her role in nipping it as soon as it buds. But the roles must be clearly understood to avoid violation of other important Islamic teachings.

Stopping evil by hand is for only those people who have some kind of legitimate authority over others such as government, courts, parents, bosses, voters, etc. Government has the authority to implement laws and regulations against evil deeds, courts have authority to punish the violations of law, bosses have authority to stop their subordinates from doing something corrupt or illegal, parents have authority to train their children to stay away from bad behaviour, voters have authority to withhold support from a bad candidate, etc.

Stopping by tongue can be done by everyone in their own capacity: media can do so through writing and speaking, preachers and Imams through their sermons, teachers through lectures, public through presentations, blogs, emails, surveys, and letters and phone calls to editors, government officials, elected officials, etc.

However, if people become complacent towards evil, ignore when it appears or tolerate it when they witness it, it gains acceptances in the society and starts spreading. The Hadeeth that you have quoted requires believers to do whatever is in their power to eradicate evil. In case a believer is not in a position to stop an evil act when he witnesses it, he must detest it mentally. If a person sees an evil and does not feel any repugnance towards it, it means that he has accepted it, which is incompatible with one’s faith in Islam. In other words acceptance of an evil, behaviour indicates lack of faith in Islam.

 

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