Deserting the disobedient person as a method of forbidding the evil
Fatwa No: 18611

  • Fatwa Date:7-3-2012 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 14, 1433
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Question

I quarreled with my brother and swore not to talk to him again until he covers up the body of his indecent wife and repents to Allaah The Almighty. Was I right in doing this?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds.  I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , commanded whoever sees an evil act to alter it with his hand, if he is unable to do this, then with his tongue, if he is unable to do this, then with his heart, and he further explained that this (final choice) is the least degree of faith. [Muslim]

This Hadeeth indicates the obligation of forbidding evil. A Muslim has to do his best to forbid evil as long as doing so does not lead to a greater evil. Stern words and dispute belong to the category of forbidding evil that is referred to in the previous Hadeeth, when it stated, "if unable, then with the tongue."

However, doing so should only be resorted to if it is necessary, meaning only when it is proven that leniency will be of no avail. In this case, being stern and harsh and deterrence should be tried. This method was used by Prophet Ibraaheem (Abraham)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention with his people as indicated in the Saying of Allaah The Almighty (that means): {Uff to you and to what you worship instead of Allaah. Then will you not use reason?"}[Quran 21:67]

In the same context, desertion as a punishment and discipline might be more effective in influencing the sinner. If he insists on the sin and admonition is unsuccessful with him, then he is to be deserted, and the person who deserts him will be rewarded by Allaah The Almighty if he does so solely for His sake, not for his own benefit or whim.

Abandonment was a means used by the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and this occurred with the three people who failed to join the Battle of Tabook. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, also deserted his wives. Also, some of his companions deserted one another: Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him and his father, did this with one of his sons, and ‘Aa’ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her did the same with her nephew, 'Abdullaah Ibn Az-Zubayr.

In brief, desertion is allowed but it must be done with the best interest of the deserted person in mind. This means that you have to weigh up whether or not it will be effective with him. Perhaps it will only make him more stubborn. The decision must be made by the person himself who will desert the other.

Allaah Knows best.

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