How Should One React to Un-islamic Sinful Behavior?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
Is it permissible for a believer to explicitly or implicitly support sinful developments or acts resulting from sin or related to sin? Can one, for example, congratulate a colleague, friend, or family member on getting engaged to have a civil wedding only/getting married in a non-religious way, or on announcing they are expecting a baby out of wedlock, and does it matter whether the colleague, friend or family member in question is Muslim or not?
In other words, can one express “joy” for that person or congratulate them? Is there a general approach to approaching these types of scenarios?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your important question.
It is not permissible to explicitly congratulate someone upon doing an action that is a sin or the result of sin. However, it can be difficult to find an approach, as every person is different. Some might be Muslim: blood-related, and family friends, or non-Muslim: work colleagues, neighbors, etc.
Approaching Muslims During a Happy Occasion but Islamically Sinful
If the sin or the result of sin is carried out by a Muslim, then one can say, in the case of having a child out of wedlock, may this child’s birth be a means of both of you getting married. It is a reason now for you to get married and live a proper responsible life, etc. If someone bought a house, shop, etc., with an interest-bearing loan, one might congratulate them for acquiring the house or business; however, one should advise them to continue to find ways to repay the loans as a priority etc. However, hate the sin, not the individual. A civil marriage can be valid if it fulfills all the conditions. One may congratulate someone if it fulfills the conditions. Please take a look at the link below.
Approaching Non-Muslims During a Happy Occasion but Islamically Sinful
Suppose the sin or the result of sin is carried out by a non-Muslim. In that case, one can say, in the case of having a child out of wedlock, congratulations, or if possible, add, may this child’s birth be a means of both of you getting married, it is a reason now for you to get married and live a proper responsible life, etc. However, hate the sin, not the individual.
Distinguishing Between Actions and Individuals
A general approach can be understood from this profound hadith of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Abu Said al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith. [Muslim]
One very important distinction is that the ruling of Allah (Most High) from halal, haram, mustahab, etc., relates to people’s actions and not individuals themselves. So, if a Muslim or non-Muslim commits a sin or anything wrong, we should try to change it with one’s hand, if possible. If not, by advising with wisdom and love, verbally or in writing, etc. if not, then hate the action in our heart, but not the individual. A Muslim can repent from his ways and return stronger in faith and actions. A non-Muslim may also do the same, accept Islam and become stronger in faith and actions.
Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil
This is an integral part of our din, especially in this day and age. It has to be done with wisdom and love and finding the best ways to carry it out by seeking sound knowledge and wisdom through local scholars on the ground and online.
Muhanna reported: I asked Abu Abdullah Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him, about enjoining good and forbidding evil, “How should one enjoin it?” Ahmad said, “One should enjoin good with gentleness and humility. If they make him hear what he dislikes, he should not get angry such that he wants to avenge himself.” [Khallal, al-Amr bi al-Maʻruf]
- Is a Legal Marriage Enough to Be Deemed Religiously Married?
- What Are the Criteria for Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil?
- Should I Maintain Ties With Family Who Openly Sin or Shun Them?
- Is It Permissible to Shake Hands With the Opposite Gender? (Video)
- Purification of the Heart for Youth: Diseases of the Heart and Their Cure
- The Path of Muhammad: Birgivi’s Manual of Taqwa Explained
Why not begin your search for knowledge by signing up for a course on SeekersGuidance?
I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.