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Commentary on the Hadith of the three levels of forbidding evil

Question

What is meant by preventing evil by means of the hand, the tongue and the heart in the following Hadith?

Sayyiduna Abu Sa’id Al Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said, I heard Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say:

“Whomsoever sees an evil, let him change it with his hand, if he is unable to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue and if he is unable to do that, then with his heart and that is the weakest Iman”

 

Answer

When those in authority see any evil being perpetrated then they should stop that evil by means of their hand, be it physically stopping the person carrying out the evil or meting out a punishment.

Those who do not have such authority, should speak out against the evil. This is what is meant by ‘with his tongue’. This is generally the duty of the Scholars and the learned ones. [Although also encouraged for every muslim.]

The third level are for those who don’t have the authority/ability to stop the evil. The should use their heart and mind to ponder and reflect as to how they can stop the evil. The very least they could do is to deem the evil action evil.

(Refer: Fathul Mulhim, vol. 1 pg. 435, Hadith: 188)

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar