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So you’re sitting down with your friends and you’re having a good time. All of a sudden, one of your friends, let’s call her X, starts talking about hijaab. Uh oh. Whoopsy daisy. You don’t like how this conversation is going….you can already feel that you aren’t going to agree with what your friend says. Sure enough, X says something along the lines of “Hijab is only about being modest. I mean, the Qur’an doesn’t even say the word hair”…All of your other friends are nodding and looking at that other friend, X, like she’s some sort of Saint or something.

What to do? Speak up? Tell them that the Qura’n does say to obey the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam) and that is where the exact ruling comes from? Have them think of you as some preacher, or worse, an extremist…Or you can be quiet and not say anything….

mumble You decide to mumble something about “being pretty sure that wasn’t right.

Course you say it just loud enough, I mean low enough, that they can’t hear you. But hey, at least you said, it right? Better than the last time where you didn’t say anything at all—having done your duty, you relax and join in the “Fun”.

What you don’ t know is that your other friend just went through the same inner struggle you went through and so did the other one too. Nobody spoke up because they were too scared too; everybody assumed that the entire group was unanimous in the decision that hijaab is “just modesty” …and because everybody thought everybody else agreed with it, nobody wanted to oppose the entire group, so everybody was quiet about it. This is actually defined by sociologists as groupthink- and it occurs in all places and all times.

BUT! This is not Islamic thinking. In Islam, we are told to “Speak up when something is wrong!” Just listen to the Prophet (Sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam’s) hadith:

“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.”

Now some of you might be thinking- well yeah, we’re thinking in our hearts that is wrong, isn’t that okay? But pay attention to the hadith: it says: “If he is not able to do so”— meaning you better have no way of speaking up. You see, it is not enough for you to be good and to leave others. Not enough at all:

It was reported that Allah ordered Jibreel to destroy a village that had become extremely corrupted, but Jibreel asked Allah, “O Allah, in this village is your servant that constantly prays to You”, Allah replied, “Start with him! For his face never changed with disapproval to what had been going on.” Because he didn’t speak up, because he thought it was enough for him to be good, he too was punished with the sinners.

What about Ashab Al Sabt? Know the story ?

(Allah Subhanoo Wa Tala’ tested these people by ordering them to take Saturday as a Sabbath day. On this day they were not allowed to fish, and this was the day that Allah would make the fish come openly)

“And ask them (O Muhammad (peace be upon him)) about the town that was by the sea; when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath (i.e. Saturday): when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them for they used to rebel against Allah’s Command (disobey Allah).” Surah An-Nisa 4/154

What happened was certain people decided to “trick Allah”—they would put out their fishing nets on Friday, and then pick them up on Sunday. That way they’d catch all the Saturday fish but “not have actually gone out on Saturday”….

Now! The other people of the town split into 2 groups when they saw that group disobeying Allah. One of them decided to attempt to advise the “bad guys” and warn them about the punishment that would await them. That is, one group went about commanding the good and forbidding the evil.

The other group thought that it wasn’t their responsibility to warn those bad people—instead, they thought that Allah would just punish the sinners. See the Quran says:

“And when a community among them said: ‘Why do you preach to a people whom Allâh is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment?

Listen carefully to the reply of those callers to the obedience of Allah.

“(The preachers) said: ‘In order to be free from guilt before your Lord (Allâh), and perhaps they may fear Allâh.’” (4/155)

So they did it for two reasons:

  1. That Allah will forgive them and know they did their Islamic duty

  2. Perhaps the transgressors would take heed

And you know what?

It was only this group that survived because they obeyed Allah’s command:

The believers, men and women, are Auliyâ’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’rûf [1] and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar [2] they perform the prayers and give the Charity, and obey Allâh and His Messenger. Allâh will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Surah At-Tawbah 9/71)

We have to do that- we have to enjoin the good and forbid the evil.

3:114 They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works: and these are among the righteous.

3:104 and that there might grow out of you a community [of people] who invite unto all that is good, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong: and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state

If we don’t, we will all be harmed:

Omar ibn Al-Khattab (Radiya Allan Anhoo) said, “If a sin is committed in private, it only harms the one that does it, but if it is committed in public and no one objects and changes it, it will harm everyone!”

The Prophet (Sallah Allahoo Alyhee wa salam) said: “The likeness of the man who observes the limits prescribed by Allah and that of the man who transgresses them is like the people who get on board a ship after casting lots. Some of them are in its lower deck and some of them in its upper deck. Those who are in its lower deck, when they require water, go to the occupants of the upper deck. The occupants of the lower deck said to themselves, ‘If we make a hole in the bottom of the ship, we shall not harm the ones who are in the upper deck.’ If they leave them to carry out their design they all will be drowned. But if they do not let them go ahead (with their plan), all of them will remain safe.”

In fact, the Qur’an provides us several examples of those who “corrected others when they were wrong”…of those who weren’t passive.

The believer mentioned in Chapter 36 (Yaseen):

In surat Yaseen, we see that Allah Subhanoo Wa’ Tala sent 3 Prophets to one village. Three! Does that mean that the members of the village don’t have to enjoin the good and forbid the evil? Nopes, nopes, nope!! See what happened:

A man came from the other side of the village to show his support to the message. Allah says, “Then there came running, from the farthest part of the City, a man, saying, ‘O my people! Obey the apostles. Obey those who ask no reward of you (for themselves), and who have themselves received Guidance’.” (36:20,21).

The people killed the man, but you know what? Death is not the end. Allah let him enter Jannah (and even then, he did not forget his people)

“It was said: ‘Enter the Garden.’ He said: ‘Ah me! Would that my People knew (what I know)! For that my Lord has granted me Forgiveness and has enrolled me among those held in honor!’” (36:26,27).

The believer in the Family of the Pharaoh:

Another example is the believer in the family of the Pharaoh. This one is a good example to those who are scared to speak up, lest they will get hurt. I mean, this believer spoke up against PHARAOH.

Are any of your friends as bad as Pharaoh? I don’t think so. Making enemies with Pharaoh was not something that you wanted to do, but you know what? This believer risked “getting into trouble” and spoke up for Moosa (Alyhee as saalm):

“A believer from the family of the Pharaoh who had hidden his faith said: ‘Would you kill a man because he says “my Lord is God” after coming to you with clear signs from your Lord?…’” (Quran 40:28)

“‘O my people! Yours is the kingdom today, you being dominant in the land. But who will save us from the torment God, should it befall us?

“‘O my people! How is it I invite you to salvation while you invite me to the Fire? You call on me to disbelieve in God and ascribe as partners unto Him that whereof I have no knowledge, while I call you unto the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving. The idols and gods you call me to have no claim in this world or in the Hereafter, and our return will be unto God, and the transgressors will be inheritors of the Fire. And you will remember what I have said unto you. I entrust my affairs to God. Verily! God is the Seer of (His) slaves.’

So, God warded off the evils that they plotted against him, while a dreadful doom encompassed the followers of the Pharaoh.” (Quran 40:41-45)

You see commanding the good and forbidding the evil shows that you have trust in Allah. And it is always rewarded!

Solomon’s Hoopoe (Hud-hud Solayman):

Do you know the story of the Hudhud? The hoopoe, a bird, who traveled far wanted to correct a Queen and her people.

Allah says “But the Hoopoe tarried not far: he (came up to Solomon and) said: “I have compassed (territory) which you have not compassed, and I have come to you from Sheba with tidings true.”

“Behold, I found there a woman ruling over them; and she has been given [abundance] of all [good] things, and hers is a mighty throne,

27:24 “I found her and her people worshipping the sun besides Allah. Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing in their eyes, and has kept them away from the Path,- so they receive no guidance,

27:25 So that they worship not Allah, Who bringeth forth the hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knoweth what ye hide and what ye proclaim,

And that is how Sulyman (Alyhee as salam) invited the Queen to Islam—and how eventually, they all became Muslim.

There are so many stories we could share. Let me tell you one that happened in my high school.

Despite the fact that my high school was 95% Muslim, and that it was segregated, the 12th grade planned on having a mixed prom…And they had to raise the money for this prom:

Now what happened was that the 12th grade also had to build a boat (which was supposed to cost 800 dirhams) for an English class project. But the boat in the end only cost 500 dhs. The English teacher was like “what do you want to do with the money?” And then A LOT OF girls started screaming “donate to the prom”. One girl spoke out, and she screamed “Charity.” This was the day after the Pakistani earthquake.

This other girl cracked a joke about prom donations being charity for grade12. The girl who spoke out said “30,000 people just died and you want to get money for a party?” Although this girl told me she was a bit scared to say that (an entire class against her), she did… and you know what? Members of the prom committee looked at her and actually told her “You’re right.”

The next day *or was it week?!*, that same girl that had cracked the joke about the money being charity for the 12th graders was going around collecting charity for Pakistan, encouraging others to do that. People had changed.

Also about prom. Two girls said something against it to the prom committee. All of a sudden, they found another group backing them up. You see, that group was waiting for somebody to say something so that it could say something—– who knows? If those two girls hadn’t taken the initiative to say something…………..perhaps the group’s silence would have been the only thing heard.

The truth is we have to stop waiting for others to speak up. We have to grab the oars ourselves…and save ourselves.

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  1. i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do)
  2. (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islâm has forbidden);

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