Once the Companions of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam asked him: *'0 Messenger of Allah! (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) can we people be destroyed even when there are certain pious God-fearing persons among us?" He answered: "Yes, when evil deeds predominate in a society."
Nowadays the Muslims are generally anxious about the decline and fall of this Ummah, and they suggest certain plans to stop this decline, but they never consider as to what is the main cause of our decline. They fail to identify the true reason of our spiritual and moral decline, particularly when the proper remedy has been told by Allah and Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.
The Decline Of The Bani Israa-eel
It has been reported by Ibn Mas'ood (Radhiyallaho anha) that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "The decline and fall of Bani Israa-eel started thus: when the pious among them saw certain sins being committed by the transgressors, they forbade them from doing the same; but when the sinners did not repent, the pious because of their relationship and friendship continued to mix with them. So, when this state of affairs began to prevail, Allah caused their hearts to be accursed in the same manner." (i.e. the hearts were also affected with the disobedience of the transgressors).
Then in support of this, the Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam recited a verse of the Holy Qur'an, which says:
'The disobedient and the transgressors among the Bani Israa-eel were accursed by Allah.'
On this, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam emphatically instructed his Companions: "(To avoid such decline) you people must enjoin upon others to do good deeds and prevent them from doing forbidden things; you should restrain every tyrant from tyranny and invite him towards truth and justice.”
Another hadith says that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam was reclining comfortably when, suddenly overcome with emotion, he sat up and said: I swear by Allah that you people cannot attain salvation, unless you prevent the tyrants from tyranny."
Nowadays it is considered a virtue to be at peace with all, and to please everyone on every occasion. They say it is a requirement of good manners with the evildoers.
Obviously, this is a wrong policy, because at most there may be some religious sanction for keeping quiet in extreme case, but never for falling in line with the tyrants and transgressors. At the very least, everyone must instruct those people to do good whom he easily can influence for instance: his subordinates, his servants, his wife, his children, and his relations. In such circumstances, to be absolutely silent about forbidding evil is unpardonable before Allah.
Hadhrat Sufyaan Thowri says: "Whoever is very popular with his relations and neighbours, we suspect him to be compromising in preaching the true teachings of religion."
Evil Effects Of Sin Committed Openly
Numerous traditions say that when a sin is committed secretly, its harm is generally limited to the sinner only; but when a sin is committed openly, and those possessing the capability do not prevent it, then it ultimately affects all the people around.
Now everyone can see for himself, how many sins are committed before him every day, and he, in spite of having the power to prevent them neglects to do so. And it is a pity that, if anyone gets up to put the wrong down, the ignorant and shameless people oppose him instead of co-operating with him.
Hadhrat Jareer bin Abdullah (Radhiyallaho anho) says, "I heard Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam saying: "When a sin is committed before an individual or a group and they do not prevent it, in spite of having the capability, then Allah inflicts a severe punishment on them before their death.'' (Targheeb)
Let Us Do Some Introspection
0 my friends who desire the improvement of Islam and the Muslims! now you have clearly seen the causes of our decline. Not to speak of strangers, we generally do not prevent even our own family and our subordinates from wrong-doing.
We do not even make up our minds to prevent evil, much less doing something practical about it. Whatever our own son does against the Commandments of Allah, we do not check him even; but if he takes some interest in politics, or mixes up in a certain political party, we are seriously anxious not only about him, but about our own safety and honour. Then we warn him and also think about some plans to be safe and secure from any harm; but on the other hand, when he transgresses against Allah's Commandments, we are never anxious about the life in the Hereafter, and about the Reckoning of the Day of Judgement.
Sometimes you know full well that your son is addicted to some idle pursuits and is very lax in his prayers, but you have no courage to prevent him from such habits, or to chastise him, although Allah has clearly commanded you to be severe in uprooting such evils and even sever relations with the transgressor.
There is many a father who would be angry with his son, because he is lazy and does not attend to his studies or services or business properly, but is there anyone who is angry with his son, because he does not perform the fundamental observances of Islam?
As a matter of fact, the adverse effect of this negligence is not limited to the great loss in the Hereafter but it is a pity this evidently extends to our worldly affairs and interests also, which are so dear to us. This blindness of ours is horrible, for Allah says:
"Whoever is blind in this world, he will be surely blind in the Hereafter."
And such transgressors have taken leave of their senses because "Allah has sealed up their hearts, and on
their ears and eyes there are veils (so they neither hear nor see the truth)."
The Rights of The Kalimah
It has been reported by Hadhrat Anas (Radhiyal-laho anho) that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: "So long as a person says "La ilaaha iilallaah" (no one is worthy of worship but Allah), he receives spiritual benefits, and is saved from miseries and calamities, unless he neglects its rights." His Companions said: "0 Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, how are its rights neglected?" He answered: "When sins are committed openly, and the person who recites the kalimah does not prevent the sinners from wrongdoings." (Targheeb)
Now you can yourself consider how very often sins are committed during these times, yet there is no serious attempt to check or prevent them. In such a dangerous and ungodly atmosphere, the very existence of the Muslims in the world is a great blessing of Allah, otherwise we are inviting ruination through all possible means.
Warning for the Pious
Hadhrat Aa-ishah (Radhiyallaho anha) asked Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, "When the punishment of Allah befalls the inhabitants of any locality, does it affect the pious, just as it affects the guilty?" Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam answered: "Yes, it does affect all of them in this world, but at the Resurrection the pious will be separated from the guilty." Therefore, those people who are simply satisfied with their own piety, and do not participate in improving others should not rest assured that they are safe from the punishment of the Almighty. If any chastisement is inflicted by Allah, they too will be involved in it.
(Adapted from Fazaail Aamaal)