Is It Allowed to Sit with Sinners and Delay Giving Them Advice in Order to Win Them Over in the End?
Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaimīn
Categorized under: Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil, Matters of the Tongue and Speech
Question to Shaikh Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ Al-ʿUthaimīn, may Allāh have mercy on him:
There are some Muslims from among those who [are known] for sins that we visit with the intention of calling to Allāh, Almighty and Majestic. But these [people] don’t attend gatherings of [Islamic] knowledge, and they’re far from Allāh, Almighty and Majestic.
We find [them to be upon various] sins, and sometimes they want to test us, with one of them turning on some songs in our presence. We don’t call them [to Allāh] in front of [other] people; instead, we [go] to them, to their homes, and we try to win over their hearts through repeated visits.
And we’ve found through experience that if we start off [right away with] them by telling them not to do the evils [they’re upon], they run away from us and won’t sit with us. However, through the grace of Allāh, Almighty and Majestic, we’re patient with that [which we see of sins from them], even if, sometimes, we hear some things that are prohibited [from them].
On the other hand, some brothers disapprove and say: “There is no option other than your prohibiting [them immediately] from the evils [that they’re upon].”
So should we tell them not to do [the] sins [they’re doing] straight away, or be patient [with them while they continue to sin] with the intention of calling to Allāh, Almighty and Majestic, [over time]?
One who’s involved in the prohibition of evils is like a doctor. Were a doctor to come before a wound and cut it open immediately to remove what’s in it, likely a greater harm would come about. But if he were to cut it bit by bit and had patience with whatever he smelled from it of rotten smells, the goal would be achieved.
So you [and those you were with] didn’t sit with people of evil doings wanting what they’re upon of evil doings; you only sat with them in order to call them to Allāh. And, in my thinking, any person of discerning intelligence, when a person upon goodness sits next to him, he leaves off the sin that he was upon.
In some cases, he [might] refuse to, or be stubborn about it and keep [doing the sin] or increase upon it, as you’ve said. But be patient. Then if you realize that there’s no hope in him [benefiting from you], then at that point, don’t sit with him [any more], and it becomes required [upon you] to separate from him.
Liqāʾ Al-Bāb Al-Maftūḥ, 17.