The Prophet (pbuh) said in a very famous Hadith, “Whoever sees something wrong should change it, with his hand. If he can’t, then with his tongue. If he can’t then with his heart and that is the weakest of faith.” The prophet, by this hadith, mandated everyone to change that which is wrong. All of us are obligated to do so. Sometimes, we are able to directly change what is wrong when we have an authority to do so. When we can’t, the obligation does not drop. It continues to be mandatory but through speaking against it so that people who can change it, change it. This is pretty straight forward and obvious.
What is interesting is the third statement. What if you can’t speak against it? You may think that the obligation is now dropped. The prophet tells you that you have to change it by your heart. Change by my heart? We all understand how to change directly (by hand), or indirectly (by speaking). But how is it that we can change things by heart?
There are many situations where we can’t change what is wrong or even speak against it. A famous and very practical situation is, for example, when a co-worker tells a story about something he did and is excited about and we believe it is wrong. Sometimes, it is not appropriate to speak against it or, sometimes, we are not equipped to speak against it. We simply let it go. We go through many similar things during our daily life: in school, at work, in the mall, etc. that we believe is wrong. Often times, we are unable to correct it or speak against it. We simply let go.
This “ignore” or “let go” actions cause a subtle yet very detrimental problem. And this problem is not that there will be many wrong things. Rather, we will lose our taste for what is right and what it wrong. Over time, we simply get used to the wrong and feel no problem with it. That is extremely dangerous.
The Prophet is saying, [paraphrasing] no, do not let go. Do not simply ignore. You still have the obligation to “reject” the wrong by your heart. You have to tell yourself this is wrong. I believe it is wrong. I dislike it. I will continue to dislike it. It is not ok.
After reflecting on his Hadith, I understood very much the statement prophet Lut said to his people when he tried every possible thing with them and they did not respond to his advice. He said, as Allah presented in the Qur’an “… I do detest your deeds!” I used to say, what is the point of saying that! We know that he does. Now I know 🙂
How would the Prophet call that a “change” by the heart? How does that change the wrong? Well, reflect!