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You Cannot Please Everyone

Muslims are encouraged to love and hate for the sake of Allāh alone. If the people’s wrath is earned in the pursuit of Allāh’s pleasure, He will relieve them of their afflictions.

A man said to al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (رحمه الله): The people sit around you so that they may find fault with you!’ So he said,

‘Indeed, I encouraged my soul to aspire for Paradise so it aspired for it. Then I encouraged it to aspire for salvation from Hellfire and so it aspired for it.

Then I encouraged it to aspire for salvation from the people, but I didn’t find a way to do that. Indeed, the people were not pleased with their Creator although He provided for them, so how can they be pleased with another creation like themselves?’1

Prophet Mūsá (عليه السلام) said: ‘O my Lord, the people say things about me which are not (i.e. not true)! So Allāh revealed to him: ‘O Mūsá, I did not make that (privilege) for Myself, so how can I make it the case for you?’2

Mālik ibn Dinār: ‘Since I have known (the reality of) people, I have not taken delight in their praise nor have I hated their criticism.’ It was said to him, ‘Why is that?’ He said, ‘The one who praises from amongst them is excessive and the critic from amongst them exaggerates!”3

‘Āʿishah (raḍī Allāhu ʿanha) wrote to Mu’awiya (raḍī Allāhu ʿanhu): ‘Salamun ʿalayk. Amma baʿd, I have heard the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) say, ‘Whoever gains the Pleasure of Allāh by the anger of the people (i.e. thereby gains their anger), Allāh suffices him of the people’s troubles. And whoever gains the pleasure of the people by the Anger of Allāh (i.e. in the process he gains His Anger), then Allāh leaves him to the people.’ Wa-Salāmu ʿalayk.’4

Imam al-Shāfiʿī: ‘There is nobody except that he has someone who loves him and someone who hates him. So if that’s the case, let a person be with the people who are obedient to Allāh `azza wa jall!’ (as they love and hate for the Sake of Allāh and they are not unjust).5

1. Al-Bidāyah wal-Nihāyah (9/318 )
2. Al-Adāb al-Shar’iyyah by Ibn Muflih (1/38 )
3. Tarikh Dimishq (59/307)
4. Reported by al-Tirmidhī in Kitab al-Zuhd (no. 2414), declared Ṣaḥīḥ by al-Albānī
5. Hilyat al-Awliyah (9/124)

Published: September 7, 2023
Edited: September 7, 2023


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