Question: When is it permitted to cut off (i.e. boycott) from an Innovator? When is it permitted to hate for the sake of Allaah? Is boycotting effective in this era?
Response: The believer looks at these situations from the angle of Imaan and the Sharee’ah, free from desires. If boycotting the innovator and being distant from him does not lead to a greater evil
then boycotting him is correct, and the least level it reaches is that it is Sunnah (i.e. recommended but not obligatory). Similar to this is boycotting a person whose disobedience is public, and makes it apparent – the least level it reaches is that it is Sunnah (i.e. recommended but not obligatory).
However, if not boycotting [such people] is better for their rectification – because a person considers it more effective to give Da’wah to the innovators, direct them to the Sunnah, teach them what Allaah has obligated upon them and wanting [good] for them – then one should not be hasty in boycotting them.
Despite this, a person should hate them for the sake of Allaah; hate the disbeliever for the sake of Allaah and also hate the disobedient people for the sake of Allaah. [He should hate these people] according to their level of sin and according to their level of innovation. One’s hate for the disbeliever is more severe; and the hate towards an innovator is according to his innovation. If his innovation is not an innovation of disbelief then to this level; and the sinner according to his level of sinning. Also, he is loved for the sake of Allaah according to his level of Islaam.
As for boycotting, [the issue] contains some detail. Ibn AbdilQawiyy (may Allaah have mercy upon him) said in his famous poem,
It is said that if [boycotting] restrains him, it is obligatory and more emphasised
and boycotting a person who openly shows his sins is recommended
Greet him with a gloomy face…
And it is said [boycotting] is obligatory as long as he [sins] in open
In summary, the most correct and better opinion is that a person considers what is more beneficial [in boycotting or not boycotting].
The Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) boycotted a group of people, but did not do so with another group of people. [He did this] considering the Islamic legislated benefit. He boycotted Ka’b Ibn Maalik and his two companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) when they stayed behind in the Battle of Tabuk without any valid excuse. He boycotted them fifty nights until they repented, and Allaah forgave them.
However he did not boycott Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salool and a group of others who were accused of hypocrisy. This was due to certain legislated reasons that necessitated [not boycotting]. So a believer has to consider what is of more benefit.
This however does not negate hating the disbeliever for the sake of Allaah; hating the innovator for the sake of Allah; hating a sinner for the sake of Allaah; [whilst at the same time] loving a Muslim for the sake of Allaah, loving a sinner according to the level of his Islaam and loving an innovator as long as his innovation has not caused him to become a disbeliever – [the innovator is loved] according to his level of Islaam.
As for boycotting them, one should consider the potential benefit: If by boycotting them, some goodness is hoped and it is hoped they will repent to Allaah from their sin, then [in this case] the recommendation is to boycott. A group of scholars considered it to be an obligation in this situation, they said it is an obligation.
If in boycotting them or not boycotting them, the expected outcome is the same, i.e. there is no evil nor good, then it is better to boycott them, implementing this legislated act, and also making clear the obligation of forbidding an evil. In such a case, boycotting them is better and safer, and also to teach the people their sin and mistake.
The second situation is where boycotting them leads to a disadvantage, a greater evil. In this situation, a person should not boycott them. If by boycotting this innovator, his evil upon the people will increase, and he will advance further in spreading his message to innovations, and his innovations and evil will increase
He will exploit the boycotting in calling the people to falsehood. [In such an instance] he is not to be boycotted, rather debated, and the people are to be warned against him. The people should not be too distant from him so they can observe his actions, so they can prevent him expanding his innovations and so they can warn the people from him. They should constantly give him Da’wah. Perhaps Allaah will guide him and people can be safe from his evil.
Similar to this is a person who sins in public, if by leaving and boycotting him will result in his evil becoming widespread and he will gain some influence over the people then he is not to be boycotted. Rather he should always be debated and disputed; people should be constantly warned against his evil so they can be safe from it and so trials and tribulations do not occur due to his sins. We ask Allaah for safety
Translated by Naveed Ayaaz Abul Abaass courtousy of Madeenah.com