Do not let yourselves be ‘yes-men’, saying: ‘If the people are good then we will be good, and if they are wrong then we will be wrong.’ Rather, make up your own minds, if the people are good then you are good, and if they are evil, then do not behave unjustly. (Jami`at-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4, Book 27, Hadith 113)
Islam is a religion that requires that its adherents are steeped in its basic tenets. One can’t claim to be a Muslim while being ignorant of the basic belief relating to the religion. It is only with a strong understanding that one’s belief can be correct.
If the understanding of the religion is weak, then the foundation of one’s religion is weak. How then can one be regarded as a follower of a religion they hardly know anything about?
The essence of having a true understanding and knowledge of the Islamic religion manifests itself in the way the person follows the religion. Those who have a good understanding of the deen are stronger Muslims. They often have a proper understanding that will help them withstand any attacks directed at them or the religion.
A Muslim with a weak understanding of the deen is like a tree with no firm roots. As heavy winds uproot such a tree, a weak Muslim is conflicted during the times of personal crisis or trials. They are neither here nor there. Such a person is loss in an abyss with no purpose.
That is not the ways of Muslims. A Muslim should be firm upon the truth no matter the prevailing circumstances. A Muslim is not the one who is swayed by the masses. “Don’t you see everybody is doing it?” Such a line of questioning is not for Muslims. We only imitate good and not bad. That is what the above Hadith teaches us.
This Hadith is so apt in the current dispensation that we live in. We live in a time when it is easy to do bad. The fact that so many are involved in bad makes it even easier to engage in bad as the pool of people with moral authority continues to dwindle on daily basis.
This Hadith reminds us that no matter the circumstances, we should steadfastly hold on doing good. Doing good means worshiping Allah as prescribed by Islam, accepting the superiority of Allah’s commandments and laws over and above all worldly ways of life and being good to one’s family, neighbors, humanity in general and the flora and fauna around you.
The goodness also goes beyond just doing good and staying away from evil. It extends to advising others to do good and reminding them to stay away from evil. A Muslim should preach by his actions not by his words alone. He should be firm in following the ways of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and he should not waver under any circumstances.
Life is a constant struggle. However, one’s Islam should not be swayed by the general worldview. Be firm in knowing that it is Allah the creator of the heavens and the earth that you serve. That is indeed heavy if you took time to ponder.