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What is better to isolate oneself or mix with the people?

Shaykh Fawzaan – What is better to isolate oneself or mix with the people?

In the name of Allaah, the All-Mighty, All-Wise. May peace, blessings and salutations be upon our Beloved Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions. As for what follows;
‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with them both, narrated that the Messenger of Allaah, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace, said:
الْمُؤْمِنُ الَّذِي يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ ، وَيَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ ، خَيْرٌ مِنَ الَّذِي لا يُخَالِطُ النَّاسَ ، وَلا يَصْبِرُ عَلَى أَذَاهُمْ
“The believer who mixes with the people and endures their annoyances is better than the one who does not mix with them and does not endure their annoyances.”
[Related by Ibn Maajah with a good chain of narrators. At-Tirmidhi reported thishadeeth without mentioning the Companion]
Shiekh Saalih ibn Fouzaan al-Fouzaan, may Allaah preserve him, explains this noblehadeeth by saying:
“At-Tirmidhi reported this hadeeth without mentioning the Companion,” the absence of knowing the Companion isn’t an issue because all of them are upright and trustworthy even if they aren’t mentioned by name. This doesn’t do any harm in the science of hadeeth.
This hadeeth is about isolation and intermingling with the people. A person is sociable by nature as it has been said meaning that he cannot live alone by himself without any interaction with the creation. He needs the people and they need him likewise. However if there is evil or those who you are mixing with are upon evil, is it correct to isolate yourself from them or mingle with them?
The Messenger, may Allaah bless him and grant him peace, explained in this hadeeththat “The believer who mixes with the people and endures their annoyances…”This is the condition that he endures their harm and annoyances “is better than the one who does not mix with them adn does not endure their annoyances.” If your mixing with the people brings about rectification, inviting to Allaah, teaching the people good, commanding what is right, forbidding what is wrong, etc then this interaction is recommended.
Allaah says: “O my son! Aqim-is-Salat (perform As-Salat), enjoin (people) for Al-Ma’ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all that is good), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief in the Oneness of Allah, polytheism of all kinds and all that is evil and bad), and bear with patience whatever befall you. Verily! These are some of the important commandments ordered by Allah with no exemption.” [31:17]
And He says: “By Al-’Asr (the time).Verily! Man is in loss,Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma’ruf) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.).” [103:1-3]
So the one who mixes with the people, corrects them, calls to Allaah, commands the good and forbids the evil, teaches the ignorant, aids the needy, reconciles between the people is better than the one who stays away.
The one who isolates himself escapes the harm and evil of the people however the one who mixes with them and endures their harms is better. This is the eplanation of this matter of interaction and isolation from the people. If mixing with them will result in good then it’s better than isolation.
But if mixing with the people is going to result in the person being affected negatively by them and not positively affecting them, then isolation is best in this scenario.”
Translated from: ‘Tasheelul Ilmaam bi fiqhil Ahaadeeth min Bulooghil Maraam’ by Sheikh Saalih al-Fouzan.

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