How is one supposed to deal with Muslims, who are not performing their duties to Allah? I have got a variety of responses some of which say that the sahaba used to beat people who did not say Sala’h. To me, this seems contrary to the personality of the Prophet , but I do not know. Is it right for a Muslim to admonish another Muslim severely if they feel that the particular brother or sister is not on the path? Or should one follow the Qur’anic statement that only Allah knows “who goes astray”?
Muslims who are not performing their duties toward their Lord are committing a great sin. We must try to correct their attitudes. However, the only way that we can adopt in doing so, is Da`wah (Propagating the true message of Islam). We must not go beyond this limit. We must try to assess the reason, which is stopping them from their duties, and then try to remove the hindrances that, according to our understanding, lie in their way of following the directives of Islam, even after ascribing to its beliefs. Most of the time, you shall see that they have unanswered questions regarding Islam. Sometimes, there may even be other reasons. Whatever reasons you believe that they have, you must try to remove those reasons and from the depth of your heart, try to be a real well wisher for them; pray to God for their guidance; but always try to be positive in your approach. Don’t start with “Stop doing this”. On the contrary, always start with “Start doing this”. For instance, if any of your friends is into drinking, don’t tell him to “Stop Drinking”… rather tell him to start reading and understanding the Qur’an and offering prayers to his Lord, to show his gratitude for all the mercy that the Lord has bestowed upon him. In this way, when the Qur’an finds a way to your friend’s heart, he will automatically stop “drinking”.
Always remember, my brother, adding something good to your life leaves you lesser time to get yourself involved in something wrong. So, all you should do is to give a positive activity to your friends. This positive activity, whenever it finds its way to the person’s heart shall itself remove some negative activity from his life. Subsequently, try to keep increasing upon these positive activities in a very slow and gradual way… ultimately, these positive activities (good deeds) shall, with the help and grace of the Merciful replace all the negative activities (bad deeds) from their lives.
Nevertheless, even after all your efforts, you must remember that it is ultimately up to the individual. We cannot MAKE an individual follow the right path, all that we can do is to make following of the right path a little easier for him. Indeed, it is ultimately the decision of the All-knowing and the All-wise regarding who, among men deserves to be guided to the right path and who does not.
As far as beating anyone for doing wrong is concerned, such can only be done in a position of authority. Thus, a father or a mother may admonish their children, if they believe that such reprimand will result in any good. Likewise, A teacher can punish his student and a head of a state can punish a criminal living in his state, etc. Without such legal and moral authority, no one has any legal or moral grounds for “beating” someone else.