Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab
Questioner: The topic of boycotting another Muslim, is it allowed, O Shaikh?
Interjection: Regarding boycotting a Muslim, we spoke with the Ustaadh on the phone that day and then later delayed discussing the topic. Namely, the hadiths reported about boycotting a Muslim are well-known as is the great sin a Muslim commits by boycotting his Muslim brother. So we would like the Ustaadh [i.e., Shaikh al-Abaani] to speak about this topic, i.e., we are men …
Al-Albaani: There is no doubt that the topic of boycotting contains precision similar to the precision found in the topic of backbiting. The answer to these two matters is that just as it is not allowed for a Muslim to boycott another Muslim, in the same way it is not allowed for a Muslim to backbite another. And just as backbiting which is forbidden has a well-known exception in the Sharee’ah, in the same way boycotting has an exception in the Legislation.
So a Muslim boycotting another for other than a legislated reason is only permissible for three days, permissible for three days only, any more than that is haraam, due to the well-known hadith reported in the two Sahihs from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that he said, ‘It is not allowed for a Muslim to boycott his brother for more than three. They meet and so this one turns away from that one, and this one from that. And the best of them is the one who initiates giving the salutation to his brother.’
So in this hadith is a declaration of the forbiddance of boycotting along with an allowance to boycott for these three days or three nights. And in reality this is from the weakness of man which Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, created and described in His Saying, ‘And man was created weak.’ [Nisaa 4:28].
So our Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, was kind to him and so permitted him to vent some of his anger regarding his Muslim brother so it is permitted for him to boycott him for these three days and then the matter is over. If he increases upon that then the boycotting becomes forbidden according to the text of the hadith, at the start of which there occurred, ‘It is not allowed …’
As for what is exempted from that as we said … or as we alluded to the exemption from forbidden backbiting, [then as regards the exemption from boycotting] it is only when the impetus for it is to educate the one being boycotted and to try to turn him away from the opposition to the Sharee’ah that he may have fallen into.
So when a Muslim boycotts him for this purpose–and it, as is evident, is done with a reformative goal [in mind] for the person being boycotted–then it is permissible and if it is not done with this goal in mind then it is not permissible and the original ruling remains, i.e., that it is haraam after three days.
And amongst the people it frequently happens that a Muslim will boycott his brother over something material and not for a legislated purpose or wanting to educate the one being boycotted. Yet he will then falsely imagine that in boycotting his Muslim brother he is doing something good, whereas the reality is that he is not boycotting him because that person is perpetrating a matter or sin which he is continuing upon or sticking to, but [instead he is boycotting him] just to vent his own anger.
For this reason the issue of a Muslim boycotting his Muslim brother with the legislated boycotting is from the most precise affairs which it is obligatory upon the Muslim to be extremely careful from becoming entangled in and [as a result of such meddling] falling into it and thus–without realising or knowing–opposing the aforementioned hadith which forbids it.