Shaykh Ibraheem Ar-Ruhaylee said, “The da’ee who is involved in calling people to this deen has two legislated paths that he can follow in doing such, which are supported by evidences (from the Quran and the Sunnah):
1- The path of Leniency and Encouragement.
2- The path of Boycotting and Chasing People Away.
The truth of the matter is that he is mistaken if he treads either path absolutely with everybody.
Rather it is appropriate for him to take the path, with everyone who opposes the truth, which is more likely to bring about his acceptance of the truth and his return to what is correct.
So if leniency is more beneficial for the one who is disobedient, and more likely to bring about his rectification and reformation then this is what is legislated. But if boycotting is better and more effective then this is what is legislated.
If he takes the path of leniency with the one who legislatively deserves to be boycotted then he is considered to be negligent and remissful. And whoever takes the path of boycotting with the one who deserves to be treated with kindness then he is considered to be someone who is harsh, rigorous and chases people away.
Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “This type of boycotting varies depending on the strength and competence of the ones practicing the boycott, as well as their weakness and incompetence in doing such.
It also depends on their multitude and scarcity. Without a doubt, the objective of boycotting is to reprimand and discipline the one being boycotted, and to keep the layman from immolating him.
So if the benefit in this is preponderant and more likely to lessen the evil then boycotting becomes recommended and admissible and if not, rather, none is deterred from this act of disobedience, not the one being boycotted nor other than him but it only intensifies the evil along with the weakness and incompetence of the one boycotting, to the point that harm out weighs the benefit, then at this point boycotting is not recommended.
For leniency is more beneficial and effective for some people than boycotting, and boycotting is more beneficial and effective from some people than leniency.
Due to this, the Prophet used to be lenient with some people and boycott others. Just like it is legislatively recommended to go to war with the enemy sometimes and at others to make a truce, and sometimes to take the Jizyah (land tax which the disbelievers, who reside in the land of the Muslims to pay for their safety and protection) from them.
All of this is dependent on the circumstances and benefits in doing so, and the response of the Imaams (of Ahlus Sunnah) like Imaam Ahmad and others in relation to this issue is founded upon this principle(1).”
Shaykhul Islam then clarifies the mistake of the one who applies boycotting and leniency absolutely in every situation without consideration of the principle mentioned previously:
“Indeed there are those who apply boycotting and leniency absolutely. They apply boycotting and reprimand at times in which they were not commanded to, and because they didn’t do what they were ordered they didn’t attain the outcome they desired. Perhaps by applying this boycotting they have abandoned some of the obligatory acts (of worship) and the recommended acts (of worship).
Also by doing so, they have embarked upon some of the forbidden acts, as opposed to those who have abandoned (boycotting) altogether, for they don’t boycott those whom they were commanded to, from those who indulge in evil innovated practices(2).”
1. Majmoo’ Fatawah by Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah Vol.28 P.206
2. Majmoo’ Fatawah Vol.28 P.213
Ref: Advice to the Youth of Ahlus Sunnah
Posted by Abdul Kareem Ibn Ozzie