There are Two Types of People: The Salih and The Muslih

There are two kinds of righteous people in this world. One is a صالح and the other is a مصلح. One is a righteous person while the other is a reformer who aspires to bring about righteousness in others. They might sound the same, but the truth is they are worlds apart. For starters, righteous people are loved, while those who try to reform society are quite often despised. Just look at the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Before Prophethood, he was loved by all and praised for his righteousness, but the second he became a Prophet and attempted to bring about righteousness amongst others and called them away from evil; his people started to turn against him. Nevertheless, the truth is, reformers who establish righteousness will always be far greater in the eyes of Allah than those who restrict their righteousness to themselves. In fact, Allah in the Quran states:

وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ لِيُهْلِكَ الْقُرَىٰ بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا مُصْلِحُونَ

“And it is not for your Lord to destroy the cities in oppression while their people were reformers.”

Quran 11:117

Allah specifically makes mention that so as long as reformers are present amongst a disbelieving people; they will not be destroyed. He didn’t say so as long as there are righteous people صالحون, but rather reformers of righteousness مصلحون. For this reason we should always aspire to be of those who are not only righteous, but also those who bring about righteousness amongst those around us.