Hadrat Anas, may Allāh be pleased with him narrates that the Prophet of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be on him) said: “Help your brother be he the oppressor or the oppressed.” The companions said, “O Prophet of Allāh, we understand that we should help him when he is the aggrieved party but how should we help him when he is the wrongdoer?” He said, “Hold his hand.”
This wonderful Ḥadīth is a compendium of the philosophy of brotherhood and the philosophy of ethics. The philosophy of brotherhood postulates that a brother should be helped be he the oppressor or the oppressed; brotherliness is not a value that can be ignored or omitted in any circumstances. One who is our brother is always deserving of help. His being the guilty or the injured party does not affect his right to receive help. As against this, the philosophy of morality postulates that whether we have to deal with a brother or a stranger, it is our duty, in any case, to cleanse this world of all injustice and vice and to establish virtue and justice. If a person happens to be a stranger, it does not mean that we are free to do him wrong and if someone is our brother, it would not mean that we should therefore abet his injustice and be his accessories.
The God of Islam would not permit injustice and enjoins equity even to enemies. Therefore, the two postulates should be so harmonized that help should be rendered to the brother in any case but, if the brother is an oppressor the form of help should be changed. If he is the oppressed party, stand by him to fight injustice, but if he is the wrongdoer, then embrace him and hug him hard and hold tight his oppressive hand and say, “Brother I stand by you, in all circumstances but Islām does not permit injustice and therefore, I will not let your hand do wrong.” This is the sacred principle that the Holy Prophet (peace of Allāh be on him and His blessings) has laid down in this Ḥadīth.
Taken from Forty Gems of Beauty