Seeking The Pleasure of The People Is an Unattainable Goal, So Fulfil Their Rights and Do Not Oppress Them, But Do Not Seek Their Pleasure To Displease Allaah!
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said:
What is obligatory to know is that neither is it conceivable to the intellect (i.e. the sound, intellect) nor (plausible) in the religion to seek the pleasure of the creation (i.e. mankind) due to two affairs:
Firstly: (Imaam) Ash-Shaafi’ee said: The people are an unattainable goal. Therefore, it is obligated on you to (pursue) the affair that rectifies your affairs (and) adhere to it; abandon its opposite and do not concern (yourself with) it.
Secondly: Indeed, we have been commanded to (seek) the pleasure of Allaah and His Messenger, as Allaah (The Most High) said: [وَاللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَقُّ أَن يُرْضُوهُ إِن كَانُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ – but it is more fitting that they should please Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), if they are believers (9:62)]
Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to fear Allaah and not fear anyone except Allaah, as Allaah (The Most High) said: [فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ – so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers (3:175)]
[فَلَا تَخْشَوُا النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ -Therefore fear not men but fear Me (5:44)]
[فَإِيَّايَ فَارْهَبُونِ – Then, fear Me (Allaah) much [and Me (Alone), i.e. be away from all kinds of sins and evil deeds that Allah has forbidden and do all that Allah has ordained and worship none but Allah (16:51)]
[وَإِيَّايَ فَاتَّقُونِ – and fear Me and Me Alone (2:41)]
It is incumbent upon us to fear Allaah – fear Allaah concerning the (rights) of the people; neither harm them with our hearts (i.e. unjustified hatred, envy etc) nor by way of our limbs (i.e. physical harm). Fulfil their rights with our hearts and limbs, but do not fear them and leave what Allaah and His Messenger commanded. The one who adheres to this path, the (good) end results will be his, just as Aa’isha wrote to Mu’aawiyah, (saying), ‘’To proceed: Indeed, whoever seeks the pleasure of the people at the expense of Allaah’s Pleasure will (earn) Allaah’s displeasure and Allah will cause the people to be displeased with him. And the praise of the people will become blame against him. And whoever seeks Allaah’s Pleasure at the expense of people’s pleasure, will (earn) Allaah’s Pleasure and Allah will cause the people to be pleased with him.”
So the believer’s consideration and intention is nothing else but to (seek) the pleasure of his (or her) Lord and to avoid His displeasure, and the (good) end result will be his (or hers) – ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله
[Majmoo 3/233…Abridged and slightly paraphrased]