The disapproval of something evil is of four types or levels.
The first; That it is removed and the opposite takes it’s place.
The second; That it is reduced, even if it is not removed completely.
The third; That it is replaced with something like it.
The fourth; That it is replaced by something worse than it.
The first two types are both legislated in Islam. The third type is left up to the ijtihaad (or reasoning) of the scholars. The fourth type is forbidden in Islam.
So if you saw some sinners playing as straanj (a forbidden game), then for you to show disapproval about this is not using your fiqh (understanding) except that you move them to doing something that is more beloved to Allah and His Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him). For instance you can change it for archery, or racing riding beasts and things of this sort.
Just like if you saw some sinners, and they have come together for vain speech playing and those things that come with these things, if you were to get them doing something in the obedience of Allah, then this is what is desired. Leaving them upon this is better then freeing them up to do that which is worse than what they were previously evolved in. This is because that which they were doing was actually busying them from doing something worse.
Another situation is if you found someone busying themselves with books of vain talk and imaginary things which are way less harmful then if they were to be busying themselves with books of innovation, misguidance and magic. In this situation it is better to leave this individual with their first set of books.
I heard Sheikh ul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah put light in his grave) say, “I and some of my companions were going about during the time of the Tatar. We passed by a group of them that were drinking alcohol. Someone that was with me showed their disapproval to what they were doing, so I let him know that what he did was incorrect. I explained to him that Allah forbade alcohol because it prevents from remembrance of Allah and from prayer. But as for these people, it prevents them from killing, multiplying and stealing money, so leave them”.
[Tranlated from I’laamil Muwaqqi’een by Ibn Qiyyam al Jawziyyah]
[Translated by Abu Abdillah Abdul Lateef]