Enjoining good and forbidding evil
Allah, the Exalted, Says in the Quran (what means):
- "Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma`roof (i.e., Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.'' [Quran 3:104]
- "You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma`roof (i.e., Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden)''.[Quran 3:110]
- "Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don't punish them).''[Quran 7:199]
- "Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Dawood (David) and `Eesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). That was because they disobeyed (Allah and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing beyond bounds. They used not to forbid one another from the Munkar (wrong, evildoing, sins, polytheism, disbelief) which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do".[Quran 5:78, 79]
- "…We (i.e. Allah Almighty) rescued those who forbade evil, and with a severe torment We seized those who did wrong because they used to rebel against Allah's Command (disobey Allah)."[Quran 7:165]
Abu Sa`eed Al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is yet unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith". [Muslim]
This Hadeeth (narration) contains a very important prescription to prevent the Muslim society from all things which are forbidden in Islam. So long as Muslims adhered to it and ceaselessly and fearlessly performed their obligation of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, their society was largely safe from many evils and sins.
Nu`aman Ibn Basheer reported: The Prophet said: "The likeness of the man who observes the limits prescribed by Allah and that of the man who transgresses them is like a group of people who get on board a ship after casting lots. Some of them are in its lower deck and some of them in its upper (deck). Those who are in its lower (deck), when they require water, go to the occupants of the upper deck, and say to them: `If we make a hole in the bottom of the ship, we shall not harm you.' If they (the occupants of the upper deck) leave them to carry out their design they all will be drowned. But if they do not let them go ahead (with their plan), all of them will remain safe". [Al-Bukhari]
We learn from this Hadeeth that the consequences of committing acts which are forbidden in Islam are not confined only to those persons who commit them, but the whole society has to suffer the consequences. It is, therefore, essential that the people who are in the habit of committing sinful acts and violate Divine injunctions, should be checked to save the whole society from destruction. If this is not done, the entire society will have to face the Divine punishment.
The Prophet said, "Beware of sitting on roads (paths).'' The audience said: "We have them as sitting places.'' The Messenger said, "If you have to sit there, then observe the rights of the way". They asked, "What are the rights of the way?'' He said, "To lower your gaze (on seeing what is illegal to look at), removal of harmful objects from the way, returning greetings, and enjoining good and forbidding wrong". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
This Hadeeth tells us that it is improper to sit on roadsides and passages in such a way, which causes inconvenience to the people who pass by. It is really very unfortunate that now we do not care about such things at all. If sitting on the roadside is indispensable, then it is essential to observe the requirements mentioned in the Hadeeth.
Some Islamic etiquette mentioned in this Hadeeth have also been stated in other Hadeeth. For instance, politeness of speech, sharing of someone's burden, helping the oppressed and the troubled, guiding the wayward person to the right path, answering (in the prescribed manner) one who sneezes, etc.
`Abdullah Ibn `Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah saw a man wearing a gold ring. So the Prophet pulled it off and threw it away, saying, "One of you takes a live coal, and puts it on his hand?!'' It was said to the man after the Messenger had left: "Take your ring (of gold) and utilize it,'' whereupon he said: "No, by Allah, I would never take it after the Messenger of Allah has thrown it away". [Muslim]
We learn from this Hadeeth that wearing gold rings (and other golden ornaments) is prohibited for men. Unfortunately, nowadays it has become a fashion among some men wear gold rings to signify their marriage, which is a very dangerous custom that must be shunned.
`Aa'idh Ibn `Amr visited `Ubaidillah Ibn Ziyad (the ruler) and said to him: "Son, I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, 'The worst shepherds (rulers) are those who deal harshly in respect of supervision. Beware, don't be one of them!''' Ibn Ziyad said to him, "Sit down, you are but a husk from among the Companions of the Prophet '' `Aa'idh Ibn `Amr retorted: "Was there any husk among them? Surely, husk came after them and among others than them". [Muslim]
This Hadeeth presents a model of courage and boldness of speaking the truth before a tyrant. It was displayed by `Aa'idh in the court of 'Ubaidillah Ibn Ziyad, governor of Basrah. The latter humiliated `Aa'idh the righteous preacher, for his straight forwardness and truth but he repeated his statement about the eminence of the Companions of the Prophet and said none of them could be called husk.
Huthaifah reported: The Prophet said, "By Him in Whose Hand my life is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment to you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted". [Al-Tirmithi]
To abandon the practice of enjoining virtue and forbidding vice is likely to incur the displeasure of Allah and the rejection of prayers and supplications.