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Enjoining Good, Forbidding Evil: 1

05 Jul 2017
Enjoining Good, Forbidding Evil: 1

Syed Jawed Anwar

In my previous column, I mentioned three main evils of our society (North America) and God’s responses (commandments). These three evils are:

  1. Shirk (partnering other gods with Allah). This is the master of all evils (shirk in all segments of life --political, social, economy, judicial, religious, cultural, etc.).
  2. Riba (transactions involving interest and usury).
  3. Act of nation of Lut (Lot) (homosexuality, LGBT culture).

And then I mentioned Allah’s order in Qur’an:

“And from among you there must be a party who invites people to all that is good and enjoins the doing of all that is right and forbids the doing of all that is wrong. It is they who will attain true success” (Qur’an 3: 104).

 Addressing Muslims, Allah says:

 “You are now the best people brought forth for (the guidance and reform of) mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. Had the People of the Book believed it were better for them. Some of them are believers but most of them are transgressors” (Qur’an 3: 110)

Enjoining what is good (al-ma’roof) and forbidding what is evil (al-munkar) is one of the basic principles of the Deen of Islam.

 “Those of the Children of Israel who took to unbelief have been cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus, son of Mary, for they rebelled and exceeded the bounds of right. They did not forbid each other from committing the abominable deeds they committed” (Qur’an 5: 78-79).

Qur’an mentions Luqman addressing his son:

“Son, establish prayer, enjoin all that is good and forbid all that is evil, and endure with patience whatever affliction befalls you. Surely these have been emphatically enjoined” (Qur’an 31: 17). 

“Allah will certainly help those who, were We to bestow authority on them in the land, will establish prayers, render Zakah, enjoin good, and forbid evil. The end of all matters rests with Allah” (Qur’an 22: 41).

Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil is a mission which is for all places, all nations, and all times till the day of Qiyamah (Last Day). It is an obligation upon all the Muslims --rulers and subjects, men and women, each according to his or her circumstances. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand [by taking action if you have power and authority]; and, if he cannot, then with his tongue [by speaking out]; and, if he cannot, then with his heart [by feeling that it is wrong], and that is the weakest of faith” (Hadith, narrated by Muslim, 49).

Ibn Masood (R. A.) was once asked, "Who are the living dead?", to which he replied, "He who does not acknowledge the right as such, and does not reject the wrong." He is referring to the person described in the following agreed-upon hadith who consistently failed to reject wrong when tested. The Prophet said, "Tests are shown to the hearts like a straw mat, straw by straw. Whichever heart accepts them and absorbs them, gets a black spot placed on it, and whichever heart rejects them, gets a white, clear spot on it. This goes on until the hearts are of two types: a heart which is white, smooth, and clear like a polished stone, which will not be harmed by further trials or tests for as long as the heavens and the earth last; and another dark and blemished; it is like a hook turned over the wrong way on which nothing can be hung; it neither acknowledges what is right nor rejects what is wrong, except for that which happens to coincide with its lusts and inclinations with which this heart has become fully absorbed" (Enjoining Right & Forbidding Wrong by Ibn Taymiyya , translated by Salim Abdallah ibn Morgan, pp 8, 9).

Allah said by way of description of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam):

“Today this mercy is for those who follow the ummi Prophet, whom they find mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel with them. He enjoins upon them what is good and forbids them what is evil. He makes the clean things lawful to them and prohibits all corrupt things, and removes from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them. So those who believe in him and assist him and succour him and follow the Light which has been sent down with him; it is they who shall prosper” (Qur'an 7: 157).

“Believing men and believing women are the protecting friends of each other; they enjoin right and they forbid wrong” (Qur’an 9: 71).

Syed Jawed Anwar can be reached at Jawed@seerahwest.com


Assalam-o-Alaikum: No doubt you have pointed out correctly the 3 major evils not only of our society in North America but all over the world. Injustice to Allah (SWT) is the greatest injustice (zulum-e- azeem), but Great is Allah (SWT) who still takes care of more than 2/3 of the world who do not believe in Him. I am a medical oncologist and try to tell my patients to thank their Creator when I give them good news. Somehow Jesus still comes in the conversation. I quote Hazrat Suleiman (as) when he mentioned ''Hadah min fadli rabbi'' in surah Al-Naml. Recently, a friend of the family with cancer passed away. She was from Singapore. I tried my best for her to understand and accept the one Creator but in return she showed me a video about the holy father reaching out with his hand and saving her. It is very challenging for me to see all my patients dying not believing in the Creator and expecting a royal reception when they move to the other world. Hidayat only comes from Allah (SWT) and like our great Prophet (PBUH) we can only act as bashir and nazir. No doubt shirk is zulum-e-azeem and unfortunately man is doing this injustice to himself or herself. It will not impact the greatness of Allah (SWT). Appreciate your writing on this topic.

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