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the authority of Abu Sa'id al-Khudri, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, say:
"When any one of you sees anything that is disapproved
(of by Allah), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to
do so, then let him change it with his tongue. And if he is not able
to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the
weakest (kind of) faith."
essence of the Islamic da'wah is enjoining the good and forbidding
the evil, since whenever a person conveys the Message, he is enjoining
good and forbidding evil. Therefore, it is a mistake to consider these
two as separate matters, since they are actually performed concurrently
and are synonymous.
The main objective
in fulfilling this obligation is to attain and maximize benefits, and
to eliminate or minimize harm.
possessed by a Caller who enjoins the good and forbids the evil
- Ikhlas (Sincerity) - since enjoining the good and forbidding
the evil becomes an action pleasing to Allah and accepted by Him only
if it is done with sincerity for Him.
(Knowledge) - as Allah commands:
Say: This is my path, I do call to Allah upon clear knowledge.
[Surah Yusuf (12): Ayah 108]
This is an important condition since the Caller must know what matters
are good, so he enjoins it, and what matters are evil, so he forbids
it. In Ibn Taymiyyah's
al-Amar it is stated that it is necessary to possess the knowledge
of good and evil and of the difference between them, and it is necessary
to know the situation of the person being commanded or forbidden.
(Wisdom) - which means saying or doing the right thing in the right
way at the right time to the right person, as prescribed by Allah
in His statement:
the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition.
[Surah an-Nahl (16): Ayah 125]
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote: Enjoin the good in a good way and do not forbid
the evil in an evil way.
(Forbearance) and Rifq (Gentleness) - especially in the face
of opposition from the people. As Allah said to His Messenger, sallallahu
And by the Mercy of Allah you were able to deal gently with them.
If you had been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away
[Surah al-Imran (3): Ayah 159]
The Prophet, sallallahu
'alayhi wasallam, also said: Indeed gentleness does not
enter into anything except it beautifies it, nor is it removed from
anything except that it makes it ugly [Reported by Imam Muslim].
(Patience) - since the people whom the Caller opposes in enjoining
good and forbidding evil, may be stubborn to his call and may even
try to harm him.
Ibn Taymiyyah says in al-Istiqaamah, concerning the call to the good
and away from the evil: Knowledge must precede it, gentleness must
accompany it and patience must follow it. Shaikh al-Humaid, the teacher
of Shaikh Ibn Baz, said, in an explanation of Surah al-'Asr that Allah
makes an oath that mankind will be in a state of deficiency, except
with four conditions, which are: (a) iman, (b) good actions, (c) encouraging
each other to the truth which means enjoining the good and forbidding
the evil, and (d) encouraging each other to patience, which is required
after enjoining good and forbidding evil. Furthermore each person
will have a level of deficiency in accordance with the level of lack
of any of these four.
(Humility) - since the people will not heed if the Caller is arrogant
or he seeks to put himself above others.
(Good example) - for the Caller himself becomes a model to the people
to whom he calls, doing those things which he enjoins and leaving
those things which he forbids. Allah says:
O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do. It is
a most hateful thing to Allah that you say that which you do not do.
[Surah as-Saff (61): Ayah 2-3]
(Good listening) - which is that the Caller is attentive to the needs
and feelings and also the complaints of the people whom he calls.
(Courage) - which does not refer to strength of the body; rather it
is the strength of the heart, together with knowledge - this differentiates
between true courage and mere recklessness.
Scholars say that
before using the hand, we should start with advice, warning the people
of the consequence of evil and encouraging and motivating them to good
actions. When this method has been fully utilised and there is no change
in the people, only then is it permissible to use the hand.
says that the Caller must predict the consequences of what he says or
do, whether by hand or by tongue.
If it is very likely
that, as a result of attempting to change the evil, the Caller himself
or another person will be harmed, then changing the situation is no longer
obligatory upon him. Here harm does not refer to insults or curses, but
to physical injury such as being beaten or killed. Harm can also mean
that a bad reputation is spread concerning the Caller. Ibn Qudaamah also
includes financial loss, whether immediate or later, to such an amount
which the Caller cannot afford.
People differ in
their ability to change things; in general, when someone is higher in
his rank or authority, then there is more responsibility on him to remove
of Inkaarul-Munkar (Forbidding what is evil)
- Prioritise the evil, thus beginning with the higher priority before
(Being gradual). Note the gradual method by which Allah made the drinking
of wine forbidden: Firstly, by saying that there were benefits in
it and harm in it but the harm outweighed the benefits; secondly,
by forbidding the people to approach the prayer in a drunken state;
and finally, by an outright prohibition. This step-by-step method
does not imply that wine was not forbidden in the early stages, but
it is a methodology from which we can benefit.
- Do not look
for people's faults. Qadi Abu Ya'laa has noted an exception to this
principle, which occurs when there are clues or information that an
evil is taking place or is about to take place. Thus one may be able
to prevent an evil, such as a murder or rape, from taking place by
following up on information.
- Establish that
the evil is indeed taking place.
- Choose a suitable
time to forbid the evil.
- The Caller
should not delay until the evil has finished.
- The Caller
should exploit situations in which the people are more likely
to respond to his call, for example when Yusuf, 'alayhi-salam,
spoke to his companions in the prison about tauhid when
they had been troubled by their dreams. Ibn Masoud said concerning
Verily the heart has moments of yearning and responsiveness
And moments of indifference and turning away
So snatch it at the time of yearning and response
And leave it at the time of indifference and turning away.
- Speak in private, as Imam ash-Shafie wrote:
Come to me with your advice when I am alone
And do not advise me in the crowd
Because advice amongst the people is a scolding
And I do not like to hear it aloud
Then if you disobey me and do not heed my words
Do not feel sad when you are not followed.
- Do not instigate
or provoke the people, but use a good argument, as Allah says:
Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful admonition,
and argue with them with ways that are best.
[Surah an-Nahl (16): Ayah 125]
Imam Ghazali wrote: Don't convey the truth in a challenging manner.
- Show forgiveness
and kindness towards the people, and not to be affected by worry or
anger in case the people show a negative response to the advice.
- If a difference
of opinion arose as a result of ijtihaad, then the Caller who
holds one opinion should not forbid the other opinion.
- Weighing the
principles of benefits and harms, as Ibn Taymiyyah wrote in al-Amar:
If enjoining the good and forbidding the evil would result in a greater
evil, then it is haram to do it. Enjoining the good should
not lead to a better deed being left out and forbidding the evil should
not lead to a greater evil taking place.
Ibn Rajab states that
in enjoining the good and discouraging the evil the conductor is motivated
by different reasons:
- It could be by hope in Allah's great reward for doing it.
- It could be by fearing Allah's punishment for renouncing this obligation.
- It could be by getting annoyed by seeing violations to what Allah
- It could be due to being faithful to the community members who
indulge in evil and by being kind and merciful to them by making the
effort to save them from being subject to Allah's anger, displeasure
and punishment in this life and in the Hereafter.
- It could be by glorifying Allah and Loving Him much, for He deserves
to be obeyed, remembered, and thanked.
Observing the last
two motives alone can make burden of conducting this obligation a light,
favorable one and will empower the conductor with enough potential belittle
any difficulty or hardship he may encounter thereof.
last portion of the hadith clearly states that the least a Muslim
can do in the case of witnessing an evil act is to change it by his/her
heart. This means that he/she should dislike the evil he/she comes across.
This is an action of the heart, such as saying: "O Allah, there is
nothing that I can do to change this bad situation that You dislike and
disapprove except that I hate it to take place. I do not agree to it.
O Allah forgive me, guide me and save my heart to be influenced by it."
Unless this action
of the heart is practiced, the heart of the believer who witnesses that
evil will be subject to be influenced by that evil. A dark spot will be
placed in that heart (as stated in another hadith related by al-Bukhari).
With the repetition of such negative attitudes, the heart will be subject
to more dark spots placed in it until it is concealed and no longer appreciates
what is good and no longer dislikes what is bad or evil. This means that
the Muslim who does not practice the lowest level of forbidding the evil,
will be subject to turn into being an evil doer him/herself.