The Beloved (pbuh) and the way he enjoined good and prohibited evil

March 15, 2009 at 11:16 pm Leave a comment

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والحمدلله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate All praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers

We are all faced with situations when we see many wrongdoings around us. A lot of our reactions vary between harsh criticism, gentle admonition and/or silent acceptance. When wrongdoing is widespread, it is important to know how the Prophet (pbuh) behaved in such situations so we do not take the extreme path, but take the balanced way.

Enjoining good and prohibiting evil is an obligation put on us by God. Allah says in the Qur’an:

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

[التوبة:71]

“And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger; (as for) these, Allah will show mercy to them; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.” [Surat At-Tawba, 9.72]

Sheikh AbdulAziz bin Baz stated that the importance of enjoining good and forbidding evil is evident in the above verse, as it is mentioned with prayer, which we know is central. We also all know the following hadith:

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever sees something evil should change it with his hand. If he cannot, then with his tongue; and if he cannot do even that, then [he should hate it] in his heart. And that is the weakest degree of faith.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (pbuh) also said, “There was not a single Prophet among those who were sent before me who did not have apostles and companions and followed his Sunna and obeyed his commands. But afterwards other generations came whose words belied their deeds, and whose deeds were not in accordance with what they commanded others to do. Whoever struggles against them with his hand is a believer. Whoever struggles against them with his tongue is a believer. And whoever struggles against them with his heart is a believer. But when none of these things are done, then not a single mustard’s seed weight of faith is present.” (Muslim)

In addition, the Prophet (pbuh) taught us: “If the people see an evil and they do not change it, soon Allah will inflict them all with His Punishment.” (Ahmed)

Enjoining good and prohibiting evil is also essentially what Prophets and Messengers were sent to us for. So what does the above teach us? That it is imperative for us to do something. But this must be tempered by following the example of the Prophet (pbuh):

A bedouin urinated in the mosque and some people jumped up in outrage to beat him up. The Prophet (pbuh) rushed up before them and protected the bedouin from the Companions (ra). He explained to the man that the mosque was a pure place and then said: “Leave him alone and pour a bucket of water over it. You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.” (Bukhari)

As we see, even though the bedouin did something so terrible, the Prophet (pbuh) did not rebuke him harshly but explained to him. Another example is the man who wanted permission to fornicate/commit adultery. While the former example was one where the person did not know better, the latter is the person knowing that he wanted to commit wrong. Instead of the Prophet (pbuh) beating him, or telling him not to be stupid or calling him names, he asked him if he would be ok with it if someone commited zina with his mother, sister or aunt. The man obviously said no.

In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) sent Moosa and Harun (as) to Pharoah. Who could be worse than Pharoah, who said “I am your lord” and spread corruption and tyranny in the earth? Yet Allah said: “But speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (Allah).” (Surat Taha, 20.44)

At the basis should be a good opinion of our fellow Muslims, and remembering that we should love for others what we love for ourselves. People have different weaknesses, and many times people just need support. There is an oft quoted saying ” مَن أمر بمعروف فليكن أمره بمعروف” which roughly means “whoever enjoins good, let the way in which he enjoins be good”. A story was related in which an old man was praying next to a young man, and the old man was impressed with the way the young man was praying. So he told him that, and then said “haraman”, which means “inshAllah you get to pray in the Haram in Mecca”. The young man crossed his eyes in anger saying “This [i.e. this saying] was never mentioned in the sunna!” To which the old man replied “And were ill manners ever mentioned in the sunnah?”…

Ahmad Al-Shgairy, a young saudi da’iya, talked about the order of the wording of “enjoining good and prohibiting evil”. He said that the order of enjoining good first and then prohibiting evil has a reason- that of giving people an alternative. When you encourage people to do good, you are giving them an alternative to whatever evil they were doing. So say you would like to discourage people from listening to music that is agreed to be haraam [i.e. singing about obscene things]- provide to them an alternative first; songs about social issues, nasheeds, so that when you prohibit them, you make it easier for them to stop.

It is important to note that discipline is also important when teaching people, and the way in which we enjoin good and prohibit evil will be different in different circumstances. For example, Ka’b ibn Malik (ra), one of the Sahaba, delayed going out to one of the battles until it was too late for him to catch up with them. He was very able and would have benefitted the Muslims but unfortunately did not go. Only the hypocrits remained and two others of the righteous companions. When the Prophet (pbuh) and the Companions (ra) returned from this tough battle, all the hypocrits went to the Prophet (pbuh) with their excuses, most that were lies. The Prophet (pbuh) forgave them. Ka’b ibn Malik (pbuh) considered lying but he knew that Allah knew he had no excuse. So he went to the Prophet (pbuh) telling him that he had no reason to stay back. The Prophet (pbuh) said “He has said the truth!” indicating he knew the others were lying. And Ka’b ibn Malik (ra) as well as two other Companions (ra) who told the truth were isolated from the Muslims for 50 days for what they did, but they were rewraded in that they were mtnioned in Surat At-Tawba that God had forgiven them. This example is to show that sometimes firmness is required so that people learn.

Finally Yusuf Qaradhawi outlined things to keep in mind when enjoining good and prohibiting evil:

1- What you are prohibitting must be agreed to be prohibited (e.g. drinking alcohol, cheating etc) and not something where there is a legitimate difference of opinion (e.g. showing the feet for women, whether your beard should be a fistful or it is sufficient for it to be just on the skin for men etc)

2- You should not go spying on people in order to uncover the evil that they do

3- In order to change with your hand, you should have the power to do so without making things worse; if you do not have the power to change with your hand, then with your tongue etc.

4- You cannot commit a bigger evil in your endeavor to prohibit another evil

Simple Sunna

The Prophet (pbuh) recommended starting the day by having 7 ‘ajwa dates (Abu Dawud, Hakim, Tirmidhi)

Forgive me for my shortcomings, I know there are many in this, but I only realized the vastness of this topic when i started writing. Anything good that came out of it is from Allah.

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The Beloved (pbuh) and the way he dressed The Beloved (pbuh) and balance in what he ate

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