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Ungs2050 enjoying good and forbidding evil


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The document is about amar ma'ruf and nahi munkar. It is islamic education.

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Ungs2050 enjoying good and forbidding evil

  1. 1. Enjoying Good and Forbidding Evil By: Engku Mohd Firdaus Bin Engku Alam 1120855 Commanding the proper and forbidding the improper (alma'ruf wa nahi almunkar) is one of the most important Islamic principles, stressed again and again in the Qur'an and Hadith. Indeed, from one point of view this principle can be seen as the most important Islamic principle. If this principle is duly practiced in the Ummah, then as a result, all other teachings of Islam will also be practiced, while if this one principle is ignored then the rest of Islam will also gradually come to be ignored. Commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong provides a mechanism whereby the Muslim Ummah can fight off various social, moral and spiritual ills and maintain a healthy and dynamic life. For an individual, the practice of this principle provides both a source and indication of spiritual and moral health. If we ignore this principle and in the face of wrong we do not react in any way, then this means that in a spiritual and moral sense we are dead. `Abd allah ibn Mas'ud was once asked, "Who are the living dead?" and he replied, "Those who never command something good and never forbid something bad". A similar point is made in that well known Hadith in which the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said: "If one of you sees something wrong, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; if he cannot, then with his heart and this is the weakest faith." Some versions add: "there is no part of faith behind that, not even so much as a mustard seed." BEGINS WITH GOD AND HIS MESSENGER Commanding the proper and forbidding the improper begins with God. The Qur'an says: "God does command you justness, goodness and liberality to the near ones and He does forbid you shameful deeds, impropriety and rebelliousness." (16:91) God, of course, carries out the function of commanding the right and forbidding the wrong through His Messenger. So the mission of the Prophet is described in one verse as follows: "He commands them what is right and forbids them what is wrong, he makes lawful the things that are wholesome and makes unlawful the things that are bad and lifts from them their burdens and the yokes that were upon them." (7:157) The three functions of the Prophet (pbuh) mentioned in this verse are closely related. "Wholesome things" are a part of "what is right" and making them lawful is a way of commanding the right, it being understood that previously they were unlawful and so
  2. 2. legalizing them would bring them into practice. Similarly, "bad things" are a part of "what is wrong" and making them unlawful is a way of forbidding the wrong. But commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is more general than making wholesome things lawful and bad things unlawful, since a great deal of right and wrong is determined by particular situations and cannot be covered by well defined and fixed laws. The Prophet (pbuh) therefore commanded the right and forbade the wrong also by giving general principles and by teaching wisdom (hikmah), in the light of which the believers could themselves begin to distinguish between right and wrong in particular situations. To understand the third function of the Prophet which is "lifting their burdens and the yokes that were upon them". We need to look at the situation in earlier ummahs. To the Jews, for example, many wholesome things were made unlawful, as is stated in Qur'an: "Because of the transgression of the Jews We made unlawful many of the wholesome things that were (previously) permitted to them." (4:160) Examples are the many strict legal restrictions in Judaism concerning the Sabbath. In addition to legal restrictions imposed by God as a punishment for transgression, there were some restrictions that earlier people had put upon themselves, for example, some food restrictions in case of the Jews and ascetic practices in case of the Christians: "All food was lawful for the children of Israel except that which Israel had made unlawful for itself before the Torah was revealed." (3:93) "And monasticism which they (i.e. the Christians) invented for themselves was not prescribed by Us." (57:27) If some wholesome things were prohibited for earlier people, there were also some bad things that were permitted for them. For example, drinking of alcoholic beverages, described in the Qur'an as an action of Satan has been an acceptable practice among Jews and Christians throughout most of their history.In contrast to this situation in earlier religious communities, in Islam there is nothing wholesome which is unlawful and nothing bad that is lawful. Everything wholesome is lawful and everything bad is unlawful. Since the Prophet makes lawful many of the things that were prohibited for earlier communities, either by God or by the people themselves, he "lifts their burdens and the yokes that were upon them." But he accomplishes this also by making unlawful the bad things that were permitted to them, for a wrong that has become acceptable can be as much of a burden as a right that has become unacceptable.
  3. 3. PUNISHMENT FOR NOT COMMANDING GOOD AND FORBIDDING EVIL Failure to perform any religious duty may result in divine punishment in this world or the hereafter or both. Failure to command the proper and forbid the improper is no exception. The Holy Qur'an mentions the case of the children of Israel who were cursed and punished for, among other things, not forbidding wrong: "Those among the children of Israel who rejected truth were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus son of Mary because they disobeyed and committed excesses, because they did not use to forbid one another the wrongs they committed." (5:82) "When they ignored the warnings given to them, We rescued those who used to forbid wrong and visited the wrong-doers with a grievous penalty for the sins they used to commit." (7:165) According to one Hadith: "When people see a wrong-doer and do nothing to stop him, they may well be visited by God with a punishment." (the word for "wrong" in this Hadith and some others is zulm which in the Qur'an and Hadith has a more general meaning of "transgression", sin including such apparently different acts as an act of injustice and shirk than its Urdu meaning of "cruelty".) METHODS OF COMMANDING THE PROPER AND FORBIDDING THE IMPROPER There are, broadly speaking, three ways of commanding good and forbidding evil : 1) By hand, action, which includes military, political or legal action. 2) By words, sometimes soft and sometimes harsh, sometimes private and sometimes open and public. "God does not like that evil be publicized except if one is wronged." (4:148) This verse primarily applies to private actions of individuals which is bad, should not be publicized unless one suffers some wrong on account of those actions. But the verse has another application, that is actions or behavior of public institutions or of individuals in a public capacity as a result of which the society as a whole suffers, may be publicly criticized by anyone, since in such a case every individual in the society is wronged. Of course, if such public criticism is the only peaceful way to correct the harmful action or behavior then it becomes not only permissible but obligatory.
  4. 4. Muslims generally have a negative view of public criticism even in public matters but the question is that if commanding the right and forbidding the wrong can be done by hand, as the Qur'an (49:9) and Hadith make clear, then why can't it be done by public criticism, if private persuasion does not work? Is not the use of hand or physical force more serious than non-violent public criticism? 3) By feelings, which include feelings of approval for what is right and of disapproval for what is wrong. It also includes praying in one's heart for the establishment of what is right and the destruction of what is wrong. We must obviously adopt softer measures whenever they have a chance to work. To illustrate the point by a somewhat extreme example, suppose a sincere convert to Islam is doing something wrong out of ignorance about Islamic teachings. It would be clearly wrong to try and correct him by beating him up. Gently telling him of what Islam requires of him would be the right approach to follow. Even in case of arrogant oppressors it may be best to begin gently. The Holy Qur'an relates that when God sent Moses and Aaron to Pharoah, He instructed them: "Speak to him gently, perchance he may heed or fear (Allah)." (20:44) Here a question is raised by the Hadith already quoted, which mentions hand, tongue and heart in that order. The first impression conveyed by this Hadith is that one should beginby using hand, but as examples like the ones mentioned above show this would in many cases violate the Islamic standards of peacefulness. Why then does the Hadith mention the hand first? The answer is that this Hadith is talking about a wrong about which it is obvious that it may need harsher measures. In the face of such a wrong a believer should be prepared to use all types of measures. The greatest effort, sacrifice and moral courage are usually needed in the use of hand. The Hadith links it with the strongest level of iman and therefore mentions it first. The purpose of the Hadith really is to tell us that the level of our iman is closely related to the degree to which we are prepared to combat evil. It does not mean to tell us which measure we should adopt first. That will depend on other considerations. CONCLUSION In a nutshell, this principle, which is, enjoying good forbidding evil or amar makruf nahi munkar is an obligatory to all muslims that had expressed the acknowledgment that bear witness there is no god but Allah and bear witness Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, after uttering this kalimah syahadah invites Muslims claimed enjoying good forbidding evil.