Hadith 34. Forbidding the evil COMPLETE

hadith34arabic

On the authority of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (RadhiyaAllahu ‘anhu) who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) say,

 “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and 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 with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.”

[Reported by Muslim]

Brief Commentary

  • This hadith is pinnacle in setting the guidelines for a great aspect of Islam, which is to enjoin the good and forbid the evil
  • Virtues of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil:
    • All the previous prophets used to encourage it as mentioned in Surah Al A’raf [7:157]
    • Allah describes the believers to have these qualities as mentioned in Surah At-tawbah [9:71]
    • Allah describes the hypocrites to not having these qualities as mentioned in Surah At-tawbah [9:67]
    • It is what signifies us and makes us the best nation as mentioned in Surah Al-Imran [3:110]. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “This is because the good affairs of this life and the hereafter only come about with the obedience of Allah and the obedience of the messengers, and that is not completed except with enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, hence this nation was the best of nations”
    • The previous nations were led astray because they didn’t act on this as mentioned in Surah Al-Ma’idah [5:79]
    • It is a status that comes after the status of prophethood as derived by Al Hassan Al Basri from Surah Al-Imran [3:21]
    • The one who calls someone to good, gets the same reward as the one he called
    • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “There are people from my nation who will be given rewards similar to the rewards of the ones before them (The sahabah). They forbid the evil” (Reported by Ahmad)
  • It is not restricted to telling people off. It also includes teaching people their religion, showing them the right path, teaching them the basis of Islam/Aqeedah, etc.
  • It ensures we maintain the five major objectives of the Shari’ah. These are:
    • To protect the religion: By teaching people Islam and stopping them from doing innovations
    • To protect life: By reminding people of sanctities, and forbidding unlawful killing
    • To protect intellect: By forbidding alcohol and other forms of intoxicants
    • To protect lineage: By enjoining people to get married in a lawful way
    • To protect wealth: By forbidding theft and by preventing from becoming too attached to wealth by encouraging giving in charity
  • The shari’ah revolves around fulfilling the above 5 major objectives
  • Due to the severity of the matter of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, Sufyan Al-Thawree used to say, “I see something that I must command for or forbid from, and (this causes me to) urinate blood”
  • Righteous people become really agitated when they see an evil
  • The sahabah said when the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was personally attacked, nothing would change but when the rights of Allah are violated, you can see it from his face and hear it from his voice.
  • Consequences of abandoning enjoining the good and forbidding the evil
  • Destruction from two angles:
    • The land will be corrupted and full of sin so Allah will destroy it
    • You will have sinned by staying silent so will be destroyed
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Allah does not punish the general masses for the sins of the few evil-doers, until they see the evil apparent and they are able to forbid it (but they don’t). If they do that (not forbid the evil) then Allah will punish the general masses along with the few evil-doers” (Reported by Ahmad)
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “By the one who my soul is in His hand, you shall enjoin the good and forbid the evil, or Allah will be about to send a punishment to you from Him, then you will call Him and He will not answer you” (Reported by Tirmidhi)
  • It is the cause behind the spreading of ignorance
  • It beautifies sins, so you become de-sensitised to sins
  • It is a cause behind the “strangeness” of this religion. We shouldn’t aspire for this religion to be like a stranger because that means we aspire for the majority to be misguided
  • Surah Al-Ma’idah [5:105] does not conflict with enjoining the good and forbidding the evil because the verse means to focus on ourselves too rather than looking for the mistakes of others
  • The general ruling of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is that it is obligatory on condition that there is no impediment to doing so
  • Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is dropped when:
    • There is a great amount of evil/trials e.g. the time of dajjal, and the trials of the end of time
    • A person does not have the physical capability to do so
    • Doing so will lead to a credible harm in your:
      • knowledge
      • Body
      • Wealth
      • Honour/ dignity
    • Your position has a great impact on the ummah and if you lose it, you will be replaced by someone very bad, then you can keep quiet about some evil only
  • Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is never dropped in the heart
  • Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is haram when:
    • Doing so will make you miss out on a greater benefit
    • Doing so will lead to a greater evil
  • Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is recommended when:
    • The order you give is for a recommended action
    • The prohibition you give is from a disliked action
    • You fear some harm will befall you if you carry out enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.
  • Each enjoinment of good or forbidding of evil consists of four components
  • Components of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil
    • Person who enjoins the good and forbids the evil
    • Person who is being commanded/forbidden
    • The topic
    • The act of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil
  • Conditions for a person who enjoins the good and forbids the evil
    • Commanded by the shari’ah e.g. not insane or a child
    • Muslim
    • Has a correct intention
    • Carries out the action in a shari’ah compliant manner
    • Has knowledge in what they are doing
    • Is able to do it
  • Conditions that are not required for a person who enjoins the good and forbids the evil
    • For them to be righteous or of upright character
    • For them to be a male
  • Condition for a person who is being commanded/forbidden:
    • To be human, whether old, young, sane, insane, etc. We forbid children from evil, but we don’t force them to do good. e.g. fast when 5 years old
  • Allah says in Surah Al-Nahl [16:125] {Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom, good admonishment, and argue with them in that which is better}. Ibn Al-Qayyim said about this verse, “Allah made the levels of giving da’wah according to the levels of the people. The one who is intelligent and accepting and does not reject or argue with the truth is called with wisdom. The one who has some heedlessness is called with good admonishment, which is enjoining the good and forbidding the evil coupled with glad tidings and warnings. The one who is stubborn is argued with in that which is better”
  • How to recognise evil:
    • Anything that goes against the Qur’an and Sunnah and what the majority of the ummah have agreed upon
    • Following one’s desire by choosing whatever seems easier
  • Conditions for the evil
    • It must be present
    • It must be evidently clear without the need to spy
    • It must be known as an evil to the people, and not a matter of valid difference of opinion
  • Not recognising evil comes from the modernist thought that is widespread today
  • We shouldn’t fall to the modernist thought which says:
    • Text from Qur’an and Sunnah are not decisive and can be interpreted in any way possible
    • Neglect understanding of the pious predecessors
    • Qur’an and Sunnah were revealed for that time-period only
  • Stages for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil:
    • Conditions of the evil are all present
    • Ascertain if the person is ignorant of the matter or not
    • Change the evil with your hand (not always first stage to start with)
    • Condemn the evil with your tongue if you can’t change with your hand
    • Condemn/hate the evil in your heart if you have no access/ability to condemn it or change it with your tongue or limbs
  • If it is better to condemn the evil with your tongue before changing it with your limbs then condemning it with the tongue takes precedence e.g. telling a person to stop drinking before physically taking the alcohol from them
  • Condemning with the heart entails leaving the gathering which partakes in this. If you really hate the evil, then you would naturally want to leave
  • Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Condemning with the heart is belief that this is an evil. If a heart loses the knowledge of what is good and condemning what is evil, then Iman is lifted from the heart”
  • If you don’t condemn the evil with your heart then it can lead to a black heart
  • Benefits of condemning the evil with the heart:
    • Preserves the Iman in the heart
    • Pushes a person to condemn it with other means as they really hate it, so they would try their hardest to condemn it in the best way possible
  • If there is no fear of greater evil, but you fear the person will not benefit if you enjoin the good and forbid the evil then there are different opinions on what you should do, but the majority opinion is that we should still enjoin the good and forbid the evil because Allah is testing us through this and because we are commanded to do so. If we don’t do it, then this action will end up being neglected.

 

Benefits and Action points:

  • Benefits of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil:
    • To excuse yourself from the burden of it as mentioned in Surah Al-A’raf [7:164]. Ali ibn Al-Husain said, “The one who abandons enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is like the one who discards the book of Allah behind his back”
    • You establish the proof of Allah upon the creation as mentioned in Surah Al-Nisaa’ [4:165]
    • It is a means of showing gratitude to Allah
    • It is a means of expiating our sins
    • It saves from the punishment of this life and the hereafter. In Surah Hud {11:116-117}, Allah said he saved the people because they were reformers (by enjoining the good and forbidding the evil), and didn’t say He saved them just because they were righteous
  • Understand the five major objectives of the shari’ah and try to implement them
  • Never feel comfortable when you see an evil being carried out, no matter how often you see this evil
  • Never abandon enjoining the good and forbidding the evil unless you fall in one of the scenarios of when it is dropped or when it is haram (which is quite rare)
  • Remember that enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is never dropped in the heart
  • Never become de-sensitised to sins, and make sure you always feel sadness in your heart when you see any sin being committed, even if you see it frequently
  • Always question yourself when enjoining the good and forbidding the evil to ensure you don’t neglect your own shortcomings
  • You don’t need to be righteous to enjoin the good and forbid the evil
  • Ensure the manner you enjoin the good and forbid the evil with is suitable for the person you are directing the advice to
  • Do not fall for the modernist thought which tries to interpret the Qur’an in a way that contradicts the understanding of the pious first generations
  • Etiquettes to be observed when enjoining the good and forbidding the evil:
    • Being gentle in the approach. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “let your enjoining of the good be in a good manner, and your forbidding of the evil not be in an evil manner”
    • Starting off with the things that are more important
    • Observe the benefits and the harms mentioned in Hadith 32. No harming nor reciprocating harm
    • Try to find a substitute to what you are forbidding them from
    • Be as discreet as possible
  • Whenever you enjoin the good and forbid the evil, ensure you follow the stages mentioned above
  • Always assess what is the best approach to start with when enjoining the good and forbidding the evil as changing the evil with your limbs is not always the best option to start with
  • Question your heart’s detachment from evil and ensure it is never at ease around evil
  • In a situation where evil is extremely widespread, then prioritise the evil you forbid and the good you enjoin

4 Comments on “Hadith 34. Forbidding the evil COMPLETE”

  1. hafsa Says:

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