Hadith 34. Forbidding the evil Part C


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

  • 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


Benefits and Action points:

  • 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

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