Concepts, Islamic Culture, Rajab 1442, Side Feature

“Enjoining the Good and Forbidding the Evil” with relation to Muslim Ummah, Muslim Individuals, Groups/Parties and the Islamic State

Allah (swt) has made Enjoining the goodness and forbidding the evil a great task and has granted it immense reward. Imaam Ghazali (rh) said in his book, Ihyaa’ ‘Uloom ad-DeenIndeed, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is the greatest pillar in the deen. It is the mission with which Allah (swt) sent all the prophets. If this ceased to exist and its knowledge and practice was neglected, then the prophethood would be suspended, the deen would vanish, the period of no deen would prevail, misguidance and ignorance will spread and corruption will become worse, the rent become beyond repair, the lands will be destroyed, and the people will perish”. The concept of “Enjoining the goodness and forbidding the evil” has been expressed by Quran and Sunnah in various contexts with relation to the Muslim Ummah as a whole, Muslim Individuals, Groups/Parties and the Islamic State. Allah (swt) has entrusted each entity with a specific responsibility to undertake. Each of these categories has been entrusted by the Shar’a with a set of rules that they must adhere to. Thereafter, they are advised, accounted and rectified according to the failure in carrying out what they were entrusted with. If the reality of this matter is not understood properly it will be difficult for us to undertake, and we will be unable to fulfil the obligation of Enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar” in its correct sense.

In relation to the Muslim Ummah as a whole, the ayaah says,

[كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ]

“You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin the ma’roof and forbid the munkar, and you believe in Allah” [3:110].

The Ummah here includes all Muslims, as individuals, groups and people of authority such that they undertake the enjoining of every ma’roof and forbidding of every munkar.

In relation to individuals, the ayaah states;

[وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ]

“The believers, men and women, are awliya (helpers, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin the ma’roof and forbid the munkar…” [9:71]. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said,«والذي نفسي بيده لتأمرن بالمعروف، ولتنهون عن المنكر، أو ليوشكن الله أن يبعث عليكم عقابًا منه، ثم تدعونه فلا يستجاب لكم»“By the One in whose Hand lies my soul, you must order the ma’roof and forbid the munkar, or Allah will be about to send a punishment, then you will supplicate to Him and you will not be answered” [Tirmizi]. And he (saw) also said,

«‏من رأى منكم منكرًا فليغيره بيده ، فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه، فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه وذلك أضعف الإيمان»

“Whosoever from amongst you sees a munkar let him change it with his hand, if he is not able then let him change it with his tongue, and if he is not able then let him hate it in his heart. And that is the weakest of Imaan” [Muslim].

In relation to groups and parties, the verses clarify the type of their action as;

[وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى ٱلْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ]

“And let there arise from amongst you a group inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar. And it is they who are successful.” [3:104]

In relation to the Islamic State (people in authority) the ayaah says,

[ٱلَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّـٰهُمْ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَوُا ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلْأُمُورِ]

“Those (Muslim rulers) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) established the Salah (prayer) and ordered the payment of Zakah and they enjoined the ma’roof and forbade the munkar. And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters.” [22:41]

Some of the Shar’ee rules are entrusted to the Khaleefah or the ameer and it is not allowed for anyone else to execute them. Some other rules are entrusted to the individuals, and they are undertaken by the Khaleefah if the people failed to perform them. Some rules are entrusted to the Khaleefah and it is allowed for individuals to undertake them in certain cases. Some rules are entrusted to the groups.

As for what is entrusted to the individuals; they are things like prayers, fasting, Hajj (pilgrimage), and Zakah and refraining from the forbidden things such as alcohol, gambling, usury, theft, murder, fornication, adultery, lying, fraud and backbiting etc. The Muslims are commanded with these rules, whether they are living in dar al-kufr or dar al-Islam, and whether they are living in Islamic countries or kufr countries. Here, one does not look at what the Messenger (saw) and his Sahabah (ra) did in Makkah alone or just in Madinah alone. Rather, the Shar’ee rules required from the individuals in terms of the ibadaat (worships), mu’amalaat (transactions), mat’oomaat (foodstuffs), malboosaat (clothing), akhlaaq (morals) and the rest of the Islamic beliefs; all of these rules are required from the individual. Every individual is responsible for the family members for whom he is a wali (guardian). As for what is entrusted to the individuals, it is undertaken by the Khaleefah if they failed in it, such as giving the individuals a maintenance if those who are responsible are not able to do so, or looking after the individual affairs if the individuals are unable to undertake this.

As for what is entrusted to the Khaleefah or the ameer only and it is not allowed for anyone else to implement it, these are things such as the establishing of the hudood, and the declaration of Jihaad, imposition of Jizya or concluding a treaty or legislating laws, or looking after the affairs. The undertaking of these and other matters has been restricted by the Shar’a to the ruler alone. As for what is entrusted to the Khaleefah and is entrusted to undertake as individuals (capable) and group in certain cases, they are things like Jihaad. The obligation of Jihaad is neither conditional upon the existence of Khaleefah nor connected to the permission of ruler because the rules of Jihaad in the Quran and Sunnah is absolute and not constrained or altered. However, it is from the responsibilities of the Khaleefah, and the organization of jihaad is determined only by the khaleefah alone, but if the khaleefah is absent, jihad is not delayed in any way whatsoever since its benefit disappears with its delay. If the khaleefah sends an army and commands over them an Amir who is killed or dies, then it is upon the army to appoint one of them. Similarly, when the enemy attacks the Muslims suddenly, they are obliged to fight even if they have not been ordered to do so, or they have not been given the permission by the Khaleefah, or they do not have a Khaleefah.

As for what is entrusted with the group, such as the work to establish the Khilafah or accounting the rulers and forcing them onto the truth and restricting them to it, the work of the party, group or organization or block or any Islamic grouping falls within this sphere.

Indeed, clarifying whom the Shar’ee rules have been entrusted to is an important matter. This is because any ignorance or negligence will make the Muslims, whether individuals or movements, act blindly regarding the implementation of the Shar’a. The Muslims will thus lose the precise understanding and consequently the correct application. Consequently, the Muslim will come to neglect obligations linked to his responsibility, and undertake the mandoobaat (recommended actions) at their expense. The group will come to study the Shar’ee rules relating to individuals and neglect the Shar’ee rules relating to its members as a group, or undertake the work of the Islamic State when it is not aware of the division of responsibility which the Shar’a determined and to which we must comply. The scholar will come to talk to the people about certain individual faraa’idh like prayer, zakah and fasting and abandon other ahkaam, such as the rules of selling that relate to the life of the Muslims, or the rules of backbiting, not to mention the abandoning of the collective obligations, the most important of which is the re-establishment of the Islamic State.

Whatever has been entrusted to each of these categories must be adhered to. It has to be ordered with the ma’roof and forbidden from the munkar if it was failing in what it was entrusted with. It will not be accounted for what it was not charged with. Thus, the Shar’a, in terms of the application, was not entrusted to one custodian only. Rather it established more than one custodian for it, where each one would undertake what it has been entrusted with. The whole Ummah will undertake the whole Shar’a. When the Muslims undertake as individuals what is required from them, and the group or groups undertake what is required from them, and the Khaleefah undertakes what is required from him, then there will be the complete application of Islam.

The Shar’a has ordered the Muslims (all of them) to undertake the obligation of enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar, each one according to his knowledge and ability. The Shar’a has ordered the establishment of this obligation via the Muslims – as individuals, groups and rulers – and made it obligatory under all circumstances, whether there is an Islamic State or not, and whether the ruling applied on the Muslims is the ruling of Islam or the ruling of kufr, and whether the ruler applied the rules of Islam properly or he misapplied them. Enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar existed in the days of the Messenger (saw) and the days of the Sahabah and the Tabi’een and those who followed them. Its rule shall remain existent until the coming of the Last Hour. If something happens from the individuals, groups and the Islamic State, which obliges enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar, then the individuals, groups and the Islamic State must undertake it in accordance with the following elaboration.

The Muslims, as individuals, are required to enjoin that which they are commanded with and forbid that which they are ordered to abstain from – if anything happens in front of them that necessitates that – according to the knowledge and the capability each individual has. Consequently, enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar becomes an individual obligation (fard ayn) for which the Muslim will be sinful if he did not undertake, and he is not excused for abandoning it. Thus the Muslim, in his daily life with his wife, children, relatives, neighbours, customers, acquaintances or anyone else who they happen to meet; each one of such people needs be given the naseeha (advice) if he failed to do a duty or was disobedient. How can this not be the case when there are sins that only he may be aware of, such as a sin committed in front of him at a sitting where no one else is present other than the one who committed the sin. If he did not advise him then he will be sinful, while others will not be sinful, because it did not take place in front of them and they have no knowledge of it. No one else can take his place, and in his sphere, and nobody other than him can fill it. For every munkar that appears in his sphere, no one other than him is responsible.

As for the task entrusted to the Islamic state (Ruler) by Allah (swt), it is the establishment of the whole Deen. Thus the State is responsible for the application of the Deen, whether the individual rules or the collective rules, whether the individual obligations or the collective (sufficiency) ones. It is responsible for establishing the Deen, i.e., establishing the ma’roof and removing the munkar practically. Thus, if the Muslim does not pray, the State will order him to pray; otherwise, he will be punished. Similarly, if he does not pay Zakah, make Hajj or fast, all of such individual obligations and their likes, the State is obliged to guard over their presence and account those neglecting them. This also applies to the collective obligations. If the State does not secure all the interests which the Ummah needs in terms of providing healthcare, education and security, whose existence requires management, coordination and distribution of assignments; If the State didn’t perform Jihaad, the establishment of which the Lawgiver entrusted and commanded the Khaleefah with but if there is any negligence from his side in these matters, the Ummah must account him on that and force him to address it.

Islam has determined precise rules in this regard. He (saw) prohibited the Muslims to rebel against the Khaleefah, except in case he displayed the bawah (open) kufr. It is fundamental in the Islamic State that the ruler is the guardian over the affairs of people with Shar’a rules. According to the Shar’a, he is responsible for preventing the munkaraat, whether they occur from individuals or groups. Thus, the Messenger (saw) said; «فَالْإِمَامُ الَّذِي عَلَى النَّاسِ رَاعٍ وَهُوَ مسؤولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ» “The Imaam is a Shepherd and (only) he is responsible for the citizens.” [Agreed upon]. Allah (swt) charged him with the responsibility of forcing people, whether individuals or groups, to undertake all the obligations which have been ordained by Allah (swt). When a certain matter requires force for its performance, he is obliged to use force. Similarly, Allah (swt) has obliged him to prevent people from committing haraam, and if such a matter requires the use of force to prevent them from committing the haraam, he is obliged to use force. Thus, in principle the State changes the munkar and removes it with the hand i.e., by force. This is because according to the Shar’a, it is responsible for the implementation of Islam and compelling the people to abide by its rules. However, if the ruler commits a munkar, – such as committing injustice, appropriating the wealth of others through false means, withholding people’s rights, neglecting the affairs of citizens, failing to do an obligation, contradicting one of the rules of Islam or any other such munkar – it is an obligation on all the Muslims to account him and reject the munkar he did, and to work as individuals and groups to make him change it; otherwise, they would be sinful if they remained silent and left the munkar without changing it. Forbidding the munkar and changing it when he commits a munkar is via accounting with the tongue. This is due to what Muslim narrated from Umm Salamah that the Rasoolullah (saw) said:«إنَّهُ يُسْتَعْمَلُ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَرَاءُ فَتَعْرِفُونَ وَتُنْكِرُونَ فَمَنْ كَرِهَ فَقَدْ بَرِئَ وَمَنْ أَنْكَرَ فَقَدْ سَلِمَ وَلَكِنْ مَنْ رَضِيَ وَتَابَعَ»  “Ameers will be appointed over you, and you will find them doing good deeds as well as bad deeds. The one who hates their bad deeds is absolved from blame, the one who disapproves of their bad deeds is also safe, but the one who approves and follows is doomed.”

Similarly, Rasoolullah (saw) made speaking the truth before a tyrant ruler the best Jihaad, when he answered the man who asked him; أَىُّ الْجِهَادِ أَفْضَلُ؟ قَالَ: ‏«كَلِمَةُ حَقٍّ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ» “Which Jihaad is the best?” He said: “The best Jihaad is the word of truth spoken to a tyrant ruler.” [Ibn Maajah and Nasa’i]. This is also due to the ahadith which prohibit rebellion against him by taking up arms, except in one case which is the exception to that; it is when he displays open kufr (kufr bawah) that has a proof from Allah (swt) that it is a flagrant kufr in which there is no doubt. That is when he rules with rules of clear kufr and abandons the ruling by what Allah (swt) has revealed. It is narrated by ‘Awf b. Maalik al-Ashja’i that he heard the Rasool of Allah (saw) saying; «خيار أئمتكم الذين تحبونهم ويحبونكم، وتصلون عليهم ويصلون عليكم، وشرار أئمتكم الذين تبغضونهم ويبغضونكم، وتلعنونهم ويلعنونهم‏!‏ قال‏:‏ قلنا يا رسول الله، أفلا ننابذه‏؟‏ قال‏:‏ «لا، ما أقاموا فيكم الصلاة، لا ما أقاموا فيكم الصلاة»“The best of your Imams are those whom you love and they love you and who you pray for and they pray for you, and the worst of your Imams are those whom you hate and they hate you and you curse them and they curse you.” We asked: “O Rasool of Allah shall we not then challenge them?” He said: “No, as long as they continue to establish prayer among you.” [Muslim]. What is meant by establishing the prayer is ruling by Islam, i.e., applying the rules of the Shar’a, as the Prophet named the part but intended the whole. (Min Bab ‘Itlaq al-Juz’ wal Muraad al-Kuli من باب إطلاق الجزء والمراد الكل).

The understanding of these ahadith is that they forbid rebellion against the ruler by the use of arms, except when he rules with the rules of clear kufr for which we have proof from Allah (swt) that this is a flagrant kufr in which there is no doubt. All of this is when the Islamic state is present and then the Khaleefah rules by clear kufr – even if it is one rule. In such a situation, the Ummah as individuals and groups are obliged to stand in his way and prevent him even by the use of arms. So what about the situation when there is no Muslim ruler in the first place, and there is no dar al-Islam? It is natural then that all the rules entrusted with the ruler will be suspended, and corruption and vice will become widespread; bad morals will become common, and corrupt relationships would emerge; the munkaraat would increase and spread, and the maroof would decrease and diminish. The Muslims will become weak, their standing would diminish and their power would wane. How eloquent is the saying of Imaam Ghazali when he said;المُلك والدِّين توأمان، فالدِّين أصل، والسلطان حارس، وما لا أصل له فمهدوم، وما لا حارس له فضائع“Indeed the Deen and Sultan (authority) are a twin. The Deen is a basis, and the Sultan is a guard. Anything that does not have a basis will be easily destroyed; and anything that has no guard will be easily lost.” In such a situation – which is the situation today- who will establish the State in its absence? Here comes the obligation entrusted to Islamic groups/parties in relation to enjoin the ma’roof and forbid the munkar. The work to establish the Khilafah or accounting the rulers and forcing them onto the truth and restricting them to it is entrusted to the groups. The work of the party, group or organisation or block or any Islamic grouping falls within this sphere. Hizb ut Tahrir realizes this and works sincerely as a kutla (group/party) in this cause since 1953. May Allah (swt) helps us to fulfil this obligation, which will make Islam implemented in its complete essence and dominant over all the other deens (religions/ways of life).

Allah (swt) says,

[وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى ٱلْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ]

“And let there arise from amongst you a group inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar. And it is they who are successful.” [3:104]


Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Hameed Bin Ahmad