Enjoining right & Forbidding wrong
Abdul-azeez bin Baaz
What is the significance of giving precedence to enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong? Although it is a communal obligation, Allah Almighty gave precedence to it (in mention) over prayer and Zakah (almsgiving)....
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Obligation of enjoining what is right and forbiding what is wrong
In the Name of Allah, All perfect praise be to Allah. May Allah send blessing and peace upon the noblest of creation of Allah: Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdullah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. To go further:
What is the significance of giving precedence to enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong? Although it is a communal obligation, Allah Almighty gave precedence to it (in mention) over prayer and Zakah (almsgiving) in the following Holy Verse (what means): “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those - Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Tawbah 9:71]
Transliteration: Waalmuminoona waalmuminatu baAAduhum awliyao baAAdin yamuroona bialmaAAroofi wayanhawna AAani almunkari wayuqeemoona alssalata wayutoona alzzakata wayuteeAAoona Allaha warasoolahu olaika sayarhamuhumu Allahu inna Allaha AAazeezun hakeemun
No doubt, this command takes precedence due to the dire need for it, and the necessity to be enforced, thereby the ummah would become righteous, good and virtues multiply, vices disappear, and its individuals co-operate on good. But wasting it leads to great catastrophes and evils, division of the ummah, cruelty or death of hearts, and emergence of vices.
Who are those upon whom Allah has mercy?
Allah Almighty clarifies that those who enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, establish prayer, give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would receive the mercy of Allah as stated in His saying (what means): “Those - Allah will have mercy upon them.” [Tawbah 9:71]
Transliteration: olaika sayarhamuhumu Allahu
This indicates that mercy of Allah Almighty is obtained by obeying Him, and following His ordinance, esp. the command to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.
Ranks of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong
The sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, supports that command, and clarifies it with the most evident clarification. He, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says: “Whoever among you sees a wrongdoing, let him change it with his hand. If he has no enough power to do so, let him (change it) with his tongue. If he has no enough power even to do so, let him (disapprove of it) with his heart; and that is the least degree of faith.” [Muslim]
In this way, he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, clarified the three ranks of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong:
The first rank:
To change the evildoing with the hand in case of having power enough to do so, such as to spill over the utensils of alcoholic drinks, break the musical instruments, hold back the evildoers and wrongdoers from executing their evil and wrongness upon the people - and this is specific to him who has the authority to do so like the ruler and the men in power - to enjoin upon the people to establish prayer, execute the judgment of Allah which should be followed… to the end of those things made obligatory by Allah Almighty, provided that the one who enjoins right and forbids wrong should have the power to do so.
As such the behavior of a faithful believer should be with his family and children: to enjoin upon them the command of Allah and prevent them from what is made unlawful by Allah, with his hand if speech is useless.
The second rank:
It is to disapprove with the tongue, according to which he enjoins right upon them, and forbids them to do wrong, with his tongue, such as to say: “O people! Fear Allah! O my brothers! Fear Allah! Establish prayer and give Zakah, and leave that evildoing. Do such and such good. Leave what is made unlawful by Allah…” seeking the (bad) things they do in order to draw their attention to them, dealing with them kindly in the best manner possible, in response to the statement of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “Never does kindness lie in anything but that it adorns it, and never is it taken from anything but that it damages it.” [Ahmad]
The third rank:
If a believer fails to change an evildoing with the hand and even with the tongue, let him then disapprove of and dislike it from the bottom of his heart, and not soften (in his position) towards its perpetrators. It is narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, that somebody said to him: “Should I be ruined if I do neither enjoin right nor forbid wrong?” he said: “You would be ruined if your heart does not approve of right and disapprove of wrong.”
Why does supplication receive no answer?
Relevant to our topic, i.e. to enjoin right and forbid wrong, is the Hadith narrated on the authority of Hudhaifah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my soul: you should enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, otherwise, Allah is about to send upon you punishment from Himself, and if you invoke Him, He would not respond to you.” [Ahmad]
Ruling on enjoining right and forbidding wrong
This duty might turn into an individual obligation on him who sees an evildoing and there is none other than him to remove it, in which case, it becomes incumbent upon him to remove it provided that he should have enough power to do so, in view of the statement previously mentioned: “Whoever among you sees a wrongdoing, let him change it with his hand. If he has no enough power to do so, let him (change it) with his tongue. If he has no enough power even to do so, let him (disapprove of it) with his heart; and that is the least degree of faith.” [Muslim]
But if they are more than one, it then becomes a communal obligation upon them in the village, the town or the tribe in which they live. If anyone of them removes it, the purpose then will be achieved, and the reward will be due to him; and if all of them leave it, they will be sinful, just like the other communal obligations.
If there is, in the town or the tribe, none but one scholar, it becomes individually obligatory upon him to teach the people, call them to Allah, enjoin upon them to do right, and forbid them to do wrong, as much as lies within his capacity and power, due to the previous Hadiths, in addition to the statement of Allah Almighty (what means): “So fear Allah as much as you are able” [At-Taghabun 64:16]
Trasnliteration: Faittaqoo Allaha ma istataAAtum
Patience and seeking the reward of Allah
Whoever is helped by Allah to stick to patience , seeking the reward of Allah, and be sincere to Allah, from among the scholars, Du‘ah, and those who enjoin right and forbid wrong, will succeed and prosper, and will receive aid and guidance, and Allah will benefit the people with him, as He says (what means): “And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out (2) And will provide for him from where he does not expect.” [At-Talaq 65:2-3]
Transliteration: waman yattaqi Allaha yajAAal lahu makhrajan (2) Wayarzuqhu min haythu la yahtasibu
The saved winners in the world and the hereafter are those of faith and righteous deed, who advise each other to stick to truth and patience.
It is a well-known fact that to enjoin right and forbid wrong, and advise each other to stick to truth and patience are an inseparable part of piety. But Allah Almighty mentioned them in particular for further clarification and exhortation. The point is that whoever enjoins right, forbids wrong, calls to Allah and perseveres, seeking the reward of Allah, will carry all such good attributes and characteristics (of the faithful believers), and will attain the profit in full and abiding happiness if he dies on that.
Knowledge and comprehension of religion of Allah Almighty
My Muslim brother! You should approve of right and disapprove of wrong by religious knowledge and comprehension. Then, you could do your duty of enjoining right and forbidding wrong. Sticking to patience, and religious knowledge and comprehension are among the signs of happiness, and indications that Allah Almighty has intended good for His servant, as narrated in an authentic Hadith on the authority of Mu‘awiyah that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “If Allah intends to do good to a man, He will endow him with the religious knowledge and comprehension.” [Muslim]
If you see a man pursuing the circles of knowledge, asking about knowledge, doing his best to learn and understand religion, and sticking to patience, you should know that this is among the indications that Allah Almighty has intended good for him. So, let him adhere to that, strive his utmost in it, and neither weary nor weaken. The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, says in an authentic Hadith: “He, who follows a path therewith he seeks after knowledge, Allah Almighty will make easy for him the way to Paradise.” [Muslim]
He also should memorize the Book of Allah, since the Holy Qur’an is the foundation and source of knowledge, the great basis, the strong rope of Allah Almighty, the greatest and the noblest Book, the best leader to good, and the strongest deterrent from evil.
My advice to every believing man and woman is to be interested in the Holy Qur’an, recite it more often, be eager to memorize it or what is made easy of it, meditate and give thought to it, since guidance and light lie in it as stated by Allah Almighty (what means): “Indeed, this Qur'an guides to that which is most suitable.” [Al ‘Israa’ 17:9]
Transliteration: Inna hatha alqurana yahdee lillatee hiya aqwamu
The same is true of the sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the second Divine revelation and foundation (of jurisprudence), which explicates and guides to the Book of Allah Almighty.
I ask Allah, by His Most Beautiful Names and Supreme Attributes, to guide us and all Muslims to the advantageous knowledge and the righteous deed, to endow us with the knowledge and understanding of his religion and keep us firm on it, to bestow upon all of us the favor of undertaking that duty as much as lies within our capacity and power, to help the Muslim rulers do this duty with patience on it, to help such as entrusted to do this duty perform it to the best, and to help all people fulfill what is due to Him, be sincere to Him and His servants: He Almighty is Most Munificent, Most Generous.
May Allah send blessing and peace upon His servant, our Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his family and Companions, and those who follow them with good conduct.
Handbook: Obligation of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong
His Eminence Sheikh: Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baz. Allah’s mercy be upon him
Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia
Dar Al-Watan No. 391 Madar Al-Watan
Malaz: Eastern Ring Road - exit 15 - after the markets Glory with 2 km west
Translated by Wathakker.info website