Monday 11 December 2023

Let there be a group to invite people to enjoin doing that is right and forbid doing that is wrong

Islam is a very simple, yet very practical and wholesome religion and it is for this purpose it is called Deen, not merely a religion. That means that every Muslim should be embodiment of the entire Divine commandments contained in Qur'an, augmented by Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad and this should radiate from his character and his dealing with others in life. 

And one of the most sacred duty of every Muslim is to invite people to enjoin doing that is right and forbid them from doing what is wrong. This not an easy thing to do for lone voices are normally lost in the loudness of the crowd. And if this duty is entrusted to a well read group of people, the results would not only be encouraging for a combined voice is always heeded to. It is just like Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) who felt afraid of facing the Pharaoh and asked God to allow his brother to accompany him as moral support.

The same has been Divinely asked in Qur'an for Muslims to form groups so that they are heard and can explain to the people the rewards of doing good and otherwise of doing what is wrong. Let us read the 104th verse of Surah 3 Al-i'Imran:

وَلۡتَكُنۡ مِّنۡكُمۡ اُمَّةٌ يَّدۡعُوۡنَ اِلَى الۡخَيۡرِ وَيَاۡمُرُوۡنَ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ وَيَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ الۡمُنۡكَرِ​ؕ وَاُولٰٓـئِكَ هُمُ الۡمُفۡلِحُوۡنَ‏ 
(3:104) And from among you there must be a party who invite people to all that is good and enjoin the doing of all that is right and forbid the doing of all that is wrong. It is they who will attain true success.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
The objective of this Ayah is that there should be a segment of this Muslim Ummah fulfilling this task, even though it is also an obligation on every member of this Ummah, each according to his ability. Muslim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

( «مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ، فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِع فَبِقَلْبِهِ، وَذلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَان» Whoever among you witnesses an evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable, then let him change it with his tongue. If he is unable, then let him change it with his heart, and this is the weakest faith.) 

Imam Ahmad recorded that Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman said that the Prophet said, (By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah shall send down a punishment from Him to you. Then, you will supplicate to Him, but He will not accept your supplication.)

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Muflih, aflaha, falah: the root idea is attainment of desires; happiness, in this world and the next; success; prosperity; freedom from anxiety, care, or a disturbed state of mind;-the opposite of 'azab in the next verse, which includes: failure; misery; punishment or penalty; agony or anguish. The ideal Muslim community is happy, untroubled by conflicts or doubts, sure of itself, strong, united, and prosperous: because it invites to all that is good; enjoins the right; and forbids the wrong,-a master-stroke of description in three clauses.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
This directive is given to the Muslims in their collective capacity: in order to hold steadfast to this directive of the Qur’ān, they must depute some people from among themselves to enjoin good and forbid evil. It is in this capacity that glad tidings of success are given. It is evident from this that this directive relates to those in authority. Consequently, in an Islamic state, the pulpit of the Friday prayer and the department of police serve this very purpose. Through the Friday sermon, those in authority call them towards righteousness and urge them to refrain from wrongdoings while the police holds people accountable who perpetrate acts which are considered as crimes as per law.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
The task of the Muslim community is to implement the Divine method in human society, and to help truth to triumph over falsehood, goodness over evil. This task is stated in the following verse: “Let there become of you a nation that invites to all that is good, enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid what is wrong. Such are they who shall prosper.”
It is imperative for this community to come into existence so as to invite all to that which is good, and to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. The Qur’ānic statement imparts that this must be done through a real authority which can invite, enjoin and forbid. Anyone may be able to invite to what is good, but no one can enjoin and forbid unless he is equipped with real authority.

This is the proper Islamic view of the matter. It is essential that there should be an authority to undertake the task of advocating what is good and removing what is evil. The units which constitute this authority must combine together, hold fast to their bond with God, and translate their brotherhood into a reality. The prerequisites enabling this authority to implement the Divine method in life are faith and brotherhood. The Divine method cannot be put into practice without “inviting” others to every good so that people realise the true nature of this Divine method. It also requires an active authority to “enjoin” what is right and “forbid” what is wrong. Such an authority must be obeyed. God says: “We have sent every messenger in order to be obeyed with God’s leave.” (Al-Nisā’ 4:64) Hence, God’s method is not merely preaching and verbal explanation. This is only one part of it. The other part is an active and sustained effort to promote every right thing in human life and to reduce to a minimum every wrong. In this way, the traditions of the good Muslim community will be protected against the whims of anyone who has the power to impose his own interests on the community. It also protects these traditions against all abuse or subservience to personal desire or interest.

The task of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong is not an easy one, especially when we consider that it inevitably conflicts with people’s desires, interests and pride. There are in this world of ours tyrants who impose their authority by force, people who are interested only in carnal desires and who do not wish to be elevated to a nobler standard. There are also the lazy who hate to be asked to be serious, the unfair who hate justice, the deviant who do not for a moment contemplate a straightforward attitude, as well as those who think wrong of every right thing and consider every wrong thing to be right. No nation, let alone humanity as a whole, can prosper unless goodness prevails, right is upheld and wrong is thrown out. Hence, the need for an authority to promote goodness and right and to combat evil. What is more, this authority must be obeyed.
This leads us back to the point where we started: a community must be built on the two essential qualities of faith and brotherhood. It is only such a community that can undertake this difficult task, equipped with the power of faith and the seriousness it derives from fearing God as well as the strength of love and brotherhood. It is only through the fulfilment of this role that this community can prosper. Hence, God describes those who fulfil it as prosperous: “Such are they who shall prosper.”
The existence of such a community is essential for the Divine method itself. It is indeed the environment in which it can breathe and become a practical reality. It is a good, healthy environment where people co-operate to promote goodness. In such a community, right is synonymous with goodness, virtue and justice, whereas wrong means evil, vice and injustice. To do good in such a community is easier than to do evil, virtue is simpler than vice, right stronger than wrong, justice more common and beneficial than injustice. A person who wants to do good will find help while the one who wants to do evil will meet resistance. It is this fact that gives this community its greatest value. It provides an environment where goodness and right can prosper without the need for any great effort, because everything in this environment lends them support. Wrong and evil can only grow with difficulty because of the all-round resistance which neglects it.
The concept Islam formulates of life, actions, events, values and people is essentially different from all other concepts. Hence, a special environment, which is totally different from that state of ignorance which prevails in unreligious communities, is needed to enable this unique concept, with all its unique values, to flourish. This environment must be conditioned by the Islamic concept of human life and must serve it so that it may live, breathe freely and grow in it, without encountering any internal hindrances to its development. Should it encounter any obstacles, then the essential qualities of the Muslim community, to advocate all that is good and to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, are certain to remove them. Should an oppressive force attempt to turn people away from God, then it will inevitably encounter those who are prepared to defend and protect the Divine method of life.
This environment is embodied in the Muslim community which is built on the twin pillars of faith and brotherhood. Its faith in God brings conformity to its concept of life, events, actions, values and people and gives it a single standard with which to evaluate everything in life. It conducts all its affairs according to the same Divine law and pledges all its loyalty to the leadership which takes upon itself the task of implementing God’s method in human life. The brotherhood of faith provides this community with bonds of love and mutual care. These ties ensure the absence of selfishness in the community and help its members care for one another without pressure or ill feeling.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Da'wah - Calling others to Islam and Extending guidance to understand Tenets of Islam

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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