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Ordering Good and Forbidding Evil

Imām ibn Bāz

In a response to a question on gossip and backbiting, muslims are advised to uphold righteousness and forbid sinning in accordance with the Sunnah.

There are some Muslim sisters from al-Mujamma`ah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabīa who say in their question: When we try to stop the spread of Namimah (tale-bearing) and Ghibah (backbiting) among people, those whom we advise may insult and become mad at us. Are we sinful for making them angry, especially if they are parents? Should we prevent them or forget about matters that are not related to us? Please, advise!

Our Shaykh Ibn Bāz, raḥimahullāh, responded:

“Enjoining right and forbidding wrong are of the most important acts of worship, as Allāh (May He be Glorified) says: The believers, men and women, are Auliyā (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) al-Maʿrūf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islām orders one to do), and forbid (people) from al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islām has forbidden).

So, Allāh (He may be Glorified) explains in this Ayah that enjoining right and forbidding wrong are of the qualities of the believing men and women where Allāh (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muḥammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his Sunnah] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin al-Maʿrūf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islām has ordained) and forbid al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islām has forbidden), and you believe in Allāh.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Whoever, among you, sees something abominable should rectify it with his hand, and if he does not have enough strength to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he does not have enough strength to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of faith. Related by Muslim in his Saḥiḥ (book of authentic Ḥadiths). There are many Āyahs and Ḥadiths on the obligation of enjoining right and forbidding wrong that rebuke those who neglect this duty. It is obligatory upon you and upon every believing man and woman to enjoin right and forbid wrong, even if those whom you invite become angry or insult you. Indeed, observing patience is obligatory as the Prophets (ﷺ) and their followers did. Allāh (Glorified and Exalted be He) addressed His Prophet (ﷺ) saying: Therefore be patient (O Muḥammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) as did the Messengers of strong will. Allāh (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: …and be patient. Surely, Allāh is with those who are al-Sābirūn (the patient).

Allāh (May He be Glorified) says about Luqman al-Hakim (Luqman the wise) that he said to his son: “O my son! Aqim-As-Sʿalát (perform al-Sʿalát), enjoin (on people) al-Maʿrūf – (Islamic Monotheism and all that is good), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief in the Oneness of Allāh, polytheism of all kinds and all that is evil and bad), and bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments (ordered by Allāh with no exemption). No doubt, reforming society and preserving its integrity are achieved by following the instructions of Allāh and then by enjoining right and forbidding wrong. The neglect of enjoining right and forbidding wrong is one of the greatest reasons for corrupting society, tearing it apart, and exposing it to general punishment. It is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) that he said: If acts of disobedience are done among people and they do not change them, Allāh will soon punish them all.

Allāh (Glorified and Exalted be He) warned His servants against following the example of the Children of Israel in His saying: Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Dāwūd (David) and ʿIsā (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). That was because they disobeyed (Allāh and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing beyond bounds. They used not to forbid one another from Al-Munkar (wrong, evil-doing, sins, polytheism, disbelief) which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do. We ask Allāh to guide all Muslims, rulers and subjects, to do this duty in the best form, to reform their conditions, and protect all people from the causes of His wrath. He is the All-Hearer, the All-Respondent.”1

1. Majmūʿ al-Fatāwá Ibn Bāz: 6/267
Source: The General Presidency of Scholarly Research and Ifta, Kingdom of Saudi Arabīa

Published: February 10, 2013
Edited: April 4, 2023

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