The following is a transcript of a circle delivered upon this subject. Please note that it is in the form a transcript, therefore some of it is included as brief bullet points.
Enjoining the Ma’ruf & Forbidding Munkar
“You are the best of the nation raised up for mankind because you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 110]
Munkar means evil – those things which are clearly haram, e.g. lying, slander, cheating, backbiting, calling for peace with Israel, supporting Kufr political parties, neglecting ones parents, breaking ties with direct family, entering the political system to rule by Kufr, commiting Zina, drinking alcohol, joining the united nations, dividing Muslim land, privatising the natural resources and public utilities like oil & gas, supporting the current rulers in the Muslim world, abandoning the hudud, abandoning khimar for women, etc.
Ma’ruf means the good i.e. the belief and ahkam shariah of Islam such as salah, fasting, establishing the khilafah, hajj, calling women to wear the Islamic dress, calling to unify the Islamic world, obedience to parents, calling to remove the occupiers from Islamic lands, smiling at other Muslims, being merciful, respecting the elders, calling to remove the corrupt rulers in the Muslim word and unifying the Islamic land, etc.
Today whole world filled with munkar and there is the need for good
There are many texts about this subject
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 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.
Ahmad narrated on the authority of Abu Bakrah that the messenger said: "If the people see the Munkar (evil, wrong doing) and they do not change it, Allah will take them with a punishment".
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 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 it, 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, nobody other than him can fill it. For every munkar that appears in his sphere, no one other than him is responsible.
When the Muslim, with respect to himself, adheres to everything he has been commanded by Allah (swt) ie he complied with the ma’roof that relates to him, and abstains from the munkar, then this Muslim can transmit to others what was in respect to him. If he took the rules with knowledge and clarity then he can transmit them to others with knowledge and clarity. If he took them as a muttabi’ (one who takes opinion with the evidence) then he will transmit them to others on that level, and if he took it as an ‘aammi (layman) through taqleed then his transmission will be that of an ‘aammi (layman). In case he finds he does not have the ability to convince others, then he should pass them onto someone who does have the ability to convince them, such as referring them to a scholar, mufti or one of the da’wah carriers whom he trusts regarding their thought and understanding. He (swt) said;
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ
“The believers, men and women, are awliya (helpers, protectors, friends) of one another, they enjoin the ma’roof and forbid the munkar and they establish the salah.” [TMQ 9:71].
وَتَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الْبرِّ وَالتَّقْوَى وَلاَ تَعَاوَنُواْ عَلَى الإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“Help one another in al-Birr and Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” [TMQ 5:2].
We should not have fear
Today many of us don’t realise this obligation and some are scared – E.g. talking against people who slander, backbite, undertake Zina, support non-Islamic rulers, support nationalism, calling for Kufr solutions like Palestinian state, accusing other Muslims without evidence, etc
This also applies to the so-called government scholars who are silent in the face of the rulers and justify their actions like the Sheikh of Al-Azhar Tantawi, or the so-called scholars part of the MMA in Pakistan who are in the government, or those who call for supporting the non-Islamic parties here, etc. Fear is not a valid excuse!
Ibn Majjah narrated on the authority of Abu Saeed that the messenger (saw) said: "Let not one of you scorn himself". They said : O messenger of Allah, how one of us will scorn himself?. He (saw) said: "He sees a person whom Allah blamed, then he does not say about him what Allah has said about him. Allah (swt) will say to him: What prevented you from saying about this person so and so? He says: the fear from people. Allah says : Come, come to me, I am the one deserved to be feared"
Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of Abu Bakr (ra) that the messenger (saw) said : "Any people in which there are sins done among them, they can change the evil and they do not change, Allah will cover them with a punishment from him".
Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of Abu saeed (ra) that the messenger (saw) said: "Let not the fear of people prevent one of you to utter the truth when he sees it (i.e. sees the munkar) or hears it".
Having knowledge of Munkar & Ma’ruf
“Verily those who fear Allah from His servants are the Ulema” [TMQ Fatir: 28].
Obviously to undertake this obligation we must have knowledge of the Munkar & Ma’ruf in the first place
Otherwise we may forbid someone from Ma’ruf and enjoin someone to commit Munkar – like we see people doing today
We should be careful not to treat matters of legitimate ikhtilaf (difference of opinion) in the same way as Munkar
Imam Naysaburi one of the great Ulema in the past said, the Munkar is those of the haram which are definitive and not those which there is difference of opinion on
Today unfortunately we see people who treat the areas of legitimate difference of opinion as munkar, e.g. the issue beard (upon which there is difference of opinion some scholars like Ibn Taymiyah say it is Fard, others like Imam Nawawi say it is mandub (recommended), etc), whether praying salah in congregation is fard ayn (individual obligation), calling to niqab (face covering) of women as fard and saying that those who do not do are doing a munkar, etc.
These are areas of difference of opinion amongst the scholars, there is no harm in calling others to follow the opinion you believe is the strongest, this can be done by explaining the evidence that the opinion is built upon, etc. However the followers of another legitimate ijtihad should be accepted as having a legitimate view and not be accused of being deviants or condemned for following something evil. On the day of judgement we will see who will get two rewards and who will get one as is mentioned about Ijtihad in the hadith.
The different responsibilities
There are different responsibilities in this issue related to the individual, group and state
The Prophet (saw) said in a hadith narrated from Imam Muslim from Abu Sa’id al Khudri: “Whosoever sees a Munkar (an evil or wrong) let him change it by his hand, if he could not let it be by his tongue. If he could not let it be by his heart, and this is the weakest of Iman”
Depends on capability and legal responsibility
Individually we can stop munkar within our own sphere of responsibility, e.g. making are children wear Islamic dress, stopping them from evil, or our wife, etc.
However how can we change the Munkar in society like the abandonment of the Shariah rules?
Should Islamic groups be formed to address all the different individual munkars?
No – the establishment and maintenance of the Ma.roof and the Munkar can only be practically carried out through the State and it is impossible to do otherwise. Imam Qurtubi in his Tafseer has pointed out that only the Sultan has the ability of executing the Ma.roof and removing the Munkar by establishing the Hudood and through the framework of authority (Imam Qurtubi Jami.u Ahkam ul Qur.an vol. 4 page 47). This is
because Allah (swt) states,
الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
“Those who when we establish them (in authority) in the earth they establish the Salah, collect the Zakah, enjoin all that is Ma.roof and forbid all that is Munkar, and to Allah belongs the return of all matters..” (TMQ al-Hajj, verse 41)
State has ability to physically establish
E.g. cutting hand of thief, stoning adulterer, punishing those who don’t pray salah, wage Jihad to retake Islamic land and protect Muslims, etc
Hadith: “The Imaam is a Shepherd and (only) he is responsible for the citizens.” [Agreed upon].
Work of a Group/Party
Hence the work of a group/party is primarily concerned with ensuring that the Ma.roof are established in the society and the Munkar removed i.e. the work of such a Party is political and is of accounting the State to monitor that it is fulfilling it.s duties and carrying the call to Islam to the rest of the world through Da.awah and Jihad. Today.s situation is, however, that almost all the Ma.roof have been removed due to the absence of Islam and almost all the Munkar exist due to the absence of the state that implements Islam.
The vital issue of the Ummah is the re-unification of her lands and the ruling of her lands by Islam through the restoration of the Khilafah. The root Munkar by which all the Munkar will be removed is the removal of Kufr and the Kufr systems, and the Mar.oof which will bring back every Ma.roof absent and the whole Deen of Islam is the Khilafah which would re-establish Islam in all walks of life and carry the Da.awah of Islam to the rest of the world.
‘And let there arise out of you a group inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining the Good (ma’roof) and forbidding the Evil (munkar). And it is they who are successful’. [TMQ 3:104]
Al Khair is the whole of Islam. Thus the daw’ah which is required “yadhuna illal khair – call to the good” must be to implement all of Islam. This implementation can’t take place except through establishing the State that implements the ahkam of the Shara. Thus by the existence of this state, the whole of Islam exists (in life). As for the call to other than that, like the charitable deeds and (building) mosques and the like, these do not establish the whole of Islam, rather these are parts of the khair and not the whole of the khair.
There are certain ahkam shariah in Islam that can be performed by the individuals such as the prayer. There are ahkam Shar’iah which individuals can’t perform such as the hudud (penal codes). The da’wah to resume the Islamic way of life by establishing the state is a da’wah to the whole of Islam. While the da’wah to the other matters is a da’wah to the parts of the khair, whereas the requirements in this Ayah is the dawah to the whole of the khair.
The other part of the ayah “Wa ya’moroona bil ma’roof way an hawna anil munkar” i.e. the existence of a group that enjoins the ma’roof and forbids the munkar. This means the group should be a political party.
This is because it includes enjoining the rulers with Ma'ruf and forbidding their Munkar. It is even the most important type of enjoining Ma’ruf and forbidding Munkar. The words ‘al-Ma’ruf’ and ‘al-Munkar,’ which are preceded by the Arabic letters ‘Alif Laam,’ denote generality (i.e. it is a generic noun with a definite article denoting a general tense).
This is attached with alif laam (al) which is of the forms of generality, which means that commanding the ma’roof and forbidding the munkar must be in general, i.e. to the ruler, and the ruled (people) even the ruler is of more importance. This duty does not depend on the existence or non-existence of the state. In case it exists, the command and forbidding would be accounting the ruler. When it does not exist, the commanding and forbidding would be aimed at accounting and charging him to establish the state. Therefore the ayah demands (the establishment) of a political group and not just any group; whether the state existed or not. This is because the commanding and the forbidding (al amr wan nahi) is connected to the hukm in both cases.
Al Amr bil ma’roof wa nahi anil munkar is a political work as long as the relationship with the rulers is taken into consideration. For example to order a person to pray is different to ordering the people to pray and at the same time ordering the ruler to punish the one who does not pray. The first order (in the first case) is a command to the ma’roof detached from politics while the second is a command of the ma’roof and a political work at the same time.
Enjoining Ma’ruf & forbidding Munkar have been linked to political actions in the text:
“The best Jihaad is the word of truth spoken to a tyrant ruler.” [Reported by Ibn Maajah and Nasa’i]. He (saw) also said;
The Prophet (saw) said: “The master of martyrs is Hamza, and a man who stood up to a tyrant ruler to enjoin him (with the good) and forbid him (of the evil) and got killed.” [Reported by al-Haakim]. He (saw) said;
Like the Shuhadah Syed Qutb, killed by government, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Badri – who was killed by forces of Saddam due to his book and work exposing the Ba’thists, Farhad Usmanov, Arif Ishanov & Muzaffar Avazof and other martyrs of Uzbekistan killed by the tryrant Kafir, Karimov
“Nay, by Allah, you have to enjoin the ma’roof and forbid the munkar, and hold at the hand of the tyrant, and force him on the truth and restrict him to the truth.” [Reported by Abu Dawud and Tirmizi]. Nobody can force the unjust ruler on the truth and restrict him to it, except those who have might and power, ie a group or party because individuals are not able to do this.
So groups that are not political and only individualistic do not fulfil the commands in the verse
Stand of great scholars of past
Imam Malik (ra), the Imam of Madinah in Fiqh and hadeeth gave a fatwa stating that the oath that is taken through duress is invalid, as a result of this it had implications on the very rule that is taken through force, so the Wali in the region had him dragged through the streets on the back of a donkey. Whilst he was being dragged he was exclaiming, “Know who I am! I am Malik ibn Anas and the pledge that is taken through force is invalid, is invalid, is invalid!”
This is a Muslim who understood his responsibility to stand up to any tyrant and its falsehood regardless of the consequences to himself. He realised he was someone who had weight and responsibility, his words counted and he used them to keep the Ummah on the Haq.
Let us take the example of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (ra), the master of Hadeeth, the Mujtahid of Makkah and to whom the Hanbali Madhab is attributed. In his time Ma’moon became Khaleefah who had adopted the Mu’tazilla belief that the Quran was created and attempted to force this belief upon the masses. He started with the Ulema as they were the ones who had the leadership over the Ummah. Amongst the Ulema was Imam Ahmad who refused to accept this corrupt doctrine. His uncle went to him and asked him to say with his tongue what he does not accept in his heart, to this he responded, “If the Alim stays silent in the face of falsehood when will the truth become manifest”.
He preferred prison to corrupting an aspect of the Islamic Aqeeda and was prepared to suffer in this way following the example of Yusuf (as) who preferred prison to the fitna that he was faced with.
Let us remember the example of Imam Abu Hanifa (ra) the Imam of Ahlur Rayee, the Mujtahid and Faqih of Kufah. He was summoned to the court of Mansoor who was Khaleefah at the time and requested by him to take the position of Qadi ul Qadaa, i.e. chief justice. He refused as he did not view the Khaleefah as the most just of characters and therefore some people could have tainted his character. He replied the following, “I am not fit for this position!”, to which Mansoor became angry and shouted, “You lie! You are fit!” To which Abu Hanifah responded “If I am lying them I am not fit for the post, if I am not then I tell the truth I am not fit for the post!” As a result he was imprisoned and lashed.
So we see the example of Abu Hanifah who wanted to stay away from the tyrants and their tyranny regardless of any benefits in the Dunya. SubhanAllah!
Consequences of not enjoining Ma’ruf & forbidding Munkar
Great sin, dua’s not being accepted and punishment of Allah
Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of Aisha (ra) that the messenger (saw) said: "O people ! Allah says: Enjoin good and forbid evil before you call me and I will not reply to you, and before you ask me and I will not give you, and before you seek my forgiveness and I will not give victory to you".
Ahmad and Tabarani narrated on the authority of Udai ibn Umairah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ”Allah does not punish the general public because of the wrong doing of specific people until they see the evil (committed) among them while able to stop it and they do not. If they do that, Allah will punish the specific people and the general public..”
Ahmad narrated on the authority of Abu Bakrah that the messenger said: "If the people see the Munkar (evil, wrong doing) and they do not change it, Allah will take them with a punishment".
Hadith: “Nay, by Allah, you have to enjoin the good and forbid the wrong, and restrain the hand of the tyrant, and to force him on the truth and to confine him to the truth, otherwise Allah will be about to strike the hearts of some of you against others, then He will curse you as He cursed the Children of Israel”.
Al-Bazzar and Tabarani narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, .You shall enjoin good and you shall forbid munkar, or Allah will empower on you the evil ones, then your best ones will call upon Allah and He shall not respond..
Reward & Status of those who fulfil the obligation
Indeed the Prophet (saw) stated in one Hadeeth as narrated by Imam Bayhaqi (ra), “There will be from the end of my Ummah a people that will be rewarded like the first generation as they enjoin the Maroof and forbid the Munkar”.
A narration with similar wording was narrated by Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (ra) in his Musnad Vol 4 pg 62 that the Prophet (saw) said, “Verily from my Ummah there will be a people that will be rewarded like the first generation, those who forbid the Munkar”.