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An-Nawawi on the Duty to Enjoin Good and Forbid Evil

By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

An-Nawawi records in his book, Riyad us-Saliheen:

Allah said:
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
Let there arise from you a nation inviting to good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.
Surah Ali Imran 3:104

And Allah said:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
You are the best nation produced for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.
Surah Ali Imran 3:110

And Allah said:
خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ
Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the ignorant.
Surah Al-A’raf 7:199

And Allah said:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
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 charity and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have mercy upon them. Verily, Allah is Almighty and Wise.
Surah At-Tawba 9:71

And Allah said:
لُعِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَلَىٰ لِسَانِ دَاوُودَ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا وَّكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ كَانُوا لَا يَتَنَاهَوْنَ عَن مُّنكَرٍ فَعَلُوهُ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ
Cursed by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary were those who disbelieved among the children of Israel. That was because they disobeyed and transgressed. They would not prevent one another from the wrongdoing they did. How evil was that which they were doing.
Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:78-79

And Allah said:
وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ فَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيُؤْمِن وَمَن شَاءَ فَلْيَكْفُرْ
Say: The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills let him believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve.
Surah Al-Kahf 18:29

And Allah said:
فَاصْدَعْ بِمَا تُؤْمَرُ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the idolaters.
Surah Al-Hijr 15:94

And Allah said:
فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ أَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ السُّوءِ وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ
When they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We saved those who had forbidden evil and seized those who wronged with a terrible punishment because they were defiantly disobedient.
Surah Al-A’raf 7:165

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَنْ رَأَى مِنْكُمْ مُنْكَرًا فَلْيُغَيِّرْهُ بِيَدِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِلِسَانِهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَبِقَلْبِهِ وَذَلِكَ أَضْعَفُ الْإِيمَانِ
Whoever sees evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is unable, then with his tongue; and if he is unable, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.
Source: Sahih Muslim 49, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَا مِنْ نَبِيٍّ بَعَثَهُ اللَّهُ فِي أُمَّةٍ قَبْلِي إِلَّا كَانَ لَهُ مِنْ أُمَّتِهِ حَوَارِيُّونَ وَأَصْحَابٌ يَأْخُذُونَ بِسُنَّتِهِ وَيَقْتَدُونَ بِأَمْرِهِ ثُمَّ إِنَّهَا تَخْلُفُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ خُلُوفٌ يَقُولُونَ مَا لَا يَفْعَلُونَ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا لَا يُؤْمَرُونَ فَمَنْ جَاهَدَهُمْ بِيَدِهِ فَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ وَمَنْ جَاهَدَهُمْ بِلِسَانِهِ فَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ وَمَنْ جَاهَدَهُمْ بِقَلْبِهِ فَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ وَلَيْسَ وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ الْإِيمَانِ حَبَّةُ خَرْدَلٍ
Allah did not send any Prophet in the nations before me except that he was given disciples and companions who followed his way and obeyed his command. Then, after them came their successors who said what they did not practice and who practiced what they were not commanded. He who strove against them with his hand was a believer, and he who strove against them with his tongue was a believer, and he who strove against them with his heart was a believer; beyond that there is no faith even the size of a mustard seed.
Source: Sahih Muslim 50, Grade: Sahih

Ubadah ibn As-Samit reported:
بَايَعْنَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى السَّمْعِ وَالطَّاعَةِ فِي الْعُسْرِ وَالْيُسْرِ وَالْمَنْشَطِ وَالْمَكْرَهِ وَعَلَى أَثَرَةٍ عَلَيْنَا وَعَلَى أَنْ لَا نُنَازِعَ الْأَمْرَ أَهْلَهُ وَعَلَى أَنْ نَقُولَ بِالْحَقِّ أَيْنَمَا كُنَّا لَا نَخَافُ فِي اللَّهِ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ
We pledged allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, pledging to listen and obey in hardship and in ease, in pleasure and displeasure even if someone is wrongly favored over us, and pledging not to dispute the rule of those in authority and that we should speak the truth wherever we are and not to fear those who blame us regarding Allah.
Source: Sahih Muslim 1709, Grade: Sahih

An-Nu’man ibn Basheer reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَثَلُ الْقَائِمِ عَلَى حُدُودِ اللَّهِ وَالْوَاقِعِ فِيهَا كَمَثَلِ قَوْمٍ اسْتَهَمُوا عَلَى سَفِينَةٍ فَأَصَابَ بَعْضُهُمْ أَعْلَاهَا وَبَعْضُهُمْ أَسْفَلَهَا فَكَانَ الَّذِينَ فِي أَسْفَلِهَا إِذَا اسْتَقَوْا مِنْ الْمَاءِ مَرُّوا عَلَى مَنْ فَوْقَهُمْ فَقَالُوا لَوْ أَنَّا خَرَقْنَا فِي نَصِيبِنَا خَرْقًا وَلَمْ نُؤْذِ مَنْ فَوْقَنَا فَإِنْ يَتْرُكُوهُمْ وَمَا أَرَادُوا هَلَكُوا جَمِيعًا وَإِنْ أَخَذُوا عَلَى أَيْدِيهِمْ نَجَوْا وَنَجَوْا جَمِيعًا
The parable of the one who observes the limits prescribed by Allah and the one who transgresses them is the likeness of people who board a ship after casting lots. Some of them are in its lower deck and others are in its upper deck. Those in the lower deck, when they need water, go to the upper deck and say: If we make a hole in the bottom of the ship, we will not harm you. If those in the upper deck leave them to carry out their plan, they will all be drowned, but if they stop them, then all of them will be safe.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 2361, Grade: Sahih

Umm Salamah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
سَتَكُونُ أُمَرَاءُ فَتَعْرِفُونَ وَتُنْكِرُونَ فَمَنْ عَرَفَ بَرِئَ وَمَنْ أَنْكَرَ سَلِمَ وَلَكِنْ مَنْ رَضِيَ وَتَابَعَ
There will be rulers from whom you will see both goodness and corruption. One who recognizes their evil and hates it will maintain his innocence; but one who is pleased with it and follows them will be sinful.

It was said, “Shall we not fight them?” The Prophet said:
لَا مَا صَلَّوْا
No, as long as they pray.
Source: Sahih Muslim 1854, Grade: Sahih

Zainab bint Jahsh reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, came to visit me one day while he was frightened and he said:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَيْلٌ لِلْعَرَبِ مِنْ شَرٍّ قَدْ اقْتَرَبَ فُتِحَ الْيَوْمَ مِنْ رَدْمِ يَأْجُوجَ وَمَأْجُوجَ مِثْلُ هَذِهِ
There is no God but Allah! Woe to the Arabs because of an evil that is drawing near! Today an opening of this size has been made in the barrier restraining Gog and Magog.

He made a circle with this thumb and finger. I said, “O Messenger of Allah, will we perish while there are still righteous people among us?” The Prophet said:
نَعَمْ إِذَا كَثُرَ الْخَبَث
Yes, if wickedness prevails.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 3168, Grade: Mutaffaqun Alayhi

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
‏إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْجُلُوسَ بِالطُّرُقَاتِ
Beware of sitting in the roads.

They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have nowhere else to sit and talk.” So the Prophet said:
إِنْ أَبَيْتُمْ فَأَعْطُوا الطَّرِيقَ حَقَّهُ
If you insist, then give the road its right.

They said, “What is its right, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet said:
غَضُّ الْبَصَرِ وَكَفُّ الأَذَى وَرَدُّ السَّلاَمِ وَالأَمْرُ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَالنَّهْىُ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ
Lower the gaze, avoid harming others, return greetings of peace, enjoining the good, and forbidding the evil.
Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4815, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saw a man wearing a gold ring, so he said:
يَعْمِدُ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى جَمْرَةٍ مِنْ نَارٍ فَيَجْعَلُهَا فِي يَدِهِ
One of you will take a live coal and put it on his hand.

It was said to the man after the Messenger of Allah left, “Take your ring and use it another way.” The man said:
لَا وَاللَّهِ لَا آخُذُهُ أَبَدًا وَقَدْ طَرَحَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
No, by Allah, I will not take it after the Messenger of Allah has thrown it out.
Source: Sahih Muslim 2090, Grade: Sahih

Abu Sa’eed Al-Hasan reported: Ai’dh ibn Amr, a companion of the Prophet, visited Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad who was the ruler and he said to him: Dear son, I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say:
إِنَّ شَرَّ الرِّعَاءِ الْحُطَمَةُ فَإِيَّاكَ أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنْهُمْ
Verily, the worst shepherds are those who are harsh, so beware not to be one of them.

Ibn Ziyad said to him, “Sit down, for you are only a husk among the companions of the Prophet.” Ai’dh said:
وَهَلْ كَانَتْ لَهُمْ نُخَالَةٌ إِنَّمَا كَانَتْ النُّخَالَةُ بَعْدَهُمْ وَفِي غَيْرِهِمْ
Was there any husk among them? Indeed, the husks only came after them and were among others.
Source: Sahih Muslim 1830, Grade: Sahih

Hudhaifa ibn Al-Yaman reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنْ الْمُنْكَرِ أَوْ لَيُوشِكَنَّ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عِقَابًا مِنْهُ ثُمَّ تَدْعُونَهُ فَلَا يُسْتَجَابُ لَكُمْ
By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will enjoin good and forbid evil or else Allah will soon send the punishment upon you. Then you will supplicate to Allah and he will not accept it from you.
Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2169, Grade: Hasan

Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْظَمِ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةَ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ
Verily, among the greatest of struggles (jihad) is a word of justice in front of a tyrant.
Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2174, Grade: Hasan

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ مَا دَخَلَ النَّقْصُ عَلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ كَانَ الرَّجُلُ يَلْقَى الرَّجُلَ فَيَقُولُ يَا هَذَا اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَدَعْ مَا تَصْنَعُ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَحِلُّ لَكَ ثُمَّ يَلْقَاهُ مِنْ الْغَدِ فَلَا يَمْنَعُهُ ذَلِكَ أَنْ يَكُونَ أَكِيلَهُ وَشَرِيبَهُ وَقَعِيدَهُ فَلَمَّا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَ بَعْضِهِمْ بِبَعْضٍ
Verily, the first deficiency in religion among the children of Israel is that a man would meet another and say to him: Fear Allah and leave what you are doing, for this is not lawful for you. Then he would meet him the next day and find no change in him, but this would not prevent him from eating and drinking with him and sitting in his assemblies. When it came to this, Allah led their hearts into evil on account of their association with others.

Then he recited the verses:
لُعِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَلَىٰ لِسَانِ دَاوُودَ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا وَّكَانُوا يَعْتَدُونَ كَانُوا لَا يَتَنَاهَوْنَ عَن مُّنكَرٍ فَعَلُوهُ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ تَرَىٰ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتَوَلَّوْنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لَهُمْ أَنفُسُهُمْ أَن سَخِطَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَفِي الْعَذَابِ هُمْ خَالِدُونَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالنَّبِيِّ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَا اتَّخَذُوهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ وَلَٰكِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
Those who disbelieved among the children of Israel were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus the son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and were transgressors. They would not forbid one another from the evil they were doing. Wretched is that what they used to do. You see many of them becoming allies of those who disbelieved. How wretched is that which they have put forth for themselves in that Allah has become angry with them, and in the punishment they will abide eternally. If they had believed in Allah and the Prophet and in what was revealed to him, they would not have taken them as allies, but many of them are defiantly disobedient.
Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:78-81

Then the Prophet said:
كَلَّا وَاللَّهِ لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنْ الْمُنْكَرِ وَلَتَأْخُذُنَّ عَلَى يَدَيْ الظَّالِمِ وَلَتَأْطُرُنَّهُ عَلَى الْحَقِّ أَطْرًا وَلَتَقْصُرُنَّهُ عَلَى الْحَقِّ قَصْرًا
By Allah, you must enjoin good and forbid evil and seize the hand of the oppressor and make him follow the truth and restrict him to what is just.”
Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4336, Grade: Hasan

Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, said: O people, you read this verse incorrectly:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ مَنْ ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ
O you who believe, your duty is to yourselves, those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided.

Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:105
Then Abu Bakr said: Verily, I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say:
إِنَّ النَّاسَ إِذَا رَأَوْا الظَّالِمَ فَلَمْ يَأْخُذُوا عَلَى يَدَيْهِ أَوْشَكَ أَنْ يَعُمَّهُمْ اللَّهُ بِعِقَابِهِ
Verily, if the people see an oppressor and they do not seize his hand, then Allah will soon send punishment upon all of them.
Source: Musnad Ahmad 31, Grade: Sahih

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

Edited from:
http://www.faithinallah.org/an-nawawi-on-the-duty-to-enjoin-good-and-forbid-evil/
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