Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil

Al A’raf

Allah [may He be Glorified] said: “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish.” (7:199)


This verse deals with good behaviour with people. It explains that, when dealing with people, the following should be considered:

1. Showing forgiveness: to accept from people whatever they are able to perform of actions and behaviour. No soul shall be burdened with anything beyond its capacity. One should thank every person in return for his good words or deeds, or even what is less than that. He is also ordered to overlook their shortcomings and not to reveal their defects. He is also directed not to be arrogant towards others due to their young age, insanity or poverty, but he should treat all of them well in a manner that pleases them and conforms with the circumstances.

2. Enjoining Ma’ruf: the word Ma’ruf stands for every good act and saying and perfect manner observed when dealing with people, whether relatives or otherwise. Thus, it is expected from a Muslim in all his dealings with people to be beneficial in different ways: to teach them of his knowledge, urge them to do good in terms of maintaining good relation with kinsfolk or reconciliation between disputants, offer useful advice, propose prudent opinion, help others to indulge in righteous acts and piety, warn people against doing bad deeds, and guide them to achieve interests that pertain to either the religion or to their mundane affairs.

3. Turning away from the foolish and not reciprocating their conduct. This includes not to harm he who harmed you by his speech or acts, rather it is better to adopt a tolerant attitude; by forgiving those who injured you, by giving those who deprived you, by maintaining the ties of kinship with those who severed such relations with you, and by being just with those who treated you unjustly.

See Tafsir Ibn Sa’di, p.276 (Al-Luwaihiq Edition).

The Importance of Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil


عن أبي ذر -رضي الله عنه- قال:
( قلت: يا رسول الله ألا تستعملني؟ قال: فضرب بيده على منكبي ثم قال: يا أبا ذر إنك ضعيف، وإنها أمانة، وإنها يوم القيامة خزي وندامة، إلا من أخذها بحقها، وأدى الذي عليه فيها )
وفي لفظ آخر: ( يا أبا ذر إني أراك ضعيفا، وإني أحب لك ما أحب لنفسي. لا تأَمَّرنَّ على اثنين ولا تولَّينَّ مال يتيم )
مسلم (1825 ، 1826)


On the authority of Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) who requested the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to appoint him in charge of certain responsibility. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) patted him on the shoulder and said: “O Abu Dharr! You are weak and it is a trust and thus will be shame and regret for the people on the Day of Judgement, except for those who undertake it in a right way and perform the duties thereof”. In another narration, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “O Abu Dharr I notice that you are weak and I wish for you what I wish for myself. Do not be a ruler of two persons, nor a guardian of the orphan’s property” [Narrated by Muslim, Hadiths no. 1825, 1826].

An-Nawawi said that this Hadith is a strong excuse for those who want to avoid leadership and especially those who are unable to implement the responsibilities of these positions. As for shame and regret on the Day of Judgement, it will be on the side of those who are not efficient for these positions and yet undertake them, and also on the side of the efficient for such positions but do not discharge justice. This kind of people will be disgraced on the Day of Judgement and will regret what they have done in this world. On the other hand, the person who is capable of assuming the leadership responsibilities and implements justice will be rewarded with the best reward as referred to in the sound Ahadith and the consensus of opinion of the scholars.

In spite of all this, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) warned Abu Dharr against assuming such positions because of the danger involved therein. Moreover, a lot of scholars among the worthy ancestors similarly warned against assuming them, and even refused to assume such positions and endured the persecution inflicted upon them because of their refusal. [Commentary on Sahih Muslim, Vol. XII, Hadith no. 210].


About slaveofallah14

Slave of Allah dedicated to learning and providing authentic Islamic education for the Muslim and non-Muslim women,only for the sake of Allah.

Posted on March 11, 2013, in Qur'anic Verse and Prophetic Saying. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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