Hisbah (Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil)

From the Book ‘Inpursuit of Allah’s Pleasure’

Allah (swt) said (which means) :

“The hypocrites men and women, are from one onother: they enjoin evil and forbid good.” [at-Taubah (9) : 128]

“The believers, men and women, are awliyyaa’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors)of one another: they enjoin good and forbid evil”. [at-Taubah (9) : 67]

In these verses, Allah (swt) has made the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil a characteristic with which to differentiate between the believers and the hypocrites. He makes it clear that forbidding evil and enjoining good is a trait to the believers. Indeed, it is a characteristic of our Prophet Muhammad (saw) which the Qur’an mentions thus:

“He enjoins good upon them and forbids them from evil”.[at-Taubah (9) : 71]

It is also a characteristic of this Ummah and a precondition for its virtue and success:

“You are the best of peoples ever raised for mankind; you enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and you believe in Allah”. [al-A’raf (7) : 157]

Mujahid said, “Being the best of all peoples is conditional in the characteristics mentioned in the verse.”

Al-Qurtubi said, “You are the best of peoples only if you enjoin good and forbid evil.”

Therefore, this compliment of our Ummah depends on whether we enjoy these two characteristics. If we do not, we will no longer be worthy of this praise. Indeed, we will deserve chastisement and be doomed for destruction.

Imam an-Nawawee said, “You should know that this issue, the enjoining good and forbidding evil, has mostly been negelcted over a long period of time. What remains of it today is but a few traces, all despite the fact that it is an important issue which lies at the heart of all affairs.”

Therefore, those who seek success in the Hereafter and aspire to Allah’s Pleasure must take note into account this issue due to its great benefit, especially since it has mostly been abandoned. He must also make intention sincere and fear no-one who may oppose his attempt. For Allah (swt) says (which means) :

“Verily Allah helps one who helps His [Cause].” [al-Hajj (22) : 40]

The reasons for enjoining good and forbidding evil are many and varied. Hope for rewrd and fear of punishment for neglecting it; anger over transgression of Allah’s limits; the desire to give counsel to the believers and compassion for them in the hope of saving from the consequences of disobeying Allah (swt), for He surely is worthy of obedience, remembrance and gratefulness. Wealth and life are nothing in return for the protection of the dacred sanctity of Allah.

As one of the Salaf-us-Salih said, “I wish all the creation would obey Allah in return for my flesh being cut off with scissors.” Whoever perceives this will find all hardships for Allah’s sake easy, as ‘Abdul-Malik, the son of ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-Aziz said to his father, “I wish pots of hot water would be boiled for my torture in the cause of Allah.”

Hisbah has been defined by scholars as:

“the enjoining of a good that has been evidently abandoned and the forbidding of an evil that is openly practised.”

Imam an-Nawawee said, “The Qur’an, the Sunnah and the consensus of the Ummah are in accord that enjoining good and forbidding evil is an [Islamic] obligation.”

The command to conduct Hisbah in the Qur’an and Sunnah sometimes comes in a more direct way, as Allah (swt) says (which means),

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong.” [al-Imran (3) : 104]

The Prophet (saw) also said,

“Whoever sees an evil [being practised] must change it with his hand. If he cannot do so, then with his tongue. If he [still] cannot do so, then with his heart, which is the weakest form if faith.” Bukhari and Muslim

On other occasions, Hisbah is strongly recommended as an inherent characteristic of the believers, as Allah says (which means):

“And the believers, men and women, as awliyyaa’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another: they enjoin good and forbod evil; they establish Salah, they pay the Zakah, and they abey Allah and His Messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [at-Taubah (9) : 71]

And still on other occasions it comes in the form of criticising those who neglect it and as a threat of curse and doom. As Allah (swt) says (which means):

“Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were curesed by the tongue of David and of Jesus, the son of Mary. That was becasue thay disobeyed [Allah and His Messenger] and were ever transgressing beyond bounds. They used not to forbid one another from the Munkar [wrong, evil-doing, sins, polytheism, disbelief, etc.] which they committed. Vile indeed was whay they used to do.” [al-Maidah (5) : 78-79]

The Prophet (saw) also said,

“There are no people in whose midst acts of disobedience are habitual, and who can change these habits but not change them, except that Allah visits them with a sweeping punishement.” Abu Dawud, Ahmad and Ibn Majah

Abu Dardaa’ said, “Either you enjoin good and forbid evil or Allah will set up you a tyrant ruler who will nither respect your elderly nor have mercy on your young. If the pious amingst you pray for their destruction, their prayers will not be answered. If you ask Allah for help, He will not grant it to you. And if you ask His forgiveness, He will not forgive you.”

Bilal bin Sa’eed said, “If an act of disobedience is kept secret, it will harm only its doer, but if it is committed openly and not changed, it will harm everyone.”

An-Nawawee said, “Hisbah is a great issue which lies at the heart of all matters. If evil practices become abound, Allah’s punishment will be visited upon the pious and the wicked alike. And if they fail to forbid the transgressors to do evil, Allah will make His punishment spread to encompass alll the people.”

Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq said, “O people! You recite the verse (which means):
“O you who believe! Guard your own souls: if you follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray.” [al-Maidah (5) : 105] but you misinterpret it and do not know what it means. I once heard Allah’s Messenger (saw) say, “If people see some-one [practising] injustice and do not set him right, Allah will almost certainly visit them all with sever punishment.” Another narration goes, “If they see evil practised and do not attempt to change it…” Abu Dawud, Ahmad and Tirmidhi

An-Nawawee said, “The Prophet’s saying ‘must change it’ indicates that practising it is an obligation, by the consensus of the Ummah.” He also said, “Enjoining good and forbidding evil is an obligation of collective responsibilty (Fard Kifaayah). Once it is undertaken by a number of people the rest are absolved of it. However, if neglected by everyone, then all those who are capable of discharging it, without legal excuse or fear, are considered sinful. Furthermore, it becomes an obligation of individual responsibiity for a person who is in a position to be the only one to know of the evil in question, or the only who can effectively change it.”

Discussing the issue of enjoining good and forbidding evil,

Ibn Taymeeyah said, “It is of collective repsonsibility, and becomes of individual repsonsibility (Fard ‘Ain) incimbant upon every able person if no-one else exercises it.” He also said, “The test of responsibility for this obligation is ability. Every Muslim is obliged to a degree proportional to his ability. Allah (swt) says (which means) , “So fear Allah as much as you can.” [at-Taghaabun (64) : 16]

Hisbah has four components: Al-Muhtasib (the person who practices Hisbah), Al-Muhtasabu ‘alayhi (the person to whom Hisbah is directed), Al-Muhtasabu Feehi (the subject of Hisbah) and Ihtisab (the actual act of enjoining good and forbidding evil).

Al-Muhtasib (the person who practices Hisbah), Al-Muhtasabu ‘alayhi (the person to whomHisbah is directed), Al-Muhtasabu Feehi (the subject of Hisbah) and Ihtisab (the actual act of enjoining good and forbidding evil).

1. Al-Muhtasib: This refers to the person who enjoins good and forbids evil, whether he is permitted to do so by the Imam incharge of Muslims’ affair or not.

The Muhtasib must meet three conditions: he must be (a) Muslim, (b) mukallaf and (c) qadir.

The first condition excludes the disbeliever. By Mukallaf is meant mature and sane, thus excluding the insane and the young. Exceptionally, young boys are allowed to practise it but are not obliged to so. By qadir is meant the ability to practise Hisbah. Ability to observeHisbah is a required condition as those who are unable to practise it are not obliged to discharge it except in their hearts.

Ibn Rajab said, “To disapporve of evil with the heart is an act which must be done, for the failure of a believer’s heart to condemn evil indicates that faith no resides in it. As for expressing dissaproval with the tongue and the hand, this is only obligatory within one’s capacity.”

Practising Hisbah does not become an obligation for the able due to fear of unbearable harm as a result of enjoining good and forbidding evil. If, however, one knows that one will be able to withstand and endure this harm, then this one is obliged to discharge the duty ofHisbah.

The Prophet (saw) said in this respect,

“The best of all martyrs is Hamza, and a man who stood up in the face of an oppressive ruler to enjoin and forbid him and was killed by him.” Al-Hakim; Shaykh Al-Albani classifies it as Sahih

On the other hand, the obligation to practise Hisbah does not cease to be effective becasue of fear of endurable adversity and minor harm, such as verbal abuse and revilement. In this case the Muhtasib must prepare himself to face such reactions, as Luqman (as) said to his son while ehorting him (which means):

“O my dear son! Observe Salah and enjoin good and forbid evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely, this is of those matters [which require] firm resolve.”[Luqman (31) : 17]

In the case when ability is present and fear of harm is lacking, but it is thought that Hisbahwill have no effect, it is most likely that Hisbah remains obligatory.

An-Nawawee said, “The duty of the Muhtasib is to enjoin good and forbid, not [to attain the people’s] acceptance.” He went on to say. “The Ulema said: ‘The obligation to enjoin good and forbid evil is not lifted if the person responsible for discharging it thinks that it will be of no effect. It must still be carried out.'”

“And remind (by preaching the Qur’an); for verily, reminding benefits the believers.”[az-Zariyat (51} : 55]

Ibn Qayyim said of those in authority, “They are more obliged than anyone else, for obligation is conditional upon ability; and it is binding in the able what is not on the unable.”Allah (swt) said (which means):

“So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can.” [at-Taghaabun (64) : 16]

The Prophet (saw) said,

“If I instruct you to do something, then do as much as you can.” Bukhari and Muslim

All this is admissable as long as there is a Muslim Imam (leader) who entrusts the responsibility of Hisbah to those fit to carry it out. In this day and age, however, our rulers who have apostatised by changing the laws of Shar’iah have no right to delegate the responsibility for Hisbah. Indeed, they should be removed in accordance with the consensus of the Ulama.

Al-Juwainee said, “The endeavour of certain groups of people to cleanse society of those who spread corruption in the land in the absence of a Muslim Imam is considered to be one of the most important aspects of enjoining good and forbidding evil.”

The moral rules that the Muhtasib must observe are many including sincerity; knowledge of the rules governing the practice of Hisbah [i] ; patience and endurance; gentleness; adhesion to the virtues one enjoins and avoidance of the vices one forbids. The latter quality, though not a precondition for the practising of Hisbah, is a conduct to greater effectiveness and success.

2. Al-Muhatasbu ‘alayhi: this refers to any person to any person who does anything concerning which Hisbah could or should be observed. It is not a condition that such a person be mukallaf (that is, legally capable, sane in mind, compos mentis).

3. Al-Muhtasabu Feehi: This refers to any evil, known as such by consensus, which is presently committed, and evident to the Muhtasib without spying.

The Arabic word munkar, translated here as ‘evil’, is more general than an act of disobedience [ii] and it does not have to be great or small to be called s such. By saying ‘by consensus’ in the aforementioned definition, we mean to exclude anything that is the subject of resonable and acceptable disagreement among the Ulama. The false or odd disagreement, however, remains invalid. By ‘presently committed’ we aim to exclude the warning of and/or punishment of someone for a vice which is no longer being committed, for this is no business of man. This also excludes anticipated vices, where only advice is permissable. Saying ‘evident to the Muhtasib without spying’ is in keeping with Allah’s instructions (which means):

“spy not on each other.” [al-Hujuraat (49) : 12]

4. Al-Ihtisab: This is the actual act of enjoining good and forbidding evil.

We have said earlier that disapproving of evil with the heart is a duty for every Muslim, whether he is physically capable or not, and must never be neglected under any circumstance whatsoever, as this would indicate the disappearance of all traces of Iman from the heart. For the Prophet (saw),

“There is no single trace of faith beyond this (changing evil with one’s heart).” Bukhari and Muslim

It remains to be added here that disapproving of evil with the heart requires that the Muslim should be absent from the scene where the vice in question. It has been said in this regard,“Whoever cannot change evil should avoid the scene of its commision.”

[i] This defers subject to the thing in question. If it is of the well-known obligations or prohibitions like prayer, fasting during the month of Ramadhan, adultery, and alcohol, then all Muslims are aware of them; if, however, this concerns the minutest of sayings and deeds or matters relating to Ijtihaad, then it is not for the general public to enter into them nor forbid them, rather only the scholars should address them (an-Nawawee).

[ii] The little boy, for example, will not be judged on the Day of Judgement for drinking alcohol, but this is still considered evil and should be disapproved of and criticised.

The stages of changing evil, when ability is present, are in the following order:

a. Notification: The perpetrator of the vice might not know that what he is doing is a vice. Accordingly he must be gently notified of this vice in a corteous manner. If this has no effect, then the second stage is applicable.

b. Counsel: The person who commits a vice must be reminded of Allah; frightened with His punishment and His painful retribution, and encouraged to seek His reward. Gentleness and tenderness should be observed in both this stage and the one before it.

Ash-Shafi’ee said, “He who gives counsel to his brother in confidence has done him good; but he who does so in public has in fact defamed and exposed him.”

c. Reprehension and admonition with harsh words, but on condition that only permissable words are used. It is also a comdition that only a necessary amount of admonition is employed and that it is not unnecessarily excessive.

d. Changing with the hands, such as breaking a musical instrument or spilling alcoholic drinks. This is only permissable when it is not possible to bringing the person committing the vice to do this himself. Furthermore, the damage should be strictly limited only to the object with which the damage should be strictly limited only to the object with which the vice in question is being committed.

e. Threatening and warning: the who commits the vice must not be threatened with anything other than a permissable punishment. This stage should come before the one that follows, namely.

f. Proceeding to the use of physical violence, such as employing the had or the foot: It is crucial here to restrict physical violence to that necessary to stop the vice, with no excess. If this leads to the summoning of support and the taking up of arms against each other, then we must move to the next and final stage.

g. Some jurists (fuqahaa’) have said that this is permissable for ordinary members of the community. Al-Ghazali deems this to be the most correct opinion. Others, however, have maintained that such actions require specific authorisation from the Khaleefah or Muslim ruler.

All Muslim jurists agree that if the changing of evil, by any of the above stages, would result in a greater vice being committed, or the missing of a greater virtue, then the action must not be attempted. Those who attempt to change the vice in these circumstances, knowing what the implications might be, in fact commit a sin by doing so.

In the case when an individual or a group of people combine both evil and good in such a way that the two are inseperable (they can either commit them both or leave them both), one must be outweighed against each other. If the good is greater, then it must be enjoined even if this good entails an evil of a lesser degree. Forbidding this evil is deemed prohibited, for by doing it, a good of a greater degree will be lost. The opposite is also true.

If, however, both the good and the evil are equal, neither enjoining nor forbidding is permissable.

Ibn Taymeeyah said, “In some circumstances, enjoining good is required; in others, neither enjoining good nor forbidding evil is required. This applies when good and evil are concomitant in certain actions. Legally speaking, enjoining good and forbidding evil are absolute injunctions, in such a manner that enjoining good does not cause the loss of some good of a greater degree or the occurance of a greater evil; and the forbidding of evil does not cause a greater evil to happen or lead to the loss of some good of a greater degree.”

It must be remembered here that the criterion for deciding good and evil should be that ofShari’ah and not desires or personal opinions. The rule is that this task must be carried out by a person with a balanced intellect and mild temperament. Opinions expressed out of recklessness and cowardice are not considered.

Hisbah is an important facet of virtue and goodness, for its benefits transcend individuals to affect all fellow Muslims. Many disobedient people are restrained by good counsel and admonition. Many of those who neglect acts of obedience could be prompted to practise them by a word of encouragement or an enticement. Therefore, many major sins could be prevented by the hand or the tongue.

Muslim should not neglect such an important obligation such as Hisbah despite the difficulty or harm it may entail. No-one should turn to the mass of Muslims who have virtually abandoned this obligation and taken them as an example or an excuse for not discharging this duty.

“Were you to follow the common run of those earth, they would have led you away from the Way of Allah.” [An’am (6) : 116]

Instead we should follow in the footsteps of our meritorious predeccessors. We should go forth where they have made advances and hold back where they have exercised restraint. We must shun these people who follow their whims and fancies: those who have putShari’ah out of action, have produced false proofs and invented lies against Allah’s religion to support their claims. We must also shun who have put their own intellect before theShari’ah, enduring patinetly and acting upon Luqman’s (as) advice to his son (which means):

“O my dear son! Observe Salah, enjoin good and forbid evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely, this is of those matters [which require] firm resolve.”[Luqman (31) : 17]

A true Muslim should not be deterred by the multitude of vices and sins which prevade societies all around him, for they are like “an evil tree which is uprooted from above the earth and has no stability.” [Ibrahim (14) : 26] Nor should this prfuson of sins push him to despair of the merits and advantages of practising Hisbah; otherwise, he would commit a sin by neglecting this obligation due to ill-founded excuses. His enjoining of good and forbidding of evil would not only bring about change but also prevent the wrong values from setting root in people’s hearts and minds and slo prevent the altering of the facts and right standards. Abandoning Hisbah will sooner or later lead to the changing of society’s system of values, in such a way that good would be regarded as evil and evil as good.

Before concluding our discussion of Hisbah, we would like to refute some ill-founded opinions. Some people claim that integrity {‘adalah), is a precondition for anyone wanting to practise Hisbah (the Muhtasib).

It is true that integrity is a desirable characteristic of a Muhtasib, but it is far from correct to regard it as a necessary precondition.

Al-Qurtubee said. “It is not a condition for someone who forbids evil to be upright, according to the opinion of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah.” For while integrity is a characteristic of only a few people, enjoining good and forbidding evil is an injunction on all Muslims. If someone were to say what Allah (swt) says (which means):

“Do you enjoin right conduct [on the people] and forget [to practise it] yourselves.” [al-Baqarah (2) : 44] and, “Most hateful is it the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.” [as-Saff (61) : 3] Our reply to this is that rebuke is for doing what is forbidden, not for forbidding someone else from doing it.

This is further explained by an-Nawawee who said, “[A Muslim] should do two things: and enjoin and forbid himself on the one hand. and enjoin and forbid others on the other. If he neglects the one, how could he possibly be allowed to neglect the other?” Abu hamid al-Ghazali also said, “The fact of the matter is that even the wrong-doer must practise Hisbah.”

Some other people claim that the practice of Hisbah is permitted only for those designated and auntorised by the Imam (ruler) to discharge it. In fact, this pre-condition is erroneous and unfounded, for all the Qur’anic verses and Ahadeeth of the Prophet (saw) that instruct us to discharge this duty are absolute and not restricted by this pre-condition. Our predecessors habitually practised it against the rulers themselves when they did not act according to the teachings of the Shari’ah. The Prophet (saw) said,

“One of the best forms of Jihad is to speak a word a truth in the face of an unjust ruler.” Ahmad and Ibn Majah

The Hadeeth, therefore, clearly states that individuals are allowed to forbid the rulers from doing evil. No-one with common sense can claim that the ruler’s permission is needed on order to forbid him.

An-Nawawee said, “The Ulama have said that enjoining good and forbidding evil is not specifically the duty ofthe ruler. Individual Muslims are allowed to practise it.”

Imam ul-Haramain said, “The evidence for this is to be founded in the ijmaa’ (consensus) of the Muslims. Individuals other than those in authority in the first and second generations of the Muslims apporved their actions and did not rebuke them for pre-occupying themselves with discharging this obligation without vested authorisation, and Allah knows best.”

An-Nawawee also said, “Imam ul-Haramain said, “Individual Muslims are permitted to stand in the face of those who commit major sins.”

“You are the best Ummah raised for the good of Mankind; you enjoin good and forbid evil and believe in Allah.” [al-Imran (3) : 110]

As long as the Muslim Ummah continues to exist, its characteristics, including enjoining good and forbidding evil, will remain in its existence as well.

Those who actively work for Islam and strive to establish it on earth should take the lead in observing Hisbah. It is not sufficient that they do good and shud evil, but they should additionally enjoin every good and forbid every evil with a view to fulifilling the conditions for prevailing on earth, as Allah (swt) says (which means) :

“Those [Muslim rulers] who, if we establish them in the land, [they] establish prayer and give Zakah, enjoin good and forbid evil.” [al-Hajj (22) : 41]

It is not acceptable to say that they are not supposed to establish regular prayer and pay Zakah until they achieve their dominating status. The same is also true of enjoining good and forbidding evil.

It has been related that an Abbassid Caliph once rebuked one of his subjects who set up himself up as a Muhtasib without first seeking his permission. To back up his arguement, the Caliph quoted the Qur’anic verse (which means) :

“Those [Muslim rulers] who, if we establish them in the land, [they] establish prayer and give Zakah, enjoin good and forbid evil.” [al-Hajj (22) : 41]

By this he meant that this is solely the duty of the ruler or to whomever he delegates. The man disputed with him, quoting the verse (which means) :

“The believers, men and women, are awliyyaa’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another: they enjoin good and forbid evil.” [at-Taubah (9) : 71]

The Caliph marvelled at the man’s proof and could not add a word. If only those who propagate these false opinions would return to the Truth and keep quiet as the Abbassid Caliph did!

There is no denying that powerful authority is far more capable of effectively enjoining good and forbidding evil than a powerless authority. But this should in no way prevent Muslims from practising Hisbah in the absence of this powerful authority, as is the case today. Besides, if Muslims are obliged to practise it under the rule of a Muslim ruler even without seeking his permission, they are even more obliged to do so in his absence. No person with true insight would deny that the Qur’anic verses and Ahadeeth commanding us to practiseHisbah ar absolute and non-restricted. Indeed, they address all Muslims everywhere and oblige them all within their limits and Allah knows best.

Besides, Hisbah is one of the basic necessities of the Islamic movement which should by no means be abandoned by those who work for Islam, or else their Da’wah will vanish and their endeavours will undoubtedly fail. Perhaps it is appropriate here to reiterate that thatJahiliyyah around us confronts us with various means and numerous challenges. That ourShari’ah is complete, all-inclusive and incorporates all responses to take up the challege. Some of these challenges could be combated only by Hisbah; others only through Da’wah; and others only by Jihad. If we dispense with Hisbah, the Jahiliyyah around us will certainly defeat us, for by doing so we will, in fact, abandon one of the weapons which Allah (swt) commands us to draw at the appropriate time and place. Every circumstance demands a specific weapon.

Indeed, we cannot but push aside as far as we can, any evil in the way of our Da’wah and enjoin evey good that we think is neglected, in accordance with the regulations outlined byShari’ah and rulings made by the Ulama. By doing so we endeavour to live, and make people’s religion and managing their affairs in accordance with the Laws of their Lord.

It is also our aim, as we mentioned earlier, to bring people to the worship of their Lord, as this is in itself one of the objectives of those working for Islam; until Allah (swt) wills and gives enough support to establish a Caliphate whose role will be safeguard the religion and to manage the world’s affairs in accordance with its rules and regulations.

It is wrong to repeat the claim of some people who say that it is necessary to abandon enjoining good and forbidding evil in order to concentrate our efforts on removing ‘the biggest evil’, by which they mean governing by the laws of Jahililyyah and establish the‘greatest good’ by which they mean governing by the laws of Allah.

No-one would dispute the fact that implementing Shari’ah and ruling by it is a virtue that should be realised and that ruling by Jahiliyyah is an evil should be eradicated. But there are some people who contend that there is a difference between enjoining every good and enjoining the so-called ‘greatest good’, and between forbidding every evil and forbidding ‘the biggest evil’, as they term it.

If we assume that there really is a difference then this will be only in certain instances and situations and not others, and also for some individuals and not for others. These are matters which, as we have mentioned earlier while discussing the subject of the conflict of good and evil, our scholars have resolved and for which they have set a criteria.

To abandon the obligation of Hisbah altogether, however, thinking that by doing so we will save our efforts from being dissipated and focus them on achieving the so-called ‘greatest good’ and uprooting the so-called ‘greatest evil’, is an attempt to put reason before Shari’ah. Those who maintain these opinions forget, or pretend to forget, that Allah, He who supports us and establishes our religion for us, is also He who commanded us to practise Hisbah:

“Allah will certainly help those who help His [Cause].” [al-Hajj (22) : 40]

How could we then hope for Allah’s assistance to victory when we disobey Him by neglecting this vital duty? How could we expect His aid when we show indifference and not feel anger at those who violate the sanctity of those things which Allah has made sacred? Instead, we go along like beasts, ‘thrusting our fingers in our ears and covering ourselves with our garments.’ despite our ability to practise Hisbah, and we will still claim that we are striving for something better and more comprehensive as though we were guardians of Allah’s religion confirming or deleting whatever we want.

Imam As-Shafi’ee said, “Whoever does not feel angry for he sake of Allah, even when he is made so, is virtually a donkey.”

Those who see evil being committed and do not attempt to change it despite their ability to do so with fear or harm, will have their hearts sealed by Allah to such a point that they deserve to be cursed by Allah like the Children of Israel:

“Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of David and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed [Allah and His Messenger] and used to transgress. They did not to forbid one another from the iniquity which they committed. Evil indeed was what they used to do.” [al-Maidah (5) : 78-79]

The Prophet (saw) said, “By Him in whose Hands my soul is, you must enjoin good and forbid evil and help the sinful to uphold the Truth, or Allah will cause your hearts to detest one another or He will curse you as He has cursed them (the Children of Israel).” Ahmad and Abu Dawud

It is clear that Allah (swt) has instructed us to change every evil, be it great or small. The arabic word munkar translated here as ‘evil’ in the Hadeeth “Whoever sees a Munkar must change it,” Bukhari and Muslim -is used without the definite article, hence referring to every type of munkar (evil).

So do not bother to reply to those who say that is in the interest of Da’wah to abandonHisbah. Indeed, we do not do any good for Da’wah except in obeying the commands of Allah who knows best, and who ordered us to practise Hisbah. We either act as we are commanded or we will be striving only to undermine our Da’wah.


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