From the above Hadith it is clear that giving up the act of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil has usually been the root cause of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala's anger and displeasure and His eventual punishment. And if this Ummah becomes guilty of that neglect and omission, the punishment to be given to them will be more severe than to the earlier Ummah because they would have failed to recognize their exclusive obligation and neglected to fulfil the sole mission in their life. For this reason, the Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi WasSalaam) has enjoined the act of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil as "the essence and special feature of the faith of Islam" and declared giving up that act as the cause of decay and decline of the faith.
In the Hadith of Aboo Saeed al-Khudree (Radiallaho Anho) it is stated "In other words, when anyone of you sees the commission of evil, he should use his hands to change (prevent) it; and if he has not the power to do this, he should use his tongue and if he has not the power to do this, he should use his heart, and this last represents the weakest degree of Iman. So, just as this last is the weakest degree of Iman, the first is the most complete form of Dawa and the most complete kind of Iman". (Muslim) Even clearer is the Hadith of Ibn Masood (Radiallaho Anho)
"In other words, it is usual for Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) to so arrange that every Nabi leaves behind a group of his Sahabah who perpetuate His message, who follow it rigorously and preserve the message exactly in the form in which the Rasul left it. Then comes an epoch of evil and error, and epoch that witnesses the birth of people who step aside from the path laid down by their Nabi. Their actions are at variance with their proclamation their activities are not warranted by the law. So whosoever arises in defense of Truth and Law, and opposes the miscreants with his hands is a true believer, he who cannot do this but uses his tongue, he is a believer too and he who cannot do even this but uses his heart is also a believer but lower than this there is no degree of faith". (Muslim)
The vital importance of Tabligh has been further emphasized by Imam Ghazali (Rahmatullah Alaihi) in the following manner.
There can be no doubt that the act of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is that solid pillar of Islam on which each and every article of faith rests. It is for this very mission that Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) deputed all the Ambiya. If, unfortunately, it is ignored or forgotten and its methods and practices are given up, one has to say that the very purpose of Nubuwwah is totally defeated and rendered meaningless. Thereafter, conscience, which is the capital wealth of man, will decline and worsen, inactivates and dullness of mind will prevail. The highway to sin and highhandedness will be opened up and inhumanity will spread in the whole world. All achievements of man will become dangerous and even harmful. Human relationship will break down. Civilization will be ruined. Mankind will be reduced to utter moral poverty. But, the clear realization of all this will come only on the day of Qiyamah, when all of mankind will be on trial before Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) and be called upon to account for each and every action. Alas! Alas! the fear has come true, that which was feared is before our eyes.
The tower of knowledge and enlightenment has been destroyed and its benefits and effects have been completely wiped out. Consequently, mutual disrespect and disgrace are common. Nothing of the grand relationship between man and his Creator is left in human hearts on the contrary man, like an animal has become the slave of his desires. Indeed, not only is there scarcity of true Muslims in this world now, but it is practically impossible to meet anyone who is prepared to bear hardship for the sake of propagating Islam.Any Muslim who dares to take steps to remove the present state of breakdown and destruction, endeavors to revive the Sunnah of Tabligh and comes forward to shoulder that heavy responsibility will surely rank as the noblest and the most distinguished being among all of mankind.He said this nearly eight hundred years ago, but his statement is very accurately applicable to us today. We must consider and calmly think out what is to be done in these circumstances.
There are some well known causes which seem to be responsible for the indifference that prevails today. These are discussed below.
First Cause of not doing the work of dawah
We generally believe that the act of Tabligh is the sole and special responsibility of the Ulama, even when the related orders of the Quran are clear and fully apply to each and every living Muslim. The actions and the hard work of the Sahabah of the Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi wassallam) and all those distinguished Muslims who immediately followed them, bear definite testimony to the view that each and every Muslim is responsible for Tabligh.
To give the responsibility of Tabligh (enjoining the good and forbidding the evil) solely to the ranks of Ulama and not to ourselves is a sign of great ignorance on our part. The duty of the Ulama is to state the truth and to point out the right path. To enforce righteousness among the people and to keep the people moving on the right path is the responsibility of all other Muslims. The following Hadith is a clear warning for this. Lo! All of you are trustees and shall be questioned on the day of Qiyamah in respect of your trust. So the king is a head unto his subjects and shall be questioned in respect of them, the husband is a head unto his wife and household and shall be questioned in respect of them, the wife is a head unto her husband's house and the children and shall be questioned in respect of them all, the slave is a watchman unto his master's effects and shall be questioned in respect of those. So you are all trustees and you shall be questioned in respect of those entrusted to you (Bukhari/Muslim) and similarly, in another place, a yet clearer account is given Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam) said Deen is well wishing. The Sahabah enquire Well wishing towards whom? He said Towards Allah, His Rasul, the leaders of Muslims and Muslims. (Muslim)
Even if we suppose as an extreme case that this task has to be carried out by the Ulama only, the present emergency and the critical situation demand that every one of us should put his shoulder to the wheel and strive hard for establishing Allah's supremacy on the earth and for protecting the Muslim way of life.Second cause It is commonly believed that if a person is firm and steadfast in his own Iman the wrong belief of others will bring him no harm because of the meaning attached to the following Ayah of the Quran: "O you who believe! watch out for your own selves (i.e. your deeds). When you are on the right path, those who go astray cannot harm you" (Al-Maaidah 105)
In fact, the real meaning and sense of the above Ayah is not what is being apparently attached to it, because, in that case, the meaning would appear to be against the Divine wisdom and spirit and against the teachings of the Shariah. considers the collective life and progress and salvation of the Muslim society as a whole to be fundamental. The Muslim people must be considered like a single body having several limbs. When any limb receives an injury, the whole body suffers from the pain.
Mankind may progress to any limit and it may reach the highest peak of glory in every sphere of life, yet there will be some who will go wrong and become involved in godlessness. In that event, the above Ayah reassures the righteous people that as long as they remain steadfast and keep moving on the right path, no harm can be brought to them by those who decide to give up the right way of life.
Also, the reality of Hidayah (guidance) is that all the rules of law of the Shariah. are accepted and practiced, including all the Divine commands, which naturally cover enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. This explanation is supported by the following words of Aboo Bakr (Radiallaho Anhu)O people! you quote this ayah O you who believe! watch out for your own selves (i.e. your deeds). When you are on the right path, those who go astray cannot harm you (Al-Maaidah 105) But I have heard Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihi wassallam) say that when people see something evil and do not seek to change it, Allah will send down punishment for all of them.
The Ayah in question has been similarly explained by all the truly learned personalities such as Imam Nawawi (Rahmatullah Alaihi) who explains in his book Sharh Muslim.
The agreed opinion of the learned personalities regarding the meaning of this Ayah is that When you have performed the duty enjoined on you, the carelessness of those who refuse to profit by your counsel will not harm you as Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) says No one shall carry another man's burden (al-anaam 164, alisraa 15, faatir 18, zumur 7), and of the several commandments addressed to all, one is that regarding enforcement of good and prevention of evil. Therefore when an individual has performed this duty and the addressee does not obey the former shall not be penalized for it. He has performed his duty of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil and acceptance or rejection of it by the other party is not within his ability.Allah knows best.
People of fame as well as the common man, the learned and the uneducated all alike, have become indifferent or even lost hope of the improvement of society. They all seem to have accepted the fate, that is is difficult, rather impossible these days for Muslims to make any progress to regain their lost glory. Whenever any scheme for improvement and correction is presented to anyone, the usual reaction is how can the Muslims progress in the circumstances when they have neither a state of their own nor any power to rule, neither wealth nor any financial standing nor army and equipment of war nor any influence? They lack even in physical strength, mutual agreement and unity of purpose. Even the religious people seem to have decided by themselves that, it being the fourteenth century Hijri and the people having drifted so far away from the Nazi's teachings, the downfall of Islam and the Muslims is inevitable. The maintain that, in these circumstances, it will be useless to make any effort towards the betterment of Muslims.
It is true that the effects of the ought of Nubuwwah become less and less as we are removed farther and farther away from it, but this does not mean that no effort is to be made to revive that light by enforcing Shariah. and upholding and defending with all our energies and power, the way of life taught by Mohammed (Sallallaho Alaihi wassallam).
For, had the Muslims before us thought so, there would have been no trace of Islam left anywhere by now, because there would have been no means through which the lessons and the teachings of the Shariah. could have reached us. Therefore, it will be deadly for us not to check the present negative attitude towards Islam. We should adopt a forcefully positive line for our own sake and also for the sake of future generations. The time is moving fast and so is the pace of fall in the religion of Islam. The situation demands a strong, quick and determined effort by one and all for arresting the corruption and stopping further decline of Muslim society.
As a rule, existence of true Islam depends entirely upon the steadfastness and collective effort of its followers. Unfortunately, they seem to be inferior in these very requirements. We must appreciate that the Quran and Hadith are full of the lessons in calling Muslims to be active and to stand firm in the path of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala). There is a Hadith about a very pious person who may be busy in Salaah night and day all his life, but he cannot come to the level of one who struggles and sacrifices his pleasure and comfort for the sake of guiding and helping people to move on the right path of Islam.
On this very point, many commands and injunctions in the Quran exist. It is clearly brought out that the one who strives hard in the path of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) remains superior and noble compared to all others for example.
The believers who, without a reasonable excuse, sit at home cannot equal those who perform Jihad in the path of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) with their lives and wealth. Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) has raised the status of those who perform Jihad with their lives and wealth as compared to those who stay at home. To the former, He has promised a blessed abode. Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) has exalted the Mujaahideen over those who stay at home, with glorious rewards, eminent positions, His mercy and forgiveness and Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) is forgiving and Merciful (Al-Nisaa' 95).
Although the above Ayah refer directly to Jihad against the infidels and unbelievers in order to uphold the teachings of Islam and crush and suppress faithlessness and belief in more than one God and although we are unfortunate in not having the opportunity of fulfilling that great task, we ought not to throw away any chance of doing something, however small, in the direction of propagating the truth. Only then can we expect that one day our humble efforts and insignificant steadfastness may gather strength for bigger and higher performances. We shall most certainly guide to Our ways those people who struggle for Our Deen (Al- Ankaboot 69).
Undoubtedly Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) has promised to provide protection for the way of life propagated by Mohammed (Sallallaho Alaihi wassallam) But, human effort and perseverance have been defined as the only media for its promotion and advancement. The Sahabah of the Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi wassallam) strove untiringly for that purpose and, assuredly, they succeeded and were given high rewards. They has the honor of receiving Divine help and assistance. We, being their admirers and believers, ought to try and follow them and prepare ourselves for working to establish Allah's supremacy on the earth and for propagating the message of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) Thus, we will also be favored with Divine help and assistance.
"If you (come forward to) help the religion of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala), He shall help you and make you steadfast" (Muhammad 7)
Most of us think that, as we ourselves do not possess the essential worthiness and qualities of Islam, we are not competent to perform the duty of propagation of those qualities among others. This is a clear misunderstanding. Since an obligation has to be fulfilled, particularly when we have been commanded by Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) for that task, there can be no question of denying obedience to it. We must set ourselves to work in obedience to the Divine command. Our efforts then shall, InshaAllah (if Allah wills) gather greater strength and make us more determined and bold. In this way, our continued endeavor on proper lines will one day bring us the great honor of being dear to Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala). It is against the law of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala) that, if one preservers and strives for His sake (religion), He would not grant favors and kindness because the person was not competent or fit for the task! This point is fully brought out in the following Hadith. Anas (Radiallaho Anho) says We said O Rasulullah, should we not enjoin good until we practice it all and should we not forbid evil until we avoid it all? He (Sallallaho Alaihi wassallam) said No enjoin good even if you do not practice it all yourself and forbid evil even if you yourself are not able to avoid all of it.Fifth Most of us take it for granted that the religious schools, the Ulama the presence of places where practitioners of Zikr devote themselves to teaching Zikr to those who come to them and the religious books and magazines are sufficient activities for the fulfillment of the mission of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. These efforts, they think, are enough to meet the requirements of Tabligh. Undoubtedly, the presence of all these is absolutely essential and one must look upon them with respect and pay attention to their problems, as the remains of Islam that exist today owe their existence to these very institutions, but they are not enough to meet the situation even partially. The task is difficult, considering our present weaknesses and the extend of the problem. To be content with the existence of these few methods will be madness on our part.
Even to get full benefit from these institutions, we have to create within ourselves, a true and a deep respect for the faith of Islam and a burning desire to adopt it in our practical life. Up to fifty years back, people did possess real love, urge and passion for Islam and there were visible signs and products of the Islamic way of life. In those days these institutions could perhaps meet the demand satisfactorily. But today all our sentiments and feelings for Islam are practically dead, because of the continuos onslaught on our faith and society by various foreign elements and forces. Alas! they have succeeded in their object, as, instead of love, we seem to possess a hidden inferiority complex towards our religion and faith! Obviously, therefore, we must act quickly and take the initiative from the hands of opposing forces and launch a strong counter effort whereby we are able to revive the dead spirit of each and every Muslim and reawake in him the love and attachment for Islam. Only then we get full benefit from existing religious institutions which in turn, can serve the community in a right manner. Unless such steps are taken strongly, the present state of false satisfaction will spread deep and wide and these institutions which are doing good in this limited way, may meet the fate of total destruction.
There is great danger that whenever one takes up the work of commanding good and forbidding evil, he is not received well by the people. The people always treat him badly, using harsh and insulting language. Also, sometimes people adopt a rude and insulting attitude towards religious workers. This is true, but we are likely to forget the fact that the performance of the act of propagation means simply to follow in the footsteps of the Ambiya of Allah (Subhanahu wa Taala), who were always the victims of the worst type of treatment. That is the usual and certain fate of those who take to the mission! Indeed, all Ambiya had to suffer untold miseries on account of this, as is clear from the following Ayah:
"And we sent down Ambiya before you amongst people gone by, and no Rasul came to them but that they ridiculed him" (Al-Hijr 10)
The Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam) said No Rasul or Nabi has suffered more than me in the propagation of truth.
It is clear, therefore, that there is no excuse for such doubts. As we declare ourselves to be the followers of Mohammed (Sallallaho Alaihi Wassallam) who himself had suffered in the performance of this very mission, but took everything cheerfully and with tolerance, we must also follow his noble example and show patience and calmness while performing the essential duty of Tabligh.