New Age Islam
Wed May 31 2023, 06:40 AM

Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 27 May 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

The Duty to Enjoin Good and Forbid Evil - Part 1

 The implementation of the Shariah is the mission of the Taliban but the unfortunate aspect of this mission is that they interpret the Islamic laws relating to the implementation of Shariah as forceful and often violent enforcement of their version of Wahhabi Islam that does not leave any room for personal freedom in matters of Deen clearly mentioned in Quran.

In every sphere of life, people with canes and lashes will move about forcing people to act according to their interpretation of good and evil. For example, the members of ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil Munkar’ will roam the streets and prevent girls from going to school as it is against the Shariah, according to their understanding of Islam.

There will be groups in offices, schools, colleges, markets where they will watch people and force them to act according to their diktats. They can even enter houses without the permission of the owner of the house and inquire about the violation of Shariah by the members of the house. The basis of the article is a Hadith about ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’ which has been interpreted as the basis of a group which will take the law in its own hand and punish people for alleged violations of Shariah laws. There have been reports of human rights violations by such Jihadi groups where the so-called members of ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’ in the conflict ridden zones of Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan took the law into their own hands and ‘punished’ the ‘offenders’.

We are reproducing the English translation of the first part of the article titled ‘The duty of ordering good and prohibiting evil in Islam’ published in the May 2013 of the Taliban mouthpiece, Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad which presents their advocacy of a rigid interpretation of the implementation of Shariah. – New Age Islam Edit Desk


By Maulana Abdul Wahab Hashmi, Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad

May 2013

Hadhrat Abu Sayid said he heard the prophet (pbuh) saying, “Prevent the evil with your hands if you can, and if you can’t, then do it with your tongue, and even if you can’t do it, then disapprove of it in your heart. And it is the lowest degree of Iman (faith)” (Muslims)

Dear friends,

This Hadith is in connection with the issue of ‘amr bil maruf and nahi anil munkar’ (ordering right and forbidding evil). There are some points about the topic which needs clarification.

Firstly, ordering right and forbidding evil is a Farz-e-Kafayah (a collective duty). What is a collective duty according to Shariah? It means that if a group rises from the Ummah which sufficiently carries out a duty on behalf of the Ummah, the duty is considered fulfilled on behalf of the entire Ummah. If such a group does not exist in the Ummah, then the duty becomes a liability for the entire Ummah and the Ummah as a whole is a sinner and therefore punishable. For example, take the funeral prayer. If a death occurs in a village, the arrangement of his funeral is the collective duty of the Muslim community of the village. If a group of people comes out and makes the arrangements for his funeral rites and offers his funeral prayers, the collective duty is considered fulfilled on behalf of the whole Muslim community of the village. But if no one turns up from among, say, thousand persons from the village and the funeral rites are not arranged, then the whole community is a sinner and punishable. But on the contrary, even three or four persons take the responsibility and carry out all the arrangements, then the whole community is absolved of the responsibility.

Same is the case with ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’. It is generally the responsibility of the Islamic government or of the Khalifa of the Islamic emirate to appoint individuals or groups, or form an organisation that will be named ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’. The members of this organisation are called Muhtasibeen (vigilance officers). They used to get allowance from the Islamic government so that they were financially independent and it was their duty that they would move around in streets, lanes, markets and mosques to perform the duty of ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’ constantly. People used to be appointed in all the areas of the caliphate as vigilance officers. This way the whole Ummah was absolved of the responsibility.

Dear friends, Today there is no caliphate and so the Muslim Ummah is divided into different regions. The Ummah is in fragments. So the question is: who will perform the duty of ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’? In the situation when there is no caliphate, the responsibility falls on the guardians and the powerful and influential people of the area. For example, the father is the head of a family. Now the existence of a sufficient number of members is necessary for the performance of the duty. Such a person in the family who has the authority on all the members should perform the duty in the family.

It should also be noted that the duty of ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’ is different from inviting people towards good and forbidding from evil.  The word ‘amr’ means order that is, telling someone to do something. If he does not obey your order, you have the authority to make him obey you.  And the word ‘nahi’ means forbidding someone from doing something or telling someone not to do something. So, the two are different. Invitation is that we go to people and persuade them saying, ‘brother, you should offer prayers, do good deeds, and you should abstain from evil deeds. This is Dawah, (invitation). And the other is to order and to forbid someone to do or not to do something, that is, to order people to go and offer prayers. This duty of ‘ordering’ can be done by only one who has the authority.

My dear friends, since there is no caliphate today, in the absence of a caliphate, each section of the Ummah has its purview of authority and this purview, this circle of influence, is its responsibility. The father or the elder of the family is a responsible person. It is his duty to appoint someone who performs ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’. When the time for the prayers comes, he can force the people of the family to offer the prayers. This is his Farz-e-Kafayah. If there is no such person in the family, all the family members will be a sinner.

In this way, this circle can be expanded to cover a village. There should be a body, a group or committee in the village who performs the duty of ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’. A sufficient number of people should do the duty. If the village is small, five members can suffice and if the village is big, then fifty people can form the group. Therefore, the group should be constituted according to the need and requirements of the village. They should go about in streets, in lanes, in markets, in mosques and madrasas and perform the duty of ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’. If it is not done, all the people of the village will be sinners.

Similarly, there are other departments as well. There are religious organisations, Islamic centres and madrasas. The headmaster or the principal of the madrasa is the authority. It is the duty of the principal or the headmaster to appoint someone for the work so that he performs the duty among the students of the madrasa. In the organisations, be it a Jihadi organisation or proselytising one, the Amir has the authority. So it is his duty to do the job himself or appoint someone who performs the duty 24 hours. For example, when the time to offer prayers comes, he wakes up everyone. If someone is listening to music or watching a film on the TV, he forbids him from committing the sin. This is ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil Munkar’. This is the injunction of the Shariah.

Now, a word about the procedure to perform ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil Munkar’. So, my dear friends, the procedure is hand, tongue....... This procedure is adopted on the basis of two points. First is authority. One who has authority will stop someone who is doing an evil deed with his own hand. And where he has the authority of tongue, he will stop him with his tongue. So depending on the degree of his authority, one is appointed for the job. For example, if there is an elderly person in the family, he will perform ‘amr bil maruf nahi anil munkar’ in the family. In the centre, the amir will forbid people with his hand (by force).... (To be concluded)

Source: Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad, May 2013