Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.2

Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong
Ibn Taimiyyah

10. The General Principle of Enjoining and Forbidding.

All of what we are saying comes under the general principle which says that when benefit and harm are mixed up together, and one must choose between doing good with some bad side effects, and leaving that good to avoid its bad side effects, it is obligatory to choose the course having the greater overall or net benefit. This is because enjoining and forbidding though they entail the attainment of some benefit, and the prevention of some harm, its opposite must also be considered. If, in carrying out this enjoining or forbidding, there is benefit lost greater than the benefit gained, or harm is brought about greater than the harm which was avoided, then this is not part of that which Allah has ordered us to do, rather it is haram, because of the fact that its net harm is greater than its net benefit.

11. It Is Obligatory To Measure All Things by the Criterion of the Syari'ah (the law of Allah).

The only criterion for measuring the above-mentioned harm and benefit is with the scales of the Syari'ah. Whenever one is capable of following a text directly, it is not permitted for him to turn elsewhere. If he cannot find a text for the exact problem confronting him, he can exert his reason to understand the ruling by way of analogy. The legal texts are seldom without someone capable of knowing their implications, and how they point the way to the rulings of the syari'ah.

Thus, if an individual or group constantly joins something right with something else wrong, and will not do one without the other, and will either do both of them together, or neither of them, it is not then allowed to enjoin on them the right nor to forbid them the wrong. First, the issue must be analyzed: If the good involved is greater, then they must be enjoined to do it, even if that necessitates the evil which is of lesser degree, and they are not to be forbidden the evil involved which would mean the loss of the good which is greater than it. In fact such a forbiddance in such a situation would be part of blocking the path of Allah (saddun 'an sabili 'llah ) and would be striving for the eradication of obedience to Allah and to His Prophet SAW and toward the elimination of the doing of good.

On the other hand, if the evil involved is greater, it must be forbidden, even though that means the loss of some good this is of lesser degree. In such a case, the enjoining of this good which brings with it an evil of greater degree is in fact enjoining evil, and striving in the path of disobedience to Allah and His Prophet SAW.

If the good and the evil which cannot be separated are of equal degree, both of them should neither be enjoined nor forbidden. Thus, in the case of some good and some evil which cannot be separated, sometimes what is demanded is enjoining the good, and sometimes forbidding the wrong, and sometimes neither this nor that. This is not a general rule, and applies only to specific situations of the type mentioned.

As for the general case, right must be enjoined absolutely and evil forbidden absolutely. For the specific individual or group, its good must be enjoined, and its evil forbidden, its praiseworthy aspects praised, and its blameworthy aspects criticized in such a way that the enjoining of right does not include the loss of a good greater than itself nor the bringing about of an evil of greater degree, and the forbidding of evil does not involve the bringing about of a greater evil or the loss of a good of greater degree.

When the issue is unclear, the believer must strive to understand it until the truth becomes clear to him. He cannot undertake acts of obedience except with knowledge and correct intention. If he fails to do it, he is in disobedience to Allah. Neglecting what is obligatory is disobedience just as doing what has been forbidden in the area of enjoining right is also disobedience. This is a very wide and dangerous area, and there is no power and no strength except with the aid of Allah!

An example of this issue from the Sunnah is the Prophet SAW leaving Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool and others like him among the leaders of hypocrisy and corruption because of their many helpers and people loyal to them. The removing of their evil through punishment would have brought on the removal of other good of greater degree because of the anger of his tribe and the arousal of their tribalistic hostility against the Prophet and the Muslims. Also, this would have resulted in the repulsion of the people when they heard that the Prophet of Allah kills his companions. Thus when he spread among the people that which he spread in the slander against ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) and then denied it, and when Sa'ad ibn Mu'adh spoke to him harshly as he deserved, and pointed out his hypocrisy, and then Sa'ad ibn Ubadah - though he was a believer and companion and righteous man - invoked his protection that Abdullah ibn Ubayy be left alone, the tribe of each of these two men gave their loyalty to the position of their tribesman until chaos and bloodshed nearly resulted.

12. The Love Of Good Should Be In Harmony With What Allah Loves.

This principle is that the love of a believer for what is good, and his hatred for what is evil, and his desire for the accomplishment of the good and his desire for the avoidance and prevention of evil should be in harmony with what Allah loves and hates. Allah loves all that He has enjoined upon us in His syari’ah, and dislikes all that He has forbidden us in His syari’ah. Furthermore, the action of the believer in that which he loves (the good), and his avoidance and opposition to that which he hates (the evil), must be to the extent of his ability and his strength, for verily, Allah does not demand from any of us more than what is within our ability. Allah says:

“Fear Allah (have taqwa of Allah) as much as you are able” [Al-Taghabun, 64:16.]

13.The Love and Hate of the Heart.

What is upon the believer in terms of his actions must not be confused with his obligations in terms of the actions of the heart. It is obligatory upon the believer for his hatred of evil and his love of good, and his desire to do good and his desire to oppose and avoid evil to be perfect, complete, and without doubt or hesitation. Any lack in this area is none other than a lack in faith (imaan). This is in contrast with the actions of his body which is only within the bounds of his ability.

When the will of the heart, its likes and dislikes are complete and perfect (i.e. in harmony with the love and hate of Allah ta'ala) and then the believer does of that all that is within his ability, he will be given the reward of one who carried out the orders of Allah perfectly. Some of the people have loves and hates which are not in harmony with the love of Allah and His Prophet and the hates of Allah and His Prophet, and this is a type of hawaa (the inclinations, lusts, or tendencies of the self). If he follows them, then he is a follower of hawaa. Allah said:

“And who is more astray than the one who follows his hawaa without any guidance from Allah?” [Al-Qasas, 28:50]

The origin of hawaa is that which the self loves, and that which the self hates is a corollary of it.

14. What Exactly Is Hawaa.

The meaning of hawaa is the loving and the loathing which is in the self. It is not in and of itself blameworthy, since it is not under the control of the person, rather what is blameworthy is the following if these likes, desires and dislikes. Allah said to Dawud:

“O Dawud, we have made you a successor on the Earth, so rule between the people with the truth, and do not follow hawaa lest it lead you astray from the path of Allah.” [As-Saffat, 38:26]

And Allah said in another ayat:

“And who is more astray than the one who follows his hawaa without guidance from Allah?” [Al-Qasas, 28: 50]

The Prophet SAW tells us in the hadith:

"Three things which save: fear of Allah in public and private, moderation in poverty and in wealth, and speaking the truth when angry and when contented. And three things which lead to destruction: obedience to greed, following of hawaa, and a person's being pleased with himself."

The love and the hate of which we are speaking bring about certain "tastes" and feelings and desires in the presence of the loved or hated thing. Whoever follows these desires and feelings without an order from Allah and His Prophet is the one described as the follower of his hawaa. In fact, this may even reach the level of shirik wherein he takes as his god his own hawaa!” [See Al-Qur'an, 43/25]

15.The Following Of Hawaa In The Previous Religions.

The following of hawaa in matters pertaining to religion and worship is more grievous and serious than the following of hawaa in matters of ordinary worldly desires. The first of these is the condition of those who became kuffar from the Christians and the Jews and the polytheists, as Allah said about them:

“And so, if they do not answer your call, know that they only follow their own hawaa, and who is more astray than the one who follows his own hawaa without guidance from Allah, and Allah does not guide those who oppress.” [Al-Qasas, 28:50]

And, in another verse, Allah said:

“(Allah) gives to you an analogy from your own selves: Do you have, among that which your right hands possess (i.e. slaves) any partners in that which Allah has given you such that they are equal to you. You fear them as you fear one another. Thus, we explain the signs to a people who understand. No, those who oppress follow their hawaa without knowledge. Then, who will guide the one who Allah sends astray, and they have no helpers.” [Al-Rum, 30: 28-29]

And Allah said in another verse:

“(Allah) has explained for you that which you have been forbidden in all except cases of absolute necessity. Verily, many go astray via (following) their own hawaa and without knowledge, and verily Allah is most knowledgeable of the violators.” [Al-An’am, 6: 119.]

And, in another verse, Allah said:

“Say: O, people of the book, does not introduce excesses into your deen which are not of the truth. And do not follow the hawaa of a people who have already gone astray. They have led many people astray, and have they become lost from the straight path.” [Al-Maidah, 5: 77].
And, Allah said:

“The Jews and the Christians will never be satisfied with you until you follow their traditions and ways. Say: verily, the guidance of Allah, that is the guidance. And if you follow their hawaa even after the knowledge which has come to you, you will have neither protector nor any helper against Allah.” [Al-Baqarah, 2:120.]

And, again in Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah said:

“And, if you follow their hawaa after the knowledge which has come to you, verily, you are of the oppressors.” [Al-Baqarah, 2:145.]

Allah said:

“And judge between them with what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their hawaa and beware of them lest they tempt you away from some of what Allah has sent down to you.” [Al-Maidah, 5: 49.]

Thus whoever goes outside the dictates of the Qur'an and the Sunnah - among those who are called "scholars" or "worshippers" are known as the people of hawaa , just as the salaf , may Allah have mercy on them, used to refer to them as " Ahlu -l-hawaa ) i.e. the people of hawaa .

This is because anyone who has not followed the knowledge has followed his hawaa. What's more, knowledge of the deen (way, or religion) does not come about except through the guidance of Allah with which He sent His Prophet SAW. Thus, Allah said:

“And, verily many of them go astray by (following) their own hawaa and without knowledge.” [Al-An'am, 6:119].

Allah said in another place:

“Who is farther astray then the one who follows his own hawaa without guidance from Allah?” [Al-Qasas, 28: 50.]

16.What a Person Loves and Hates Must Be In Accordance With the Order Of Allah And His Prophet.

The obligation upon every slave of Allah, then, is to look very closely into his or her likes and dislikes, and the intensity of his love for that which he loves and his hate for that which he hates: is it in harmony with the order of Allah and His Prophet SAW? This then is the guidance of Allah which He sent down upon His Prophet such that he was ordered to have these loves and hates. In this way, a slave of Allah will avoid putting himself ahead of Allah and His Prophet SAW, because Allah said:

“O you who believe, do not put forth (anything) in front of Allah and His Prophet” Al-Hujurat, 49:1. i.e. do not decide your position in any action or issue without first knowing the position of Allah and His Prophet therein.

Anyone who loves or hates before Allah and His Prophet have ordered him to do so, has entered the area of putting something forth in front of Allah and His Prophet SAW. Simple loves and hates are hawaa, but the hawaa which is forbidden to the Muslim is the following of these inclinations without guidance from Allah. This is why Allah said to His Prophet:

“And do not follow your hawaa such that it leads you astray from the path of Allah. For those who go astray from the path of Allah there awaits a terrible punishment.” [Sad, 38:26].

Here Allah informs us that the following of one's hawaa will lead one astray from the path of Allah. The path of Allah is the guidance and the program with which He sent His Prophet SAW and it is the path to Allah.

See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.1
See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.3
See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.4
See: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Wrong.5

No comments: