Question: What isthesignificanceof changingtheMunkarinIslam?

Reply by Shaikh al-Fawzan, "Changing the Munkar (wrong, evil) is a great obligation of Islam and in all heavenly revealed
religions. Allah criticized the Jews and Christians and cursed them when they abandoned this obligation, "Those among the
Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Dawood and Eesa, son of Maryam. That was because they
disobeyed (Allah and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing beyond bounds. 'They used not to forbid one another from
the Munkar (wrong, evildoing, sins, polytheism, disbelief, etc.) which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used to do."
[Soorah al-Maidah (5): 78-79] "Why do not the rabbis and the religious learned men forbid themfromuttering sinful words
andfromeatingillegal things. Evil indeedis that whichtheyhavebeenperforming." [Soorahal-Maidah(5): 63]
Allah says to this Ummah (of Prophet Muhammad ), "Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good,
enjoining Al-Ma'roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheismand all that Islamorders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheismand
disbelief andall that Islamhas forbidden). Andit is theywhoarethesuccessful." [SoorahImran(3): 104]
The Messenger of Allah said, "Whosoever amongst yousees Munkar, he shouldchange it byhis hand. Andif he does
not have enough strength enough to do so (by hand), then he should do it with his tongue. And if he does not have enough
strengthtodoit (withhis tongue), thenheshould(abhor it) inhis heart, andthat is theleast of faith." [SaheehMuslim]
the Good and
the Evil
Significance, Manner and Approach
From Muntaqa Fatawa and Muhadhiraat Fil-Aqeedah wad-Dawah
of Shaikh Salih ibn Fawzan al-Fawzan
Translated by Shawana A. Aziz
"Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good,
enjoining Al-Ma'roof and forbidding Al-Munkar. And it is they who are the successful."
[Soorah aal-Imran (3): 104]

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Article No. 03
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So, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil and changing the evil is a significant obligation of Islam. And those who
fall short infulfilling this obligationhave exposedthemselves andtheir societies to punishment anddestruction. Because Allah
has destroyed the previous nations due to their abandoning (the obligation of) forbidding the evil, Allah says, "So when they
forgot the reminders that hadbeengiventothem, We rescuedthose whoforbade evil, but We seizedthose whodidwrongwith
aseveretorment becausetheyusedtorebel (disobeyAllah)." [Soorahal-A'raaf (7): 165] [ (1/200)]
"Munkar (evil) that should be changed is everything prohibited by Allah - verbal as well as practical sins, and the
greatest of themis Shirk in (Tawheed of) Allah, "Verily! Joining others in worship with Allah is a great Dhulm(wrong) indeed."
[SoorahLuqman(31): 13] thenadultery, sodomy, alcoholism, drug-abuse, usury, negligence andlaziness inestablishingSalaat,
listening to songs, watching explicit movies and luring pictures.... and other prohibitions that have become widespread in
Muslimlands - toinitiatechangefromwithintheMuslimlands." [ (1/ 201)]
"Denyingtheevil byheart is theresponsibilityof everyMuslim. He, whodoes not denyit intheheart, is not aMuslimin
accordance with the saying of Allah's Messenger , "Whosoever amongst you sees Munkar, he should change it by his hand.
Andif hedoes not haveenoughstrengthtodoso(byhand), thenheshoulddoit withhis tongue. Andif hedoes not haveenough
strengthtodoit (withhis tongue), thenheshould(abhor it) inhis heart, andthat is theleast of faith." [SaheehMuslim]
As far as forbiddingal-Munkar by handandtongue is concerned, this is the responsibility of whosoever is capable of it
fromthe rulers and scholars, and other Muslim- if it should not lead to a greater evil. Concerning denying it by the heart, then
noMuslimis incapableof it nor is heexcusedfromit..." [Al-Muntaqa]
"He, whois requiredtoforbidbyhandis theauthority/ruler.
Hewhopossesses knowledgebut noauthorityshouldforbidbyhis tongue.
He, whoneither possesses knowledgenor authority, shouldforbidit inhis heart.
And he who does not stick to this order mentioned in the Hadeeth, then he does not posses Eeman in his heart as Allah's
Messenger said, 'and beyond that there is no faith even to the extent of a mustard seed.' [Saheeh Muslim(81)] [
"It is not allowedfor someonetomovetoalower level of changingtheevil if heis abletochangeit onahigher level. It is
not allowed for someone who is able to forbid the evil with hand to come down to the level of forbidding it in the heart." [
"Forbidding by hand should (only) be done by those in authority, because if we say that every one forbids the Munkar
(evil) byhand, thentherewill bechaos intheworldandpeacewill vanish.
So, there should be discipline in this matter, and the rulers must be approached in this issue so that peace is not
vanquished. Because if everyone was to forbid by hand, cause corruption and beat the people, then chaos will take place
because he does not have the authority (to do so) - unlike those who have the authority and are obeyed. Islam does not wish
chaos. Rather, Islamwishes order andunity." [Muhadiraat (p. 545)]
"Fromthose whohave the power tochange the evil byhandare the heads of the households. Allah's Messenger said,
"Commandyour childrentopraywhentheybecome sevenyears old, andbeat themfor it (prayer) whentheybecome tenyears
old; andarrangetheir beds (tosleep) separately." [SunanAbuDawood(495)]
Allah says, "Oyou who believe! Ward off fromyourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones,
over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that
which they are commanded." [Soorah at-Tahreem (66): 6] and, "Enjoin as-Salat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in
offeringthem[i.e. theSalaat]." [SoorahTa-Ha(20): 132] [ (1/203)]
Question: What isthekindof evil that shouldbechanged?
Question: Whoisresponsibleforchangingtheevil?Andhowshouldhefulfill thisresponsibility?
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Question: What shouldbeourwayof enjoiningthegoodandforbiddingtheevil?
RequiredCharacteristicsof thosewhoenjointhegoodandforbidtheevil
First Characteristic: Knowledge:
SecondCharacteristic: Rifq:
Issuesthat shouldbelookedintobeforeenjoiningthegoodandforbiddingtheevil
"If enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is done in a Muslim land, then the issue is precisely known - Al-
Hamdulillah- that thepersonadvices, gives reminders andpresents arguments inagoodwayandif thematter needs informing
theauthority, thenhedoes so.
If authorityis not requiredtobe informedabout the issue, thenit is requiredtocover up. If apositive response towards
acceptingtheDawahandabandoningthewrongis notedfromadisobedient, thensuchpeoplearetobecoveredupfor, andit is
enoughthat theyimprovethemselves andmoveawayfromcorruptiontowards rectification.
If it is foundthat the disobedient does not respondanddoes not accept the advice, thenthe issue has tobe raisedupto
the authority. If the issue is raised up to the authority of the Muslims, then the duty of the advisor is fulfilled, because he has
reachedtheissuetoits end.
In the case, when it is not a Muslim society, then it is required that the Dawah be carried out with wisdom and
argumentationinagoodwaywhileavoidingthegreater Fitna(tribulation) that mayreturntotheMuslims as aharm.
There should be no violence and no confrontation which could aggravate, because it is propagation of Islamwith wisdomand
argumentationinagoodwayandadvicefor whosoever accepts it, andhe, whodoes not accept it, thenhis caserests withAllah."
[ (1/196)]
Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan explained the required characteristics of those who enjoin the good and forbid the evil in the following
words, "Everyone is not fit for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil because three characteristics are required to
accomplish(theresponsibilityof) enjoiningthegoodandforbiddingtheevil.
One should be knowledgeable about that which he is enjoining and forbidding, he should
knowwhat is evil: theHaraam(prohibited) andtheMakrooh(disliked).
In other words, he should know what is prohibited by the Sharee'ah such that he can forbid it, and he should know
what is commandedsuchthat hecanenjoinit. Hemust posses knowledge, throughwhichheknows what is forbiddenand
what is commanded because verily, the harm of enjoining and forbidding without knowledge can be worse than the
benefit – because he might enjoin that which is not permissible and he might forbid that is permissible. He might forbid
the Halaal and enjoin the Haraamwhile he is unaware of it and he speaks without knowledge. So, this damage is greater
thanthebenefit –if at all thereis anybenefit init –So, thedamageis moreandtheriskis greater.
Gentleness. Onehas tobekindandwiseinthat whichheis forbiddingandenjoining.
So, therearethreecharacteristics.
(Thefirst characteristicof) Knowledgeshouldbebeforeenjoiningthegoodandforbiddingtheevil.
(Thesecondcharacteristicof) Kindness shouldbeduringenjoiningthegoodandforbiddingtheevil.
(andthethirdcharacteristicof) Patienceshouldbeafter enjoiningthegoodandforbiddingtheevil.” [Muhadiraat (p. 534)]
Shaikh Salih al-Fawzan explains, The first matter that should be looked into is the consequences of enjoining the good and
forbidding the evil before entering into it. What will happen as a result of it? What will be the outcome of enjoining and
a) The (evil) situation will perish upon enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. And this assures and necessitates enjoining
thegoodbecause(inthis case) it is removingtheevil andestablishingthegood.
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b) All theevil will not perishrather theevil will decrease. Inthis casealso, oneshouldenjointhegoodandforbidtheevil inorder
todecreasetheevil, becauseif it is not possibletoremovetheevil completelythenat least it shouldbedecreased.
c) The consequence of forbiddingthe evil will be greater or equal (tothe current evil). Inthis situation, one shouldstopbecause
if greater disobedience will be a result of forbidding then it is not permissible to forbid until Allah opens (the door to
opportunities of forbiddingtheevil).
This (i.e., not forbidding in this case) is fromthe principle, 'Committing the least of the two harms in order to repel the
greater harm.' This principle is well-knowninthe religionandyouwill findthis apparent inthe seerahof the Prophet . At
one point of time, the Prophet was inMakkahandhe usedtosee the idols andother (false gods beingworshiped) but he
limited his Dawah to calling the people to Tawheed and worship. He did not destroy the idols. He did not do so because
this couldcausegreater evil andthat is suppressionof theDawah.
Allah says, "Insult not those whomthey (disbelievers) worship besides Allah, lest they insult Allah wrongfully without
knowledge." [Soorahal-An'am(6): 108]
So, if the consequences is that the disbelievers will overwhelm (the believers) and insult Allah then this is a greater
This comes under lookingintothe fruits of enjoiningthe goodandforbiddingthe evil. This does not meanthat we stop
this (enjoiningthegoodandforbiddingtheevil), rather it means that wedowhat wearecapableof withregards toDawah,
Targheeb(exhortation) andexplanation. As for eradicating(theevil completely), thenthis shouldbestoppeduntil wehave
enoughcapability." [Muhadiraat (p. 534-535)]
"One should look into the situationof the personwho is to be enjoined the good or forbiddenthe evil and the one who
has fallenintosinning. Therecanbethreesituations:
First situation: Thepersonmight beignorant that it is asinandignorant that it is prohibited.
It is enough (in this situation) that you explain to him, and say, 'Oso and so, you have committed a sin.' 'Oso and so, you have
committedaprohibitedaction.' So, if hehas fallenintoit out of ignorancethenhewill leaveit.
Secondsituation: Thepersonknows that hehas committedasinandhehas committedaprohibitedaction.
This personshouldbeexhortedandbefrightenedwiththepunishment.
Thirdsituation: Thepersonargues andbrings doubts.
This personshouldbearguedwiththat whichis thebest until his doubts arecleared." [Muhadiraat (p. 535)]
"repellingtheevil takesprecedenceover(tryingto) achievethegood."
Lookingintothesituationof thepersonwhoisfallenintothesinandtreatinghimaccordingly
Articles in this series:
Article No. 01: How do we keep steadfast upon the way of the Salaf?
Article No. 02: The essential relationship between the youth and the scholars of Islam.
Article No. 03: Enjoining the good and Forbidding the Evil: Significance, Manner and Approach
Article No. 04: The Prohibition of engaging in Dawah without Knowledge
Article No. 05: Is Ignorance an excuse in matters of Aqeedah (beliefs)?
These articles can also be downloaded from our website
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