View Printable Version :: Email to a Friend
Preaching Responsibilities
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)


The Preaching Responsibility of Abraham’s Progeny

وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاء عَلَى النَّاسِ (٧٨:٢٢)

And struggle for the cause of God in a befitting manner. He has chosen you [for this responsibility], and laid on you no burdens in the observance of your faith. He has chosen for you the way of Abraham your father. He has named you Muslims earlier and in this [period of the last Prophet] as well. [He had chosen you] so that the Prophet may bear witness against you, and that you yourselves may bear witness [to this religion] against other people of this world. (22:78)

In this verse of Surah Hajj, the Qur’an specifies that just as the Almighty chooses certain great personalities from among the progeny of Adam for shahadah (bearing witness to the truth), on similar lines, He also chose the progeny of Abraham (sws) for the position of shahadah, and directed it to make an effort to fulfill all the requirements of this position. The Qur’an says:

إِنَّ اللّهَ اصْطَفَى آدَمَ وَنُوحًا وَآلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ (٣٣:٣)

God chose Adam and Noah, Abraham’s progeny and the progeny of ‘Imran above the people of the nations. (3:33)

It needs to be kept in consideration that this shahadah is not mere preaching and propagation: it results in a miniature Day of Judgement on this earth. The history of this shahadah mentioned in the Qur’an and in other divine scriptures is that the first manifestation of this Judgement took place in the time of Noah (sws). After that, the Almighty, at various intervals, sent His rusul and their shahadah also resulted in a worldly Judgement of their peoples. This process continued till Abraham (sws) was sent. The Almighty then decided that this position of shahadah would also be bestowed upon their progeny in their collective capacity, and through them religion would become an established and irrefutable fact before all the peoples of the world to the extent that they are left with no excuse to reject it. The account of this worldly Judgement is mentioned in detail in the Qur’an and in the Bible. The Qur’an has stated that the mount of Olive, the village of Fig, the mount of Sinai and the city of Makkah all bear witness to this Judgement. The mount of Olive is the place where, after Jesus (sws) was lifted, the punishment of those who had rejected him which was to continue till the Day of Judgement was declared. It was also at this place that the nasara, a new ummah from among the Israelites who professed belief in him was constituted. Fig is a village situated on this mountain. In the Bible, it is referred to as Beth Phage. Here the word “Phage” is actually the word “Fig”. It is mentioned in the Gospel according to Luke (19:29) that when Jesus (sws) came to Jerusalem, he stayed at this place before entering the city. It is known that it was on the mount of Sinai that the Israelites were constituted as an ummah. Makkah was the place where the Ishmaelites began their life as a collectivity and it was here that they were given the custodianship of the Baytullah, the first centre of worshipping God made on this earth. It is evident from these details that all these areas were centres of the worldly Judgment of God mentioned above. The Qur’an has presented them as witnesses to this Judgement with the declaration that what is it that can negate the Day of Judgement after witnessing this wordly Judgement:

وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ وَطُورِ سِينِينَ وَهَذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ  ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ(٩٥ :١ - ٨)

The fig and olive bear witness and [so does] the mount of Sinai and this secure city of [yours] that We have created man [at these places] in the best of moulds. Then We reverted him to the lowest [position] when he himself wanted to become low. Save those who accepted faith and did righteous deeds. For them shall be a reward unending. Now [O Prophet!] what is it that denies you about the Day of Judgement? [Ask them] is not Allah the best of Judges? (95:1-7)

For this very reason, the Almighty has regarded the Ishmaelites as the أُمَّةً وَسَطًا (the intermediate community) on one side of which is God and His prophet and on the other side of which are النَّاس (all the people of the world), and just as Muhammad (sws) has borne witness to the truth before the Ishmaelites, the Ishmaelites have to bear witness to the truth before the rest of the world:

وَكَذَلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا (١٤٣:٢)

And similarly, We have made you an intermediate community so that you be witnesses [to the truth] before the people, and the rasul be such a witness before you. (2:143)

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ (١١٠:٣)

You are the noblest community raised up for mankind [to bear witness to the truth] before it [because] you urge [each other to] good and forbid evil, and you truly believe in God. (3:110)

It is because of this status of the progeny of Abraham (sws) that if it adheres to the truth in its collective capacity, and keeps presenting it to other peoples of this world with full certainty and while maintaining full integrity of its contents, the Almighty will grant them dominance over their addressees who reject them. If the progeny of Abraham (sws) does not adhere to the truth in its collective capacity, then the Almighty through these very addressees will mete out the punishment of humiliation and subjugation to the progeny of Abraham (sws). Currently, both the Israelites  and the Ishmaelites are facing this punishment.

It is mentioned in the Qur’an that on the Day of Judgement the shuhada (witnesses) would be called upon. These shuhada are actually the progeny of Abraham (sws). Because of  the status of shahadah which the Almighty has granted them in this world, they will be called to give shahadah (witness) on the Day of Judgement in the very manner the rusul would be called for this purpose. It will be they who would be first of all asked the question of their people’s attitude towards the truth and whether they had really fulfilled the responsibility of delivering the truth to others:

وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَن شَاء اللَّهُ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخْرَى فَإِذَا هُم قِيَامٌ يَنظُرُونَ  وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ (٣٩: ٦٨-٦٩)

And on that Day, the trumpet shall be sounded, and all who are in the heavens and on earth shall fall down fainting, except those who shall be spared by God. Then the trumpet will be sounded again and they shall suddenly rise and gaze around them. And the earth will shine with the light of her Lord, and the book [in which deeds have been recorded] will be laid open and all the prophets and all those who were bestowed with the position of shahadah shall be called in, and all shall be judged with fairness: none shall be wronged. (39:68-69)

The Preaching Responsibility of the Scholars

وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُواْ كَآفَّةً فَلَوْلاَ نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ (١٢٢:٩)

And it was not possible for all the believers to undertake [this job]. So why did not a few from every group among them come forward to gain sound knowledge in religion and [after attaining this knowledge], warn the people of their [respective] nations, when they returned to them that they may also take heed. (9:122)

This directive of preaching relates to the scholars of the Muslim ummah. The Almighty has said that it was not possible for all the Muslims to become scholars; however, some people from each group should come forward to gain sound knowledge of religion and try to save their people from the punishment of the Hereafter through warning and admonition.

The first thing which is evident from this verse of Surah Tawbah is that the directive of preaching stated in it does not relate to every Muslim. The verse begins with the very words that it was not possible for every Muslim to undertake this task. This, of course, is an obvious reality. Neither is each person blessed with the same ability nor does every person have the same opportunities in life. Not every Muslim can be expected to become a scholar of Islam. Thus the Almighty has clarified in this verse that not every person among the Muslims is required to become a scholar; however, some from among each of their groups should aspire to do so.

The second thing which is evident from this verse is that those who want to take up the responsibility of warning their people must gain sound knowledge of religion. The words used for this are: لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِي الدِّين. This means that they must have a deep insight and understanding of religion. They should not be quacks; they should have a deep comprehension of what they are required to preach. They must have a thorough understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah so that they can explain Islam to people with full confidence.

Thirdly, once they have attained a masterful understanding of religion, the responsibility that scholars have to discharge, is that of indhar and only indhar which means that people should be warned that one day they would have to give account of their deeds. A little deliberation shows that this is the same responsibility which prophets and messengers of God discharge. It is thus evident that after Muhammad (sws), this responsibility of indhar was transferred to the scholars of the ummah, and after the termination of the institution of prophethood, it is the scholars who must continue to discharge this responsibility till the Day of Judgement.

The fourth thing which is evident from this verse is that the real addressee of a scholar is the nation to which he belongs. The words used are:  وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ (and warn the people of their [respective] nations when they returned to them). These words specify the sphere of a scholar’s preaching endeavour. They restrict him from leaving their real addressees and going after those who do not belong to them.

The fifth thing which is evident from this verse is that the objective of the preaching endeavour of the scholars should be to warn people about the displeasure of God. The words of the verse  are لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ  (that they may also take heed). The implication is that people must take heed that if they show indifference, laziness or arrogance regarding the obligations of their religion in the individual and collective spheres of life, they could be punished in this world and in the next too. It may be the wish of a scholar that the reins of power be transferred to pious people, Islam should reign supreme in the world and the word of God become dominant in every sphere of life; however, in spite of being a desirable wish, the basic objective of their preaching as per this verse is to warn people of the punishment and humiliation of the Hereafter.

It is evident from the above discussion that this verse of Surah Tawbah requires scholars of Islam to keep alive their preaching endeavour according to their ability in every nation and every place with the spirit of وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ.1 With deep concern and empathy, they should keep warning the people of their nation as well as those in authority of their obligations and duties. They should try to explain Islam to them at various levels. They should call them to the truth from various aspects. They should warn them of the consequences of showing indifference to the truth. They should keep doing this till their last breath so much so, the oppression of evil rulers should also not stop them from this. This is the greatest jihad which scholars of religion can always wage in this world:

إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْظَمِ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةُ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ (ابن ماجة رقم ٤٠١١)

Upholding truth and justice is indeed a great jihad, especially before an oppressive ruler.2

It is this verse of Surah Tawbah which is the source of various efforts of preaching and propagation which have been undertaken in this ummah. It is a great favour of the Almighty that no period of history has remained devoid of people who have lit up the torch of truth in the desolate darkness of irreligious views and innovations, and have guided people to the truth while remaining indifferent to everything in this world. They do not care what people like and what they want. All their interest resides with the truth and they spend all their energy and skill to communicate the requirements of this truth to people. They demand nothing from the people; whatever they receive from their Lord, they generously give to others. Consequently, in every period of time they are regarded as salt of the earth, the voice of the collective human conscience and the best representatives of mankind, and in this manner become alien to the society in the very manner referred to the in narrative: بدأ الإسلام غريبا ثم يعود غريبا كما بدأ فطوبى للغرباء قيل يا رسول الله ومن الغرباء قال الذين يصلحون إذا فسد الناس.3

It is this nature of the preaching of the scholars in consideration of which some aspects must always remain in mind:

Firstly, the scholars should have so much faith in the truth they go about preaching that it should be the voice of their hearts and the call of their souls. Only after totally submitting themselves to the Almighty should they enter this field, and should declare that with all their heart and soul that they have professed faith in what they are calling people to:

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ وَبِذَلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَاْ أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ( ١٦٢:٦ - ١٦٣)

Say: “My prayer and my sacrifice, my life and my death, are all for God, Lord of the Universe. He has no peer. Thus am I commanded, and I am the first Muslim.” (6:162-163)

Secondly, there should be no contradiction between what they believe and what they actually do. Whatever ideology or truth they want to preach others should first be practiced by them. The Qur’an is absolutely clear that this is not the work of preachers who do not practice what they preach; it is the work of people whose preaching foremost addresses themselves, and who force themselves to accept the truth which, they understood from their Lord, in its complete form and in an ultimate manner. Consequently, the Qur’an reprimands the scholars of the Jews that they in spite of being well-versed with shari‘ah and knowing full well that as per the dictates of shari‘ah and those of sense and reason they are much more liable to practicing religion, yet it is a matter of great pity that they vehemently urge the common man to fulfill their obligations and forget their own selves in this regard:

أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ (٢: ٤٤ )

Would you enjoin piety on others and forget it yourselves even though you read the Book. Have you no sense? (2:44)

Thirdly, they should never show a compromising attitude to the truth. The smallest of truths that becomes evident to them should be wholeheartedly accepted by them; their tongue should bear witness to it and they should present it to the world disregarding the reproaches of a reproacher. Never should they try to change or distort the truth. All the directives of the Qur’an and Sunnah and the complete guidance they provide should be presented by them to people and whatever they find against these two sources of Islam should be rejected by them without any hesitation whatsoever. They should not conceal any directive of religion if they are asked about it; in fact, they should present it the way it is and the way they believe in it. However, this does not mean that they should not wait for opportune moments to present religion. No doubt, the truth should be presented by them in the right manner at the right instances to the right audience; however, they must never conceal the truth or refrain from bearing witness to it for personal interests, fears, prejudices or benefits.

Consequently, the Almighty has ordained for His prophets who have been sent for indhar that phases and trials they will be put through are not meant to put them into any discomfort. Thus it is only befitting for them to discharge their duty disregarding any reproaches in this regard and fearing Allah only:

 مَّا كَانَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ مِنْ حَرَجٍ فِيمَا فَرَضَ اللَّهُ لَهُ سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ فِي الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَّقْدُورًا  الَّذِينَ يُبَلِّغُونَ رِسَالَاتِ اللَّهِ وَيَخْشَوْنَهُ وَلَا يَخْشَوْنَ أَحَدًا إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ حَسِيبًا (٣٣: ٣٨-٣٩)

There is no discomfort for the Prophet for what Allah has made mandatory on him. Such has remained the practice of God about all previous prophets and a time was appointed for the judgement of God; who delivered the messages of God and feared Him only and none besides Him and God alone is sufficient to take account. (33:38-39)

 وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا وَلَوْ شَاء اللّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَـكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَآ آتَاكُم فَاسْتَبِقُوا الخَيْرَاتِ إِلَى الله مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ  وَأَنِ احْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَآ أَنزَلَ اللّهُ وَلاَ تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَن يَفْتِنُوكَ عَن بَعْضِ مَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ إِلَيْكَ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللّهُ أَن يُصِيبَهُم بِبَعْضِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ لَفَاسِقُونَ (٥: ٤٨-٤٩)

And [O Prophet!] We have revealed to you the Book with the truth confirming the Book before it, and standing as a guardian over it. Therefore give judgement among men according to the guidance revealed by God and do not yield to their whims by swerving from the truth revealed to you. For each of you, we have ordained a law and assigned a path, and had God pleased, He could have made of you one community: but it is His wish to try you by that which He has bestowed upon you. So, compete with each other in good deeds. To God shall you all return. Then He shall disclose upon you all your differences. And [We have revealed upon you this Book] that you can judge between them according to what God has revealed and follow not their desires and be on guard from them lest they turn you away from some directive which God has revealed to you. Then if they evade you, know that it is God’s wish to punish them for some of their sins. And there is no doubt that a majority of these people are those who disobey. (5:48-49)

 Similarly, the Qur’an says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ (٦٧:٥)

O Prophet! Communicate diligently whatever has been revealed to you from your Lord; And [you should know that] if you do not, you will surely fail to convey His message, and [rest assured that] God will protect you from men. Indeed, God does not guide these disbelievers. (5:67)

وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَدَعْ أَذَاهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا (٤٨:٣٣)

And pay no attention to what these disbelievers and hypocrites say and ignore the harm [they cause] and put your trust in God and God is your all-sufficient guardian. (33:48)

فَلِذَلِكَ فَادْعُ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءهُمْ وَقُلْ آمَنتُ بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِن كِتَابٍ وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَعْدِلَ بَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّنَا وَرَبُّكُمْ لَنَا أَعْمَالُنَا وَلَكُمْ أَعْمَالُكُمْ لَا حُجَّةَ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ اللَّهُ يَجْمَعُ بَيْنَنَا وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ (١٥:٤٢)

Therefore call men to [this faith], and adhere to it the way you have been directed to and do not be led by their desires, and declare: “I have professed faith in this book revealed by God and I have been directed to exercise justice among you. God is our Lord and your Lord. To us belong our deeds, and to you yours; [Now] there is no time left of any discussion between us. God will bring us all together [on the Day of Judgement and to Him we shall return”. (42:15)

Fourthly, the Qur’an should be the means of indhar they should adopt. Verses such as فَذَكِّرْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَن يَخَافُ وَعِيدِ (٤٥:٥٠) (Remind through the Qur’an whoever fears My warning, (50:45)), and وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا (٥٢:٢٥) (And through this [Qur’an] fight with them with full force, (25:52)) point to this. For this very reason, the Prophet (sws) is a nadhir (warner) for the whole world, and the scholars of religion actually communicate his indhar to people: تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا (١:٢٥) (Blessed be He who has revealed al-Furqan to His servant, that it may warn the whole world, (25:1)).

Consequently, the Qur’an says:

وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنُ لأُنذِرَكُم بِهِ وَمَن بَلَغَ (١٩:٦)

And this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may warn you through it and all whom it may reach. (6:19)

Preaching Responsibility of the Rulers

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (١٠٣: ١-٣)

And there should be a community among you deputed to call towards righteousness, enjoining good, and forbidding evil and only [people who make this arrangement] shall achieve salvation. (103:1-3)

It is evident from the words of this verse that a Muslim is not addressed in it in his individual capacity; on the contrary, Muslims are addressed here in their collective capacity. Thus, this directive relates to the rulers of a state. The Almighty says that if in a certain piece of land Muslims are politically dominant, then they should depute some people from among themselves who should call people towards righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil.

It is obvious that in some cases the obligation of forbidding people from evil shall be discharged by exhorting and urging the Muslims and in others through the force of law. For the first mode, those in authority have the Friday sermon available to them, which is specifically their prerogative. For the second mode, those in authority have the service of the police and the armed forces departments which in an Islamic state are established for this very purpose and work within the jurisdiction specified for them to achieve this objective.

It is thus evident that according to the Qur’an, it is the duty of the Muslim rulers to call people towards righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil. It is incumbent upon them to discharge the following responsibilities also, besides the other naturally imposed ones:

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ (٤١:٢٢)

[These believers are those who], if We grant them authority in this land, will be diligent in the prayer and pay zakah and enjoin what is virtuous and forbid what is evil. (22:41)

Preaching Responsibility of an Individual

وَالْعَصْرِ إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ (١٠٣: ١ -٣)

Time bears witness that these people shall definitely be in a state of loss. Yes! except those who accepted faith and did righteous deeds and exhorted one another to the truth and exhorted one another to remain steadfast on it. (103:1-3)

The very expressions of تَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ and  تَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ in this verse as well as their context clearly show that whether we belong to the common masses or to the intellectual class, whether we live in a jungle or in a city, we are liable to carry out this responsibility. Every person is liable to it and it is among the requirements of faith. If a believer does righteous deeds and also fulfills this requirement of faith, the Qur’an has ensured him protection from the punishment of this world and of the Hereafter and he shall be granted the eternal kingdom of Heaven.

It is evident from the nature and scope of this preaching as mentioned in these verses that the preacher and the preached are not distinct from another. Every person at all times acts as a preacher as well as an addressee to this preaching. The word used by the Qur’an in this regard is تَوَاصَوْا which means “to urge one another”. This responsibility should be discharged by a father towards his son and a son towards his father, a husband towards his wife and a wife towards her husband, a brother towards his sister and a sister towards her brother, a friend towards his friend and a neighbour towards his neighbour – in short, a person should discharge it towards every person who has an immediate relation with him. When he sees that someone among them has adopted an attitude which is contrary to the truth, he should try to urge him according to his knowledge, capacity and ability to mend his ways. It is quite possible that while at one time of the day we deliver some truth to a person, and at another time, he does this very service to us. Today, we may urge a person to the right way and tomorrow that person might urge us to the same. In short, a Muslim should keep discharging this duty in his immediate circle whenever he gets the opportunity.

Urging one another to the truth and urging one another to remain steadfast on it has also been referred to as أَمَر بِالْمَعْرُوفِ and نهَِي عَنِ المُنْكَر ie urging people to whatever sense and human nature call as good and forbidding them from what sense and human nature call as evil. These two expressions are only a positive and negative statement of what is referred to in Surah ‘Asr’s last verse quoted above. The Qur’an says:

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ (٧١:٩)

And true believers, both men and women, are friends to one another. They urge one another to what is good and forbid what is evil. (9:71)

The sphere of this preaching as is evident from the words “urging one another to the truth” is one’s immediate surroundings. A person is required to do this duty among his family, relatives and friends. It is his obligation towards people with whom he lives and spends time and works with and who come into his contact because of his various involvements that they be the addressees of this preaching. This obligation will only stand fulfilled if it is discharged in this sphere. It should not be the case that these rightful beneficiaries of his preaching be deprived of it, while people belonging to other areas and countries become its recipients. The Almighty and His Prophet (sws) have not required of him to leave his immediate surroundings and start this activity outside it.

Moreover, it is also essential that his preaching be directed from the nearest to the next, and a person should foremost address his family members and try to save them from the Fire of Hell. He must be aware of the fact that if he went after others while leaving aside these immediate people who might be deep in evil, then in spite of all his efforts, he may end up at the losing end in the Hereafter:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ (٦:٦٦)

Believers! protect yourselves and your kindred from a Fire fuelled with these men and these stones [they worshipped].  In charge of it will be stern and mighty angels who never disobey God’s directive and promptly do what they are told. (66:6)

Here, this should also remain clear that within one’s immediate sphere there exists a sphere in which a person possesses authority. In a family system, a person often has two capacities: he is a father and he is a husband. As per the dictates of common sense and human nature, a person has authority in these two spheres. It is because of this authority that a person in his capacities of a husband and a father is responsible for the affairs of his wife and children respectively. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

ألا كلكم راع وكلكم مسؤول عن رعيته (مسلم رقم ١٨٢٩)

Beware that each of you is a shepherd, and each person will be held accountable for his herd. (Muslim, No: 1829)

Thus under the directive of  تَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ (urging people to the truth), the Prophet (sws) directed Muslims to try to curb any evil they see in their circle of authority. He is reported to have said:

من رأى منكم منكرا فليغيره بيده فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه وذلك أضعف الإيمان (مسلم رقم ٤٩)

When any person among you sees an evil [in his circle of authority], he should try to curb it by [the force of] his hands. If he does not have the faith to do it, he should try to curb it from his tongue and if [even] this is not possible, he should consider it bad in his heart and this is the lowest level of faith. (Muslim, No: 49)

The words  فإن لم يستطع (if he does not have the strength …) do not refer to physical strength or the strength of resources which make a person liable to follow some directive;  they refer to one’s courage whose source is one’s faith. Thus the foremost responsibility of a person in his circle of authority is to curb evil by force unless some religious expediency is attached to it. To curb evil by the tongue is the second level of faith and the last level is that a person should at least consider it to be evil in his heart. If he does not even have this feeling, then it means that he has become totally devoid of faith.

In the opinion of this writer, the above interpretation of the narrative is the correct one. It is in accordance with explicit Qur’anic directives, established facts of religion and biographies of the messengers. A husband, a father and a Muslim ruler are, no doubt, responsible to curb evil by force within their circle of authority. Less than this, whatever action they take shall indeed be a show of their weak faith; however, if they venture to use force outside their circle of authority, then this is the worst kind of disorder and anarchy that they can create. Such measures have no place in religion. The Qur’an is absolutely clear in this regard: as a preacher, no Messenger of God was ever given the authority beyond reminding and lucidly presenting religion. It says:

إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُذَكِّرٌ لَسْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِمُصَيْطِرٍ (٨٨: ٢١-٢٢)

Your duty is only to remind them; you are not to force them. (88:21-22)

 (Translated from Ghamidi’s Mizan by Shehzad Saleem)








1.Struggle for the cause of God in a befitting manner, (22:78)

2. Ibn Majah, No: 4011.

3. Ahmad Ibn Hambal, No: 16 736; “When Islam began it was unfamiliar. It will soon become unfamiliar. Thus, blessed are the unfamiliar who take up the task of reforming people when they become wayward.”

For Questions on Islam, please use our

Replica Handbags Bottega Veneta fake Bvlgari fake Celine fake Christian Dior fake Gucci fake Gucci Bag fake Gucci Wallet fake Gucci Shoes fake Gucci Belt fake Hermes fake Loewe fake Louis Vuitton fake Louis Vuitton Belt fake Louis Vuitton Calf Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Infini Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Quilt lamb fake Louis Vuitton Embossed Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton Epi fake Louis Vuitton Game On Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Jewellery fake Louis Vuitton Key Holder fake Louis Vuitton Mahina Leather fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Denim fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Eclipse Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Seal fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Shadow fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Watercolor fake Louis Vuitton New Wave fake Louis Vuitton Shoes fake Louis Vuitton Since 1854 fake Louis Vuitton Strap fake Louis Vuitton Taiga Leahter fake Louis Vuitton Taurillon leather fake Louis Vuitton Transformed Game On canvas fake Louis Vuitton Utah Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton X Supreme fake Mulberry fake Prada fake YSL fake