Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COSAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

September 1, 2000

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ORDAINING THE GOOD AND FORBIDDING THE EVIL

As-selâmu alaikum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakâtuhû!..

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May your Friday be blessed. May Allah let you live many Fridays, blessed days and nights in health. May He elevate Islam and Muslims, and correct the wrongdoers, oppressors, and sinners. He knows what He will do with those who refuse to comply with His orders. May He protect us from the harms of the evil ones.

a. Preventing the Evil

I would like to start today's discourse with a hadith narrated by Jarîr RA and included in the collection of Ibnun-Najjar. The Prophet said:

RE. 378/9 (Mâ min ahadin yakûnu fî qawmin ya'malu fîhim bil-me'àsî yaqdirûna alâ an yughayyirû alayh, illâ esàbehumullâhu bi-iqàbin qabla an yamûtû.) Sadaqa rasûlullàh, fî mà qàl, aw kamà qàl.

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This hadith is about the interaction of people with the society. the Prophet said: (Mâ min ahadin) "Imagine person (yakûnu fî qawmin) who lives in a group of people, in a society, and (ya'malu fîhim bil-me'àsî) carries out wrong deeds (yaqdirûna alâ an yughayyirû alayh) despite the fact that the society is able to stop him, (illâ esàbehumullâhu bi-iqàbin qabla an yamûtû) the individuals in that society will face the wrath of Allah before they die."

Here, the important point is that the people are not committing the evil act; they are allowing a person to carry it out instead of stopping or preventing it. They are able to stop it, yet they are over-tolerant or indifferent. Whatever the reason is, Allah sends them a punishment for them before they die.

We conclude from this hadith and other similar ahadith that a Muslim has to be concerned with the society. He may not ignore the order in the society, the "cleanliness" and the administration of the society.

When we published several magazines, our emphasis was on the Islamic matters. We also had articles on the matters concerning the country in general. Our competitors would object: "You are a religious group, and it shows in your publications. Why, then, do you get involved with non-religious matters?" Of course this objection was based on their ignorance of Islam. Islam is not only praying five times a day, fasting in Ramadhan and going for pilgrimage. Islam brings a new view to life. It offers a person a life style, an approach to all matters.

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In Islam, all individuals are equal just like the teeth of a comb. There is no superiority of a person or race over others. They all are the children of Adam. Adam was created from clay. So, everybody has the same origin. All people are equal, so one should not wrong or oppress the others. Everybody must respect the rights of each and every individual.

One of the points that Islam emphasizes the most is preventing the oppression. Islam orders not to oppress and not to transgress the limits.

All kinds of injustice may be classified as oppression or transgression. For instance, a person who commits a sin without harming any other person in anyway also commits an act of oppression. This oppression would be against himself, his nafs. He himself will suffer the consequences in the hereafter. He would be a (zàlimun linafsî) self oppressor.

A shepherd on a remote mountain will be an oppressor if he commits a sin involving himself only. Islam abhors and bans oppression. If we were to put in an order, Islam requires a pure belief first. It objects to associating anything in worship of Allah, in His powers. It is stated in the Qur'an:

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(In-nash-shirka lazulmun 'azîm) "Association is such a serious (zulm) wrong!" A flaw in belief is considered as zulm, an oppression because other kinds of oppressions will emanate from this one. For instance, a flaw in the belief could make a person go to a temple and sacrifice his wife by putting her in fire alive. It could make an Egyptian tribe take the most beautiful young girl and throw it into the waters of Nile. Because it leads to many injustices and oppressions, the flaws in belief are major oppressions.

Almighty Allah is the most Merciful, and He treats His servants with mercy. He does not approve deeds against His mercy. That is why the belief in Him has to be flawless. Then, nobody shall mistreat anybody else. There shall not be any oppression or injustice in the society. Allah ordains this.

People shall be truthful in their transactions with other people. Not only their words but also their actions have to be sincere and truthful. They have to act with an awareness that Allah sees everything and that there will be a Day of Judgement, a divine trial in the hereafter. They have to consult with their conscience and solve problems with justice.

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Allah also ordains purity and cleanliness in all aspects such as purity of belief, purity of heart and mind, purity of body and cleanliness of the environment. Islam has such fine principles that the whole world would accept once we tell them, yet we fail to explain these principles to the world. Then people go after false beliefs. Sometimes a maniac takes hundreds of people to a forest, and they commit suicide by burning themselves. This is an example of the oppression that could be resulted from a false belief. We have seen such examples in our times.

Going back to the hadith, first, a Muslim shall not oppress himself. Second, he shall not let anybody in the society commit oppression. He shall try to stop the sin, unlawful act, injustice, and oppression.

You may ask: "Sir, is this your fantasy? Are you trying to make Islam look more attractive? Is this really the Islamic rule?"

If you look at books that explain the fundamentals of Islam, If you study the Qur'an, you will see the statements: (Al amr-i bil ma'ruf wa nahy-i 'anil munkar) "Ordaining the good and forbidding the evil

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are obligations on every Muslim." Which means a Muslim shall do good things, order good things, spread the good things, and prevent the evil. If he his powerful enough, he will stop the evil physically. If he is not powerful to stop the evil physically, he shall try verbally. If he cannot try verbally, he will try by heart which implies the lowest level of belief.

A person shall not commit oppression; he shall not let anybody else commit oppression. He shall not sin; he shall not let anybody sin. He shall act just like an affectionate father who does not smoke nor he lets his child smoke or use drugs. Everybody in the society is from Adam, hence there is brotherhood among the members of the society. We should wish well for our brothers and sisters and save them from committing sin.

A woman we see may be a mother, a wife or a daughter of somebody. Mothers are to be respected and loved, so are the wives. A daughter also must be loved, respected and protected. We may not mistreat them. As the Prophet said once, we would not want any mistreatment for our mothers, wives or daughters.

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We have try our best to prevent the wrong deeds in the society. Remember the hadith of the Prophet. He said, "Help your brother even if he is an oppressor or an oppressed." The companions of the Prophet responded: "O Prophet of Allah, we can imagine how we can help our oppressed brother. How can we help an oppressor?" the Prophet said: "You help an oppressor by preventing his oppression." Allah will punish an oppressor both in this world as well as in the hereafter. Prevention will save the oppressor from the punishment.

Imagine a substance user. The whole narcotics police forces in the country have a war against the production, distribution and use of drugs. They try to save the society from the harms of the narcotics because they are aware of the terrible end awaiting for the users. The police would be "helping" the substance user so that the person stops using it. Just like this, a Muslim does not allow an evil deed carried out in the society. He does not tolerate or be indifferent about it. Then members of the society become like angels. The whole society will be ordaining the good and forbidding the evil.

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If a person commits a sin, he will be punished for it. If he does not commit a sin but tolerates the sin, then he will be punished, too. Let us read the hadith again:

RE. 378/9 (Mâ min ahadin yakûnu fî qawmin ya'malu fîhim bil-me'àsî yaqdirûna alâ an yughayyirû alayh, illâ esàbehumullâhu bi-iqàbin qabla an yamûtû.)

"If a person commits a sin in public and if people in the society do not stop him even though they are able to, then Allah sends them a punishment before they die."

This is such an important hadith. Memorize this hadith and tell your relatives and friends about it. The practice of this hadith will improve the condition of the society.

b. The Responsibility of the Administrator

In another hadith of the same book of Ramuz al-Ahadith the Prophet said:

RE. 378/7 (Mâ min ahadin yalî amra asharatin famâ fawqa dhâlika illâ ya'tî yawmal-qiyâmati maghlûlatan yaduhû ilâ 'unuqihî, yafukkuhû 'adluhû aw yûsiquhû ismuhû.) Sadaqa rasûlullah, fî mà qàl, aw kamâ qàl.

I recommend you memorize this hadith, too. It is narrated by Abu Umâma RA. It is also about important principles of Islam. The Prophet said: (Mâ min ahadin yalî amra asharatin famâ fawqa dhâlika illâ ya'tî yawmal-qiyâmati maghlûlatan yaduhû ilâ 'unuqihî) "There is no person who supervises or rules ten or more people who will not be brought on the Day of Resurrection as his hands are chained to his neck."

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This is about administrators. It could be a supervisor in an office, a manager in a company, a mayor in a city, a governor in a county, province or a state. It could also mean the president of a country. On the Day or Resurrection, the administrators will be brought to the divine court as their hands are chained to their necks. The prisoners of war used to be chained like that in earlier times. At the present, the criminals are chained; suspects, hand-cuffed so that they are immobilized to a great extent. The ruler may be a Muslim ruler, still their hands will be chained to their necks.

The hadith continues: (yafukkuhû 'adluhû) "His justice and fairness will free him off the chains (aw yûsiquhû ismuhû) or his injustice will reinforce the chain."

The scholars of hadith included this hadith in the field related to judges. That means a judge has to practice justice and fairness. Nevertheless, this hadith is not for judges only; it includes any administrator in any fields who supervises ten or more people.

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May Allah be their helper. May He give them the zeal of Hadrat Omar bin Khattab RA. May He make them truthful and fair. Once the administrators are good people, their administration will be successful, and the society will prosper. If the administrators are crooks, they can bring the government and the society to the brink of bankruptcy; they could bring calamities to all. I am sure you all remember the examples of Mussolini, Hitler and Marcos.

c. Everybody will be Regretful

The third hadith is also from the same page. It is narrated by Abu Hurayrah RA and included in the collections of Abdullah Ibnul-Mubarak, Tirmidhî, Hulwânî, and Bayhakî. I recommend you memorize this important hadith, too.

As you know, there are ahadith about memorizing 40 ahadith. For instance, the Prophet said, "If a person memorizes 40 ahadith, he will be treated as a scholar on the Day of Judgement." You should also teach your children ahadith.

I was told about some children among our congregation in Australia that they were taught some ahadith and that they can fluently say these ahadith. If the youth are like that, then the grown-ups will pay more attention to the ahadith.

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The Prophet said:

RE. 378/12 (Mâ min ahadin yamûtu illâ nadima, in kâna muhsinan nadima an lâ yakûna izdâd, wa in kâna musî-an nadima an lâ yakûna naza'a.)

This is a brief hadith in wording, yet it is as wide as oceans in meaning. The Prophet is reminding us about an important point:

(Mâ min ahadin yamûtu) "There is no person among the deceased (illâ nadima) who does not regret." In other words, everybody will be regretful after he dies.

You may wonder how it could be because there are prophets, saints (awliyaullah) and righteous servants of Allah among the deceased. The hadith has explanation: (in kâna muhsinan) "If the person is a righteous person, (nadima an lâ yakûna izdâda) He will regret for not doing more righteous deeds." He will regret for the idle moments in his life. (Wa in kâna musî-an) "If the person is a sinner, (nadima an lâ yakûna naza'a) he will regret for not staying away from sins and for not becoming a good person." The latter will regret much more, of course.

May Allah keep us among the righteous and away from the sinners. Here what concerns us more is that the righteous servants will be regretful in the hereafter. They will regret for not "efficient use" of their lives.

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You hear about some establishments, businesses or factories: "This hospital is operated with 70% capacity." That means 30% is not utilized. "Factory X works with 50% capacity." It means, some of the production lines are staying idle. Either the sales are down or there is a problem with the production lines.

Now some people may brag about their belief: "I am a Muslim." They may relax. [They may think that they will enter Paradise eventually.] They also add, "We do every good thing we hear about. If there is anything else, let us know, and we will do it."

It is good, but a person will regret for every moment he spend doing nothing. Now you can imagine how regretful a person will be for spending his time in teahouses, stadiums, vacation homes, resorts and other places.

Some righteous servants of Allah would mix their food to produce something like a soup and drink it so that they would not spend too much time in eating food. They would go back to their work without loosing any time.

May Allah bless Ali Yaqub Khawaja, a true scholar. He was the director of a library in Egypt. He would soak some dates in a glass of water before leaving for work. By the time he would come home, the dates would get soft. He would eat the dates and drink the sweet water. That was his meal for the day. He would say that he could not afford spending two hours everyday for preparing meals. He would have work waiting for him.

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Now, let us look at ourselves and see how much time we waste. We work for five days and spend two days at home stretching our legs and becoming "couch potato." We go away for a month or two for the summer vacation. On the other hand, the time is very precious and does not come back after it is gone. This will lead to regretfulness in the hereafter.

Having read this hadith, we must try not to stay idle at all. We must constantly try to do good deeds. We must try learning more about Islam and practice what we learn. We must try teaching what we learn and be in the service of the community and the nation. We must serve for the Qur'an and Islam. We must try to earn the consent of Allah.

We ought to be hardworking Muslims. We ought use our time efficiently. We ought to serve ourselves, our family, our neighbors and the ummah.

The services a person provides for his family are considered as the righteous deeds in Islam because it prevents the members of the family from unlawful means of maintaining life. A person has to work to earn a living, to meet the needs of his family. It is lawful and praised. The Prophet said, "A truthful vendor will be in the shade of the Divine Throne on the day of Judgement." It is because the vendor provides a service without cheating anybody. He brings goods from a far and makes a living out of selling it. He earns not only a living but also rewards when he is truthful.

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You will realize the beauties of Islam as you read about it, and I will continue explaining them at every opportunity.

May Allah make us appreciate Islam and live a life in accordance with Islam. May He give his consent to all of us. May He keep us on the path of His Prophet. May He make us neighbors to the Prophet in the hereafter. May he honor us with His Beauty in His Paradise.

Bi hurmati ismihil-'a-zam wa bi hurmati nabiyyihil-muhammadinil mustafâ alayhis-salâtu was-selâm. As-selâmu alaikum wa rahmatullahi my dear brothers and sisters.

September 1, 2000 -- Makkah

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