You are the best community ever raised for humanity—you encourage good, forbid evil, and believe in Allah. Had the People of the Book believed, it would have been better for them. Some of them are faithful, but most are rebellious. [Surah aale-Imran 3:110]
Let there be a group among you who call ˹others˺ to goodness, encourage what is good, and forbid what is evil—it is they who will be successful. [Surah aale-Imran 3:104]
Enjoining good and forbidding evil is an essential teaching of Islam. It is the pillar of a justly-ordered society and the guardian of true faith. Every Muslim is obliged to acknowledge good and reject evil in their hearts, at the very least.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith. [Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 49]Imam Ibn Rajab (rh) commented on this hadith stating “It is an obligation to condemn evil by the measure of one’s ability. As for condemnation in the heart, it is always required. Whoever does not condemn evil in his heart, it is a sign that faith has vanished from his heart. As for condemnation of the tongue and hand, it is only obligatory within one’s capacity. [Jāmi’ al-‘Ulūm wal-Ḥikam 2/245]
The scholars of Islam have explained that enjoining good and forbidding evil is based upon three principles, or prerequisite and necessary conditions:
This week, we have seen a wave of pro-Palestine protests in British schools and controversy over the staff response, with pupils being accused of anti-Semitism and one headteacher describing the Palestinian flag as a “call to arms” in a school assembly. Rightly, this has caused national outrage due to its Islamophobic and bias approach.
In east London, students chanted “free Palestine” with a sit-in protest refusing to return to lessons, after teachers removed posters about the Palestinian struggle from the walls of the schools.
In Manchester, senior leaders closed Loreto college close after hearing about a planned protest of 200 students and members of the public.
The reason I raise this is that our institutes of learning and knowledge and our engagement with them are a reflection of our understanding and knowledge. All of us recognise the emotions the situation in Palestine has stirred globally and there is an unprecedented rise in confidence to talk about the issue, partly as a result of BLM, celebrity support and the rise of populism. And we shouldn’t condemn students raising their voice or institutes trying to maintain order. What we should focus on is how best to progress the situation in the spirit of enjoining good and forbidding evil.
Many statements have also been made which aim to neutralise the situation and condemn all acts of violence and call for peace but without acknowledging the facts related to occupation and flagrant violation of international law. Some of these positions don’t even mention names for fear that it is politically incorrect. So how then do we know good or evil, if we cant call it out?
Education is about helping people understand how things work and how to challenge and change them for the better.
Narrated Abu Musa: The Prophet (SAW) said, “A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall (kal bunyaan), reinforcing each other.” While (saying that) the Prophet (SAW) clasped his hands, by interlacing his fingers. [Sahih al-Bukhari 481]. If we reflect upon a brick wall, offsetting the bricks at every layer gives the lower and upper bricks stability and strength, so as to not cause a fracture line in the mortar. This is a sign to us that unity is not uniformity – just like every brick, as an Ummah, we are diverse and different but united in belief, spirit, purpose, mission and goal.
Sufyan al-Thawri, may Allah have mercy on him, said: No one may enjoin good or forbid evil except for one who has three qualities: gentleness in what he enjoins and forbids, justice in what he enjoins and forbids, and knowledge of what he enjoins and forbids. [al-Amr bil-Maʻrūf lil-Khallāl 1/24]
The scholars set these three conditions because, in addition to being mentioned many times in the Quran and Sunnah, they further facilitate the ultimate objective in Islam of reforming and purifying souls on their journey to Allah into the Hereafter. If someone tries to enjoin good while lacking one of these qualities, they will likely end up making the situation worse for themselves and others.
Its important to acknowledge that we are a minority community and that we shouldn’t expect others to conform to our thinking.
However, patient reflection on established principles and practise are important to help calmly identify and call out hypocrisy and double standards.
We have had Prevent and SRE pushed throughout schools under the banner of ‘British values’. These values advocate democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs, and for those without faith. It seems contradictory to then censor voices of your population, disregard the rule of law against occupation and allow apartheid in any form to be acceptable.
Values can’t be assumed – they have to be arrived at through mutual exploration, critical analysis and understanding. This is what citizenship education aims to achieve and its this which we should address in a manner that shares principles so that we can work towards the same positive outcome of calling out good and evil.
How do we enjoin good and forbid evil for Palestine?
Raise your voice with policy makers: Lobby Government by signing petitions calling on the British government to stop issuing military Arms equipment sales license to Israeli companies and to impose sanctions on Israel for the attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque. Support protests taking place around the country. The world needs to rally behind the movements aimed at ending injustice
“Global responses are necessary in dismantling systems of oppression,” Hatang says. “It was clear that without global support from the rest of the world, apartheid would have entrenched itself further.”
Balton adds: “Global solidarity action is what kept the issue [ending apartheid] top of mind for movements, many governments and multilateral organisations, as well as for millions of individuals. It forced foreign leaders to exert pressure on the apartheid government. It hurt the apartheid government economically.”
Scotland has suspended exporting riot gear, tear gas, and rubber bullets to the United States after police started using force against Black Lives Matter protesters.
South Africa: Both Reagan and Thatcher condemned Mandela and the ANC as communists and terrorists at a time when the apartheid government promoted itself as a Cold War ally against communism. Reagan vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, but the U.S. Congress overrode his decision with a two-thirds majority, passing the act to impose sanctions on South Africa. The U.K. also imposed limited sanctions despite Thatcher’s objections.
Purify your sustenance and place sanctions on yourself: Support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to by Checking the Label before you buy any grocery, merchandise or equipment. Don’t let your money finance Israeli oppression and occupation.
Talk to Allah(SWT) Read Dua e Qunoot and make dua for your brothers and sisters.
Learn Read to congregation 1 hadith per day on the virtue of al Quds. Arrange talks, exhibitions, protests online or [Covid rules permitting] in your local areas.
‘Aishah related, “The Messenger of Allah e would continue fasting until we would begin to think he will not have a break. He would continue not fasting until we would begin to think he does not want to fast anymore. He would recite Surah Bani Isra’il and al-Zumar every night.” (Ahmad)
Forbid evil by holding the Media to account for biased reporting: Lodge a complaint with the BBC and similar agencies for biased reporting.
Visit the blessed land when the situation allows: Abu Hurayrah (RA) relates that the Prophet e said, “You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the following three masajid (with the expectation of receiving greater reward); the Sacred Masjid of Makkah (Ka’bah), this masjid of mine (the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah), and Masjid al-Aqsa (of Jerusalem).” (Muslim)
Abu Darda’ (RA) relates that the Prophet e said, “The reward of a prayer in al-Masjid al-Haram (Makkah) over other masajid is equivalent to 100,000 Salah (in reward), a prayer in my masjid (Madinah) is equivalent to 1,000 Salah and a Salah in Bayt al-Maqdis (al-Aqsa Sanctuary) is equivalent to 500 Salah.” (Al-Bayhaqi)
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (RA) related that the Prophet e said, “When Sulayman ibn Dawud u constructed Bayt al-Maqdis, he asked Allah three things. He asked Allah adjudication in line with his ruling, which he was given. He asked Allah for an empire which cannot be attained by anybody after him, which he was given, and he asked Allah, when he completed the construction of Masjid al-Aqsa, that whoever comes solely to perform Salah in this masjid He forgives his sins, leaving him like the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Al-Nasa’i)
Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman (RA) reports that the Messenger of Allah e said, “The most superior I’tikaf (seclusion) is that of three masajid: al-Masjid al-Haram (in Makkah), the Masjid of the Prophet (in Madinah), and the Masjid of Bayt al-Maqdis (in Jerusalem).” (Al-Bayhaqi)
Umm Salamah , the wife of the Prophet e, relates that she heard the Messenger of Allah e saying, “If anyone enters into the state of Ihram for Hajj or Umrah from Masjid al-Aqsa and then proceeds to the Sacred Masjid, his former and latter sins will be forgiven” or “he is guaranteed paradise.” The narrator ‘Abdullah t was not sure which words were said. (Abu Dawud)
Donate Maymunah relates that she said, “O Messenger of Allah, inform us about (visiting) Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem)”. He said, “It is the land of gathering (al-mahshar) and resurrection (al-manshar), visit it and pray there, as one Salah performed there is equivalent to a thousand Salahs performed elsewhere.” She further asked, “What about the one who doesn’t have the capacity to travel to Jerusalem?” He replied, “Then send some oil to be used in its lamps, as the one who sent oil to be used in its lamps will be like the one who performed Salah there.” (Ibn Majah)
Masjid al-Aqsa should form an important aspect of a believer’s dedication – its the only Masjid mentioned by name in the Holy Qur’an apart from the Ka’bah and referred to directly and indirectly, 70 times in the Holy Qur’an.
Its the only place on earth where all the Messengers of Allah prayed at the same time led by the Prophet Muhammad.
Its a place where revelation descended: Abu Umamah t reports that the Prophet e said, “Prophethood descended upon me in three places: Makkah, Madinah and al-Sham.” (Al-Mustadrak)
Virtues of al Aqsa
Its the second house of Allah built on earth; Abu Dharr (RA) reported that he asked the Prophet e, “O Messenger of Allah, which masjid was built first on earth?” The Prophet e replied, “The Sacred
Masjid of Makkah.” Abu Dharr again asked, “Which was next?” The Prophet(SAW) said, “The Masjid al-Aqsa.” Abu Dharr t further asked, “How long was the period between the building of the two masajid?” The Prophet e said, “Forty years.” Apart from these, offer your prayers anywhere when it is time to pray, as excellence lies in it.” (Al-Bukhari)
Its the place where hundreds of Messengers of Allah (SWT) are buried;
Abu Hurayrah t reports that the Prophet e said, “The angel of death was sent to Musa (SAW). When he came to Musa (SAW), Musa slapped him. The angel returned to Allah I and said, ‘You have sent me to a servant who does not want to die.’ Allah I ordered the angel, ‘Return to him and tell him to put his hand on the back of an ox and for every hair that will come under it, he will be granted one year of life.’ Musa u asked, ‘O Lord! What will happen after that?’ Allah I replied, ‘Then death.’ Musa u decided, ‘Let it be now.’ Musa (SAW) then requested Allah I to let him die close to the Holy (Sacred) Land (near Masjid al-Aqsa) so much so that he would be at a distance of a stone’s throw from it.” Abu Hurayrah (RA) added, the Messenger of Allah e said, “If I were there, I would show you his grave below the red sand hill on the side of the road.” (Al-Bukhari)
Jabir t relates that the Prophet of Allah e was asked, “Who will enter Paradise first?” The Prophet e replied, “The Prophets.” The man then asked, “Who next O Prophet of Allah?” The Prophet e replied, “The martyrs.” The man then asked, “Who next O Prophet of Allah?” The Prophet e replied, “The callers of Adhan at the Ka’bah.” The man then asked, “Who next O Prophet of Allah?” The Prophet e replied, “The callers of the Adhan at Bayt al-Maqdis.” The man then asked, “Who next O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet e replied, “The callers of the Adhan at my masjid.” The man then asked, “Who next?” The Prophet e replied, “The rest of the callers of the Adhan according to their deeds.” (Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra)
Know that this situation will change
Abu Umamah al-Bahili t reports that the Prophet e said, “A group of my Ummah will remain on truth, they will vanquish their enemy and those who disagree with them will not be able to harm them until Allah (SWT) Commands.” “Where are these people?” The companions asked. The Prophet e replied, “In Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).” (Al-Tabarani)
Imam Ibn Rajab (rh) states: “Know that enjoining good and forbidding evil is at times done out of motivation to seek reward from Allah, at times done for the fear of His punishment for leaving it, at times done for anger for the sake of Allah in violating His sacred limits, at times done with good will for the believers, mercy for them, and hope in their salvation from what might afflict them of the wrath of Allah and His punishment in the world and in the Hereafter, and at times it is done out of motivation to glorify Allah, to honor Him, and to love Him… Whoever considers these last two positions, it will be easy for him every time he endures harm for the sake of Allah Almighty, and perhaps he will even supplicate for the benefit of those who harm him.” [Jāmi’ al-‘Ulūm wal-Ḥikam 2/255]
Don’t be the subject of the dua of the oppressed, rather the means for their dua to be answered. Abu Umamah t reports that the Messenger of Allah e said, “The chosen land of Allah is al-Sham. He has therein his chosen creation and servants. Most definitely, a large group from my Ummah will enter Paradise without having to give reckoning or experiencing any form of punishment.” (Al-Tabarani)
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr t reported that the Prophet e said, “When fitna (great tribulations at the end of time) befalls, safety will be in al-Sham.” (Al-Tabarani)
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar t said that the Prophet e said to us one day, “I saw angels in my dream who had taken hold of the Column (governance) of the Book and proceeded with it to al-Sham. When the great tribulation befalls, iman (belief) will be in al-Sham.” (Fadhail al-Sham)
‘Awf ibn Malik t relates, “I went to the Prophet e during the Battle of Tabuk while he was sitting in a leather tent. He said, ‘Count six signs between now and the approach of the Hour (Qiyamah/Doomsday): my death; the conquest of Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem); a plague that will afflict you (and kill you in great numbers) as the plague that afflicts sheep; the increase of wealth to such an extent that even if one is given one hundred dinars he will not be satisfied; then an affliction which no Arab house will escape; and then a truce between you and Banu al-Asfar (i.e. the Byzantines) who will betray you and attack you under eighty flags. Under each flag will be twelve thousand soldiers.” (Al-Bukhari)
‘Abdullah ibn Hawalah al-Azdi t reported, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) put his hand on my head and said, “Ibn Hawalah! If you see that the Caliphate has taken abode in the Holy Land then the earthquakes, chaos and great events are at hand. The Last Hour on that day will be closer to people than my hand is to your head.” (Abu Dawud)
Zaid ibn Thabit (RA) reported: We were with Allah’s messenger e composing transcripts of the Qur’an on parchments. He said, “Blessed is al-Sham.” We asked: “Why is that so, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Because the angels of the Compassionate One have spread their wings over it.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
‘Abdullah ibn Hawalah t reports that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “At some point you will be [split into] standing armies (groups): one in al-Sham, one in Yemen and one in Iraq.” ‘Abdullah ibn Hawalah asked the Prophet e “Choose for me, Messenger of Allah, in case I live to see that day.” The Prophet e replied, “Go to al-Sham, for it is the chosen land of Allah in all His earth. He attracts the chosen ones among His servants by sending them there. If you do not wish to go there, then go to Yemen and drink from its water. Allah has given me a guarantee concerning al-Sham and its people.” (Abu Dawud)
Mujammi’ ibn Jariyah t reported having heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say, “Ibn Maryam (Isa) will kill al-Dajjal (the Anti-Christ) at the door of Ludd.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad) In another narration, “‘Isa, son of Maryam will descend at the white minaret to the east of Damascus” (Abu Dawud)
Mu‘adh ibn Jabal t relates that the Messenger of Allah e said, “The flourishing state of Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem) will be when Yathrib is in ruins, the ruined state of Yathrib will be when the great war comes, the outbreak of the great war will be at the conquest of Constantinople and the conquest of Constantinople will be when al-Dajjal (Anti-Christ) comes forth.” He (the Prophet e) struck his thigh or his shoulder with his hand and said: “This is as true as you are here or as you are sitting (meaning Mu‘adh ibn Jabal).” (Abu Dawud)
Its people are blessed Abu Darda’ t related that the Messenger of Allah e said, “From al-Sham to the furthest point of Upper Mesopotamia, the inhabitants therein, along with their wives, children and servants (men and women), are in a state of ribat (guarding the Muslim frontier) in the path of Allah. Whoever occupies any land therein is in ribat. Whoever occupies any frontier therein from the many frontiers is in Jihad.” (Ibn ‘Asakir)
‘Umair ibn Hani’ mentions that he heard Mu‘awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan t saying on this pulpit that he heard the Messenger of Allah e saying, “A group from my Ummah will remain upon the truth. Those who desert them or oppose them will not be able to harm them, they will prevail over others until the decree of Allah (Qiyamah) comes.” (Mu’adh ibn Jabal t said, “They are the people of al-Sham.”) (Ahmad)
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr t reports that the Messenger of Allah e said, “There will be migration upon migration. The best of the inhabitants of the earth will reside where Prophet Ibrahim u migrated (around Bayt al-Maqdis)…” (Al-Mustadrak)
Lesson from apartheid
Don’t deny the unjust legacy of racism and how it still impacts the oppressed
There were corrective economic policies like Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment, which insisted on the previously segregated corporate South Africa to hire Black people, and invest in their development.
Even so, South Africa today is still one of the most unequal societies in the world. However, this doesn’t mean that non-racialism doesn’t exist.
“Real non-racialism is anti-racist in nature as it recognises that racist structures must be brought down. In this regard, non-racialism exists,” Hatang says. It’s the kind of non-racialism that’s not colour-blind.
Balton says even though 1994 was an important year in South Africa’s history and fight against racism, the moment was not supposed to end racism.