Allah Taa'la states in the Quran: “Those of the children of Israel who went astray were cursed by the Tongue of David and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they rebelled and used to transgress. They restrained not one another from the wickedness they did, verily, evil was what they used to do.”
The reason for this verse being revealed is that the Scholars and the learned people of Bani Israeel would stop and prevent the people from committing sins and evil deeds. They would preach their religion on a constant basis and would warn their people from the punishment in the hereafter.
But as time passed and the number of irreligious and corrupted people exceeded and they declined to follow the religious principles and its constitutions, the Scholars also took part in their way: They would eat, sleep and drink in a manner in which the disbelievers would. They did not exhibit any displeasure, hatred and did not condemn their actions.
Instead, they intermingled with the irreligious people and due to this; Allah Taa'la cursed this nation and deprived them from many bounties.
The Prophet of Allah Taa'la says: “Whoever among you witnesses a bad thing, it is necessary for him to bring that to a halt with his hands, and if he does not have the potential for that; then he should stop him through his tongue, And if he does not have the ability to stop that with his tongue, then by his heart; he should think bad of this sin and that is the lowest level of Iman.”
The Prophet has categorised a man's capabilities of preventing evil into three stages. The manner to prevent a person from indulging into a sin is to express your hatred for his evil actions for the sake of Allah Taa'la. Then the Scholars of Islam elaborate on this category and explain that you should prevent the sinner verily with a soft tone and if he takes heed and leaves the sin then it is not permissible for you to prevent him from this sin in a harsh and tyrannical way, but only when he declines to stop from his evil actions. Then if the person is still not prepared to execute your order then you are permitted to prevent him physically on the basis of the above Hadith.
Then the Scholars (Ulamah) again elaborate this category by explaining that hands should only be used according to the necessity, for example, if one slap is sufficient enough to prevent him from committing a sin, then it is not permissible for you to slap him twice. Basically, it is against the dignity and honour of a Muslim to tolerate someone who commits sins.
The last portion of the above Hadith indicates that if the person is totally helpless, then he should suppose that if he had the authority and the ability to prevent a sinner, then he would have, and in the future, if he gains the ability to prevent the sinner, then most definitely he will.
The importance and essence is also proven in the Surah Wal “Asr” in the 30 th Chapter of the Holy Quran. Its translation is: “By the time through the ages! Surely Mankind is in loss, except those who believe and do good deeds; exhort one another to the truth and exhort one another to patience.”
From this Surah, four significant points are obtained:
(1) To have the correct beliefs, i.e. all of your beliefs should correspond to the teachings of Rasulullah ; even if ones beliefs oppose and contradict the teachings of Rasulullah then he will not be safeguarded from the Fire of Hell.
(2) To do good deeds; this does not necessarily mean to lengthen your Salah or to keep Fast on a regular basis or to give great quantity of Wealth to Charity or to Perform Numerous Pilgrimages. The whole purpose of performing good deeds is so that one can prevent himself from committing sins.
(3) Encourage others to the truth i.e. to Preach to one another the right beliefs.
(4) Encourage others to have patience i.e. to have patience at such a time when your heart instigates you to do evil and to resist the temptation of your worldly desires
At the same time, the importance of Ilm (Knowledge of your religion) and Zikr (Remembrance of Allah Taa'la) shall not be forgotten. In fact, whilst giving the Dawah and preaching the Deen, special attention should be given towards ilm and Zikr; because knowledge without Zikr is darkness and Zikr without knowledge is dangerous (Allah Taa'la Forbid)
Once Hadhrat Moulana Ilyas Rahmatullahi Alayhi in his late age called one of his special attendants with concern to convey this advice to a huge gathering, which had taken part in the work of Dawah after Fajr in Nizaamuddin: All your effort and struggle will become useless if you people do not continue learning and making Zikr with consistency. It is as though Ilm (Knowledge) are two wings without which one cannot soar through the atmosphere.
In the Quran, Allah Taa'la orders his slaves to forbid others from doing bad as well as inviting them towards good deeds. Whilst acting upon this, one should take into consideration that preventing and forbidding others from evil deeds is maybe slightly harder and difficult than inviting people towards good. For instance, if you were to prevent someone from keeping a television or from taking intoxicants, the prospects are that he may dislike you, offend you, and maybe even go on to become your enemy as we learn by looking back at history, whereas if you ordered someone to perform Salah, he might take your advice or forget, but there is less chance of your friendship being at stake.
This is why Hadhrat Lukmaan Alaihis Salaam advised his son with great wisdom, which Allah Taa'la records in the Quran: “Enjoin on people on all that is good and forbid people from evil and bear with patience whatever befalls you.” This verse explains that to advise people to do good and to prevent others from evil acts, and when you prevent someone from evil, you will face many hardships; people may call you insane, old fashioned, narrow minded etc.
So in the light of the Quran and Ahadith we come to a conclusion: That a person should reject evil internally and externally (Physically) whilst being fully defiant in the face of criticism and fully resistant in the face of temptation and seduction.
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