In this lesson, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, gives an overview of select verses from the Quran that correspond with the chapter on commanding the good from Imam Al-Ghazali’s Ihya. The lesson will overview the verse 104 from Chapter 3 of the Quran that encompasses all that one needs to know about commanding the good.
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful. [Quran, 3:104]
These verses explain the common principles that underlie commanding the good for any person. First, it identifies commanding good as a communal obligation that must be undertaken by some from within that community. Second, some from within the community who are able to and have the knowledge should be dedicated to this duty, while others are required to engage in it based on circumstances and if they have have the know how. Thirdly, the basis for calling to good is calling people to that which is known to be virtuous, bringing people closer to all that is good for them. This must come from a place of sincere concern for the person and the community. Fourthly, there is a social responsibility embedded in each person’s personal responsibility to enjoin the good.
Shaykh Faraz reminds us that the religion itself revolves around sincere concern and that entails wanting good for others as you would for want for yourself. That is why a subset of the community is required to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. The way to forbidding the evil applies only to matters that are prohibited. Thus one should only command the good when it is required and when one knows that it will bring upon benefit. The way to do so, is through having sincere concern, mercy and being positive in the way you deliver your messaging throughout. Imam al-Shafi’i advises that giving council should be done in private so as to not humiliate people and is likely to get them to listen more and act upon the council. Shaykh Faraz concludes with advising those enjoining the good do so with mercy, wisdom, and sincere concern.
In this series Shaykh Faraz, and the other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Quran. The series will follow the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya, so that we experience a renewal by The Book.
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