Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Commanding the Right
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل الأمر بالمعروف من علامات المومنين، والأقوياء من الأمة والناصحين، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع
الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
Last week, we talked about the danger of being critical of other Muslims and thinking badly about them on account of a wrong action you find them doing. But that does not mean that you approve of that action or simply leave them to get on with it. No, we as Muslims must hate what Allah hates and love what He loves, and Allah despises wrong action. For example, Allah says among other things,
وَلَا يَرْضَى لِعِبَادِهِ الْكُفْرَ
the translation of which is, “He is not pleased with ingratitude in His slaves.” And,
لَا يُحِبُّ اللَّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ
the translation of which is, “Allah does not like evil words being voiced out loud.” And He says, addressing the believers and describing one of their essential characteristics:
وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمْ الكُفْرَ وَالفُسُوقَ وَالعِصْيَانَ
the translation of which is, “and He has made kufr, deviance and disobedience hateful to you.” We are not a people who when they see wrong action, or see disobedience to Allah, are content to let it continue. No healthy person would be content to let the one they love be abused and dishonoured in front of their eyes. And if they are, then that is a sign that they are dead inside. When Hudhayfah was asked to describe someone who was living and yet dead, he said,
الذي لا ينكر المنكر بيده ولا بلسانه ولا بقلبه
“The one who does not forbid a wrong with either his hand, tongue or heart.” Muslims today, especially in the West, are being asked to integrate and fall in line with the ‘values’ - if one can call them that - of the societies in which they live. We are being asked to remain passive in the face of open disobedience to Allah. But that is not the way of this umma. Allah says,
كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
the translation of which is, “You are the best community ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and have belief in Allah.”. In this aya, Allah describes us as being the best umma ever brought forth on to this earth, but makes that status dependent upon certain characteristics being true of us. And the first of those is that we command to the ma‘ruf and forbid the munkar. Ma‘ruf is what is naturally known to be good and munkar is what is naturally known to be wrong. Muslims are only better than other nations when they actively love with the love of Allah and actively hate with the hate of Allah. They are distressed when there is corruption on the earth, and so work hard to correct it when they see it, and are not prepared to accept it as a part of life and let it pass. No healthy man would stand by and watch his mother or wife being raped in front of his eyes, so how could any Muslim claim to be healthy or living when he feels or does nothing when riba is practiced openly before him? Or when Allah is rejected and others worshipped in His stead? For one who is passive in the face of wrong action is just as much to blame as the one who does it. Aisha narrated that the Prophet said,
عُذِّبَ أهل قرية فيها ثمانيةَ عشرَ ألفاً عملهم عمل الأنبياء قالوا يا رسول الله كيف قال لم يكونوا يغضبون لله ولا يأمرون بالمعروف ولا ينهون عن المنكر
“The people of a village among whom were 18000 people doing the good actions of Prophets were punished.” “How is that, Messenger of Allah?” he was asked. He replied, “Because they did not become angry for the sake of Allah and command the people to the right and forbid them from the wrong.” A person’s good actions avail him naught if he stands by idly while others commit wrong actions about him. And, indeed, that was one of the main reasons for Allah’s curse descending on the Jews and Christians, for the Prophet said,
إن الأحبار من اليهود والرهبان من النصارى لما تركوا الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر لعنهم الله على لسان أنبيائهم ثم عموا بالبلاء
“When the rabbis of the Jews and priests of the Christians abandoned the practice of commanding the good and forbidding the wrong, Allah cursed them on the tongues of their Prophets and they were all tried together.”
They were the doctors of their communities, in charge of keeping them healthy and free from disease, and yet when the disease appeared before them they neglected to treat it or combat it, but instead allowed it take to take a firmer hold over those afflicted and spread further afield. For wrong action is a disease of the heart, and if it is not checked when it is done openly, will spread just as quickly as any contagious disease. Bilal ibn Ya‘d said,
إن المعصية إذا أخفيت لم تضر إلا صاحبها فإذا أعلنت ولم تغير أضرت بالعامة
“When a wrong action is done secretly, it harms no one but the one who does it, but when it is done openly, and is not checked, it harms the community in general.” So the secret to a healthy community is in commanding the right and forbidding the wrong. It is only then that Allah keeps them safe, answers their duas and grants them success. The Prophet said,
يا أيها الناس مروا بالمعروف، وانهوا عن المنكر، قبل أن تدعوا الله فلا يستجيب لكم، وقبل أن تستغفروه فلا يغفر لكم وقبل أن تستنصروه فلا ينصر لكم
“People, command to the right and forbid the wrong before you call on Allah, before you ask His forgiveness and before you seek His aid. Otherwise your duas will not be answered, you will not be forgiven and no aid will come your way.”
There are three degrees of commanding the right and forbidding the wrong, as indicated in the hadith of the Prophet,
من رأى منكم منكرا فليغيره بيده فإن لم يستطع فبلسانه فإن لم يستطع فبقلبه، وذلك أضعف الإيمان
“Anyone who sees a wrong should change it with his hand. If he finds himself unable, then with his tongue, and if he still finds himself unable, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of iman.”
The first stage is that of the people of power among the Muslims - namely, the leaders and their representatives. They are the ones required to physically prevent wrongs from occurring, and when such leadership is in place, then no one else should take on that role, for this is not a deen of vigilantism but rather one where people act through idhn. Al-Qurtubi says in his tafsir,
إن الأمر بالمعروف لا يليق بكل أحد، وإنما يقوم به السلطان إذْ كانت إقامة الحدود إليه، والتعْزيز إلى رأيه، والحبس والإطلاق له، والنفي والتغريب؛ فينصب في كل بلدة رجلا صالحا قويا عالما أمينا ويأمره بذلك،
“It is not appropriate for everyone to engage in commanding the right (with their hand). Rather, the only one who should do it is the Sultan, since he has the power to implement the hadd punishments, to imprison and to exile. So, it is his responsibility to put a strong, knowledgeable, trustworthy man in place in each town and command him to do that on his behalf.” So, the essential task facing the Muslims today is to put such leadership in place. For, it is only when we have leaders that we will be able to change things in society as a whole with our hands.
The second stage of commanding the right is with the tongue. But that must only be done with knowledge and the correct adab, as will be discussed in the second khutba. The most important thing here is not to think that you are doing a disservice to your brother or wronging him by calling him to task for a wrong action he commits, for on the contrary you are doing him a great service. If you truly love him, then that is the only option open to you. Sufyan said,
إذا أمرت بالمعروف شددت ظهر أخيك، وإذا نهيت عن المنكر أرغمت أنف المنافق.
“Whenever you command the right, you strengthen the back of your brother, and whenever you forbid the wrong, you spite the hypocrite.”
The third stage is with the heart, and that is the least that any of us can do. We cannot be content to remain in company of those who openly disobey Allah, and think that a small matter. All that is hateful to Allah must be hateful to us, otherwise we are complicit in their actions. The Prophet said,
من حضر معصية فكرهها فكأنه غاب عنها، ومن غاب عنها فأحبها فكأنه حضرها
“If a wrong action takes place in your presence and you hate it, it is as if you were not present at all. And if it takes place elsewhere and you love it, it is as if you were present when it took place.” And, as a hadith of the Prophet says, you can show your hatred of it by saying to yourself three times,
اللهم إنّ هذا منكر
“O Allah, this is wrong!” So, we ask Allah once again to make us the best of nations by restoring our leaders, and enabling us to command the right and forbid the wrong. And we ask Him to make us love with His love and hate with His hate, and give us the strength to change what needs to be changed in order to restore the Deen in all its glory in this time and place.
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله عز وجل في كتابه الكريم: والمؤمنون والمؤمنات بعضهم أولياء بعض يأمرون بالمعروف وينهون عن المنكر
Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “The men and women of the believers are friends of one another, commanding the right and forbidding the wrong.” As we mentioned in the first khutba, commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is a duty upon every Muslim. But it must be done properly - with both the right adab and the right intention - otherwise its effects can be destructive rather than beneficial.
It must be done solely for the pleasure of Allah and the strengthening of the deen, and not because you want to get one up on your brother or demonstrate your superior knowledge to him.
It must be done with knowledge. You must beware of telling lies against Allah, and, in your limited knowledge, forbidding people from doing things which are merely makruh or about which there are differences of opinion. Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا لَا تُحَرِّمُوا طَيِّبَاتِ مَا أَحَلَّ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ
the translation of which is, “You who have belief! do not make haram the good things Allah has made halal for you” One should not act oneself without knowledge, let alone tell others what or what not to do.
It must be done with rifq - with kindness and gentleness. Allah says,
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ
the translation of which is, “It is a mercy from Allah that you were gentle with them. If you had been rough or hard of heart, they would have scattered from around you.”. We, as Muslims are commanded to be merciful to one another, and avoid rudeness or harsh words, especially when it comes to a subject that might be touchy, for very few people like to be told that what they are doing is wrong. And, moreover, it makes your action more beloved to Allah, for the Prophet said,
إن الله يحب الرفق في الأمر كله
“Allah loves rifq/gentleness in all matters.”
It must be done with hikma - wisdom. You must know when is the best time to go and remind someone, who is the best person to remind him, and what is the best way to go about it. Allah says,
فَذَكِّرِ اِن نَّفَعَتِ الذِّكْرَى
the translation of which is, “Remind, then, if the reminder benefits.” If you know that your reminder will fall on deaf ears, or will push someone away instead of drawing them near, then you must leave it.
This is best exemplified by the story of the desert Arab who came into the mosque and started to urinate in the corner. The people began to shout at him, but the Prophet commanded them to stop, and instead waited till he had finished. Then he commanded that a bucket of water be brought and poured over the spot the man had urinated in. He saw that the best approach for dealing with the man - the one most likely to lead to his guidance - was to treat him with kindness and forgiveness.
It must be done with sabr - you must not get upset if your reminders are ignored, or indeed spat back at your face. You have done your duty to your brother by reminding him. As for his reaction, that is out of your hands.
You must start with yourself - there is no point commanding others to good action, if you are not putting those same things into practice yourself. Allah says,
أتأمرون الناسَ بالبرِّ وتنسوْن أنفُسَكُم
the translation of which is, “Do you order people to birr/devoutness and forget yourselves?”
And it is also necessary that the action for which you take your brother to task is one that you have seen him do openly, and not in the privacy of his own home. Commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is limited to the public domain - what a man does behind closed walls is between him and Allah alone. It is not our place to spy on others and pry into their private affairs.
And finally, that we cover up the faults of our brothers. When we see them doing something wrong, we remind them of the straight path, but at the same time keep what we have seen them do to ourselves. When a man brought someone who had committed a wrong action to the Prophet, the Prophet said,
لو سترته بثوبك كان خيرا لك
“If you had covered him up with your cloak, it would have been better for you.” And on another occasion, he said,
من ستر مسلما ستره الله في الدنيا والآخرة
“If you cover up the faults of a Muslim, Allah will cover up your faults in this world and the Next.”
If you hold to these principles when commanding the good, forbidding the wrong, and reminding people of Allah, then you will have brought benefit to yourself, your Muslim brother and to the community in which you live. So we ask Allah to realise them all in our hearts, increase us in love and compassion for one another, and guide us all back to the sirat al-mustaqim.
إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ.
وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ (3) وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.
رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تَدَعْ فِي مَقَامِنَا هَذَا ذَنْباً إِلاَّ غَفَرْتَهُ، وَلاَ عَيْباً إِلاَّ سَتَرْتَهُ، وَلاَ مَرِيضاً إِلاَّ شَفَيْتَهُ وَعَافَيْتَهُ، وَلاَ مَسْجُوناً إِلاَّ طَلَقْتَ سَرَاحَهُ، وَلاَ مُسَافِراً فِي بَرِّكَ وَبَحْرِكَ إِلاَّ سَلِِمْتَهُ وَغَنِمْتَهُ.
إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.