Why believers should enjoin what is good

Updated 09 May 2014
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Why believers should enjoin what is good

Since someone who lives by the moral values of the Qur’an knows the harm that will befall someone who does not, he will feel a responsibility to warn that person and call them to the true path; these warnings and reminders are a moral feature that all believers must exhibit. This important characteristic of Muslims is revealed in the Qur’an in the words “... they enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil.”
Forbidding evil and enjoining what is good is revealed in the Qur’an and is a religious obligation for all Muslims, like regular prayer, fasting and giving alms. Fulfilling this responsibility, which is commanded in numerous verses of the Qur’an, is therefore one of the main characteristics of believers. This is revealed thus in the Qur’an: “The believers, men and women, are allies of one another. They enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil. They observe regular prayers, give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. ...” (Surat At-Tawba, 71)

Believers strive to spread moral virtues
“Enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong” is not only a duty that believers have toward one another: They must also summon people who are ignorant of, or are remote from Islamic moral values to abide by them.
Preaching Qur’anic moral values and calling people to Allah’s path is one of the main duties of all the prophets and believers. However, as revealed in the Qur’an, nobody can be compelled to live by religious moral values. Having faith happens through Allah’s will. Once one has been told the truth and shown the evidence, it is up to one’s conscience whether one believes and a believer who preaches in the most proper way possible has therefore discharged his responsibility. He has no responsibility if the other party refuses to accept it. This is revealed in the verses as follows: “Therefore give admonition, for you are one to admonish. You are not one to manage (men’s) affairs.” (Surat Al-Ghashiyya, 21-22)
Let us be clear that preaching Qur’anic moral values or giving advice does not mean coming between Allah and His servant. On the contrary, preaching is a duty commanded by Allah, and must be done so all people can learn about Islamic moral values. What everyone who says he is not happy with the oppression and injustice in the world must do is to remind people of the existence of Allah and the Day of Reckoning, and to call on them to live by Qur’anic moral values.

Spreading Islamic moral values requires unity
Societies that do not live by Qur’anic moral values are looking for a way out of their difficulties; they are waiting for a guide to bring world peace and justice. That guidance is a responsibility for people who live by Islamic moral values and must be discharged by all Muslims with that in mind. As a result of the preaching of Islamic moral values by Muslims of different races and communities and languages across the world, the number of Muslims is rising by the day; mankind has begun turning to the truth. In such a climate, every hardworking believer in the service of Islam is exceedingly valuable. Appreciating the services of Muslims who strive to spread Islamic values as demanded by those values and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and the further enlargement of that service, requires all of us to work together. That is because Allah commands believers to be united and as one. Our Lord describes in the Qur’an the dark environment that will emerge if believers fail to produce this union and solidarity:
“The unbelievers are allies of one another: Unless you do this, (protect each other), there would be tumult and oppression on Earth, and great mischief.” (Surat an-Anfal, 73)
Telling people who are removed from Qur’anic values about Islam is an important religious observance. Preaching religious values and calling people to Allah’s path was one of the main features of all the prophets and their followers. The Qur’an shows that the prophets spent their lives fulfilling this honorable duty and never wearied of calling people to the true path. The Prophet Noah’s (AS) words are related in the verses as follows: “He said: ‘O my Lord! I have called to my people night and day: But my call only increases (their) flight (from the Right). And every time I have called to them, that You might forgive them, they have (only) thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, grown obstinate, and given themselves up to arrogance. So I have called to them aloud; further I have spoken to them in public and secretly in private.’” (Surah Nuh, 5-9) Every Muslim must exhibit patience and determination in his preaching by living by the superior virtues of the prophets. Allah tells us that in reward for such determined and sincere endeavors, He will bring about the global reign of Islamic moral values: “Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and do righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion — the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: They will worship Me (alone) and not associate anything with Me. If any reject faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.” (Surat an-Nur, 55)

- The writer has authored 300 books, translated into 73 languages on politics, religion and science.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
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The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.