by Hazrat Thanwi, Rahmatullahi Alaih)

It is observed nowadays that people do not want to make Amr Bil Ma’roof – command righteousness. Leave alone the general public even the Ulama are not interested in this.

Then there are two groups of Ulama; one is the group who are not Mashaaikh.  We won’t say anything about them because the public does not view them with much esteem.

Those who are ‘mashaaikh’, leaders of the times and people hold them in esteem, the most neglect is shown by them. For them merely taking a Tasbeeh and sitting is sufficient to reach Jannat. They are not interested in correcting anyone. In fact, they consider it to be the antithesis of being a Khalifah. If a Khalifah starts telling people what is right and what is wrong he is expelled from the list of Buzrugs and considered a mere Molvi.

Once, I went to Ilahabad to visit my father who was not well. There was a durwaish (dervish) there. My father took me to meet this durwaish.  When he saw me he asked me to explain the meaning of this Aayat: “For every nation We have laid down a way of zabah (slaughtering an animal) which it follows. Therefore, they should not argue with you in this matter.” (Surah Haj, 67)

I translated the Aayat. The Durwaish Saheb said: “See! Allah Ta’ala forbids arguing. So we should not tell people to do this and not to do that. Whoever wants to do anything let him do it; what business do we have with their affairs?”

This was his ‘tafseer’ of the Aayat. At that time I could not recall any specific Tafseer. I responded to him with the obvious words. “Allah Ta’ala says that they should not argue with you; He does not say that you should not dispute with them. In fact, for Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) the injunction is which appears immediately thereafter: ‘And call to the Path of your Rabb for verily you are on (the path of) correct guidance.’

In other words there are two types of people. One: those who are on baatil; they are astray. The second are those who are on Siraatul Mustaqeem. So, Allah Ta’ala states that the Ahl Baatil have no right to dispute with the Ahl Haq. Thus, the gist of the Aayat is that you (O Muhammad) are on Siraatul Mustaqeem. Therefore, you have the right to dispute, that is, call them to the correct way. But they have no right to argue with you.”

I told him: “Here Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is not being instructed not to dispute with them; on the contrary, they (those on the wrong path) are instructed not to dispute with Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam).”

Shah Saheb started gaping and he was dumfounded. My father was also very pleased with my response.

Amr Bil Ma’roof and Not Hurting Anyone

But it is lamentable to see that nowadays the meaning of being a Buzrug is considered to be that one should not say anything to anyone; one should make peace with everyone. They consider this to be saintliness. One should not hurt anyone; one should not trouble anyone. So one should not make Amr Bil Ma’roof!!!

If this is the case then one should not tell a haughty person anything. One should not hurt his feelings and one should let everyone do as they please. General permission should be granted for everyone to do as they please. Then open zina should be tolerated, robbery, murder; everything should be condoned!

If you say that in robbery and murder people are hurt therefore these are prohibited according to the precept of not hurting anyone then it can be argued that zina doesn’t hurt anyone. And if it is contended that the husband or father is hurt, then where a woman does not have a father or any family member and she voluntary submits to this vile act then who is hurt in this case?

In fact, the meaning of not hurting anyone is to wilfully hurt someone. And when someone wishes to correct a wrong or disease as a result of which the other party is hurt, such as a surgeon performing an operation to remove an infected tissue or a dentist extracting a rotten tooth or a father disciplining a delinquent child then these are not considered hurting others.

If not hurting anyone is accepted universally then why restrict it to those that are present. What about hurting the feelings and hearts of people in absentia? Just as ‘hurting’ is given such a wide meaning, give the afflicted person a general application. And when taking a broad meaning for the aggrieved persons then there isn’t a sin which does not hurt someone or the other.

Whose Heart Does the Sinner Hurt?

And don’t think that your sinning does not hurt anyone. Just think over this incident. Mirza Bedal the poet used to compose poems of a Tasawwuf-hue. An Iranian took a liking to his poems. Believing him to be a Buzrug the Iranian came to visit him. When he arrived Mirza Bedal was having the barber shave his face. This infuriated the Iranian and he said angrily: “Hazrat! You’re shaving your beard!?”

The poet (Mirza Bedal) responded: “Yes, I’m shaving my beard; but I’m not shaving (i.e. hurting) anyone’s heart.” The visitor was a sincere person. He stated openly: “What! Aren’t you shaving the heart of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)!?”

A sincere person does not look at expediency. His gaze is on the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala only.

The poet responded according to customary ‘tasawwuf’ and customary social etiquette that he was not hurting the heart of anyone. The Iranian responded: You Zaalim! You are shredding the Greatest of Hearts and claiming that you are not hurting anyone’s heart! In fact, you are hurting the heart of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). Your razor is being stroked over the Blessed Heart of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam). When the actions of his Ummah are presented to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and it is said that one of your Ummati shaves his face, will this not hurt the heart of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)?

Hurting the heart of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is not a trivial matter. His heart is Sayyidul Quloob – the King of all hearts. How can you claim not to be hurting anyone when you are hurting Sayyidul Quloob? You are really hurting someone’s heart.

Hearing this Mirza’s eyes popped out. He gave a scream and fell unconscious. Upon regaining consciousness he made taubah (he repented) and he said either expressly or by implication: “Jazaakallah! You have opened my eyes and united me with my beloved.”

In other words: I was blind. My gaze never fell on this that I was hurting the heart of such a great person. I never ever thought about this. You have shown me my error. May Allah Ta’ala reward you.

Now you must understand from this incident that when you do anything against the Shariah, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) will be hurt or not? Thus it is all nonsense to say that we should not hurt anybody’s feelings by making Amr Bil Ma’roof when they violate the Ahkaam of the Shariah.

The instruction of Amr Bil Ma’roof is clearly stated in the Nusoos (Qur’aan and Sunnah). Abandoning it is reproached. This is what we know for sure. Therefore carry out this instruction.

In short, Amr Bil Ma’roof is absolutely waajib. But we see that people are not interested in it. This is a grave inconsistency.

(Aadaabut Tableegh by Hazrat Thanwi, Rahmatullahi Alaih)