The concept of ‘amr bil ma’roof wa ’nahy ‘an ‘l-munkar– commanding the good and forbidding evil – which has its roots in the Qur’an as well as the Sunnah and has been expounded in some detail by pious scholars of the past – is one of the most critical aspects of Islam which ensures the spiritual maintenance of the Muslim nation.
The following verse of the Qur’an establishes the obligation,
“You are the best nation produced for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” (3:110)
The following hadith is staple in this regard,
Abu Said (radiyAllah ‘anhu) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: Whoever sees in an evil let him change it with his hand, and if he is unable to then let him change it with his tongue, and if he is unable to then let him reject it with his heart, which is the weakest level of faith” (Imam Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim)
Well over 1400 years of traditional scholarship in Islam has elucidated upon the meanings contained within the above hadith and the various ahadith and verses of the Qur’an pertaining to concept of amr (enjoining) and nahy (forbidding). From these sources the Ulama have extrapolated a framework for discharging this obligation.
The Henry Jackson Society and “ Coercive Enforcement of Sharia”
The Henry Jackson Society recently held a seminar entitled Coercive Enforcement of Sharia in the UK and in Europe: An Assessment, with Dr Lorenzo Vidino, to discuss “Hisba”. He is a former researcher at the American neoconservative think-tank, RAND Corporation, which pedalled the proposal authored by Cheryl Bernard to reform Islam and which formed the basis for many of the policies (including PREVENT) implemented by the UK government (see here). He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich and a policy adviser at the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD). Interestingly, the “experts” which serve at the EFD include the following:
- Irshad Manji – belonging to the Ismaili religion, she authored a book called The Trouble with Islam, claiming herself to be a Mujtahida reformist of Islam. She believes herself to be a “Refusenik”; she refuses “to join an army of automatons in the name of Allah,” which incidentally refers to most Muslims who do not agree with her reformist outlook. She also believes most Muslims regard women as inferior. For a lesbian Mujtahida, the bigoted claims are grand indeed.
- Tehmina Kazi – is the director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, an organisation which previously had anti-Muslim, Ismaili Taj Hargey, Hijab-hater Yasmin Alibhai-Brown who was the director and who is now currently vice chair, and Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, another reformist who believes Islamic laws are outdated.
- Ahmad Mansour – another born-again, “I used to be an Islamist therefore believe me” anti-Islamist, who attributes most of normative Islam to a “Salafist” understanding, believes that those Imams who pay “lip service” to democracy should in essence, not be trusted. Normative Islamic beliefs, according to Mansour, lead to violence:
“This is where the delusion begins. Violence doesn’t only occur when people are ready to kill in the name of religion. Problems in education and marriage also lead to violence, as does propaganda about gender-discrimination, the claim of exclusivity of one’s religion, the declining state of democracy, or the belief of having to save others from a godless life – all represent facets that can incite violence.”