Are Groups allowed in Islam?

The Ahkam Pertaining to Political Parties in Islam

The following is the transcript of a circle delivered by the Late Sheikh Abul Hassan (May Allah rest his soul), member of Hizb ut Tahrir and Imam of Masjid as-Sahabah in Khartoum, Sudan.

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

The topic that will be addressed today and our discussion this night will be about the Ayah 104 from Surah Al- Imran:

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“Let there arise from you a group (or Groups) who call to al-khair, i.e. Islam, who enjoin the good and forbid the evil and they are the ones who are the successful” (Al-Imran, 3:104)

There are two discussions about this ayah that we want to investigate. The first discussion is that we must understand this ayah as a Tafsir i.e. how we can interpret this ayah. And the second discussion is about the tashree‘, how do we legislate from this ayah and derive ahkams from this ayah.

Many of our brothers and sisters and many Muslims get confused about Tafsir and Tashree’. We find many of our brothers who study books of Tafsir, try to derive ahkam from it, especially from those mufassireen who are also mujthahideen. Because of that we find within some Tafsir there are some ahkam that they have derived.

The Tafsir is the meaning of only the ayah, whereas the tashree’, ijtihad, is the opinion of the mufasireen because he has some opinions and some ahkam which he has derived from the text. The text of the Quran is what we call Tafsir and the text of the ahadith is what we call sharh. These terms are used by the fuqaha’ and the ulema; Tafsir regarding the meaning of Quran and sharh regarding the meaning of the ahadith of Rasoolullah صلى الله عليه وسلم. These are the meanings of the words whereas tashree’ means to derive rules from the text.

So what is the necessity of Tafsir? Anyone who wants to make ijtihad and derive ahkam must know the Tafsir of the ayah, because the tashree’ is built on the Tafsir. But although we must be aware of the Tafsir and the opinion of the mufassir, we must not get confused and take the mujthahid’s ijtihad as Tafsir, we must only take the meaning of the Tafsir if we want to make new ijtihad or we can adopt the ahkam already made, the ijtihad of the mujthahid.

So firstly we come to the study of the ayah, the Tafsir:

The word Waltakun(m);


The first letter in this ayah is the ‘waw’. The ‘waw al ‘atf’ و . The connection letter. This letter shows that this ayah has been connected to many of the ayat before. So what are the ayat that come before this ayah? To understand this connection we must know the ayat before this ayah.

Allah is speaking to the believers and the rest of the ayahs also follow this pattern of addressing the believers.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوَاْ إِن تُطِيعُواْ فَرِيقًا مِّنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ يَرُدُّوكُم بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ كَافِرِينَ


“O you who believe! If you obey a party of those who have received the Scripture they will make you disbelievers after your belief” (TMQ 3:100)

It continues and says;

وَكَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ وَأَنتُمْ تُتْلَى عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتُ اللّهِ وَفِيكُمْ رَسُولُهُ وَمَن يَعْتَصِم بِاللّهِ فَقَدْ هُدِيَ إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ


“How can you disbelieve, when Allah’s revelations are recited unto you, and His messenger is in your midst? He who holds fast to Allah, he indeed is guided unto a right path”.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى is saying to the believers you will not become like them since the Qur’an and the Ahadith (i.e. the words and statements of the Prophet) are between you. What does this mean? Not between you in the libraries, not in your homes, but it means that it is in between your actions and you are practising this Qur’an and Sunnah and you are acting according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. Then;

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ


“O you, who believe, observe your duty to Allah with right observance, and do not die except as those who have surrendered (i.e. as Muslims).” (TMQ 3:102)

This ayah is similar to the ayah where Allah says to the Messenger;

وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ


“And worship Allah until the certainty arrives (i.e. death)”. (TMQ 15:99)

Here the certainty means death. So worship Allah سبحانه وتعالى, make Ibadat to Allah سبحانه وتعالى, and seek forgiveness of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and the right Taqwa to Allah سبحانه وتعالى until the death.

Then Allah says:

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

“And hold fast, all of you together, to the rope of Allah”

which means Islam, the Quran and Sunnah

“And do not separate. And remember Allah’s favour unto you: how ye were enemies and He made friendship between your hearts,”

how in the past you used to be enemies, each one fighting one another as one of their tribe members said, “sometimes when we had no one to fight and kill, we used to go to our cousins and kill them.”

“So that you became as brothers by His grace,”

In the Hijra the Ansar gave the Muhajireen their wealth and even their wives out of brotherhood.

“And (how) you were upon the brink of an abyss of fire (i.e. hell fire), and He did save you from it. Thus Allah makes clear His revelations unto you, that you may be guided”.

This is the way Allah describes his guidance to you so that you may be guided by this guidance.

All of these ayahs come before the ayah and they talk about not being the disbelievers, not following the disbelievers, obeying Allah سبحانه وتعالى, making Taqwa to Allah سبحانه وتعالى, you must be brothers and have brotherhood and be unified and all of these things in Islam are all Fara’id. All of these are obligations.

Then the ayah comes:

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

So the و here is a connection between all of these ayats which are obligations. Thus we must remember this point insha’allah when we come to understand the Tashree’.

So now we come to the word:


The ل here is the Lam of ‘Amr’, of command. This is a letter which by Allah سبحانه وتعالى shows that he wants us to do that specific thing. The word ‘waltakun’ is a فعلwhich means verb, so this now becomes a ‘fi’ il amr‘-an order from Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

Then next comes:


This word has two meanings.

1) The 1st meaning is that it could mean some of you, known as ‘Tab’eed’

2) It can also mean to be ‘jins’ which describes the type or as we know it in English as ‘from’. You can say that ‘give me your son and I will make from him a good fighter’. So from him there will be a good fighter not just part of him will be a good fighter and the other part will not be a good fighter. The ‘from’ is used to describe the whole. ‘From him’ this meaning is known as ‘bayan al-Jins’. So all of him will be a good fighter and this is another possible meaning.

So Allah سبحانه وتعالى is saying either the whole Ummah must be what proceeds next or that part of the Ummah has to do what will proceed next. This is known as ‘Li ‘l-tab’eed aw bayan al-Jins‘. These are the two possible meanings and we must remember these two points insha’Allah when we come to the Tashree’.

So next comes:

And ‘kum’ here is a ضمير known as a pronoun, so to whom does it return? It returns to ‘O you who Believe’ as all of the previous ayats are connected and as mentioned before refer to the believers, YOU MUSLIMS. Thus also in the Tashree’ we must remember this point.

Next comes:

A group (or groups) who:

يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ

Calls to the khair, and in this case the khair which is ‘good’ refers to Islam. They also need to achieve:

وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Thus they will become successful;

وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

‘Muflihoon’ the correct meaning here is successful. If you now go to any Tafsir book and see this explanation this means this is the Tafsir. If you see anything in between, this means it is the Tashree’ and the Mufassir’s individual opinion, (the ijtihad of the mufassireen) so beware of that distinction. Now if we go to all of the Tafsir books, of Imam Qurtubi, of Imam Ibn Jarir at Tabari, Ibn Kathir, and all of the other books we will find this Tafsir, but in between you will find many differences in Tashree’.

When we come to the Tashree’, we ask ourselves now how we can derive ahkam (rules) from this. Nowadays it has become very difficult for the Muslims to derive ahkam from the ayat. In the past it was very easy. We find that in Medina the Arabs from the Bedouins, who were not educated, whenever they needed a hukm (rule) to act and practise Islam, they came to Madinah were the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was and they met the people in the markets and the shops and would give salaams and would ask the Muslims I have these issues what should I do. He didn’t ask who are you? “Is this Abu Bakr or Umar”, because Islam was practically implemented there and everyone had the ability to derive ahkam because they had knowledge of the ahkam (Quran and Sunnah) and the Arabic language. Whatever was required to make ijtihad they had the tools. Nowadays we have brothers who have many a weird and wonderful degrees and PhD’s but they fail to even derive the simplest of hukm from Islam.

Why has this legislating mentality been removed from the Ummah? Because Islam is not there in reality and the Ummah is not implementing Islam. Thus we find it very difficult as implementing legislation is not our reality as the Khilafah does not exist anymore.

So now when we try to derive Tashree’ from this ayah we go to the Tafsir (the meaning of the Arabic language). The above analysis was the basic understanding of the Arabic language and if we know any ahadith regarding the topic we bring them forth as well.

To begin with the و this is the first indication (qareenah) within the text, yet it is not a definite qareenah but it is still a qareenah. By other qaraa‘in (indications) we will know the hukm. What does a qareenah mean, it means is there an order from Allah and it may be fard (obligatory), if you do it you will get a reward and if you do not do it you will be sinful. Or it may be mandoob/mustahab/naafilah (recommended), meaning if you do it you will get reward but if you abstain there will be no sin. Or it may just be Mubah (Permissable).

For e.g. Allah says:

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ

“And establish the prayer” (TMQ 24:56)

This is ‘amr’ a command; if someone prays he will get rewarded if he abstains he will be sinful and punished. However the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ordered us to pray 2 rakahs before Fajr and after Maghrib, but this is Sunnah.

Also when Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُواْ

“But when you have left the sacred territory, then go hunting (if you wish)”(TMQ 5:2)

It is haram for the Hajji to go hunting while at Hajj. However if he finishes the ‘manasik’ he may go out hunting as the ayah commands but this is Mubah, not Fard or Mandoob. The order from Allah سبحانه وتعالى the order from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم maybe Fard, Mandoob, Mubah etc.

So going back to the و because it is connected to all the ayats, and they are talking about the top Fara’id in Islam such as staying away from the hell fire, unity, not following the disbelievers, holding on to Islam etc, it becomes connected to them and becomes an indication of Fard just like those things it has been linked with.

As mentioned before the ل here is the Lam of ‘Amr’, of command. This is a letter which by Allah سبحانه وتعالى shows that he wants us to do that specific thing, and this shows that it is also Fard.

We mentioned that the مِّن has two possible meanings in the Arabic language. So which meaning will we use? Is it for our desires or something emotional? No! We must try to understand the text and see which meaning it befits. For the whole Ummah to take on this job of calling to the khair and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, it will be impossible. Because firstly the whole Ummah will never be under the banner of one understanding and one group but more importantly many members of the Ummah are not capable of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. Some people are jahill (ignorant) of the rules of Islam and some people are mentally not qualified of enjoining the good as well as many other excuses for an individual to be excused. Thus here we take the meaning of ‘li ‘l-Tab’eed’, ‘part of you’ within this context.

Thus next we deal with the pronoun كُمۡ which means you, meaning you believers. That means it is haram for it to be from the non-believers, in terms of its membership it cannot be for the kafireen, it must solely be for the Muslims based on the Islamic aqeedah. Thus same again with the word أُمَّةٌ۬ it has to be from the Ummah, not based on nationalism, like many organisations we see today they have Islamic names but have non-Muslims as members or un-Islamic policies based on haram, this is haram in Islam.

Thus the word Ummah أُمَّةٌ۬ has been used, is it possible for us to use any other words? Does it have to be the word Ummah as the name of the organisation for e.g. Ummah Islamiyyah? Can we use words such as ‘hizb’ or ‘Jama’a’ or ‘kutla’ or ‘firqah’ instead of Ummah? Or is it haram to deviate from this. The word ‘Ummah’ is it using the shar’ee meaning?

The shar’ee meaning is when Allah سبحانه وتعالى gives a specific meaning to a word commonly used by the Arabs. For e.g. ‘salah’ in the Arabic terminology means just the du’a, but when we pray Maghrib we call it salah, although it contains many other meanings. Other examples are of jihad, zakat etc then these should not be changed as it is haram. However if it is just a linguistic meaning then there are no problems in changing the words. Thus here the linguistic word is being used so it is not a problem calling the group a Jama’ah. Nowadays if you call yourself a Jama’ah there seems to be no problems and same with kutla, but if you use the word ‘HIZB’ you will face many problems. Many people will ask how can you call yourself a hizb? Many people do not like this idea here it is to suffice to mention the ayah of Quran where Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

“but it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows, you know not”.(TMQ 2:216)

Going back to the discussion Allah uses the word ‘hizb’ حزب in the Quran when Allah سبحانه وتعالى describes the Prophet and the shahaba as:

أُوْلَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“They are Allah’s party. Lo! Is it not Allah’s party who are the successful?” (TMQ 58:22)

The word hizb, Allah سبحانه وتعالى has not forbidden us from using it. The word hizb has two meanings. The linguistic meaning means the group of the man, so an army or a tribe can also be called a hizb. Then there is a more political meaning which means that these people they are in one group, convinced by the same ideas and concepts and they want to practise this and implement this in society.

So this group must now:

يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ

They must call to Islam. So before Allah addressed the members saying be Muslim and now Allah سبحانه وتعالى is saying call to its concepts. Thus their members must be Muslims and their call has to be Islamic. We understand from this that it is haram for this party to have non Muslims or be built on an un-Islamic call, such as Socialist Party, Communist Party, Democratic Party, Capitalist Party they are all haram.

وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

But more specifically they must enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Now we know that Allah سبحانه وتعالى has said that the party must call to Islam and here more specifically to enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Yet, we know that Islam contains enjoining the good and forbidding the evil and it is part of Islam so why is it specifically mentioned?

Here ‘al Khair’ الخير is general (aam), and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is specific (khaas). So why has Allah سبحانه وتعالى mentioned a specific order after a general order? The scholars say that “if something ‘khaas’ is mentioned after something ‘aam’ and it is connected to it, it means the ‘khaas’ has an additional meaning. Such as when Allah says:

مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّلّهِ وَمَلآئِكَتِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَجِبْرِيلَ وَمِيكَالَ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ عَدُوٌّ لِّلْكَافِرِينَ

“Who is an enemy to Allah, and His angels and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael! Then, lo! Allah (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers”. (TMQ 2:98)

Here Allah سبحانه وتعالى is saying that whosoever takes Allah’s messengers and angels and Jibreel and Mikael as enemies Allah سبحانه وتعالى will be an enemy to them. But Jibreel and Mikael are from the angels so why are they specifically mentioned. Here Allah سبحانه وتعالى is specifically addressing the Jews who used to claim that they are the saved people but they used to vehemently hate the angels Jibreel and Mikael specifically. Here there are two meanings the scholars mentioned that Allah سبحانه وتعالى is specifically mentioning them to give them honour (i.e. the two angels) or because the Jews specifically hated Jibreel as they believed he betrayed Allah سبحانه وتعالى and made a mistake by giving the messengership to the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and not to a Jew (may Allah curse them).

We see that if something specific is mentioned after something general it has an additional meaning. So going back to the ayah, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, what is the additional meaning here. First meaning to be added here is that enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is one of the most important acts of Islam, because Allah سبحانه وتعالى mentioned straight after Islam (al Khair) and is like the previous example giving it honour. The second meaning here is what is the meaning of ‘enjoining’ and ‘forbidding’ within the context of the ‘Lisan al-Arab’ (Dictionary of the Arabic Language) and the classical Arabic dictionaries (Al-Fayrooz Abadi in al -Qamoos al-Muhit and in Lisan al-Arab ofibni Manzoor), they refer to ‘ordering’ people and ‘enjoining’ and ‘forbidding’ as سياسة ‘siyasah’ (politics). Telling people what to do and making them abstain from certain actions is politics.

So when Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

He is telling us to call to Islam in a political way and this is the additional meaning conveyed to us by the use of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. This is a way in which we can call towards Islam.

So what is the meaning of the political way? We can either carry Islam in a political way or a non political way. We can forbid the evil when we find the people not practising salah, we can order them ‘dear brother you have to practise salah and salah is fard etc’. If you find someone lying you will say ‘you must not lie this is haram’. As the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“When a man lies, the angel moves a mile from him because of the bad odour of what he has produced”, (Narrated by Abdullah ibn ‘Umar)

If you find the people doing something haram you forbid them, if you see the people not fulfilling the fara’id you order them, but what about the society, the government, and the ruler? If we find the King of Saudi Arabia is doing something haram we stay quiet and remain silent. But when you find the Ummah and the ordinary people doing something haram you forbid the evil. In this case you are still calling to Islam no one can deny that, but you are not doing it in a political way. This means that you are speaking about the people and leaving out the rulers, and this will not change the society. This will not solve the problem.

Al-Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal said:

“If I know that Allah سبحانه وتعالى will accept one dawah from me, I will make this dawah not for the mujahideen, who are fighting and carrying Islam to the Kafireen and defending the Ummah, neither for the poor people, or for the mothers, or the children, or for the ill people but for the rulers”.

If the rulers are good Allah willing the people will be good, like at the time of Umar ibn al Khattab. A man came up to Ali Ibn Ali Talib (RA) and said why is it that at the time of Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA) the Khilafah was so good and peaceful. Ali (RA) replied “because at their time they had people like me who obeyed them and I have people like you who obey me”. Ali (RA) still carried his people and implemented Islam on them and punished those people who rebelled against the state. This is what we mean by a political way and this is the additional meaning.

وأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“And those people will be the successful”.

The word ‘those’ اؤلئك returns to the Ummah and the ‘falah’ فلاح includes in the dunya (World) and in the Hereafter. So he will have a good life here, Allah willing and in the day of judgement Allah سبحانه وتعالى will reward him and give him Jannah.

Now this hukm from a general onset is ‘fard Kifayah’ (Obligation of Sufficiency). Imam Ibn Kathir, and Imam Al Qurtubi, and Imam Al Ghazali in his book ‘al Mustasfa’, and Ibn Hazm in his book ‘Al Ihkam fi Usul ul-Ahkam’, and Imam Jarir At Tabari, they all made ijtihad and said this fard for the Ummah is ‘Fard Kifayah’ originally and only needs to be fulfilled collectively.

So how do we realise that this is an obligation. The first qareenah (indication) was theو, although it in itself is not decisive, because it links to other ayat of obligations it acts as an indication of Fard. Also Allah سبحانه وتعالى in the same ayah tells us to call to Islam which is Fard. Similarly it mentions enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, and we know this is fard because Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

 “And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong.” (TMQ 9:71)

Also Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

لُعِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَلَى لِسَانِ دَاوُودَ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ ذَلِكَ بِمَا عَصَوا وَّكَانُواْ يَعْتَدُونَ (78) كَانُواْ لاَ يَتَنَاهَوْنَ عَن مُّنكَرٍ فَعَلُوهُ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُواْ يَفْعَلُونَ

“Those of the Children of Israel who went astray were cursed by the tongue of David, and of Jesus, son of Mary. That was because they rebelled and used to transgress. (78) They restrained not one another from the wickedness they did. Verily evil was that they used to do!” (TMQ 5:78-79)

So here the disbelievers from the previous generations have been cursed because they did not enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and it is haram for the Muslims to copy or imitate the Jews and the Christians, which also indicates that this is fard.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said:

لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ، وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ أَوْ لَيُسَلِّطَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ شِرَارَكُمْ ، فَلَيَسُومُنَكُمْ سُوءَ الْعَذَابِ ، ثُمَّ يَدْعُو خِيَارُكُمْ فَلا يُسْتَجَابُ لَهُمْ ، لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ، وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ ، أَوْ لَيَبْعَثَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ مَنْ لا يَرْحَمُ صَغِيرَكُمْ ، وَلا يُوَقِّرُ كَبِيرَكُمْ

“You will (must) enjoin the good, and you will (must) forbid the evil, or Allah will make sovereign over you the worst of you, who will afflict you with the worst of punishment, then the best of you will make Du’a and it will not be answered”. “You will (must) enjoin the good, and you will (must) forbid the evil, or Allah will send against you those who will have no mercy to your young and no respect for your elderly”. (Ibn al-Qayyim).

Thus after establishing that enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is fard, and this is an action directly linked in the ayah to the group it means to have that group is also fard. The final qareenah in this ayah is that it is linked to success ‘muflihoon’, showing that whosoever does it achieves it while the others do not. These are the Karinah showing the fard nature of this ayah.

Furthermore we know from a usul principle that whatever leads to an obligation is in itself an obligation (Ma la yatimm al- wajibu illa bihi fa-huwa wajib)

So the biggest munkar (evil) for this Ummah currently is that the Muslim rulers are ruling by kufr, this is the biggest munkar. The spreading of this kufr and capitalism is everywhere, so this is the biggest munkar. So the biggest ma’roof (good) is that Islam must dominate all other deens/ way of life’s and must replace this kuffr in this world and every kafir must come to Islam, either he becomes Muslim or pays the Jizya and becomes ruled by Islam. This is the biggest ma’roof so how can we achieve this? We cannot have this unless we have a state implementing Islam. Thus we cannot have the Khilafah or re-establish it unless we have political activities and have a political party.

So these are the indications that this is FARD, and a collective fard, because the ayah says:

“Let there be from the Ummah a group”.

Now someone may say is it allowed to have more than one group in Islam, is it haram to have more than one group, and have two groups etc?

Well if this ayah was restricted to one group Allah سبحانه وتعالى did not mention this in the ayah, otherwise the word ‘wahida’ واحدة ‘one’ would have been mentioned after the word ‘Ummah’ indicating let their arise from you one group. This concept in usul is called ‘al-Mafhoom’ and falls under the category of ‘al-mafhoom Al-‘Adad’ (the sense of number). So because the ayah does not say let there arise from you one group, and has been kept general with the single use of the word Ummah it is allowed to have more than one group and also this is a collective obligation.

So when we now mention that this is a collective obligation (fard kifayah) what is the difference between it and the individual obligation (fard ayn)?

Here is a quote from Imam Al Ghazali’s book ‘al-Mustasfa’ where he says:

The difference between the individual obligation and the collective obligation is how to do it and the removal of the sin. Both of these are similar in shar’ee (legislative) meaning that they are fard on all of the Muslims whether it is kifayah or ‘ayn, however the individual obligation is on all of the Muslims, and the collective obligation is on a group of the Muslims and this is only a ‘hukmi’ (ruling) difference.

Thus an individual obligation is on every single Muslim and when he fulfils the action the sin will be removed from him. However if there are some members of the community who do not do it they will not be relieved of the sin, for e.g. Salah. However the collective obligation is still a fard on all the Muslims, if however they manage to achieve this obligation then they relieve themselves of the sin and they will only get the reward;

أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

“And they are the successful”.

But they will as well rid the the whole community of Muslims of the obligation.

Now there seems to be a misunderstanding of the terminology ‘fard kifayah’. A lot of Muslims say “well if its fard kifayah you go and do it and I will get along with my business.” The Fard Kifayah is a FARD, however these are ‘hukmi’ differences. These obligations are Fard on all the Muslims, however with the kifayah if Alhamdulillah some people achieve it then it is fulfilled. However up to that time until it is ACHIEVED every Muslim has to participate in that kifayah duty, like establishing Khilafah (the Islamic State) and the sin will remain on them just like the one who does not pray until he prays. Now it is fard upon the whole Ummah to re-establish the Khilafah till it is established otherwise all of the Ummah will be sinful except for those who are working for the re-establishment of the Khilafah. Thus all of the collective obligations such as Janaza (burial) prayers/ghusul and Jihad are fard and follow the similar pattern of hukm.

The Muslims nowadays ignore the word ‘Fard’ and go to the second word ‘kifayah’ straight away. But here Fard means if you do it you have the reward and are not sinful and if you do not do it then you are sinful. However is some of the people achieve this then the sin will be removed from your neck. This is the same thing that Ibni Badran mentions in his book as well as in ‘Rawdat al-Nazir waJunnat al-Munazir’ by Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi. This is the most important thing that we have to notice about this.

So this is how ahkam are derived from the ayats and we must understand our ahkam this way, how these ahkams have been derived to be muqallid muttabi’, and not muqallid ‘aami (blind follower). The blind follower all he does is ask about a hukm (rule) and follows it. For e.g. he will ask is this halal or haram and just follow it, without asking for the evidences and how the ruling was derived. We must be one step ahead and better than this and be a muqallid muttabi ‘and know the evidences and find out how the rules were derived from the elaborated evidences. Insha’Allah we should not stop there and study even more so that we can be mujthahideen so that we know all the evidences and rules so that we can derive our own rules from the evidences from the kitab and sunnah.

Jazakallahu Khairan, all praise and worship belongs to Allah, the Lord of the heavens and the earth.


1) Is it possible for you to clarify what entails calling to the khair, what it may differ from enjoining the good and forbidding the evil?

A: There were misunderstandings about this part, the first misunderstanding that arose is that the Muslims thought that enjoining the good and forbidding the evil was only for the Muslims and for the Muslim lands. Also calling to the khair i.e. Islam was only for kafireen not for the Muslims. Calling to khair is for both Muslim and Non-Muslim. For the non-Muslim we call them to Islam and for the Muslims to practise Islam. This is calling to the khair. So if we find non-Muslims we give them dawah and invite them to become Muslim, whether he is your colleague, friend or neighbour. We tell them to believe in Allah, the Prophets, the Angels etc… Now for the Muslims we call them to khair by telling them to make their Islamic aqeedah the basis for their concepts and the halal and haram a measurement for their actions. Secondly enjoining good and forbidding evil everywhere, like the Prophet SAW did in Makkah when he invited people to Islam as well as enjoined the good and forbade the evil as well as expose the badness of Quraish.

When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم recited the ayah to Abu Talib:

“Lo! Allah enjoineth justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbiddeth lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorteth you in order that ye may take heed”. (TMQ 16:90)

Abu Talib when he heard this he said “O Quraish, this religion is for you”, so we need to continue in a similar manner by enjoining good and forbidding evil on everyone.

2) Some Muslims say that the qareenah in this ayah is the part where the ‘success’ is mentioned whereas other Muslims say that ‘enjoining the good and forbidding the evil’ is the qareenah with respect to the related evidences that each of these qareenah have. Is it possible for you to clarify this issue?

A: All of these are qaraa’in. Sometimes you will only find one qareenah in an ayah, but usually there must be two qaraa’in to show that it is fard; one to show the reward that you will get and the second to illustrate the sin at hand if avoided, and if there is one it merely shows the reward present in that act. This is also similar with the criteria for haram. However sometimes you will find more than two qaraa’in within a ayah, these will either be based on the principle that whatever leads to an obligation is an obligation or will be indefinite qareenah which will be general until it is specified by other text. So in this ayah all of these are karaa’in and represent the fard nature of the ayah.

3) You mentioned that the word ‘min’-from has two meanings within the Arabic language and you have shown that we take the ‘li’l-Tab’eed’ meaning ‘some of you’. Could you give us a further elaboration as you mentioned as evidence to this that not everyone can physically do it, i.e. the enjoining of the good and the forbidding of the evil. However Salah is an obligation on the whole Ummah yet the Shara’ has given exception to those people who cannot fulfil it, couldn’t it not be the same case for this obligation where there is an ‘istitaa’a’ capability leeway. Thus this would hinder this meaning and make us adopt the second usage of the term ‘min’ and mean that the whole Ummah has to do it.

You mentioned that could it follow the example of the salah, that it is an obligation on everyone but there are exceptions for those who are not able to do it. The first thing to note is that salah is an individual obligation (ayn) whereas this ayah is communal (kifayah). So when we follow the order of the ayah it says ‘Let their arise from you a group’ and this has the possibility of two meanings of ‘li ‘l-tab’eed’ or ‘bayan al-jins’. When we refer to other ayahs talking about enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, we say they are ‘ayn’ in general. Such as;

“You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind. You enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and you believe in Allah”. (TMQ 3:110)


وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاء بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

And the hadith of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

“Whosoever sees a Munkar (an evil or wrong) let him change it by his hand, if he could not let it be by his tongue. If he could not let it be by his heart, and this is the weakest of Iman”. [Muslim]

Thus here ‘sees’ means doesn’t necessarily mean to literally see it means ‘whosoever has knowledge of it’. However in the context of this ayah because it is calling for people to arise from amongst you and this is the biggest indication. Some of the scholars of Tafsir have said that it is ‘bayan al-jins’ but we say that they were wrong in its understanding and we take the meaning of ‘li’l-tab’ieed’ and it expresses the correct understanding of kifayah.

4) In this ayah it mentions calling to khair as calling to Islam, is it possible for people to call to only one ahkam of Islam or part of it and restrict yourself to that, can that fall under this ayah and its context.

A: this is a very important question, we must first realise that this ayah when it mentions calling to khair, as well as enjoining good and forbidding evil, it doesn’t specify what khair, what good or what bad. Thus the scholars of Tafsir have mentioned since it has been left unrestricted (mutlaq) and general (amm) then it means to call to all khair, all good and forbid all bad. It doesn’t say forbid those who do not pray, those that divide the Ummah or those who do not fast it is calling for all bad to be forbidden. Similarly with calling to khair, it cannot just be for sadaqah, or prayer or morals. Rather it has to be all encompassing and comprehensive, calling to all the ahkam of the deen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s