Allah Almighty declares in The Holy Qur’aan “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: they are the ones to attain success.” (Ch 3 : v 104)
It is worthy to note that this verse not only lays the basis for sound social interaction but clearly shows that Islam enjoins nothing but righteousness. Likewise, it prohibits wrong and evil deeds. Unfortunately most people do not know the virtuous Islamic teachings. To guide all mankind with the right religion and complete way of life, Allah our Creator and Sustainer has commanded us to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also enjoins us to observe righteousness and forbid evil deeds. The following are some of his teachings which show how much concern he had for the enjoining of what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Abu Saeed Al-Khudri narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “He amongst you who sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has no strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue. And if he has no strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart and that is the least of faith”.
Concept of righteousness in Islam
Islam, as a Way of Life, teaches us the true meaning of righteousness based on divine injunctions. Allah says in His Book: “It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance — out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfil the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and at times of distress. Such are the people of truth, they are the God-fearing”. (Ch 2 : v 177)
The above verse tells us that the righteous are those who are truly God-fearing. They show their true and sincere faith in Allah, not only by praying to Him but also by giving charity, fulfilling contracts, and being firm and patient in whatever trials Allah Almighty may bring to them. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) defines righteousness as follows: Wabisa Ibn Mabad narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Righteousness is that with which the soul is tranquil and the heart is tranquil, but sin is that which arouses doubt / suspicion in the soul and is perplexing in the chest, even if people give you a decision in its favour”.
From the above definitions of righteousness in Islam, the righteous individuals are expected to be assets and not liabilities to the society, to which they belong, and to humanity as a whole.
Great promise for the
Righteousness is one of most important the keys to Paradise, as is highlighted in the following verses of the Holy Qur’an: “Give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness that their portion is the Gardens beneath which rivers flow” (Ch 2 : v 25)
“Praise be to Allah Who has revealed to His Servant the Book and has allowed therein no crookedness. (He has made it) Straight (and Clear) in order that He may warn (the godless) of a terrible Punishment from Him, and that He may give Glad Tidings to the Believers who work righteous deeds: that they shall have a goodly Reward, wherein they shall remain forever.” (Ch 18 : v 1-3)
“You will see the wrongdoers in a state of fear on account of what they have earned and (the burden of) that must (necessarily) fall on them. But those who believe and work righteous deeds will be in the Gardens of Bliss. They shall have all that they wish for in the presence of their Creator (Diety): that will indeed be the magnificent Bounty (of The Almighty). That is (the Bounty) whereof Allah gives Glad Tidings to His Servants who believe and do righteous deeds . . . (Ch 42 : v 22-23)
The best among mankind in the sight of our Creator is he who is most righteous. Allah Almighty tells us: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. (Ch 49 : v 13)
Need to invite others towards Righteousness
Islam encourages its Believers to be righteous and, at the same time, to invite others to righteousness. Allah’s Messenger not only enjoins us to adhere to righteousness but also encourages us to call people to it: Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, He who calls people to righteousness, there would be reward (assured) for him like the rewards of those who adhered to it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect. And he who calls (people) to error, he shall have to carry (the burden) of its sin, like those who committed it, without their sins being diminished in any respect”. Furthermore, Allah instructs the Believers to help one another in righteousness and piety (Ch 5 : v 2). He makes it clear that He loves the righteous (Ch 9 : v 4) and those who do good (Ch 5 : v 93). It is therefore, an act of righteousness on the part of the Believers to invite others to all that is good.
For further information on Islam please contact: Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic Scholars Publications Department
P.O. Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare
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