Hadith “How not to Command right and forbid wrong…”



On How not to Command Right and Forbid Wrong”


  • Imam al-Tabarani in his al-Mu`jam al-Awsat mentions the following narration from the Companion Anas Ibn Malik (ra):

حدثنا محمد بن عبد الله الأنصار ثنا بعد القدوس بن عبدالسلام بن عبدالقدوس حدثني أبي عن جدي عن الحسن إلا عبد القدوس بن حبيب تفرد به ولده عنه حدثنا محمد بن عبد الله محمد بن عثمان بن حماد بن سليمان بن الحسن بن أبان بن النعمان بن بشير الأنصاري بدمشق ثنا عبد القدوس بن عبد السلام بن عبد القدوس حدثني أبي عن جدي عبد القدوس بن حبيب عن الحسن

عن أنس بن مالك قال قلنا يارسول الله لانأمر بالمعروف حتى نعمل به ولا ننهى عن المنكر حتى نجتنبه كله فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بل مروا بالمعروف وإن لم تعملوا به كله وانهوا عن المنكر وإن لم تجتنبوه كله

لم يرو هذين الحديثين عن الحسن إلا عبدالقدوس بن حبيب تفرد بهما ولده عنه


“…from Anas b. Malik who said: We said: ‘Messenger of Allah, will not command right and forbid wrong until we do all the good and we will not forbid what is wrong until we leave all that is wrong’. The Messenger of Allah replied: ‘No. You must continue calling to what is good even if you don’t act on all of it and you must forbid what is wrong even if you have not abandoned all of it…’[1]



  • Being perfect is not conditional for engaging in the duty of commanding right and forbidding wrong.[2] If that were so, the duty would never have been carried out; for the simple reason that no one is perfect.
  • It is illogical to assume that change will occur in a society only when each person in that society is himself in a perfect state of reform.[3]

[P1] Abandoning an Islamic obligation is detrimental to personal reform.

[P2] Commanding right and forbidding wrong are part of the Islamic obligations.


[C1] Therefore, abandoning commanding right and forbidding wrong is detrimental to personal reform.

  • One cannot abandon an obligation and think they are progressing in their personal path of reform.
  • It is never a Shariah condition for a person to be unblemished before he commits to an action because to be free from faults, lapses, errors, wrongdoing, mistakes and transgressions is impossible.

And with Allah is all success.



[1] al-Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Awsat, 6:365 (#6628). The hadith has some weakness in it as mentioned by al-Haythami although the meaning is sound:

رواه الطبراني في الصغير والأوسط من طريق عبد السلام بن عبد القدوس بن حبيب عن أبيه، وهما ضعيفان

For more on commanding right and forbidding wrong, refer to https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/imam-al-haddad_commanding-right-and-forbidding-wrong/


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