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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books A Muslim in Society Good And Bad Deeds

Good And Bad Deeds

Good And Bad Deeds

The Prophet of Allah [s] says:

"Whoever prescribes a good commandment and people practice it, he will reap its reward and the reward of those who do it and nothing will decrease their reward. Whoever prescribes a bad commandment and people follow it, he will suffer its heavy burden and the burden of those who practice it and nothing will decrease its burden. 7

If we look at the people who live in a human society, among them we will find those who do righteous deeds, goodness and favours to people because they love goodness for all. For instance, there is one who builds a school for his community or a hospital, or establishes a charitable association to call people to Islam. He collects and distributes charity to the poor. He founds a co-operative factory or farm to provide employment. He does what is right and forbids what is wrong.

When we see such a righteous and beneficent man, we cooperate and participate with him in doing good deeds and try to follow his example. People learn to do good deeds from his example. Certainly, this man is the cause of others doing good deeds: it is he who awakens and guides them towards doing such useful and good deeds. Without him, others might not do such good actions. This man who prescribed the good commandment, i.e., he enjoined righteous deeds among the people he knew, and started useful beneficial projects for his community, deserves a reward increased by the rewards of the people who are guided by him to do good deeds because of his advice and example. This multiple reward is due to him, for he directed and advised the people to do good deeds, and without him no one might have been guided to righteousness. Thus the Holy Prophet [s] says:

"Whoever guides (others) towards good is like the doer of it." 8

Among the people we may also find one who is evil and wicked. He lives in the community like a germ in the human body. He not only weakens society but, being a contagious element, spreads evil to others. This man causes corruption and evil actions that spread ugly deeds. He sets up dens of evil and contrives to corrupt society. His corrupting actions include wildly extravagant and grossly self-indulgent spending, deceit, promiscuity, gambling, drinking alcohol, drug abuse, etc. As the people follow his corrupt deeds, he is responsible not only for his own sinful deeds, but also for the sins of those who follow his example. This is because he advised them toward evil deeds. He is the main cause for the existence of corruption, injustice and evil in a society. Without him, this corruption and evil would not have spread.

Surely, we can see that Islam is the religion of reformation, goodness and righteousness.

Summary Islam is the religion of goodness and righteousness. It orders Muslims to do good deeds so that others may follow them. Whoever prescribes a good commandment for the people will have the reward like the doer of the deed. Whoever prescribes a bad commandment for the people will have the punishment like the doer of the deed.

Forbidding What Is Wrong

Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq [a] narrates that the Messenger of Allah [s] said:

"Surely Allah, the Almighty, dislikes the believer who is weak in his faith" He was asked: 'Who is the believer who is weak in his faith?' He answered: "The one who does not forbid what is wrong." 9

Human society contains people who like to do good and righteous deeds that benefit all people and put right the wrong in society. These people never do forbidden acts, neither do they abandon their obligations or acts of charity.

On the other hand there are people who are wicked and corrupt. They seek to spread corruption. They do sinful and harmful deeds in the society in which they live, such as: deceiving, drinking alcohol, gambling, hoarding food supplies, transgressing the rights of others, dealing drugs, and spreading promiscuity. They take power over the society and rule with oppression and enmity. They govern with injustice and disobey the Islamic laws and system.

It is obligatory for all Muslims to stand against such corruption and prevent it from continuing. These corrupt people disobey Allah's orders and do not defend the laws of the Islamic society, nor do they respect the rights of others.

Allah, the Just, will hold the Muslims accountable, and punish them on the Day of Judgement if they keep silent against such people. Indeed, whoever keeps silent against corruption, he encourages its spread! These peddlers of corruption are like germs in the human body; they destroy it completely and even contaminate others if they are not stopped.

The Holy Prophet of Allah [s] says, that whoever does not forbid what is wrong is weak in faith and has no sincerity towards his religion. If a Muslim is true and sincere in his belief, he will do his utmost to prevent such wicked and harmful deeds.

Let us be truthful and sincere believers who do what is right and forbid what is wrong. Such actions are among the qualities of the prophets (peace be upon them). Let us not be weak in faith or be passive to what is wrong.

Summary Forbidding what is wrong is an obligation upon every Muslim who can perform it. It is among the means of reforming and saving the society from evil and corruption. Among the qualifications of a believer is enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. Whoever does not forbid what is wrong is weak in his faith, because he does not defend Allah's religion. Indeed Allah dislikes the one who keeps silent when seeing any forbidden act.

Jihad (Holy Struggle) is an Obligatory Duty

"O Prophet! Strive hard agaunt the infidels and the hypocrites, and be firm against them, and their abode is hell, and evil is their resort."

Holy Qur'an (66:9)

"Go forth (equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive hard in Allah's cause with your property and own selves; this is better for you, if you know."

Holy Qur'an (9:41)

Jihad is a holy duty made obligatory upon all Muslims by Allah, the Almighty. The Muslims should defend themselves if being attacked in order to preserve their faith, spread Islam, and stand against tyrants and oppressors. Allah made jihad obligatory, in all its forms, whether it is the jihad of society or self, speaking a word for the sake of preserving Islamic call Da'wah, or defending the sanctuaries of the Muslim nation. Jihad is considered among the best forms of worship with Allah, the Most High.

He who spends even a small amount of money in Allah's way will find his reward increased many times by the Beneficent Creator. Whoever is harmed or suffers inflictions in the cause of Allah will have his reward with Allah on the Resurrection Day.

The martyr who sacrifices himself and dies for the sake of his faith finds his place in Paradise. He receives blessings from the prophets and the righteous. He is alive and provided for by Allah, The Exalted.

Reciprocal Responsibility Among Muslims

It is narrated that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir [a], quoting the Messenger of Allah [s] as saying:

"He who passes his night satiated while his neighbour is in a state of hunger, has no faith in me." 10

Allah, the Most High, created this earth and provided food, water, air, sun, moon and the stars, to fulfill all the needs of man in this life. He made provision for all mankind. Each man has the right to take his needs from these provisions.

Allah ordered Muslims to work and earn a living to gain their provisions. A man has the right to work in all fields including agriculture, industry, trade, medicine, or teaching, to obtain his provisions and gain lawful property. No one has the right to prevent him from doing so.

Thus everyone obtains wealth to satisfy his needs from employment, and spends it on himself and his family, saving any extra. However, human society contains poor and needy people with no property, food, housing or clothes. Therefore, it is obligatory for the rich to provide such people with what they need so that no one remains in poverty.

The Messenger of Allah [s] advises Muslims that whoever passes his night satiated and restful in his home with his family, while he has poor neighbours who pass their night hungry, has no true belief in the Messenger of Allah [s] and is denying him too. Had such a man been a true believer, he would have given food to his neighbours and not let them pass the night in hunger.

Surely, Allah is displeased with those who accumulate wealth, food, and property while others suffer from poverty, hunger and deprivation. Islam is the religion of justice, equality, charity and mercy. Giving to the poor is one of the important actions of the faith. Giving to the poor and needy is mentioned many times in the Holy Qur'an.

"Have you considered him who belies religion? Such is the one who treats the orphans with harshness, and does not urge (others) to feed the needy."

Holy Qur'an (107:1-3)

Muslims should help the poor and needy before they are forced to ask for it. Muslims should establish charitable and co-operative associations in schools, mosques, districts and villages to help the needy. Allah has promised to recompense them with rewards in the Hereafter. Who is truer to a promise than Allah?

A true believer suffers greatly if he sees his believing brother hungry or in need, and is not satisfied while the rest of the believers and their families remain in need.

Spending Wealth

The Messenger of Allah [s] said:

"We (prophets) were not sent to amass the wealth, but to spend it."

Indeed Allah created the earth and supplied it with ample provision for all human beings. In it we find grains, fruits, vegetables, trees, animals, seas, fish, metals like iron, gold, silver, platinum, copper, etc., and oil. Other materials lie in the depths of the earth to satisfy the needs of the people, like diamonds, coal, etc.

If these provisions are distributed equally among mankind, no one on this earth will remain in poverty.

People are classified into two groups: The first group are those who work in fields such as agriculture, industry, technology, science, etc., and earn their living and needs through working. They do not need help. The second group are the old, orphans, refugees, poor and disabled who need help because they are unable of doing such work. There are also people who can work but either cannot find work, or work but their salary does not cover their needs.

It is obligatory for the first group to spend out of their possessions and to pay the poor-rates zakat in order to provide the second group with their needs so they do not remain in want.

The Prophet of Allah [s] explains to the Muslims how to distribute property, provisions and charity to all people. He says: Surely Allah sent the prophets to spend wealth on the needy and to teach people the way of spending. Allah never sent prophets to amass wealth and forget the poor. The prophets forbade the rich from amassing wealth and saving it in banks and treasuries while others are left to live in miserable poverty."

The Prophet of Allah [s], through this tradition, explains to the Muslims that he came to teach them how to spend their wealth on the poor by charitable deeds, like building mosques, schools, hospitals, bridges, irrigation systems, roads, etc., and forbid them from amassing wealth and depriving the poor of a reasonable standard of living by refusing to spend their wealth in charitable and beneficial ways.

Responsibility Towards Society

"Surely Allah commands justice and the doing of good (to others), and giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion. He admonishes you that you may be mindful. And fulfill the covenant of Allah, when you have made a covenant, and break not your oaths after confirming them; and you have indeed made Allah your surety. Surely Allah knows what you do."

Holy Qur'an (16:90-91)

If we read these holy verses and ponder on their meaning, what do we learn? How do we reform ourselves and society?

These verses certainly train a Muslim in the best behavior, and order them to form a strong Islamic society. They also order justice among the people. For example, they order man to be just among his children when giving them money or when buying them clothes or dealing with them at home. He should not differentiate between them (i.e. to prefer one above the other). Further, they order the judge to pass judgement with justice and not to be unjust over the rights of others. Allah is Just and loves justice.

The Holy Qur'an explains that it is obligatory for Muslims to practice justice in both their deeds and their speech so no one will be oppressed or lose his right. The Qur'an also warns Muslims to do good and charitable deeds voluntarily.

Whoever helps the poor or removes enmity between two persons or visits his neighbour or teaches others the way of guidance and belief is indeed the doer of good and beneficence.

Surely, giving charity and doing good and striving towards its spread among the society makes up a strong and homogeneous society in which love, co-operation and progress flourish.

The Holy Qur'an wants a Muslim to be beneficent. Surely Allah is the Beneficent, Who loves beneficence.

The Qur'an, through these verses, orders Muslims to give their relatives their rights and help the needy and the sick, to ask after those who move away, and to maintain good relations with them.

The Prophet of Allah [s] also orders the Muslims to have good relations with their relatives when he says:

"Treat your relatives with compassion even it be (only) by a salutation (salam)."

The Qur'an also forbids Muslims against committing indecency, evil and rebellion including those harmful deeds that cause the halt of progress in society, misery to mankind and the collapse of nations. The Holy Qur'an also orders Muslims to fulfill their promises and forbids them from giving promises without fulfilling them. Muslims should respect their covenants and promises when they deal with others. They should strive towards doing deeds that please Allah and never go against Islamic laws.

What do These Holy Verses Teach Us?

These verses teach Muslims the best social behaviour that reforms human society, strengthens relations among people and encourages goodness and happiness.

Briefly, they teach us the following: Muslims should practice and follow justice in society and achieve it among their people: for example, distributing wealth and benefits among the needy, giving just verdicts in courts of law, treating family and relatives equally, and practising justice in every facet of life. Muslims should do good deeds and have good relations with their relatives, Muslims should fulfill their promises and covenants if these promises and covenants are according to Islamic laws.

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.
7 Sunan Ibn Maj, Majma' al-Bayan, al-Tabrasi.

8 Al-Hur al-Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol. 6, Kitab al-Amr bil al-Ma'roof.

9 Al-Hur al-Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a Bab al-Amir bil Ma'roof.

10 Al-Bihbodi, Sahih al-Kafi p.170, First Edition.