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The Role of Appreciation in Social Progress

Accordingly, salvation and prosperity belong to those whose conduct is based on this principle. Commanding others to righteous conduct and forbidding misconduct is an inalienable part of their life's programme. In another verse of the same surah, the highest stations of human nobility and merit are ascribed to people who always practice this principle throughout the various stages of life:

You are the best nation ever brought forth to men, bidding to honour and forbidding dishonour, and believing in God. (3:110)

'Ali-may peace be upon him-said:

Always bid the members of society to virtues and practise them yourself. Beware lest you be one of those who bid others to do good but themselves refrain from it, otherwise the sinfulness of such conduct will overtake you and God's wrath shall seize you. 20

The Prophet of Islam-may peace and God's benedictions be upon him and his Household-said:

My followers shall live in welfare as long as they do not abandon the duty of bidding to good conduct and forbidding misconduct and co-operate with one another in good works. But when they abandon this programme in life, the blessings will be withdrawn from them and some of them (i.e. tyrants) shall be imposed on the rest. As a result they will suffer, but they will neither find any refuge on the earth, nor any helper will come to their aid from anywhere. 21

In the civilised world of today some countries have framed and implemented laws resembling the principle of al-amr bi al-ma'ruf wa al- nahy 'an al-munkar with the objective of strengthening the moral foundations of their societies and promoting justice and right conduct. An informed writer says:

It is an undeniable truth that if justice is to be established in society everyone must be committed to its preservation, like the Swiss people in whose constitution these words-which sound like a verse out of some scripture-have been written: "On observing the slightest violation of justice it is the duty and obligation of all individuals not to rest until justice has been restored." 22

This maxim is exactly like the duty that was legislated fourteen centuries ago by Islam for every individual Muslim.

20. Al-Amidi, op. cit., p. 569.

21. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi, Tahdhib al-ahkam, vol. ii, p. 58.

22. The Persian daily Ittila'at, Adhar Mah, 1342 H. Sh.

Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"

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