Islam’s Concept of Promoting Good and Rejecting Wrong, “al Ma’roof and al Munkar”

Islam’s Concept of Promoting Good and Rejecting
Wrong, “al Ma’roof and al Munkarr”

By: Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi*

Published: 2012

As human societies evolve, some of their actions become recognized as good
and accepted and other deeds as bad and rejected. In Islam, one of the lesser
pillars (Fardh Kifayah) is enjoining (Ma’roof) the doing of what is right and
forbidding (Munkar) the doing of what is wrong. The Arabic phrase for this lesser pillar is known as ‘al Amr bil Ma’roof wa Annahi ahn al Munkar.’ The word Ma’roof comes from the word Urf, which means something has been acknowledged and admitted, and the word Munkar comes from Nukr, meaning rejected or unknown.

In line of what is part of human nature, Islam teaches Muslims to promote what is good, ‘al Ma’roof’ and rejects what is bad and immoral, ‘al Munkar’. According to Dr. Siddiqi:

Al Ma’roof is any thing known to all people as good and

beneficial, such as the safety measures at home, at the work

place and in traffic, penalizing the criminal, saying the

truth, etc., and ‘al Munkar’ is any thing recognized by all

people as bad and unwanted, such as intoxication, harming

neighbors, committing crimes, stealing and lying.

Dr. Siddiqi further states:

Islam is a universal religion. It accepts what is globally

acknowledged by all people as good, and considers it
good, and it rejects what is globally recognized by all

people as bad or immoral.

Allah (SWT)instructed Prophet Muhammad (p) to take what was available of the good traits of the people, He said.

Take what is there from the ethics of people, enjoin the good deeds

[exists among the people], and turn away from the ignorant.” Qur’an 7:199

Muslims in the Holy Qur’an are commanded over and over to enjoin al Ma’roof and forbid al Munkar. Here are two examples. Allah said in Chapter 3, The Family of Imran (The Family of the Virgin Mary):

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good,

enjoining ‘al Ma’roof,’ the doing of what is right and forbidding
‘‘al Munkar,’ the doing of what is wrong. Qur’an 3:104

You are the best of people evolved for mankind, enjoining the doing
of what is right, and forbidding the doing of what is wrong, and
believing in God. Qur’an 3:110

These principles and commandments further reinforce the claim that Islam cannot clash with any good custom or civilization. On the contrary, it agrees with people’s standards; it builds on what is good and helps to eliminate what is bad and evil.

*Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi is a renowned Muslim scholar in North America. Presently, he is the Chairman of the Shura Council of Southern California, President of the Fiqh Council of North America and ex-President of ISNA, and the Director of Orange County Islamic Society.

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