Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i

Obligation of Islamic State to Promote Virtue

In his tafseer of Sura Al-e-Imran, Ghamdi Saheb says that for spreading good, there is the institution of the masjid. And for stopping evil there is the institution of the police. Could you please advise on the following:

1. The ayat seems to say that only one group stops people from evil and spreading good. However Ghamdi Saheb distributes this function among several groups: police, army, the courts, rulers of the time in Juma prayers etc.

2. Ghamdi Saheb explains that the Quran guides on things which human beings have difficulty to decide on . So Allah gave us this guidance in the Quran. We see however that every one knows that we do need institutions in a country such as the police, courts, army, and religious representatives to spread good and prevent crime. If this was a common sense matter for human beings, why did Allah need to explicitly instruct us in the Quran to develop such institutions?

3. The police may be adequate to stop evil. But how can only the rulers spread good through Juma prayers? For example, ulema may be appointed at national level and apart from guiding about religion they could also work to spread good. The police may also take on this role. They may be involved in spreading good along with preventing evil so that this institutional responsibility may continue for the entire week, and not be confined to Fridays.

4. In the ayat there are three things: Call towards piety and goodness; spreading good among people; stopping people from evil. Ghamidi Saheb explained that the second and third are both basically extensions of the first. But can we not consider these separately?

The Shariah mentions what we do not know ourselves or cannot know. However, the Qur'an is Hikmah also, which is a source of wisdom that reminds us of what our nature knows already but we tend to forget. These verses might fall in the category of Hikmah rather than Shari'ah.

Da'wat Ilal Khair can be considered a separate category as you have suggested, but in that case it will have its own mechanism of inviting humanity towards goodness and stopping from evil.

The process of undertaking the task can take several forms. In my opinion only the Juma arrangement has been given as Shari'ah. The rest can be altered and improved to suit the peculiar circumstances of the society.

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