The Seventy-Seven Branches of Faith
Allah the Most High said: Let there be among you a community who enjoin good and forbid evil; it is they that shall be successful, [3:104] and: You are the best community that has ever been brought forth for mankind: you enjoin good and forbid evil, and you believe in God, [3:110] and: Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who persevere, those who bow down, those who prostrate, and those who enjoin good and forbid evil, [9:112] and: Those of the Israelites who were unbelievers have already been cursed on the tongue of David and Jesus, son of Mary, for they were disobedient, and transgressed. They did not forbid one another from committing the evil that they wrought. What they used to do was foul indeed. [5:79] The Qur’an is full of passages which treat of this subject.
Muslim relates on the authority of Abu Sa`id (radhiallahu `anhu) that the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever sees something evil should change it with his hand. If he cannot, then with his tongue; and if he cannot do even that, then in his heart. That is the weakest degree of faith.”
He also relates on the authority of Ibn Mas`ud that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “There was not a single Prophet among those who were sent before me who did not have apostles and companions and followed his Sunna and obeyed his commands. But afterwards other generations came whose words belied their deeds, and whose deeds were not in accordance with what they commanded others to do. Whoever struggles against the with his hand is a believer. Whoever struggles against them with his tongue is a believer. And whoever struggles against them with his heart is a believer. But when none of these things are done, then not a single mustard’s seed weight of faith is present.”
Bukhari and Muslim relate that Zaynab (radhiallahu `anha), the wife of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) once awoke, and his face was dark, as he said three times, ‘There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah! Woe betide the Arabs, because of an evil which will soon come! Today, the barrier of Juj and Ma`juj has been breached by so much,’ and he made a circle with his thumb and forefinger.” And Zaynab remarked, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Even when the righteous still dwell amongst us?’ and he said, ‘Yes, when khubth (moral degradation) becomes widespread.'”
Malik ibn Dinar once recited the verse, There were in the city nine men who caused corruption in the earth, and would not cause reform, [27:48] and said, “Nowadays, there are people in every clan and district who cause corruption in the earth, and do not cause reform.”
He also said, “We have become accustomed to loving the world, so that we do not enjoin good or forbid evil to one another. Allah the Most High will certainly not permit us to continue doing this, but would that I knew what kind of punishment shall befall us!”
`Umar ibn `Abdul `Aziz said, “It used to be that Allah the Most High does not punish the common people for the sins of the elite; but when the evil is done openly, and they do not repudiate it, they all become deserving of His punishment.”