Sura Al-Imran (Tafseer-ul-Maariful Quran), Part-85

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In addition to this, this obligation will become operative for everybody when one actually sees something forbidden being;done before his eyes. For instance, there is a person who is seeing that a Muslim is drinking wine, or stealing or raping, he will then be obligated with the duty to stop it to the best of his ability. If all this is not happening before his eyes, he is not liable to discharge this duty. Rather, this is the duty of the Islamic government to inqulre into the crime, investigate and punish the criminal. The words of the Holy Prophet (SM) من رأى منكم منكرا (Whoever from among you sees th t an evil is being committed) point out to this principle.  

Then comes another level of this function that there be a dedicated group among Muslims devoted exclusively to the mission of calling people to the Faith and giving them right guidance towards it. Its single mandate and activity should be that it keeps calling people to the Qur'an and the Sunnah through word and deed. When it sees people less inclined towards what is good, or sees them indulging in evils, it should not fall short of pointing out what is good and preventing people from taking to the evil, of course, according to its ability. It should be realized that this great mission can be carried out fully and effectively only when the performers have a complete knowledge of questions involved, as well as, when they are conversant with methods that go to make the call effective in the light of Sunnah. It is for this reason that a particular group of Muslims has been charged with this responsibility as they are likely to take care of all ramifications of this effort.

So, in the present verse:
وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ

it has been said- And there has to be a group of people from among you who call towards the good and bid the Fair and forbid the Unfair.

The first part of the verse: وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ translated as (And there has to be a group of people from among you) gives a hint that the presence of this group is necessary. In case, a government does not shoulder this responsibility, it will become obligatory on Muslims that they should establish and operate such a group, because the vital role of the Ummah depends on the existence of such a group. What are the major features of this group? The Qur'anic answer is: يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ (who call towards the good). It means that this call of theirs shall be their primary objective. What does 'khayr' or 'good' mean? The Holy Prophet (SM) has himself explained it by saying: الخير هو اتباع القران وسنتي that is, 'khayr' means following the Qur'an and my Sunnah. (Ibn Kathir).

Seen in a restricted sense, 'to bid the Fair and to forbid the Unfair' could have been taken to mean that doing so shall be needed only on special occasions when the evil or 'the Unfair' (rnunkarat) are seen being committed. But, the expression يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ (Who call towards the good) in the beginning makes it c1ear that the function of this group will be to call towards the good, even when evil practices are not seen, or time may not have come to perform something obligatory.

For example, it is known that in the period between sunrise and Zawal (noon) no salah is prescribed by the Shari'ah. But this group shall continue even in this period, to exhort people to perform salgh when it is due. Or, take fasting which may not be due at a particular time, the month of Ramadan being far away, but that group will not shelve its duty and become complacent. Instead, it will keep reminding people about the month of Ramadan in advance, stressing on them that fasting will be obligatory at that time. In short, calling people to good will be the intrinsic duty of this group for all times to come.

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Maariful Quran Vol-2

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