HomeEnjoining Right Forbiding Wrong › Human Nature Tyranny Envy Oppression

Chapter 28. Human Nature: Tyranny, Envy & Oppression

Within the human self is a drive to oppress others by tyrannizing them, and by envying them, and by violating their rights. Within it, also, are drives to oppress itself by indulging in despicable acts, such as adultery and consuming unclean things. Thus, a person may oppress others without first being oppressed, and may lust after those indulgences, even though no one around him is doing them. However, when he sees his peers oppressing, or indulging in these desires, a drive appears in him to do these things which is much stronger than previously.


This may also bring about in a person hatred of those having the object of his lower desire, and his envy of them, and his desire for their punishment and the removal of that thing which they have which were not otherwise there. He has an ample justification for this from the direction of intellectual reasoning, and from the principles of Islam because of the fact that those who he opposes are oppressing themselves and the Muslims as a whole, and his enjoining right and forbidding wrong and fighting jihad in the pursuit of that appears to be from Islam.


Categories Of People In This Issue


People, with respect to this issue, can be divided into three categories:


One group does not become aroused except by the hawaa of their own selves. They are not contented except with those things which they have been given, and do not anger except because of something which they have been denied. If such a person is given all that he desires from the halal and the haram, his anger disappears, and he is contented. When he is given his desires, those things which he called evil, which he actively forbid others and punished them for indulging in them, became angry with them, and openly criticized them, when he obtains these things, he suddenly becomes an indulger in them, and a partner and helper of their users, and a staunch enemy of those who order the people to stay away from these things, and point out to them their evil. This is widespread among the sons of Adam. We all see and hear examples of this whose number is unknown except to Allah. Its cause is that man is, as Allah said, ever given to criminality (dhaloom), and ever given to ignorance and foolishness (jahool). And so, many never practice justice; rather, they may be oppressors in both states. For example, there may be a group of people who criticize the oppression of the ruler and his transgression on the rights of the citizens, and so the ruler appeases them with some position or money. Suddenly, they become the biggest helpers and supporters of this unjust government or ruler. It would have been better for them if they just kept quiet, and refrained from enjoining right and forbidding wrong in the first place.


In the same way, you can see these people acting very harshly with those who take intoxicants, fornicate and listen to music until they manage to get him involved in their sins, or appease him with some of the pleasures in which they indulge. At that time, you will see them becoming the biggest supporters of those acts which they opposed so harshly previously. Such people, when they undertake enjoining right and forbidding wrong may come into a state worse than their state before they began, or perhaps not quite as bad, or equal to it.


Others, have taken the correct stand of religiosity and piety. They are in that sincere to Allah, and in their actions reformers, and bringers of good. In this they are granted success such that they are able to be patient and forbearing in the face of persecution. These are "those who believe and do good works", and they are of "the best nation brought forth for the people: they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and they believe in Allah."


A third group, combines the characteristics of the first group and those of the second, and these are the majority of the believers. Whoever combines piety and lusts and desires has in his heart a will to be obedient to Allah, and a will to disobey Allah in obedience to his desires. Sometimes the first one prevails, and sometimes the second one prevails.


This triple division is analogous to the division of the souls of people into three types, as alluded to in the Quran: Ammaara (that which always orders, i.e. evil), Lawwaama (that which always criticizes and holds to account, i.e. after doing evil, this soul criticizes itself and repents), and Mut'ma'innah (at peace, i.e. the soul which obeys Allah without any inner contradictions). Thus, the first group above is the possessors of the soul which is Ammaara, i.e. which always orders them to do evil, and the second group above is the possessors of the soul which is Mut'ma'innah, to which Allah will say on the day of Qiyama:


[O, you souls at peace: Come back to your Lord, contented and accepted, and enter in among by slaves, and enter into my paradise.] Quran 89/27-30


The third and largest group are the possessors of the soul which is Lawwaamah, which commits sins and then blames itself for them. It changes colours, sometimes like this, and sometimes like that. It "mixes a good work with another which is evil". It is hoped that Allah will forgive these people provided that they acknowledge their sins and repent, as Allah said:


[And others have acknowledged their sins. They mixed a good work with another which was evil. Perhaps Allah will forgive them, verily Allah is most- Forgiving, most-Merciful.] Quran 9/102


It is for this reason that during the Caliphates of Abu Bakr and Umar - and they are the two which the Muslims have been ordered to emulate, as the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:


"Follow the example of the two who come after me: Abu Bakr and Umar." (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad)


Since the Muslims were still close to the era of the revelation, and greater in faith and piety, and their leaders were more conscientious in fulfilling their duties, and more at peace and free from inner contradictions - the chaos and bloodshed and strife which followed was absent during their two Caliphates. This is because they were as the people of the second category: those whose selves are at Peace and free from inner contradictions about Islam.


Then, at the end of Uthman's Caliphate, and during the Caliphate of Ali (May Allah be pleased with them both), those of the third category became more numerous. Thus, there appeared in the Muslims desires and lusts along with the presence of belief and Islamic practice. This became the case of some of the administrators, and some of the citizens. Then the problem became worse, and the major fitna (strife) came to pass whose cause is as we have described earlier. Both sides failed to properly analyze the dictates of piety and obedience to Allah. Both sides mixed their understanding of piety and obedience with some element of hawaa and disobedience. Each side, in their own interpretation, believing that they are enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and that they are on the side of truth and justice. This interpretation, however, contains an element of hawaa, and an element of suspicion, and following the desires of the self, even though one of the two sides was closer to the truth than the other.


For this reason, it is upon the believer to constantly pray to Allah to help him, and to depend fully on Allah to fill his heart with faith and piety, and not to let it become contaminated, and to establish him firmly on the guidance, and to protect him from following his hawaa, as Allah said:


[And so for this, pray, and remain steadfast as you have been ordered, and do not follow their hawaa. And say: I have believed in the book which Allah has sent down, and I have been ordered to enact justice between you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord.] Quran 42/15


Chapter 1

Enjoining Right: Our Prophet And Those Before Him

Chapter 2

This Nation Is The Best Nation For The People

Chapter 3

What Is Maruf (right) And Munkar (wrong)?

Chapter 3

Let Your Enjoining Of Good Be Itself Good

Chapter 4

Benefits Must Outweigh Negative Consequences

Chapter 5

Methodology Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong

Chapter 6

Pitfalls Of Enjoining Right And Forbidding Wrong

Chapter 7

Rebellion Against The Imam Of The Muslims

Chapter 8

The General Principle Of Enjoining And Forbidding

Chapter 9

It Is Obligatory To Measure All Things By The Criterion Of The Shariah

Chapter 10

The Love Of Good Should Be In Harmony With What Allah Loves

Chapter 11

The Love And Hate Of The Heart

Chapter 12

What Exactly Is Hawaa

Chapter 13

The Following Of Hawaa In The Previous Religions

Chapter 14

What A Person Loves And Hates Must Be In Accordance With The Order Of Allah And His Prophet

Chapter 15

What Are "good Works"?

Chapter 16

Action Is Not Possible Except With Knowledge And Understanding

Chapter 17

Compassion, Patience & Forbearance Are Required In Enjoining Right

Chapter 18

The Difficulty Of These Requirements

Chapter 19

Disobedience To Allah Causes Difficulty, Obedience Causes Ease

Chapter 20

Allah's Punishment Of The Previous Nations For Their Disobedience

Chapter 21

Punishment Of The Evil-doers In This World And The Next

Chapter 22

Promises And Threats Of Punishment Were The First Part Of Revelation

Chapter 23

Differences About Enjoining & Forbidding Are The Cause Of Division

Chapter 24

Sins Are Desired By Human Nature

Chapter 25

Greed Is The Cause Of Slipping Into Deviation

Chapter 26

Types Of Sins

Chapter 27

Success In Worldly Affairs Is By Justice

Chapter 28

Human Nature: Tyranny, Envy & Oppression

Chapter 29

Good Must Support Good As Bad Supports Bad

Chapter 30

The Severity Of The Test Causes Elevation Of Rank

Chapter 31

The Need For Certainty Of Belief

Chapter 32

Human Affairs Will Not Go Straight Except With Courage And Generosity

Chapter 33

A Return To Patience And Its Types

Chapter 34

The Forbiddance Of Transgressing The Bounds

Chapter 35

Fervour And Courage Which Is Praiseworthy

Chapter 36

Fear Of Falling Into Temptation As An Excuse For Neglecting Enjoining Right

Chapter 37

The Sons Of Adam Do Not Live Except In Societies

Chapter 38

Pure Intention To Please Allah Is Required In All Righteous Deeds

Chapter 39

The Meanings Of Islam

Chapter 40

The Meaning Of Submitting One's Face To Allah

Chapter 41

Definition Of Righteous Action

Chapter 42

The Meaning Of The "sunnah" In The Discourses Of The Salaf