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Enjoining good even though one doesn't practice himself

Question

May Allah always keep you in good health with ‘Afiyah. May Allah increase your knowledge.

I would like to know a few Hadiths that encourage dawah to others even though one isn’t practicing on what he is preaching.
Also what is the stance of our ‘Ulama on this?

Answer

In the light of Quran and Hadith, a very large number of ‘Ulama have unanimously mentioned that one who is lacking in a particular deed, may still invite others towards it.

‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahullah) writes in his commentary on Sahih Muslim:

‘The ‘Ulama have stated that is is not a precondition in one who engages in enjoining good and forbidding evil, that he himself be abiding to what he advocates.

In fact, he is duty bound to enjoin good even if he is lacking in implementing it, just as he is bound to forbid wrong although he is involved in the same wrong. This is because one has 2 separate responsibilities;

a) to command himself to do the good

b) to command others.

If he lacks in one of these responsibilities, how would that allow him to lack in the other?!’

(Sharh Nawawi ‘ala Sahih Muslim, vol.1 pg.51)

The same explanation has been echoed by the general Mufassirun (commentators of Quran) under verse: 44 of Surah Baqarah.

Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah writes in the commentary of this verse of Surah Baqarah:

‘Commanding good and practising upon it are 2 separate responsibilities. Either one of these will not fall away even if an individual fails in the other. This is the most correct view of the earlier and latter scholars.

Some have the opinion that one who engages in a sin cannot forbid others from it. This is a weak view. It’s even weaker for them to use this verse (of Surah Baqarah) in support of their claim, as there is no substantiation in it for their view!’

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir. Also see: Tafsir Baydawi, Ruhul Ma’ani & Ma’ariful Quran under the same verse of Surah Baqarah, ‘Allamah Munawi (rahimahullah has also written this under hadith: 8177 of Faydul Qadir)

There is more to this discussion, and those who are interested may refer to Tafsir Ibn Kathir, surah Ma-idah, Ayah: 105.

Having said the above, one should always endeavour to act upon what one propagates, as there are stern warnings in the Hadith for those who fail to ‘practice what they preach’.

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar