THE BOOK OF COMMANDING GOOD AND FORBIDDING EVIL Commanding good and forbidding evil is one of the distinguishing marks of the Umma of Muhammad, upon him be blessings and peace. Allah ta`ala says: “You are the best nation raised up for the benefit of humanity; you command the good and forbid evil; and you believe in GOD.” [3:110] The commanding of good and forbidding evil is the most immense axis in the reform and correction of this world and the religion. The reason behind GOD sending the Prophets and Messengers to the world was in order to command the good and forbid evil. The meaning of commanding good is enjoining what GOD has obligated upon humanity; such as belief in GOD, His Divine Unity and Divinity, adherence to His messengers, establishing the prayers, giving charity and the remainder of religious obligations. Commanding good also means reforming the social conditions of the people; such as taking care of the destitute, assisting the oppressed and establishing social justice. The meaning of forbidding evil is prohibiting what GOD has forbidden humanity; such as disbelief in GOD, polytheism, rejection of the His messengers, abandoning worship of Him and neglecting the remainder of the religious obligations. It also includes challenging social corruption and injustice. Commanding good and forbidding evil begins with the inner heart, is manifest on the tongue and is implemented by the hands; and this includes the necessity of taking up arms in defense of good and in order to prevent evil. The Book of Commanding Good and Forbidding Evil was composed by the Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio around 1797, after he attained the station of mujtahid (a scholar capable of independent judgment). During this period the Shehu had developed at network of scholars, clerics and students of knowledge that stretched throughout the seven Hausa states; and included scholars and students as far east as Dar Fur, and as far west as Futa Toro in the Senegambia region as well as the cities of Timbuktu, Djenne, Mopti and Massina. A Hausa poem describes the social reform which Shehu Uthman Dan Fodio ignited throughout the Sahel of Africa: “Verily a cloud has settled on Allah’s earth A cloud so dense that escape from it is impossible. Everywhere between Kordofan and Gobir And the cities of the Kindin (Tuareg) Are the settlements of the dogs of the Fellata Serving Allah in all their dwelling places . . . In reforming all the districts and provinces Ready for the future bliss

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