What is Ma'roof and Munkar? | The believers and the hypocrites. | The accusation of Qur-aan's deficiency.

What is Ma'roof and Munkar?

The word 'munkar' occurs in Qur-aan in the opposite sense of "ma'roof". Ma'roof means "known" or "recognised" and its opposite munkar means "unrecognised". Both these words Ma'roof and munkar are loosely translated in many languages as "good" and "bad" (actions), respectively. But more specific terms: "swaalihaath" and "sayyi-aath" has been used in Qur-aan for "good" and "bad" (actions).

The use of the word "Munkar" in the meaning of "unrecognised" can be illustrated with the following verses:

"And Yousuf's brothers came and presented themselves before him, and he recognised them but they recognised him not." 12:58

" And when the messengers came unto the family of Loot, He said: Lo! you are folk unknown (to me)." 15:61-62

" When they came in unto him and said: Peace! he answered, Peace! : Folk unknown (to me)." 51:25

The meaning of " ma'roof " is "recognised". But how they become recognised, let us learn it from the following verse:

" The Prophet is closer to the believers than their selves, and his wives are their mothers. And the owners of kinship are closer one to another in the ordinance of Allaah than (other) believers and the fugitives (who fled from Makkah), except that you do recognised (conduct) unto your friends. That is written in the Book. " (33:6)

In the above verse, Allaah, the exalted, says that relatives have a greater right between them than the (other) Mu'mins and the migrants, except that you do unto your friends what is recognised; That is written in the Book.

The words used in Qur-aan are:

"except that you do unto your friends what is recognised; "

"That is written in the Book."

That ( i.e., ma'roof - the recognised) is written in the book.

We come to know that "ma'roof" (recognised) is the one, which by virtue of being written in the book, is recognised and "munkar" is the act, which by not being written in the book remains unrecognised.

Please see one more verse supporting the above:

"O my son! Establish swalaah (prayers) and enjoin the recognised (conduct) and forbid from the unrecognised, and persevere whatever may befall you. That is of the steadfast heart of things." 31:17

In this verse, Luqmaan (peace upon him) advises his son to establish swalaah (prayers) and enjoin the recognised (conduct) and forbid from the unrecognised. That is, to enjoin the recognised and forbid from the unrecognised, going by the knowledge he will get from establishing swalaah (prayers) and reciting Qur-aan in it.

The believers and the hypocrites.

Allaah identifies the believers (mu'minoon) and the hypocrites (munaafiqoon), keeping in view their actions with regard to the recognized (munkar) and the unrecognised (ma'roof).

" And the believers, men and women, are friends one of another; they enjoin the recognised (conduct) and forbid the unrecognised, and they establish swalaah and they pay the zakaah, and they obey Allaah and His messenger. As for these, Allaah will have mercy on them. Indeed, Allaah is Mighty, Wise. (9:71)

"The hypocrites, both men and women, proceed one from another. They enjoin the unrecognised, and they forbid the recognised, and they withhold their hands (from spending ). They forget Allaah, so He has forgotten them. Indeed, the hypocrites, they are the transgressors. " (9:67)

The accusation of Qur-aan's deficiency.

Some people put forward an objection that everything is not written in Qur-aan. Allaah says that it is a detailed book (6:114) and that it be read to get the understanding of Deen; See (9:122) with 46:29. It was being asked about the lifting of hands (raf'a-yadayn) at takbeer at the beginning of the prayer, and lifting of finger at tashahhud and the turning of the head at the end of the prayer (salaam), and similar things, that there is no mention of them in Qur-aan and that, therefore, it is deficient. Now, when we study we know that those things couldn't have not been ordered in Qur-aan because, in fact, all these acts are an affront to Qur-aanic verses.

In the present times, those who have to get something done from the government departments and deal with them directly, know that in most of the departments, nothing would move without bribery and with bribery, both legal and illegal things are get done. And if somebody asks: "Show me where in the constitution or in the laws it is written to give bribes?", obviously nobody would be able to show.

It is the same case with the 'munkar' deeds. Those things which are not in the deen, you include them in your activities, then if you ask where it is mentioned in the Qur-aan, how can anybody show? And for that, do you call the book incomplete and deficient?

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