The Jama‘at reprimands erring members according to common sense principles, a framework of which we find in 16:91 of the Holy Quran. Therein, Allah Almighty has divided evil actions into three categories of escalating harm (Tafsir-e-Kabir, vol. 4, p. 222, 16:92). First are
For example, if a student is daydreaming in class and not paying attention, he is hurting only himself; he is not distracting anyone else because no one other than the teacher can tell he is distracted. The teacher has no urgent need to reprimand him and could just speak with him after class. This would fall under the first category of
If a student puts his head down and falls asleep in class, he would not only be hurting himself but would indirectly be hurting others by setting a bad example. The teacher would now have more of an urgent need to reprimand him because if his behavior is permitted, other students might think there is nothing wrong with sleeping in class and would start to follow. This would fall under the second category of
If a student starts talking to other students in
Similarly, when we see someone doing something wrong, we can decide whether to report
we could advise them that this isn’t Islamic behavior. But if an Ahmadi has dancing and music at his wedding, if we do not object, leave, and report what happened, it can motivate other Ahmadis to do the same, and it can reflect negatively on the Jama‘at.
This verse provides a simple but profound principle that we can use as a guide in such situations.