The Qur'an says:

Repel, by [means of] what is best, [their] evil. We are most knowing of what they describe. -- Qur'an 23:96

Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good, and from what We have provided them they spend. -- Qur'an 28:54

And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. -- Qur'an 41:34

This is sometimes succinctly referred to online as "repel evil by good" (e.g. Repel evil with good and win the hearts of enemies).

I'm interested in how one can apply this in modern-day, everyday life. I don't think I know anyone who actively engages in anything that could be reasonably regarded as "evil", while I assume everyone is imperfect and makes mistakes, gets impatient at times, sins, etc.

Question: How does one "repel evil by good" in everyday life?

I'm seeking some educational examples of where modern-day Muslims have put this into practice. (And, ideally, I can learn from their example.)

The linked site gives this Hadith:

While I was going along with Allah's Messenger who was wearing a Najrani Burd (sheet) with a thick border, a bedouin overtook the Prophet and pulled his Rida' (sheet) forcibly. I looked at the side of the shoulder of the Prophet and noticed that the edge of the Rida' had left a mark on it because of the violence of his pull. The bedouin said, "O Muhammad! Order for me some of Allah's property which you have." The Prophet turned towards him, (smiled) and ordered that he be given something. (sunnah.com)

But in this example, it seems a stretch to consider the bedouin's behaviour as "evil", nor could this be interpreted as "repelling" begging. Furthermore, in modern times, we can be discouraged from giving charity in such circumstances, with people arguing that beggars e.g. are being exploited by gangs (e.g. Children forced into beggary), will use the money to buy drugs or gamble (e.g. Giving to those who beg does more harm than good, What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?), or that beggars are not as poor as they seem (How the fake homeless are raking in more than £20,000 a year).

  • With regard to your questions, it's basically an exhortation to do as many good deeds as you can so they will weigh up against whatever evil things you did on judgement day; there are hadith that outline this in some detail, a good deed undoes an evil one, person A who wronged person B having to give B some of his good deeds and if they don't suffice having to take some of B's bad deeds, etc.
    – G. Bach
    Sep 19, 2016 at 1:39
  • With regard to whether the behavior of the bedouin was evil: I have seen scholars argue that the only reason he wasn't punished for offending Muhammad was that he was ignorant; many scholars hold that offending Muhammad was a criminal offense.
    – G. Bach
    Sep 19, 2016 at 1:41
  • I think the most difficult part in this Question is "I'm seeking some educational examples of where modern-day Muslims have put this into practice." as Muslims nowadays are known for the opposite!
    – Medi1Saif
    Sep 19, 2016 at 11:50

1 Answer 1


First thing that comes in mind is that the opposite of "the good deed" is "the bad deed".

There are plenty of examples in the Quran itself, needless to explain them.

Why do not the believing men and women, whenever such [a rumour] is heard, think the best of one another and say, This is an obvious falsehood"? 24:12

For, [true] servants of the Most Gracious are [only] they who walk gently on earth, and who, whenever the foolish address them, reply with [words of] peace; 25:63

The concept of good deeds/bad deeds isn't necessarily regarding other people only, but also regarding your own self.

And be constant in praying at the beginning and the end of the day, as well as during the early watches of the night. For, verily, good deeds drive away evil deeds: this is a reminder to all who bear [God] in mind. 11:114

The remembrance of God (in the contact prayer) is a way to repel evil.

Recite what is inspired to you of the book, and hold the contact prayer; for the contact prayer prohibits evil and vice, and the remembrance of God is the greatest. God knows everything you do. 29:45

Quran translations: Edip-Layth (Quran: A Reformist Translation) & Muhammad Asad (The Message Of Quran) in quranix.org

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