The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 1867

Enjoining good and forbidding evil becomes obligatory (wājib) when performance of the good deed in question is obligatory and performance of the evil deed in question is unlawful (ḥarām). In this situation, enjoining good and forbidding evil is a collective obligation (al‐wājib al‐kifāʾī), meaning that if some people act according to this duty, then everyone else is excused from it. However, it is incumbent on everyone to not be indifferent if they encounter something unlawful being done or something obligatory being abandoned, and that they express their aversion in their speech and actions. Acting to this extent is an individual obligation (al‐wājib al‐ʿaynī).4

It has also been reported that His Eminence Amīr al-Muʾminīn [Imam ʿAlī] (ʿA) said:

أَمَرَنَا رَسُولُاللهِ(ص) أَنْ نَـلْقَىٰ أَهْلَ الْمَعَاصِي بِوُجُـوهٍ مُكْفَهِــرَّةٍ
The Messenger of Allah (Ṣ) commanded us to meet people of disobedience
with sullen faces.5

When the good deed being enjoined is a recommended (mustaḥabb) act (and not an obligatory one), or the evil deed being forbidden is a disapproved (makrūh) act (and not an unlawful one), enjoining good and forbidding evil is recommended.

Furthermore, when a person enjoins good and forbids evil, the status and personality of the wrongdoer must be taken into account so that he is not troubled and disrespected. In addition, one must not be so severe and harsh that the wrongdoer becomes averse to the religion and religious activities.

4 This is an obligation that every duty-bound person must perform irrespective of whether or not others have also performed it.

5 M. Al-Kulaynī, Al‐Kāfī, Tehran: Dār al-Kutub al-Islāmiyyah, 1986, vol. 5, p. 59.