The World Federation Islamic Laws

7. Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil

Among the most important religious obligations is enjoining good (al‑amr bil‑maʿrūf ) and forbidding evil (al‑nahy ʿan al‑munkar). Allah the Exalted states in the Noble Qur’an:

وَ لْتَكُن مِّنْكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَّدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَ يَنْـهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَ أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

There has to be a nation among you summoning to goodness, enjoining good, and forbidding evil. It is they who are the felicitous.1

It has been reported that the most noble Messenger (Ṣ) said:

لَا تَـزَالُ أُمَّتِي‏ بِخَيْرٍ مَا أَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَ نَـهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَ تَـعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ فَإِذَا لَمْ يَـفْعَلُوا ذٰلِكَ نُزِعَتْ مِنْـهُمُ الْبَـرَكَاتُ وَ سُلِّطَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَـهُمْ نَاصِرٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَ لَا فِي السَّمَاءِ

My nation will always be with goodness as long as its people enjoin good and forbid evil and assist one another in piety. If they do not do that, then blessings will be taken away from them and some of them will impose their rule over others, and there will be no helper for them on the earth or in the sky.2

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

لَا تَـتْـرُكُوا الْأَمْرَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ‏ وَ النَّـهْيَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ فَـيُـوَلَّىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ شِرَارُكُمْ ثُمَّ تَدْعُونَ فَلَا يُسْتَجَابُ لَكُمْ

Do not abandon enjoining good and forbidding evil, otherwise the evil people among you will take charge over you, and then when you supplicate you will not be answered.3

1 Āl ʿImrān (Chapter 3), verse 104.

2 M. Ḥ. Al-Nūrī, Mustadrak al‐Wasāʾil wa Mustanbaṭ al‐Masāʾil, Qum: Muʾassisah Āl al-Bayt ʿAlayhim al-Salām, 1987, vol. 12, p. 181.

3 M. Al-Raḍi (compiler), Nahj al‐Balāghah, Qum: Hijrat, 1993, Letter 47 (Ṣubḥī al- Ṣāliḥ arrangement).

+ Read more
  • 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 …

    + Read more
  • Ruling 1868

    The following five conditions must exist in order for enjoining good and forbidding evil to be obligatory. 1. One must have knowledge of what is good and what is evil, albeit in a general sense. Therefore, enjoining good …

    + Read more
  • Ruling 1869

    Enjoining good and forbidding evil is carried out at different levels: displaying heartfelt aversion; for example, by turning away one’s face from, or not speaking to, the wrongdoer; verbally advising and guiding; physically enforcing; for example, by hitting …

    + Read more
  • Ruling 1870

    The obligation to enjoin good and forbid evil on every mukallaf is greater with respect to his family and relatives. Therefore, if with regard to his family and relatives he feels that they are inattentive to, and unconcerned …

    + Read more