Liaison office of Grand Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Al Sistani (L.M.H.L) in London, Europe, North and South America.

Enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil

The holy Quran mentions “And among you there should be a group who invite to good and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and these it is that shall be successful”. (3/104).

Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “My umma ‘Islamic community’ shall be in good condition they enjoin that which is good, forbid that which is wrong, and co-operate in righteousness. If they hesitate, they shall be denied bliss, be dealt high-handedly with each other, and will have no helper on the earth, nor in the heavens!”.

Imam Ali (a.s.) has been quoted as saying, “Do not abandon the obligation of enjoining right and forbidding wrong. If you do, your bad folk shall reign supreme over you, and then you will implore God’s grace, yet your prayer would not be answered”.

The following conditions must be fulfilled for enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil to become obligatory:

1. The person exercising the obligation of enjoining good and forbidding evil must be aware of what is good and what is bad, albeit in a general manner.

2. The probability that his advice shall be heeded. Conversely, there is no point in trying to guide those who you know will not take your advice. Having said that, [it becomes obligatory at times that you show indignation at their flagrant commissioning of evil deeds and turning away from that which is good].

3. The wrongdoer, or the one turning away from good, must be intent on committing the act. In the event, however, of even a glimpse of hope that they may ameliorate their stance, they must be counseled accordingly.

4. The person committing the sin or turning away from what is virtuous should not be unmindful of the nature of their action; in that they are not aware what they are doing contravenes the sublime injunctions of religion. Otherwise, giving them advice is not compulsory.

5. The person giving the council should not fear the consequences of his word or deed, be it to his person, honor, property, or fellow Muslims.

Levels of practicing the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil:

First: to express your innermost irritation and revulsion for the violation. Such as turning away from the person who committed it, showing your fury at their deed; and you could stop talking to them..etc

Second: to propagate enjoining good and forbidding evil by word, by counseling the wrongdoer, reminding him of the severe punishment Allah, the Most High, has in store for those who disobey His injunctions; you could advise him of the reward God has promised those who obey His commandments.

Third: to take practical action to enforce this divine injunction. Based on the obligatory precaution the permission of the Marji’ is required for doing that.