Enjoining good and forbidding wrong

Enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong[1][2] (Arabic: الأمر بالمَعْرُوف والنَهي عن المُنْكَر, translit. al ʿamr bi-l maʿrūf wa-n nahy ʿan al munkar) are two important Islamic requisites from the Quran, "you enjoin what is right and forbid what is reprehensible", and are considered positive roles in helping others to take the straight path and abstain from reprehensible acts.[1]

This expression is the base of the Islamic institution of hisbah. It forms a central part of the Islamic doctrine for all Muslims. It is also explicitly referred to in two Ancillaries of the Faith in Shia Islam, commanding what is just and forbidding what is evil.

Some Quranic examples

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity.

alternative translation:

Let there arise out of you a nation who invites to goodness and enjoin What is right and forbid What is evil: They are the one's to attain felicity.[1]
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are transgressors.

alternative translation:

You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind: You enjoin What is right and forbid What is evil, and You believe in Allah; if the people of the scripture deary it, it had been better for them, some of them believers, but most of them are evil-livers.[1]

Other examples include:

Hadith examples

Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri reported that the prophet Muhammad said, "Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest form of faith".[2]

A standard medieval interpretation of this Hadith is, as Al-Nawawi had explained, that such passages of scripture had to be interpreted in accordance with established Shariah principles, such as the state's sole prerogative in declaring jihad. 'Changing the reprehensible by hand,' or by compulsion, was the purview of the state alone. 'Changing with the tongue' was the right of the ulama. Ordinary, individual Muslims should only reject the reprehensible with their hearts.[3][4]

Conditions (interpretation)

A person should have knowledge of what is considered wajib (obligatory or duty) and haram (sinful or forbidden) in relation to interpreting the two requisites although in a broad-spectrum.

Further reading


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Rahim, MBE, Husein A.; Sheriff, Ali Mohamedjaffer (1993). Guidance From Qur’an. Mombasa: Khoja Shia Ithna-asheri Supreme Council. pp. 102–104.
  2. 1 2 Sultan, Sohaib (2004). The Koran For Dummies. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Publishing, Inc. pp. 238–240, 246–247. ISBN 9780764555817.
  3. A.C. Brown, Jonathan (2014). "4. Clinging to the Canon in a Ruptured World". Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy. Oneworld Publications. p. 130. ISBN 978-1780744209.
  4. Fatawa Hindiyya / Fatawa Alamgiri, Dar el-Fekr, Beirut, 1310 A.H. vol.5 p.353. Quote: "Commanding the good with hand is for those in position of political authority, with tongue it is for the scholars and with the heart it for the laymen."

External links

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