In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Imaam Ibn Katheer [rahimahullaah] said: “In the year 478AH, diseases were many – fever and plague in Iraq, the Hijaaz and Shaam. The wild animals died and thereafter the livestock. There was fiece black wind and the trees fell. The Khaleefah Al-Muqtadee Bin Amril laah commanded that enjoining good and forbidding evil be revived [i.e. by the authorities (1)] and that the musical instruments be smashed, and thus the plague ceased”. [Ref 1.1]

Question to Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [rahimahullaah]: Is enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil by the hand an obligation on all Muslims, or is it limited to those in authority and their deputies?

Answer: To stop wrongdoing is obligated on all Muslims according to their ability, because the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] “Anyone of you who sees evil [i.e. that which is declared an evil deed by Islaam], then let them stop it with their hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; and if he cannot, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of Imaan’’. [Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi & others]

However, stopping evil by the hand must be based on ability and should not result in greater corruption or evil. A man has the right to rectify matters with his hand in his home [i.e. based on what the law of the land allows him]; a manager has the authority to make changes with the hand within the organization they are responsible for, in accordance with the instructions that is given to them [i.e. the authority given to them by the state authorities]; otherwise, people should not change with their hand anything they are not authorised to change.  If they do make changes in matters that they have no authority, then this will result in more evil and great corruption between them and the people, and between the people and the state.

In this case they should stop evil with their tongue (by speaking out). They may say: “O Fulaan! Fear Allaah! This is not permissible; this is Haraam, or This is obligated on you,’’ and clarify it with evidence from Sharee’ah. [NB: Reader: In the UK, objecting to certain behaviour can be viewed as harassment or verbal abuse, therefore a Muslim should be aware of what the law allows him before he says or does anything whilst living in the West].

As for changing matters with the hand, this should be done where one has authority, such as one’s home [i.e. based on what the law of the land allows], or those authorized by the ruler such as organizations given permission and authority to enjoin good. They should make changes in accordance with the authority they have been given- in the way prescribed by the Sharee’ah, without exceeding their jurisdiction. The same applies to the governor of a city; he should make changes with his hand, in accordance with the instructions he has [been given by the government]. [Ref 2]


[Ref 1: Al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah 16/93]

[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Fataawa Ibn Baaz 8/208. Slightly paraphrased]

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