163. There are no special powers which those
in power can enjoy over the ruled, nor are there any privileges
in the hierarchy of a family, i.e. the father over the
offspring, or the husband over his wife. All should be bound by
the same general rules designed to regulate the enjoining of
good and forbidding of evil. There are however special cases,
which although do not fall under the banner of this duty, yet
serve its end purpose. For example:
a. What is passed by the Marji' (al
hakim Ash shari'i) under the title of "chastisement" (ta'zir)
does not come under the area of enjoining good and forbidding
evil; rather, it comes under the penal code which is intended to
a wider audience, i.e. setting an example for the society at
large as a deterrent to its members not to follow suit and to
instill the reverence in the minds of members of society for the
b. The right of the father to discipline his
offspring, who have not yet attained adulthood, is another
subject, which is outside the remit of enjoining good and
forbidding evil. Where the father is forced to his son, he
should observe what is stipulat6ed in this regard which is not
within the bounds of enjoining good and forbidding evil.
However, once the children attain the age of
obligation (takleef), the father should abide by the
rules governing enjoining good and forbidden evil, if need be.
That is, he should treat them in the same way other adults are
c. It is the duty of the man to give counsel
to his wife with a view to encouraging her to do what is good
and deterring her from what is evil, in the same way he is
required to deal with others who indulge in sinful activity.
However, he has more room to use subtle pressure on her than the
case with other people. What the Holy Qur'an has revealed with
regard to resorting to hitting the wife when she violated her
marital duties (nushooz) is within the spirit of the
rules dealing with enjoining good and forbidding evil.
Accordingly, the husband must not resort to
hitting as a means of disciplining his wife, until all other
avenues have been exhausted including good counsel and
abandonment. The husband has other means, outside the remit of
enjoining good and forbidding evil, at his disposal with regard
to dealing with his wife. Apart from that, their relationship
must be governed by the general framework of relations, as
designed by the laws of Islam.
d. Brothers have no jurisdiction over their
sisters. Thus, they are not allowed to overstep the boundaries
set for the relationships of people at large. What has been
commonplace, in our societies, of repressive practices against
girls by their brothers has nothing to do with Islam. Islam has
neither sanctioned nor condoned such practices, which are
carried out under the pretext of good bringing up, discipline
and censure, preserving the honor and so forth.
e. In their relations with one another, close
relatives, such as father and son, husband and wife… etc. may
take lightly to swearing as a means of discipline. This is
neither allowed with one's kith and kin, nor with strangers.
However, if using harsh words serves as an effective deterrence,
it may be allowed, provided that the would-be sin in far worse
than the harsh words.
f. The son could use whatever means at his
disposal with a view to enjoining his parents to do that which
is good, because this action falls within the bounds of filial
piety. Such means could include the use of harsh words, hitting,
or confinement. However, he should spare no effort in using them
as a last resort and after a thorough consideration as to their
need or effectiveness in doing the job of making them mend their
ways. Thus, no corrective action should be taken before one is
completely sure, especially from a shari'a perspective so
that filial piety (birul walidain) is not replaced by
filial disobedience (uqooq).
164. In the process of going about enjoining
good and forbidding evil, the person may feel the need to commit
some haraam deeds, such as entering a house without
permission, be in the company of other people who are drinking
alcohol, and so on. In such a case, the principle of competing
priorities must be brought into play, where the most important
should take precedence over the less important.
Basically, one has to weigh the harm, which
may befall the individual or society, as a result of committing
that which is evil, with the haraam action of the person
wanting to prevent it happening. Should the detriment be
greater, it is permissible to commit the haraam deed in
the process; otherwise, it is not.
165. For the duty of enjoining good and
forbidding evil to be carried out effectively, there may be a
need for organized framework, such as forming a group, a
society, a party, and so on. Where possible, setting up such as
enterprise becomes obligatory. Indeed, in certain circumstances,
forming such groupings is obligatory with a view to promoting
the way of Allah, working towards ushering people to obey His
commands, adhering to the precepts of Islam as a doctrine,
feeling, and a way of life, standing up against evil, and
establishing truth and dismantling falsehood.
The overriding checks and balances in all
what should be done in this regard should be that one must never
lose sight of the shari'i principles.
Be it in the movement, the means, the
planning, the confrontation, be it political, security, social,
or military. Bigotry, tearing apart Islamic realities, branding
others, outside the party or the organization, as heretics
should be done with.
This path should be a practical means to
strengthening Islam; in going down this road, the alim
(scholar) as well as the layman must be treated likewise.
166. Should the process of enjoining good and
forbidding evil hinge upon money spending, the person embarking
on it is not obligated to dig into their own pocket. That is
unless, the evil deed poses a greater threat, such as civil
strife which may culminate in loss of life an property, and that
there are not enough funds form the public purse, i.e. zakat and
Khums, the public at large are obligated, by way of
wajibun kifa'ie, to spend their money in that cause. As for
public funds, such as zakat and the share of the Imam
(a.s.) in Zakat, spending of them for removing evil and
establishing good is among the best of investments.
167. Muslims are not allowed to send their
children to non-Islamic schools, especially if it is feared that
they may go astray, even if this happens sometime in the future.
If this is not the case, they are allowed to do so. However, we
do not encourage this practice, particularly if there are decent
Should there be no Islamic schools around,
and there was a real danger of losing Muslim children to
non-Muslim norms of education, which is often the case, it
becomes obligatory, by way of wajibun kifa'ie, on Muslims
to establish Islamic schools on a scale that is capable of
satisfying the need for such schools.
169. In certain situations there may arise
the need to enlist the help of the wrongdoer (dhalim) to
forestall a potential sin. This could be sanctioned, even with
the knowledge that the wrongdoer may overstep the legal bounds
of shari'a in the process of deterring the would-be
sinner. That said, if the harm, which may befall the culprit, is
fat greater than the sin which would have been committed, the
principle of competing priorities should be applied, i.e. one
has to strike the right balance.
169. Innovation (bid'ah) is ascribing
to Islam a certain belief or law without being substantiated
with any evidence from the body of shari'a, tradition, or
reason. It is one of the sins, which could pose a great risk to
Islamic society. This being so , may leave an indelible mark on
the doctrine or the practical aspect of spiritual life, i.e. it
may lead Muslims astray.
Thus, it must be fought in all means at one's
disposal to remove it, or at least undermine it. It could be
said that it is obligatory that no effort should spared in
trying to stem innovation, even though there might not be hope
in succeeding in one's bid, because at the end of the day, the
objective is that Muslims have to be made aware that it does not
form part of Islam's heritage.
It is a fact that flagrantly committing evil
deeds and turning away form what is good has become
institutionalized. It is being espoused by states, bodies,
institutions, etc., let alone individuals, across the board,
i.e. from commoners to the rich and famous. This makes the bid
of standing up to such a phenomenon effectively a gigantic task.
Therefore, every effort should be put into a detailed study and
a comprehensive plan that takes into account all social,
political, and economic aspects.
As for those activists working in the field
of religious guidance, they should spare no effort in elevating
themselves to the magnitude of the challenge and work with
clarity, wisdom, depth, reflection, and total commitment,
especially alongside those charged with putting the plan to
fight waywardness together.
One of our ulema (May he rest in peace) said,
"Among the best tools of facing up to bad deeds and encouraging
good ones is for the activist, especially the ulema, to set a
good example in every aspect of their life, be it on a personal
level or in dealing with other people. Their example is bound to
be emulated by those whom they aim to win back to the right
In the end, there are several niceties, which
commend the involvement in this sacred duty and could pave the
way to achieving good results:
i. Some commendations from the Holy Book and
a. Holding fast to Allah, the Exalted,
"..and whoever holds fast to Allah, he indeed is guided to the
right path". (3/101).
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq was quoted as saying:
"Whoever among my servants held fast to Me, and not to any My
creation, I could tell from his niyyah. I guarantee to
extricated him from any plot which may be hatched to harm him,
be it in the heavens of in the earth".
b. Trust in Allah, the Most High, "...and
whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him..".
c. Having good opinion of Allah. Imam(a.s.)
Ali (a.s.) was quoted as saying, "By Him who rules
supreme, no believing servant thinks good of Allah, Allah would
surely reciprocate. That is because Allah is generous and has
all that is good; He would therefore feel shy if He did not
respond to his servant in kind; He would never dash his hopes.
So think good of Allah and covet of that which He owns".
d. Patience in adversity and refraining from
what Allah has ordained unlawful. Allah, the Most High has said,
".. Only the patient will be paid back
their reward in full without measure". (39/10).
The Prophet (p.) was quoted as saying,
"Be patient because with patience comes great good; be informed
that with patience comes victory, and with patience comes
freedom sorrow 'Surely with difficulty there is ease, with
difficulty there surely is ease".
e. Virtuousness: Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq was
quoted as saying, "There is no other worship better, in
the view of Allah, then chastity and probity". It has also been
narrated from him", A partisan (Shi'ite) of Ja'far is he who
guards against breaking his chastity, proves strong in jihad,
works to please his Creator, coveting His reward and fearing His
wrath. Should you come across such folk, these are the Shi'a of
f. Mild temperament; It has been narrated
from the Prophet (p.), "Allah never confers power on a
person who are ignorant, and never causes the gentle to be
lowly". Imam Ali (a.s.) was quoted as saying, "The first reward
of the mild-tempered is that people at large come to his support
over the ignorant".
g. Humility; The Messenger of Allah (p.)
said, "Whoever demonstrates his inferiority before Allah,
He would elevate his station, and whoever shows haughtiness,
Allah would drag him down. Whoever spends responsibly, Allah
would give him of His sustenance; and whoever squanders money,
Allah would deny him His sustenance. Whoever makes a habit of
remembering death, Allah love him".
h. Treating people justly, albeit of oneself;
It has been related that the Prophet said, "The best of
works is seeing that justice is done to someone, consolation to
your brethren at all time and circumstances, in those areas
Allah has ordained halal is yet another commendable work".
i. Paying attention to one's own
shortcomings, rather that those of other people; The Prophet
(p.) said, "Blessed is he who is engaged in fearing Allah,
rather than fearing the people. Blessed is he who is more
concerned with attending to his won frailties rather than those
of the others.
j. Directing oneself away from evil deeds;
Imam Ali (a.s.) said, "Whoever strive to make good his
intentions, Allah is capable of making his attitude good;
whoever works for the good of his faith, Allah would make him
less concerned about worldly matters; and whoever thinks highly
of his relation with his Creator, He is capable of making good
his relations with his fellow men".
k. Asceticism; It has been related that the
following encounter took place between Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq
(a.s.) and one of his followers, "The man said: I
can hardly meet with you, so could you give me counsel so that I
may make use of it. The Imam replied: I enjoin you to be mindful
of your duty towards Allah, pious, and keen on widening your
religious knowledge; do not seek to be covetous of that which
others are enjoying; (in this regard) it suffices to remind
oneself of what Allah has revealed to his Prophet: And do
not cast your eyes towards that with which We have provided
different classes of them, (of) the splendor of this world's
life, that We may thereby try them; and the sustenance (given)
by your Lord is better and more abiding. (20/131). Allah also
revealed: Let not then their property and their children excite
your admiration..(9/55). So, should you be aware of that, you
must remember how the Messenger of Allah (p.) used to live his
life; his staple food was barley, his sweet dates, his fire made
with palm leaves – if he could afford them. And should a
calamity befall you, your offspring, or property, always recall
the calamities that had befallen the Prophet and his household,
for no other people had experienced anything on that scale".
ii. Vile Practices that Should be Avoided
a. Anger; the Prophet (p.) said, "Anger
detracts from faith in the same way vinegar spoils honey". Imam
Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, "Anger is the key to every evil
deed". Imam Mohammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said, "A human being could
get irate; should they not cool down, and regret it, he would
enter hellfire. However, whoever gets angry with his kinfolk,
and happen to be standing, he should sit down immediately; this
is bound to ward off the machinations of Satan from getting hold
over him. Whoever gets angry with one's immediate family, he
should approach them and touch them; this is capable of calming
b. Envy; Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq said,
"Whoever does injustice to others, it would rebound on him, his
property, or offspring". He also said, "Whoever
achieves success by way of doing injustice to others, there is
no value of the success he achieved; this being so that the
wronged party takes away more of the faith of the oppressor than
latter takes away from the property of the injured party".
d. A rogue person whom people try
always to obviate their evil actions. The Prophet (p.) said,
"The worst of people before Allah, at the Day of Judgment, is
he who had been shown respect for fear of his actions".
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq said, "The most hated among Allah's
creation is he who people try to avoid because of his rude
manner of speech".