Enjoining good and forbidding wrong is the path of the prophets and the method of the virtuous, and a great religious duty with which makes other duties persistent and strong… the professions become legitimate and the rights of the people become respected and the earth becomes prosperous… and the affairs get settled1. (Imam Baqir (PBUH))
Whatever that reason recognizes as moral is called the good; and whatever is vicious and unacceptable according to the narrations of the Prophet and his Household (PBUH&HP) and reason is the wrong. Therefore all the compulsory religious duties and the recommended ones (Mustahab) are the good; enjoining the good is the act of ordering others in the direction of the compulsory and recommended religious duties. Discouraging from the wrong is discouraging others from what are unacceptable according to the narrations and reason, and they comprise of the forbidden (Haram) and disliked (Makruh) actions.
If everybody is mindful with respect to the actions of themselves and others, and remind themselves and others to do good and keep away from the vice, truly many of the disrespected rights would be returned to their owners; the society will become free from the vice and purity and goodness will take all over. According to Imam’s statement, the earth will become prosperous and the affairs of the people will get settled.
That is why enjoining to the good and discouraging from the wrong is among the core values of the religion. According to the Holy Quran, the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HP) is referred to as the preacher to the good and the discourager from the wrong in the Old and New Testament2. The Holy Quran says that Luqman told to his son: “O my son! Keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil…”3
Preaching to the good and discouraging from the evil is one of the important duties of the faithful and among the top characteristics of the Islamic society, for Allah (SWT) says: “and among you should be those who invite people to good actions and bade them to Marouf and discourage from Monkar.”4 & 5 “You are the best which have appeared, you preach to marouf and discourage from Monkar, and have faith to Allah.”6
In this respect Imam Baqir (PBUH) introduces preaching to the good and discouraging from the wrong as a subject to the Divine’s support and mercy; and those who underestimates this religious duty as pushed away from Allah’s mercy.
Muslims should uphold this neglected duty in order to benefit from the support and mercy of Allah (SWT) in this world and the hereafter; to prevent getting ignoring the command of Allah have a well-ordered society and a calm life.
1.al-Kafi, vol. 5, pg. 55 & 56
2.Holy Quran 7:157
3.Holy Quran 31:17
4.Holy Quran 3:104
5. There are two types for Enjoining good and Forbidding wrong: First is at individual level in which we may be obligated to perform this on our own toward others; the second phase is where a community decide to unite in order to perform something good for their own or prevent a wrong doing. First phase is everyone’s duty; however second has large-scale consequences and are normally applied to a ruling entity and belong to responsibilities of an Islamic government. The verse is pointing out to the second kind.
6. Holy Quran 3:110
7. Wasail al-Shi’a, vol. 16, pg. 124