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 “Kufr, corruption, and disobedience are the cause of evil and strife. A person or group may fall into sin and disobedience. Then another group keeps quiet, and does not fulfill their obligation of enjoining right and forbidding wrong, and that becomes a sin of theirs. And another group enjoins and forbids, but in a manner forbidden by Allah, and that becomes a sin of theirs. The end result is division, difference, strife, and evil. This is one of the greatest sources of evil and chaos in all times, former and present.” (Taymiyyah 1440)
                                 The passage above is quoted from the famous work, ‘Enjoining Right and Forbidding Wrong’, of the  great Muslim thinker,  Ibn  Taymiyyah  – who  unwittingly became the single most quoted  source lending authority and legitimacy to many of the most famous fundamentalist movements of pre-modern (Wahabbism, Salafism) and modern (Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas) times.   Moreover, this specific excerpt succinctly highlights the timeless evil that can occur, according to Ibn Taymiyyah, as a result of the inability of different peoples to act as the guardians of each others’ actions as prescribed in the scriptures and seen at the time of the Salaf. And it is in an effort to avoid such a fate that many of these popular fundamentalist movements have used the tool of Jihad to forcefully enjoin the good and forbid evil within and without Islam.

                  This paper will attempt to, first of all, outline the Quranic ayahs, in conjunction with supporting hadith, that support and encourage Muslims to enjoin right and forbid wrong.  Moreover, we will further analyze how different scholars (including Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Abd al Wahhab, Syed Qutb and Mawdudi) have incorporated this duty in their doctrine of jihad. It is important to note at this point that such a discussion would be incomplete unless the views of each on justice and Islamic state  are  taken into account. Furthermore,  the positions taken up by ‘apologists’ and ‘moderates’ will then be juxtaposed against the views of these scholars in attempt to find a middle ground or a conclusive winner.

                              In the Quran, the call for enjoining good and forbidding evil  is clearly addressed to Muslims as  follows: “Let there arise out of you a band of people (wa-l-takun minkum ummatun) inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong  (wa-ya’muruna bi’l-marufi wa-yanhawna ‘ani ‘l-munkar); They are the ones to attain felicity” (3:104). In fact this message is repeated in another seven verses of the Quran including “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 perverted transgressors” (3:110) and “The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise” (9:71) along with Q3:114, Q7:157, Q9:112, Q22:41 and Q31:17.

                      Now that we know that enjoining good and forbidding wrong is strongly rooted in Quranic diction, it is important to understand what this duty pertains to; what is good? And what is evil? There is no clear cut demarcation of activities that could or would constitute the performance of this duty. Similarly, right and wrong remain just as vague. However, certain educated guesses can be made by looking at related verses. For instance, Cook says that based on related verses the term ma’ruf  (right) occurs as an ethical term which then allows us to view it vis-à-vis established standards of behavior. Moreover, themes appearing in relation with commanding right include, but are not limited to: believing in God, paying alms, reciting His signs etc.(Cook, 2000)  Moving on to forbidding wrong, verses Q5:79 and Q7:163-6 gives an idea of forbidding wrong being something that ‘individual believers do to each other (Ibid 14) yet there is relatively little information to be gleaned here as well. 

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