Scholars are obliged to enjoin good and forbid evil

Question:

The Qur’an and authentic Sunnah contain texts that signify enjoining good and forbidding evil, and the obligation of clarifying religious issues and advising people. Do these texts indicate that these acts are regarded as an individual obligation on each scholar who is considered liable until he does them; or are they a collective obligation; namely, if some people fulfill the task the burden will be lifted from others?

Answer:

The ruling on this varies according to the degree of availability of the scholars and their level of knowledge and rank. Sometimes people need to know the Shari`ah ruling on a certain issue, and there is only one scholar available. In such a case, this scholar has an individual obligation to perform the tasks of showing the ruling to those people, helping anyone who is confused, and enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. There are times when many scholars are available for the people, but only one of them is able to do these tasks due to his vast knowledge, high rank, and great eloquence.

It is an individual obligation upon this scholar to do these tasks. On the other hand, there may be many scholars who are all able to do these tasks, in which case, it is a collective obligation upon them to do so. If some fulfill the tasks, the burden will be lifted from the others, but if not, they are all considered to be sinners.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

  • Date: Muharram 14, 1442 AH
  • Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 1254
  • Muftis: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz , Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Mani'