Allah says: "There in no compulsion in religion." How do we reconcile this with the idea that it is our duty to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong?
Sheikh Nâsir al-Mâjid, professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh
Some people misunderstand the verse that says "There is no compulsion in religion" to mean that Muslims should not enjoin each other to what is right or forbid each other from what is wrong. Actually, this verse does not give evidence for what they are claiming. The verse merely forbids forcing people to enter into Islam against their will. People are free to believe or disbelieve. No one can compel another in his religious convictions. This is what the verse “There is no compulsion in religion” means. The term “religion” here refers to faith and belief.
However, if a person enters into the faith and embraced Islam, he is then subject to the laws of Islam, which includes the duty of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, since this activity forms part of his religious obligations. It is one of the ways that Allah has preferred the Muslim community over those that came before them. Allah says: “You are the best of people ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.”
Several hadîth related from the Prophet (peace be upon him) come with strong warnings for those who neglect this duty. The entire nation could receive punishment if this obligation is totally ignored. Hudhayfah b. al-Yamân relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, you will enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, or Allah will punish you.Then when you call on Him, He will not answer you.” [Musnad Ahmad and and Sunan al-Tirmidhî]
Also, Jâbir b. `Abd Allah relates that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say: “If there is a man committing sins among a group of people and the others do not forbid him, though they are able to do so, Allah will punish them all before they die.” [Sunan Abî Dâwûd]
These texts as well as others clearly show that the obligation of enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong applies to all Muslims, each according to his ability.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital