The Sharia Wikipedia page used to say:

Some Salafist suggest that enforcement of sharia under the Hisbah doctrine is the sacred duty of all Muslims, not just rulers.

By "Some Salafist", the reference it listed was referring to Al-jama'ah al-islamiyah, which its Wikipedia page describes as "considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union." I edited Wikipedia accordingly.

My impression is that scholars ordinarily claim the opposite, and I'm looking for concrete examples from notable scholars.

Question: Which major scholars say that Hisbah is not the duty of lay Muslims?

  • Wikipedia is not a reliable source. It can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong. Edits on Wikipedia that are in error may eventually be fixed. However, because Wikipedia is a volunteer run project, it cannot monitor every contribution all of the time. There are many errors that remain unnoticed for days, weeks, months, or even years. Therefore, Wikipedia should not be considered a definitive source in and of itself.
    – Ahmed
    Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 6:36

1 Answer 1


There is an open letter to al-Baghdadi by a body of notable Muslim scholars that touches on this. You can accessed it at: http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com. Here is an excerpt:

  1. Coercion and Compulsion: God  says: ‘you are not a taskmaster over them’ (Al-Ghashiyah, 88: 22); and: ‘There is no compulsion in religion. Rectitude has become clear from error …’ (Al- Baqarah, 2: 256); and: ‘And if your Lord willed, all who are in the earth would have believed together. Would you then compel people until they are believers?’ (Yunus, 10: 99); and: ‘And say, “The truth [that comes] from your Lord; so whoever will, let him believe, and whoever will, let him disbelieve”.’ (Al-Kahf, 18: 29); and: ‘You have your religion and I have my religion’ (Al- Kafirun, 109: 6). It is known that the verse: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’ was revealed after the Conquest of Mecca, hence, no one can claim that it was abrogated. You have coerced people to convert to Islam just as you have coerced Muslims to accept your views. You also coerce everyone living under your control in every matter, great or small, even in matters which are between the individual and God  . In Al-Raqqa, Deir el-Zor and other areas under your control, armed groups who call themselves ‘al-hisbah’ make their rounds, taking people to task as though they were assigned by God  to execute His commandments. Yet, not a single one of the Companions did this. This is not enjoining the right and honourable and forbidding the wrong; rather, it is coercion, assault, and constant, random intimidation. If God  wanted this, He would have obliged them over the minutest details of His religion. God  says: ‘… Have they not realised, those who believe, that had God willed, He could have guided all mankind? ...’ (Al-Ra’d, 13: 31); and: ‘If We will We will send down to them a sign from the heaven before which their necks will remain bowed in humility.’ (Al-Shu’ara’, 26: 4).

  2. Hudud (Punishment): Hudud punishments are fixed in the Qur’an and Hadith and are unquestionably obligatory in Islamic Law. However, they are not to be applied without clarification, warning, exhortation, and meeting the burden of proof; and they are not to be applied in a cruel manner. For example, the Prophet  avoided hudud in some circumstances, and as is widely known, Omar ibn Al - Khattab suspended the hudud during a famine. In all schools of jurisprudence, hudud punishments have clear procedures that need to be implemented with mercy, and their conditions render it difficult to actually implement them. Moreover, suspicions or doubts avert hudud ; i.e. if there is any doubt whatsoever, the hudud punishment cannot be implemented. The hudud punishments are also not applied to those who are in need or deprived or destitute; there are no hudud for the theft of fruits and vegetables or for stealing under a certain amount. You have rushed to enact the hudud while, in reality, conscientious religious fervour makes implementing hudud punishments something of the utmost difficulty with the highest burden of proof.

I am Muslim born, and it is my first time hearing this Hisbah term (in this meaning).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .