Forbidding Wrong in Islam: An Introduction

Publication Year



Michael Cook's classic study, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge, 2001), reflected upon the Islamic injunction to forbid wrongdoing. This book is a short, accessible survey of the same material. Using Islamic history to illustrate his argument, Cook unravels the complexities of the subject by demonstrating how the past informs the present. At the book's core is an important message about the values of Islamic traditions and their relevance in the modern world.

  • An ingenious and erudite study of morality and justice in the Islamic tradition by a master in the field
  • Narrative covers a wide history to bring Islam and its peoples to life
  • This is scholarship at its best, entertaining and informative: a compulsive read


1. Introduction
2. The elements of the duty of forbidding wrong
3. How is wrong to be forbidden
4. When is one unable to forbid wrong
5. What about privacy?
6. The state as an agent of forbidding wrong
7. The state as an agent of wrongdoing
8. Is anyone against forbidding wrong?
9. What was forbidding wrong like in practice?
10. What has changed for the Sunnis in modern times?
11. What has changed for the Imamis in modern times?
12. Do non-Islamic cultures have similar values?
13. Do we have similar values?


“… this is an excellent book, one that provides a concise synthesis of one of the most important concepts driving Islamic thought.” Brannon M. Wheeler, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

“… every modern student of Islamic law should study this work seriously.” Afzal Sumar, Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies

Cambridge University Press
Cambridge and New York