وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ
And there should be a community among you deputed to call towards righteousness, enjoining good, and forbidding evil and only [people who make this arrangement] shall achieve salvation. (3:104)
It is evident from the words of this verse that a Muslim is not addressed in it in his individual capacity; on the contrary, Muslims are addressed here in their collective capacity. Thus, this directive relates to the rulers of a state. The Almighty says that if in a certain piece of land Muslims are politically dominant, then they should depute some people from among themselves who should call people towards righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil.
It is obvious that in some cases the obligation of forbidding people from evil shall be discharged by exhorting and urging the Muslims and in others through the force of law. For the first mode, those in authority have the Friday sermon available to them, which is specifically their prerogative. For the second mode, those in authority have the service of the police and the armed forces departments which in an Islamic state are established for this very purpose and work within the jurisdiction specified for them to achieve this objective.
It is thus evident that according to the Qur’ān, it is the duty of the Muslim rulers to call people towards righteousness, enjoin good and forbid evil. It is incumbent upon them to discharge the following responsibilities also, besides the other naturally imposed ones:
الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
[These believers are those who], if We grant them authority in this land, will be diligent in the prayer and pay zakāh and enjoin what is virtuous and forbid what is evil. (22:41)
(Translated by Shehzad Saleem)