It must be clear that the concept of commanding good and forbidding evil is not restricted to hudud (the fixed penalties). Hudud, in fact, represent one manifestation of commanding good and forbidding evil. However, this principle is all-embracing; its scope involves all affairs and activities. It is the goal of all Muslims, men and women alike, to reform the community where they live, to spread morality and decency; in short, to establish all that is good and to forbid all that is evil. In the pursuit of this goal, Muslims should adopt a kind and wise approach.
This, however, does not imply abandoning hudud or cancelling them. Hudud represent a part of Islam that cannot be revoked. They may be delayed to the proper time, but they cannot be nullified.
Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, professor of fiqh and its principles, International Islamic University, Malaysia, states: It is true that the Muslim community has to command the right and forbid the wrong. This obligation doesn’t refer only to hudud but it does refer to other crimes such as bribery, disobedience of parents, undermining the teachings of Islam, laziness, hypocrisy, backbiting, etc.
As for the enforcement of hudud or punishments, this is a duty upon Muslim leaders, not individuals. In other words, no Muslim individual is allowed to carry out the hudud without the permission of the leader.
In the event that there is no Muslim leader in command —such as the case of communities where Muslims are minorities— then the enforcement or implementation of hudud law would have to be postponed and upheld, not to be abandoned. There is a big difference between abandonment and postponement or upholding. As Muslims we are not allowed to abandon hudud. To abandon means to reject or cancel it. But we are allowed to postpone or uphold due to the circumstances and situations.
Moreover, Muslims in minority communities should focus on ways and means of preventing Muslims from committing the crimes that entail hudud through da`wah work, talks, lectures, etc. The community should work on pacific and positive enforcement of these penalties through the said method.
Furthermore, one should not restrict the implementation of Islam to hudud, as Islam consists of economic, social, educational, and intellectual aspects. In this regard, a Muslim can command so many rights and forbid so many wrong deeds that are related to the said issues.
Thus, the true Muslim exerts every effort to apply the principle of commanding good and forbidding evil. If there are certain areas that he cannot enforce, he should direct his attention to other available and possible areas, adopting a gentle and wise approach.