The Individual and Collective Wajibs

We know that there are obligatory duties which Allah has ordered us to do, and has prohibited us from neglecting them Such obligatory duties like the daily Salats, Sawm, Hajj, enjoining the right, washing the dead, etc. have been enjoined upon us.

We also know that a Wajib [a duty], is an act that is rewarded, and its doer is praised, and the neglector is punished and dispraised. The Wajibs Are of Two Kinds:

1. The Individual Wajib, or [Al-Wajibul-Ayni], is to be performed by every individual who has reached the age of consent, and nobody else may do it for him. Such as the daily Salat and the Sawm, as these and similar Wajibs are to be performed by every grown up person (Mukallaf) himself and he is responsible for them, that is why it is called: Al-Wajibul-Ayni., that is, it is the duty of the very person to perform it himself.

2. The Collective Wajib [Al-Wajibul-Kifa'i]: It is a duty, which Allah wants to be performed by any grown up person, not a particular one, as the important thing is to have the Wajib carried out, such as washing the body of the dead, performing the Salat over it, rescuing the drowned, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong. Also undertaking judicature, accepting posts in the Islamic State and the professions needed by the Islamic society, such as medicine, engineering, and studying to become an authority in the Divine law and jurisprudence. When some people undertake these duties and perform them, the others will be exempted from them. If nobody offers to take these responsibilities or does not complete them, every mature member of the Islamic society would be committing a sin, and would deserve punishment, whereas the one who performs this Wajib will be rewarded. In this case, the one who does not perform it will not be punished, because others have done it, though he will be deprived of the reward.

But if a group of people carried out some of the collective Wajib, such as enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, or the Jihad [holy war] for the sake of Allah, without being successful in removing the wrong, injustice and corruption, or in warding off the enemies' aggression against the Islamic countries, the group which carried out the duty would be excused and rewarded.

While those who stayed behind and did not take part in this duty would be punished, because the group who undertook the task of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong could not fulfil it, i.e. the Wajib could not be carried out, therefore, those who lagged behind must be reckoned and punished for not taking part in it.


The collective duties are considered individual duties, if they are confined to some of the people. For example, if somebody saw a man drowning, or exposed to a destructive danger, and there was no one else capable of saving the endangered man, it would be his individual duty to save him, and he would not be excused.

Another example of turning a collective duty into an individual one is this: Suppose that there was a town with only a single physician, or with an insufficient number of physicians, in this case, the task of medical treatment of the sick people would be an individual duty of those physicians, since it is exclusively their responsibility.

Similarly if there was only a single religious jurisprudent in a town, he would be responsible for issuing religious decrees and judicature, as being his Wajib Ayni. In this way, a Wajib Kifa'i turns into a Wajib Ayni on the people, if it is confined only to them, and there is nobody else to do it.

Another example is the Wajib Kifa'i of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, which becomes a Wajib Ayni, if there was only one person present while a bad occurrence was happening, or only a few persons were capable of stopping it, or if resisting the wrong and calling for Islam was confined to a single person or a few people, then the Wajib of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong and calling for Islam would become a Wajib Ayni in respect of that person or persons. This is how sometimes a collective duty changes into an individual one.

Preparatories for the Wajib and the Haram

Preparation for the Wajib:

We know that Islam enjoins some acts as Wajib, such as the Salat, the establishment of justice, Hajj, seeking knowledge, being kind to one's parents, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, Jihad in the way of Allah, etc., and prohibits other acts, such as drinking wine, killing people, disbelief, injustice, spreading mischief in the land, usury, monopoly, usurping the wealth and the rights of the people, and insulting them, etc., so as to establish happiness, security and freedom, and protect human dignity, so that man may live in the shadow of truth, justice and peace, through obeying Allah, the Exalted.

Naturally, many of these Wajibs cannot be done without some preparatory procedures, i.e. the Muqaddimahs. These are "the things on which the carrying out of the Wajib depends."

For example: Jihad is a Wajib, performing of which depends, at our present time, on preparing our armies, producing weapons and advanced war-tools. Therefore, organizing the Islamic armies and supplying them with the advanced weapons become a Wajib, too, as this is a Muqaddimah on which the Jihad for the sake of Allah depends.

Preserving security is a Wajib, too, in Islam. Now, preserving it necessitates the forming of a system of sincere and trustworthy security personnel, and providing them with developed and up-to-date means and instruments, enabling them to discover crimes and to pursue criminals. The existence of such an establishment of security person nel and equipment becomes a preparatory Wajib needed to preserve security. So, it would be incumbent on the State to provide for it.

The Wajib of "enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong" depends, sometimes, on the gathering of a number of pious people, forming a cooperative and united group. This gathering of a united group becomes a Wajib as a preparatory process for the realization of a religious duty.

Hajj, as we know, is a Wajib, but it cannot be achieved without travelling and making preparations for the journey, as the Muqaddimahs for the Hajj. So, these preparatory steps for the journey are among the Wajibs enjoined on the Mukallaf.

At-Taharah [purification], as we know, is a condition for the validity of the Salat. So, purifying the dress and the body from the Najasah [anything religiously regarded as impure], and performing ablution, or Ghusl of Janabah [one is regarded unclean after having sexual intercourse or a wet-dream, a case which requires a "Ghusl of Al­Janabah" to purify the body] or performing the Tayammum [a kind of purification by dry soil, used in particular cases], are Wajib preparations, in other words Muqaddimahs.

Thus, a Muqaddimah is not a Wajib in itself, but it is a preparatory Wajib for the performance of the Wajib itself. That is, it is not an independent Wajib to travel to the holy city of Mecca, to purify the impure dress, to perform the Wudu, the Ghusl or the Tayammum, to install factories for weapons, to provide the means for establishing security... but these are preparatory steps on which the correct performance of the Wajibs depends, and thus, they are logically regarded like the Wajibs.

Explaining this, the Ulama have said; "The thing which is necessary for a Wajib (as a preparatory) is Wajib too." The Muqaddimah, therefore, is a Wajib for the sake of the Wajib, but is not a Wajib in itself. Some Ulama, call the Muqaddimah for the Wajib, (Fathudh-Dharai) that is, the essentiality of preparing the means and tools on which the performance of the Wajib depends.

Preparation for the Haram:

As we know that the Muqaddimah for the Wajib is Wajib, too, because the performance of the Wajib depends on the Muqaddimah, similarly the Muqaddimah for a Haram act is Haram, too, because it helps one to commit a Haram act.

So, the Muqaddimah for the Haram is that which leads one to commit the Haram. For example, reading books of deviation is not Haram in itself. But if this reading affects the reader, it becomes a Muqaddimah for deviation and going astray, i.e. falling into the Haram. Therefore, it becomes Haram for that reason.

Selling grapes is not Haram in itself, but it becomes Haram if the grapes are sold for the purpose of making wine. Hiring cars is not Haram in itself, but hiring them to be used as tools for committing a crime is Haram, because it leads to a Haram act. Accepting a governmental post becomes Haram if it is regarded as an assistance to a despotic authority, although the post is not Haram, but Halal in itself.

Some Ulama call the prohibition of the Muqaddimah for the Haram "Saddudh-Dhara'i" that is, closing the ways and means leading to committing Haram action. Thus, Islam prohibits all the Muqaddimahs; the approaches, and the reasons leading to committing a Haram, so as to protect the individual and the society against corruption and perversion. Therefore, we are forbidden to do things which may lead to committing a Haram act though they are Halal in themselves.


Q1. Complete the following sentences:
a. The Wajib is divided into two kinds, they are:……….and…………

b. The Muqaddimah for the Wajib is …............ and the Muqaddimah for the Haram is ..................

Q2. Give examples for:
a. A Muqaddimah for the Haram.

b. A Muqaddimah for the Wajib.

c. The Wajib Ayni (individual duty).

d. The Wajib Kifa'i (collective duty).