Questions and Answers Concerning the Muslim Rulers Questions and Answers Concerning the Muslim Rulers By Shaykh ’Abdul-’Azeez Ibn ’Abdullaah Ibn Baaz [Q.1]: From the matters that have caused controversy is the affair of the connection between the ruler and the ruled, and the Sharee’ah principle surrounding this connection. Noble Shaykh, there are those who hold that the perpetration of major sins by the rulers obligates revolting against them, and endeavoring to remove them, even if this causes some harm to the Muslims in the country. And recent occurrences like this have started to happen in places within our Islaamic world, so what is your opinion – O noble Shaykh – concerning this? [A.1]: With the Name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of the mercy, The praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds. And may the Prayers and Peace of Allaah be upon the Messenger of Allaah, and upon his Family, and upon his Companions, and whosoever follows his guidance. To proceed: So indeed Allaah the Mighty and Majestic has said: ‘‘O you who believe! Obey Allaah, and obey the Messenger, and those who are in authority over you. So if you differ in anything, then refer it to Allaah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allaah and the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.’’ [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 4:59] This aayah explains the obligation of obeying the caretaker of the affair (waliyyul-amr), and that is the rulers and the scholars. Indeed there occurs in the authentic Sunnah that the Messenger of Allaah explained this obligation to be a duty, and it is an obligation in that which is good. The texts from the Sunnah explain the meaning of this aayah to refer to obeying them in that which is good. So it is obligatory upon the Muslims to obey the rulers (wulaatul-umoor) in goodness, not in evil. So if he commands you with sin, then do not obey him in sin. However, this is not a reason for revolting against him, due to the statement of the Prophet Whosoever sees something from his leader of sin, then let him hate whatever occurs from sin. And let him not remove his hand from obedience, since whoever removes his hand from disobedience and splits off from the Jamaa’ah (united body), then he dies the death of Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic times of ignorance).’’  And the Prophet said: ‘‘The person must obey in whatever he loves, and in whatever he hates, in ease and in hardship, in willingness and un-willingness; except if he is commanded to disobey Allaah. So if he is commanded to disobey Allaah, then he should not listen, not should he obey.’’  And the Companions asked him: O Messenger of Allaah! When you mentioned that there will be rulers, ‘you will approve of some things from them, and disapprove of others things.’ They said: So what do you command us to do? He said: ‘‘Give them their right, and invoke Allaah, since He is with you.’’ ’Ubaadah (radiyallaahu ’anhu) said: ‘‘We gave the oath of allegiance to the Messenger of Allaah that we would not oppose the command, not its people.’’ He said: ‘‘Except if you were to see clear disbelief (kurfan bawaahan) about which you have a proof from Allaah.’’  This proved that it was not permissible for them to oppose the leaders (wulaatul-umoor), nor to revolt against them, except if they saw clear disbelief from them about which they had a clear from Allaah, and nothing less. Since revolting against the rulers is the cause of great corruption and evil. So, by this the trust is betrayed, and the rights are denied, and prevention of the transgressor is not made easier, nor are the oppressed aided; and the paths are deceived, not trusted.  So endeavouring to revolt against the ruler is the cause of great corruption and evil, except if the Muslims see a clear proof from them about which they have a proof from Allaah, then there is no problem if they revolt against this ruler to remove him, if they have the power to do so. As for when they do not have the power to do so, then they must not revolt, or their revolting will be the cause for a greater evil. So they must not revolt out of consideration for the safety of the common-folk. And the Sharee’ah principle upon which there is ijmaa’ (consensus) is: that it is not permissible to remove an evil with that which is a greater evil.  Rather, it is obligatory to avert the evil by removing it. As for averting the evil with a greater evil, then that is not permissible by consensus of the Muslims. So if this group which wishes to remove the ruler who has committed clear disbelief, has the power to remove him, and to replace him with a good righteous leader, without bringing about that which is a greater evil and corruption upon the Muslims, and a greater evil than this ruler, then there is no problem. And for if this revolting will bring about a greater corruption, and betraying the trust, and oppression upon the people, and murdering those who do not deserve it, and great evils other than this, then it is not permissible.  Rather, it is obligatory to patiently persevere, and to listen and obey in that which is good, and to advise the rulers sincerely, and to call them (da’wah) to the good, and striving to avert the evil and to increase the good. This is the correct path which it is obligatory to traverse, because in that is the general benefit of the Muslims; and because in that is the decreasing of the evil and the increasing of the good; and because in that is the trust and the safety of the Muslims from a greater evil.  We ask Allaah to grant all of us the success and the guidance. [Q.2]: Noble father, we know that these words are a foundation from the foundations of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah. However, regretfully, there are some youth from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah who see this as defeatist thought, and indeed it is said that these words contain subservience. Due to this, they call the youth to being severe in opposition. [A.2]: This is an error from the one who said it, and it is due to lack of understanding, since they do not understand the Sunnah, not do they know it as they should. They only run upon feverish zeal and pride in removing the evil, despite falling into that which opposes the Sharee’ah; as what occurred with the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah. Their basis is loving to aid the truth, or pride for the truth, they run upon that, even if it means falling into falsehood, to the extent that they perform Takfeer upon the Muslims due to sins, or testify to them abiding in the Fire due to their sins, as the Mu’tazilah did. So the Khawaarij performed Takfeer based upon sins,  and they enter the sinner into the Fire, and the Mu’tazilah agree with them in saying that their end is in the Fire abiding therein. However, all of them are upon misguidance, and that which Ahlus-Sunnah is upon is the truth. The sinner does not become a disbeliever due to his sins if he does not declare them lawful. So therefore, the adulterer does not become a disbeliever, and the thief does not become a disbeliever, and the drinker of wine does not become a disbeliever. However, he becomes a disobedient sinner, weak in eemaan (faith) upon whom the prescribed punishment must be established. So he is not declared a disbeliever, except if he declares the sin to be lawful, and he says: Verily it is lawful. And whatever the Khawaarij say concerning this is false, their Takfeer of the people is false. And due to this, the Prophet said about them: ‘‘Verily they leave from Islaam, then they do not return to it, they fight the people of Islaam, and call upon the people of idols.’’  This is the condition of the Khawaarij, due to their extremism, and their ignorance, and their misguidance. So there is no difference whether it is the youth, they blindly follow the Khawaarij and the Mu’tazilah. Rather, it is obligatory to be upon the way of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah in sticking to the Sharee’ah proofs, so they suffice with the texts as they have come, and it is not upon them to revolt against the ruler on account of a sin, or sins that have occurred. Rather, it is upon them to sincerely advise him, in written or spoken form, with good manners and wisdom, by debating in a manner that is good; until they succeed, and until the evil is decreased and the good is increased. So these are the texts which have come from the Messenger of Allaah  and Allaah the Mighty and Majestic says: ‘‘And by the mercy of Allaah, you were kind and gentle with them. And had you been harsh and hard-hearted with them, they would have broken off from you.’’ [Soorah Aali-’Imraan 5:159] So the obligation upon those who wish to honour Allaah, and upon the callers to guidance is to stay within the confines of the Sharee’ah, and to advise those whom Allaah has placed in authority over them with kind words, wisdom, and good dealings, until they increase in goodness and decrease in evil, and until the callers to Allaah increase, and until they become active in their call, with goodness, not with harshness and severity. And they should advise the one whom Allaah has placed over them in authority in many ways which are good and secure, along with supplication for the ruler – openly and in secret – that Allaah will aid him and guide him and give him success upon the good, and that Allaah will help him to leave of the sin that he has committed, and to establish the truth. This is how Allaah is to be called upon and beseeched that He guide the rulers, and aid them upon the truth, and that He helps them along with that to leave the falsehood, and to establish the truth, with beautiful manners and goodness.  This is how his brothers should sincerely advise, exalt and mention him, until they succeed in calling to that which is good, not with harshness and severity. So with this, the goodness will increase and the evils will decrease, along with Allaah guiding the rulers to goodness, and keeping them steadfast upon it, and there will be a praiseworthy result for the community. [Q.3]: If we appoint a Jamaa’ah from the jamaa’aat to revolt in accordance to the Sharee’ah, does this justify fighting those who help the ruler, and everyone who works for that government, like the police, and other then them? [A.3]: I have already informed you earlier that it is not permissible to revolt against the ruler, except under two conditions: Firstly: the presence of clear disbelief (kufr) from him about which you have a proof from Allaah. Secondly: the power and ability to remove the ruler without bringing about a greater evil. And without these two conditions, it is not permissible. [Q.4]: May Allaah preserve you, some of the youth have become agitated with the disbelievers who settle in the Islaamic countries, or visit them with due right, and due to that, some of them have declared it lawful to fight them, and to rob them if they see from them that which they disapprove of. [A.4]: It is not permissible to fight the disbelievers who seek protection in the peaceful State, nor is it permissible to fight the sinners, nor to have enmity towards them. Rather, their condition is for the Sharee’ah courts to decide, these matters are to be judged by the Sahree’ah rule. [Q.5]: What if we do not find Sharee’ah courts? [A.5]: If you do not find Sharee’ah courts, then there is advice only. The advice is for the leaders, and to direct them to goodness, and to co-operate with them until they rule by the Law of Allaah. As for when one is commanding evil in fighting, or raising his hand, or beating, then no. However, the rulers are to be co-operated with in that which is good, until they rule by the Sharee’ah of Allaah amongst the servants of Allaah. Indeed it is obligatory to advise him, and it is obligatory to direct them to that which is good, and it is obligatory to oppose the evil with the good. This is obligatory. “So fear Allaah as much as you are able.” [Sooratut-Taghaabun 64:16] Since opposing him with the hand will bring about a greater corruption and evil, and anyone who examine the affairs will without a doubt come to know this. [Q.6]: Is commanding the good and prohibiting the evil, specifically changing with the hand – the right of everyone, or is it only for those who are close to the ruler, or for whoever helps the ruler? [A.6]: Bringing about change is for everyone.  The Messenger said: “Whomsoever from amongst you sees an evil, then let him change it with his hand, so if he is not able, then with his tongue, so if he is not able, then in his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.”  However, changing with the hand indiscriminately depends upon ones capability, it must not bring about that which is a greater evil. Changing with the hand is something a person can do in his house, with his children, with his wives, with his servant, or the head of a committee who can bring about it’s betterment through his hand. However, he should not make a change in which there is no goodness; it will bring about many calamities, and great evil between him, the people, and the State.  However, he can then bring about change with his tongue, like when he says: ‘Fear Allaah O so and so, this is not permissible, this is prohibited upon you, this is obligatory upon you.’ So he explains the Sharee’ah proofs to him with the tongue. As for using the hand, then it is to be done in a place where it is possible to do it, in his house – to those who are under his authority, to those whom he is in charge of – if it be by way of ruler ship, that he commands them with goodness, such as the committees which the ruler commands, and he gives them the power to change things – in accordance to the ability he gives then – by way of the Sharee’ah which Allaah has revealed, not increasing upon it. [Q.7]: May Allaah preserve you, there are some who see that they have a right to revolt against the secular laws which the ruler has established, such as traffic laws, tariffs, licenses and so on, based upon the premise that these are not based upon Sharee’ah fundamentals. So what is your statement – my Allaah preserve you – concerning this? [A.7]: This is falsehood, this is evil. Indeed it has already preceded that it is not permissible to revolt, nor to change with the hand.  Rather, it is obligatory to listen and to obey in the matters in which there is not evil; rather these (laws) have been devised by the ruler for the general benefit of the Muslims, such as traffic lights. It is obligatory to submit to that, and to listen and obey in that, since this is from the goodness which benefits the Muslims. As for something that is evil, like a tax that they see as being impermissible, then this matter is to be referred to the ruler by way of sincere advice, calling to Allaah, and directing towards goodness. It is not to be done by the hand, by fighting this one, or by spilling the blood of that one, or punishing this one without establishing the proper proof, or argument…no…this must only be done by the ruler, since he possesses the ability to bring about change in it. And if not, then he gives sincere advice and proper direction (to the ruler) in accordance to his ability, except for those who are under his own authority, like his children, and his wives, and the likes of that from those whom he has authority over. [Q.8]: Is supplicating for the ruler – may Allaah bless you – from the necessary requirements of allegiance to him? [A.8]: From the requirements of allegiance is sincerity to the ruler, and from sincerity to the ruler is supplicating for his success, guidance, correctness of intention and action, and inner correctness.  This is because, from the causes of the correctness of the ruler, and from Allaah wanting good for him, is that Allaah gives him a truthful advisor (wazeer) aiding him upon goodness when he forgets, and helping him if he remembers.  This is from the causes for the Success of Allaah for him. So the obligation upon the common-folk, as well as the eminent individuals, is to co-operate along with the ruler in goodness, and to destroy and finish off the evil, and to establish goodness by using good words, beautiful dealings, and correct guidance by which goodness is sought without any evil. And any action that brings about more harm than benefit is not permissible; because the purpose of all (Islaamic) leadership is to bring about the Sahree’ah benefits, and to drive away evil. That is to say, that every action which is done by a person, and he intends goodness by it, but it leads to an evil greater than the goodness he desired, then this action is not permissible for him. [Q.9]: May Allaah preserve you. And what about the one who prohibits supplicating for the ruler? [A.9]: This is due to his ignorance, this is due to his ignorance…Supplicating for the ruler is from the greatest causes of nearness, and from the most excellent obedience, and it is from sincerity to Allaah and His servants. So when it was said to the Prophet : ‘Verily the tribe of Daws has disobeyed!’ He said: ‘‘O Allaah! Guide Daws and bring them. O Allaah! Guide Daws and bring them!’’  The people are to be called with goodness, and the ruler is the first of those who are to be called, since his correctness is correctness for the Ummah. So the supplication for him is from the most important supplications, and from the most important acts of sincerity; by which, the truth is established and aided; and by which, Allaah corrects him inwardly; and by which, Allaah stops the evil of his own self, as well as the evil of his corrupt companions. So supplicating for him is from the most important causes for success, and guidance, and for the correctness of the heart and the action; and it is from the most important matters, and from the most excellent of obedience.  Footnotes:  The following was taken from ash-Sharqul-Awsat (no. 5289), as is found in Muraaji’aat fee Fiqhil-Waaqi’is-Siyaasee wal-Fikree of Dr. ’Abdullaah ar-Rifaa’ee. All footnotes were added by the translator.  Related by al-Bukhaaree (13/5) and Muslim (no. 1849)  Related by al-Bukhaaree (4/203)  Related by Muslim (6/17)  ’Umar Ibn Yazeed said: I heard al-Hasan al-Basree during the days of Yazeed Ibnul-Mahlab, and there came to him a group of people. So he commanded them to stay in their houses and to close their doors. Then he said: ‘‘By Allaah! If the people had patience when they were being tested by their unjust ruler, it will not be long before Allaah will make a way out for them. However, they always rush for their swords, so they are left to their swords. By Allaah! Not even for a single say did they bring about any good.’’ It is related by Ibn Sa’d in at-Tabaqaat (8/164), and by Ibn Abee Haatim in his Tafseer (3/178).  Imaam as-Suyootee said in al-Ishbaah wan-Nadhaa‘ir (p. 87): ‘‘Preventing mafsadah (harm) is given precedence over procuring maslahah (benefit).’’ And Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) - rahimahullaah - said in al-Hisbah fil-Islaam (p. 124): ‘‘Ordering the good should not result in the loss of a greater good, nor cause a greater evil (than before). Likewise, forbidding the evil should not result in a greater evil, nor in the loss of a greater good.’’  Imaam Aboo Bark al-Aajurree (d.360H) - rahimahullaah - said: ‘‘It is not permissible for the one who sees the uprising of a khaarijee who has revolted against the leader, whether he is just or oppressive - so this person has revolted and gathered a group behind him, has pulled out his sword and has made lawful the killing of Muslims - it is not fitting for the one who sees this, that he becomes deceived by this person’s recitation of the Qur‘aan, the length of his standing in Prayer, nor his constant fasting, nor his good and excellent words in knowledge when it is clear to him that this person’s way and methodology is that of the Khawaarij.’’ Refer to ash-Sharee’ah (p. 28).  Imaam ’Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Naasir as-Sa’dee (d.1376H) - rahimahullaah - said: ‘‘As for advice to the imaams of the Muslims - and they are their leaders; from the main leader to the ministers and judges, to everyone who is appointed over them with a general or specific type of leadership - then it is to believe (i’taqad) in their leadership, and to listen to and obey them. And it entails invoking the people to do likewise, and to strive according to that which is feasible to guide them. And it is to inform them of everything that benefits them and benefits the people, and to the establishment of their obligation.’’ Refer to Bahjatul-Quloobil-Abraar (p. 19).  Imaam Ibn Abil-’Izz (d.729H) – rahimahullaah – said: “We do not say about a particular individual from amongst the people of the Qiblah, that he is from the people of Paradise, or from the people of the Fire, except about those whom the truthful has informed about, that he is from amongst the people of Paradise, such as the ten who were given glad tidings of Paradise, may Allaah be pleased with them. And if we say that whomsoever Allaah wishes to enter into the Hellfire, from amongst the people who commit major sins will – by necessity – enter the Hellfire, and that he will be brought out of the Hellfire by the intercession of those who are entitled to intercede, then we would refrain from attributing this to a specific individual. So we do not testify for him that he will enter Paradise, nor that he will enter the Hellfire, except due to knowledge, because the reality is hidden, and what an individual dies upon cannot be encompassed by us. However, we do hope for those who do good, and we fear for those who do evil.’’ Refer to Sharhul-’Aqeedatit-Tahaawiyyah (p. 378).  Related by Muslim  Imaam Ibn Abee ’Aasim said in Kitaabus-Sunnah (2/251): ‘‘Chapter: How are the leaders of the common-folk to be advised?’’ And he related: From Shurayh Ibn ’Ubayd al-Hadramee and other than him who said: ’Iyaad Ibn Ghunm was whipping a person of a land which was conquered. So Hishaam Ibn Hakeem spoke harshly with him, until ’Iyaad became angry. So he stayed the night (like this) through the night, then he came to Hishaam Ibn Hakeem and sought an excuse from him. Then Hishaam said to ’Iyaad: Have you not heard the Prophet saying: “Verily the person who shall suffer the severest punishment is the one who is most severe in punishing the people in this world.’’ So ’Iyaad Ibn Ghunm said: “O Hishaam Ibn Hakeem! Indeed we have heard what you have heard, but you have not heard the statement of the Messenger of Allaah : “Whosoever wishes to advise the ruler concerning a matter, then let him not do it openly. Rather, he should take him by the hand and take him into seclusion. So if he accepts his advice, then he has achieved his objective, and if he does not accept from him, then he has still conveyed that which was a duty upon him.” And verily you – O Hishaam – are a reckless fool – therefore, you dare to come out against the ruler of Allaah. So why are you not scared that you may be killed by the ruler, so you will be one who was killed by the ruler of Allaah the Blessed and Exalted?!” In addition to Ibn Abee ’Aasim, this hadeeth was also related by Ahmad (3/403), and it was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in Dhilaalul-Jannah fee Takhreejis-Sunnah (no. 1096).  Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.241H) – rahimahullaah – said: “Verily I supplicate for the ruler, for his correctness, success and support – night and day – and I see this as being obligatory upon me.’’ Refer to as-Sunnah (no. 14) of Aboo Bakr al-Khallaal.  Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas (d.179H) – rahimahullaah – said: “The right of every Muslim whom Allaah has blessed with something of knowledge and understanding (fiqh), is that he enters upon the ruler to command him with goodness, and to prohibit him from evil, and to admonish him.” Refer to Tarteebul-Madaarik (1/207-208) of al-Qaadee ’Iyaad. Ibn Abee Haatim relates in al-Jarh wat-Ta’deel (1/30) from Imaam Maalik, that it was said to him: ‘Verily you enter upon the ruler whilst they (the people) are being oppressed (by the ruler)!’ So Maalik said: “May Allaah have mercy upon you! So where is the person who will speak with the truth?! Indeed the Messenger of Allaah said: “The most excellent Jihaad is a truthful word spoken to an oppressive ruler.” The hadeeth was related by Ibn Maajah (no. 4012), and Ahmad (5/251); and it was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in Saheehul-Jaami’ (no. 1100).  Related by Muslim (1/69)  From Yazeed Ibn Kusayb al-’Adawee who said: I was with Abee Bakrah under the pulpit of Ibn ’Aamir, and he was giving a sermon, and he was wearing fine clothes. So Aboo Bilaal said: Look at our leader wearing the clothes of the sinners! So Aboo Bakrah said: Be silent, I heard the Messenger say: “Whosoever holds contempt for the ruler of Allaah upon the earth, then Allaah will hold contempt for him.” This is an authentic hadeeth related by at-Tirmidhee (no. 1812). Imaam adh-Dhahabee says in Siyar A’laamun-Nubalaa (14/508): “This Aboo Bilaal is Mirdaas Ibn Udiyyah, a khaarijee. And from his ignorance is that he counts the man who wears fine clothes as being from amongst those who wear the clothes of sinners.”  Sa’eed Ibn Jumhaan said: ‘I came to ’Abdullaah Ibn Abee Awfaa and his eyes were covered, so I greeted him. He said to me: Who are you? So I said: I am Sa’eed Ibn Jumhaan He said: So what was done with your father? I said: The Azaariqah (followers of Naafi’ Ibnul-Azraq al-Khaarijee) killed him. He said: May Allaah curse the Azaariqah! May Allaah curse the Azaariqah! The Messenger of Allaah has informed us that they are the ‘dogs of the Hellfire.’ He said: So I said: The Azaariqah alone, or all of the Khawaarij? He said: Yes, all of the Khawaarij. He said: So I said: Verily the ruler is oppressing the people and affecting them. He said: So give him your hand, and connect your hand to his firmly. Then he said: “Woe to you O Ibn Jumhaan! Stick to the Suwaadul-A’dtham, stick to the Suwaadul-A’dtham! If the ruler will listen to you, then go to his house and inform him of what you know. So he may accept from you, but if not, then leave him; since you do not know more than him.’’’ This incident was reported by Ahmad (4/3272-372), it was authenticated by Shaykh al-Albaanee in Dhilaalul-Jannah (no. 508). ’Abdullaah Ibn Ahmad (d.290H) – rahimahullaah – with an authentic chain of narrators going back to Sa’eed Ibn Jumhaan who said: “The Khawaarij used to call upon me, until I was about to enter along with them. So I saw the sister of Aboo Bilaal in a dream, where Aboo Bilaal was a black hairy dog, and his eyes were filled with tears. He said: So she said: You are with my father O Abaa Bilaal! What is it from your affairs that I see you like this? He said: ‘‘After you, we were made into dogs of the Fire.’’ And Aboo Bilaal was from amongst the leaders of the Khawaarij.’’ Refer to as-Sunnah (no. 1509).  Fudayl Ibn ’Iyaad (d.187H) – rahimahullaah – said: “If I had a supplication that would be answered, I would not make it, except for the ruler. Because when the ruler becomes righteous, the towns and the servants become safe and secure.” Refer to Hilyatul-Awliyaa‘ (8/91-92).  Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar (d.852H) – rahimahullaah – said in Fathul-Baaree (1/138): “The advice to the leaders of the Muslims is to aid them upon that by which they will become established. And it is to warn them against negligence, and to correct their deficiency when they slip, and to unite the word upon them, and to reject the hearts that have enmity towards them. And the greatest advice is to prevent them – by using that which is good – from oppression.”  Related by al-Bukhaaree (6/105)  The Prophet said: ‘‘There are three things towards which the heart of a Muslim never shows hatred or rancour: Making one’s action sincerely for Allaah; giving obedience to the rulers (wulaatul-umoor); and sticking to the Jamaa’ah (united body). Since their supplication encompasses those who are behind them (i.e. those whom they rule over).’’ This narration was related by Ahmad (4/80), and at-Tirmidhee (no. 2567), and it was authenticated by al-Haythamee in al-Majma’uz-Zawaa‘id (1/137).