The statements of the Imaams of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah concerning the rulers and Khurooj

compiled by Islam Tees

1. Al-Hasan Al-Basri (d. 110H)

“If people called on Allah when put to trial because of their rulers, Allah would relieve their suffering; but instead they resorted to the sword, so they were left to it. And not one day of good did they bring.

Then he recited (Quran 7: 137):
And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, for the patience and perseverance they had, and We destroyed the works of Pharaoh and his people and what they had erected.”

Ibn Abi Hatim, Al-Tafsir no. 8897

2. Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241H)

“And whoever revolts against a leader from among the leaders of the Muslims, after the people had agreed upon him and united themselves behind him, after they had affirmed the khilaafah for him, in whatever way this khilaafah may have been, by their pleasure and acceptance or by (his) force and domination [over them], then this revolter has disobeyed the Muslims, and has contradicted the narrations of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)[1]. And if the one who revolted against the ruler died he would have died the death of ignorance.

And the killing of the one in power is not lawful, and nor is it permissible for anyone amongst the people to revolt against him. Whoever does that is an innovator, (and is) upon other than the Sunnah and the [correct] path.”

Usoolus-Sunnah (Foundations of the Sunnah) points 53-54

3. Imaam al-Bukhari (d.256H)

“And that we do not contend with or attempt to take away the command from those assigned with it (i.e., the rulers) due to the saying of the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam), “There are three things towards which the heart of a Muslim never shows hatred or rancour: making ones action sincerely for the sake of Allaah, giving obedience to the rulers (wulaatul-amr) and sticking to their group (jamaa’ah). For verily, their supplication encompasses those who are behind them (i.e., those whom they rule over).” Then this is confirmed in His saying:

O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger, and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.
[Soorah an-Nisaa (4):59]

And that the sword is not to be raised against (any of) of the Ummah of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

And al-Fudayl said, “If I had a supplication that would be answered, I would not make it except for the leader (Imaam) because when the leader becomes righteous, the towns and the servants become safe and secure.”

Ibn al-Mubaarak said (in reference to the above saying of al-Fudayl), “O teacher of goodness, who would show boldness towards this besides you?”

Al-Laalikaa’ee in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahlus-Sunnah (2/172), from the book The ‘Aqeedah of Imaam al-Bukhari, Translated by Abu ‘Iyaad Amjad ibn Muhammad Rafiq and Abu Talhah Daawood ibn Ronald Burbank

4. Imaam at-Tahawi (d.321H)

And we do not hold rebelling against our rulers and those in authority over our affairs. Even if they oppress. And we do not make supplication against them. And we do not take our hand away from obedience to them. And we hold that obedience to them is a part of obedience to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, an obligation as long as they do not command with something sinful. And we make supplication for them that they be rectified and kept safe and secure. And we follow the Sunnah and the jamaa’ah (the united body upon the truth) and we avoid separation and differing and splitting.

Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah of Imaam Abu Jafar at-Tahawi, Points 157 – 163

And Ibn Abil-Izz al-Hanafi (d.731H) said in his explanation of Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah:

“And as for adhering to obedience to them (the Rulers), even if they commit oppression, then this is because the evils and harms that arise on account of rebelling against them is numerous times more than that which occurs as a result of the oppression of the Rulers themselves. Rather, in having patience over their oppression there is expiation of sins, and a multiplication of the reward.

For Allaah did not empower them over us, except due to the corruption in our actions, and the recompense for an action is its like (al-jazaa’u min jins il-‘amal). Hence, it is upon us to strive (ijtihaad) in seeking forgiveness, making repentance and rectification of our actions.”

Sharh Aqidah at-Tahawiyyah (1/430)

5. Imaam al-Barbaaharee (d.329H)

“Whoever rebels against a Muslim ruler is one of the Khawaarij, has caused dissent within the Muslims and has contradicted the narrations and dies a death of the days of ignorance (Jaahiliyyah).

It is neither permissible to fight the ruler or to rebel against him, even if he oppresses. This is due to the saying of the Messenger of Allah to Abu Dharr al-Ghifaaree, “Have patience, even if he is an Abyssinian slave” and his saying to the Ansaar, “Have patience until you meet me at the Pool.” There is no fighting against the ruler in the Sunnah. It causes destruction of the religion and the worldly affairs.”

Kitaab Sharh us-Sunnah (Explanation of the Creed) points 33-34

6. Imaam Aboo ‘Uthmaan Ismaa’eel As-Saaboonee (d.449H)

The People of Hadeeth hold that the prayers of al-Jumu’ah, the two Eids and any other prayer, can be performed behind every Muslim Imaam irrespective of whether he is righteous or immoral.

They also hold that Jihaad against the disbelievers is valid with them, even if they are oppressors and tyrants. They agree to make supplications for them, asking to rectify their situation, to be given tawfeeq and to establish justice amongst their subjects. They do not deem permissible rebellion against the leaders by the sword even if they are unjust and tyrannical. They say that the extremists (transgressive group) should be fought until they return to the obedience of the just Imaam.

‘Aqeedatus-Salaf As’haabul-Hadeeth (The Creed of the Pious Predecessors & the People of Hadeeth), Chapter 24 – The Prayer behind the Righteous & the Immoral, and performing Jihaad with them.

7. Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee (d.620H)

From the Sunnah is: Hearing and obeying the Muslim leaders and the Khaleefahs (Ameer-ul-Muslimeen), the righteous from among them as well as the evil. This is so long as they do not command us with disobedience to Allaah, for indeed, there is no obedience to anyone if it involves disobedience to Allaah.

It is obligatory to obey: Whoever is given the Khilaafah while the people agree and are pleased with him, as well as (to obey) the one who fought against the people till he became the Khaleefah and was proclaimed “Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen.” Opposing him, revolting against him and sowing the seeds of dissension amongst the Muslims against him is forbidden.

Lum’at-ul-‘Itiqaad (Sufficiency in Creed) by Imaam Ibn Qudaamah Al-Maqdisee, under the section: Muhammad, The Seal of the Prophets.

8. Sheikhul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah (d.728H)

In addition, ahl as-sunnah wa al-jama’ah do not pronounce disbelief on ahl al-qiblah (the people of the qiblah i.e. Muslims) due to an act of disobedience or major sin as the Khawarij do. Rather, the faith-based brotherhood remains despite the existence of sins.

As Allaah says:

O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother [i.e., the killer] anything, and then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him [i.e., the deceased’s heir or legal representative] with good conduct. This is alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment.
[Surah al-Baqarah 2:178]

And He has said:
And if two factions among the believers should fight, then make settlement between the two. But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah. And if it returns, then make settlement between them in justice and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy.
[Surah al-Hujurat 49:9-10]

Al-‘Aqidah al-Wasitiyah, section on Iman, taken from the book, Notes on Al-Aqidah al-Wasitiyah, containing the notes of Shaykh Muhammad salih al-‘Uthaymin, Translated by Shakiel Humayn

9. Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H)

“This is a great topic, containing much benefit and due to ignorance of this topic a great mistake has fallen upon the Sharee’ah…” up until he said, after mentioning that the basis of the Sharee’ah is built upon the welfare and benefits of the servants: “…The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam) legislated for his ummah, the obligation of rejecting the evil so that by its rejection, the goodness that Allaah and His Messenger love is obtained. And when rejecting the evil leads to what is more evil and more hated by Allaah and His Messenger then it is not allowed to reject it – even if Allaah hates it and detests those who perform it (the evil). And this is like rejection [inkaar] against the kings, and the ones in authority by coming out against them [with arms etc. to fight them] – for verily, that is the basis and foundation of every evil (sharr) and every tribulation (fitnah) till the end of time.”

I’laam al-Muwaqqi’een

10. Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab (d.1206H)

“And I hold the obligation of listening to and obeying the Muslim rulers, the righteous amongst them and the sinful ones, as long as they do not command disobedience to Allaah. And whoever takes hold of the caliphate and the people have united upon him and are pleased with him, or he has overtaken them with his sword up until he becomes the caliph, obedience to him is obligatory And it is unlawful to revolt against him.”

The letter of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab to the inhabitants of al-Qaseem, from the book, Explanation of the ‘Aqeedah of the Imaam, the Reformer, Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab, Explained by the Noble Shaykh Dr. Saalih Ibn Fawzaan al-Fawzaan, Translated by Maaz Qureshi.

Footnotes

[1] Such as the following two hadiths:

Hudhaifah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, related that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi-wasallam), said:
“There will come leaders who will not follow my guidance and will not follow my Sunnah. There will be amongst them men, who will have the hearts of devils and the bodies of humans.” Hudhaifah asked: ‘What shall I do O Messenger of Allaah, if I reach that?’ He replied: “You should hear and obey the ruler, even if he flogs your back and takes your wealth. Then still hear and obey.

[Sahih Muslim, The Book on Government (20), CHAPTER: INSTRUCTION TO STICK TO THE MAIN BODY OF THE MUSLIMS IN THE TIME OF TRIALS AND WARNING AGAINST THOSE INVITING PEOPLE TO DISBELIEF, No. 4554]

al-’Irbad ibn Sariyah (رضي الله عنه‏) said:
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) lead us in prayer one day and then he faced us and gave us an eloquent sermon due to which the eyes flowed with tears and the hearts were moved, so one of us said,

“Oh Messenger of Allah, it is as if this is a farewell sermon, so what do you advise us with?”

He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
“I advise you to fear Allah and to hear and obey (your leaders) even if an Abyssinian slave were to rule over you. For whomsoever lives amongst you after me, will see many differences so upon you is to follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided caliphs after me. Stick to it and bite onto it with the molar teeth and be warned of the newly invented matters for verily every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance.”

[Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume 3, Kitab al-Sunnah (Adherence to the Sunnah), no. 4590]

About islamtees

The Qur'an and Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salafus-Saalih (Righteous Predecessors).
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