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Evidences from the Sunnah
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever intends to advise one with authority, he should not do so publicly. Rather, he should take him by the hand and advise him in private. If he accepts the advice, all is well. If he does not accept it, he has fulfilled his duty.” Source: Musnad Aḥmad 14909 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, who invoke God's blessings upon you and you invoke His blessings upon them. And the worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you and whom you curse and who curse you. It was asked (by those present): Shouldn't we overthrow them with the help of the sword? He said: No, as long as they establish prayer among you. If you then find anything detestable in them. You should hate their administration, but do not withdraw yourselves from their obedience. - Sahih Muslim 1855
Umm Salama (wife of the Holy Prophet) that he said: Leaders will be appointed over you, and you will find them doing good as well as bad deeds. One who hates their bad deeds is absolved from blame. One who disapproves of their bad deeds is (also) safe (so far as Divine wrath is concerned). But one who approves of their bad deeds and imitates them (is doomed). People asked: Messenger of Allah, shouldn't we FIGHT against them? He replied: No, as long as they say their prayer. "Hating and disapproving" refers to liking and disliking from the heart - Sahih Muslim 1854.
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: One who found in his Leader something which he disliked should hold his patience, for one who separated from the main body of the Muslims even to the extent of a handspan and then he died would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya - Sahih Muslim 1849
Simak who said: Ash'ath b. Qais pulled him (Salama b. Yazid) when the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "Listen to them (leaders) and obey them, for on them shall be the burden of what they do and on you shall be the burden of what you do." - Sahih Muslim 1846
Abu Dharr who said: "My friend (i. e. the Holy Prophet) advised me to listen (to the man in position of authority) and obey (him) even if he were a slave maimed (and disabled)." - Sahih Muslim 1837
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "It is obligatory for you to listen to the ruler and obey him in adversity and prosperity, in pleasure and displeasure, and even when another person is given preference over you.” - Sahih Muslim 1836
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Holy prophet (ﷺ) said: "Whoso obeys me obeys God, and whoso disobeys me disobeys God. Whoso obeys the leader obeys me, and whoso disobeys the leader disobeys me." - Sahih Muslim 1835
Messenger of Allah said: Rulers after me will come who do not follow my guidance and my tradition (sunnah). Some of their men will have the hearts of devils in a human body. I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what should I do if I live to see that time?”
The Prophet said: You should listen and obey them even if the ruler strikes your back and takes your wealth, even still listen and obey. Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1847
Umar Ibn Al-Khattāb (may Allāh be pleased with him, died 23H) said to Suwayd Ibn Ghaflah: “O Abu Umayyah! Indeed I do not know, perhaps I will not see you again after this year. So even if a crippled Abyssinian slave is placed [as a ruler] in charge of your affairs, hear and obey him. And if he beats your back, be patient. If he denies you [your rights], be patient. If he desires to command you with a matter that causes you deficiency in [acting on] your Religion, then say: ‘I hear and obey, my blood, not my Religion.’ But do not split away from the body of the Muslims [under his rule].” (Ibn Abi Shaybah in Al-Musannaf, 6/544 no. 33711; Al-Khallāl in As-Sunnah, 1/111 no. 54; Al-Ājurri in Ash-Sharī’ah, 1/161, no. 71, others with an authentic chain)
Imam Muzani the student of Imam Shafi'i due to whom the Madhhab of Imam Shafi'i spread said in his Sharh Sunnah:
Imam Tahawi in Aqeeda Tahawiyyah said:
Al-Hasan al-Basri narrated: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) mentioned the rulers and the evil rulers, and he mentioned the leaders and the evil leaders. He stated that the misguidance of some of them will fill what is between the sky and the earth! So he was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, should we not strike them with the sword?” He replied: “No. So long as they establish the prayer, then no.” (Reported by Al-Imām Nu’aym Ibn Hammād (died 239H) in Kitāb Al-Fitan, 1/185, no. 491)
Imam Ahmad said in Usool Sunnah: 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 (leadership) 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) 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.
Imam Barbaharee (D.329 AH) in Sharḥ Al-Sunnah
Al-Barbahārī (Sharḥ Al-Sunnah p113, 114) states, “If you see a man supplicating against the ruler, know that he is an innovator (ṣaḥib hawā), and if you see a man supplicating for the ruler, know that he is a Sunni – inshā Allāh.”
Al-Imām Al-Ājurrī (d360H) states (Al-Sharī’ah Vol.1 p371), “I have mentioned warnings against the ways of the Khawārij that convey the message for everyone who Allāh protects against the ways of the Khawārij, and who does not hold the views of the Khawārij, but is [instead] patient over the injustice of the rulers … and who prays for the wellbeing and righteousness of the rulers, and who does Hajj and Jihād behind the rulers against every enemy of the Muslims, and who prays the Jumu’ah and ‘Eid prayers behind the rulers. Whoever fits this description is upon the Straight Path – inshā Allāh.”
Aboo Bakr al-Aajurree (d. 360H) said in ash-Sharee’ah (p. 28), ‘It is not fitting for the one who sees the uprising of a khaarijee who has revolted against the Imaam, 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 Quraan, the length of his standing in the prayer, nor his constant fasting or his good and excellent words in knowledge when (it is clear to him that) this person’s way and methodology (madhdhab) is that of the Khawaarij.’
Shaykh Al-Islām Abu ‘Uthmān Ismā’eel As-Sābooni (died 449H) stated: “Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah do not hold that it is permissible to revolt against them (rulers) even if they see from them abandoning justice and replacing it with tyranny and injury…” He ended his treatise saying: “These sentences which I have affirmed in this chapter was the creed of all of them (i.e. the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah). None of them differed regarding it with each other. Rather, they agreed by ijmā’ with it all.” (See ‘Aqīdatus-Salaf As-hābul-Hadeeth, p. 32)
Al-Imām Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (may Allah’s mercy be upon him, died 324H) stated: “Ijmā’ number 45: Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah have agreed upon hearing and obeying the rulers of the Muslims. And whoever gains authority over the people [in a country] whether with their pleasure or by overpowering, then obedience is given to them, whether they are righteous or sinful. It is not allowed to revolt against them regardless if they are tyrannical or just.” (Risālah ilā Ahlith-Thaghar, p. 168)
Shaykh Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728H) stated: “The best and most excellent of the Muslims forbade from rebellion (khurooj) and fighting in times of fitnah as was the stance of Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, Sa’eed Ibn Musayyib, Ali Ibn Al-Husayn, and other than them. They prohibited the people [of Madinah] in the year of Harrah to rebel against Yazeed Ibn Mu’āwiyah just as Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Mujāhid and others prohibited revolt during the fitnah of Ibn Al-Ash’ath (who rose against Al-Hajjāj). So based upon this, the affair of Ahlus-Sunnah was established and settled upon abandonment of fighting in times of fitnah due to the authentic and firmly-established ahādīth reported from the Prophet (ﷺ). So Ahlus-Sunnah started to mention these narrations in their ‘Aqeedah (Creed) and they commanded with patience in the face of the tyranny of the rulers, and not to fight them. This came about even though a large number of the people of knowledge and religion [before this] had fought during fitnah.” (Minhāj As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah, 4/529-530)
Imām An-Nawawi (died 676H) cited an ijmā’ (consensus) concerning this matter: “As for rebellion (khurooj) against them and fighting them, then that is harām (prohibited) by ijmā’ (consensus) of the Muslims, even if the rulers are sinners and oppressors. The ahādeeth I have already mentioned that carry that meaning are apparent and manifest — and Ahlus-Sunnah have agreed (ijmā’) that a ruler is not to be removed due to his sin. As for the position stated in the books of fiqh that some of our colleagues hold, that he is to be removed; and what is cited from Mu’tazilah then the one who says it is wrong and he is an opposer of the ijmā’. And the Scholars have stated: ‘The reason why it is forbidden to remove the ruler and it is prohibited to rebel against him is because of the fact that it leads to fitan (tribulations), the spilling of blood, discord and corruption between the people. And the corruption that arrises in removing him is greater than him remaining in place.” (See Sharhun-Nawawi ‘ala Sahīh Muslim, 12/317)
Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalāni (died 852H) stated: “The rebellion of a group from the Salaf against the tyrannical ruler, then that was before the establishment of the ijmā’ that prohibited rebellion against the oppressive ruler.” (See Mirqāt Al-Mafāteeh Sharh Mishkāt, 2/181).
He also stated (Fathul-Bāri 13/7): “Ibn Battāl said: In the hadeeth is proof forbidding revolt against the ruler, even if he is tyrannical. The scholars (fuqahā) are in agreement (ijmā’) upon the obligation of obeying the ruler who came into power by conquest; it is obligatory [therafter] to make jihād alongside him, and obedience to him is better than rebelling against him… and the scholars made no exception to this [ijmā’] except if the ruler disbelieves openly and clearly. In that case, there is no obedience to him. Rather it is obligatory to strive to oust him for the one who has the ability.”
Al-Qādi Iyyad said: ‘It is said: This differing was only in the beginning. Then the consensus (ijmā’) was established that forbade rebellion against the rulers.‘ And Allah knows best.” (Sharh An-Nawawi ‘alā Muslim, 12/318)
Al-Fuḍayl b. ʿAyyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – said, “If I had one supplication that was going to be answered I would make it for the ruler (imām), for the wellbeing and righteousness of the imām means wellbeing for the land and its people.” Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Alām Al-Nubalā ` in his biography of Al-Fuḍayl b. ʿAyyāḍ
Shaykh Al-Islām Al-Mujaddid, Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhāb (may Allah’s mercy be upon him, died 1206) stated: “The Imāms of all the Madhhabs are agreed upon the fact that whoever conquers a land or lands, he takes the role of rulership in all matters. And the greatest of these matters is that it is a must to withhold from rebellion against him. And if this was not the case, then the worldly affairs would not be settled. And the people for a very long time right up until this day have not united behind one leader. And it is not known that any of the scholars stated that the Sharī’ah laws are not valid except with a single ruler ruling over the Muslims.” (See Ad-Durar As-Saniyyah, 59/5, Al-Fatāwa wal-Masā’il, 3/67)
Shaykh Ibn Al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah’s mercy be upon him, died 1420H) stated: “The Salaf were united upon the belief that it is forbidden to revolt against the rulers regardless of whether they are righteous or wicked.” (Sharh As-Siyāsah Ash-Shar’iyyah, p. 92)
“Our elders from the Sahaba of the Prophet ﷺ forbade us from slandering the rulers, from deceiving them and from having hatred for them, so fear Allah and be patient for indeed the affair is steadily approaching."
[Ibn Abi Asim, Kitaab as Sunnah 3/34]
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