Obeying the Governments & Authorities
Question: There are some people who are confused with regards to obeying the authorities. Some say that (1) giving the pledge of allegiance is only to be done to the main leader of all the Muslims in the world. Others say that (2) nothing is binding of obedience upon them because they did not personally go and pledge allegiance before the ruler, while others claim that (3) such obedience is only to the king and not to others of (lesser) authority. What do you say about this?
Answer: No doubt, this is incorrect. If such a person were to die, he would die in a state of Jahiliyyah because he would die while not having allegiance to anyone. The general rule in Islamic legislation is that Allah says:
- That is the Book. There is no doubt in it, and it is guidance for the Muttaqin (those who are constantly fearful of Allaah). [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:2]
If no supreme leader over all Muslims in the world exists, then whoever happens to be the leader in one’s region – he is the leader. Otherwise, if we were to accept this erroneous opinion, then that would mean there is no legitimate Muslim leader of anyone today, and everyone that dies do so in a state of Jahiliyyah (according to the ?adith) Who says this?
The Islamic nation during the time of the companions was widely spread out. You know that ‘Abd Allah Ibn al-Zubayr was in Mecca, (the leaders of) Banu ‘Umayyah were in al-Sham (Syria), some people were in Yemen, and others in Egypt. The Muslims have always held the belief that the pledge of obedience is binding upon them to whoever is in authority over the land in which they reside. They pledge to obey him, calling him the “Leader of the Believers”. No one denies that. Rejecting this is a form of inciting dissension and mutiny among the Muslims from the point of one assuming that there’s no obedience to anyone binding upon him and because it is contradictory to the unanimous opinions of the Muslims since the earliest times.
The Messenger ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) said::
- “Listen and obey even if an Abyssinian slave is put in authority over you.”
That’s the reply to the first issue.
The second one says he hasn’t personally given this oath of obedience to anyone. This is actually the call of the ignorant, from the most ignorant servants of Allaah. When the Companions gave the pledge to Abu Bakr, did every single crippled person, elderly, and child physically come and give the pledge or was it mainly those of position and authority?
Those people having status among the people and authority were the ones who came and physically gave the pledge of obedience. Did all of the people from the children, the elderly, male and female, all come and give the oath personally? If the people of position and authority give the oath of obedience to the leader of any land, then the pledge of allegiance is complete, such a leader is then a legitimate leader, and obedience to him is binding upon the people.
The third says all the people did not give the pledge to the king. How do they know the people did not give this pledge to the king? Of course the people gave the oath of obedience to the king. I was present during the pledge of allegiance to King Khalid (the former king of Saudi Arabia) and King Fahd (the king of Saudi Arabia at the time Ibn al-‘Uthaymin gave this ruling). Yes, it’s correct that every single child and elderly person did not physically come and make this pledge before him, but it was the people of position and authority that made it.
Furthermore, if a person is placed in authority over any land and were he to have an heir, then his heir could be the leader after him. If the leadership of the first ends, the second would become the leader even if the people did not actually come to him personally to renew the allegiance. This is for the ease and well-being of the people.
If we were to say there’s no contract of leadership for the second unless and until he is given the pledge of obedience by the people again, then turmoil and disorder would result. Such opinions are thrown into the hearts of ignorant people by Satan in order to divide the body of Muslims and to sow discord among the people as the Messenger ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) explained in his statement:
- “Indeed, Satan has lost all hope of ever being worshipped in the Arabian Peninsula. However, he will sow discord among them.”
So convey my advice to such people to fear Allah (The Mighty & Majestic) and to know that they are now under the leadership and obedience of the one in authority over him so that they don’t die in a state of Jahiliyyah.
Obeying the Governments & Authorities
Original Title: الفتاوى الشرعية في القضايا العصرية
Author: Muhammad Ibn Salih al-‘Uthaymin
 This fatwa was taken from a book called “al-Fatawá Ash-Shar’iyyah fi Al-Qadaya Al-‘Asriyyah,” a collection of various rulings by Muhammad Ibn Fahd al-Husayn.
 He’s referring to the ?adith, “Whoever meets Allah (dies) with no allegiance of obedience upon him, he dies in a state of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic state of ignorance).” It is recorded by Muslim (no. 4770). - T.N.
 Recorded by al-Bukhari (no. 661) and Muslim (4732).
 Recorded by Muslim (no. 2812).
 Taken from Nazarat Tasiliyyah by Doctor Sulayman Ibn ‘Abd Allah Abu al-Khayl, the vice president of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University (pg. 473).