Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah believe that rebellion against the rulers is forbidden

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The consensus of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah, Ahlul-Hadīth the Salafiyyūn from the early books of ‘aqeedah (creed) and manhaj (methodology) is that rebellion and uprising against the rulers of the Muslims is forbidden. The two Imāms, Abu Hātim Ar-Rāzi (d. 277H) and Abu Zur’ah Ar-Rāzi (d. 264H) among countless others recorded this ijmā’ (agreement of the scholars) in the famous work ‘Aqeedatur-Rāziyain:

“We hold that it is impermissible to rebel against the rulers…”

The Imāms, along with those who came before them (such as Bukhāri, Ahmad, Sufyān, Fudayl, etc) recorded this consensus once it was settled, based upon the clear cut evidence in the Book, authentic Sunnah and statements of the kibār among the Sahābah. And no one has opposed this position in the ‘aqeedah since that time until now except an ignoramus or a misguided innovator.

Rebellion (khurooj) is defined as attempting to snatch away authority from the ruler, opposing him publicly, attempting to force him out of office, inciting the people against him (through demonstrations, rallies, public protests, strikes, etc), plotting against him and rising up to challenge him with writings, sermonising or the sword.

All of this is considered as khurooj. The Prophet (ﷺ) prohibited it in clear and decisive narrations. Narrations that cannot possibly be opposed by desires, opinion and reason or by the erroneous judgements of men, regardless of their station the sight of the people. The Messenger (ﷺ) spoke from revelation and those after him did not. For this reason, when the ijmā’ (consensus) was settled upon, no one disagreed with it except the Khawārij, the Shi’ah, the Mu’tazilah and their offshoots until this time of ours.

Muslim reported in his Sahīh (1847) from Wā’il Ibn Hujr that: Salamah Ibn Yazeed Al-Ju’fee asked Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ): “O Prophet of Allah, what do we do if we have rulers over us who demand their rights yet they withhold our rights?” He replied: “Listen to them and obey them [regardless]. Upon them is their burden and on you will be your burden.”

Bukhāri (7054) and Muslim (1849) reported from Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Whoever sees from his leader something that he dislikes, then let him be patient with him because whosoever separates from the jamā’ah (i.e. the body of Muslims in a country) even by a handspan, and then dies in that condition, he will die the death of pre-Islamic ignorance (jāhiliyyah).”

Al-Hāfidh Ibn Hajr said in explanation of this hadeeth that Ibn Abī Jamrah Al-Andulūsi (d. 599H) said:

“The meaning of ‘separation’ is to attempt to break the covenant of allegiance that was attained for this leader — even if one splits away by the smallest degree. So, he gave the similitude of a handspan because even that amount will lead to the spilling of blood without due right.” (Al-Fath 13/7)

It is for this reason that the Imām of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d. 241H) stated in his work, Usūlus-Sunnah as is recorded in Sharhu Usūlil-I’tiqād of Al-Lālikā’ee (1/161):

“It is not permissible for anyone among the people to fight the ruler and nor to rise up against him. And whosoever does that is an innovator, upon other than the Sunnah and upon other than the Straight Path.

Obedience to the ruler, whether he is righteous, pious, sinful or tyrannical is an obligation. Muslim reported in his Sahīh (1836) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“You are obligated to listen to the ruler and obey him in times of ease and in times of hardship, whether you are pleased or displeased and even when another person is given preference over you (while you were more deserving).”

Muslim also reported (1059) from Anas Ibn Mālik (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) stated:

“You will see after me severe preferential treatment (to those less deserving than you), so be patient until you meet Allah and you meet His Messenger at the drinking lake (Al-Hawd).” So they responded, “We shall be patient.”

In the wording reported by Al-Bukhāri (2377) Anas added: “But we (i.e. some of the Muslims) were not patient.” So this is proof that those who were not able to be patient, were mistaken in their judgement because the truth is what Allah’s Messenger commanded with.

Obedience to the ruler is obligatory in that which is not sinful, and rising up against him due to his sins or oppression is not permitted by ijmā’ (consensus) as recorded in the books of ‘aqeedah of the early Salaf as well as the authentic Sunnah.

And we should not be concerned with the emotional screams of the opposers of the Sunnah and the innovators such as Al-Ikhwān Al-Muslimoon, the followers of Hasan Al-Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Al-Mawdūdi and their modern-day offshoots from the political groups, parties and agitators, those who march for “social justice” and “removal of oppression” and incite the people against the rulers. All of that eventually leads to the spilling of innocent blood, the collapse of societies, the breakdown of law and order, the loss of Religion and Religious education for a generation or more! And Allah’s aid is sought against these political agitators, the destroyers of security and religion. They are as Imām Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (may Allah have mercy upon him) stated: “Whoever does that is an innovator, upon other than the Sunnah and upon other than the Straight Path.”

Ibn Abī ‘Āsim reported in As-Sunnah (1026) and Ibn Hibbān in his Sahīh (4062) from ‘Ubādah Ibn Sāmit (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

“Listen to the ruler and obey him when it is hard for you and when it is easy for you, whether you are pleased or displeased, and when others are given preference over you, and even when they consume your wealth and beat your back.” (Delared sahīh by Al-Albāni; see Dhilāl Al-Jannah and At-Ta’līqāt Al-Hisān).

This is what the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) commanded the Sahābah with — that they were not to rebel or to rise up against the rulers even if others were given preference over them, and their wealth was taken away from them wrongfully, and they were beaten in their backs! So who has the right to say that they are not obligated by the command of the Messenger (ﷺ)?! Or that they are more worthy to stand up to social injustice and oppression than the Sahābah?! The Sahābah had to be patient and bear the tyranny, injustice and open sinful practices of the rulers, but 1,400 years later, these political activists, demonstrators, rebels and Ikhwānis cannot obey the Prophet?!

Shaikh Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) said: “Being patient with the tyranny of the rulers is a fundamental principle (asl) from the fundamentals of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah.” (Majmoo’ Al-Fatāwa 28/179) And this saying of Ibn Taymiyyah is in accordance and harmony with the ahādeeth of the Messenger (ﷺ).

Ibn Abī ‘Āsim reported in As-Sunnah (2/508) from ‘Adiyy Ibn Hātim (may Allah be pleased with him) that we said: “O Messenger of Allah, we do not ask you regarding obedience to the ruler who has taqwā (who is pious and who fears Allah), and is good and rectifies. Rather, we are asking about the ruler who does such-and-such and such-and-such? And he mentioned their evil traits. So the Prophet (ﷺ) answered: “Fear Allah! Listen to the ruler and obey him.” (Also reported by At-Tabarāni in Al-Kabīr, 17/101, and authenticated by Al-Albāni in Dhilāl Al-Jannah)

Al-Imām Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) stated: “There have not been a people who revolted against their ruler except that their condition after their rebellion was worse than before they rebelled.” (Minhāj As-Sunnah 3/231) Is this not the constant reality of affairs even up until our times? Look at the uprisings and revolutions that have taken place across the Muslim world, between 2008 and 2019. What has been the condition of the people after these uprisings? Death, terror, upheaval and destruction! Yet the political activists and their so-called “liberal” allies call for more and more demonstrations, rallies and revolutions! The Muslims need to wake up and return the Sunnah of their Prophet (ﷺ)! The great Imām of the early Salaf, Yunus Ibn ‘Ubayd, stated: “It is amazing to see a person calling to the Sunnah in our time. And what is more amazing is the one who answers the call to the Sunnah.” (Abu Nu’aym in Hilyatul-Awliyā, 3/21, Ibn Battah in Al-Ibānah, no. 20 and Al-Lālikā’i, nos. 21-23)

Al-Hasan narrated saying: Allah’s Messenger mentioned the rulers and the evil rulers, the leaders and the evil leaders. He mentioned that the misguidance and deviation 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 the pray the prayer, then no.” (Reported by Al-Imām Nu’aym Ibn Hammād (died 239H) in Kitāb Al-Fitan, 1/185, no. 491)

Let those who step forth and oppose these texts, narrations, methodology and belief receive tidings that they are from Ahlul-Bid’ah, opposers of the Sunnah, the Hadīth and Salaf.

The misguided preacher, Yasir Qadhi (from the US) stated in opposition to the Qur’an, Sunnah and the ijmā’, and in contradiction of the fatāwa the major scholars of Hadīth and Sunnah: “I say this loud and clear: as Allah is my witness, my heart jumped for joy as I heard news of these protests, and saw the masses of Egyptians pour out onto the streets, wanting positive change, tired of the puppet-regime that had ruled them for three decades, confronting tanks with their bodies, prostrating to Allah in front of the troops even as they are doused with water guns. How can the heart of ANY believer not be overjoyed seeing the courage that the average Muslim has in opposing the tyrannical regimes that they are living under?” [1]

Read about two well-known inciters from the USA: Omer Suleiman and Yasir Qadhi.

Coming up next (inshā’ Allāh): “Can the rebellion of some of the early scholars and their ijtihād be used as a proof to rise-up against the rulers?”


[1] Published January 31, 2011, by muslimmatters.org/2011/01/31/yasir-qadhi-a-brief-statement-regarding-the-situation-in-egypt/

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