Volume 4, Book 52, Number 209 :
Narrated by Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
Today a man came to me and asked me a question which I did not know how to answer. He said, “Tell me, if a wealthy active man, well-equipped with arms, goes out on military expeditions with our chiefs, and orders us to do such things as we cannot do (should we obey him?)” I replied, “By Allah, I do not know what to reply you, except that we were in the company of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and he used to order us to do a thing once only till we finished it. And no doubt, everyone among you will remain in a good state as long as he obeys Allah. If one is in doubt as to the legality of something, he should ask somebody who would satisfy him, but soon will come a time when you will not find such a man. By Him, except Whom none has the right to be worshipped, I see that the example of what has passed of this life (to what remains thereof) is like a pond whose fresh water has been used up and nothing remains but muddy water.”
The narrator of this hadith, Abdullah, is none other than the famous Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (radiallaahu `anhu), about whom `Allaamah adh-Dhahabi writes:
“‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (ra), the learned leader (al-imam al-rabbani), Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman ‘Abdullah Ibn Ummi ‘Abd al-Hudhali; Companion and personal servant of the Messenger (saw); among the first to embrace Islam; among the veterans of the battle of Badr; among the expert jurists and teachers of the Qur’an; among those who strove to convey (the words of the Messenger – saw) very accurately; extremely scrupulous in (his) narrations; and one who would admonish his students upon their negligence in recording the exact words (of the Messenger – saw)…(Due to extreme caution) he would narrate very little (himself)… His students would not give preference to any Companion over him…. Surely he was from among the leading Companions, the bearers of sacred knowledge, and the exemplars (a’imma) of guidance.” (Tadhkirat al-Huffaz 1:13-16)
Hudhayfa (radiallaahu `anhu) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“Whatever ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radiallaahu `anhu) narrates to you, accept it.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
Going back to the hadith, his reply to the questioner is basically in affirmative when he says that we used to do whatever the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to us. And that you would prosper as long as you obey Allah (by obeying the leader). Now we know from yesterday’s post that one must obey the appointed ruler as much as he can and as long as he doesn’t order you to do acts of kufr (disbelief) etc. Ibn Mas`ud (radiallaahu `anhu) did not say yes explicitly to not make it hard for the person to follow his fatwa. So he said when such things happen (I’m supposing this was a hypothetical question), ask someone who can satisfy you – meaning a scholar, who will be rare to find. And his parable of the life already lived as compared to the remaining portion adds weight to his point in my opinion – that the days are only getting worse. So it will definitely happen that rulers will ask of subjects what they cannot do resulting in disobedience of the subjects.