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.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 203 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
The ‘Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “It is obligatory for one to listen to and obey (the ruler’s orders) unless these orders involve one disobedience (to Allah); but if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed, he should not listen to or obey it.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 204 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
That heard Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) saying, “We are the last but will be the foremost to enter Paradise).” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) added, “He who obeys me, obeys Allah, and he who disobeys me, disobeys Allah. He who obeys the chief, obeys me, and he who disobeys the chief, disobeys me. The Imam is like a shelter for whose safety the Muslims should fight and where they should seek protection. If the Imam orders people with righteousness and rules justly, then he will be rewarded for that, and if he does the opposite, he will be responsible for that.”
The ruler who does not rule according to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger should be obeyed in matters that do not involve disobedience towards Allaah and His Messenger, and it is not obligatory to fight him because of that; rather it is not permissible to do so unless he reaches the level of kufr, in which case it becomes obligatory to oppose him and he has no right to be obeyed by the Muslims.
Ruling according to anything other than that which is in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger reaches the level of kufr when two conditions are met:
1. When he knows the ruling of Allaah and His Messenger; if he is unaware of it, then he does not commit kufr by going against it.
2. When what makes him rule by something other than that which Allaah has revealed is the belief that it is a ruling that is not suitable for our time and that something else is more suitable than it and more beneficial for people.
If these two conditions are met, then ruling by something other than that which Allaah has revealed constitutes kufr which puts a person beyond the pale of Islam, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And whosoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, such are the Kaafiroon (i.e. disbelievers)” [al-Maa’idah 5:44]. The authority of the ruler becomes invalid and he has no right to be obeyed by the people; it becomes obligatory to fight him and remove him from power.
But if he rules by something other than that which Allaah has revealed whilst believing that ruling by that – i.e. that which Allaah has revealed — is what is obligatory, and that it is more suitable for the people, but he goes against it because of some whims and desires on his part or because he wants to wrong the people under his rule, then he is not a kaafir; rather he is a faasiq (evildoer) or a zaalim (wrongdoer). His authority remains, and obeying him in matters that do not involve disobedience to Allaah and His Messenger is obligatory, and it is not permissible to fight him or remove him from power by force or to rebel against him, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) forbade rebelling against rulers unless we see blatant kufr for which we have proof from Allaah. End quote.
Is it permissible to rebel against the ruler?
The basic comprehensive principle of sharee’ah is that it is not permitted to remove an evil by means of a greater evil; evil must be warded off by that which will remove it or reduce it. Warding off evil by means of a greater evil is not permitted according to the scholarly consensus (ijmaa’) of the Muslims. If this group which wants to get rid of this ruler who is openly committing kufr is able to do so, and can bring in a good and righteous leader without that leading to greater trouble for the Muslims or a greater evil than the evil of this ruler, then that is OK. But if rebellion would result in greater trouble and lead to chaos, oppression and the assassination of people who do not deserve to be assassinated, and other forms of major evil, then that is not permitted. Rather it is essential to be patient and to hear and obey in matters of good, and to offer sincere advice to the authorities, and to pray that they may be guided to good, and to strive to reduce evil and increase good. This is the correct way which should be followed, because that is in the general interests of the Muslims, and because it will reduce evil and increase good, and because this will keep the peace and protect the Muslims from a greater evil.
[Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh al-‘Allaamah ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), vol. 8, p. 202]