The Need for Understanding and Tolerance

Reading the highly charged words exchanged between Muslims in the past two weeks over the issue of Tunisia, and now Egypt, I felt sad to see a number of people taking very extreme stances and forgetting the middle path of Islam that we have been guided to by Allah.

Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that you may be witnesses against mankind, and that the Messenger may be a witness against you. [2:143]

There is no doubt that this is an issue that has presented many challenging questions, and that we should all be reminded that when clarity is not present that it is better for us to remain silent and protect ourselves from the evil of both harming others with our words, and worse, speaking about Allah without knowledge. May Allah protect us all from these evils and imbue our words with wisdom.

I myself spent a great deal of time both reflecting on the events as they unfolded, as well as reviewing the various stances of our noble scholars on matters of this nature. Initially, despite my excitement and du'a for the safety and success of the people of Tunis, I was nonetheless very concerned by the number of people who turned away from Allah and instead to major sins like self-immolation to solve their problems.

Yet there is no doubt that there is an indescribable degree of desperation that has taken hold of so many people in these countries, a desperation that may very well have led to outright madness in many of our brothers and sisters. Hence, it is my sincere du'a that Allah, the All-Merciful and All-Forgiving, will overlook their actions done in these dire moments and that He reward them with success against their oppressors and with His pleasure and Mercy – ameen.

On the matter of suicide, let us briefly take the time to remember this important hadith from Sahih Muslim. When the Prophet (saas) made hijrah to Madinah, Tufayl ibn 'Amr came as well, along with a man from his tribe.  This man became ill when he first reached Madinah and his illness became so severe that he took a knife and slit his wrist, and the blood spilled out until he died.  Tufayl then saw him in a dream, in a good vision, except that his hands were wrapped up.

So he asked him, 'What has your Lord done with you?'

He replied, 'He has forgiven me because of my hijrah to His Prophet (saas).' The he asked, 'Why are your hands wrapped up?'.

He said, 'It was said to me: We shall not fix something you have corrupted yourself!'

So Tufayl relayed this to the Messenger of Allah (saas), so he said: 'O Allah! And forgive his hands (too)!'

From this hadith we understand that suicide does not expel a person from Islam, but rather it is a major sin that can lead to punishment in the Hereafter.

Al-Qaadi 'Iyadh said in Ikmaal al-Mu'lim:

“In this hadith is proof for Ahlus-Sunnah for what they say, that Allah may forgive the sins of whomever He wants, and it explains the ahadith before it that might seem to give the false impression that someone who commits suicide faces the eternal threat of remaining (in the Fire) forever.”

Yet as the events continued to unfold, I witnessed the images of people being sprayed with water cannons while in sujud, the commitment of the overwhelming majority of the people to keep the protests free of the use of weapons and killing and the selfless acts of the brave and courageous Egyptian youth who set up neighborhood watches to protect their neighbors' homes and shops. It was then that I realized the goodness of this effort and that the people had continued to remain close to Allah in these difficult days. This point was also mentioned by Shaykh Muhammad Hassan in Egypt, who called the efforts of the people, particularly the youth, “a blessed and good act.”

I then decided to write this article to demonstrate the expansiveness of Islam on the issues relevant to these events because I noticed that the people had turned away from Islam and from the scholars. There is the idea that some people have mistakenly spread, that these events are against Islam – and whereas this may be in fact the opinion of some scholars, it is by far not the only opinion on this issue. To illustrate this point, in having this article reviewed before publication, I had three PhD's in Islamic Studies as well as a holder of a Master's degree comment to me on it and I received four completely different opinions subhan'Allah. So let us not by hasty in declaring the issue to be black and white, and let us move past this question to tackle the real issues at hand of how to make an impact.

Scholars and the Knowledge of the Condition

The scholars of Egypt have been divided in their opinions on this matter as it is a very controversial one. There are some who have praised it, others who have been silent and those who have recommended that people not participate in it. Yet, the scholars of Egypt are best aware of the circumstances on their streets and the scholars outside of Egypt have refrained to speak much on the matter since this case is particular to every nation in its own way depending upon several factors.

This reminds us of an important principle in fiqh, that there are some rulings which are universal for time, place and condition; and there are other rulings which will vary to some extent based upon certain factors or circumstances. Ibn al-Qayyim, in his book 'Ilaam al-Muwaqiyeen, has written that the one who gives fatwa must first have specific practical knowledge of the issue that he is speaking about, and secondly have the religious knowledge of the fiqh of that matter before he issues a ruling.

Many times, people have asked specific questions on this website, at times even demanded answers from the people of knowledge in the West regarding certain matters in the East. Yet, this guiding principle has caused many to rightly remain silent and leave certain matters to the people who know them best, those who are living them and seeing the reality with their own eyes and can thus judge them the best.

Understanding Khurooj Against the Ruler

The concept of khurooj against the leader has been understood by various scholars in different ways, but generally it refers to taking up arms against the ruler in order to forcibly remove him from power. Speaking out against the leader has also been considered by some to also be a form of prohibited khurooj. As Muslims, we must understand that this is a very detailed and elaborate matter and beyond the scope of this simple article to explore in its fullness. I only wish to provide a foundation for those who are unfamiliar with it here. With that in mind, let us now briefly consider the evidences for this important principle.

Allah has said in the Qur'an what means,

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those who are in authority over you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day.” [4:59]

And the Prophet (saas) also stated,

The best of your leaders are those whom you love and who love you, who pray for you and you pray for them. The worst of your leaders are those whom you hate and who hate you, and you send curses on them and they send curses on you.” He was asked, ““O Messenger of Allah (saas) should we not fight them by the sword?” He said, “Not as long as they are establishing prayer amongst you. And if you see from those in authority over you something that you hate then hate his action and do not remove your hand from obedience” (Muslim)

Imam an-Nawawi said in his commentary on Sahih Muslim:

And as for rebelling against the rulers and fighting them, then it is prohibited by unanimous agreement (ijmā') of the Muslims, even if they are sinful oppressors. And the ahadith are many with the meaning that I have mentioned. And Ahlus-Sunnah are united that the ruler is not to be removed on account of his sinfulness … And the scholars have said, that the reason for prohibiting his removal (by these means) and the forbidding of revolting against him is due to what accompanies such acts from that of tribulations, shedding of blood, and corruption. Hence, the harm from his removal is greater than from him remaining in place.

From imam an-Nawawi's explanation we derive an important point that has been used by some scholars, and that is the prohibition of fighting the imam stems from the great chaos that accompanies it and most often outweighs the evil of the ruler himself. Those scholars today who have been opposed to the protests racing across the Muslim world have not been opposed to them because they love the tyrants in those countries or because they are pleased with their oppressive and dictatorial policies. No. They are opposed to them because they are afraid of the harm that may come from them when things get out of control. Unfortunately, most of the revolutions in our history have not had positive results and this is something we must keep in mind.

Controversy as Regards the Extent of Obeying the Ruler

The fact that Muslims must listen to and obey their rulers is not a matter of disagreement in Islam, but to what extent they do so, and when do they abandon this obedience is an area of varying opinion among the scholars. The obedience to the ruler is always contingent upon the command of the ruler not being in defiance to Allah and His Messenger (saas) as has been established by a number of ahadith:

The Muslim is required to hear and obey in that which he likes and dislikes, unless he was commanded to sin. When he is commanded with sin, then there is no hearing or obeying.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

and

… Obedience is only in righteousness.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Yet, do the Muslims continue to obey when the ruler judges by other than Islam? This specific matter is something relatively new in our time (ruling by other than Shari'ah) and was not experienced by the earliest generations. It is authentically narrated from the Prophet (saas) that he said,

Even if a slave was appointed over you, and he rules you with Allah's Book, then listen to him and obey him.” (Muslim)

This same stream of thought is found in the noble words of Abu Bakr when he said upon assuming the khilafah,

O people! I have been put in charge over you, but I am not the best of you. If I act well, then help me, and if I act badly, then put me right. Truthfulness is a trust and lying is treachery … Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. If I disobey Allah and His Messenger, you owe me no obedience. (Sirat Ibn Hisham)

Do these above ahadith specifically give Muslims the permission to revolt? Upon this, the scholars have differed. Some argue that non-compliance with the leader's command is not equal to rebelling against him, and others say that when they violate their agreement with their people – the agreement to rule them by the Book of Allah – that the people owe them no allegiance and can act to replace them.

Acting to Replace a Tyrannical Ruler

Allah states in the Qur'an what means,

And cooperate with one another in righteousness and obedience to Allah, and do not cooperate with one another in sin and transgression, and obey Allah.” [5:2]

In the very important hadith of Umm Salamah (ra), the Messenger of Allah (saas) said:

You shall have leaders over you, some of their actions you will accept and other things you will reject; whoever rejects with his tongue will be safe from sin, and whoever hates with his heart he will at least have escaped blame, but whoever follows and accepts (he shall be guilty)!” It was said, “Should we not fight them?” The Messenger of Allah (saas) said, “No, as long as they pray.” (Abu Dawud)

This hadith of Umm Salamah has other ahadith which support its meaning. For example, the Prophet (saas) also said,

Whoever from amongst you sees an evil should change it by his hand, if he is unable to do so then he should change it by his tongue (by speaking against it), and if he is unable to do so then he should reject it in his heart – and this is the weakest of iman.” (Muslim)

He (saas) also said,

The best Jihad is the word of Justice in front of the oppressive Sultan.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, ibn Majah)

And the Prophet (saas) also said,

If the people witness an oppressor and they do not take him by his hands (to prevent him) then they are close to Allah covering them all with punishment.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, ibn Majah)

These very important ahadith on this issue provide some options in the Islamic approach towards rulers who transgress. The greater action, which is among the highest forms of Jihad, is to reject with the tongue by speaking out against their crimes and thus be safe from sin. Yet, there are conditions in which speaking out or acting may bring greater harm to both the person and the society and in these cases one must be patient and refrain from speech as it is the lesser of the two evils. In this case, he hates in his heart, and he will still have escaped blame.

The case for being patient and hating in the heart was evidenced by one of the statements of the great tabi'ee al-Hasan al-Basri. A group of Muslims came to him seeking a ruling for rebelling against al-Hajjaj. So they said: “O Abaa Sa'eed! What do you say about fighting this oppressor who has unlawfully spilt the blood, and unlawfully taken wealth, and did this, and did that?” So al-Hasan said:

“I say not to fight him. If this is a punishment from Allah, then you will not be able to remove it with your swords. If this is a trial from Allah, then be patient until Allah's Judgment comes, and He is the Best of Judges.” (Tabaqat ibn Sa'd)

Here al-Hasan recognized the relative impotence of the people before the strength and ruthlessness of al-Hajjaj and thus he recommended patience. Notice that he did not tell them that this act was forbidden, only that he advised them against it for practical reasons. Had the people been greater in number or greater in strength, then the situation may well have been different.

Furthermore, Ibn Hajar records in his commentary to Sahih Bukhari:

Imam Nawawi said: “…one should not object to the actions of the rulers unless they carry out clear and open transgression, and that which is contrary to the general principles of Islam.”

Ibn Teen narrates from al-Dawudi: 'The scholars have stated that if one is able to remove a transgressing ruler, without causing any Fitnah and oppression, then he should be removed, otherwise it is necessary to be patient.”

The real question that remains then, a question that can only be assessed by each population in its own land, “will our efforts to remove this tyrant create a greater fitnah and oppression than that which he has exacted upon us?”

Thus, if a leader or ruler becomes corrupt he should first be advised, in private if possible, or in public if his evil deeds were done in public. [This unfortunately is an act which is limited to a select group of people in our time and is not a practical point for the majority of the Ummah.] If he does not turn away from his evil deeds, he should be overthrown or removed from position if this can be done without creating further upheaval in the society. However, in the process of removing him from position, he should not be physically fought, such as waging war with weapons. And Allah knows best.

The Position of Some Contemporary Scholars Who Uphold the Legality of Protests

Shaykh Salman al-'Awdah in Saudi Arabia has previously expressed that he sees no harm in gathering for protests so long as they remain for the most part peaceful and civil. He states that the foundation of matters such as this (peaceful protests) is that it is permissible and doesn't require any specific evidence to support it. It suffices us that there is no evidence that forbids this type of action unless it is accompanied by obvious harm or sin.

In this valuable statement, we understand that some scholars see protests as a worldly act and not a religious one. Among the principles of Islam is that all religious actions are by default forbidden and can only be done when one has a clear evidence from the Qur'an or Sunnah. On the other hand, worldly actions are by default permissible and can only be forbidden by clear evidence against them from Qur'an or Sunnah.  Some other scholars disagree and see protests as a religious action wherein Muslims aim to command good and forbid evil and thus say that an evidence is required (despite the fact that the gathering is simply a means and not a religious act itself). Again, a matter of controversy.

This same position voiced by Sh. Salman has also been taken by Shaykh AbdulRahman Abd al-Khaliq who used a similar reasoning, and added that the concept of Muslims going out in large numbers to demonstrate their strength is well established in Islam by such things as the Jumu'ah prayer, the two Eid prayers and so forth.

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has also supported these protests and supported the removal of Mubarak from his office as can be read elsewhere on this website. And from within Egypt, Shaykh Muhammad Hassan as already alluded to has voiced support for the act of the youth and said in a televised statement, “I am not blaming you for what you have done.” And he also emphasized the peaceful nature of this protest that calls for the rights of the people and for goodness in praising it.

Concluding Remarks

From these various ahadith and statements of our scholars across the width of Islamic history, we can find evidence to support the protests in the Muslim nations today. They have gathered together to reject with their tongues the evils in their respective governments after having been patient for many years and restraining themselves. They have furthermore kept their efforts relatively peaceful and free from much harm and they have avoided the greater harm, and potential sin, of raising weapons against their leaders. As an Egyptian myself who knows what many of these people have experienced of fear, oppressive policies, illegal detainments, police brutality and so forth; I believe that their efforts thus far have been the lesser evil – and Allah knows best.

It is also important for us to remember that these protests are far from reaching any real gains. Yes, the people have thrown aside the shackles of fear, but what awaits them tomorrow and the next day? For those who equated Mubarak with Pharaoh, then the appointment of Omar Sulaiman as the next leader is equivalent to Pharaoh taking Haman as his confidant. Sulaiman, in his role as head of the murky Egyptian Intelligence, has been the supervisor of numerous evils not limited to the torture of the citizenry (including the scholars), the illegal rendition programs, and of course a key player in walling off the people of Gaza. To have him take over the helm in Egypt is a nightmare that I ask Allah to protect all the Muslims from.

Will there be those among the scholars and thinkers that disagree with the actions of the Tunisians, Egyptians and those who follow this path? There is no doubt that such disagreement has already occurred, as it is very controversial and always has been.  But as Muslims we must live in the real world and recognize that there will be differences of opinion on such controversial issues. The reality at hand is that these protests have already begun and we need to do more for our brothers and sisters in these lands than argue the legitimacy of their efforts. They have begun and they have a valid Islamic case for their actions, alhamdulillah.

My humble recommendation to readers is that they spend their efforts wisely in helping these noble causes by turning to Allah. Gathering to show support in our own cities is wonderful and gives us a sense of unity, alhamdulillah, but what is needed now more than anything is calling upon Allah to accept these efforts and overlook whatever wrong may be in them. To show our sincerity in our love to them by waking up in the night to cry out to Allah to aid them and make their feet firm, and to bring about good from their efforts and rid them of the tyrants. ameen!

80 Responses

  1. 'Uthmaan

    Ameen!

    JazakAllah Khayr for a very insightful article which sheds light in a balanced way on what is no doubt a very controversial issue.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  2. Hasan

    may Allah reward you for this insightful post. You’ve reconciled the various opinions well and outlined many important principles in Islam. I found the info on suicide quite eye opening as well. Inshallah please keep on posting these type of posts Dr Ali.

    The Qur’an says:
    - “Verily! The believers are but a single brotherhood,” (Al-Hujurat: 10)
    - “The believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another.” (At-Tawbah: 71)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  3. Fatima

    I feel sad for these muslims that are protesting. The alternative leader that you mentioned is not much better than the first. i think for us now as you said is to pray to Allaah SWt. for afterall, prayer is one thing no one can take away from us, not munafiqeen and not the kuffar and not the dhaalimeen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  4. Ahmad

    Asalamu’alaykum,
    very insightful. i was always confused on the conflicting ahadeeth on obeying a tyrant versus speaking up.
    This article brought the whole picture and conterversial issues to my knowledge, and shows me that the Shari’ah is ultimately there for that which will be the best long term interest of the people both in terms of the dunya and akhirah. jazakAllahukhair dr. Ali.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  5. Abu Zayd

    I think our tone should be much more optimistic, and the events reveal one thing very clearly- the era of Mubarak and his repression is over. The people have arisen and it shows that our hearts are still alive.

    For those who always sound the alarm and talk about the alternatives to oppressive rulers being much worse, it is hard to imagine what could be worse than large scale oppression, state-sanctioned murder, the absence of rule of law, institutionalized injustice, physical torture of human beings, the ruthless suppression of Islamic voices raising the call of Islam, etc., etc.

    Those who quote scholars statements from the past, should know that, with all due respect to them, these statements and views represent their human understanding of their historical conditions which are not eternally binding principles of religion.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  6. Muslim

    Jazakallahkhair Dr. Ali, for shedding some light on this issue. May allah protect everyone in egypt. Your words were extremely beneficial and clear.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  7. Yus from the Nati

    Assalaamu ‘alaikum,

    Not to be a jerk, but, was there a reason behind not placing the level of authenticity of the various hadith mentioned? (I could only assume, that various opinions stem from this as well? or maybe I am wrong) Nonetheless, jazakAllahukhair for a diff perspective.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Dr. Ali

      Salaam alaikum

      All of the ahadith mentioned are authentic alhamdulillah.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  8. Sis Wardah

    JazakAllahKhayr Dr. Ali for such a clear understanding to this very deep issue. I feel much more at ease knowing the various vantage points (at least a small bit, knowing there is much more to consider) and believe we need to continue spreading these words of balance and constructive thinking.

    Also, the recommendation to turn to Allah is one that indeed reaps most benefit, so I pray all readers do so for our fellow Muslims.

    Give the gift of one night of Qiyaam, and I ask Allah to accept it from us. (Ameen)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  9. Saimah

    MashAllah great article Dr. Ali – it really cleared up a lot of confusion. May Allah (swt) help the Muslim ummah and restore ‘izza to us. Ameen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  10. S. Sheikhly

    Well said Dr. Ali. As far as calling for a new leader, he could be worse than Mubarak or better? Like you said, history on revolution never ended with good results. In my opinion is that no matter who you replace, they probably will not rule by the Shariah 100 percent. So what’s the point of replacing someone who’s not going to rule with Shariah? Look what happened after Saddam Hussein! More Iraqi people are getting killed after his death than when he was alive all because they think that replacing him would bring positive future. WRONG.

    Insha’Allah I hope that Allah subhan wa’tala protects from Fitna from all over the world.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • zarmyna

      The protestors shouldnt be looking for a New LEADER but should be thinking in terms of having the right system of governing and ruling. If the system is right then whoever rules doesnt matter!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  11. Mezba

    You know, for all the opinions of various scholars, reality sometimes takes precedent.

    In 1971, the people of what was then East Pakistan chose to revolt against an oppressive regime of West Pakistan. The rulers were muslim, the country was an Islamic country and FOUNDED as a place for Muslims – yet from 1947 to 1971 the people of Bengal had tolerated the oppression and tyranny of the West.

    They rose without any consideration that the outcome of rebellion would be bad. 3 million people were killed in the resulting genocide (Pak soldiers butchering their own brothers) – the numbers can be disputed but even the Hamidor Rashid commission agrees about the atrocities. Thousands of women were raped, again by the so-called Muslim soldiers and brothers of West Pakistan. Finally, with the help of India, a new country was born.

    Today, as a democratic Bangladesh goes forward and Pakistan remains a failed nation subject to bombings and warfare, not a single Bengali will dispute that rising up against tyranny (the best form of jihad according to hadith) was the correct option.

    And guess who the people were who were saying to tolerate the tyranny , to accept the oppression and not react? Why – the Jamaat Islami and some other mullahs. Good thing the people didn’t listen to them.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • F

      Not really sure why you think Bangladesh is in such a rosy condition. It might have democracy but it just as, if not more corrupt than India, Pakistan, etc. Poverty is still rampant and rule of law is fickle at best. Add to that the floods that come every year.

      I pray for the people of Bangladesh to get better and improve their condition but don’t lose sight of reality.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Uncle Tom

        Bangladesh has it’s own issues, but atleast it’s no Pak-istan.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • ahlam

        I smell nationalism and jaahiliyah….

        The Prophet (sal Allahu ‘alaiyhi was salam) said: “Leave it, it is rotten.” [Muslim and Bukhari]

        And : Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for ‘asabiyyah (nationalism), or calling to ‘asabiyyah, or assisting ‘asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah.” [Sahih Muslim]

        Im neither. But Pakistan,Bangladesh: Muslim with different names.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Mezba

        Here is a Wall Street Journal article comparing Bangladesh and Pakistan.

        Bangladesh – Basket case no more
        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703882404575519330896471058.html

        Pakistan and Bangladesh are now very different countries. There’s no travel warning for Bangladesh as a whole – most of the population is young and thriving. Go to Dhaka and it’s a vibrant city with 50% of the young workforce being female. It’s not as conservative as the Pakistani society and the while politics is always there, the country is doing quite well on many markers. Garments industry is thriving, as is the software and pharmaceutical industries. Literacy is way up.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Mezba

        The point of comparing Bangladesh and Pakistan is that every case has its own fatwa and in 1971, all the mullahs (mostly supporting the tyrannical rulers in West Pakistan) were saying to the people not to rise up in revolt and using the same hadiths out of context to show that revolting is haram.

        Mashallah the people didn’t listen to these bought mullahs and did the right thing.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • F

        I agree with you sr. Ahlam.
        We don’t need a us vs. them mentality amongst the Muslims. Instead of thinking of how one is better than the other, simply make dua for each other and wish them the best.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Arif Kabir

      First off, great article, Dr. Ali! We need more of these articles to eliminate the doubt that may arise in our minds.

      Getting to Br. Mezba’s comment:

      not a single Bengali will dispute that rising up against tyranny (the best form of jihad according to hadith) was the correct option.

      I am Bengali (Bangladeshi to be politically correct) and dispute what you have said. True, Bangladesh was the wealthiest nation in the Indian subcontinent up until the 17th century, when the East India Trade Company (and India and Pakistan soon after) began to rob the region of its resources. True there was a lot of misrepresentation of Bangladesh in Pakistan, but the situation is no better than it was before. Not only that, but thousands upon thousands died upon a war that was supposedly about not faith, but language. This was the main rallying cry of the ‘freedom fighters’ and it led to death, the language of war. Alongside the Muslim Pakistanis were the Hindu Biharis, who did not have a single shred of compassion unlike many of the Pakistani troops. They slaughtered, pillaged, and raped many, and is considered by many historical scholars to be considered the greatest undocumented genocide in the past century.

      Look at Bangladesh now, and you will see that the founding party, and current party in power, is an offshoot of the real party in India. Look at our entertainment, and you will see that Indian Idol and other Indian serials are the smashing hits, with no more consideration given to stopping the television during Adhan times. Look at our country, and no Bengali living there can dispute that it is any better than it ever was in the past. True the Pakistanis had many faults in their rule, but we did as well and we fared no better. Allahu ‘Alam how the country would be now if it remained East Pakistan, but I daresay it would have been better and given the country a more unified religious identity.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  12. MAH1318

    Asalaamu-alaikum,
    Don’t be afraid of the future, The article didn’t mention the different opposition forces, some of which has been strengthened by the protest. Omar Sulaiman is Hosni Mubaraks Crony.

    The article didn’t address the different political movement, we know that the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwanul Muslimoon) has a broad mass popular support and is considered the largest and most effective opposition.

    If they participate in a free and fair election [this is a key demand of all the protesters, secularists or otherwise] – then they have a very good chance of winning if not by a majority then surely a major player in any new government. Imagine what can happen, economic blockade in Gaza lifted, peace treaty with Israel abolished and a more Islamic orientated government.

    I am not passing opinions about Ikhwan or their activities – i am aware that they are a corrupt-free Islamic social and political movement which runs hospitals schools and other services in Egypt.

    Of course another dictator can come rule tyrannically, but alhamdulillah these protesters are different, never in Egyptian or Arab history over the past 50 years has all the people come united demanding social justice, reform of government, corrupt-free civil service/police. The sheer number who came out to protest is unimaginable a month ago.

    They may not be perfect, but they have a track record for corruption-free, serving the people, the poor, delivering core services and calling people to Islam.

    This of course is down to the Will of Allah, we hope Allah guides the people of Egypt and establishes a just authority Inshallah.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  13. Karim

    As’salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatu

    JazakAllahu Khayran for the article. Is it possible for a follow-up now that violence has broke out.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Dr. Ali Shehata

      Salaam alaikum

      The violence that has erupted came almost entirely from forces of the government. News reports today showed that among the “pro-government” protesters were those who had police ID’s, people who told CNN that they were ordered by their companies to attend the protests and people who were paid to attend (50 Egyptian pounds, or about $8.50), etc. This doesn’t change the fact that those who initiated the protests were peaceful for days and committed to peace. For them to defend themselves is not a sin.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Nabeel Azeez

        Dr. Shehata, isn’t that why the prohibition (or extreme reprehensibility) exists?

        It doesn’t matter who starts it, Islam allows self defense, so you just end up with Muslims killing each other. As is evident today.

        Allahu a’lam but I think dozens of Muslims, if not hundreds, will die before this fitna is over.

        I don’t really know what to think about this situation.

        We take refuge in Allah ‘azza wa jal from this fitna and ask Him to protect the lives, wealth and honor of our brothers and sisters in Egypt. We ask Him to guide all Muslim rulers to rule with justice and mercy on the Straight Path.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. farah

    lol how ironic…nothing islamic about these protests in Egypt. They never end in peace I’m sure it will cause more chaos now and more sin.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Dr. Ali Shehata

      Salaam alaikum

      Do you suggest that they continue to face the impossible conditions they were facing forever? I urge you to remain silent if you have nothing good to say because you are not in their position and do not know what they have faced for decades now. This is more proper manners towards our bothers and sisters who are willing to bleed and die to ensure that this oppressive rule ends, and we should ask Allah to help and protect them rather than criticizing them from the comfort of our own homes.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Mansoor Ansari

        Dr. Ali with all due respect, I feel that this statement contradicts the article u published last month. Once can make the same exact statement in regards to ur article. I m confused as to why the change of heart?

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Dr. Ali Shehata

        Salaam alaikum Brother Mansoor,

        Please see my reply to the last comment on the page (with all the quotes from previous articles). I hope this will clarify exactly why there is no contradiction along with another look through this article insha’Allah.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Ahmed el Hewari

        Salaamu alaikom Dr. Ali.
        This is exactly what i have been saying. You have people that never felt hunger or thirst saying that the people shouldnt rebel against the govmnt. that it will make it worse. If people are dying for this cause, then obviously emotions are running high. And some people really need change more then wanting it. So inshallah these people that just sit there and without knowledge make judgments will recoginize that its not as clear as black and white.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Kaltham

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    Jazaka Allah khair Dr. Ali for an interesting article. It clarified some things I’ve been thinking about lately. I have questions I’d like your input on if you don’t mind please.

    I heard of an incident in the Seerah where the prophet salla Allahu alayhi wassalam came by a dead muslim man in the battle field and said to his companions this man was in hell fire because he took his own life away with his dagger instead of being patient with the pain of his wounds.. Is this an authentic narration? If yes; does “he is in hell fire” mean it is temporary or permanent?

    My second question, do you mind sharing the names of the contemporary ulama that hold protests to be a religious act and what evidence they use?

    We said in the article that at the time of AlHajjaj, AlHassan AlBasri urged the people to not rebel against him. Did Abdullah bin Zubair and Saeed ibn Jubair follow this opinion of AlHassan or did they get killed because they chose to rebel?

    Jazaka Allah khair yaa shaykh… I hope you have the time to answer these.

    Fi Amaani’Laah

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Dr. Ali Shehata

      Salaam alaikum

      1. As regards the man who killed himself in the battlefield, (“This man is from the people of the Fire.”) this is an authentic narration in Bukhari. The position of Ahlus-Sunnah on suicide is: A person who has killed himself should be washed, prayed over and buried with the Muslims, because he is a sinner but he is not a disbeliever. Killing oneself is a sin but it is not kufr. If he killed himself – may Allah protect us – he should be washed, shrouded and prayed over, but the leader and scholars and important people should not pray for him, by way of rebuke, lest anyone think that they approve of what he did.

      2. As for the contemporary Ulama that hold protests to be a religious act, among them are Sh. Abu Ishaaq al-Huwayni and Sh. al-Fawzaan. I don’t have a complete list of them but they tend to hold that rebellion in all its forms is impermissible. And Allah knows best.

      3. Al-Hassan’s advice was not directed to Sa’eed ibn Jubayr and ibn az-Zubayr, so I cannot comment on this since I do not know if they heard this from him or not. Ibn az-Zubayr had his reasons and did what he thought was right and we ask Allah to honor him and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr (and they are already honored) – and Allah knows best.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  16. Massoud

    Jazakallahu Khairan for the article, our dear Dr. and may Allah bless you!

    But these demonstrations are still not justified; they are revolutionaries merely motivated by western doctrines and ideologies, ideas like “freedom” of everything and making everyone believe the distorted belief that they have the right to say anything they wish. This is a Fitnah, and we ask Allah to rectify this matter. How can we praise the youth and all of these demonstrators when they believe that democratic reforms, seeking the media’s attention, and seeking help from the west is correct and supersedes the help and Dua of Allah?

    It is the Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah that it is not permissible to revolt against the rulers. And it is interesting that the groups of people speaking in favour of the demonstrations have not addressed this fundamental belief, and instead just accuse the ruler of being a Kafir.

    The average people have been motivated for change and to have their say, but they are not aware of the clear and pristine view of the Salaf so the confusion of these revolutionaries rages in their minds. And to Allah do we complain.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Siraaj

      So what all these people are doing is disbelief? This is an ‘aqeedah issue, not a fiqh issue?

      Siraaj

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    • Middle Ground

      “It is the Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah that it is not permissible to revolt against the rulers.”

      Especially against the Saudi rulers, who have the most to lose if the people decide to get rid of them. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Dr. Ali Shehata

        The latest news is that the Saudi ruler has pressured the US telling them that it is not fair to pull the carpet out from under Mubarak’s feet after all the service he has done to them in the past.

        Interesting to note how the tone of the US almost immediately changed from “change now” to “we think he needs to stay for the sake of stability”. He literally said that they needed to get control of this issue before “other nations” started to get the same idea (hmm, maybe the Saudis?).

        This of course all came after both the Egyptian and Saudi muftis issued a “fatwa” that these protests need to stop as they are impermissible.

        May Allah protect our Ummah from these conniving, hypocritical tyrants and bless us with noble, righteous leaders who will serve our interests and not the interests of everyone else against us!

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • shariq

        Assalaamu alaikum Dr. Ali. It is sad that you finally said this statement regarding the rulers of saudi arabia, who are muslim and who deserve that dua’aa be made for them and for Allah to strengthen them in upholding Islaam. This is the way of Ahlus sunnah and it is embodied in the way Imaam Ahmad dealt with the rulers who uttered clear kufr in front of him.

        In addition to that you also seemed to give a underhanded remark regarding the mufti’s of saudi regarding their fatwa about the demonstrations. I believe you might be talking about shaikh luhaidaan, wasi’ullah ‘abbaas, abdur rahmaan al-ajlaan and others who gave such a fatwa.

        Now, i cannot stop anyone from holding the opinions they hold, but we knew these ulama to be the leaders of the way of the salaf before this fitnah started, and we dont know anything about them to show that they have fallen in their status. they are the ones that deserve to be referred to and maashaallah their opinions on the situation are according to the sunnah and not according to the wishes of the people and their emotions.

        neither you nor any of us here are worthy of having their opinions promoted on forums, especially during times like these of fitnah.

        shaikh fawzaan reminds people here http://madeenah.com/article.cfm?id=1342

        that it is not for every zaid amr and khalid to voice his opinion on what happens in the muslim world and especially if they are in a position to be followed.

        It is specifically in times like these that we should be going back to the people who are firmly grounded in knowledge and sunnah. As Allah said in surat an-nisa ayat 83, this would have been better for everyone.

        It is a very worrying thing to realize that most people do not know who the right people are to whom we should turn in rgards to islamic guidance during these times.

        It is just as dissappointing for me to learn that you, someone who seemed to research issues and provide answers based on the quraan and sunnah, has shown such an ugly side of himself in regards to the muslims rulers deserving our support (the ones in saudi atleast) and have done something you only expect from emotional youth and not from students of knowledge upon the way of the salaf.

        may Allah guide you and us to the truth. aameen.

        your brother, shariq

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Abu Ibaad

        Jazzakallaahu khayran Shariq.

        I wish to ask, do we have precedence for these types of protests in the lives of the early muslims? I mean in which the people demand the resignation of the ruler by demonstrations.

        May Allaah forgive us.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Hassan

        Dr. Ali Shehata
        February 7, 2011 • 10:23 pm

        The latest news is that the Saudi ruler has pressured the US telling them that it is not fair to pull the carpet out from under Mubarak’s feet after all the service he has done to them in the past. ….

        Seems like an impersonator rather than real Dr. Ali Shehata

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Mansoor Ansari

        Is this really Dr. Ali saying this? Admins can u pls verify for us.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • zarmyna

      quote – It is the Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah that it is not permissible to revolt against the rulers. And it is interesting that the groups of people speaking in favour of the demonstrations have not addressed this fundamental belief, and instead just accuse the ruler of being a Kafir. – unquote

      The ruler being talked about here and in any hdeeth is not just any ruler, he is the ruler who is enforcing and implementing the Shariah. it does not refer to rulers we have today who implement un islamic ruling systems

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  17. Olivia

    i think it’s good to be optimistic. when i look at this revolution, i see it as just one piece of an elaborate stream of events that is the work of Allah. Muslims have been at the bottom of the barrell for a long time, with wars in Muslim countries and people turning away from the deen. the past decade has seen a resurgence in people not only practicing Islam, but praciticing true Islam and turning away from backwards practices. the internet and social media has gotten us all in touch with knowledge, and one with another, in ways that were before impossible.

    when you’re at the bottom, the only way to go is up, and i think if we look at this historically and see that everything is really cyclical, its time to go up =)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  18. Fatimah

    Asalamu alaykum warahmatuAllahi wabaraktu,

    Jazakallah khair Dr. Ali. Your article is very beneficial, Alhamdulillah. All we can do is make du’as for our brothers and sisters. We, in the west, have no right to say who is right or wrong because we don’t know the conditions of these people. We shouldn’t be commenting on their situation and judging them unless we have lived the kind of life they are living. Allah knows best. May Allah swt protect our brothers and sisters all over the world. May He grant them patience and overlook their mistakes Insha’Allah Allahuma ameen…We owe them our du’as. The Muslim ummah is one and if a Muslim suffers, we should be feeling the pain with them. May Allah swt unite this blessed ummah Insha’Allah!!!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  19. Bahader

    Salamoaleikom! Very good and insightfull article… One question: You said that sh. al-Fawzaan held it to be permissable with protest? Can you maybe link that fatwa?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Dr. Ali Shehata

      Salaam alaikum

      No, I did not say that Sh. al-Fawzan said it was permissible. He was listed as among those who hold it to be prohibited as do many of the other Saudi scholars. Sh. Salmaan al-Awdah was the Saudi scholar who saw nothing wrong with them.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  20. Aasiyah

    asalaam aleikum Dr. Ali,

    Thank you for this article, it certainly cleared some of the gray areas for me.

    As this “revolution” unfolding in front of my eyes, I feel at ease seeing how the real muslims handling such a difficult situation. They took over the job of the police to protect their own people from the criminals. I have not seen that in too many places. They have no way of communicating, yet very well organized in so many ways. Setting up check points, protecting museums and shops etc., and getting more people out on the street to voice their demands. Can anyone tell me if anything like this happened before in any other country?
    sadly some believe that all the killings, setting fires are the doing of the demonstrators. based on this belief they condemn this action.
    As you said Dr. Ali dua have a great power, and us muslims should use it more often to ask Allah to help the people of Egypt right now.
    Against all odds they still standing up for their rights in a very noble way.
    May Allah protect the believers, may Allah give victory to the oppressed…ameen
    May Allah guide us all..ameen

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  21. Amal

    Jazak Allah khairan Dr. Ali for this well balanced article.

    Having lived in Egypt for seven years and experienced the difficult conditions that the Egyptian people have been living under for so many years, my surprise always was that a revolt like this didn’t happen sooner. There were minor revolts while I was there, but they were poorly supported and quashed quite quickly, mainly it seemed because the people didn’t have hope in their ability to make any changes. The repression that they had lived under for so long had taken hope away from them, but the success of the Tunisian revolt seems to have given them the spark of hope that maybe their voices could be heard at last and they have begun to lose their fear of the regime.

    I’m in great pain at all the suffering that is being caused through these events and torn when I see behaviour from the people that is not Islamic, but I feel joy when I see the bravery of the people standing up and speaking out. The image of the people praying in the streets, while being sprayed by the water cannons will be the enduring image of this protest.

    May Allah grant khair to the Muslims from all that is happening throughout Egypt and the Arab world and remove the oppressors!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  22. abu abdullah

    The hadith talk about obeying OUR rulers not rulers put there and supported by the enemies of Islam, Who embrace and hold hands with leaders who bomb and use depleted Uranium on Muslim children and women (Ohh yes, you gonna tell me they deserve it because there Aqeeda is wrong) and fight against the Establishment of Islam.

    Even the biggest Oppressers like Hajjaj bin Yusuf fought to spread and establish Islam. But these new mafia go beyond oppression and fight and aid kuffar against the muslims who want to establish Islam. And I dont want to hear you quote some corrupt government Scholar. As one Diplomat to the English at the time of Abdul Azziz said. “Abdul Azizz built an army of scholars to defend his position”.

    AS Ali R.A said judge a man by the Truth not the truth by a man. I guess now im a Takfeeri, khawariji, devient.Lol.the only words the Super Salafi know.

    What more fitna coulfd there be now than what is happening in the world. Millions dying without knowing Allah. Half a million children of Iraq died from UN sanctions. And still dying from depleted Uranium.Civilians of Afghanistan and pakistan being killed daily. The Prophet (SAW)being insulted internationaly. How many women of Kashmeer and Bosnia were raped. What more Fitna do you want LYING COWARDS

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • zarmyna

      quite rightly said brother.
      the rulers about whom the ahadith have been quoted are not these, they are for the rulers of an ISLAMIC STATE where shariah is implemented. the system in place in so called muslim countries, is it islamic?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • Abu Abdullah

        No way! The prophet SAW said

        The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: The Prophethood will remain amongst you for as long as Allah wills it to be. Then Allah will raise it when He wills to raise it [meaning the prophet will die]. Then there will be the khilafah upon the Prophetic methodology. And it will last for as long as Allah wills it to last. Then Allah will raise it when He wills to raise it. Then there will be biting kingship, and it will remain for as long as Allah wills it to remain. Then Allah will raise it when He wills to raise it. Then there will be tyrannical (forceful) kingship and it will remain for as long as Allaah wills it to remain. Then He will raise it when He wills to raise it. Then there will be a khilafah upon the Prophetic methodology. Then he (the Prophet) was silent. (Musnad Imam Ahmad (v/273)

        Are any of the other muslim countries under the last category? if not they must fall under one of the others.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Farraj Islahi

    Masha Allah to abu abdullah’s talk….
    Please be kind enough to realities of the Muslim named rulers!! They are just attempting to experience their enjoyed life style beyond their enemies of Islam…..isn’t it.

    Please don’t be like their tails even if you are educated or non educated..Try to comprehend the real situation; most of the Islamic people are harassed and stressed by these muslim named politicians through the enemies of Islam, isn’t it!

    So realize the realities, oh my brothers & sisters!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  24. Tamoor

    I appreciate this balanced viewpoint. There’s always a fine line between being so neutral as to be impotent and being so partisan as to be ignorant and emotional. You’re walking it well alhamdurillah.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  25. Salman

    salaam aleikum,

    one aspect not covered by this article that should be emphasized is that the people who supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the prohibition of Muslims building masjids in North America are the VERY SAME people who are now in support of Mubarek, the Egyptian regime, and all of the other tyrants in the Muslim world, many are openly boasting of this:

    Mubarek’s American Fan Club

    This should not make Muslims defensive or apologetic about Islam when discussing with Non-Muslims and should serve as a point of da’wah to Non-Muslims that all of the rhetoric about “freedom” “liberty” and “democracy” is hollow when it comes to securing economic and political interests.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  26. Hassan

    Clarification needed, from

    http://muslimmatters.org/2010/12/01/saving-our-youth-from-the-disease-of-radicalism/

    Instead of neglecting Allah’s command and fighting against the rulers, have we not turned to consider our own sins and our own distance from Him? If these people who fought against their rulers and who attack innocent and unaware civilians in such a cowardly manner by sneaking up on them to detonate hidden weapons – if these people were upon the truth then where is the victory? Where is the help of Allah? Instead we only see more difficulties following their actions – and this is nothing but the result of sin and disobedience to the rule of Allah. In the noble hadith we read,

    قَالَ حُذَيْفَةُ بْنُ الْيَمَانِ
    قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّا كُنَّا بِشَرٍّ فَجَاءَ اللَّهُ بِخَيْرٍ فَنَحْنُ فِيهِ فَهَلْ مِنْ وَرَاءِ هَذَا الْخَيْرِ شَرٌّ قَالَ نَعَمْ قُلْتُ هَلْ وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ الشَّرِّ خَيْرٌ قَالَ نَعَمْ قُلْتُ فَهَلْ وَرَاءَ ذَلِكَ الْخَيْرِ شَرٌّ قَالَ نَعَمْ قُلْتُ كَيْفَ قَالَ يَكُونُ بَعْدِي أَئِمَّةٌ لَا يَهْتَدُونَ بِهُدَايَ وَلَا يَسْتَنُّونَ بِسُنَّتِي وَسَيَقُومُ فِيهِمْ رِجَالٌ قُلُوبُهُمْ قُلُوبُ الشَّيَاطِينِ فِي جُثْمَانِ إِنْسٍ قَالَ قُلْتُ كَيْفَ أَصْنَعُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَدْرَكْتُ ذَلِكَ قَالَ تَسْمَعُ وَتُطِيعُ لِلْأَمِيرِ وَإِنْ ضُرِبَ ظَهْرُكَ وَأُخِذَ مَالُكَ فَاسْمَعْ وَأَطِعْ

    Narrated Hudhaifa ibnul Yaman, I asked the Messenger of Allah (saas), “no doubt, we had an evil time (the days of Jahiliyya or pre-Islamic ignorance) and God brought us a good time (the Islamic period) through which we are now living. Will there be a bad time after this good time?” He (the Prophet) said: “Yes.” I said: “Will there be a good time after this bad time?” He said: “Yes.” I said: “Will there be a bad time after good time?” He said: “Yes.” I asked: “How?” Whereupon he said: “There will be leaders who will not be led by my guidance and who will not adopt my ways. There will be among them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies of human beings.” I asked: “What should I do if I should live to see that time O’ Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “You must listen to the ruler and carry out his orders, even if your back is flogged and your wealth is snatched, you must still listen and obey.” (Muslim)

    قال شارح الطحاوية : ” أما لزوم طاعتهم وإن جاروا ، فلأنــه يترتب على الخروج عن طاعتهم من المفاســـد أضعاف ما يحصل من جورهــم ، بل في الصبر على جورهم تكفير السيئات ، ومضاعفة الأجور ، فإن الله تعالى ما سلطهــم علينا إلا لفساد أعمالنا ، والجزاء من جنس العمل

    Ibn Abil-‘Izz al-Hanafi states on this issue: “And as for obeying the Rulers, even if they commit oppression, then this is because the evils and harms that arise on account of rebelling against them are numerous times more than that which occurs as a result of the oppression of the Rulers themselves. Rather, in having patience over their oppression there is expiation of sins, and a multiplication of the reward. For Allah did not empower them over us, except due to the corruption in our actions, and the recompense for an action is its like (al-jazaa’u min jins al-’amal).” Thus if we don’t like our rulers, then we should look into the mirror to see what we don’t like in our own selves!

    Hence, it is upon us to strive in seeking forgiveness, repenting and purifying our actions. Indeed, Allah (swt) has said,

    وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ

    And whatever affliction befalls you, then it is from what your hands have earned, yet He pardons much. [42:30]

    And His (swt) statement:
    وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُوَلِّي بَعْضَ الظَّالِمِينَ بَعْضًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ

    And thus do we turn some of the oppressors against others on account of what they used to earn. [6:129]

    Ibn Kathir quotes in regards to this ayah, “A poet once said, ‘There is no hand, but Allah’s Hand is above it, and no wrongdoer but will be tested by another wrongdoer’.”

    Hence, if the subjects (of a state) wish to save themselves from the oppression of the tyrannical ruler, then let them abandon oppression themselves. And from Malik bin Dinar (who said) that it has come in some of the (previous revealed) Books of Allah:

    I am the King of the dominion, the hearts of the kings are in my Hand. So whoever obeyed me, I made them (the kings) a mercy over him, and whoever disobeyed me, I made them a vengeance upon him. So do not occupy yourselves with reviling the kings, but rather repent and I will make them compassionate upon you.

    And from the same article in comment section:

    Ali Shehata
    December 1, 2010 • 11:59 am

    Sadly, it often appears to me that some people only skim through what is written and then jump to insult – often with the worst of manners. I really wonder Kashif if you read the article at all. You question the words of the Prophet (saas) when they are quite clear. You ignore the words of Ibn Abil-‘Izz al-Hanafi and Malik ibn Deenar. So if you would ignore all of that, what then could I possibly say?

    And one more comment:

    Ali Shehata
    December 1, 2010 • 12:21 pm

    Salaam alaikum Sister

    Please read the article well before accusing me. I am rather saddened by the sharp and classless words that have been thrown at me thus far in these comments. It is possible that you may have missed where I wrote:

    The real issue here is that America – as other countries and empires have done from time immemorial – is acting internationally upon its strategic interests.

    America doesn’t care about setting up a Sharia court anymore than it cares about setting up a monkey court; it cares about how that system will impact its own people and its own interests. America is not doing anything different than what any empire has ever done since the beginning of time, and that is to preserve its own interests. At the present moment in history, it is beneficial for America to at times be in conflict with Muslims and it is beneficial at times for them to support Islamic initiatives in some countries. This is the norm.

    I am not a lawyer here for American foreign or domestic policy. I never once said that I agree with every one of their policies, nor that they are upon the truth that Allah has sent down. I only said that what they are doing is irrelevant to how we practice and implement our deen.

    And while we are on the issue, don’t think for one moment that I haven’t experienced their heavy hand in my own personal life. I have spent many a sleepless night because of various American agency actions in my life. Just because I don’t blog about it doesn’t mean I am unaffected. I complain of that to Allah and I reflect upon my own deficiencies as a Muslim as I have advised people to do in this post.

    We cannot influence American, European, Asian or Middle Eastern foreign policy – but we can influence our own community actions. We can keep crying about injustices in the system until we are blue in the face, but that is a waste of time and makes us only forget the role that we do have to play in bettering ourselves. I remind you with the authentic hadith of Khabbab ibnal-Arrat:

    ‘I approached the Prophet when he was reclining in the shade of the Ka‘bah one day. This was in the days when we had received some harm from the pagans (tortured by them). I said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, will you not ask God to help us? Will you not pray for our relief from this persecution?” He sat up red in the face and said: “Among the followers of God before you were those who were thrown in a ditch and then sawed in half. Yet this did not make them turn away from the worship of God. And others had their skin combed with iron combs to the point that the flesh was lifted from the bones yet they too were not swayed from the worship of God. For there is no doubt that God will cause Islam to spread until a person can ride from San’a to Hadramaut (two distant cities in Yemen) and he will not fear anything except God and the wolf regarding his sheep. Yet you are a people who are too hasty!” (Ahmad)

    Here he also complained of heavy handed and unjust tactics, and the Prophet (saas) got angry with him for that! We have not experienced so much harm compared to what others did before us and THEY were more patient than us. I ask you not to consider me, for I know that I am insignificant, but how can you disregard the words of the Prophet and our noble scholars that I have continued to resort to?

    and

    Ali Shehata
    December 1, 2010 • 7:25 pm

    Salaam alaikum

    I didn’t discuss it because Sh. Yasir already hit on the issue and it doesn’t serve any purpose to keep repeating that point because it is not something we can change in the near future. I discussed things that we can change and things that we never discuss in our circles today, yet it was what the Prophet (saas) discussed with his Companions and what the scholars for 1000 years discussed. You can’t change the decisions of government but you can effect a change in Allah’s Mercy by turning to Him – was this message not presented clearly?

    and last but not least:

    Ali Shehata
    December 4, 2010 • 12:46 am

    Salaam alaikum

    I have actually mentioned aspects of this in the response to other comments. The answer in general is that I don’t know.

    The answer may have much to do with the fact that once a government is established – and there are a number of people who understand the government in power now to be the Karzai group (I know they are corrupt – let’s not get started on that) – that Islamically you do not fight it. Even if a ruler uses deception and force to install himself into power then he is to be obeyed if he is able to establish himself. The basis for this comes from the hadith of al-’Irbaad ibnu Saariya. The reason you don’t fight him was mentioned in my first post – because the result of this fight is far worse than anything he will do himself while in power and this has been historically proven many times.

    Ever since he established himself over the government even the Muslim scholars of the East stopped discussing the matter of fighting. The latest news I read on general news sites (AP, BBC, al-Jazeera) was also that factions of Afghani resistance were also meeting with Karzai to discuss a power sharing agreement of sorts. Again, I imagine this may be because they have also understood the danger of fighting a ruler who establishes Islam, even though he may be guilty of major sins.

    The issue of fighting the ruler is something that despite being quite clear in the ahadith, has yet been a matter that some groups – Khawarij and Jihadis – refuse to submit to and they try to twist a variety of statements and interpretations to give license to their revolts. Yet, the record of history has shown this to be a losing battle and again, there are many who after years of playing this game have repented alhamdulillah.

    This is my knowledge of this matter so please ask someone else if this did not answer your question. Please don’t ask for elaboration either as I will not respond because this is more an academic discussion and for the majority of Muslims today has no practical significance. I only explained this much to try to be responsive to those who wish to understand Islamic thought better, but I have limited time and prefer to use that on issues of practical significance to myself and others as opposed to academic discussions.

    Please read your comments in previous articles. I know you enough to say that you are very good person and sincere. I would suggest you and rest of scholars of muslimmatters write a comprehensive article on the manhaj/methodology you guys have adopted. Once that is clear, we can easily understand the articles you guys write and/or comment.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Dr. Ali Shehata

      Salaam alaikum

      I appreciate the extensive reminder of previous comments and I am also aware of what I had written previously. I cannot comment on anyone else’s manhaj as this site provides the views of a number of different voices which are not always going to agree with each other as this is the nature of the religion.

      As far as what was written before and the question that some people have asked regarding what they perceive as a contradiction, then it is not insha’Allah a contradiction at all and I had tried to mention this in the beginning of this very post.

      The ahadith regarding khurooj that I used in my posts on violent extremism, many of which you copied above, speak specifically of the use of violence to remove the ruler. I referred to this because of the fact that a number of extremist groups had used violent means to overthrow their rulers and this has appeared to make matters worse. My position on that has not changed – I still see that as forbidden.

      The people of Egypt and Tunisia (and Yemen and Jordan) have repeatedly shown their protests to be of a peaceful nature and have not resorted to taking up arms to overthrow their leader. They have been patient for decades and those who know these countries have seen a great number of improvements stemming from the successful dawah in many of these lands alhamdulillah. It may be this increase in their righteousness and imaan that led Allah to inspire so many of them to come out at one time to speak the word of truth against their tyrannical despots.

      In those lands where such a gathering is still difficult, Syria for example, and there are no peaceful means of attempting change, then I still believe that for them patience is best as al-Hassan al-Basri advised the group that set out to attack al-Hajjaj. I believe firmly that when the conditions of the heart are right that Allah will make a good way for them to achieve changes as changes have already occurred peacefully in other lands without much damage to their lands.

      And Allah knows best.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  27. ummousama

    Assalamu alaikum,

    As much as I respect the Saudi scholars for their knowledge and for their fiqh, I cannot trust them regarding political matters. Sorry. Why?

    1. Saudi Arabia was started by fighting with the help of the British against the Ottoman Empire.

    2. Imam AbdulWahhaab fought together with Aal AsSaud to establish Islam in the country. It was then agreed that Aal AsSaud would take the rulership. Is this really Islamic?

    3. They made a fatwa saying it was OK to ask the help of the Americans against Iraq. We all know the evil that came from that. America is still on Muslim lands. Sadam might have been declared a kafir but what about all those Muslims who had no choice but be in the army?

    There are many other things that I could state but these should be enough.

    Now, for those who say that those demonstrations are not halaal, ask yourself these questions:

    1. Have you lived in Egypt? Have you noticed these days the brutality of the police? Is speaking against oppression in the street not allowed?

    2. Have you lived under an oppressive regime? Are you still living there?

    3. Are you a black living in America or even in the rest of the world? If so, did the status of the black people of America get better overnight or did the blacks fight for it and demonstrate for it?

    4. Were you born in America or was it the choice of your parents or your choice to go and live in America? If the last one, why did you go and live there? Are you sure that Islamically, such a move was permissible. For example, the great majority of those who went from Muslim countries to non-Muslim ones was “to have a better life”, i.e. so that we are not hungry anymore. Is there a difference between that and going in the street to stop oppression.

    I will reiterate again and again that these demonstrations are NOT because of hunger. The people in the square are NOT asking of the kuffaar’s help; actually the Jazeera network is enough. The people in the square DO NOT want America to intervene; actually they dread it. One of them even said that the media is UNDERMINING it in the fact that they say how much Egypt is losing every day. Do you know who is losing money? Mubarak and his gang.

    These demonstrations are because of OPPRESSION. I live in Egypt and I have seen how many foreigners Muslims fled the country because they feared of what will happen or they feared there won’t be any food on their table. I then said to myself that Muslims are not ready for jihad, especially those who have lived in the West. Ten days after the 28th of January, things are going back to normal, alhamdulillah. We always speak of the Sahabah, examples of their endurance, … but where is the practical side of it after the talk?

    Those who are in the square now live on a little food that mostly poor people give them. People who sell bread in the street will give them free bread. Some people will bring them food but they share everything and they sleep at night hungry. Are you ready for that?

    You want to experience, from the comfort of your lives, what we experienced?

    1. Go one full day without a mobile phone. Total blackout. Then for about a week after that, you might be able to receive calls, you might not. As people’s credit was finished, they couldn’t phone either.

    2. Go without Internet for a week.

    3. Stand outside all night or at least two hours at night being a vigil.

    4. On a weekend, when you usually sleep in, make sure you are in the house before 3.00 pm.

    If you want to experience what a Google experienced, then stay blindfolded for 11 days just because you write on this blog. ;)

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Student

      Sister – even though we side with you on this issue in particular, just a few points that need to be addressed.

      With all due respect, just because people here from 3 or 4 names that they only know from the scholar of Saudi Arabia does not mean that they represent the whole of the ‘ulama in the kingdom.

      And people’s facts on history need to be understood in proper context. Some of which is skewed. Because people don’t realize that the first kingdom of Saudi Arabia that Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab was part of FELL, and then the second kingdom was the birth of the King ‘Abdul Aziz establishment, let’s learn a bit of history before we repeat what is told to us by popularity.

      This is beyond the point.

      To blame an entire group of scholars and their “political” understandings based on skewed historical facts, is hardly insaaf – equal or just.

      There have been scholars who’ve been jailed who are senior and some just before all of these demonstrations were house arrested, scholars such as Abdullah Sa’ad the great muhhadith, AbdulAziz al Julayyil, Sulaiman ‘Alwan, and recently Khalid Rashid – may Allah free them from captivity.

      And current scholars in the kingdom who state the haqq as well and spoke in light of these demonstrations
      Nasir Omar
      AbdurRahman ibn Nasir al Barrak
      Muhammad al Araify even

      And I personally use to hear Shuraim’s khutbah’s being severe and strong against the government’s positions during Gaza, and most people say this is part of the reason why he hasn’t been giving sermon’s.

      We as muslims have been taught to understand and judge things based on understanding and not emotional fallacies, and it’s a HUGE disrespect to an entire nation of scholars whether in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or wherever that we just make sweeping judgements on people who’ve dedicated their lives, and gone to prison in order to stand for the truth.

      If you wish to make a point, do so without succumbing the ‘ulama to unjust blame. There are those that obviously have affected by governments and this is what has been going on since the Abbasid and Ummayid era’s, and there are the MANY, MANY out there alhamdulillah that stand for the truth.

      Just because the public isn’t popularized with their names, and only knows the names of a few, does not mean they don’t exist.

      May Allah rectify us all. Ameen.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      • ummousama

        Jazak Allahu khairan for your post. Unfortunately we hear little of those scholars and their arguments.

        I now understand why the khateeb reads the khutbah in Makkah and Madinah straight out of a paper, not being able to say one sentence without looking at it. Sad.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Me

        Allah knows best why the Imams of the Harmain read out of a paper. We cannot come to conclusions and judge others based on a mere observation. The Imams don’t just lead prayers and Friday Khutbahs, but they also have many other responsibilities (some are professors in university, some judges). We do not know what their daily schedule looks like. Maybe they do not get the time to memorize an entire khutbah.

        Besides each Imam has his own style and choice of words. If one frequently listens to these khutbahs they’ll notice the difference.

        The Imam is not talking to their local Muslim community but they’re talking to the entire ummah. It’s definitely a huge responsibility to address a million or more Muslims in the heartland of Islam. One has to choose the words carefully as to not create fitnah.

        Personally, I prefer to listen to the Friday khutbahs in Makkah and Madinah rather than watch. When you just listen to it you feel like it’s really coming from their hearts.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Fulaan ibn Fulaan

      You missed out a few things – like the crazy queues for food the day after the 25th on the first days of the curfew when we had to queue for hours to buy food and when the prices started to rise for everything, and people had to queue for hours to buy bread which was doubled in cost.

      When the call from the mosques came to stand outside the buildings and protect your houses the initial fear that people had when they were told that criminals had been let lose from prisons and had stolen weapons, and we were standing outside with sticks and kitchen knives.

      Leave the scholars who spoke against the demonstrations – the actions of those scholars from Egypt who demonstrated and are in Tahrir is enough for us from their words and their speeches as they understand the situation on the ground here.

      There is still massive uncertainty about what is going to happen here – and planeloads of foriegn students have left – but I have not met a single Egyptian who is unhappy about the change.
      They are upset about the price of the change, the chaos or ‘fowdah’ the instability and lack of security – but everyone always complains about the price of change, and no one want to pay the ‘dariybah’ for the situation.

      Even the most negative person who I have met who says they love Mubarak and he is is our president (and at least two people said this to me) recognises that it is time for change and they deserve something better as the country has not progressed in 30 years and there is massive inequality here.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  28. Student

    Dr.Ali – Allah yahfadhak wa yujzik al khair – I’m sure now you can see the situation of the laity when it comes to many issues that we face today, when the people are not taught uniformly or systematically and then when issues do happen – people start bringing about their contentions, doubts, and confusions.

    Allahul musta’an.

    This new methodology of dealing with teaching and da’wah trend has these kind of negative affects upon people, and you can witness it right here and now.

    May Allah grant us all patience and steadfastness and guide us to reminding people their actions are to worship Allah with, to stay away that which is doubtful or does not concern us, and to grant our du’aat and scholars the correct vision and ability to stand through fitan to guide people out of ignorance, rather than lead them into deeper ignorance. Ameen

    WAs-salamu ‘alaikum

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  29. Student

    Shaykh Muhammad AbdulMaqsud in Tahrir Square – advising the crowd and making du’a at the end to relieve them of the fitan, corruption, and relinquish them from the Taghut, Hosni Mubarak.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    • Mantiki

      LOL Talaba! I was expecting sense from the article you referenced but it was complete rubbish on so many counts which has now been proven false by subsequent events. Dire warnings against mixing of men and women in the street, praise for the murder of progressive Islamic scholars. A litany of loony!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  30. Amel

    Selem Aleikom wa Rahmatullahi wa Baraketuh,
    Jazakom Allahu kheir for this article.
    As far as I am concerned, I do not understand at all the position of some respected scholars or thinkers against the current protests in Tunisia, Egypt, or now, Libya… I know particularly Tunisia and the tyran Ben Ali, so I will only talk about this country, and you will understand that I see this protests foremost as a religious act.
    After Bourguiba, Ben Ali kept banning the hijab in the public premises and public places ? (it’s written in Tunisia constitution since 1981, the same constitution that Mr. Ghanushi, the acting president, want to keep)… I have many friends who have been beaten and hurt badly by policemen in the streets just because they were wearing hijab.
    I remember a hadith which tells us about a woman who has been humiliated by some jews who took her hijab off to make fun of her… what the Suhaba did then ? They declared the war to defend her honour. Yes, this was the value of a muslim woman in the past… Nowadays, muslims women are humiliated every day, and what is done ? too many muslims keep silent or even worse, they defend those who humiliate us !
    What about the brothers that they used to torture because of their « islamic » beards ? One of my relatives has been beaten by a group of policemen just because he had a beard and because he prays his 5 compulsory prayers in the mosque… They asked him why he prays 5 times a day in the mosque ! « the mosques are for old people only », they laughingly said !…
    They used to force practicing muslims to sign a document on which it was written « I undersigned… I will not pray in the mosque, I will not show any religious signs in public, etc, etc… ».
    A minister dared to say in the parliamant (few days before the revolt) that the adhan was a noise pollution and there were too much mosques in Tunisia ??? Do these politicians see Tunisia as a muslim country ?? I don’t think so… Can we still consider them as muslims ?… anyway, they are liars, thieves, perverts, manipulators and do not deserve to lead a muslim country…

    May Allah give success to muslims and destroy the enemies’ plots !

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
      • Amel

        Indeed, this video confirms once again that they are liars, thieves, megalomaniacs, greedy, perverts; so they do not deserve to lead a muslim country.

        May Allah give victory to the mujahiddins fisabilihi.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply