Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Does Islam have a Ruling System?

It is strange that some are attempting to cast doubt on the political aspects of Islam in a time when this would so obviously aid the enemies of Islam. In an attempt to confuse those with less knowledge they play with semantics and misconstrue the statements of scholars. In the name of ‘independent thinking’ they have borrowed from the arguments of modernists like Ali Abdul Raziq (1888-1966 CE) of Egypt, a student of Muhammad Abduh who attempted to confine Islam to ritual spiritual issues. He claimed that Islam did not define a ruling system or form of government thus denying the clear obligation of Khilafah (caliphate). He wrote in his book ‘Al-Islam Wa Usul al Hukm’ (Islam and the principles of government):

"Islam is innocent of this institution of the caliphate as Muslims commonly understand it. Religion has nothing to do with one form of government rather than another and there is nothing in Islam which forbids Muslims to destroy their old political system and build a new one on the basis of the newest conceptions of the human spirit and the experience of nations."

Islam, according to him, is a religion whose religious precepts are binding only on individual conscience and have nothing to do with power and politics. Thus religion and Siyasa (politics) are worlds apart. He claims the political history of the Muslims under the Khilafah contradicts the teachings of Islam which aims at personal salvation and operates within the confines of individual morality. This is why the extension of religion to political domain in the guise of what he calls ‘the theory of caliphate’ is taken by him to be the innovations of jurists and theologians. Sound familiar?

Without going into a lengthy discussion I want to highlight some of the fallacies of the arguments I have seen:

Playing with semantics - The issue of Dar al-Islam

The twisted logic goes something like this, as some of the scholars differed on the definition of Dar al-Islam it is therefore justified for the rulers in the Muslim world today to rule by Kufr, as the definition of Dar al-Islam is not Qat’i (definitive).

Regardless of the Ikhtilaf (difference of opinion) on the definition of Dar al-Islam, everyone agrees that ruling by other than what Allah (swt) revealed is a Qat'i prohibition which governments in the Muslim world do today. Of course scholars do disagree whether people who do that become Kafir automatically or remain as Fasiq (open sinners) and Dhalim (oppressors).

Ibn al-Qayyim said: "The correct view is that ruling according to something other than that which Allah has revealed includes both major and minor Kufr, depending on the position of the judge. If he believes that it is obligatory to rule according to what Allah has revealed in this case, but he turns away from that out of disobedience, whilst acknowledging that he is deserving of punishment, then this is lesser Kufr. But if he believes that it is not obligatory and that the choice is his even though he is certain that this is the ruling of Allah, then this is major Kufr." [Madaarij as-Saaliheen, 1/336-337]

The lesser Kufr here refers to sin as is also reported in the famous opinion from Ibn Abbas (ra).

However according to Ibn Taymiyyah: "Undoubtedly, whoever does not believe that it is obligatory to rule according to that which Allah has revealed to His Messenger is a Kafir, and whoever thinks it is permissible to rule among people according to his own opinions, turning away and not following which Allah has revealed is also a Kafir...So in matters which are common to the Ummah as a whole, it is not permissible to rule or judge according to anything except the Quran and Sunnah. No one has the right to make the people follow the words of a scholar or Ameer or shaykh or king. Whoever believes that he can judge between people according to any such thing, and does not judge between them according to the Quran and Sunnah is a Kafir." [Minhaj as-Sunnah, 5/130-132]

Ash-Shawkani also held this view, he said in one of his essays:

a) That referring for judgement to Taghoot (evil i.e. non Islam) constitutes major Kufr.
b) That referring for judgement to Taghoot is just one of a number of actions of Kufr, each of which in its own is sufficient to condemn the one who does it as a Kafir.
c) He gives examples of Kufr, such as people agreeing to deny women their rights of inheritance and their persisting in co-operating in that, and he states that is major kufr. [Ar-Rasaa'il as-Salafiyah by Ash-Shawkani, pg. 33-34]

Therefore differences on terminology is only semantics in reality - it is completely prohibited to rule by other than what Allah (swt) revealed.

The Fatawa of Mufti’s in the Ottoman state

This one even fails to even be remotely connected to an evidence, it seems to be designed to play on the mind of those who accept the Ottoman state as a Khilafah and know that the Ottoman state in its last days implemented some non-Islamic laws.

It is true that towards the last period of the Uthmani Khilafah due to the ignorance of the Ulema at the time the state passed some laws which were non-Islamic like in 1288 A.H (1870 C.E) when they divided of the courts into two: Shari’ah courts and official law courts.

Firstly, when did history become a source of Shari’ah? Of course its not, so regardless of what happened it’s not an argument.

Secondly, it is possible for there to be difference of opinion whether the Uthmani Khalifah ceased to be a Khilafah in the latter part of the 1800's when they adopted these Kufr laws. There is a difference of opinion on this matter due to the ahadith about 'Kufr Bu'ah (open)' and 'Kufr Sareeh (clear)' - scholars differ upon this as if they adopted it out of ignorance would they fit within the definition of implementing not only Kufr but Kufr Bu’ah (open Kufr) which was known by them or were they ignorant of this.

This does not mean in any way that it is acceptable for rulers to rule by Kufr today just because some Mufti's legitimise it. As mentioned earlier - ruling by other than what Allah (swt) revealed is a definitive matter which is indisputable.

Thirdly, it is incorrect to consider what the Ottoman Mufti’s did as having a Shubhat Daleel (semblance of an evidence) and therefore a legitimate opinion as some claim. See the chapter entitled ‘Adopting the Western laws’ in How the Khilafah was destroyed by Sheikh Abdul Qadeem Zalloom.

Misquoting the scholars

Quoting the names of a few prominent scholars and the titles of their books is always a good one for deceiving people away from the truth and legitimising the rule of the tyrants. I thought I’d mention some of the quotes of those scholars, they would be distraught if they knew how their names are being misused today:

Some of the quotes are so obviously misconstrued. Such as quoting Mawardi or any other as saying that it is a legitimate view that the Khilafah is only a rational necessity and not textually proved. It is true that scholars like Mawardi make mention of the deviant views like that of the Ithna Ashari Shi’a who believe the Khalifah has to be divinely appointed by Allah and of the view of some philosophers who held the view that proof of the obligation of appointing a Khalifah was rational, this doesn’t mean they were saying these views are legitimate. Just because the scholars mentioned the Ithna Ashari Shi’a views about the Khalifah being appointed by Allah (swt) and having to be infallible are we going to accept them as legitimate?

Ibn Khaldun says:

“The position of imam is a necessary one. The consensus of the men around Muhammad and the men of the second generation shows that (the imamate) is necessary according to the religious law. At the death of the Prophet, the men around him proceeded to render the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr and to entrust him with the supervision of their affairs. And so it was at all subsequent periods. In no period were the people left in a state of anarchy. This was so by general consensus, which proves that the position of imam is a necessary one.

Some people have expressed the opinion that the necessity of the imamate is indicated by the intellect (rational reasons), and that the consensus which happens to exist merely confirms the authority of the intellect in this respect. As they say, what makes (the position of imam) intellectually (rationally) necessary is the need of human beings for social organization and the impossibility of their living and existing by themselves. One of the necessary consequences of social organization is disagreement, because of the pressure of cross-purposes. As long as there is no ruler who exercises a restraining influence, this (disagreement) leads to trouble which, in turn, may lead to the destruction and uprooting of mankind. Now, the preservation of the (human) species is one of the necessary intentions of the religious law.”

“Or, we might say (against the alleged rational necessity of the caliphate): In order to remove disagreement, it is sufficient that every individual should know that injustice is forbidden him by the authority of the intellect. Then, their claim that the removal of disagreement takes place only through the existence of the religious law in one case, and the position of the imam in another case, is not correct. (Disagreement) may (be removed) as well through the existence of powerful leaders, or through the people refraining from disagreement and mutual injustice, as through the position of the imam. Thus, the intellectual proof based upon that premise does not stand up. This shows that the necessity of (the position of imam) is indicated by the religious law, that is, by general consensus, as we have stated before.” [Al-Muqadimah, Chapter 3]

He and other scholars also mention the view of the deviants who rejected the obligation of having an Imam, this doesn’t mean that the scholars accepted that as a legitimate view. He says:

“Some people have taken the exceptional position of stating that the position of imam is not necessary at all, neither according to the intellect nor according to the religious law. People who have held that opinion include the Mu'tazilah al-Asamm and certain Kharijites, among others. They think that it is necessary only to observe the religious laws. When Muslims agree upon (the practice of) justice and observance of the divine laws, no imam is needed, and the position of imam is not necessary. Those (who so argue) are refuted by the general consensus.” [Al-Muqadimah, Chapter 3]

Furthermore Ibn Khaldun mentioned, “Some people have expressed the opinion that the necessity of the imamate is indicated by the intellect (rational reasons), and that the consensus which happens to exist merely confirms the authority of the intellect in this respect.” This means that they didn’t reject the consensus rather they said it conforms with what can be rationally perceived.

"Appointing the Imam is obligatory which was known to every one with the consensus of the companions and their followers. The companions of the Prophet (saw) hurried to appoint Abu Bakr (ra) as their Khalifah after the death of the prophet (saw). The Muslims had a Khalifah in every age afterwards, and they were not left in chaos (without a Khalifah) in any age. This was viewed as a consensus among the scholars that the Imam (Khalifah) must be appointed.” [Al-Muqadimah, Ibn Khaldun, p. 210]

Having more than one Khalifah & multiple states

This is addressed in The obligation of having one Khalifah

Difference of opinion by the scholars on details = No politics in Islam?

Another of the strange views espoused is that as there is a lot of difference of opinion by the classical Ulema in the details of the Khilafah this means the whole thing is speculative and therefore there are no definitive aspects of the ruling system in Islam.

This is like discounting the obligation of Salah by the fact that a lot of the details of Salah are subject to wide difference of opinion amongst the scholars. That would be ridiculous as although there are differences on the details the obligation and the key fundamentals are definitive.

This is the same for the issue of ruling. Regardless of the terminological differences and the areas of legitimate ikhtilaf (difference of opinion) there are clear definitive Ahkam Shariah relating to ruling, whether you like to call it the Tariqa (method) of Islam or a system or not is irrelevant. These are not applied by the governments in the Muslim world today.

Let us look at some of definitive Ahkam related to ruling, of course in the details of these areas there may be difference of opinion. These are definitive at least in meaning, some are also definitive in transmission as is well known the difference being the rejection of one leads to fisq (open sin) and the rejection of those which are Qat’i Thuboot (definitive in transmission) and Qat’i in Dalalah (meaning) leads to Kufr:

- The obligation of having a Khalifah

There is no need to repeat the multiple evidences and quotation of the scholars for this, one will suffice. The scholars differ on some of the conditions of the Khalifah and details some of which are definitive such as him being Muslim.

Imam an-Nawawi (d. 1278 CE) said, "(The scholars) consented that it is an obligation upon the Muslims to select a Khaleefah.” [Sharhu Sahih Muslim, An-Nawawi, Vol 12, p. 205]

Others are available from Exposing the call for the reformation of Islam - Part 2

- The obligation of Bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) to the Khalifah. Of course there are various differences amongst the scholars in the details of this area, the following discusses them in some detail

- It is clear from the Sunnah and Ijma as-Sahaba that a Khalifah can have Wali’s (governors) and Amils (mayors) who rule over the provinces and cities.

- Ruling by whatever Allah (swt) has revealed [Addressed earlier] – This is applicable for all the rulers including the Khalifah, Wali’s (governors) and Amils (mayors).

- The prohibition of having more than Khalifah [Addressed earlier]

- It is clear from the Sunnah and Ijma as-Sahaba that the Khalifah can appoint judges who judge cases according to the Shariah. Hence the pillar of judiciary of which again there is difference of opinion in the details such as the conditions for the different types of judges, etc.

- Enforcing the Hudud punishments, many of the Hudud as well as the law of Qisas have been specified in the Qur’an.

- Undertaking and managing Jihad – There are 119 verses in the Qur’an related to Jihad and it is a well known subject.

- Collection and distribution of the Zakah – Besides the fact that one of categories mentioned in the Qur’an is the state’s collector of Zakah. It is also established clearly by the Sunnah and is Ijma as-Sahaba. Abu Bakr (ra) fought those who refused to pay it.

- The Khalifah has the right to adopt the Ahkam Shariah in which there is legitimate difference of opinion, his opinion becomes binding. The obedience to the Ulil Amr (people in authority) is mentioned in the Qur’an, there are many ahadith obliging the obedience to the Khalifah and the issue of adoption is established by Ijma as-Sahabah.

These are some (not all) of the agreed upon issues. Different Mujtahideen have different views about certain aspects of the state based upon their understanding of the evidences just as they do for Salah, Hajj, fasting, marriage, contracts and other Ahkam Shariah. Some of these areas include the conditions of the Khalifah, the ahkam of Shura, the Mahkamat al-Mazalim (court of unjust acts), etc. The following are some of the differing views of the classical scholars on the details:

Majlis ash-Shura
- Al-Mawardi has written that each member should satisfy three conditions: he must be just, he must have enough knowledge of Islam to differentiate between a potentially good Khalifa and a bad one, and he must have sufficient wisdom and judgment to select the best leader.
- Al-Juwayni has four conditions for the Majlis-ash-Shura: each member must be a man, knowledgeable, above average relatively, and Muslim.
- Abdul-Jabbar is of the opinion that the members must have enough knowledge to select he who can be Khalifa - enough Islamic knowledge in particular, and wisdom and judgment in general.
- Al-Baghdadi believed that the Khalifa and the Majlis-ash-Shura should be selected from amongst those who can choose wisely.

Election of the Khalifah
- Some scholars say that at least a majority of the Majlis-ash-Shura must agree on the new Khalifa.
- Al-Ashari believes the Khalifa could be given to an eligible person even by a single vote if he comes from the Majlis-ash-Shura and has a good Islamic character. There must also be no valid objection supported by evidence or witnesses.
- Another group of scholar's opinion is that the Khalifa must have two votes for him in the Majlis-ash-Shura who are good Muslims (two because the Majlis-ash-Shura is a jama'a which is at least three people).
- A fourth opinion is that the Khalifa must have four votes (with no countering objection) because witnessing to a charge of adultery in Islam requires four witnesses.
A fifth opinion holds that at least three votes are necessary to make the decision have the strength of a jama'a behind it.
- A sixth opinion is that at least five votes are needed to make an even stronger decision.
Finally, a seventh group of scholars believes that it requires 40 members of the Majlis-ash-Shura to vote for the same candidate for him to become the new Khalifa since Friday prayer requires 40 people to be valid (according to some scholars).

Removing the Khalifah
- Al-Mawardi believed that if the Khalifa has followed the Qur'an and Sunnah, the people must follow and support him. On the other hand, if he becomes either unjust or handicapped to the point of ineffectiveness (such as blindness or an amputation), then he must be removed.
- Al-Baghdadi believed that if the Khalifa deviates from justice, the ummah needs to warn him first to return to the straight path. If this fails, then he can be removed.
- Al-Juwayni held that since Islam is the goal of the ummah, any Khalifa who steps away from this goal must be removed.
- Ashighistani wrote that if the Khalifa is found to be ignorant, oppressive, indifferent, or a kafir after his selection, then he must be removed.
- Al-Ghazali believed that an oppressive Khalifa must be told to desist from his crimes. If he does not, then he must be removed.
- Al-Iji believed the ummah has a definite list of permissible reasons to remove the Khalifa.
- Al-Asqalani wrote that if the Khalifa starts to act as an unbeliever, it is prohibited to obey him and obligatory to fight him. It is obligatory to stand against him if one can - and this entails a big reward. Those people who choose to ignore the situation are in sin, whereas those who cannot fight should emigrate (to organize resistance). Al-Asqalani used two ayahs from the Qur'an in particular to support his position. The first is from surat Al-Ahzab 67-68, "...And they would say, 'Our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones, and they deceived us as to the right path. Our Lord! Give them a double penalty and curse them with a very great curse'...", and the second is from surat Al-Baqara 167, "...And those who followed would say, 'If only we had one more chance, we would clear ourselves of them, as they have cleared themselves of us.' Thus will Allah show them (the fruits of) their deeds as (nothing but) regrets. Nor will there be a way for them out of the Fire..."
Muslim reported that Ibn Umar said the Prophet ordered every Muslim to obey their leader unless commanded to do something bad, in which case they must neither obey nor listen. Muslim also reported that Ibn Malik said the best leader is the one where mutual love exists between him and the people, and the worst leader generates mutual hate. However, even in the latter case, fighting the Khalifa is prohibited unless he enters kufr by stopping prayers or zakat for example.
Ibn As-Samit reported that the Prophet said to obey him in all things and situations, and not to remove the leaders unless they openly practice kufr.

For more details on the different views of the scholars see:

It strikes me as intellectual insincerity by those who quote scholars like Mawardi and at the same time claim that Islam has no Ruling system even though Mawardi wrote the book ‘Al-Ahkamus-Sultaniyyah’ about the Ahkam of government in Islam.

It is not obligatory for the state to adopt then this means all you need is a Muslim as the ruler to have an Islamic state

I don’t think this one is worthy of a detailed response. The Khalifah can either adopt in the details or leave it to the governors and judges to rule by their own opinion – as long as they rule & judge by Islam!
Taqwa must be the basis in taking knowledge from people

The master of Hadith, Ibn Shihab az-Zuhri said, "Be careful from whom you take your knowledge, because that is your Deen."

This is of vital importance in these times where the enemies of Islam are using all the means at their disposal in order to distort the understanding of our Deen. Included within their armoury are scholars, ones who recite the Qur’an, former Islamic activists, academics, writers and Imams.

We must realise from our history that even hypocrites (munafiqeen), apostates, fasiq’s (open sinners) and even disbelievers (kuffar) can have knowledge of Islam, this doesn’t mean we should take it from them. Our beloved Prophet (saw) warned us of this:

“The thing that I fear the most for my ummah is a hypocrite with an eloquent tongue who argues with the Quran.” [Ahmed, Bazaar, Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr. P 439]

Amongst these are those who are attempting to blur the definitive ahkam of Islam such as the obligation of having one Khalifah for the Muslims, the prohibition of ruling by man-made law, it has reached to an extent where some are even attempting to debate the prohibition of homosexuality in Islam.

We should also be aware of those who always find the weak and rogue opinions of the scholars.

Imam Al-Baihaqi reported: “Isma’eel Al Qadi said: ‘One day I entered to Al Mu’tadid, one of the Abbasid Khaleefahs, and immediately he showed me a book to read. I found that the author had compiled in it, the strange sayings of every ‘Alim. So I told the Khaleefah that the author of this book is a heretic. The Khaleefah asked why this was so, and I told him that those sayings were not presented by the scholars as they are presented in this book. He who legalised the Mu’tah marriage did not legalise singing, while he who legalised one action would not legalise another action. Additionally, each ‘Alim has strange opinions, so if one would compile the pitfalls of all the Imams, and adopt them, then the Deen would be lost. The Khaleefah then ordered the book to be burned.”

Imam Al-Awza’i said: “He who traces the strange opinions of the scholars is out of Islam. You would find a scholar with a lot of knowledge and value, and also with a pitfall. So if a person was to collect the pitfalls of all the scholars and form a new Madhab, then what kind of ‘Ilm would you have?’” [Who has the right to make Ijtihad, Salman Al Udeh, p. 13]

Just because someone is well read, have a good memory and seem intellectual this doesn’t mean that we should take our knowledge from them and give them our allegiance. Even people of vast knowledge who wrote voluminous works of fiqh have deviated from Islam in the past, so who are the comparative amateurs today?

Ibn Rushd (Averroes, 1126-1198 CE) was a Maliki scholar who wrote the famous work of fiqh, ‘Bidāyat al-Mujtahid wa Nihāyat al-Muqta’id’ is well known to have gone into philosophy and deviated. Others like the famous scientist and thinker Ibn Sina ended up thinking the world is eternal and would never end thus becoming an apostate.

We may find people of knowledge; however we should be careful from taking knowledge from them unless they fulfil the criterion of Taqwa. The following are some key points, like an acid test to consider when taking knowledge from someone:

- They do not go against definitive matters of the Deen
- That their words don’t contradict their actions.
- They are not two faced. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "One of the most evil of people is the two-faced person who shows one face to these people and another face to those people." [Agreed upon]
- They don’t violate the Ahkam shariah
- They don’t have the characteristics of Nifaq as mentioned in the ahadith. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Prophet (saw): "Signs of a hypocrite are three: whenever he speaks he lies; whenever he promises, he breaks his promises; and whenever he has been entrusted, be betrays his trust; even if he fasts and prays and even if he claims he is a Muslim." [Bukhari & Muslim] And in another narration in the book of Imam Bukhari on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Umar: “The Prophet said, "Whoever has (the following) four characters will be a hypocrite, and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy until he gives it up. These are: (1) Whenever he talks, he tells a lie; (2) whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; (3) whenever he makes a covenant he proves treacherous; (4) and whenever he quarrels, he behaves impudently in an evil insulting manner."

The issue of hypocrisy has two aspects, one is the hypocrisy of belief and one is of action.

‘Uqbah bin ‘Aamir (ra) narrates that Rasul ul Allah (saaw) said: “The majority of the Munafiq’s found in my Ummah are its Quraa (ones who recite)’.” [Sahih: Reported by Ahmed, at-Tabrani and others. See Sahih al-Jami‘ #1203]

Al-Imam al-Manawi in Fayd ul Qadir comments on this hadith by saying:

“They are those who interpret it to mean other than what was intended, and they place it in its wrong place. They may also memorize its words while not accepting its dictates. The Munafiqun during Rasul ul Allah (saaw) time were of this persuasion.”

Az-Zamakhshari comments:

“Rasul ul Allah (saaw) meant Riyaa’ (performing acts of worship to impress people) when he mentioned Nifaq. Since both of these characteristics signify an outer deed that is contrary to the inner belief.”

It is also stated that Rasul ul Allah (saaw) meant the Nifaq of ‘Amal not the Nifaq of Kufr.

The Munafiq outwardly displays belief in Allah to ensure the security of his property and life, while denying belief internally. The person who has Riyaa’ outwardly displays the deeds that earn a great reward in al-Akhira (Hereafter) while seeking for these deeds a handsome share in the worldly life. A (misguided) Qari outwardly proclaims that he seeks reward from Allah alone while seeking to have people praise him, his knowledge and deeds. The three all have one thing in common – their hidden intentions are different to their public actions.

For this reason Imam al-Ghazali states:

“Beware of Quraa’ if they have these four characteristics:

* Al-Amal (Hope for worldly reward and renumeration)
* Al-‘Ajlah (hastiness in seeking reward for his deeds)
* Al-Kibr (Pride and boastful arrogance)
* Al-Hasad (Wishing to have what others possess while also wishing for them to lose their possession, namely, envy).”

In seeking a share of the Dunya (Worldly life) a misguided Qari may do all that is deviant, and unethical. He may lie, defame, slander and cheat in a manner of which a criminal would be ashamed.

Al-Imam an-Nawawi states:

“I do not fear to be slandered except by al-Quraa’ and al-‘Ulamaa’ (who have been led astray).”

Those who heard him say this showed their aversion to the statement. He replied,

“I am not the originator of the statement. Ibrahim an-Nakha‘i (rh) preceded me.”

‘Attah said:

”Beware of al-Quraa’. If I was to disagree with one of them about (something as insignificant) as the state of a fruit by saying it is sweet and they saying it is rotten; they would seek to have my blood sanctioned (my death or punishment) from a tyrannical Sultan (ruler).”

Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyyad (rh) said to his son:

“Purchase a home that is at a great distance from the (deviant) Quraa’. What do I need (or benefit) from them? If one of my shortcomings is uncovered they will seek my demise. And if one of my virtues were to be made public they would envy me for it. You see that they are arrogant, unaccommodating, and surly in their dealings with people. It is as if they feel that their prayer is greater than everyone else. They act as if they have received a divine revelation promising them Jannah and salvation from the Fire. It is as if they seek personal happiness and satisfaction while seeking the wretchedness of all others. Yet, with all of this arrogance and conceitedness they will dress in shabby garments acting meek (to appear humble).”
[End of the Abridged words of al-Manawi (Vol. 2 Pg. 80-81)]

We must think of the consequences of following the arguments of those proposing a secular Islam, if we were to follow their views it would lead to legitimising the tyrant rulers in the Muslim world, the division of Muslim land, the occupation of our lands by the colonialists, the legitimisation of arresting sincere Muslim da’wah carriers and the ultimately loss in this life and in the hereafter.

By Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabeer wal-Bazaar, by the Istinad of the men of Sahih, from 'Awf bin Maalik from the Prophet (saw), who said: "My Ummah will be divided into seventy-something divisions, of them, the greatest Fitna (trial) upon my Ummah are a people who measure matters with their opinion, so they make the forbidden permissible and the permissible forbidden." [Also narrated by Al-Haithami in Majma' Al-Zawaa'id, Part 1/ the Book of Knowledge in the section of Al-Taqleed wal-Qiyas]

Abu Shamah had narrated, via the Sanad of Abi Ziyad bin Hudayr, saying: "Omar said to me: Do you know what destroys Islam? I said, No! He said: A mistake made by a scholar, the argument of a hypocrite in writing and the ruling of leaders who wish for people to stray".


Optimist said...


jk for the article- but what evidences can be provided to rebutt those who argue that Islam has not defined a fixed ruling system but left to the muslims to determine the system which bests suits their interests?

would the points raised in the definitives in the ruling system (i.e the article) be sufficeint or does a more fundamental discusssion need to take place?

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

Regarding the issue of whether there is a detailed system. There are many definitive aspects (in transmission and meaning) of the system, I only mentioned a few. There are also other ahkam related to ruling that are definitive in meaning making the one who rejects them as sinful - which are agreed upon. There are details for which there is legitimate difference of opinion amongst the scholars based on the evidences.

The same applies to other ahkam of Islam such as Salah. Only some aspects of it like the basic fundamentals like the positions, number of rak'ah, etc that are definitive in thuboot (transmission) and dalalah (meaning). There are other rules of it that are definitive in dalalah (meaning) but not in thuboot. Then there are many areas upon which there are legitimate differences of opinion amongst the scholars. So why don't people say that there are only general rules in salah and not details - therefore we can decide the details as we want because there is difference of opinion amongst the scholars on it. Of course the scholars do not say that as although there is difference in the details - someone needs to follow a legitimate opinion derived from the detailed evidences regarding Salah either by Ijtihad or Taqleed.

Of course in regards to the ruling system, as with other areas of the Ahkam Shariah there is an area of permissibility where Allah (swt) has allowed to decide upon according to certain guidelines such as the administrative system.

Abu Ismael al-Beirawi said...

In response to some questions I received:

Regarding direct email contact with people. For certain reasons, I will only do this if you are referred by someone I know.

a) The point about semantics regarding the definition of dar al-kufr and dar al-Islam was not negating the discussion on that altogether. Of course that discussion is based on evidences and there is difference of opinion on the scholars on the details of it. However if someone wants to say that just because the definition of those terms is disputed that legitimises the rule of the tyrants as the Muslim world who rule by clear kufr by contradicting the Qat'i ahkam of Islam - then I see that as playing with semantics in order to justify the unjutifiable.

Some of the Qat'i areas include:

- Accepting the law of man (international law) above the Shariah of Allah. Governments like Saudi Arabia who claim to rule by Islam are members of the United nations and accept its man made charter and laws above the Shariah. This is a definitive prohibition.

Allying with the Kuffar against the Muslims as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and others have.

- Accepting a Riba based banking system

- Totally abondoning Jihad by considering themselves as non-expansionist nation states.

b) The obligation of having one Khalifah today is definitive by meaning and established by various authentic ahadith and the Ijma of the Sahabah. Although as it is not definitive in transmission this means the one who rejects this is sinful and not kafir. Apart from those scholars who have a view that have views that I discussed where they mention very specific conditions and realities which don't exist today, people who say we can have more than one Khalifah today do not have a legitimate opinion. If their opinion is not from Islam we can say it is from Kufr - however we don't mean that by believing in it they become Kuffar - we mean that it is a sin. Just like the many ahadith which mention Kufr in this context like the famous hadith: "To accuse a Muslim is fisq and to fight him is kufr".

c) Scholars today are not a source of shariah. If they contradict established definitive issues then they are wrong and if they do it with knowledge they can go into kufr. Remember Ibn Rushd, Ibn Rina, Al Farabi, Kindi etc - were knowledgeable thinkers but devaited.

d) Regarding the issue of Nifaq. As I mentioned there are 2 types of nifaq, one in action and one in belief. I believe it is an important point for people to bear this in mind when taking knowledge from people. Especially those who keep changing their position and who legitimise the rulers rule of kufr in the Muslim world, who call for the arresting of da'wah carriers - which so obviously aids the agenda of the Kuffar.

e) About stray opinions, the issue is not about majority and minority opinions. The issue is about tracing stray opinions for your own interests and to create fitna. Pleas re-read the quotes of the scholars I mentioned about this.

f) Regarding the ahadith you mentioned, it is well known Thanni (speculative) ahadith cannot contradict Qat'i matters - these ahadith are explained in the following:

me said...

thank you so much for your comments.
There is no dispute re. what dar ul islam is amongst the classical scholars so what scholars do you refer to when you say there is difference?Today's scholars???
Please clarify
thank you

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I have read this article and I do not think it is fair at all.

The last part about the munafiqs and who to take your deen from can apply equally to people on both sides of the argument. likewise the accusation that the deen is being twisted is thrown from both sides of the ring and is cited as the major motivator by both sides against each other - ie. The islamists argue that pragmatists that twisted the deen to cater for western tastes, while the anti-islamists (not anti-islam!!!) would say that the islamists have twisted the deen and turned it into a fascist dictatorship hell bent on the destruction of civilization and taking people away from the rememberence of God, etc etc... it would be much better to write concise articles rather than cutting and pasting as much as you can from your collection of articles and books. Address the main issues - and foster a healthy debate. Otherwise after a while most people get sick of party political point scoring and self righteous tone.

It is clear that Islam obliges the existence of a ruler and obedience to that ruler : -
- whether you call it caliph or president or imam,
- probably ht have some difference about whether it matters if they usurped the power or not - but I think the majority said it does not matter -
- whether that ruler is good or bad - as a person or as a ruler etc...

Islam also obliges the public to obey the ruler in ikhtilafi matters even - ie obey unless unless there is open kufr (that is probably a big discussion in itself).

I think it is safe to say that the prohibition of bagi is qati since it is hudud and sever punishment.

it seems that the vast majority of issues in fiqh are ikhtilafi - hence the ruler should be followed by the people.

Furthermore, aside from the fiqh issues there is the domestic policy and the external policy issues. Here there is no question that the people should obey and back the ruler since not realy possible to determine if these are right or wrong based on fiqh - eg. hudaybiya treaty seemed like compromise to the companions but they had to follow - a muslim ruler can make peace treaty with any foreign state and i'm sure he does not have to say "by the way this is just temporary until i get enough strength to destroy you!!!" ie. lots can be legitimised under necesity even if you think it is with weak arguments we still have to obey and support.

considering that what the scholars do in terms of accepting the current rulers can be justified by islamic principles like - necessity, lesser of two evils and doing what is in the best interests of the public and blocking the means etc ... which are legitimate ideas even if ht dissagree with them - ie they are iktilafi - not qati. The muslim umma had chose to follow these scholars by adopting what they have told them to - ie. think of your parents generation - they just followed the ulema of their own communities - this is allowed. so these rulers are their imams according to islam - they must obey them - no matter how uncomfortable it makes them - how can we then call the people to rebel agains their rulers?

I'm finding it difficult to reconcile these things.

you will probably say that the rulers do blatant kufr like join UN hence we should call for rebelion - but most of/ actually all of the ulema of the different factions are telling their people not to rebel (except ht and j...dis)- ie. could be due to genuine support or necessity, of avoiding bigger fitna or addressing a root issue - whatever the case the ulema have not called for rebellion. whether we agree or not with these arguments - what are the people supposed to do - why can't they follow the ulema who they trust on these non qati matters.

this does not mean that they accept the status quo but it means that they need to work in different more productive ways to improve the situation. why - becuase they believe that this is the islamic way.

They way that ht go on is as if everything is qati and if anyone does not agree with everything they say then they have deviated from islam in a big way - looking honestly at the issues reveals that not everything is black and white - and when i was in ht i began to feel that we were twisting islam to fit our logical theory of ideology which most of us took from zealous young men who have little in depth knowledge - while at the same time we accused the ulema of twisting islam to fit the status quo without considering that the ideas they used are legitimate albeit detailed.

Allah knows best and I beseech him to guide me on the sirat-al-mustaqeem.

Islamic Revival said...

For more questions & answers on this topic check:

Muharrir said...


can you please let me know where on your blog you have discussed "THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE RULERS", as I cannot seem to locate this anywhere in any article. Alternatively, if you know of an external link, that would be great.


Islamic Revival said...


It is discussed in the following book in detail: