Sunday, March 27, 2011

Demonstrations are part of the Sunnah

by Hassan Choudhury

I recently read a strange article arguing demonstrations were unIslamic [the link is ahlusunnahwaljamaah(dot)com/2011/02/10/islamic-ruling-on-protests-demonstrations/]. It even has 20 reasons why that is the case. This is dangerous.
Mujahid, on the authority of Ibn Al-’Abbas (RA) related that he had asked ‘Umar (RA) why he had been given the epithet of Al-Farouque (he who distinguishes truth from falsehood). He (RA) replied: After I had embraced Islam, I asked the Prophet (SAW): ‘Aren’t we on the right path here and Hereafter?’ The Prophet (SAW) answered: ‘Of course you are! I swear by Allâh in Whose Hand my soul is, that you are right in this world and in the hereafter.’ I, therefore, asked the Prophet (SAW) ‘Why we then had to conduct clandestine activism. I swear by Allâh Who has sent you with the Truth, that we will leave our concealment and proclaim our noble cause publicly.’ We then went out in two groups, Hamzah leading one and I the other. We headed for the Mosque in broad daylight when the polytheists of Quraish saw us, their faces went pale and got incredibly depressed and resentful. On that very occasion, the Prophet (SAW) attached to me the epithet of Al-Farouque. Ibn Mas’ud (RA) related that they (the Muslims) had never been able to observe their religious rites inside the Holy Sanctuary except when ‘Umar embraced Islam. Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, page 48 [referencing Ibn Hisham; Tareekh 'Umar bin Al-Khattab, p.13; Mukhtasar As-Seerah p.103]

This was a demonstration.

Here’s a refutation against the 20 points given.

1. Free mixing between men and women

What about unmixed demonstrations?

2. brings about more harm than good e.g. violence (between police and protesters) and killing and harming the countries economy (shops close and tourists may leave for example)

Tourists? Islam was revealed to take creation away from obedience to and worship of their desires into the obedience and worship of Allah SWT – this is la illaaha illallaah. The shara’ defines the harm, the benefit, the good and the bad not the mind and desires of man.

In fact, the shara’ defines speaking out against the tyrant ruler as the best jihad. Ibn Majah on the authority of Abu Saeed, Ahmad and Ibn Majjah and Tabarani and Baihaqi on the authority of Abu Umamah, Ahmad and Nisa’i on the authority of the tabie Tariq Ibn Shihab all narrated that the Messenger (saw) said: “The best of Jihad is a word of truth in the face of a tyrant ruler”.

Worse, these are not Islamic rulers since the entire nidham (system) of Islam is gone. Dar ul-Islam doesn’t come, cannot come with a colonial system which tries to keep the Muslims silent with a ruler with an Islamic name and a few Islamic laws. Only the people with the weakest understanding of the reality would argue this is Dar ul-Islam. We all live in Dar ul-Kufr.

3. imitating the kuffaar (as Muslims copied demonstrations from them as there is no mention of demonstrations in Islam)

This is dangerous and sinister falsehood against the Sunnah as proved by the evidence I began with from Mujahid about Umar (RA) gaining the title Al-Farouque.

Where is the imitation of the kuffar?

4. bidah (innovation as the prophet nor the sahaba demonstrated)

Please see my response to point 3. The bid’ah is to deny demonstrations.

5. not following the way of the salaf (the early and best generations of Muslims) who never protested

Please see my response to point 3. Denying demonstrations is against the way of the salaf (RA). Also the story of Imam Ahmad’s Mihna (trial) is well-known to contain the part where an ocean of students sit outside the palace demonstrating their love and concern for their Imam.

6. cooperating upon sin and misguidance (Muslim calling to, supporting and join demonstration which are haram so they are all cooperating upon a sin and misguidance)

Calling it cooperating upon sin and misguidance assumes the act is sin and misguidance when it is actually the Sunnah.

Cooperating with the tyrant is the sin and misguidance, if only you knew. On the authority of Abdullah Bin Masood (may Allah be pleased with him), he said: “There will be rulers over you, who will leave the sunnah like this,” and he SAW pointed to the origin of his finger. “If you were to leave these rulers alone, they will bring great affliction and disaster. There has been no previous ummah except that the first thing they left from their religion was the sunnah, and the last to be left was the salat , and were not these rulers shy and afraid from people, they would not pray”. (Narrated by Al-Hakim and he said this is a saheeh hadith on the condition of both Bukhari and Muslim).

7. wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act

Again, calling it wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act assumes it is wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act when it is actually the Sunnah.

Why not read Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 23 on Enjoining Good and forbidding Evil, which has many evidences to correct you?

`Abdullah bin Mas`ud (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Nay, by Allah, you either enjoin good and forbid evil and catch hold of the hand of the oppressor and persuade him to act justly and stick to the truth, or, Allah will involve the hearts of some of you with the hearts of others and will curse you as He had cursed them”.
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

Also Abdullah bin Mas`ud (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Never a Prophet had been sent before me by Allah to his people but he had, among his people, (his) disciples and companions, who followed his ways and obeyed his command. Then there came after them their successors who proclaimed what they did not practise, and practised what they were not commanded to do. And (he) who strove against them with his hand is a believer; he who strove against them with his heart is a believer; and he who strove against them with his tongue is a believer; and beyond that there is no grain of Faith”.
[Sahih Muslim].

Also Abu Bakr (RA) went to a lady from the Ahmas tribe called Zainab bint Al-Muhajir and found that she refused to speak. He asked, “Why does she not speak.” The people said, “She has intended to perform Hajj without speaking.” He said to her, “Speak, for it is illegal not to speak, as it is an action of the pre-islamic period of ignorance. So she spoke and said, “Who are you?” He said, “A man from the Emigrants.” She asked, “Which Emigrants?” He replied, “From Quraish.” She asked, “From what branch of Quraish are you?” He said, “You ask too many questions; I am Abu Bakr.” She said, “How long shall we enjoy this good order (i.e. Islamic religion) which Allah has brought after the period of ignorance?” He said, “You will enjoy it as long as your Imams keep on abiding by its rules and regulations.” She asked, “What are the Imams?” He said, “Were there not heads and chiefs of your nation who used to order the people and they used to obey them?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “So they (i.e. the Imams) are those whom I meant.”
Bukhari Volume 5, Book 58, Number 175, narrated Qais bin Abi Hazim.
Also [Hadith number 2068 in Jami'al Usul by Ibn Al-Atheer.]

8. inconveniencing others (blocking the road or preventing people from passing by for example)
More than the implementation of kufr?

A man who thinks like this should be warned to stop his aggression against the Sunnah and fix his heart. As Ibn al-Qayyim wrote in a’alaam al-Muwaqi’een:

“The Shaitan has misled most people by beautifying for them the performance of certain voluntary acts of worship such as voluntary prayers and voluntary fasting while neglecting other obligatory acts of worship such as enjoining the good and eradicating the evil, to the extent that they do not even make the intention of performing them….For the essence of our religion is to perform what Allah SWT ordered us to do.
The one who does not perform his obligations is actually worse than the one who performs sins. Anyone having some knowledge about the revelation of Allah, the guidance of the Prophet and the life of the companions would see that those who are pointed at today as the most pious people are in fact the least pious…

Indeed, what deen and what good is there in a person who witnesses the sanctities of Allah SWT being violated, His Hudood not applied, His religion abandoned, the Sunnah of His Messenger SAW shunned, and yet remains still with a cold heart and a silent tongue – a dumb Shaitan. In the same way the one who talks falsehood is a speaking Shaitan. Isn’t the misfortune of Islam due only to those who whenever their food and positions are secure, would not care about what happens to the religion? The best among them would offer a sorry face.

But if there was a shortcoming in one of the things their heart is attached to like their rank or money, they would sacrifice and strive and strain and struggle and use the three levels of prevention (their hands, tongues and hearts) according to their capability.

These people, besides deserving the anger of Allah, are afflicted with the greatest calamity without even knowing it: They have a dead heart. Indeed the more alive a person’s heart is, the stronger its anger for the sake of Allah and the more complete his support to Islam and Muslims”

If you can’t or won’t support the work for Islamic Revival then remain silent. It is better for you.

9. chanting silly slogans that are sometime haram

What about demonstrations that don’t?

10. playing instruments and sing to pass the time

What about demonstrations that don’t?

11. provides a platform for those with little knowledge of the shariah to speak and gain followers

Is it because those with years of studying sacred knowledge have abandoned the obligation of enjoining al-ma’ruf and forbidding munkar? How then can these people attack those who follow the Sunnah and attempt to save society from drowning in sin?

Imam Ahmad recorded that An-Nu`man bin Bashir said that the Prophet (SAW) gave a speech in which he said, while pointing to his ears with two of his fingers:

“The parable of the person abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them, or sit idle while they are being violated, is that of those who drew lots for their seats in a boat. Some of them got seats in the lower part, which is the most rough and worst part, and the others in the upper. When the former needed water, they had to go up to bring water and that troubled the others, so they said, `Let us make a hole in our share of the ship and get water, saving those who are above us from troubling them, so, if the people in the upper part let the others do what they suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe”.

Recorded by Al-Bukhari, in the Book of Partnerships, and also recorded by At-Tirmidhi through a different route of narration.

12. missing the five prayers sometimes as there may be no space to pray

What about demonstrations where people pray? Haven’t you been watching Egypt?

13. enmity (hatred) towards some people without due right just because they did not attend the demonstration or are against it

Unless, of course, they deserve the anger of Allah SWT because they spent years studying knowledge but still left the entire society open to punishment.

Abu Dawud has narrated on the authority of Qays b. Abi Hazm: “That Abu Bakr (RA), after he had glorified and praised Allah SWT, said: O people! You read this ayah but you do not understand it: “O you who believe! Guard your own souls: If you follow the right guidance none can hurt you from those who have gone astray” [5:105]

‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “The people when they see the tyrant and do not restrain his hands, Allah will be about to punish them all”. And I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say: “Any people amongst whom sins are committed, and they could change them but they did not (change), Allah will be about to bring a punishment which engulfs all.”
[Abu Dawud: Book of Battles/3775]

14. wasting others time with no shariah right (the paramedics on stand by in case there is a violent incident, police and army monitoring the crowd could be doing better things with their time like arresting criminals and protecting the country)

Better things than speaking out against the implementation of kufr?

Imam Ahmad from Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “By He in Whose Hand is my soul! You will enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, or Allah will send a punishment upon you from Him; you will supplicate then to Him, but He will not answer your supplication”.

Also see Ibn Kathir’s tafsir of Qur’an 8:25

15. women going out wearing adornment and make-up

What about demonstrations that don’t have this?

16. sometime shouting slogans that are incorrect and sinful; sometimes begging the kufr for help outside their embassy’s etc or through use of slogans and placards

What about demonstrations that don’t?

17. holding up pictures or effigies of people

What about demonstrations that don’t?

18. using slanderous and insulting words that are not permitted in shariah

What about demonstrations that don’t?

19. backbiting, cursing, slandering and exposing the sins of the people you protest against or those who do not support your protest (I am talking about when those who you are protesting against are Muslim or those who oppose the protest are Muslim)

What about demonstrations that don’t include backbiting, cursing, slandering?
It is not the demonstration that exposes the sins. The tyrant who openly commits kufr exposes himself.

20. and sometimes committing acts of aggression against the property of innocent people (destroying their shops or breaking their windows, or starting fires in public facilities)

What about demonstrations that don’t?

May Allah SWT Protect the ummah from those who are trials for us as they encourage cowardice in the face of kufr, silence at the removal of shari’ah rule, weakness with western interference, softness at the dishonouring of our women, carelessness at the obliteration of our unity through their ignorant forbidding of what is clearly taken from the blessed Sunnah. Ameen.

About the Author
Hassan Choudhury, a writer and author focusing on Islam and issues of interest to Muslims in the West. He presents less and less on the Islam Channel focusing now on public speaking and activism. His work can be found on his personal blog


Anonymous said...

jazakAllah khair brother ...

ummjihad said...

An excellent refutation, mashAllah, jazakAllah khair. Its so aparant that those who freely label activities related to enjoining maroof and forbidding munkar, as haram,- usually are upholding the agenda of the enemies of Islam. ie to make it so moderate that its no longer Islam, or so isolationist, that its incompatible with life.

Syed Aijaz said...

Jazakallah khair, good contribution on this. Request you to kindly provide the guidlines on how an Islamic Demonstration should be....broadly the Do's and Don't of Demonstration in the light of Quran and Sunnah....Thanks.