Sunday, May 06, 2018

Q&A: Accounting the rulers in Public

The following is an answer by Ustadh Abu Khaled al-Hejazi.

Question: Accounting the rulers does it have to be open, if so how does one reconcile it with the below hadith: "The Messenger of Allah Muhammad (salallaahu'alayheewasallam) said, "Whoever desires to advise the one with authority then he should not do so openly, rather he should take him by the hand and take him into seclusion (and then advise him). And if he accepts (the advice) from him then (he has achieved his objective) and if not, then he has fulfilled that which was a duty upon him."
(Reported by Ahmad (3/403) and Ibn Abee 'Aasim (2/521) with a Saheeh isnaad.)


The hadith you quoted concerning accounting the rulers, is incomplete and further the isnad (chain) is not intact, rather it is broken (it is mursal). Ahmad ibn Hanbal has reported it from: Abu Mugaira, from Safwan, that Shuraih ibn Ubaid al Hadrami and others said: Iyad bin Ganam became angry with Hisham bin hakeem, and after that he apologized, then Hisham said to Iyaad, haven’t you heard the saying of the Prophet (saw), "the worst of the people in azaab are the ones who are the harshest on the people in the dunya" so Iyaad bin Ganam said: O Hisham bin Hakeem! We heard the Prophet say what you heard and we saw what you saw, have you not heard the prophet say, "Whosoever wants to advise the one in authority, he should do so in privacy, and if he accepts it is good and if he does not then he has completed him responsibility" and you O Hisham are aggressive and if you are aggressive on the sultan of Allah (ameer), don’t you fear that the sultan will kill you and then you will be someone killed by the sultan of Allah (swt).

Iyaad bin Ganam was a sahabi and he was among the ones who gave the bay’ah of ridhwan and he died in the year 20H and Hisham bin Hakeem ibn Hazam was a sahabi and the son of a sahabi and he died during the reign of Muawiyah. Almazi says in tahzeeb al kamaal that the ones who narrated this hadith are people of trust, as for shuraih ibn ubaid al hadrami he is tabee (generation after the sahaba) and he is trustworthy but his narrations from the sahabah are mursal, and it is said in tahzeeb al kamaal (muhammad ibn Auf was asked that did shuraih ibn ubaid narrate from abu dardaaa? so he replied “no”. Then he was asked that did he hear from any of the Sahabah of the prophet? So he replied that I don’t think so and that is because when shuraih reports a hadith he does not say that (I heard) and he is trustworthy.

Hafiz Ibn hajar also called Shuraih Mursal. So how could it be that Shuraih who narrates and reports this hadith have met Abu amamah ibn ajlan (died 87H) or miqdaam ibn madi karb (died 87 H) and if shuraih did not meet them then how could he had met hisham ibn hakeem who died during the beginning of the reign of muawiyah or even iyaad ibn ganam who died in 20H (during umar ibn khatabs reign)?

What is clear here is that shuraih only narrated a story and there is no evidence that he actually witnessed the incident or even heard any one from the ones present there, and therefore this isnad clearly is broken. As for Ibn Asims report which is found in "assunnah", he says Amru ibn uthman narrated, from baqiya, from safwan ibn amru, from Shuraih ibn ubaid that he said that iyaad ibn ganam said to hisham ibn hakeem that have not heard the saying of the prophet where he said " whosoever wants to give naseeha to some one in authority he should do so in privacy, and if he accepts (then he has achieved his objective) and if he doesn’t then he has fulfilled his duty".

All the narrators here are people of trust but there is no evidence that shuraih narrated from iyaad and hisham directly (i.e. that he heard either of them). This is what haithami says in "almajma": Note that shuraih ibn ubaid is narrating an incident and there is no evidence that he was present there or that he heard from any who were present there, therefore the isnad is broken and is weaker than earlier.
These are the two evidences to show that the hadith is Mursal and the isnad actually is broken. 

But even if we consider it to be correct (Saheeh) and we assume that the prophet said that "if you want to advice the sultan then do so in privacy....." the hadith. There is no notion in this hadith which gives us an indication of Wujub (obligation/ fardiya) rather it only indicates that it is only a permission (rukhsa). The daleel (evidences) for that are:

1. The Prophet (saw) said " and if he does not accept then you have completed your duty" which could lead the addressed ones in this hadith to understand the obligation of advice (naseeha) which would lead them to face the one in authority, and the prophet here clarified that the issue is to fulfill the obligation of naseeha and not facing the one in authority in public. This clearly shows that the naseeha is obligatory iI.e amar bil maruk wannahi anil munkar but the style adopted could be private or public.

2. The saying of Iyaad bin Ganam, "And you o hisham you are aggressive and if you face the sultan don’t you fear that he may kill you and then you will be the one killed by the sultan of Allah (swt)" this is evidence that iyaad warned his companion hisham ibn hakeem from the dangers of naseeha in public which may lead to the anger of the sultan (authority) and even his killing. Note that he does not warn him against the anger of Allah and his messenger, and this is evidence that he sees the obligation of naseeha with a permission (rukhsa) for a lighter or easier style than the original which is advising in public , there is no evidence to show that the privacy is obligatory and neither does he indicate that the public and aggressive style is haraam.

And there should be nothing to wonder here since the prophet said, the master of martyrs is hamza and the man who stands to a oppressive rulers and then he does amr bil maruf wannahi anil munkar and for that he is killed". [Reported by Muslim and Bukhari]. The question in front of us is that " will someone who stands to an Imam in seclusion and then advices him, will the dhalim kill him? the answer is off course not" the killing came as a result of the public advice i.e nahi anil munkar in public which may lead the one in authority to kill the man in revenge.

3- The saheeh hadith which has been accepted and is narrated by Ubadah ibn Samit in the hadith of bay’ah where he says, "and we will say the haq wherever we are and we would not fear anything accept Allah", and the similar ones which has been reported by Jabir ibn Abdullah , these ahadith are general i.e aaam without any restriction about privacy or publicly, in fact the higher matter is that of public advice and not secrecy.

4- The hadith of the prophet where was asked about the best jihad and he said that, "the word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler". These 4 points are after we are simply assuming a weak hadith which is mursal and with a broken chain to be correct. 

It is very clear that the correct way of naseeha to the ones in authority is publicly. the evidences along with the opinion of the ulema verify this.

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” [Abu Dawud]

“The master of martyrs is Hamza and any man who stands in front of a tyrant ruler and orders him (with good i.e. the implementation of the Deen) and prohibits him (from the evil of other than the Deen) and is slain by him”. [Authenticated by Ibn Hajr al-Hathami in majmoo’ al-Zaaid]

“There will be leaders over you, (who will do things) you recognize (as part of the Deen), and things you don’t recognize. Whoever recognized he would be relieved (of sin), and whoever denied (the wrong), he would be safe”. Hadith, Abdullah ibn Amr “If you see my Ummah afraid of telling the oppressor: You are an oppressor, it is farewell to the Ummah” [Suyooti]

Ibn Hajr in his Fath al-Bari also states that if he becomes a Kafir, or changes the Shari’ah he should be fought and removed. This view is also mentioned in Nayl al-Awtar and supported by Imam Shawkani. That is, if the ruler rules by other than the Shari’ah he is fought until he either repents or is removed.

The ahadith on doing amar bil maruf wannahi anil munkar are many and they all are Mutlaq (unrestricted) and they emphasize on doing it publicly and hence in today’s reality it is of utmost importance that the advice is giving publicly specially because it has 88 years and there is no caliph and one of the main culprits are the rulers who do not rule by Islam.

Abu Khaled al-Hejazi

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