It is not permissible to fight the ruler, nor to rebel against him even if he oppresses – Sharh as Sunnah | Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 26 : Point 30
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

And it is not permissible to fight the ruler, nor to rebel against him even if he oppresses. And that is because of the saying of Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam to Aboo Tharr al-Ghifaariyy,

“Have patience, even if he is an Abyssinian slave.”

And his saying to the Ansaar,

“Have patience until you meet me at the Reservoir (the Howd).”

It is not from the Sunnah to fight against the ruler for it brings about corruption of the worldly life and of the Religion.

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Transcribed Audio:

It is not permissible for anyone to fight against the sultaan (ruler) by rebelling against him by using weaponry because this results in major evils.

His saying, “And it is not permissible to fight against the ruler, nor to rebel against him even if he is oppressive.” Meaning it is forbidden – haraam – to fight against the ruler, meaning to fight against the ruler as is done by the Khawaarij.

“Even if he commits oppression.” Meaning (even if) some tyranny or oppression occurs from him then the person should have sabr, patience, upon that. Because having patience upon that, even though it has harm within it, then this is lighter (less serious) than the harm which results from rebelling against him. So the harm which comes about along with having patience upon obedience to the oppressive ruler, this is less serious than the harm which comes about through rebelling against him. And there is no doubt that from the principles that are confirmed in Islaam is: ‘taking on board the lesser of two harms to repel the greater one’.

And the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said to the Ansaar,

“You will indeed see after me atharah (undue preference), so have patience until you meet me at the Howd (Great Reservoir).” [04]

He enjoined them with sabr (having patience) even though they were going to experience atharah (undue preference) against them – and it is preferring other people with wealth and excluding them. So he enjoined them with having patience because of what lies in this from repelling the greater of two evils.

His saying, “And that is because of the saying of Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam to Aboo Tharr al-Ghifaariyy, “Have patience even if he be an Abyssinian slave.”

Meaning do not hold the ruler in contempt even if his appearance is not beautiful, even if he is black in colour, even if he does not have Arabian lineage, because what is counted is his position, which is the khilaafah (Caliphate) or al-imaarah (the major leadership) and what is counted is not his own person. So he is to be obeyed as long as he is a Muslim; and his bodily appearance is not to be looked to, which perhaps does not please the one who looks because of his deformity or ugliness or because of his shabby appearance or because of a defect in his body.

“Even if he is a slave with severed limbs.” [05]

All of this does not justify rebelling against him even if he is a sick person or he has weak health. As long as the pledge of obedience was established for him then he should have patience with him and he is to be heard and obeyed, even if he has these characteristics.

His saying, “Fighting against the sultaan (ruler) is not from the Sunnah.” It is not from the Sunnah established from the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam to fight against the ruler – not in a single hadeeth, neither a weak one, nor a hasan one, nor an authentic one. There is not in the Sunnah any hadeeth which proves fighting against the Muslim ruler, even if he is sinful, even if he is an oppressor, even if he is a tyrant, even if he shows undue preference with wealth, then it is still not permissible to rebel against him. Rather the ahaadeeth, all of them, prove having patience with that and the forbiddance of rebelling against him.

And this does not mean that the ruler shouldn’t receive naseehah, sincere advice. Rather he should be advised, in secret, privately between him and the one who is advising. So it is obligatory upon the person who has some sincere advice to take it to the ruler, just as he sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said,
“The religion is sincerity.”
So we said, “To whom?”
So he said,
“To Allaah and to His Book and to His Messenger and to the rulers of the Muslims and to their common folk.” [06]

So that does not mean that he is not to be advised and that he is to be left alone; rather things must be made clear to him and he should be advised. And this is his right upon the scholars and upon his subjects and upon those whom he consults and upon people of sound opinion – that they give him sincere advice. [07]

“And it is not from the Sunnah to fight against the sultaan (the ruler),” meaning, there is no proof for it; nothing saheeh (authentic) and nothing da`eef (weak) to show that it is legislated to fight against the Muslim ruler. Rather there is in it (the Sunnah) and in the Qur·aan also, the command to obey him.

O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from amongst you. (Sooratun-Nisaa· (4), aayah 59)

So look at his saying lÐm ‘minkum’ with the meaning, ‘from amongst you’, meaning as long as he is a Muslim, then it is obligatory to obey him.

His saying, “For indeed (in rebelling against the ruler) in it lies corruption of the worldly life and of the Religion.” Fighting against the ruler brings about corruption of the worldly life such that authority is lost, fowdaa (anarchy/chaos) becomes widespread and the enemies overcome and the Religion becomes lost; since there is noone to establish the prescribed punishments and no-one who can carry out the qisaas, (retaliatory punishments) and there is no-one who can enforce the legislated rulings and give back the rights to those who deserve them and who can enforce the judicial rulings; and thus the Religion is corrupted and there is chaos and corruption. And the hand of the thief cannot be chopped, so therefore people’s wealth is lost. And the highway robbers do not have their limbs amputated and therefore the roads become disused – because who can establish all of this? He is the person in authority. This is from the function of the one in authority and no-one will be able, even if all the people gather, no one will be able to establish these affairs. Rather, chaos and anarchy will result. [08]


[04] Reported by al-Bukhaariyy in his Saheeh (no. 3792) and reported by Muslim in his Saheeh (no. 1845), hadeeth of Usayd Ibnul-Hudayr radiyAllaahu `anhu.

[05] Part of the same hadeeth brought by the author in the main text, hadeeth of Aboo Tharr radiyAllaahu `anhu, reported by al-Bukhaariyy (no. 3792) and Muslim (no. 1845) and this being one particular wording of that, the wording reported by Muslim (no. 648)

[06] Reported by Muslim (no. 55) from hadeeth of Tameem ad-Daariyy radiyAllaahu `anhu

[07] Translator’s side point: Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymiyy hafizahullaah in his explanation said with regard to the word sultaan (the sultan, the one in authority), “His saying, ‘sultaan’. He used this word here to make it general, whether the person is a khaleefah (Caliph) or a malik (king), or a sultaan or a ra·ees (head or president), whatever he is, as long as he establishes the legislation of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High. Whatever his title is, whether he is called a king or a sultaan (sultan) or an ameer (chief/head) or an imaam, whatever, then the witness here is that it is forbidden to rebel against him.

[08] Translators side point: Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmiyy rahimahullaah said, “I say the `aqeedah (creed and belief) of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah is that fighting against the ruler is not permissible, and likewise rebelling against him. It is not permissible because of the prohibition of the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and his warning against rebelling against him and the prohibition of challenging him (the ruler) which occurs in the hadeeth of `Ubaadah ibnus-Saamit (with the wording):

‘And that we will not challenge those in authority with regard to the affair.’”

(Footnote: Hadeeth already preceded. Translator’s note: Meaning it was part of the pledge which the Companions gave to the Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam that they would not challenge those in authority of the affair.)

Shaykh Ahmad continued,

“So challenging those in authority of the affair is not permissible, and that comes about by provoking and rabble rousing the common masses to rebel against them, all of this is not permissible. And from that is criticising the rulers from the minbars, for this will only enrage the hearts of those in authority and cause estrangement between those in authority and the common masses and cause them to have no trust in each other.

“And the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said,

‘The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you and who you supplicate for them and they supplicate for you. And the worst of your rulers are those who you hate and who hate you and you abuse them and they abuse you.’

So they said, “We said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, shall we not challenge/go against them with regard to that?’

So he said,

‘No, not as long as they establish the Prayer amongst you. No not as long as they establish the Prayer. Indeed, whoever has someone in authority over him and he sees him committing something from disobedience to Allaah then let him hate that which he commits from disobedience to Allaah, but let him not remove his hand from obedience.’”

(Translator’s side point: Reported by Muslim as a hadeeth of `Owf ibn Maalik radiyAllaahu `anhu)

And the proofs concerning this topic and the writings, and the statements of the Salaf which cover this are plentiful. And Allaah is the One Who grants success.

Transcribed by Saima Zaher. Download PDF of Lesson 26

Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
(A Gift To The Reader In Annotation Of Sharh As-Sunnah)
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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Sharh-us-Sunnah – Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan – Dawood Burbank [Audio|En]

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