Today in this ummah many Muslim are involved going to, supporting, helping set up and calling to protest and demonstrations on a wide range of issues. However these actions are all haram as protest and demonstrations are haram in Islam. Some Muslim have even claimed protesting and demonstrations are from jihad.
Shaykh Muhammad Amaan bin Alee Al-Jaamee said in his explanation of Usool ath-Thalaatha, “Jihad is a righteous action, the pinnacle of Islaam. The meaning of it (jihad)is not hollow slogans and demonstrations and declarations, no! Jihaad in the path of Allaah is private, go if there is Jihaad, fight and you are quiet, no one knows that except Allaah.”
Demonstrations are not from jihad they are a form of rebellion. Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin Al-’Abbaad Aal-Badr said “No doubt that (demonstrations) is from the ways of rebellion, rather it is from rebellion, no doubt (rebelling against the Muslim leader is haram whether he is good or bad)!”
Shaykh Abdus-Salaam bin Burjiss Aal Abdul-Kareem said regarding the corruption of rebellion: “The one who thinks about what is the result of the religious and worldly punishments in the streets from those who split the Jamaah (community) and rebels against their leader, he will realize the corruption with this rebellion is immense and its effects are harmful regardless of the intent of the rebellion.”
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya said a magnificent statement on the topic of rebellion and rebelling against the Muslim ruler: ‘And perhaps the group that rebelled against the leader do not know that in their rebellion is a great corruption and it is greater than the corruption that they wanted to remove’. Indeed splitting the Jamaah and rebelling against the leader has with it:
- Replacing the security with fear
- Replacing satisfaction with hunger
- The shedding of blood
- Indecent Attacks
- Looting wealth
- Cutting off the paths
- The spreading (increase) of fools (and foolishness)
- Spreading of ignorance, and increasing the ignorance
- Reducing knowledge, and making its people strangers
- Weakening of the religion, and making it strange
Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin Al-’Abbaad Aal-Badr on 12th of Rabee’ al Awwal, 1432H (15th of February 2011): “…demonstrations bring harm to the country where you find demonstrations. Because the demonstrations, I say the smallest thing with it is the cutting of the paths, and causing harm for the people, and it may be that these demonstrations give way to other demonstrations which oppose it so then the killing occurs and the corruption occurs and matters like these. The obligation is to distancing oneself from it generally.”
Also on the 11th of Rabee’ al Awwal, 1432H corresponding to 14th of February, 2011 the shaykh (Abdul-Muhsin Al-’Abbaad Aal-Badr) said: “I do not know anything that proves that these demonstrations are legislated (the shaykh is referring to the demonstrations in Libya). We do not know the basis in the religion that proves these (demonstrations and protests) matters. Rather these matters are newly invented (demonstrations are bidah (innovation)), that the people invented and that they have imported from their enemies in the Western and Eastern countries (imitating the kuffaar which is haram). Meaning, it does not have a basis in the religion. We do not know of anything that proves its permissibility in the legislation. So the people should tread the legislated paths that have been legislated for them and abandon the things that do not have a basis and that cause harm, corruption, killing, and cutting off (paths). If the only harm of it was cutting the paths of the people then that would be sufficient in clarification of its evil and that it’s not for anyone to partake in things like that.”
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said in Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Rasa’il – Volume Two, Number 141, 143, and 146, “Our religion is not a religion of chaos. Our religion is a religion of discipline, and a religion of order, and calm, and tranquillity. And demonstrations are not from the actions of the Muslims and it is not something the Muslims are familiar with. And the religion of Islam is a religion of calm, and a religion of mercy, and a religion of discipline; not chaos, and not disorder, and not (a religion) of inciting trials (fitnah). And this is the religion of Islam. And rights are earned by asking for them in the manner legislated by the Shariah and through ways legislated by the Shariah. And demonstrations cause bloodshed and cause the ruination of wealth (of the Muslims). And these matters are not permissible.”
A person asked “What is the ruling pertaining to demonstrations, and are they considered to be from jihad in the path of Allah?” Shaykh Saalih ibn Fawzaan. So he replied: “There is no benefit in demonstrations. Rather they are confusion. They are from confusion, disorder. And what harm will be done to the enemy if the people demonstrate a street amongst the streets and raise their tongues?! Rather, this is from the matters on account of which the enemy actually rejoices…
Islam is a religion of sanctity, and religion of tranquillity, a religion based upon knowledge, it is not a religion of confusion and noise. It is a religion that aims to bring about tranquillity and sanctity, alongside the working of beneficial and praiseworthy deeds…
So it us upon the Muslims to traverse upon the manhaj of Islam in the likes o,f these affairs and other than them. Islam did not come with demonstrations and clangour, and raising of the voices, or destruction of the state properties, or transgression. All of this is not from Islam, it does not benefit, rather this harms the Muslims.
Shaykh Ibn Baz (D. 1420h) said Concerning Protests and Demonstration: “I do not view the rallies and demonstrations done by women and men to be from the treatment. However, I do see that they are from amongst the causes of fitan and from amongst the causes of evil and from amongst the causes of transgression upon some people and to have enmity towards some people without due right.”
Rather, the Shariah means consist of writing letter, advice and calling to goodness by Shariah legislated means that the people of knowledge have explained.
And the Companions of the Messenger of Allah and their followers in goodness have all explained these means to be writing letters and speaking along with (A word is unclear) and with the leader and calling him and advising him and writing to him, without publicizing the affair upon the pulpits that he did such and such and such and such emanated from him. And Allah is the One from whom aid is sought.”
Shaykh Ibnul Uthaymeen said Concerning Protests and Demonstration: “As for competing in protests and staging public demonstrations, then this is in opposition to the guidance of the Salaf. Indeed, now you know that these affairs have no connection to the Shariah, nor any connection to rectification. It is nothing except harm…
The Caliph, al-Ma`moon killed everyone from amongst the Scholars who did not speak of the creation of the Quran. He killed a group of Scholars and the people were forced to say this false statement. We have never heard from Imam Ahmad (d.241H), nor from other than him from the Scholars, that anyone from amongst them ever staged a sit-in within any mosque (or demonstrations and protest)…”
Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdul-Wahhaab Al-’Aqeel advised the brothers in Libya and the Muslims all over the world regarding the recent situation in Egypt over Mubarak (the now retiered leader of Egypt) his advice was ‘to stay away from these protests and demonstrations, spilling the blood of the Muslims, etc and says that all of these are Haraam (prohibited).’
Shaykh ‘Abdul-Qaadir bin Muhammad Al-Junaid advices protesters and demonstrators “Indeed these protests, demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, and insurgencies that you are active in to remove your leader and topple his government or objections to some of his decisions, moves, and actions are not worthy enough for you to go out against him, and to march about it, and to be amongst the masses of people, and organize a way to call to it or support and be proponents to it.”
Then he explains how demonstrations are haram because they involve coping the kuffaar in their harm actions. He said “…they are the disbelievers from the Jews, Christians, Communists, Buddhists, and those who are upon the way of the Baathists , Socialists, Marxists, Secularists, Liberalists, and other than them…the recent history of revolutions, demonstrations, protests, sit-ins, marches in the street in their countries are hardly unnoticed or hidden from the reasonable, insightful intellectual, as it is said (by them (the kuffaar): Freedom is a sufficient sign…
So beware O believer in Allah and His Messenger that you will take the path of these two groups (the Khawarij and the kuffaar), and that you imitate their actions, and make them your examples and guides for you will lose not win, and you will spread corruption not rectification, you will cause disarray and not guidance, you will deviate and not guide.
It’s affirmed from the most merciful of the creation to you and the most sincere one to you, and he is the Prophet that he said to you and to the believers, warning, repulsing, and disliking, ‘Whoever imitates a people then he is from them.’ Abu Dawood, 3512; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.”
(Ibn Taymiyyah said about this hadeeth, “This at the very least indicates that it is haraam to imitate them (the kuffaar), although the apparent meaning is that the one who imitates them is a kaafir (disbeliever). Iqtidaa al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 1/237. Also he said, “Imitating them in outward matters leads to imitating them in attitude and actions, hence we are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar…as it says in the marfu hadeeth: ‘Whoever imitates a people is one of them.’” Majmoo al-Fataawa of Ibn Taymiyyah, 22/154.)
Shaykh ‘Abdul-Qaadir bin Muhammad Al-Junaid words on demonstrations and protest being from the kuffaar are explained by the words of Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddeen Al-Albaanee. “Going out for these demonstrations and protests with signs showing displeasure and rejection of some of the decisions or some of the laws, this system is with the ruling upon those who say: The rule is for the people, or from the people by the people (the kuffaar who support democracy). He made this clear when he said, “They have taken it (demonstrations and protest) completely from the culture of the westerners and their system of govern.” On this point Shaykh Saaleh bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan said, “And demonstrations are not from the actions of the Muslims (because they are the actions of the kuffaar), and the Muslims have never known it before.”
Shaykh Uthmaan As-Saalimee said “Allaahul Musta’aan, with it is Tawheed (monotheism) and the greatness of trusting in Allah, and the people became… ignorant of the likes of these meanings (trusting in Allah), they started to look at their leaders only: “What should we give them if they fall short?” They (referring to the people of Egypt in their recent protest) went out to the streets protesting. Some of them were looting from others. Some of them rob each other. Importantly, it’s a great evil (protesting and demonstrations).”
So we do not support the demonstrations and protests and whatever resembles that. We do not support under any circumstances, and rectification is possible without such things. However, there is no escape from the fact that there are hidden matters, inward or outward that are trying to spread these affairs.”
These are some of the reason why the scholars view protest and demonstrations to be haram:
- Free mixing between men and women,
- 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)
- imitating the kuffaar (as Muslims copied demonstrations from them as there is no mention of demonstrations in Islam),
- bidah (innovation as the prophet nor the sahaba demonstrated),
- not following the way of the salaf (the early and best generations of Muslims) who never protested,
- 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),
- wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act,
- inconveniencing others (blocking the road or preventing people from passing by for example);
- chanting silly slogans that are sometime haram,
- playing instruments and sing to pass the time,
- provides a platform for those with little knowledge of the shariah to speak and gain followers,
- missing the five prayers sometimes as there may be no space to pray,
- enmity (hatred) towards some people without due right just because they did not attend the demonstration or are against it,
- 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),
- women going out wearing adornment and make-up;
- 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,
- holding up pictures or effigies of people;
- using slanderous and insulting words that are not permitted in shariah;
- 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)
- 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).
As for those who say what about if a protest did not involve these things would it be halal. No protest witness is free from all these things at least a few will be present. Secondly all protest are haram as they involve imitating the kuffaar the prophet said, “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3512; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. Ibn Taymiyyah said about this hadeeth, “This at the very least indicates that it is haraam to imitate them, although the apparent meaning is that the one who imitates them is a kaafir (disbeliever). Iqtidaa al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 1/237.
Additionally every demonstration and protest held by Muslims is a haram bidah (innovation) as the prophet and his sahaba never protested or demonstrated. The Messenger of Allah said: “Every innovation is misguidance and going astray” Reported by Abu Dawood (no. 4607), at-Tirmidhee (no. 2676) and it is saheeh. Ibn Hajr authenticated it Takhreej Ahaadeeth Ibn ul-Haajib (1/137). Plus the prophet said: “… and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance is in the Hellfire.” Reported by an-Nasaa’ee (1/224) from Jaabir bin Abdullaah and it is saheeh as declared by Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ ul Fataawaa (3/58).
Also protest and demonstrations are rejected acts of worship because they are bidah. The prophet said, “He who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not of it, will have it rejected.” Recorded in, Bukhari and Muslim. Also the prophet said, “Whoever does an act which is not in agreement with our matter, will have it rejected.” Recorded by, Muslim.
In Islam there is no bidah hasanah (good innovation) all bidah is haram because the prophet Mohammed taught the ummah everything that was best for it. There is no way someone can teach this ummah something else that is good for the ummah but the prophet never taught the ummah. The prophet said, “Never was a prophet before me, but he disclosed to his people what he knew to be best for them, and warned them of what he knew to be evil for them.” Recorder by Muslim. Plus every act of worship that would bring any Muslim closer to Jannah (Gardens of Paradise) the prophet taught us about it. The prophet said, “There is nothing that would bring you closer to Jannah (Gardens of Paradise) and farther from the Fire but it has been clarified [by me] to you.” Recorded by Ahmad and others; authenticated by al-Albaanee and others.
Inshallah from the above the fact that protest and demonstrations (and what is similar to them) are haram and some of the reasons why should be clear.
May Allah protect the ummah from the fitnah (trials) of protest and demonstrations. Ameen.
Important point: Did The Sahaba Protest?
Some Muslims claim the sahaba supported protest and they use the hadeeth of Umar Al-Faarooq to support this claim, however as you will see below inshallah none of the narrations of his hadeeth mentioning the marching in two ranks (lines) of the sahaba are authentic rather all of them are weak.
First Chain Of Narration
Al-Haafidh Aboo Nu’aym Al-Asbahaanee in his Hilyat Al Awliyaa (volume 1, page 40) said: (the chain) Muhammad bin Ahmad Bin Al-Hasan narrated to us that Muhammad bin ‘Uthmaan bin Abee Shaybah narrated to us that ‘Abdul-Hameed bin Saaleh narrated to us that Muhammad bin Abaan narrated to us from Is-haaq bin Abdullaah bin Abaan bin Saaleh from Mujaahid from Ibn Abbaas who said:
“I asked Umar about how he became known as “Al-Faarooq”, he said, “Hamzah became Muslim three days before me, then Allah opened by heart to Islam, so I said laa illaaha illaa huw, lahul Asmaa’ al-Husnaa (There is nothing worthy of worship except He, to Him belong the most beautiful Names). There is no person on Earth more beloved to me than the Messenger of Allah I said, “Where is the Messenger of Allaah?” My sister said, “He is in the house of Al-Arqam bin Al-Arqam in Safaa.” So I arrived at the house and Hamzah was in the sitting with his companions in the house and the Messenger of Allah was in the house. So I knocked on the door. The people gathered and Hamzah said to them, “What is wrong with you.” They said, “‘Umar.” So the Messenger of Allah came out. He grabbed a part of his (Umar’s) clothes and pulled him to his knees and said “What is it you want Umar?” I said, “I Testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, and I Testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.” So the people in the house make Takbeer so loud that the people in the Masjid could hear it. I said, “Messenger of Allah, are we not upon the truth?” He said, “Of course.” I said, “Why do we conceal it?” We went out in two ranks (lines), in one of which I was and in the other Hamzah, until we entered the mosque, and Quraysh looked at me and at Hamzah. There came upon them gloom and depression the like of which had never before come upon them. The Messenger of Allah – named me on that day “al-Farooq” because Islam had been shown openly and a separation made between the truth and falsehood.”
Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “This narration is not authentic, with the Praise of Allaah -Ta’aala-, rather it is very weak.” Shaykh Albaanee said: 6531:Munkar (rejected).
Second Chain Of Narration
Aboo Nu’aym reported it in his Hilya 1/40 from the way of : (the chain) Ishaaq bin Abdullaah from Abaan bin Saaleh from Mujaahid from Ibn Abbaas who said:
I asked Umar about how he became known as “Al-Faarooq”, he said, “Hamzah became Muslim three days before me, then Allaah opened by heart to Islam, so I said laa illaaha illaa huw, lahul Asmaa’ al-Husnaa (There is nothing worthy of worship except He, to Him belong the most beautiful Names). There is no person on Earth more beloved to me than the Messenger of Allah I said, “Where is the Messenger of Allah?” My sister said, “He is in the house of Al-Arqam bin Al-Arqam in Safaa.” So I arrived at the house and Hamzah was in the sitting with his companions in the house and the Messenger of was in the house. So I knocked on the door. The people gathered and Hamzah said to them, “What is wrong with you.” They said, “‘Umar.” So the Messenger of Allah came out. He grabbed a part of his (Umar’s) clothes and pulled him to his knees and said “What is it you want ‘Umar?” I said, “I Testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah, and I Testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.” So the people in the house make Takbeer so loud that the people in the Masjid could hear it. I said, “Messenger of Allah, are we not upon the truth?” He said, “Of course.” I said, “Why do we conceal it?” We went out in two ranks (lines), in one of which I was and in the other Hamzah, until we entered the mosque, and Quraysh looked at me and at Hamzah. There came upon them gloom and depression the like of which had never before come upon them. The Messenger of Allah named me on that day ‘al-Farooq’ because, Islam had been shown openly and a separation made between the truth and falsehood.’“
Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “This chain of narration is very weak, Ishaaq bin Abdullaah is Ibn Abee Farwah.” Bukhari said: “Abandon him (Ishaaq bin Abdullaah).” Ahmad bin Hanbal said: “His (Ishaaq bin Abdullaah) narrations are not permitted with me and some of them (sholars of hadeeth) considered him a liar.”
Third Chain Of Narration
Then Aboo Nu’aym and Al-Bazzaar (3/169-171) reported from the way of: (the chain) Ishaaq bin Ibraaheem Al-Hunaynee: Usaamah bin Zayd bin Aslam narrated to us from his father from his grandfather who said:
Umar said to us: Do you like me to let you know about my acceptance of Islam? We said, yes. He said… and he mentioned the long story of his Islam and it did not have the reason for being known as “Al-Faarooq”, nor mention of the two ranks (lines of protest the prophet, him and the other sahaba formed and marched to Masjid al-Haraam in). And Aboo Nu’aym summarized the narration of his Islam with his sister and her husband.
Al-Bazzaar said, “We do not know any narration with this chain except from Al-Hunaynee, and we do not know about the Islam of Umar anything better than this chain…” Bukhari said: “In his hadeeth there are issues.” Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “He is like Ibn Abee Farwah or close to him.” An-Nasaa’ee said: He’s not reliable (Ibn Abee Farwah). Ibn Adee said: “Weak (Ibn Abee Farwah), and with his weakness his hadeeth are written.”
Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “Abdullaah bin Ahmad (the son of Imam Ahmed) reported it in his Fadhaa’il as-Sahaba (1/285-288) and he mentioned the Islam of Umar with many narrations and none of them are authentic.”
A Summary Of The Most Authentic Chain Of Narration
Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “The best chain in summary is what Ahmad reported (1/17) and from his way by Ibn Al-Atheer in his Asad Al Ghaaba (3/644) by way of Shurayh bin Ubayd - and he mentioned the narration- and the men of this chain are reliable, so it’s chain is authentic, although Shurayh bin Ubayd did not meet Umar bin al-Khattaab (the reporters of this hadeeth are reliable however the chain of narration is munqati (broken) as one of the reporters (Shurayh bin Ubayd) is known to have never heard the hadeeth from his immediate authority (Umar bin al-Khattaab), all munqati hadeeth are weak as they are not muttasil (a continuous connected chain of narration with no breaks in it) and (it is narrated) like that in Al Mujama’ 9/65, and at-Tabaraanee in Al Awsat…”
None of the narrations of this hadeeth mentioning the marching in two ranks (lines) of the sahaba are authentic rather all of them are weak. As these narrations are weak they can not be used to explain a fiqh ruling on whether protest and demonstration are halal or haram.
Imam Nawawi said in the Adhkar’: “As for legal (fiqh) rulings such as what is permitted (halaal) and what is forbidden (haraam), or the modalities of trade, marriage, divorce and other than that: one’s practice is not based upon anything other than authentic (saheeh) or good (hasan) hadeeth…”
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 1/250: ”It is not permissible in Islam to rely on weak ahaadeeth that are neither saheeh nor hasan………… None of the imams (scholars of iqh or hadeeth) said that it is permissible to regard something as obligatory or mustahabb (recommended) on the basis of a weak hadeeth; whoever says that is going against scholarly consensus (ijma)…”
Some scholars allowed the use of weak hadeeth but only for encouraging good deeds or forbidding haraam actions (targheeb wa al-tarheeb) and for (fadail amal) good deeds and character and even when these scholars use these hadeeth there are strict conditions that they adhere to.
Ibn Hajar al-Askalani gives the conditions which all the scholars who allow weak hadeeth to be used give.
- It should not be very weak, and one should not act upon a hadeeth which was narrated only by one of the liars or those who are accused of lying, or whose mistakes are serious.
- It should mention a good deed for which there is a basis in the Shareah.
- When acting upon it one should not believe that the action is well-founded, rather he should do it on the basis of erring on the side of caution.
From what Ibn Hajar al-Askalani has said it is clear that even the scholars who accepted weak hadeeth in relation to encouraging good deeds or forbidding haraam actions (targheeb wa al-tarheeb) and for (fadail amal) good deeds and character do not accept very weak or fabricated hadeeth like these narrations.