The takfires and those who not takfir but have been influenced by their dawah argue that it is an essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law. By a essential condition what is meant is it is a condition that if a ruler does not fulfil it he is not to be regarded as the legitimate ruler, he is an illegitimate ruler so he does not need to be listened to or obeyed and must either step down as the ruler, rule by Allahs law or be removed by force (his citizens and the army) if he choose not to rule by Allahs law (the majority of them make takfir of the rulers if they choose to rule by Allahs law) or step down.
However the Quran and Sunnah indicate otherwise, they both indicate that to be Muslim ruler it is not an essential condition to rule by Allahs law but only a highly desirable condition for the Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law.
The prophet Mohammed knew (because Allah let him know) that in his ummah there would be a period of rule in which there would be biting Kingship, then oppressive Kingship .The prophet said, “Prophethood will be amongst you for as long as Allah wills, then Allah will raise it up when He wills, then there will be Khilaafah upon the way of Prophethood, then Allah will raise it up when He wills, then there will be biting Kingship, then oppressive Kingship, then Khilaafah upon the way of the Prophethood.” Decleared saheeh by Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee
Therefore if it was a essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law then the prophet would have told his ummah that as he knew there would be this period of un-Islamic rulers as they are biting kings (meaning not upon the way of the prophet or four rightly guided khalifahs rulership) and after that there would be oppressive Kingship (meaning they do not rule by Allahs law due to there oppression as oppressive rule is not in line with ruling by the shariah). The reason the prophet would have told us is because all the prophets including the prophet Mohammed always disclosed what is best for their ummahs and warned from what is evil for their ummahs. 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 if it was a essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law and the prophet failed to tell us or indicate that, then it would mean that he failed in his prophet hood as he never told about something which would bring his ummah closer to paradise and farther from the hell. The prophet said, “There is nothing that would bring you closer to Jannah (Gardens of Paradise) and farther from the Fire (hell) but it has been clarified [by me] to you.” Recorded by Ahmad and others; authenticated by al-Albaanee and others.
Furthermore those takfires who claim it is an essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law this would mean it is not obligatory to here and obey the Muslim rulers of today as they do not rule by Allahs law. However this understanding is incorrect and because it is obligatory to hear and obey the Muslim rulers of today, as the Prophet indicated this ummah must listen and obey the Muslim ruler even if he does not follow the prophets guidance and does not follow his Sunnah in ruling by the shariah and by being a just ruler. The prophet said, “There will be after me leaders who do not follow my guidance and do not follow my Sunnah, and there will be among them men whose hearts are like those of Satan in the body of a human being”. And Hudhaifa (bin al-Yaman) asked the Prophet, ‘What we should do at that time if we reach it?’ He said, ‘listen and obey the ruler, even if he lashed your back (unjustly) and took your money (unjustly)”. Recorded by Muslim.
From this hadeeth it is very clear that it is not a needed condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law because if it was the prophet Mohammed would not have commanded this ummah to listen and obey rulers:
- who do not follow the prophets guidance,
- do not follow his Sunnah,
- lash your back unjustly,
- take your money unjustly
- And have hearts like those of Satan when it comes to ruling by the shariah and by being a just ruler (i.e. they are unjust rulers who rule by other than Allahs law).
In a similar hadeeth to the one above, the Prophet said “Listen and obey, even if the ruler seizes you and beats your back.” Saheeh Muslim. So again in this hadeeth the prophet orders this ummah to listen and obey the Muslim rulers who size us and beat us with out any right. Again this hadeeth like the previous hadeeth proves that it is not a needed condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law as sizing and beating citizens with out any right opposes ruling by Allahs law.
However the prophet Mohammed still commanded us to listen and obey this sort of ruler. If it was a needed condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law then a ruler who sizes and beats his citizens unjustly would be an oppressive ruler so he would be not be considered to be ruling by Allahs law (as ruling by Allahs law would automatically make a Muslim ruler a just ruler as Allahs law is based on justice to all mankind and animals). He (the Muslim ruler) would be an illegitimate ruler thus he would have no right to be listened to and obeyed in what is halaal.
Also if it is it is an essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law then the ruler of Habasha (Ethiopia) in the time of the prophet an-Najaashi was allowed by Allah and his prophet to be a ruler and he was not considered an illegitimate ruler even though he did not rule by Allahs law.
But it is known that not all of the shariah was revealed during the life of Najaashi, so when it is said he did not rule by Allahs law what is meant is he did not rule by what had already been revealed during his reign as the ruler of Habasha (Ethiopia). Zakat, the five prayers, jummah prayer, the jummah khutbah, hijra, jihad, fasting in Ramadan, building mosques, creating a musalla for eid prayers, the two eids, wudoo, calling the athan out loud, some of the hadood (Islamic punishments like cutting off the thieves right hand) and other all that had been revealed in the time of Najaashi and explained in great detailed by the prophet Mohammed.
Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah stated in the fifth volume of Minhaj us-Sunnah on page 112: “Many of the symbols and institutions of Islam, or most of them, were not established in Habasha (Ethiopia). He (an-Najaashi) did not make hijra, he did not make jihad, he did not make Hajj, indeed it is even stated that he did not even pray the five daily prayers, fast or give the Divinely Legislated Zakat!”
Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah also said in the fifth volume of Minhaj us-Sunnah on page 112:, “We know absolutely that it was not possible for him to rule amongst his people with the Quran (Meaning: to rule with what Allah has revealed) and Allah obligated His Messenger in Madeenah that if the People of the Book come to him he should not judge between them except with what Allah had revealed…So an-Najaashi was not able to rule with the rule of the Quran.”
Futhermore after the death of the prophet but during time some of the sahaba and the taabieen were alive there was a governor of Iraq and some of the provinces in Persia known as al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf al-Thaqafi.
He was known for oppression, repression, excessiveness in spilling the blood (of the Muslims), desecration of the Sanctities of Allah (killing people even though they sought refuge in the Haram), the killing of sahaba and taabieen unjustly.
He killed Sa’eed ibn Jubair, besieged Ibn az-Zubair (sahabi) even though he had sought refuge in the Haram he then killed Ibn az-Zubair, even though Ibn az-Zubair had given obedience to him already.
Also he took the Muslims wealth unjustly, this is why when his oppression became too much for some of the Muslims to bear with patient, they went to al-Hasan al-Basree (one of the greatest taabieen) and said “What do you say about fighting this oppressor who has unlawfully spilt blood and unlawfully taken wealth and did this and that?” So al-Hasan said, “I hold that he should not be fought.” Ibn Sa’d relates this in Tabaqaat al-Kubraa (7/163-165)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said (summarised from his Book Al-Fataawa al-Kubra Part 5), “It is reported in Saheeh Muslim that the Prophet of Allah said: “In (the tribe of) Thaqeef there will be a liar (the liar was al-Mukhtaar ibn Abi ‘Ubayd al-Thaqafi who was a Shia) and an oppressor.”
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah also said (summarised from his Book Al-Fataawa al-Kubra Part 5), “As for the oppressor (in the above hadeeth), this was al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf al-Thaqafi, who was opposed to Ali and his companions. Al-Hajjaaj was a Naasibi …”
In addition Ibn Taymiyyah said, “The Naasibi group hated Ali and his companions (mainly the prophets family), because of the troubles and killings that had occurred, (between the sahaba along with Ali as their head and the sahaba along with Muwiyaah as their head).”
The Naasibi sect backed Muwiyaah and the sahaba with him over Ali and the sahaba with him. So they hated the Shia because they rejected the Muwiyaah and the sahaba with him and made takfir of them. Plus the Shia overly loved, supported and praised Ali and the rest of the prophet’s family. This lead them to hate Ali which lead them to hate all of the prophets family, not give them due right of praise and love.”
Shaykh Naasir ud-Deen al-Albaanee said “We (the scholars past and present) bear witness that Al-Hajaaj was an evildoer, an oppressor.” Al-Asaalah No. 10
From the above it is clear that al-Hajjaj did not rule (his province) with the shariah as a whole, he ruled by other than Allahs law plus he was a Naasibi (innovator) who hated Ali and the prophets family,
- killed the sahaba unjustly,
- he killed the taabieen unjustly
- he took the Muslims wealth unjustly
- violate the Haram (by killing in the Haram)
- and the prophet called him an oppressor when he said in Saheeh Muslim “In (the tribe of) Thaqeef there will be…an oppressor.” . Ibn Taymiyyah said (in his Book Al-Fataawa al-Kubra Part 5), “As for the oppressor (in the above hadeeth), this was al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf al-Thaqafi…”
But none of the sahaba nor the taabieen alive in his time considered him to be an illegitimate leader because he did not rule by shariah.
Ibn Umar and whoever met al-Hajjaaj were from amongst the companions of Allah’s Messenger and they never contested with him about his leadership being illegitimate because he did not rule by Allahs law and nor did they prevent obedience to him in that by which Islam is established.
Likewise for those who were also in the era of al-Hajjaaj from among the taabieen such as Ibn al-Musayyih, al-Hasan al-Basree, Ibn Seereen, Ibraaheem at-Taimee and those like them from among the leaders of the Ummah.
Therefore if it is an essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law like the takfires claim then why did the companions of Allah’s Messenger and taabieen in the era of al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf al-Thaqafi not declare his rule illegitimate as he did not rule by Allahs law.
Instead they never contested with him about his leadership and they listen and obey him in that by which Islam is established and is halaal. This indicates that they believed he was a legitimate leader otherwise there would not have listened to him or obeyed him. This incident and the stance of the sahaba and the taabieen proofs it is not an essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law it is only a highly desirable condition to be full filled by the ruler.
Moreover in the time of the salaf (around Imam Ahmads time) the rulers al-Ma’mun after his death al-Mu’tasim and after him al-Wathiq carried out the Mutazilah inquisition.
The Mutazilah were a heretical Muslim sect, who sanctified their intelligence above the revelation and espoused the belief that, even though, the Quran is the speech of Allah, He created that speech
The Mutazilah inquisition systematically placed many scholars on trial until they were forced (through imprisonment or torcher, normally both, some were even killed) to acknowledge that the Quran was created by Allah and not the speech of Allah. When they had forced a scholar to submit to their belief and they would make his new belief that the Quran was created by Allah and not his speech known in all major cities they controlled.
Nearly all of the scholars of Baghdad from the scholars of fiqh and hadeeth were tested in what is commonly know as the trial of the Quran, and all of them acknowledged the doctrine of the created Quran, with the exception of the two; Ahmad b. Hanbal and Muhammad b. Nuh.
The rulers al-Ma’mum, al-Mu’tasim and al-Wathiq were Mutazilah and forced people to adopt their innovate beliefs, killed (with out right), imprisoned (unjustly) and torched any scholar who rejected their deviant belief. Ruling in such a way is against Islam as killing a Muslim or imprisoning him just because he rejects your innovator belief is haram and can not be founded in the shariah. Also torching Muslims is haram in Islam as the prophet never even torched the kuffaar he took as prisoners of war neither did the sahaba.
However even though they did all this, these scholars from Ahlus Sunnah they killed, torched and imprisoned never claimed these deviant Mutazilah rulers were illegitimate rulers due to their not ruling by the shariah. But if it was an essential condition (requirement) for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law and not a highly desirable condition to be full filled by the ruler, they have been the first to declare these rulers as illegitimate.
It is clear (from the whole article) that the Quran and Sunnah, the actions of the sahaba and taabieen towards al-Hajjaj and the actions of the salaf, the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah in the time of the oppressive deviant Mutazilah rulers al-Ma’mum, al-Mu’tasim and al-Wathiq, prove that to be Muslim ruler it is not an essential condition to rule by Allahs law it is only highly desirable condition for a Muslim ruler to rule by Allahs law.
HOWEVER TO RULE BY OTHER THAN ALLAHS LAW IS MINOR KUFR IN MOT CASES AND AT TIMES IT COULD BE MAJOR KUFR (EXPELLS THE DOER FROM ISLAM), SO IT IS HARAM TO RULE BY OTHER THAN ALLAHS LAW IF U ARE A MUSLIM RULER EVEN THOUGH RULING BY ALLAHS LAW IS NOT A CONDTION TO BE A MUSLIM RULER.
Ibn Abil Azz al-Hanafee stated in Sharh ul-Aqeedah at-Tahawiyyah, pp.323-324: “Here there is a matter which has to be understood and that is: ruling by other than what Allah has revealed can be kufr which expels one from the religion; it can be disobedience, major or minor.
So this all depends on the condition of the ruler: if he believes that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is not an obligation, or that he has a choice in a matter, or that he mocks it while admitting that it is the rule of Allah, then this is major kufr;
If he believes that it is an obligation to rule by what Allah has revealed and this is his knowledge of the situation, yet he does not rule by it, along with his admittance that he deserves punishment, then this is disobedience and such a person is a disbeliever for committing kufr in the figurative sense or has committed minor kufr (which does not expel a ruler/person from Islam);
If he is ignorant of the rule of Allah, while he exerts great efforts in trying to know the ruling yet makes a mistake, then this is one who has been mistaken (so he is not sinful). He has a reward for his ijtihad and his error is forgiven.”
Imam as-Saadi stated in Tafseer ul-Kareem ur-Rahmaan, vol.2, pp.296-297: “Ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is from the actions of the people of kufr. It can be (major) kufr which expels one from the religion, if he believes that it is halaal and permitted for him to rule by it(other than Allahs law); or it could be a major sin. Of the actions of kufr are that which deserve a severe punishment (as he would have committed minor kufr which does not expel him from Islam).”
Shaykh Abdul-Azeez bin Baz said: And whoever ruled by other than what Allah has revealed then he will not be in other than one of four situations:
- The one who says: “I rule by this because it is superior to the Shariah of Islam.” Such a one is a kaafir in the sense of the major disbelief (i.e. ejected from the Religion).
- The one who says: “I rule by this because it is like the Shariah of Islam, so ruling by it is permissible and ruling by the Shariah is permissible.” Such a one is a kaafir in the sense of the major disbelief.
- The one who says: “I rule by this and ruling by the Shariah of Islam is superior but ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is permissible. Such a one is a kaafir in the sense of the major disbelief.
- The one who says: “I rule by this” while he believes that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is not permissible and who says that “the Shariah of Islam is superior and it is not permissible to rule by other than it” but he is neglectful, or treats matters lightly, or does this action due to a reason that proceeds from his rulers, then he is a disbeliever in the sense of minor disbelief which does not eject from the Religion – and it is considered one of the greatest of major sins. Al-Hukmu bi-Ghairi Maa Anzalallaahu wa Usool ut-Takfeer pp. 71/72
Shaykh Fawzaan said “The scholars have clarified this (issue, ruling by man-made laws) and the closest thing (to being correct) is the tafsir of Ibn Kathir wherein it is stated that the one who rules by other than what Allah has revealed then if he views that as being better than the Books of Allah, or that his rule is better than the rule of Allah, or that ruling by other than what Allah has revealed is the same as the rule of Allah or that the he has a choice to rule by what Allah has revealed or not based on choice-then such an individual is judged with Kufr. There is no doubt that such an individual is a disbeliever according to the Ijma.
As for the individual who believes that the rule of Allah is the truth and that the man-made law is false but he rules by it due to desire or due to a temptation that has overcome him-then such an individual is sinful and a transgressor yet is not judged with Kufr. This because he believes that the rule of Allah is obligatory and ruling by other than it is false but has done it in order to obtain a career or due to a temptation. In this instance his Aqeedah remains, as he still has his belief in the Book of Allah and that it is the truth and has to be ruled by, then in this case his Aqeedah remains.
Such an individual is judged to be sinful and not judged with having kufr because this is Kufr Amali (Kufr of actions, Kufr less than Kufr is minor kufr which does not expel a person from Islam). Session question-answer of the lecture “Takfir: Between excess and neglect” delivered at Masjid ar-Raajihee in Hayy ul-Jazeerah, Riyadh, KSA dated 10/10/1428 AH (21/10/2007 CE)