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Ruling by Other Than the Law of Allāh

  Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

Explanatory notes from Imām Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn (d. AH 1421) concerning the issue of ruling by other than what Allāh revealed.

bismallah

  

  As for the one who rules by other than what Allāh revealed, and he believes that he is sinning, but he rules by other than what Allāh revealed, due to bribes paid to him, or other than that, or enmity to his constituents, or closeness to them, or their friendship with him, or similar to that, then this cannot be major disbelief.
Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn

 

The following is taken from the Shaykh’s concluding remarks to the ḥadīth of `Adee ibn Ḥātim that he heard the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) reciting the verse,

"They (the Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and monks to be their lords besides Allāh." [al-Tawbah (9): 31]

Upon which I said, "indeed we did not worship them." [The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam)] said, "did they not make unlawful that which Allāh made lawful and so you too did the same? [Did they not] make lawful what Allāh made unlawful and so you too did the same?" I replied, "verily." He said, "this then was the worship of them." Reported by Aḥmad and al-Tirmidhī who declared it ḥasan.

[The following points] are derived from the ḥadīth:

That obedience with the meaning of worship is a specific type of uboodiyyahObedience in that which contraḍīcts the Law of Allāh constitutes worship of the one obeyed. As for [obedience] in the worship of Allāh then this is [truly] worship of Allāh. That following the scholars and servants in that which contraḍīcts the Law of Allāh constitutes taking them as lords [besides Allāh]. 

Know that following the scholars or leaders in their making lawful what Allāh has made unlawful or the opposite [causes that person] to fall into one of three categories:

That he follows them while being pleased with their opinion and giving it precedence and being displeased with the ruling of Allāh - such a person is a kāfir because he has disliked what Allāh has revealed, and as a result, Allāh made his actions to be of no avail. No one but a kāfir has his actions rendered futile.

That he follows them while being pleased with the ruling of Allāh, knowing that it is the most ideal and best suited for the servants and the lands. However due to his following his desires he chooses this [other ruling] for example due to his [being offered] a position of responsibility. Such a person is not declared to be a kāfir, rather he is a fāsiq.

That he does not know and neither is it possible for him to learn, so he blindly follows them thinking [that what he follows] is the truth. Such a person incurs no blame for he merely follows what he has been commanded and he is excused for this. This is why there occurs from the Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) that he said, "indeed whosoever is given a verdict not based upon knowledge then his sin is upon the one who gave him the verdict." If we were to say that this person is sinful due to the error of someone else then this necessarily leads to oppression and difficulty, and no person would trust any other due to the possibility of bearing responsibility for that person's error.

{The ḥadīth is reported by Aḥmad (2/321, 365), Abū Dāwūd (4/66), ibn Mājah (1/20), al-Dārimī (1/53) and al-Ḥākim (1/126) who said, "ṣaḥīḥ, meeting the conditions of the Two Shaykhs, I know of no defect [in it]." Al-Dhahabī agreed.}

If it is asked: why are not the second category [of people] declared to be kāfir? I would reply: if we were to say that they are kāfir then this would necessitate the disbelief of every person who commits a sin while knowing that he has disobeyed Allāh and knows that [what he has contraḍīcted] is the ruling of Allāh.

A Benefit:

Allāh has described those who do not rule by what Allāh has revealed with three descriptions:

"Whosoever does not rule by what Allāh has revealed then they are the disbelievers [kāfirūn]."

"Whosoever does not rule by what Allāh has revealed then they are the oppressors [ẓālimūn]"

"Whosoever does not rule by what Allāh has revealed then they are the sinners [fāsiqūn]."

The People of Knowledge have differed concerning this. So it is opined that these descriptions, in fact, describe one and the same thing because the kāfir is a ẓālim due to the saying of Allāh,

"And the disbelievers are the oppressors." [al-Baqarah (2): 254]

[Similarly, the kāfir] is a fāsiq due to the saying of Allāh,

"As for the sinners then their abode will be the Fire…" [al-Sajdah (32): 20]

It is also opined that these are distinct descriptions and that they are [applied] in accordance to the situation:

So [one] becomes a kāfir in three circumstances

When he believes that it is permissible to rule by other than what Allāh has revealed. The evidence for this lies in the saying of Allāh, "So is it the rule of Jāhiliyyah (ignorance) that they seek?" [al-Maʾidah (5): 50]

Everything that opposes the rule of Allāh constitutes the rule of Jāhiliyyah. [Also the evidence for this] is the definitive consensus that it is not allowed to rule by other than what Allāh has revealed. Therefore, the one who considers it lawful and permissible to rule by other than what Allāh has revealed has contraḍīcted this definitive consensus and such a person is a kāfir and an apostate. This [is similar to the case of one] who considers fornication or alcohol to be permissible or considers bread or milk to be unlawful.

When he believes that ruling by other than what Allāh revealed is equivalent to ruling by the rule of Allāh.

When he believes that ruling by other than what Allāh revealed is better than ruling by what Allāh has revealed. The evidence for this lies in the saying of Allāh, "And who is better than Allāh in judgement for a people who have certainty?" [al-Maʾidah (5): 50]

So this verse states that the ruling of Allāh is the best of rulings as is further proven by the saying of Allāh, endorsing this,

"Is Allāh not the best of judges?" [at-Teen (95): 8]

So when Allāh is the best of the judges in ruling and He is the most just of the rulers then whosoever claims that the rule of other than Allāh is equivalent or better than the rule of Allāh is a kāfir because he has denied the Qurʾān.

[One] becomes a ẓālim

When he believes that ruling by what Allāh has revealed is the best of judgements and the most beneficial for the servants and the lands and that it is obligatory to apply it. However, hatred and jealousy lead him to rule by other than what Allāh revealed over his subjects - such a person is a ẓālim.

[One] becomes a fāsiq

When he follows his own desires. For example, he rules in favour of a person due to being bribed by him, or due to his being a close relative or friend, or [because the ruler] seeks the fulfillment of a need from his comrades or the likes. This along with the belief that the rule of Allāh is the ideal and it is obligatory to follow it - such a person is a fāsiq. Even though he is also a ẓālim, descriibng him as a fāsiq is more befitting.

The strongest opinion is the second that these descriptions are distinct and that they are [applied] in accordance to the situation.

As regards the one who lays down legislative laws, despite his knowing the judgement of Allāh and that these laws are contrary to Allāh’s judgement - then this person has substituted these laws in place of the Sharee`ah. Therefore, he is a kāfir - this because he does not choose these laws and turn away from Allāh’s Sharee`ah except due to his belief that they are better for the people and the land than the law of Allāh. But when we say that he is a kāfir, then the meaning of this is that this action leads to disbelief.

However the one who [legislates these rules] may have an excuse - for example he may be one who has been deluded: such that it has been said to him that this does not conflict with Islām, or that it is something allowable as a case of benefiting the people (masaalih al-mursala), or that it is something that Islām has left up to the [custom of] the people.

So there are some scholars - even though they are in error - who say that social transaction (mu`aamʿalát) is something not dealt with by Islām, and that rather it is referred to whatever is found to benefit the economy in each particular time. So if the situation requires us to establish usury banks or to tax the people then there is no problem with this.

There is no doubt concerning the error of [such a claim]. So if these people performed ijtihād then may Allāh forgive them. Otherwise they are in a situation of very great danger and it is befitting that they are entitled ‘scholars of the state’ and not ‘scholars of the Religion.’…

Taken from ‘al-Qawl al-Mufeed ʿalá Kitāb al-Tawḥīd’ [2/263-269]

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Tags: Sharīʿah, Al-‘Uthaymīn, Politics, Allāh

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