Ruling on the view that not rebel against the ruler as a defeatist thinking which manifests weakness

Question:

Your Eminence, we know that this forms one of the foundational beliefs of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah (those adhering to the Sunnah and the Muslim main body), but unfortunately, some adherents to Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah see this as defeatist thinking, which manifests weakness. This opinion has been expressed, for this reason they call the youth to adopt violence to change conditions.

Answer:

This is a mistake on the part of those who said this and shows their lack of understanding, as they neither understand the Sunnah nor know it in the correct way. In fact, their enthusiasm and jealous protectionism to remove Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect) pushes them to do that which contradicts the Shari‘ah (Islamic law), as was done by Al-Khawarij (separatist group that believes committing a major sin amounts to disbelief) and Al-Mu’tazilah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that those who commit major sins are in a state between belief and disbelief). These groups had so much love to support Al-Haqq (the Truth) or make changes for it that they themselves fell into falsehood, to the extent that they declared sinful Muslims to be Kafirs (disbelievers), as Al-Khawarij did, or said that their sins will cause them to dwell eternally in the Fire, as did Al-Mu’tazilah.

Khawarij deemed sinful Muslims to be Kafirs and then judged that sinners will eternally be punished in the Fire. Al-Mu’tazilah agreed with them on the punishment and that they would abide in the Fire forever, but they said that in the Dunia (this world) they would have an in-between rank (between belief and disbelief). However, all these opinions are misguided.

The view of Ahl-ul-Sunnah, which is the correct viewpoint, is that a sinner is not a Kafir due to their sin, as long as they do not consider it to be lawful. If a Muslim commits Zina (sexual intercourse outside marriage), theft, or drinks Khamr (intoxicants), they are not a Kafir; they are an immoral sinner who has weak Iman (Faith) on whom the Hudud (ordained punishments for violating Allah’s Law) should be carried out. They are not a Kafir due to this, unless they consider the sin to be lawful, and say that it is Halal (lawful).

The opinion of Al-Khawarij in this regard is Batil (null and void) and their deeming of Muslims as Kafirs is also Batil. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about them (Khawarij), “They dart out of the Din (religion of Islam) as the arrow darts out of the game’s body and they do not return to it. They kill the people of (believers in) Islam and leave the people of Shirk.1

This was the condition of Al-Khawarij due to their exceeding proper limits, ignorance, and misguidance. It is, therefore, not right for the youth or others to imitate Al-Khawarij and Al-Mu’tazilah. It is obligatory for them to follow the Madh-hab (School of Jurisprudence) of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama‘ah in conformity with the Shar‘y (Islamic legal) evidence and understand the Nas as they were revealed. It is not for them to rebel against the ruler due to a sin or sins they may have committed. Instead, they should give verbal and written advice in a good and wise manner, and through debating in a way that is best, to succeed and reduce or remove evil and increase good.

This is what is stated in the Nas reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “And by the Mercy of Allâh, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you” [Aal Imran: 159]

It is obligatory on those who are zealous for Allah and the Du‘ah (callers to Islam) to stay within the limits of the Shari‘ah (Islamic law) and advise those whom Allah ordained to be the rulers of the Muslims with good words, wisdom, and in a good manner, to increase the good and decrease the evil, and also to have more Du‘ah to Allah. This will impart to them vigor and energy in their duty of inviting people to Islam in a noble way, not aggressively or harshly. They should give advice to those in authority using the various kind and right ways, and supplicate to Allah in their absence to grant them guidance and understanding, and help them do good and give up the sins they are committing to establish Al-Haqq.

A believer should also supplicate to and beseech Allah to guide those in authority and help them renounce falsehood and establish Al-Haqq in a good manner and in ways that are best. They should behave the same way towards their zealous brothers; they should advise, instruct, and remind them for them to be active in their Da‘wah (calling to Islam) in a good way, not aggressively or harshly. This will increase good and reduce evil. May Allah guide those in authority to the good and to abidance by it, and give a good outcome to everyone.


  1. Al-Nasa’i, Sunan, Book on Zakah, no. 2578.