All praise be to Allah the Ever-Exalted, Who has created (everything), and then proportioned it. And Who has measured (preordainments for everything even to be blessed or wretched); and then guided (i.e. showed mankind the right as well as the wrong paths, and guided the animals to pasture). I praise and thank Allah (Glory be to Him) for He has bestowed countless and great favors upon us. I send peace and blessings on the selected Prophet and the chosen Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, his family, his Companions, his Followers, those who follow him righteously, and upon those who follow his guidance.
We have spoken in the previous lesson about one of the most important rights upon Muslims where the texts from the Qur'an and the Sunnah confirmed: which is the right of the Muslim rulers. We have talked about the first of these rights which is compliance and obedience. We have also explained some proofs on that right to show that it is part of the creed of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. A Muslim has to listen and obey in hardship and prosperity, in activeness and in laziness, and in pleasure and displeasure. It is not permissible for a person to break the pledge of obedience as long as a person is not commanded with a sin. This is the creed of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah since the time of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) until the establishment of the Hour. They believe in that and by which they draw near to Allah because it is part of obeying Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and by which they are distinct from the people of desires and error. So, they committed themselves to it and urged others to stick to it, thus, their sayings and actions stressed that right as we have shown.
In this lesson, we shall review the rest of these rights:
The second right is: Gathering around the Muslim ruler and forbidding of disagreement about him because agreement is a mercy, where as disagreement is an evil. The more the nation gathers around its ruler, the more powerful it will be, security will spread, people will be secure, its enemies shall fear it, and its affairs shall become straight. Hudhayfah ibn Al Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: the people used to ask the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) about goodness but I used to ask him about evil for fear that it might overtake me. Once I said: O Messenger Allah, We were in ignorance and in evil and Allah has bestowed upon us the present good; will there by any evil after this good?" He said: Yes. I said: "Will there be good after that evil?" He said: Yes. but it would be stained with Dakhan (i.e. little evil)." I asked: I said: "What will its Dakhan be?" He said: "There will be some people who will lead (people) according to principles other than my tradition. You will see their actions and disapprove of them." I said: "Will there be any evil after that good?" He said: Yes, there will be some people who will invite others to the doors of Hell, and whoever accepts their invitation to it will be thrown in it (by them). I said: O Messenger Allah, Describe those people to us. He said: "They will belong to us and speak our language" I said: "What do you order me to do if such a thing should take place in my life?" He said: "Adhere to the group of Muslims and their ruler." I said: If there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a ruler (what shall I do)? He said: "Keep away from all those different sects, even if you had to bite (i.e. eat) the root of a tree, till you meet Allah while you are still in that state."
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) explained that the thing which protects from turmoil and problems -by the will of Allah (may He be Exalted)- is adhering to the Muslim group who gathered around their Muslim ruler, no matter what the status of that Muslim ruler is. Adhering to the Muslim group is a basic rule from the fundamentals of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah and with no doubt, disagreement, disparity, factionalism, dispersion, sects and groups are great evil for the nation if they spread.
The third right is: Honoring and revering the Muslim ruler. Ibn Abu `Asim narrated with an authentic chain of narration traces back to Mu`awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan (may Allah be pleased with them) that he said: When Abu Dhar went to Ar-Rabzah, a group from the people of Iraq met him and said: O Abu Dhar, we have heard of what had happened to you, so, declare war and men will come to you. He said: Go easy, O people of Islam for I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: "There will come after me sultans, so honor them. Whoever wants to humiliate them has dug a small hole in the fort of Islam and if he repents, his repentance shall not be accepted until he covers that hole again."
Imam Ahmad and others reported with chain of narrations that sustain one another on the authority of Abu Bakrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: "Whoever honors sultans who were assigned by Allah (Glory be to Him) in the world, Allah shall honor him in the Day of Recompense. And whoever offends sultans assigned by Allah (Glory be to Him) in the world, Allah shall humiliate him on the Day of Recompense."
Imam Ahmad reported on the authority of Mu`adh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "There are five things whoever does them Allah guarantees (to admit him to paradise): Anyone visits a sick person, gets out with a funeral procession, fights in the way of Allah, enters upon a Muslim ruler to honor and revere him, or sits at home to protect people of his harm and protect himself from people's harm."
These texts showed the necessity of revering and honoring Muslim rulers which in fact honoring and reverence to Islam which stressed that appreciation and reverence to the Muslim ruler because of the great burdens and tasks he endures. Allah (may He be Exalted) linked between His Reverence and honoring just rulers as was reported in the Hadith of Abu Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) that he narrated: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "It is out of reverence to Allah in respecting an aged Muslim, and the one who commits the Qur'an to memory and does not exaggerate pronouncing its letters nor forgets it after memorizing, and to respect just rulers."
Sahl At-Tastury (may Allah show mercy to him) said: "People will remain in a good condition as long as they revere (their) sultans and scholars. If they revere those two kinds of people, Allah will reform their world and Hereafter. However, if they belittle those two kinds of people, they corrupt their world and their Hereafter."
The fourth right which is one of the most important rights: Giving them aid and fighting with them because this is one of requisites of compliance, obedience, and gathering around him by giving him aid and do not let him down. This will include the best interest of the nation. At-Tahawy said in his book Al `Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah: "Hajj and Jihad are incumbent under the ruling of Muslim rulers whether they are pious or not until the Hour is established; nothing will cancel or abolish them."
The fifth right is: Invoking Allah for Muslim rulers to grant them success, reformation, righteousness, and guidance. Al Fudayl ibn `Iyad (may Allah show mercy to him) said: "If I have an accepted invocation, I shall assign it to a Muslim ruler because by his righteousness the subjects shall be righteous and when the subjects become righteous, the people and the country shall be secure. That was the method of the Pious Predecessors (may Allah show mercy to them all)." Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Bishr Al Hafy (may Allah bestow mercy upon them) said in the explanation of the method of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah: "And invoking Allah with guidance for the Muslim rulers."
Imam As-Sabuny said in his book "the creed of the people of Hadith": "They hold as a belief that they must invoke Allah for Muslim rulers with righteousness, success, and reformation."
The sixth right: Of these rights also: to avoid insulting Muslim rulers and offending them or showing their defaults before others, not to mention fighting them with words or actions. Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The major Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) forbade us to insult our Muslim rulers, not to cheat them, not to disobey them, observe patience, and fear Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) because the Hour is so close." Abu Mijliz (may Allah show mercy to him) said: "Insulting a Muslim ruler is the cutter, I am not saying that it cuts hair but it cuts religion." Abu Ishaq (may Allah show mercy to him) said: "There is no people insult their Imam but they are deprived of his goodness."
These directions from the major Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and from the Followers (may Allah show mercy to them all) explain clearly the obligation of staying away from insulting Muslim rulers and offending them, not to mention fighting against them because that is a great danger on the entire nation.
The seventh right is providing sincere advice for Muslim rulers in order to complete goodness and everybody cooperates for goodness and piety. Thus, the nation shall reach its noble objectives and high goals in addition to intimacy, brotherhood, and love. Imam Muslim reported in his Sahih (book of authentic Hadiths) on the authority of Tamim ibn Aws Ad-Dary (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Religion is sincerity". (three times) We said: "For whom, O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "For Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and for the leaders of the Muslims and their masses." It was reported also on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Verily, Allah likes three things for you and disapproves three things for you. He likes that you should worship Him Alone, not to associate anything with Him (in worship) and to hold fast to the Rope of Allah and not to be divided among yourselves; and that you give good counsel to those that Allah has put in authority over you."
Let the person who gives advice that it has proprieties to be followed, such as wisdom, soft speech, suitable discourse, good words, and placing everything in its proper place. Allah (may He be Exalted) says to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) "And had you (Muhammad peace be upon him) been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you." Allah (He may be Glorified) says to Moses and Aaron (peace be upon them) "And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allâh)." Islam teaches people good manners, good speech, lenient discourse, and kind treatment. Advice without these properties is subject to disapproval, moreover its goal might turn out to the opposite.
Dear honorable Muslim brother, Islam has regulated the relationship between a ruler and his subjects on these solid foundations and stable constants and wanted to give a distinctive status to the nation among other nations, in its relationships, security, prosperity, and cooperation. Therefore, if the subjects fulfill these rights, positive effects shall be achieved to the entire nation, of which:
- Great reward from Allah (Glory be to Him) because they obey Allah by doing these rights.
- In the cohesion of the subjects with the ruler there shall be power, honor, and highness for the entire nation.
- In the cooperation between the subjects and the ruler there is a direction towards building and development, and focusing on things of great benefit that will improve their conditions and develop their culture among nations.
- By strong relationship between the subjects and the ruler security and prosperity spread and goodness spread to benefit the entire nation because the greatest catastrophe a nation can face is disparity, hatred, differences, and partisanship.
- Enemies cannot separate their rows, so there is no enemy can penetrate their rows but causing weakness to the nation, which is the law of Allah regarding His Creation.
I ask Allah Almighty to grant us understanding of His religion and following the track of His Prophet (peace be upon him). We ask Him to reform our Muslim rulers, to grant them success, and guide them to the best, for He is All Hearing, Al Responding and He is the One whose aid is to be implored.