Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Advising Today's People to Honour Those in Charge of Their Affairs

Assalaam alaykum,

Alhamdulilah, a new article is now available from www.marifah.net, entitled "Advising Today's People to Honour Those in Charge of Their Affairs", which is a translation of a poem by the great, contemporary Mauritanian scholar Sheikh Muḥammad Al- Ḥasan ibn Aḥmad Al -Khadīm. Insha'Allah you will find it very beneficial and informative, and with Allah alone is every success.

Assalaam alaykum,



Harun Verstaen said...

Salam brother,

I read the poem, masha'Allah, nice translation! Good job! There is only one question I have: How should I understand this poem with regards to the recent uprisings in several countries against the governments? Your comments and ideas please insha'Allah because I'm confused.

Your brother Harun

Mahdi Lock said...

Wa alaykum assalaam,
Jazakum Allah khayran for the comment.

[I have to respond in two parts in order to fit everything in]

In answer to your question, the nadhm actually contains the answer, but I'll summarise it for you.

In short, rebelling against the rulers, whoever they may be, is haraam, but once that has already taken place, i.e. an active rebellion is in process, then whoever is the most powerful will eventually take, or retake, control.

Why is rebelling haraam? Because of the evil consequences, such as:

a) Bloodshed. Look at how many people have died in these so-called revolutions. 846 deaths in Egypt and almost 6500 wounded. Tunisia had more than 223 deaths and almost 100 wounded. As for other countries, the tolls are still being counted.

2) Instability. Turn on the news and look at what's happening in Libya. People are unable to go about their daily business, and this affects people's ability to earn a livelihood, procure food for themselves and their families, and so forth. You also have to consider cases of looting.

3) Uncertainty. After removing the ruler or the regime, then what? What has actually changed? In Egypt, as a prime example, the same military junta that produced Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak is still in power.

Mahdi Lock said...

Furthermore, ultimate rule in Islam rests with the 'ulama, especially the senior most 'ulama. No 'alim worth his salt has told people to go out and rebel against their ruler. Sheikh Ramadan Al-Bouti gave a lecture last Monday, April 25th, in which he addressed the Syrian people [see the Naseem Al-Shaam Channel]. He asked them why they were going out and protesting. He quoted a hadith in which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah's prayers and peace be upon him, forbade people from going out [for battle] under an unknown banner, a banner whose bearer is unknown. Who led and who is leading these 'revolutions'? They're always being praised in the media as 'spontaneous', but that simply doesn't do. Who are these people? As Sheikh Al-Bouti pointed out, Facebook is not an Islamic authority. You don't go onto to the streets because some stranger on Facebook told you to.

I would also advise you to look at the post: Allah is the Wali of those who Believe, as well as the footnotes. As Muslims, we understand that there is a spiritual dimension to all of this. Rulers reflect their people. Hosni Mubarak, for example, was not just an individual, he was a condition. Hosni the individual is gone, but what about that little bit of Hosni that lurks under the skin of every Egyptian? The hadith and aya that I quoted are sufficient for this discussion.

You can also read the post 'The Abodes of the Earth', because if living as a Muslim in a certain land becomes difficult there is always the option of hijra, or emigration. If people are genuinely incapable of emigrating then we excuse them and attach no blame to them, and their affair is with Allah.

You should also note that protesting and demonstrating in the streets has nothing to do with Islam, whether it's in the Muslim world, Europe, North American or wherever. When we want change we change ourselves first, and we turn to Allah in repentance and we beg Allah to improve us as believers and to improve our circumstances. Protesting on the streets has more to do with fascism and other forms of secularism. These so-called 'Days of Rage' are straight out of the fascist/anarchist text book. Please have a look at the book Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, p.177 onwards for further details. You can also look up ‘Days of Rage’ on Wikipedia.

What is particularly offensive to Islam is that these protesters, as Sheikh Al-Bouti has also pointed out, have turned Friday, the Eid of the week, into a 'day of rage'. This is the day when we're supposed to read Surat Al-Kahf and send prayers and peace upon the Prophet, may Allah's prayers and peace be upon him. It's a day of coming together with fellow believers in the worship of Allah, coming together with families and enjoying each other's company, but now people are staying home out of fear and not even going to the masjids in places like Syria.

Finally, these protestors have never stated anywhere that they want Islam. I am yet to see a banner calling for such. They just want ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, but what does that mean? Please refer back to the post ‘Allah is the Wali of those who Believe’ and see the linked articles and quotes about democracy.

And with Allah alone is every success.

Assalaam alaykum,


Harun Verstaen said...

Wa salamu aleykum wa rahmatullah dear brother Mahdi,

Jazzak Allah for the summary! I don't want argue with you but just have a decent discussion. I'll read the articles you referred me to, thanks.

I can't say I really disagree with you but doesn't this rather inactive stance indirectly mean some of the scholars support somehow these criminal and corrupt -and possibly even kafir (w'Allahu 'alam)- regimes? It doesn't feel right. Isn't this mindset destructive and detrimental? Should people keep tolerating the killing, tortures etc.? How about shaykh al-Ya'qoubi and Mu'adh al-Khatib al-Hasani for example? They speak out against the regime. It is a well known fact al-Buti is on the side of the government even though I deeply respect him as a scholar. How can we see and understand this? The rulers of these countries might be Muslims but the way they rule is far from Islamic. Are protests not allowed? And do you really think they protests are not Islamically motivated? Sorry brother, these are just some questions that go through my mind. May be you can clarify some things insha'Allah, I'd appreciate.



Mahdi Lock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mahdi Lock said...

Assalaam Alaykum Akhee Al-Kareem Harun,

Alhamdulilah, I also see this as a discussion, not an argument, and with Allah alone is every success.

I understand your concerns, and I think the best way to address them is with numbered points.

1) In fiqh there is the principle of 'akhaffu darain', or the lesser of two evils. In this case, tyranny is always preferred to anarchy. You can find this position throughout Islamic history, held by such luminaries as Hujjat Al-Islam, Imam Al-Ghazali, and others. It is the dominant position. Criticizing a regime, or offerings suggestions and advice that would improve it, is not the same as advocating its overthrow. Sheikh Ramadan Al-Bouti has suggested (as he did last Monday) that a people's council be formed in which their grievances and concerns can be aired.

2) Saying that Sheikh Al-Bouti is on the side of the government is not exactly true. Just because he opposes the protests does not mean that he is with the regime. Rather, as a faqih, he is on the side of fiqh. If one were to read his books, especially Fiqh As-Seerah and the last chapter of his theology book, Kubra Al-Yaqiniyyat Al-Kawniyyah, one would find that Sheikh Al-Bouti firmly believes that Allah's Revealed Law is the only law worthy of governing humanity. He is very far removed from being an advocate or supporter of secularism. To give a more precise example, last Monday he began his talk by saying that after shirk and kufr there is no greater crime than killing. In short, Sheikh Al-Bouti never holds back from condemning sin, but he doesn't condemn the sinners per se. I hope that makes sense.

3) Yes, the rulers don't always rule according to Islam, but we've had issues like this throughout Islamic history. Ruling is not an easy task, and I don't mean the administration, I mean the burden on a ruler's soul. He has to control his nafs (the nafs loves leadership and power) and bear the responsibility for so many people. This is why (as a wisdom) it's a Sunnah in the Shafi'i school (the school I follow,) as well as the others as far as I know, to make du'a for the ruler every Friday, and by du'a we mean du'a for his righteousness and guidance, and for Allah to give him tawfiq to do khair. We can't expect every ruler to be like 'Umar ibn 'Abdul 'Aziz.

4) As I indicated before, rulers reflect their people. If people want righteous rulers they need to be righteous themselves. Please have a look the aya and hadith quoted in the footnotes to 'Allah is the Wali of the Believers', as well as the lines in the nadhm in which the Sheikh tells believers to honour a ruler if he visits them, because 1) the ruler wouldn't visit if he didn't have humility and 2)you can't say "this ruler oppresses me" because you oppress yourself through sin.

5) As a final point, I don't think this is an inactive stance at all. Quite the contrary. Rectifying oneself and supplicating to Allah for tawfiq in that is the greatest struggle. This is the most active stance you can have. Protesting on the streets and waving banners is actually a lazy stance. Anyone can go out in the afternoon and walk around shouting, but getting up in the middle of the night and asking Allah for a better heart and better circumstances, that's difficult. That requires controlling one's nafs. Please watch An Interview with Hamza Perez, because he also touches on this within the American context.

I hope this has been of some benefit, and if so all praise and thanks are for Allah.

Assalaam alaykum,


Harun Verstaen said...

Wa salamu aleykum wa rahmatullah akhi 'aziz Mahdi,

Masha'Allah, your answer really clarified some issues for me, may Allah reward you manifold. Some people I know, who have been in Syria, have told me shaykh al-Buti is in fact with the regime so that is why I made that remark. I don't know, can't judge, Allah knows best. Are you in Syria at the moment and do you study with him?

Mahdi Lock said...

Assalaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah,

Akhee Al-Aziz Harun,

Jazakum Allah khayran for the comment and the kind words. With Allah alone is every success.

I'm actually based in Morocco. I've never been to Syria. As for Sheikh Al-Bouti, may Allah preserve him, he is probably the most senior Shafi'i scholar alive, so I refer to his works often, read them and translate them, and of that I do whatever Allah allows me to. I sincerely believe that he is a gem that more English-speaking Muslims, and Muslims in the west in general, should be exposed to, and may Allah grant him and us tawfiq, amin!

Assalaam alaykum,