Activism & Civil Rights FAQs & Fatwas Hot Topics

Is Protesting Permissible?

Answered by S’ad ‘Atiyah al-Azhari (Scholar from al-Azhar) | Translated and Abridged by Suhaib Webb

Question: What is the ruling for participating in protests, and if they are permissible, what is the proof?


Answer: Protests are a means by which the Muslim community makes its voice heard regarding a specific issue, to those in authority so they can act accordingly or respond to their concerns. In the modern age, this has become the main objective behind protests: informing governments about the concerns of the governed.

Islam as a faith welcomes protests according to the definition provided above, because they serve the Muslim community to make its positions known on issues. Especially if that issues pertains to a general benefit that affects Muslims or Muslim countries such as Palestine, in general, and Gaza, in particular.

Under such circumstances, it is obligatory upon the Muslim community (Fard Kifaya) to protest and seek (legal) means to clarify their positions, encouraging leadership to implement their hopes and to send a message to those who oppose them, as well as those who oppress the innocent, that the Muslim community is not negligent of their plight or the plight of other Muslims.

In fact, such protests are a form of struggle in God’s cause as support for the oppressed, and serve as a reminder to their enemies that the Muslim community is still ready to stand up for the plight of the oppressed.

However, all of this must be kept in mind, observing an important condition: one must not turn such protests into riots by destroying shops, property or harming others or engage in any other un-Islamic acts… If that happens, then such protests move from being religiously sanctioned to religiously prohibited and are termed as illegal and corrupted. The Prophet ﷺ said, “There is no harm, nor reciprocation of harm.” (Related by Mālik)

And Allah knows best.

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  • Assalaamu ‘Alaikum brother
    You have discussed an important topic. But protests have become very much associated with Shirk-and-Kufr-based Godless democratic politics. Jihad is NOT politics. It has its Sunnah. Do protests have a precedent in Sunnah? The only precedent is Sabr.

    • Remember the incident when Umar ibn Khattab came to give the Khutbah, asking the people to ‘listen and obey’, and someone (Salman al Farisi, I believe) stood and said that ‘we will not listen and we will not obey’, since it seemed that Umar had taken two pieces of cloth while giving only one piece to others.

      Or the incident where Umar ibn Khattab asked the people what they would do if he were to deviate from the truth, and a man stood and basically said that we will fix you with our swords?

  • Assalaamu `alaykum,

    It is authentically reported from the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) in the hadeeth of ‘Iyaad ibn Ghunum who said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever desires to advise a sultaan (leader/ruler/the one with authority) then he should not do so openly, rather he should take him by the hand and take him into seclusion (and then advise him). And if he accepts (the advice) from him then (he has achieved his objective) and if not, then he has fulfilled that which was a duty upon him.” (Musnad of Ahmad, as-Sunnah of Ibn Abee Aa’sim. Authenticated by al-Albaanee may Allaah have mercy upon him).

    How can we justify the legitimacy of holding protests and demonstrations in light of the above hadeeth?

    Jazaakum Allaahu khayran.

    • Asalamu alaykum

      Excellent question. We ask the fuqaha. The above mentioned hadith does not appear to be an order (wajib) but recommend, since acting against it is not linked with a punishment in this life or the hereafter. That would make acting against it a disliked act.

      There is a well known axiom in Usol al-Fiqh that states, “The disliked become permissible in the face of a need, wajib in face of a necessity.” This was noted by the sheikh (ha) in his answer when he mentioned “general benefits.”

      It could also be argued that this hadith goes against proofs which are stronger. Verses of Qur’an, “Stand up for justice,” “They invite to the good and forbid the evil,” “Allah loves the just,” and more authentic hadith, “Who from amongst you sees and evil.” The axiom states that “The stronger proof is given precedence over the weaker one.” Thus, while the hadith above may be authentic, I’m personally not comfortable with Sh. al-Bani’s tasih and tad’if, verses of Quran and hadith related by al-Bukhari and Muslim are more so without a doubt.

      Another consideration is ‘Urf. While the ideal Islamic state allows and audience with the governor, Muslims in most places don’t have that opportunity nor do most governments allow one to simply “advice the sultan.” The axiom states that rulings occur with their conditions. Thus, when the conditions are gone, the ruling ceases to exist as well. What we do have are other means, which no explicit text forbids, that allow us to voice our opinion under the leadership of the community. In such cases, the objective is the same, but the means (if not forbidden) are different.

      Finally, the context of this hadith needs to be examined. Not everyone has the ability to “Advice the Sultan.” I would be interested to see it and see if it offers any background to the order mentioned above.

      Allah knows best

      • Assalaamu `alaykum,

        Jazaak Allaahu khayran, Imam, for your response.

        If you look at the Arabic:

        مَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يَنْصَحَ لِسُلْطَانٍ بِأَمْرٍ فَلَا يُبْدِ لَهُ عَلَانِيَةً وَلَكِنْ لِيَأْخُذْ بِيَدِهِ فَيَخْلُوَ بِهِ فَإِنْ قَبِلَ مِنْهُ فَذَاكَ وَإِلَّا كَانَ قَدْ أَدَّى الَّذِي عَلَيْهِ لَهُ

        It becomes clear that there is indeed an order coupled with a prohibition. This is due to the use of laam of amr, coupled with a laa of nahee.

        The translation should read: “Whoever desires to advise a sultaan (leader/ruler/the one with authority) then he must not do so openly, rather he must take him by the hand and take him into seclusion (and then advise him). And if he accepts (the advice) from him then (he has achieved his objective) and if not, then he has fulfilled that which was a duty upon him.”

        As for your contention that the hadeeth goes against stronger proofs, I don’t see any contradiction between the hadeeth and the texts that you have quoted. The hadeeth does not say don’t stand up for justice, nor does it say don’t invite to the good and forbid evil, it only qualifies those Qur’anic commands by teaching the proper methodology that must be used.

        The stronger proof is certainly given precedence over the weaker one in case the two proofs cannot be reconciled, but as you are well aware, the axiom states i`maal al-nass awlaa min ihmaalihi (reconciling between two texts is preferred over ignoring any one of them).

        As for your critique of Shaykh Albani, you are certainly within your right to disagree with him. However, he is not the only one who has considered this report to be sound.

        The argument about `urf only holds when it does not contradict a clear, sound text, as is established in Usul.

        Finally, condition-based rulings can change, but only if we can ascertain what those conditions are. Until we can do that, we have to take the report at face-value, regardless of the context, because of the axiom al-`ibratu bi `umoom al-lafdh.

        And Allah most certainly knows best.

        • Asalamu alaykum,

          Excellent points, akhi with great benefit.

          Again, as long as there is no explicit threat, the use of amir and lam al-nahi are debatable. The verse of dayn comes to mind, “Falyaktubu.” Although the use of lam al-amir is present, it is considered mandub by some and not a wajib since there is no explicit threat. As for the Lam of nahi, consider the verse is Sura al-kaft, “And don’t say you will do anything tomorrow, unless you say inshallah.” Another example is the rinsing of the mouth and nose in Wudu. While some hold it as an obligation, others don’t even in the face of the amir since there is no qarina that implies punishment.

          As for ‘Urf, one cannot completely cancel its impact so easily even if it seems to contradict a nas. As noted by the al-Qarafi, if it does not completely go against a text, but serves the texts intent, then the ‘Urf is still given consideration since it is a wasila to the maqsad of the text itself. In such situations the ‘Urf is looked at from 2 angles (wasila and the maqsad) and, if it fails to cancel maqsad and wasila is permissible, is considered. This also applies to the universal nature a lafdh, since the ‘Urf modifies it, but honors its maqsad.

          The ‘Urf of protest serves the overall maqasad of the text mentioned in face of the impossibility of one visiting Obama or any Muslim leader for that manner and tending his/her nasiha. Thus, if we were to take your argument, we would respond with the axiom, “There is not wajib in the face of weakness” and “There is no obligation in face of an act which is impossible to perform,” and “Differences in wasail, if they preserve the maqsad, are m’utabar.”

          I strongly disagree with the claim by some of our noble scholars that this hadith implies the Muslims sit down and simply live in poverty, oppression and domination, or, as in our case in the West, remain silent in a system in which, as noted by Malik al-Shabaaz, “The squeaky hinge gets the grease.” That opinion not only contradicts authentic texts, but the maqasid kubra which are agreed upon by the scholars. I certainly concede that many use this as an excuse for acts of violence and recklessness which contradict Islam and agree with those scholars, like the sheikh here that such acts are not islamic.

          As for the contradiction, it is well known that hadith related and agree upon by al-Bukhari and Muslim are given precedence as are verses of the Qur’an over hadith authenticated by others.

          And Allah knows best

          Shukran for your amazing points, akhi

          Yours in brotherhood,

        • Asalamu alaykum,

          I know Wikipedia isn’t the most reliable of sources, but is it true that the term sultan originally wasn’t used to refer to the ruler?

          “Sultan (Arabic: سلطان‎ Sulṭān) is a title, with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning “strength”, “authority”, or “rulership”, derived from the masdar سلطة sulṭah, meaning “authority” or “power”. Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms (i.e. the lack of dependence on any higher ruler), without claiming the overall caliphate, or it was used to refer to a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate.”

    • As I mentioned above some of the incidents of public criticism of the Khalifah which took place in the Khilafah of Umar ibn Khattab. Surely, the Companions would not go against this hadith, if they knew about it and understood it to convey a prohibition rather than a recommendation?

    • Hahaha. Yeah, lets try to get the soon to be former Presdient Hosni Mubarak into seculusion, and advise him. Great advice. When using a hadeeth, please be aware of the situation. Just don’t grab any hadeeth.

  • Salaams,
    Maybe the incident of how the the social boycott of the Muslims in Mecca was ended can be provided as an example of a protest during the time of the Prophet (s) ?

  • Salaam Aleikoem,

    Deare brothers and sisters, Cant there be a real investigation about the ones that oppose the idea and the ones that holds the opinion of legality, but with more reasearch of all the used proofs. Because this is not enough.

    And Allah knows best

    • Asalamu alaykum,

      Inshallah, this is in the works and will be published in the future. This fatwa was translated because of the current situation, providing a basic premise for a healthy discussion on the matter.

      Shukran and duas,


  • I think when interpreting the Hadith about advising a sultaan, one must keep context in mind. A sultan can only rule in an authoritarian state. But a country that allows public protest must be democratic. If a sultaan grants a person a private audience that person ought to be sensitive to the appropriate protocol. An elected representative ought to be receptive to public protest.

  • As salaamu alaikum
    The issue of protesting is a fairly recent issue for muslims, and more specifically muslims in the West. This is because protesting is a lovechild of modern democracy and wasn’t known at the time of the Prophet (sallahu alihi wa salam) or his companions or the taabiéen or even most modern day Muslim countries as a viable mean of changing the condition of Muslims or as a vehicle to voice complaints to an oppressive ruler.
    One of the greatest blessings of this deen is that it is complete. Allah says, {ما فرطنا في الكتاب من شيء} {we’ve not been negligent of anything in this book}. Allah and his messenger have explicated to Muslims how to deal with oppressive rulers and how to rectify the generally sad state of Muslims, which if implemented, a Muslim would not need to protest nor even consider that protests could bring about any real change.
    Protests are a form of what’s known as “civil disobedience”. In a Muslim country, one must ask the question is this disobedience permissible? Allah says, {يا أيه الذين آمنوا أطيعوا الله و أطيعوا الرسول و أولي الأمر منكم} Oh you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger and those in charge of your affairs (the rulers). Ulama such as Al Qurtubi have stated that ‘ouli Al Amr’ means both the rulers and the scholars and attributed this opinion to being that of Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas and others. Also, there are numerous ahadith stating that the obligation upon a Muslim is to obey the ruler even if the ruler is oppressive, like the hadith in Sahih Al Bukhari and in Muslim “Hearing and obeying is obligatory on the Muslim individual in regards to that which he likes and detests as long as he is not commanded with disobedience (to Allah). If he were to be commanded with disobedience, then there is no obedience (in regards that particular (haram) thing). Also in Muslim on the authority of Hudhaifa , that the Prophet said, “(You) hear and obey the ruler even if he were to beat you on the back and take your wealth. Listen and obey.” Also in Muslim, Wael ibn Hajr relates that Salama Al Ja’fi asked the Prophet, “Oh messenger of Allah, What if you saw that we had rulers who requested their rights (haqq) from us but prevented us our rights (that we have over them)?” To which the Prophet (sallahu alaihi wa salam) replied, “Listen and obey (two command verbs which necessitate obligation) because without a doubt they will be held accountable for that which they did and you will be held accountable for that which you did.” Also in Al Bukhari and Muslim from Ibn Abbas that the prophet (Sallahu alaihi wa salam) said, “Whoever sees from his ruler something which he hates, then he is to be patient.” In further clarification of these and other related ayahs and ahadiths, Al Qurtubi mentions in his tafsir (pg. 509/v.5) that Sahl ibn Abdillah At Tasturi said, “If the ruler prohibits a scholar from giving fatwa, then the scholar has no right to do so and if he does, then he is a sinner even if the ruler was tyrant. “ This is what At Tasturi understood in light of the ayahs and ahadith that necessitate obedience to the rulers despite whatever maslaha may come from spreading, teaching and disseminating religious knowledge which are far more noble than voicing complaints/concerns via protests. The fact that the ruler prevented the scholar sufficed in making disobeying him a sin.
    In these ayahs and hadiths Allah and his Messenger commanded Muslims to obey the rulers and give naseeha even if they were oppressive and nowhere is there the suggestion of voiced protest or even mentioning the faults of a ruler in public. Rather the Prophet has said, “The religion is naseeha (advice).”The sahaba asked, “For whom?” and the Prophet responded, “For Allah, His book, His messenger, for the Muslim rulers and the general population.” Ibn Rajab says in his explanation of this hadith that this advice includes (amongst other things) ‘avoiding inciting against them’ (which protests in Muslims countries inherently do). An Nawawi says that this advice includes, ‘alerting them and reminding them with softness and gentleness (as opposed to the rebellious nature of voiced protests and marching which usually looks like a standoff of some sort) and also uniting the populace’s hearts in obeying them….”
    Even amongst those people who see its permissibility, they are in disagreement as to why. Some (Al Qardawi and Al Áuda) say that it is from al Ada or custom, therefore the asl is permissibility, but in the above fatwa the author says it is fard kifaya (which is strictly relegated to affairs of worship (of which protest is not). Another problem is that the so called benefits or maslaha of protests are simply imagined. No one can say definitively that they bring about any change. Of course that depends on the country, but we can all see in Muslim countries (and western ones) that realistically it has no bearing on government policy, procedures, or even a country’s relationship with other countries. Even if we were to agree for argument’s sake that they were beneficial, the benefits are purely imagined and not tangible. A person could not actually link government policies, or a change in them, directly to protests, because by doing so, a government would be indirectly encouraging more protests. Even in Western countries, it’s so called maslaha is questionable. There are numerous ways to get an audience with congressmen, representatives, governors, etc. that a person or group could exhaust and use to explain and voice the plight of Muslims. Ideally, it would be a meeting where all parties (by agreeing) would be there to listen and dialogue as opposed to protests where the protestors come back with nothing more than hoarse throats and hyper extended elbows (for the really active activists who pump their fists in the air like in the above picture!) The texts from the Quran and Sunna that mandate obedience to the rulers are given precedence over the mere illusion that protesting is somehow “enjoying the good and forbidding the evil or standing up for justice” which are contrary to what we see in the media where protests end in rioting, looting etc. which the author said must be avoided in order to be permissible (he didn’t mention the tabbaruj, missing of prayers, non Islamic behavior, etc. that goes on in these protests. How many protesters conveniently miss the salat while protesting or screaming so loud that they disregard the adhaan!?). But unfortunately, it is a condition that neither he nor anyone else can guarantee in an atmosphere of protest where people loose self identity and become ‘lost in the crowd’ and then take on a ‘mob mentality’ (which social psychologists use to explain why people do things while in groups that they normally wouldn’t do as individuals) all the while putting faith in something that has no Islamic grounding as being a means to rectify Muslims’ problems. Also, as long as there is a reasonable doubt that protests may get out of hand, then the principle of ‘sad adh dharee’ suffices in banning them since it reasonably may lead to the loss of life, property and in some cases honor all of which are from the 5 masaalih ad durooriyaat (necessities) that Islam came to protect.
    Finally, what Muslim leaders, Imams, etc. should do, instead of propagating protests, is turn the focus of their energies to getting to the root of all the strife and problems we see in the Muslim world which are in actuality the consequences of Muslims’ disobedience to Allah. Allah says, {و كذالك نولي بعض الظالمين بعضا بما كانوا يكسبون} {and like that, we have put oppressors over other oppressors because of what they have earned} Also, Allah says, {ما أصابكم من مصيبة فبما كسبت أيديكم} {what has afflicted you from calamities is from what your hands have earned} Shoora, 30. There is a beautiful saying from Imam At Tartushi where he says, “I still hear the people say, ‘Your deeds are your rulers. As you are, so are your rulers!” In light of the above narration, Ibn Qayyim states, “Reflect on Allah’s wisdom in regards to how he made the rulers of the people and their leaders the consequences of their actions. It is as if their actions manifested themselves in the personalities of their rulers!!”

    • Asalamu alaykum,

      Barakalahu fik, akhi for this detailed answer. One of the points its fails to mention is that there is an Ijm’a that the leader referred to in these texts is a Muslim. Khalil in his matn mentions this saying “A male, Muslim, Mujtahidun…” Since that is not the case, or the context of the West, it would appear that they are not applicable and the ‘Urf takes over. As for the East, I will leave it to the scholars to handle that one. But applying these texts to our reality in the West is far fetched. I would differ that protests maslaha is speculative. History shows that, at least in some societies, the language of protest has had a positive impact when done in the right fashion. I would differ that fard al-Kifaya is linked to acts of worship alone since the opposite tends to hold true: acts or worship are far al-ayn. Ibn Juzai in his taqrib discusses this under as well as others noting such things as: farming, science and other communal based services where the munasib is mutabar.


      • Mubarak was overseeing a terribly corrupt system that tortured and abused people. “Whoever sees something evil, he must change it with his hand.” The protests might lead to greater reforms. I do not see that those who argue against the protests have a better way to put pressure on Mubarak to change. There seems to be no way for most of us to “take him by the hand” so to speak.

        In any case, this is a matter of muamalat and the ijtihad of sincere scholars. We all want the maslaha. Allah knows best.

  • Salaam,

    brother محمد, thank you very much for your post. It was nice to understand where those who see protests as being prohibited are coming from. There is one thing I would like to get a clarification on however. You mentioned that fard kifayah, or communal obligation, is strictly relegated to affairs of worship. I was always under the impression that fields such as medicine and engineering are communal obligations according to many scholars, even though they aren’t directly related to affairs of worship. Wouldn’t this fact render the opposition to the shaykh’s mentioning of protests being fard kifayah void?

  • wa Salaam, Ustadh Suhaib;

    I’m not a scholar on these matters, but wouldn’t the hadith “whoever sees a wrong should act against it with his hand; or if he can’t act against it, speak against it; and if he can’t speak against it, at least he should hate it in his heart, and this is the least of iman.” suggest that protesting is a form of speech, or possibly of action?

  • As salaamu alaikum

    The Asl is that something fard is an act of worship. Some of the examples the Ulama give for fard kifaya are praying the janaza prayer, the adhan, salaat kusoof, learning Arabic, seeking religious knowledge (after learning what is obligatary) etc. They also mention that those things (which in the normal sense are not acts of worship)which the welfare of the muslim community is dependent upon for its existence and is necessary for them to carry out what’s obligatory on them as individuals and as a community like having doctors, teachers, etc. becomes fard kifaya because they lead to a (مصلحة محققة مقصودة في الشرع). To say that protesting is fard kifaya means that if someone from amongst the muslim community doesn’t do it, then the sin falls upon everyone which in turn means that Allah will punish them because they have left off a fard act which puts the muslims in haraj, especially when there is no proof to establish it as being fard or even that it leads to a fard action or that it leads to something the muslim community’s existence depends on.
    In regards to protesting leading to something politically desired is something that no one can prove. Very rarely do we find today or in the past where protesting has directly led to changing something politically, but we do know that there are other vehicles by which the muslims can address their issues directly to governement officials. Also, with the anti Islamic sentiment in the West, is a crowd of angry, screaming, chanting, sign waving, bearded brown, hijabed (maybe even niqabed) individuals going to help change the negative stereotypes of muslims or is it going to reinforce the ill feelings many Americans have towards Muslims. Mind you, most Americans already think that Muslims don’t dialogue in a rational manner so will protesting actually help?
    In regards to the hadith about changing an evil with the hand, tongue, and then in one’s heart. Allah will hold you to account for what you are capable of. Protesting is not voicing a concern in a manner that has any political weight. The burden of proof is upon those who say it is, to bring expilicit proof of any one protest that has led to direct political change.

    • Salaam aleikoem,

      Can you imagine in the time of the prophet, when the rulers would ask the prophet to shut his Dawa. Did the prophet stop with advising those rulers? HE kept on going with dawa and used hes voice and limbs to call anyone to Islam anytime and everywhere.

      If we look at what “Al Qurtubi mentions in his tafsir (pg. 509/v.5) that Sahl ibn Abdillah At Tasturi said, “If the ruler prohibits a scholar from giving fatwa, then the scholar has no right to do so and if he does, then he is a sinner even if the ruler was tyrant. “ This is what At Tasturi understood in light of the ayahs and ahadith that necessitate obedience to the rulers despite whatever maslaha may come from spreading, teaching and disseminating religious knowledge which are far more noble than voicing complaints/concerns via protests.

      Is there any evidences of scholars of the past that have silenced they’re voice, because of a tyrant ruler. If a ruler asks a scholar to commit haram, by stopping him to give a fatwa. Are we there to follow the ruler. I am glad that Imam Hanbal rh didn’t listen to the ruler and opposed him, otherwise we all would believe that the Quran is what?

      Just like Sheikh Sulayman Al Alwaan, who publicly said,

      “It is permissible by the evidence that our Imam, Ahmed ibn Hanbal was put in prison, and the Ulemaa and talabatul ilm came outside and that was the biggest demonstration, it was the uprising of the Hanabilah to release him.”

      And there are numbers of great scholars who have opposed the rulers, and stood up for what is right.

      What was again the greatest Jihad?
      I thought it was the speech of truth(haq) in front of a tyrant ruler.

      Elhamdulileh we have enough examples about how we could advise in the best way, but it is a little freaky when we measure everything with the same glasses.

      A Muslim ruler (Islamic state) is not like a so-called democratic state. Please name me one Islamic state besides Saudi Arabia.

      So when we are talking about Morocco or Egypt, what to do? They are not ruling with those rules and we all know we don’t want any chaos (Fauda), but we want to be heard.

      We also find in Kitab Al Hulya Al Awliyaa v.1, ibn Abbas narrated, how he asked,

      “O Rasulullah, are we not on Haq whether we die or stay alive?” He (saw) said, “indeed, by the one whose hand is my soul, you are on the Haq whether dead or alive” so ibn Abbas said, “so why are we hiding? By the one who sent you with the truth, we should come out!” and they went out in two lines Hamza in one and Umar with the other. They came out until they went to the Ka’bah and the Quraish looked to Hamza and Umar and they were so depressed. The prophet (saw) called Umar that day ‘Al Farouq’.”

      It is mentioned in Al Isaabah that Muhammad ibn Uthman ibn abi Sheebah narrated from ibn Abbas rh the story about how Umar rh came to Islam and that,

      “He went out with Hamza in two lines with the Muslims”

      So the prophet (saw) gave consent and went out with them in a demonstration, so is that Haram? That is the danger of the one who speaks without ilm about the evidences. We find further evidence in the incident when the Ayat of disciplining the women were revealed, some men started to beat their wives and the women came out in a huge demonstration and complained that some men take advantage and beat their wives without fulfilling the conditions.

      There are enough evidences for protests, but the challenge is to organize it in a good manner. Its time to act instead of sleeping. I have seen much brothers that occupied themselves with halal and haram in matters that are not clear for them and have forget they’re brothers in the world. Did they write a letter to the government to stop the support to Israel, NO.

      And I see Non-Muslims(not yet Moslims) are fighting more and more severe for the cause of our brothers in Palestine. Where s our Ummah? Sleeping, while we are eaten a live in each part of the world. Shame on us, Shame on us. May Allah strengthen our souls and make us real practicing believers. May Allah make us one body

    • So are you saying that sitting back and watching the Muslims get raped by their own works in the interest of the general mashlah, and standing up for their religious rights and freedoms doesn’t? Are you saying that Muslims who cannot pray in some of their countries or wear hijab should not seek to change things in a proper, legal political manner? This sounds like a line in a half that some government scholars use why they collect fat checks to keep the masses at bay from the thugs that rule them. What to we say of Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Taymiyyah and even Sh. Abdul Wahab? Did they not rise up and oppose the ruler? What do we say of Ibn Saud, he did not simply roll over and play dead.?Your usage of these texts and your logic is skewed. Texts are one thing, applying them to the right situation is another. I want to think and those who have enough sense to see through this misused, misguided nonsense. There is no Ijma of the salaf on this as there were those from them who protested.

      Abd Rashid

    • The following historically significant political protests include a decisive event in the Civil Rights movement, two history-changing moments that occurred within one year and the medieval defiance of one man:
      The Protestant Reformation
      The Protestant Reformation began with the quietest and most orderly single protest in this list — the nailing to the door of a German church a treatise on the abuses of Catholicism by Martin Luther, in 1517. However, the movement that followed would ultimately spill blood and tear empires apart.

      The Storming of the Bastille
      This one act of July 14, 1789, has come to symbolize the entire French Revolution and indeed was a major catalyst to the 10-year-long rebellion against the crown. On that day, a throng of Parisians descended on the Bastille (long a symbol of royal authority and excess), beheaded its governor and overtook the prison.

      Boston Tea Party
      Despite its quaint-sounding name, the 1773 “tea party” was in fact a bitter reaction to harsh new British taxation acts. Over the course of three hours on Dec. 16, more than 100 colonists secretly boarded three British ships arriving in harbor and dumped 45 tons of tea into the water. The unorthodox protest was a key precursor to the American Revolution.

      Gandhi’s Salt March, 1930
      Another protest against British taxation sent Mahatma Gandhi on a 23-day, 240-mile journey to the coast of India to collect his own salt, which was illegal under crown laws. More than 60,000 people, including Gandhi himself, were incarcerated for participating in the salt march, but it ultimately turned the tide of world sympathy towards Indian, rather than British, interests.

      South Africa’s National Day of Protest
      Nelson Mandela’s ANC party organized this anti-apartheid work stoppage in 1950, in retaliation for a new bill effectively allowing the government to investigate any political party or organization. On June 26, hundreds of thousands of South Africans participated in the “Stay at Home,” a tactic that was used several times in the next decade. June 26 was celebrated as National Freedom Day in South Africa until 1994.

      March on Washington
      Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered during this August 1963 rally to promote racial equality in the United States. More than 200,000 demonstrators gathered peacefully at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., and the event is credited with pressuring President John F. Kennedy to draw up firm civil rights legislation.

      Tiananmen Square, 1989
      A mass of at least 1 million people, mostly students seeking democratic reform, had peacefully occupied Beijing’s Tiananmen Square for seven weeks when the Chinese military unexpectedly rolled in tanks to clear them out. Numbers are imprecise, but it is estimated that at least several hundred protesters were killed in the city, drawing harsh criticism from the international community.

      Berlin Wall Protests, 1989
      The concrete division that had separated East and West Berlin for 28 years came down just two months after public protests occurred throughout Germany. Pressure to take down the wall had been growing in 1989 and the demonstrations were the final straw for the East German government, which finally opened the gates on Nov. 9.

      Iraq War Protests
      Millions of people in cities around the world gathered for anti-war protests in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, which went ahead despite their efforts in March of 2003. The biggest crowds occurred in London in conjunction with global marches organized for Feb. 15, when at least 1 million people assembled in what is believed to be the largest ever political demonstration in UK history.

      Ukraine’s Orange Revolution
      The current situation in Iran hearkens back to late 2004, when hundreds of thousands of people flooded Kiev’s main square to protest the results of the Ukrainian presidential election. Demonstrations continued for 12 days through sleet and snow until a revote was called, reversing the results and putting the opposition candidate (whose party colors are orange) in office instead.

  • subhanallah. I am truly thankful there are sheikhs who stand with the people. Subhanallah the brother who argues against protest, I wonder what is his islamic education background. Does he really argue that they are better ways to deal with dictators such as dialogue. Has he not read about the secret police, gang rapes, false imprisonment with no trial for people who descent. Are You SERIOUS? Beyond the islamic terms,rhetori and intellectual arguments, is there any real argument against people who have been oppressed and protest peacefully against injustice. MAKE DUA FOR OUR BROTHERS WHO GET THEIR ISLAMIC EDUCATION AND USE IT TO BENEFIT THE PEOPLE. THANK YOU BROTHER SUHAIB WEBB.

  • Salam

    I wonder if any of these folks giving their ‘fatwas’ that what the people of Egypt are doing is wrong have ever been in their position? Or are they sitting comfortably thousands of miles away? My love for Imam/Brother/Sheikh/Awesome Dude Suhaib Webb has gone up x100 the last couple of days.

    • exactly!!! how are people actually blaming protesters who are speaking Haqq to an oppressor and losing lives for it??!!

  • Sayyiduna Muhammed (pbuh) has praised the quality of resisting the oppression of Kings

    Al-Mustawrid Al-Qurashi said to `Amr Ibn Al-`Aas: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, “The Hour will begin when the Romans are the greatest people in number.” `Amr said, “Watch what you say!” He said, “I am saying what I heard from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).” He said, “If you say that, it is a fact, for they have four qualities. They are the most patient of people at times of tribulation; they recover quickly from calamity; they are quick to recover and attack again after defeat; and they are good to the poor, orphans and the weak. And a fifth good quality that they have is that they resist the oppression of kings.” (Reported by Muslim, 2889.)

    Sayyiduna Muhammed(pbuh) has also highlighted the importance of electing a ruler:

    Jarir said: ” While I was at Yemen, I met two men from Yemen called Zhu Kala and Zhu Amr, and I started telling them about Allah’s Messenger. Zhu Amr said to me, “If what you are saying about your friend (i.e. the Prophet) is true, then he has died three days ago.” Then both of them accompanied me to Medina, and when we had covered some distance on the way to Medina, we saw some riders coming from Medina. We asked them and they said, “Allah’s Messenger has died and Abu Bakr has been appointed as the Caliph and the people are in a good state.’ Then they said, “Tell your friend (Abu Bakr) that we have come (to visit him), and if Allah will, we will come again.” So they both returned to Yemen. When I told Abu Bakr their statement, he said to me, “I wish you had brought them (to me).” Afterwards I met Zhu Amr, and he said to me,
    “O Jarir! You have done a favor to me and I am going to tell you something, i.e. you, the nation of ‘Arabs, will remain prosperous as long as you choose and appoint another chief whenever a former one is dead. But if authority is obtained by the power of the sword, then the rulers will become kings who will get angry, as kings get angry, and will be delighted as kings get delighted.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari )

    wa salam

  • It seems likely that many, many people have advised Mubarak and others like him in private over decades in brutal power. Those who advised him dispatched their duty.

    Meanwhile, his refusal to take that advise, his refusal to rule according to the implicit contract between him and the people, his refusal to rule according to the trust, mercy, humility, and justice mandated by Islam has earned him the consequences — public admonition and disobedience.

    As Abu Bakr (ra)put it:

    O people! I have been put in charge over you, but I am not the best of you. If I act well, then help me, and if I act badly, then put me right. Truthfulness is a trust and lying is treachery … Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. If I disobey Allah and His Messenger, you owe me no obedience. (Sirat Ibn Hisham)

  • I am not sure if one should protest the ruler in the name of freedom and human rights.

    It is beyond question that Mubarak is a Tyrant who fights against Islam as well. On the other hand, most of those who are protesting him simply say—”he is a dictator, we want our freedom”

    Again we face an issue where ontologically different concepts overlap each other, there is no single simple answer to these kind of questions

  • Protests/demonstrations are not a part of the Sunnah; this is something that is a new “fad” in this day and age and was not something that the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) nor his companions ever did.

    “If an Imam (leader) or Amir (ruler) becomes corrupt he should first be given a call to Islam (submission) in private, or possibly in public if his evil deeds were done in public. If he does not turn away from his evil deeds, he should be overthrown or removed from position. However, in the process of removing him from position, he should not be physically fought, such as waging war with weapons. This is because the ruler is still muslim, and the muslims are not to attack or kill another muslim. If, however, the Muslim leader or ruler completely abandons his salat, he nullifies his Islam and can be fought if necessary. (However, to prove this, it would take an Islamic court or similar situation in which the person could defend themselves against all accusations).”

  • Indeed, protesting is a new “fad”, but so is the nation state, its institutions and forms of government, as well as the manner in which tha authorities act. Today, there are cars to run over Muslims with, tanks which can level buildings, and secret police who will rape you, your mother and then execute you, without being punished–rather, they will probably laugh and brag about it.

    Protesting is the least of the Muslims’ problems.

    Oh, and yes, this couch IS comfortable, and so is my belly from a fully stocked fridge. I bet that many of the people who complain about protesting shares my… “problems”.

  • Well, show me an ayah in the Qur’an or a hadith from Al-Bukhari where it says “the nation state, its institutes, etc are a new fad so go ahead and demonstrate or protest” or “go ahead and create something that as well will be a fad”. Sadly these days, majority of the Muslims follow their whims and desires and do not go back to “What would Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) do”. It’s not saying stand back and watch while your opponent throws rocks at you, rape you, etc. Of course you have to defend yourself, I would do the same.

    Not sure what you meant by your last comment. I dislike sarcasm with a serious situation at hand. Thanks for your input.

  • Asalamo 3laykom wr Allah wb my dear brothers and sisters in deen.

    I am merely a lay Muslimah revert of only 7 years al7amdulillah and perhaps I have no right to even say my ‘opinion’, nor do I understand alot of the Arabic terms used here in this discourse. So, I will put forth two questions that are bearing on my mind in regards to the protests in Egypt, may Allah help the Muslims in Egypt and all over the world, ameen yarrab !!

    As someone mentioned earlier, Abu Bakr As-Siddique (ra) said ‘ So long as I obey Allah and his messenger, then follow me, if I do not or if I err, then do not follow me” (paraphrased). Mubarak has clearly and openly not followed Allah swt and his messenger saws, and as I have seen with my own eyes, has even aided the enemies of Allah swt in killing other Muslims. ( Israel and Gaza )

    Secondly, I have read some islamic history lately, and I remember reading something about Aisha bint Abu Bakr (ra), fighting with Ali (ra) in a battle named “Battle of the Camel”, and I am sure that NO ONE would dare to say that she went against the sunnah, as she is responsible for narrating 1/3 of our deen, and she is THE SCHOLAR OF ALL SCHOLARS, ( am not screaming, just making an emphasis).

    These two points being made, and given the last 30 years under someone who calls himself a Muslim ( and Allah swt knows best about that ), his actions have clearly gone against the Quran and Sunnah, and against our ummah. The Muslims of Egypt have for a very long long time advised him, and the result for the adviser was the end of a rope, prison, or unspeakable torture.

    And also, in regards to obeying a ruler even if you do not like it, the context of that as I remember it, dealt with fighting in Jihad, as some do not like to fight in jihad, but Allah swt knows best about that.

    I honestly do not see the haram in any shape or form of the protesters in Egypt. The haram I saw came from those who were ‘pro’ Mubarak and they are the ones who came out with clubs, tear gas, rubber bullets, and even water cannons while they were in SALAT !!

    They are not protesting for democracy. They are not protesting for the ‘right to vote’. It goes much much deeper than that. This is about torture, corruption, murder, and above all human dignity which Islam gave to us all.

    Islam gave us human dignity. Mubarak tried and succeeded for 30 years to take away what Islam gave to us. So, my two questions that I have as I mentioned before are as follows:

    1.) If Abu Bakr (ra) said do not obey me if I go against Allah swt and his messenger, then is Hosni Mubarak above Abu Bakr (ra) that he should be obeyed when he has clearly gone against Allah swt and his messenger (saws) ?

    2.) If Aisha (ra) and Ali (ra) could fight one another in protest and/or battle, ( with weapons I might add), then are we better than them that we should have a higher standard and not do as such?

    Jazakom Allah Kheirn, and shaykh suhaib, I am with you on this one,


  • Asalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu.

    I was wondering, Brother Suhaib, could you please give a little detail on the scholar S’ad ‘Atiyah al-Azhari and who his teachers were.

    Jazak’allahu khayran. I look forward to your response.

  • Salam brothers,

    A man walks into a house and says to the child living there to call his mother down as he has now assumed the role of father and husband and has killed their breadwinner. The child immediately starts to call him “dad” while the mother labels him as an imposter. Whose position is correct?
    The neglect of this question on legitimacy has led us to be confused becoming apparent in wide spread fitna though generations with rigged voting and countless thieves assuming “fatherhood”.
    The basis of the discussion assumes that the leaders ruling over us are legitimate and hence deserve our obedience. This is an incorrect stance as assumption without evidence is not a fact- which is what many have made it out to be, dressed with verses of the Quran and upheld with various hadiths.
    The condition here is; legitimacy equals obedience. Without legitimacy there is no obedience.
    Let us change the question from “is protesting permissible” to: “What are the conditions for obedience to a ruler in Islam?” This will answer the following questions: definition of leadership, plurality in leadership (can there be more than one leader), what are the conditions of contract; can they be female, a child, a slave etc; can they implement anything other than Islam, what happens if there are two imams, what is the definition of darul Islam? Etc…


  • Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet said, “Whoever disapproves of something done by his RULER then he should be patient, for whoever disobeys the RULER even a little (little = a span) will die as those who died in the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance. (i.e. as rebellious Sinners). (Book #88, Hadith #176)

    (8) It has been narrated on the authority of ‘Auf b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, who invoke God’s blessings upon you and you invoke His blessings upon them. And the worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you and whom you curse and who curse you. It was asked (by those present): Shouldn’t we overthrow them with the help of the sword? He said: No, as long as they establish prayer among you. If you then find anything detestable in them. You should hate their administration, but do not withdraw yourselves from their obedience. (Book #020, Hadith #4573)
    (68) Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said, “If somebody sees his Muslim RULER doing something he disapproves of, he should be patient, for whoever becomes separate from the Muslim group even for a span and then dies, he will die as those who died in the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance (as rebellious sinners). (See Hadith No. 176 and 177) (Book #89, Hadith #257)

    (72) Narrated Ma’qil: Allah’s Apostle said, “If any RULER having the authority to rule Muslim subjects dies while he is deceiving them, Allah will forbid Paradise for him.” (Book #89, Hadith #265)

    Man is always quarrelsome.He wants to go against this hadith.So he is saying protestING is allowed.It is TOTALLY haraam.

    • but what is “his ruler”? if someone invades your country, deposes your leaders and intalls himself as ruler without proper consent, then proceeds to oppress the people, can this de facto method nonetheless render him as this ‘his ruler’ for whom obedience becomes mandatory from Muslim citizens? why would it be different if the invasion was internal? where goes the populace’s right to consent to being governed? this is oppression in the most fundamental sense, possibly even slavery, and how can islam condone oppression?

      by this logic, it means that if by some miracle benyamin netanyahu issues a statement that he has converted to islam (he does not have to actually mean it or practice – just like some of the Middle East dictators) overnight the right of his israeli government over the palestinian territories becomes legitimate and it would be immediately haram for palestinians to resist the oppression, even though nothing at all changes on the ground. what a ridiculous notion!

      surely the hadith is referring to a ruler who was elected or assumes authority according to channels deemed legitimate by the people, so even if a portion of the people dislike him they cannot overthrow him.

  • Assalamu alaykum,
    The question was whether protesting was permissible or not. Despite its permissibility, we should remember that Allah (SWT) has kept the conditions of a people dependent on their actions. Allah says, “Allah does not change the conditions of a people until they change what is in themselves.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “Allah does not punish the individuals for the sins of the community until they see the evil spreading among themselves, and while they have the power to stop it, do not do so.” (Ahmed) Also, when the Prophet (SAW) was on the miraaj, he saw some things coming up and some things going down. He asked Jibraeel (AS) what these were. He responded, “The things coming up are the actions of the people; the things going down are the decisions of Allah (SWT).”

    There are many other ahaadeeth indicating that the conditions on the people depend on their a’maal (actions).

    And, to re-quote someone above:

    Allah says, {و كذالك نولي بعض الظالمين بعضا بما كانوا يكسبون} {and like that, we have put oppressors over other oppressors because of what they have earned} Also, Allah says, {ما أصابكم من مصيبة فبما كسبت أيديكم} {what has afflicted you from calamities is from what your hands have earned} Shoora, 30. There is a beautiful saying from Imam At Tartushi where he says, “I still hear the people say, ‘Your deeds are your rulers. As you are, so are your rulers!” In light of the above narration, Ibn Qayyim states, “Reflect on Allah’s wisdom in regards to how he made the rulers of the people and their leaders the consequences of their actions. It is as if their actions manifested themselves in the personalities of their rulers!!”

  • A democratic leader is chosen by the people with the condition (contract for his term)to swear on the quran to uphold the peoples law, and in that law, is freedom of expression and assembly (UN,DoHR).

    This means the condition of leadership is obligated to follow these laws, if he goes against freedom of expression and assembly, he is outside the law (broken contract)and is breaking the condition of leadership.

    Very simple.

  • Our religion is not a religion of chaos. Our religion is a religion of discipline, and a religion of order, and calm, and tranquility. And demonstrations are not from the actions of the Muslims and it is not something the Muslims are familiar with.
    And the religion of Islaam is a religion of calm, and a religion of mercy, and a religion of discipline; not chaos, and not disorder, and not (a religion) of inciting trials (fitan). And this is the religion of Islaam.

    And rights are earned by asking for them in the manner legislated by the Shar’iah and through ways legislated by the Shar’iah. And demonstrations cause bloodshed and cause the ruination of wealth (of the Muslims). And these matters are not permissible.

    -Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan

  • Luckily in the west freedom of expression and freedom of assembly is the law and is a basic human right.
    Deceleration of human rights (UN membership)
    Human rights charter (Commonwealth membership)

    It seems many are confused.

    There is a difference between the word ‘protest’ and ‘riot’

    Protest = is a peaceful and tranquil organised rally ussually at a designated area.
    Protests are part of a systematic and peaceful campaign

    Riot = is chaos and is a criminal activity and uses the use of violence and damage to property etc.

  • I would just like to mention, that in a democracy the people are the employers and the presidents or prime ministers are contracted employees, they are chosen managers for 3-5 years, and when the people are unhappy with the managers performance they may elect to contract a new manager.
    When the new prime minister is elected he has this understanding. (I’m referring to Egypt).

    The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: The best of the Mujahideen is an individual who stood in front of the unjust ruler, and ordered him or forbid him, and then he [the ruler] killed him.
    (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Maja)

    A person who is supporting a leader who does wrong, in the full knowledge that he is cruel, in order to strengthen him, is as if he has left the fold of Islam.
    Source: Al-Bayhaqi, when the Authority Shurahabil Bin Aus.

    The Prophet (SAW) said : ‘By Allah you have to enjoin good (Maroof) and forbid evil (Munkar), and hold against the hand of the unjust ruler (Zalim), and force him on the truth strongly, or you have to limit him to the truth’.
    [Musnad of Ahmad]

    I have not formed an opinion, just sharing these thoughts.

    (ps. Sorry my translations are really really bad).

  • assalaam u alaikum wrbt.

    i dont understand how brothers automatically assume that the trials the ummah is facing is from their own actions. it could very well be that it is a test from allah because you have to take into consideration the following hadith.

    Saad ibn abi waqas, “O Messenger of Allaah, who are the most afflicted of all people? He replied saws, “The Prophets, then the righteous people, then those who are nearest to them in perfection and those who are nearest to them. Man is tested according to his religiosity; if he is strong religiously, his test is increased and if he is weak in religion, his test is reduced And a believer will be tested until he walks on the earth sinless [i.e. his sins have been erased by series of afflictions that he endured.]” (Al-Bukhari)

  • If protests are illegal against a ruler in Islam, then surely all Israel has to do is actually invade all of Palestine, rule as a tyrant (like many Mid-East countries are ruled) and then automatically, by Islamic legal ruling all Palestinians no longer have any right to protest their new ruler, even if their new ruler continues to evict them, makes them live in the street, humiliate and abuse them, and deprive them of basic necessities? I mean, the Palestinians will then have to wait until they can ‘take the ruler by the hand’ and ‘advise them’ right????

    Apologies for the sarcasm, but sometimes a silly argument needs to be taken to the end, to illustrate how it cannot possibly be a correct interpretation.

  • On August 2, 2014, tens of thousands of Americans marched to the White House to protest the massacre happening in Gaza. Traveling there with my mosque was a very touching experience as my religious community reminded me of the spiritual perspective in which to view hardships. We read prayers for the oppressed and were uplifted by reminders of the power of prayer, and of a Muslims duty to stand up against injustice. Arriving around 1pm, we prayed duhr, all 48 of us, random people joined as well.There were motivational talks by various representatives listed here: Then the march started, 50,000 protesters crowding the streets, stopping traffic on roads not closed, pausing in front of the Washington Post building expressing disappointment in them, then making a full circle back to the White House. We meet up with the rest of the masjid crew, mothers, babies, teens, fathers, children, and grandparents and sat on the lawn to have lunch, which was generously provided by a family who is very active in the masjid. Then we find our bus and head back to Gambrills. It was 5:45pm at that point, time for Asr prayer. Cheering is heard from the brothers side—our bus driver, touched by the trust in God, sense of unity, and fight for justice exemplified today, took the shahadah, and became Muslim.

  • “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Tawbah 9:71]
    It is narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas‘ud, may Allah be pleased with him, that somebody said to him: “Should I be ruined if I do neither enjoin right nor forbid wrong?” he said: “You would be ruined if your heart does not approve of right and disapprove of wrong.”
    on the authority of Hudhaifah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “By Him in Whose Hand is my soul: you should enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, otherwise, Allah is about to send upon you punishment from Himself, and if you invoke Him, He would not respond to you.” [Ahmad]
    “I shall take revenge on the oppressor in this world and the next. I shall take revenge on someone who saw the person being oppressed and was able to help him but did not”–Hadith Qudsi. “The best Jihad is to speak a word of truth to a tyrannical ruler”–Prophet Muhammad(SAW)

    “A tyrant and the one who helps an oppressor as well as the one who is pleased with such injustice all the three are accomplices in the sin”–Muhammad al-Baqir (RAA)

  • Jazakallahu Khairin…I had a dialogue with a student of Medina who attacked my Protest views. I explain the hadith that Rasulullah (saws) said when you see a wrong change it with your hand and if you can’t change it with your hand change it with your tongue (Protest speak out against it) and if you can’t do either hate it in your heart which is the weakest form of faith. Sura Asr “By the token of time through the ages varily mankind is at a lost except such as join together in the mutual teachings of truth patience and constancy.” All throughout Rasulullah (saws) life he protested with his voice to the Pagan Arabs and their oppression and worship of taghut. In fact the Rasulullah (saws) was so outspoken that he was admonished by Allah “and revile not their gods for out of ignorance they may revile Allah”. This shows their is an ADAB of protest it should be CIVIL and the people should be allowed-The story of Umer ibn Al Khatab who once made a misstatement about the dowry and loudly a sister in the ranks corrected him and Umer (RA) did not become arrogant and passed a FATWA on the sister he acknowledged his wrong and the sister being right. This suppression of the Muslims’ right to disagree and voice objections in a civil manner is BIDA! It’s a shame America allows Civil Protest but “so call” Muslim countries don’t.

    • Assalamu Alaikum
      All those examples about protests done by believers of prophetic era were of individual magnitude than of collective magnitude. Also, all those protests was conducted directly in front of the ruler as a means of voicing their disagreements rather than showcasing the strength of protesters to to overthrow the ruler or make any huddles in front of him and also, those was not done on the roads or streets or in front of buildings or in front of flag posts or squares.

      An evil act done whether by an individual or a ruler can be opposed by any individual Muslims as per his capacity(voicing, going out from there (if it is national issue, a Muslim can go to another country also-Hijrah), or staying there itself in silence hating the act by mind- these are the options available) in front of the evil doer in a way as the law of the place permits and in way Islam permits. But, if the individual Muslim is not capable to oppose himself, inviting others to gather to collectively oppose the evil act is not prescribed. However if the evil act was done publically and had a public impact and the public came out together as individuals and it happened to be like a group forming automatically and they all peacefully and calmly voiced against the evil act in front of the evil doer is right and ok as long as there happened not any incidents of acts which nullified or ignored righteous Islamic behaviours and actions. Even if such a gathering was formed without a prior preparation or invitations, using that first gathering to form a group against the ruler on a later stage is not prescribed or demonstrated and so cannot be done.
      Such protests (voicing of disagreement on an evil doing or evil command) of individual magnitude was not in the sense of waging a war or group protest against the ruler or trying to overthrow rulers.

      If we take the example of Prophet (saw) at his fist ten years of Makkah life prior going to Madinah, that was the time they were subjected by Kuffars to oppressions of any kind and magnitude, but the prophet and companions never tried to run a public protest or tried to persuade any one against the leaders of the Kuffars and their administration.
      As per Quran, Firon is noted as the one who was so cruel to his own people and he is the one who calimed himself as the GOD and commanded all his people to obay his rules and command and worship none other than him. Moosa (as) was send by Allha to the people Firon, Allah never asked the prophet to wage a war or protest against Firon gathering people on the streets or squares. But Allah commanded Moosa (as) to go to Firon with his brother companion themselves alone and directly speak with Firon (the ruler) to refrain from his cruel command and rules. The prophet was then invited by Foron for a public gathering to test their capabilities and with Allah’s help, Moosa (as) become successful. It was the ruler who called for a public gathering and not the messenger.
      There are numerous examples in Quran and Sunna to see that the oppressed were never allowed to take on public demonstrations and protests to oppose a ruler or king, rather they were asked to be patient and just in silence and go along with practicing deeds and ibadaa’ for a success in the hereafter.

      It should be noted that winning in this world by Muslims in front of the kuffars or bad rulers against their evil doing is not a must, but winning in the hereafter(aqirah) by administering good deeds of worship and acts that keep peace and harmony are most important.
      We don’t have to be so much worried about oppressed people(Muslims) and their hardships and wage protests against oppressors, as such people(Muslims) if they are in good faith and sprits will be in peace and harmony in Jannath.

      Muslims if they are oppressed by non Muslims or bad Muslim rulers may face hardships in this world but they will win in the Aqirath. Winning in the Aqirath is more important than winning this world. Of course we have to be in solidarity with oppressed Muslim brothers and sisters, which can be done through prayers to Allah or asking Muslim rulers to communicate with oppressors or asking our leaders to speak or write to such oppressors or have peaceful dialogue with them directly. If such acts are not gaining anything, we don’t have be so much worried about it as Allah is overseeing all acts of oppressors and He is the One Who is capable enough to punish them as appropriate, may be in this world, if not, in the hereafter for sure.

      I have seen that some of the brothers have given examples of protests that gained results to prove that we could also do so. An act can bring result in this world or not is not the key to decide that act can be done or not by a Muslim. An act can bring the results in the hereafter or not, should be the key for a Muslim to decide whether to do such acts or not. And who will decide which act will bring result in the hereafter? It can be said only by Allah and His messengers and be demonstrated by the messengers and their companions as revealed in Quran and Sunnah.
      The aim and the way to the aim are both important in Islam. The aim is the intended result (and the intended result should always be the reward in aqirath) and the way is the path as shown by Prophet and his beloved followers. Both should be as prescribed and as demonstrated rather than what we can interpret and prove. The need of the situation will not justify an act as long as the act is done as per the prescribed intend and in a way it should be done as prescribed.

      Regarding the narration: Abu Bakr As-Siddique (ra) said ‘ So long as I obey Allah and his messenger, then follow me, if I do not or if I err, then do not follow me”: it is clear that he is telling only here not follow him if he is in err. He is not asking the public to protest or wage war against him! Not following a command of a ruler that is against the commands of Allah and his messenger is by not doing it in one’s own life. No need to protest to be able to not follow.
      Regarding “Battle of the Camel”, it is understood that all of them were Muslims and the umma was divided into two groups under two leaders and the leaders opposed each other. In the case of that war (not a public protest), both groups were just obeying their leaders rather than protesting against their own leaders.

      Words such as ‘resist’’oppose’’forbid’’disobay’etc used while urging us to stand against bad doings of leaders, kings or people and our demonstrations of the resistance, opposition, forbidding or disobeying should also be as per examples from messenger of Allah. It should not be as we think or like or as we interpret and find a way!
      One person wrote that “ none of us can take barack obama by the hand and advise him”. Practical difficulty in following a sunnah should not force or allow us in finding other ways. The ways what is enjoined by Allah and His messenger only is applicable to us, if practically it is not possible, we don’t have to do it as Allah will not question us as He said that what we can do with our normal capability only needs to be done at any situation.
      Regarding what a brother wrote: “Remember the incident when Umar ibn Khattab came to give the Khutbah, asking the people to ‘listen and obey’, and someone (Salman al Farisi, I believe) stood and said that ‘we will not listen and we will not obey’, since it seemed that Umar had taken two pieces of cloth while giving only one piece to others.
      Or the incident where Umar ibn Khattab asked the people what they would do if he were to deviate from the truth and a man stood and basically said that we will fix you with our swords?”
      In this incident, there not happened any protest by Muslim groups but it was an individual who was questioning the leader directly in front of him, which is allowed. We are talking about protests done against rulers or leaders or a nation in the form of groups shouting slogans and as means of showing off the strength and willpower,or giving a clear message or disobaying them, that too not in front of them.

      It can be summarised that protesting and evil act in front of the doer in an individual magnitude is allowed. But protesting collectively on the roads, streets or squares to oppose a leader or as a means of showing-off of anger/strength display /disobedience/or as a request are not allowed as those are having no any evidence in Islam.
      Allah knows Best

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