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Ruling By Other Than What Allaah Has Revealed
  Shaikh Ibn `Uthaymeen on al-Hukmu Bi-Ghayri Maa Anzallallaah
Author: Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeen
Source: Al-Qawl al-Mufeed `ala Kitaab at-Tawheed' [2/263-269]
Article ID : MNJ050004  [20748]  
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The following is taken from the Shaykh's concluding remarks to the hadeeth of `Adee bin Haatim that he heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) reciting the verse,

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

Upon which I said, "indeed we did not worship them." [The Prophet (sallallaahu `alaihi wasallam) ] said, "did they not make unlawful that which Allaah made lawful and so you too did the same? [Did they not] make lawful what Allaah made unlawful and so you too did the same?" I replied, "verily." He said, "this then was the worship of them." Reported by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee who declared it hasan.

[The following points] are derived from the hadeeth: That obedience with the meaning of worship is a specific type of uboodiyyah.

Obedience in that which contradicts the Law of Allaah constitutes worship of the one obeyed. As for [obedience] in the worship of Allaah then this is [truly] worship of Allaah.

That following the scholars and servants in that which contradicts the Law of Allaah constitutes taking them as lords [besides Allaah]. Know that following the scholars or leaders in their making lawful what Allaah has made unlawful or the opposite [causes that person] to fall into one of three categories:

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

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

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

{The hadeeth is reported by Ahmad (2/321, 365), Abu Daawood (4/66), ibn Maajah (1/20), ad-Daarimee (1/53) and al-Haakim (1/126) who said, "saheeh, meeting the conditions of the Two Shaykhs, I know of no defect [in it]." Adh-Dhahabee agreed.}

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

A Benefit:

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

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

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

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

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

"And the disbelievers are the oppressors." [al-Baqarah (2): 254] [Similarly the kaafir] is a faasiq due to the saying of Allaah, "As for the sinners then their abode will be the Fire." [as-Sajdah (32): 20]

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

So [one] becomes a kaafir in three circumstances, when he believes that it is permissible to rule by other than what Allaah has revealed. The evidence for this lies in the saying of Allaah,

"So is it the rule of Jaahiliyyah (ignorance) that they seek?" [al-Maa`idah (5): 50]

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