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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  


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]

Everything that opposes the rule of Allaah constitutes the rule of Jaahiliyyah. [Also the evidence for this] is the definitive consensus that it is not allowed to rule by other then what Allaah has revealed. Therefore the one who considers it lawful and permissible to rule by other then what Allaah has revealed has contradicted this definitive consensus and such a person is a kaafir and an apostate. This [is similar to the case of one] who considers fornication or alcohol to be permissible or considers bread or milk to be unlawful.

When he believes that ruling by other then what Allaah revealed is equivalent to ruling by the rule of Allaah.

When he believes that ruling by other then what Allaah revealed is better than ruling by what Allaah has revealed. The evidence for this lies in the saying of Allaah,

"And who is better than Allaah in judgement for a people who have certainty?" [al-Maa`idah (5): 50]

So this verse states that the ruling of Allaah is the best of rulings as is further proven by the saying of Allaah, endorsing this,

"Is Allaah not the best of judges?" [at-Teen (95): 8]

So when Allaah is the best of the judges in ruling and He is the most just of the rulers then whosoever claims that the rule of other than Allaah is equivalent or better than the rule of Allaah is a kaafir because he has denied the Qur`aan.

[One] becomes a dhaalim When he believes that ruling by what Allaah has revealed is the best of judgements and the most beneficial for the servants and the lands and that it is obligatory to apply it. However hatred and jealousy lead him to rule by other than what Allaah revealed over his subjects - such a person is a dhaalim.

[One] becomes a faasiq When he follows his own desires. For example he rules in favour of a person due to being bribed by him, or due to his being a close relative or friend, or [because the ruler] seeks the fulfilment of a need from his comrades or the likes. This along with the belief that the rule of Allaah is the ideal and it is obligatory to follow it - such a person is a faasiq. Even though he is also a dhaalim, describing him as a faasiq is more befitting.

The strongest opinion is the second that these descriptions are distinct and that they are [applied] in accordance to the situation. As regards the one who lays down legislative laws, despite his knowing the judgement of Allaah and that these laws are contrary to Allaah's judgement - then this person has substituted these laws in place of the Sharee`ah. Therefore he is a kaafir - this because he does not choose these laws and turn away from Allaah's Sharee`ah except due to his belief that they are better for the people and the land than the law of Allaah. But when we say that he is a kaafir, then the meaning of this is that this action leads to disbelief. [1]

However the one who [legislates these rules] may have an excuse - for example he may be one who has been deluded: such that it has been said to him that this does not conflict with Islaam, or that it is something allowable as a case of benefitting the people (masaalih al-mursala), or that it is something that Islaam has left up to the [custom of] the people.

So there are some scholars - even though they are in error - who say that social transaction (mu`aamalaat) is something not dealt with by Islaam, and that rather it is referred to whatever is found to benefit the economy in each particular time. So if the situation requires us to establish usury banks or to tax the people then there is no problem with this.

There is no doubt concerning the error of [such a claim]. So if these people performed ijtihaad then may Allaah forgive them. Otherwise they are in a situation of very great danger and it is befitting that they are entitled `scholars of the state' and not `scholars of the Religion.'

NOTES

[1] Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (hafidhahullah) said (commenting upon some words of Shaikh Albani), "And these words of Shaikh al-Albani are very good indeed, however, we would differ with him on the issue where he does not make a ruling of disbelief over them (the rulers) except when they held that to be permissible (as a matter of belief). This matter needs further investigation [*], because we say: Whoever rules by what Allaah has revealed yet he holds that something other than the rule of Allaah is better or more befitting, then he is a kafir - even if he judged by the rule of Allaah - and his kufr is a kufr of belief. However, our discussion here is concerning an action. And it is in my opinion (dhann) that it is not possible for a person to apply and establish such laws that oppose the Shari'ah and which are referred to by the slaves of Allaah for judgement except that he declares this to be permissible (istahallahu) and holds the belief (ya'taqidu) that such laws are better the Shari'ah laws. Hence, he is a disbeliever. This is what is apparent, and if not then what [motive] is it that carried him to undertake this? [Fitnah of Takfir pp.75]

[*] Shaikh al-Albani replied to this point saying: "I do not understand from which angle this opposition [to our view] can be sustained. Since I say, that if any person - even someone other than a ruler - considered a rule other than Islam to be better and more befitting than the rule of Islam - even if he acted by the rule of Islam - then he is a kafir. Therefore, there is no difference at all, since the original point of reference is what is in the heart."


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