Rebellion, Orthodoxy and Hamza Yusuf

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After an extended hiatus from blogging, I was compelled to write this article after witnessing the barrage of insults and attacks directed towards Shaykh Hamza Yusuf through a range of social media platforms including as Facebook and Twitter. Admittedly, I have a propensity to jump to the defence of people who are at the receiving end of such attacks from scholars and lay people.[1] Nearly all of these groups have joined forces, whether it is Salafis, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Deobandis, Brelwis – even Modernist groups and scholars have entered the fray. Many of these people have clearly crossed a line by sending veiled Takfir (stating that a person has committed apostasy from Islam) in the direction of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, by calling him Mr Hanson, Mark or Mark Hanson, digging into their quite shallow repertoire of insults. These people hold the bizarre notion that if you are `born’ Muslim then you can’t lose your Muslimhood unless you vocally and publicly denounce Islam, but if you convert to Islam, even if you are a scholar, then you can freely be anathematised. For example, in these people’s writings Shaykh Hamza Yusuf fluctuates between his Muslim name and `Mark Hanson’ depending on how `Muslim’ people consider him to be. I wonder what the late great Muhammad Ali would have to say about the mind-set of these individuals, after his famous reaction to Ernie Terrell repeatedly calling him Cassius Clay in the lead up to their 1967 fight.

The video[2] that has caused an uproar is from 2016 but for some reason has surfaced now, which is conveniently soon after Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was appointed to the ‘Commission on Unalienable Rights’ by Donald Trump.[3] A council I might add that most of these scholars and `dawah carriers’ would jump at the opportunity to be involved in. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying Shaykh Hamza Yusuf made the correct decision, in the right circumstances and under the right leadership one could consider such a post, but with Trump it seems like it is a wasted opportunity, especially if you are a Muslim. I would have made the same point about another scholar I respect, Dr Khalid Abou Fadl, who was appointed by George W Bush[4] to the ‘United States Commission on International Freedom’. Recall that George W. Bush was responsible for the war in Afghanistan as well as the illegal invasion of Iraq. In a recent lecture Dr Khalid Abou Fadl explained that whilst he was in the role, he argued for the rights of minorities and advocated for justice for many people who may have not had an advocate if he had not held such a role. Despite this, an important point to note is that if Dr Khalid Abou Fadl had not informed us of some of his positive contributions during his role as commissioner we would not have been aware of them and as such the feelings of the Muslim community would have been similar to those expressed about Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. It is therefore quite fair to state that we are not aware of the positive impact Shaykh Hamza Yusuf may be having in his role as a commissioner.

Update: I thought that it was prudent to add some additional information to the comments mentioned above. In terms of the role of  Dr Khalid Abou Fadl on the Commission, despite me becoming aware of his positive contributions whilst he was on the Commission after he left the role, the fact is that there were many public ‘showdowns’ were Dr Fadl demonstrated his dissent to positions held by the Commission. There was for example a public showdown on Al-Jazeera TV channel, where Dr Fadl refused to sign onto a Commission’s report, which led to the representative of the Commission storming out on live TV. In addition to this Dr Fadl’s role with the Commission (and the same can be said for Shaykh Hamza), led to many Islamophobes attacking him through a number of articles.

Based on this information, I believe that it is important that people hold back on their attacks on Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. We need scholars and academics, to work with these government agencies to fight for the rights for minority communities. We do not know what positive impact he is having in his role. If in the future, we see Shaykh Hamza Yusuf as a signatory to a document that infringes on the rights of the people, then I will be the first to speak out, but at the moment the dissent shown by the various Muslim ideological groups reeks of jealousy and hatred.


Joining a non-Muslim Government


Many of the pro-Khilafah (Caliphate) movements such as `Hizb ut-Tahrir’and `Jam’iyat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin’ will detest the fact that Dr Khalid Abou Fadl and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf have joined these non-Muslim governments, which according to them are Kufr systems (systems of disbelief), and partaking in such a system is in itself supporting kufr. But, we merely need to open up the Quran to see that an important personality, a Prophet in this case, joined a non-Muslim government in Egypt and was promoted to a significant role within it. The Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) did not partake in kufr or promote kufr and to make such a claim about a Prophet is highly problematic. Instead the idea is that if one can make a positive contribution to society and can have a positive impact on the government in question, then a person should consider such a role. Here is the Prophet Yusuf being appointed to his role in the non-Muslim government in the Quran:


And the king said, “Bring him to me; I will appoint him exclusively for myself.” And when he spoke to him, he said, “Indeed, you are today established [in position] and trusted.” [Joseph] said, “Appoint me over the storehouses of the land. Indeed, I will be a knowing guardian.”[6]


Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and the Infamous Clip

Now the Question is what actually happened in the video? Was Shaykh Hamza Yusuf attacking or making a mockery of the dissolute people of Syria? Or was this a propaganda campaign that was linked to his appointment to the council and his close relationship with the government of the UAE? (Not to mention that these groups haranguing him make no mention of the brutal and tyrannical Saudi regime, although this may change now that the Saudi government is moving away from their affiliation to extreme Salafism to a more liberal/western ideology, although even then there is no dissent, because in that case you will be killed.[7])


Here is the link to the video and the specific statement that caused controversy, which can be found around (49:35):



Shaykh Hamza Yusuf states “They can go out and keep doing the same old thing, how is that revolution looking for you ah?”

I’ll ask the same question of those who began the rebellion, the scholars who supported and incited it and the governments who inflamed it, “How is that revolution looking for you”? It sounds harsh, but by the end of this article, I hope that people ask the same question “How is that revolution looking for you?”

Rebellion in Islam, an Analysis of the Islamic Exegesis


Violence, rebellion and war have forever plagued society and we have witnessed this from ancient to modern times. In these modern times we have seen that scholars and those in authority have been the main instigators and protagonists that have supported the rebellion. The specific aim of this section is to analyse Islamic exegesis, which includes the Quran, the Sunnah, as well as examining other Usuli tools such as Ijma (Scholarly Consensus) in order to determine whether rebelling is permissible in Islam.

At this juncture it is important to be clear that I am not a hadith (sayings or actions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) nut like the rest of these retrograde scholars, and neither do I believe that if a hadith is deemed Sahih (authentic) according to the principles of the Muhaditheen (scholars of hadith) then one has to unequivocally follow the narration. But these so-called traditionists who throw a fit if one deems a hadith, especially if it is narrated in collections such as Bukhari as fabricated, are the same people who support rebelling against a leader. This is clearly a double standard and an explicit example of cherry picking the traditions that they wish to follow. One needs to merely look at the response to the previous articles that questioned certain narrations that claim that one should kill homosexuals[8], kill ‘blasphemers’[9], kill those who apostate from Islam, that the Prophet Muhammad was affected by black magic[10] and that the Prophet Moses was stripped naked.[11] From the response to this article you not only see these double standards on display but you also see their mentality, which is to hold onto the traditions that propagate extremism but those traditions that may save lives, then lets ignore them and throw them out of the window.


Quran on Rebellion


The first area that will be explored in this article are the verses of Quran relating to rebellion and following a leader. For example, the following verse in the Quran:


O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and the ruler among you,[12]


This verse is very explicit in that one should obey the leader and this is via the divine command. In addition, the verse is asking people to not only obey God, the Messenger but also the leader. Now, some do argue that the word Ati (obey) is not placed before the word leader and therefore it is on the condition that the leader doesn’t commit Kufr (disbelief). Scholars do still maintain that there is no condition placed on this verse and therefore even if the leader is not just, one must still obey them.


Hadith on Rebellion


We will now move onto exploring the hadith related to rebelling against a leader. Traditional Sunnis hold steadfast to hadith, and rejecting a hadith, especially if it is narrated in Bukhari is heretical. Or is that only when you want to make lives harder by making them follow difficult fatwas (Islamic rulings)?

Here is a Hadith narrated in Bukhari:


The people used to ask Allah’s Messenger about the good but I used to ask him about the evil lest I should be overtaken by them. So I said, “O Allah’s Messenger! We were living in ignorance and in an (extremely) worst atmosphere, then Allah brought to us this good; will there be any evil after this good?” He said, “Yes.” I said, ”Will there be any good after that evil?” He replied, “Yes, but it will be tainted (not pure).” I asked, “What will be its taint?” He replied, “(There will be) some people who will guide others not according to my tradition? You will approve of some of their deeds and disapprove of some others.” I asked, “Will there be any evil after that good?” He replied, “Yes, (there will be) some people calling at the gates of the (Hell) Fire, and whoever will respond to their call, will be thrown by them into the (Hell) Fire.” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Will you describe them to us?” He said, “They will be the youth (Muslims) and will speak our language.” I said, “What do you order me to do if such a state should take place in my life?” He said, “Stick to the group of Muslims and their Imam (ruler).” I said, “If there is neither a group of Muslims nor an Imam (ruler)?” He said, “Then turn away from all those sects even if you were to bite (eat) the roots of a tree till death overtakes you while you are in that state will be better.”[13]


The pro-Khalifah groups hate this hadith and try their best to deny its existence. This is because this hadith, which is narrated in Bukhari (the most authentic collection according to all of these so-called traditional groups), is not telling you to establish a Khilafah, but instead telling you to leave all of the non-ruling groups and live a quiet life. We will explore this hadith in more detail when we look at the specific rebellion in Syria.

The question is now is this the only hadith that is relayed on this issue. The answer is no. There is a plethora of hadith that demonstrate the same point. Take for example a Hadith relayed in Sahih Muslim as well as the Musnad of Imam Ahmad:


“There will be leaders who will not be following me, there will be others who will have the body of humans but the heart of Satan. Listen to and obey them, even if the leader will flog your back and take your wealth”[14]


This hadith is decisive. It explains that there will be leaders who will not be following the moral, ethical and legal approach of the Prophet Muhammad and in fact they will be evil in nature, to the point that a comparison has been made to their heart being like that of Satan. Even if these leaders beat you and take what is your right, such as your wealth, then even in this scenario you should obey the leader and not rebel.

This concept can been seen in the Hadith relayed in the `Mustadrak’ of Imam Hakim, as well as many other sources such as the `Musnad’ of Imam Ahmad and a version of it can be found in `Sahih Muslim’:


One who defected from obedience (to the Amir) and is separated from the main body of the Muslims – if he died in that state he would die the death of the one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya (i.e. would not die as a Muslim).[15]


Here is another Hadith relayed in the Sahih Muslim and Musnad of Imam Ahmad:


“When you are holding to one single man as your leader, you should kill whoever seeks to undermine your solidarity or disrupt your unity.”[16]


On a literal reading of the text and from a theoretical perspective this tradition seems problematic, as it is ordering the killing of an opponent, who may merely disagree with the current leadership and it seems to go against the fundamental principle of the Quran, regarding the sanctity of human life. These verses can be found in various parts of the Quran such as:


“Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely”[17]


This verse is quite pertinent to this topic area and links in to the hadith we relayed from the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, the verse states that it is not permissible to take a life unless it is for another life, such as in the instance where someone has committed a murder and has been given the punishment of the death penalty. But the verse also states that it is permissible if a person commits al-Ifsad fi al-Ard, corruption on the Earth. Islamic scholars have argued that rebellion falls into the category of al-Ifsad fi al-Ard. Hence why the Hadith relayed in the Musnad argues that it is permissible to kill a person in this scenario. They argue that rebellion will lead to chaos in society, murder, death and the de-stabilisation of the community. The killing of one person from a practical perspective outweighs the millions of lives that can be lost due to a rebellion. As such they argue that the hadith falls in line with the Quran. I’m not saying that I agree with this but this is the classical understanding that these groups hounding Hamza Yusuf claim to adhere to.


Another Hadith relayed in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad:


“We give bayah (allegiance) to the Prophet, we must obey if we are idle or active, or if our rights have been taken away, we will not go to challenge the leadership except if we see the obvious Kufr (disbelief) and we have the strong proof from God.”[18]


Once again this hadith is relaying the same position that can be found in a wide variety of hadith: rebelling against a leader is not permissible even if that leader takes away your rights. Now this hadith gives an exemption that the only time it is permissible to rebel against a leader is if he commits open and obvious kufr (Kufr Buwah). We will speak more about this later, but at this juncture it is important to note that Kufr Buwah is when a person commits open and obvious kufr and there is no possibility that his statements or actions can mean something else.

Another Hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim:


“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.”[19]


The collections of hadith are proliferated with similar narrations which convey the same message that one cannot rebel against the leader, but for the purposes of this article the proofs presented should suffice.


Ijma (Scholarly Consensus) on Rebellion


In this section we will explore the sources of the scholars who argue that there is Ijma (Scholarly Consensus) that one is not allowed to rebel against their leader. Once again, I want to reiterate that for those people who do not accept the validity of Ijma   this section would be largely irrelevant to them. But for those who claim to be traditionalists and scream Modernism to those who disagree with their viewpoint then they have left themselves in quite a pickle. Are they now going to abandon the concept of Ijma and join those who they branded as modernists? Or are they only confining their own modernist approach to select topics, which suit their own doctrine?

Ijma falls into the branch of Usul, which are legal principles that are deployed in order to derive rulings from the Quran and the Sunnah. In order to deduce if rebelling against a leader contravenes Ijma, and if it does then what this would mean from a legal and theological perspective, one needs to have at least a basic understanding of the concept of Ijma.

Ijma is the consensus of Mujtahid (the highest ranking) scholars in Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and Aqeedah (theology, dogma or creed). Furthermore, for one to claim Ijma on a specific issue requires the agreement of Mujtahid scholars in those specific fields. Ijma can be split into two categories, Ijma in Fiqh and Ijma in Aqeedah.

Ijma in Fiqh requires the agreement of all the madhabs (legal or other ‘schools’) in Fiqh, from the various groups from Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat. Therefore, let’s say someone from the Jafari School disagreed on an issue but the schools within Ahle Sunnah had consensus on that issue, the opinion of the Jafaris would be disregarded and Ijma would be established. If Fiqhy Ijma has been established, then going against this position is considered heretical and it would mean that the person has left and transgressed Ahle Sunnah – and, our puritanical brothers surely would not want to become the ‘heretics’ they so clearly despise.

Ijma in Aqeedah requires the agreement of all sects of Islam except those sects that are considered Kufri (disbelieving) sects (and granted there can a wide ranging debate about which groups are considered Kufri, for example those people who consider themselves Ahle Sunnah may consider the Mutazalites as a Kufri sect, and the Mutazalites who were instrumental in developing Usul will consider these anthropomorphist sects such as the Salafists as a kufri sect). Contravening an Ijma in Aqeedah is considered Kufr (disbelief) and would result in the person allegedly leaving the fold of Islam. We will explore whether Rebellion contravenes the Ijma of Fiqh and or the Ijma of Aqeedah.

The first proof is from Ibn Hajar Asqalani (852/1449), a Shafi, Ashari scholar, and a pillar of the Muhaditheen. He stated in his commentary[20] on the following hadith relayed by Imam Bukhari:


Rebellion 1


‘’Anyone who sees from his leader, something that he dislikes, let him bear it; if a person leaves the leader by even one handspan he will die a jahli (ignorant) death’’

Ibn Hajar Asqalani commentated that it is the Ijma of Fuqha (jurisprudential scholars) that it is Wajib (compulsory) to obey the ruler who takes over, that there is Ijma that obeying the ruler is better than going against him and it is not permissible to go against the leader because by doing this (meaning obeying the leader) it will stop bloodshed and will avoid Fitna (tribulation). There is only one exemption and that is if the leader will commit open and obvious disbelief (Kufr Buwa). Only in that case is it permissible to go against the leader.

Here is the first proof of Ijma from Ibn Hajar Asqalani. He is clearly and unequivocally stating that it is the Ijma of Fuqaha that it is not permissible to rebel against the leader, and the only instance where it would be deemed acceptable to do so would be if the leader has committed open and obvious Kufr (disbelief). Now the question arises that what is open and obvious Kufr? The answer is that he openly declares that he doesn’t believe in God, or he makes a statement of disbelief and one cannot make an excuse or interpret his statement to mean anything other than disbelief. So for example let’s say someone stated publicly ‘I do not believe in Jesus’ that would not be open and obvious Kufr as you could give it several interpretations that would not result in disbelief. For example, he could mean that he does not believe in the Christian interpretation of Jesus, or ‘I do not believe in Jesus as interpreted through the concept of the Trinity’. On the other hand, if a person was to state that ‘I do not believe in the existence of the Prophet Eisaa who was the messenger of God as mentioned in the Quran,’ as this could not be given a non-kufri interpretation it would be disbelief. We will explore Bashar al-Assad and whether he falls into this category later in this article.

The next proof[21] is from Ibn Hajar Asqalani, a Shafi, Ashari scholar who stated that:

Rebellion 2


’Hasan bin Saleh ibn Hay used to believe that it is permissible to go against the government if they are oppressive but it is an old position of the Salaf (the first generation of Muslims) but afterwards it became Ijma (scholarly consensus); they saw that what [rebellion] led to was a significant amount of destruction. When the Salaf observed the actions of Hajaaj they said that it is not permissible to go against this Ijma’’

The next proof[22] is from Ibn Hazm (456/1044) , who granted is a Zahri scholar and as such are not a School that is considered within Ahle Sunnah wal Jamaat (although as you will notice with the traditionists, consistency is not a strong point: they will use someone like Jassas – a ‘heretical’ Mutazalite – as proof when they want to establish the permissibility of rebellion but when they want to claim that the Prophet Muhammad was affected by black magic then they will argue that Jassas is in fact, after all, a heretical Mutazalite). Despite Ibn Hazm being a Zahri scholar, his book ‘Maratib al-Ijma’ is considered one of the main works in the field of Ijma, and as such it is relied upon by all scholars.





There is Ijma that if any rebels come to kill the people and take the bounty (for themselves), then fighting against them is Wajib (compulsory)”.

Now Ibn Hazm did add that there isn’t an Ijma in the instance where the Rebels have a recognised leader when they are rebelling against the standing leadership. But to be clear he still says that it is not permissible, but he incorrectly claims that there is no Ijma in the specific instance when the rebellion has a recognised and accepted leader.

The next proof[23] is from another favourite of the traditionists and the Muhaditheen, Imam Nawawi (676/1277) who is another Shafi, Ashari Scholar who states in his commentary of Sahih Muslim:

Rebellion 5


Going against the leader is haram (impermissible) according to the Ijma of Muslims, as there are many hadith supporting this [concept], the leader will not lose his position by committing sin. When you go against the leader it causes fitna (tribulations) and destruction


Here Imam Nawawi is adding more information to the Ijma. Not only is it Ijma to not rebel against the leader but it is also Ijma that a leader does not lose his position as leader by committing sin. This conforms with the previous proof of Ijma, where it was explained that it is Ijma that the only time one can go against the leader is when he has committed open and obvious Kufr (disbelief).

The next proof[24] is from Tibi, an Ashari scholar, in his commentary of Mishkaat who makes the same claim of Ijma as Imam Nawawi.


Rebellion 6

Going against the leader and claiming leadership is against the Ijma of Muslims. If the leader commits sin, he will not lose his position

The next proof[25] is from al-Qattan, an Ashari Scholar in his book of Ijma. This once again is one of the foundational texts in the field of Ijma and his book is one of the most relied upon books in this field. Al-Qattan states:






There is Ijma that if the rebels come to take the wealth of the people and to take women as bounty to fight the rebellion.

There is Ijma of Muslims, [that when] anyone becomes leader by acceptance [of the people] or by taking power, [and then] he becomes oppressive, even if he is obedient or disobedient you cannot rebel against him.

It is Ijma that it’s better to bear their oppression and not to go against them.

Ordering good and forbidding evil is compulsory by the tongue, or by the hand or in the heart, but it is only permissible to take up arms against thieves and bandits after asking them to stop. But you cannot go against the leader

Here is another proof[26] this time from Imam Bhazdawi (110/493), a Maturidi scholar in his famous theological book ‘Usul ud Deen’:









The Khawarij argue that there are instances where there is a need to remove a leader due to him being oppressive. Bhazdawi argued that the opinion of the Khawarij is not valid, as it goes against authentic hadith and the Ijma of Sahabah. The reason he gave for this is that he argued that removing respectable people is easier than removing non-respectable people.

We have a statement from Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Shafi that if the leader will be oppressive and commits major sin, then in that case you can go against him. There was a disagreement amongst the students of Imam Shafi, who said [the leader] will lose his position, whereas other [students] said he would not [lose his position], although the reliable position according to Imam Shafi is that [the leader] doesn’t lose his position. If a judge commits a sin he can be removed, whereas the leader cannot.

According to the position of the Mutazalites and the Khawarij we can go against the oppressive leader. The argument that is made against them is that it is the Ijma of the Ummah, that the Ummah accepted the disobedient [people] as their leaders. [For example] the majority of the Sahabah classified the Umayyads as oppressive leaders and they still prayed their Jummah and their Eid prayer [behind them], as well as obeyed their judgements. We observed this conformity from the Sahabah, the Taibeen, and after the time of the Sahabah no one went against the Abassids who were also disobedient


Imam Bazdawi argues that the reason for this is because if we were to have the notion that the leader loses his position due to sin, it will cause destruction in the world, as there is always some basis for disagreement and bloodshed. But if the leader were to lose position and one was to appoint someone else, this could lead to many other calamities.

He concludes by stating that it is Ijma that oppression and sin do not cause [the leader] to lose his position.

This unequivocally demonstrates from sources within the schools of Ahle Sunnah such as the Maturidis and Asharis, as well as non Ahle Sunnah sources such as Ibn Hazm, that there is Ijma (scholarly consensus) that one cannot rebel against the leader. Some scholars have claimed that it was Fiqhy Ijma and therefore rebelling against the leader is considered heresy, whereas others have argued that it is Theological Ijma and therefore rebelling against the leader will result in disbelief. It is also Ijma that you cannot go against a leader even if he is oppressive and the scholars cited examples such as Hajaaj, who was not only oppressive and a murderer, but he did such atrocities to the Sahabah and the Taibeen, murdering people such as Abdullah bin Zubair the grandson of Abu Bakr, and despite this the early generation of Muslims did not rebel against him. Hajjaj bin Yusuf was a ruthless murder, and was reported to have killed one hundred and twenty thousand of his own people.[27] He would openly boast that one of his many pleasures in life was to partake in bloodshed.[28] It is also Ijma that you cannot go against a leader who commits sin and it is Ijma that it is impermissible to support a rebellion. It is also Ijma to fight against the rebellion and it is Ijma that one should bare the oppression of an unjust leader.

We also see that groups that are considered heretical according to Ahle Sunnah (and often most vociferously amongst Hamza Yusuf’s erstwhile critics), such as the Mutazalites and Khawarij, believe that it is permissible to rebel against the leader. We will explore this further in the upcoming related section.


Rebellion and the Books of Aqeedah (Theology)


Thus, we have evidently demonstrated that the Quran, Hadith (some of which have been argued by the scholars to be Mutawatir or ‘mass narrated’ and hence undeniable without committing kufr) and Ijma have explicitly stated that it is impermissible to rebel against the leader. Now we will move on to the books of Aqeedah, which once again are resolute and singularly focused on the doctrine that it is not permissible to rebel against the leader.

Here is the first proof[29] from Imam Bhazdawi and Ghaznawi, a Maturidi scholar in his famous theological book ‘Usul ud Deen’:





What we should do make is Dua (supplication) that the leader repents. It is not permissible to go against him and this is narrated from Imam Abu Hanifa. The reason for this is going against the leader causes bloodshed and destruction.

Now the question arises what happens where there is a battle for leadership. In this situation, if someone takes over [and has complete control of] a land, then all of Ahle Sunnah say that when he takes over and announces that he is the new leader, has power, he then becomes Imam, and following his order becomes compulsory. The Mutazalites and Khawarij say that he doesn’t become Imam. Ahle Sunnah are in the right, because despite the fact that no one gave him Bayah (allegiance) willingly, he took the leadership by [force] due to his power and it is Ijma that they are then [the rightful] leaders, if we don’t classify the person who has the support of the military as the leader, it will cause a significant amount of problems.

Obeying the leader is Fard Ayn (compulsory on everyone). If we don’t obey the leader it will cause destruction, obeying the governor is Fard Ayn, because God said that we should – “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and the ruler among you,”[30] unless they order you to commit sin, [in that case] if you don’t obey him you are not sinful, but going against him is not valid even if he oppresses or commits Major Sin. Instead we make Dua (supplication) for them by asking Allah to make them to stop [their sinful action]”

The next proof[31] is from Shaykh Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi (1144/1731) , a Hanafi Maturidi scholar, but his book is on the Ashari creed.

Rebellion 14

It is not permissible to remove the leader if he commits sin, if he commits Major Sin, or even if he is oppressive. The leader is not expected to leave his position due to committing major sin, because people after the rightly guided Khulafah (leaders) oppressed the people, [and despite this] the Salaf still obeyed them, prayed their Jummah and Eid Prayer behind them and never went against them. Being sinless is not a condition of leadership and not going against him is not [considered] obedience to him. Only in the case where he commits Kufr (disbelief), can you go against the leader.

Lakhani [also] said that it is not permissible to remove the leader [from his position] for any reason except for Kufr (disbelief).”

The next proof[32] is from Manshur bin Yunus al-Bahuthi (1051/1641) a scholar from the Hanbali School:


Rebellion 15

If the leader takes over with the support of the military, then he becomes official leader, it is [then] compulsory on the citizens to obey him. Imam Ahmed [bin Hanbal] said when the person takes over and he is called a leader, [then] a person can’t spend a night thinking whether he should be the leader irrespective of whether he is disobedient. When Hujaaj oppressed everyone, it was accepted that he was the leader, and by going against the leader you are causing a significant amount of destruction. To be just is a condition of a judge and not a leader. [This is the case] even if an oppressive unjust leader takes over [the land].”

The next proof[33] is from Ala’ al-Din Abidin (d. 1306/1888) the son of the Ibn Abidin as-Shaami, a more recent Hanafi Maturidi scholar, who is highly respected by contemporary Hanafi scholars.


We do not allow rebelling against or disobeying the leader even if he oppresses us or curses us. We cannot disobey them, and we believe that as long as they are not asking us to commit sin its Fard (compulsory) to obey them and we make Dua (supplication) for them for all the good things.”

The next proof[34] is from Imam ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Ghunaymi al-Maydani, a Hanafi Maturidi scholar, on his commentary on ‘Aqeedah Tahwiyyah’, which is one of the foundational creedal books according to nearly all the groups of Ahle Sunnah wal Jamaat.

We do not go against our leaders even if they oppress us, as oppression became widespread and became common after the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, and despite this the Salaf used to obey the [leaders]. They would pray their Jumaa and Eid prayer behind them, for the leader to be sinless is not a condition of leadership.

Sharh Aqaid: “There will be some leaders after me, they will ask you to do certain things that are not sinful, obey them don’t insult them and let them be your leaders”.

The next proof[35] is from Sa’ad al-Din Masud ibn Abd Allah al-Taftazani, a Hanafi Maturidi scholar, although his book ‘Sharh Aqaid Nasafi’ is a mixture of Ashari and Maturidi creed.

The leader will not be discharged from his positon due to oppression and disobedience, because oppression became widespread after the time of the Khalifa Rashideen (rightly guided successors), despite this they used to listen to them, read Jumma and Eid by them and not go against them.

Delawi argued that this quote from ‘Sharh Aqaid Nasafi’ is a clear reference to their being Ijma on this issue.

The next proof[36] is from Zain ad-Din Ibn Rajab Hanbali, another favourite of the traditionists, in his book ‘Jamia al Aloom ul Hikm’:

Hadith 43: Saeed ibn Jubayr: I asked ibn Abbas, do I have to stop the leader if he is committing evil. Ibn Abbas replied that if you are afraid that he will kill you then don’t do it. He asked the same question again, and was met with the same answer, he then asked again, to which Ibn Abbas replied that if you are insisting on doing it then advise him privately.

Someone came to ibn Abbas and asked, ‘shall I get up and stop him by my tongue?’, to which he replied that do not be a fitna (cause for tribulation) for him. ‘What if he orders me to commit sin?’ Be one of the people and do not obey him. Destroy the thing through which he is doing evil, but do not rebel against him as this is a prohibited. For example, when you go to destroy a bottle of wine, the person doing it may be killed, but if you go against the leader there will be a huge fitna.

Imam Ahmed – do not go against the leader as the sword of the leader is always ready”

The next proof[37] is from Ibn Abi al-Izz, an anthropomorphist Salafi in his commentary of ‘Sharh Aqeedah Tahwiyyah’:

In terms of obeying them, even if they oppress us, it is impermissible to go against them, even if they oppress us, because the damage caused due to rebellion will be far greater. If we bear their oppression it increases our level and our reward. Allah didn’t give us oppressive leader except for our sins

The next proof[38] is from Nur ad-Din Abu al-Hasan Ali al-Qari, a Hanafi Maturidi scholar in his famous commentary on ‘Mishkat al-Masabih’ known as ‘al-Mirqat’.

Each Muslim has to listen and obey [the leader] whether he likes or dislikes the order. If ordered to commit sin then he does not need to obey. [He should] listen, even if the order is something you like or don’t like, as long as [the leader] doesn’t order you to commit sin, [in that case] you don’t listen to him but you cannot go against him.

Ijma – The leader doesn’t stop being a leader by committing Fisq (disobedience)

Qadi Iyaaz- “If leader is a heretic, then you should migrate [from the land]”

After an analysis of the texts we find that the Quran, hadith, Ijma as well as the texts of Aqeedah (theology) in the Maturidi, Ashari, Athari/Hanbali and Salafi Schools state unequivocally that it is not permissible to rebel against the legitimate leader even if he himself took over by force. The reason for this is that it leads to death and destruction in society and it results in a situation that is much worse than the one that people found themselves in before they rebelled. And sadly, like it or not, we do see this in Syria where people are in a significantly worse situation than before the rebellion. Of course for Salafists and false utopians, no number of lives or limbs is a big enough price to pay for their pipe dreams but we have to leave that decision to the Syrian people (and not their Saudi, Western and Iranian interlopers).


Rebellion, Sunni Islam and the Mutazalites


This article up until this point has not looked at the anthropological or sociological reasoning for the text being there in the first place. But an important point to note is that if these ardent followers of Sunni Islam do go down this road, meaning questioning the reason why these doctrinal positions are found in hadith and theological books in the first place, it will mean that they would have to re-evaluate a significant part of the Sharia as well the theological doctrinal positions (i.e. be ‘modernists’). An example of this would be that we have a significant amount of problematic narrations that go back to Ikrima, the slave of Ibn Abbas. We have met this extremely dubious character before[39] and he is one of the main sources, and in some cases the only source for narrations that propagate wanting to kill apostates, homosexuals, and basically killing in general. Many of his narrations formed a part of the Sharia. Ikrima was a slave gifted from the Ummayads to Ibn Abass, and therefore just as for the argument for rebellion, many of the laws as well as the doctrinal positions that are found in ‘Islamic’ laws can go back to someone connected to the rulers. Therefore, the traditionists must then accept the re-evaluation of all laws and cannot cherry pick those rules which they wish to follow and those they wish to ignore. For example, the Ikhwaanis and Hizb ut-Tahrir wish to establish ‘Khilafah’, which requires them to overthrow the government. But they need the Sharia in order to promote the need to establish the Khilafah in the first place, but then they still need to rebel, therefore they leave themselves in quite a quandary where they accept some classical hadith and doctrines, but then reject others. Regarding the laws and doctrines they do accept, anyone who opposes them they will call ‘modernists’, but those that they reject they will then attempt to find one-off narrations to prove their point. You can find random one-off narrations or legal rulings to prove literally anything, this includes issues that these Sunni Muslims would go crazy about and call their opponents heretics and disbelievers if they used these isolated narrations and rulings. For example Averroes argued that it can be found in the tradition that women can lead men in the prayer, something that wasn’t accepted by the current Islamic legal schools.[40]

We know that the Mutazalites and the Khawarij permitted rebelling against the leader, despite their reasoning for allowing rebellion to be different. The Mutazalites were mainly Hanafis and many of their doctrinal and legal positons they attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa. It was the same case for the Maturidis and the Murjia. Now if you are going to accept the Mutazalites’ attributions to Abu Hanifa then be fair and do this for all issues. It is once again cherry picking: for example they trot out Imam Jassas as a Hanafi who allowed rebellion, a position which he states in many of his books such as ‘Tafsir Jassas’, but then when Imam Jassas rejects the fact that the Prophet Muhammad was affected by black magic, then they argue that he is a ‘heretical Mutazalite’. This is manifest stupidity.

The Mutazalites argue that the entire concept of the impermissibility of rebelling against the leader was fabricated by the Ummayad Empire and more specifically their leaders. It was to ensure that there would be no uprisings against their brutal and oppressive leadership. If God is telling you that you cannot rebel, and a person becomes a heretic or disbeliever if they do rebel, then they won’t attempt to overthrow the leadership. We know that the Mutazalites were in direct opposition with the Hanbali/Anthropomorphist/Ahle Hadith who were in bed with the leadership. This political battle, which was lost by the Mutazalites, is why this hadith orientated version of Islam became the prevalent version of Islam and the rational version of Islam was relegated to the fringes of society.

Not only did the Mutazalites allow for rebellion but they also accused traditionists of fabricating the hadith related to rebellion in order to maintain their power and stop insurrection.[41] For example al-Jahiz, a famous Mutazalite scholar took this a step further and was appalled that the heretics, meaning Ahle Sunnah, made not only removing the leader impermissible, but also did not allow one to criticise the leader.[42]

Imam Abu Hanifa did not himself rebel against the leader but he apparently supported Imam Zayd bin Ali in his quest against the brutal and violent leadership of the Ummayads. But once again, this gives credence to the notion which is argued by the Mutazalites where they claim that Abu Hanifa was a Mutazalite, and their position on this topic gives further credence to their claim that they are the only group that truly inherited this position from Imam Abu Hanifa, whereas as we have seen the Maturidi Scholars were against the notion of rebelling against the leader.

Imam Hussayn and Yazid


Another contention made by those who are pro-rebellion is that Imam Husayn was a rebel and therefore going against the leader is permissible. Let us be clear, Imam Hussayn did not rebel, he was the legitimate leader and Muawiyah made the error of appointing his son as the leader and turning the Khilafah into a kingship.

Imam Hassan bin Ali had ascended and became the Muslim ruler, he gave this up in order to stop further bloodshed and death and therefore ceded his leadership to Muawiyah, but according to Shia sources, with an agreement that Muawiyah would not appoint his successor and instead the new leader would be appointed by the Muslim world. Even if you disregard the notion that this occurred, what did occur is that Muawiyah, during his own life, made people give their allegiance to Yazid, which is impermissible. As it is narrated in the following hadith:

And he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If allegiance is given to two khalifah’s then kill the second of them.”[43]

Therefore based on this tradition the allegiance given to Yazid was invalid and he should in fact have been killed. After this when Muawiya did actually die, allegiance was given to Imam Hussayn and he was the rightful leader of Muslims. Yazid and the Ummayads were rebels and should have been treated as such.

Banu Isra’il were ruled over by the Prophets. When one Prophet died, another succeeded him; but after me there is no Prophet and there will be Caliphs and they will be quite large in number. His companions said: What do you order us to do (in case we come to have more than one Caliph)? He said: The one to whom allegiance is sworn first has a supremacy over the others. Concede to them their due rights (i. e. obey them). God (Himself) will question them about the subjects whom He had entrusted to them.[44]


In another version of the same hadith it states that you should kill the second who in this case was Yazid.

The Syrian Rebellion


I felt that it was important to look into the Syrian revolution to decipher what actually occurred, including the interactions of Bashaar al-Asaad with the revolt. Let me be clear, I do not support Bashaar; I am merely analysing the facts. I know that when people read this article they will relegate my position to being pro-Bashaar, which is far from the truth. The reason for writing this lengthy and detailed piece was to demonstrate that the Sunni position has clearly been misrepresented in order to legitimise rebelling against the leader. My own opinion lies somewhere between the position of Ahle Sunnah which is anti-rebellion and the Mutazalites who are pro-rebellion. Unlike the rest of the scholars I am not hamstrung by the Sunni position and forced into blind obedience. On all issues, I prefer to analyse the data and facts and come to a conclusion based on the original sources such as the Quran, the authentic Sunnah, and the intellect in order to make a judgement on a particular issue. But I think it’s important to be honest with the reader and when your position does move away from the positions of the traditionalists to give the reason for rejecting that position.

Hafez al-Assad was the president of Syria from 1971 until 2000. He was a leader of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party[45] which was a political party and at times it is conflated with the theological ideologies of the Shia School. When he came to power he was well liked and there was real hope for change. During his reign there was an uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group originally founded by Hasan al-Bana. The Muslim Brotherhood is known to be very conservative in their Islamic ideology. In Syria they were involved in violence that resulted in attacks on civilians and military personal. The apex of the riots occurred in the well-known Hama Massacre of 1982.[46]

Twenty-nine years earlier Hafez al-Assad, unlike his son, dealt with the rebellion in a swift and aggressive manner. It was recounted as being a bloodbath with close to 20,000 people dying in the massacre,[47] and it was reported as the single most brutal massacre of an Arab leader towards his own people.[48] The fundamentalists had begun a rebellion and at the time it seemed like the actions of Hafez al-Assad were disproportionate. But after witnessing the rebellion in 2011, it does force a person to philosophically ask the question that had Hafez al-Assad not taken such an action would we have seen the same form of death and destruction we witnessed twenty-nine years later? These are the type of moral questions we are going to have to answer when we attempt to understand the ramifications of rebelling in modern society. Remember when Hafez al-Assad became president he allegedly had de-radicalised the Ba’ath government and was seen as a source of hope for Syrians.[49] So how did such a source of hope go from a person who was visiting villages to see his people, to massacring them in Hums? The answer may lie in the fact that it was the rebels, through their affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood and their conservative Islamic ideology who had started an uprising and the reaction of Hafez al-Assad was to quell the source of the rebellion – brutally as dictators are wont to do, then as now. Of course this statement will produce wailing and gnashing of teeth from those very quarters who think that the civilian genocide and ‘world’s worst humanitarian crisis’ (according to the UN) that is taking place in Yemen is a ‘Price worth paying’ to deal with the Houthi rebellion, and both Salafists and their Western ‘kufaar’ allies are paying it gladly (in other people’s blood of course), so I ask readers to consider such crocodile tears carefully: Asking hypothetical questions about killing rebels = unacceptable. Actually killing rebels and civilians = C’est La Vie.

Moving onto the Syrian rebellion of 2011 this was a result of a cascading effect of the Tunisian revolution which began in January 2011.[50] In Syria it began with small peaceful protests from 28th January 2011.[51] At the same time Bashaar al-Assad was asked by the Wall Street Journal if he expected these protests to filter into his country: he said no, because despite the fact that there had been economic hardship he felt the Syrians would not rebel because the government’s stance of resisting USA and Israel aligned with the view of his people.[52] He had clearly misjudged what would later occur, something his father did not do.

Bashaar was unequivocal in his support for the Palestinians and was the last line of defence in terms of states who supported the Palestinian movement.[53] He had also taken in a significant number of Palestinian refugees into Syria and granted to them rights that many Western countries until this day have not done.[54] The fact that the loyalties of the Palestinians were torn most likely left him shocked and bewildered. Now with Bashaar out of the way, the Palestinians do not really have recourse to a state that will root for their cause.

The protests began on March 15th after fifteen boys from prominent families had been detained for writing anti-government graffiti on buildings. The boys were from almost every big family of Daraa: the Baiazids, the Gawabras, the Masalmas and the Zoubis.[55] The government had beaten and tortured them, and their being from prominent families led to the beginning of protests. In the ‘East’, it is quite common for the government to ‘control’ their citizens, you can’t walk into the middle of Tel Aviv, Cairo, Riyadh, Islamabad, Istanbul, Beijing or any other non-western country and spew anti-government rhetoric, and Syria was no different. Those who oppose the government are forcibly stopped, any infringement on their power or questioning of their leadership is dealt with by brute force. It goes against the idea of free speech and as an advocate of free speech I have a problem with these freedoms being curtailed. Those in power will argue that it is in order to maintain control and stop anarchy. I am not equating the West to the East, as we can see that in the West we are giving the right to free speech and our rights are not obstructed. But in the West there is also some curtailing of rights, for example despite being a frequent flyer it’s rare for me to go to an airport and not be stopped for questioning, I have to explain my whereabouts and where I plan to go. I understand it’s for the reason of safety, but each country has their own ideologies they wish to maintain (this is without me delving into the control of the liberal left and the freedom of choice that is being curtailed in the UK).

When the rioting began it was fuelled by the media, and scholars, as well as modern platforms such as social media. This added fuel to the riots and caused anarchy. The regime dealt with it brutally and crossed the line on many occasions. But what we know is that Governments do deal with riots in a very harsh manner, I remember the Bradford race riots in the UK and the extremely harsh sentences given to those involved.[56] The Socialist Worker subsequently reported, “In the end 200 jail sentences totalling 604 years were handed down.”[57] The UK government made the decision that anyone who caused anarchy would be dealt with harshly to stop further riots. Furthermore, you will notice now that most riots are not reported until after the fact, a pact made between the police and the media. For example the recent protesting of the death of Da Costa was not covered in the media until the next day.[58] In the UK the authorities have understood that as soon as the media begins to report riots those who agree with the cause will join it and this will result in anarchy and the riots increasing. The Syrian government made a huge blunder in this regard, and as such the riots were reported throughout the world, this resulted in more people throughout Syria joining the rioting against the regime. In addition, unlike in the West where they use water cannons on the rioters in order to preserve life, in the East they frequently use guns, which results in a large number of causalities.

But Bashaar is a Nusayri Kafir?

Despite claims that Bashaar is Alawite and therefore a non-Muslim and hence that he should be toppled, one should look at his actions and the way he conveyed his beliefs, as opposed to trying to negate those evidences and instead pontificating about what he truly believes, as though they are able to pierce into his mind and figure this out. Many of the Sunni Scholars you know or follow, have studied in or learnt from someone who has studied in Syria. It was the foremost centre of learning for Sunni Islam, where people throughout the world would go to learn despite Asaad being a so called hater of Sunni Islam. The Wahabi-Salafists have Madinah University in Saudi Arabia, for non-anthropomorphist Muslims the main centres of learning were Al-Azhar in Egypt and Damascus in Syria. Many secularists would argue that this could have been one of the mistakes of Asaad; as soon as you let religious folk into your country, they cause violence one way or another, in this case it was through inciting a rebellion.

Those who have read this article will now be aware that you cannot rebel against the leader according to Ahle Sunnah unless the leader commits open and obvious disbelief. We have explained what constitutes open and obvious disbelief earlier in the article. Despite claims that he is a Nusayri Shia, and therefore a disbeliever, let’s look at the facts. He studied and learnt under Shaykh Ramadan Bouti, a highly respected and knowledgeable scholar. Bashaar would attend Jumaa (Friday Prayer) and Eid prayer, and pray behind Sunni scholars whether they were Hanafi or Shafi. For example here is Bashaar praying his prayer during the rebellion, when there was no need to ‘fake it’, as he had minimal support from Sunni Muslims, and in fact he would have been better served appeasing the Shia scholars and laity:


And another one:

A friend of mine at the time offered a £10,000 reward if someone could prove that Bashaar was a (Kafir) disbeliever. I am no expert in contemporary Shia theology but as far as I know for Nusayri Shias to pray in the same manner as a Sunni-Hanafi is considered according to them an act of Kufr (disbelief). The best that people came up with in response to the challenge was that some of the laity or military personel who were pro-Assad committing acts that could be deemed Kufr (disbelief) (incidentally, Saudis’ Western allies in Yemen and elsewhere being non-Muslim does not reflect on their creed note). But guess what, a basic fundamental issue mentioned in the Quran as well as the books of theology is that you are not responsible for actions of others. Therefore, you need to show how Bashaar committed open and obvious Kufr, and how it is not possible to give his action a positive interpretation that would mean that you do not declare him as a disbeliever.

Justice/Anarchy v Rebellion/Death (Mutazalites v Ahle Sunnah)

I am sure that I would not be an effective leader for a nation in the East, because unlike in the West, it results in a person having to make tough decisions, decisions that are oppressive if you make them or do not make them. When Bashaar came to power people felt he was too soft to be a leader and that he couldn’t make the tough decisions.[59] Obviously that wasn’t the case with Bashaar being responsible for the brutal deaths of many of his own people.

Now we know that Ahle Sunnah did not allow rebellion, whereas the Mutazalites did allow rebellion as they felt that the tenant of justice must be upheld. Unlike the scholars and people of Ahle Sunnah, I won’t disregard the position of Mutazalites without looking at the merits of their argument. So in this case you have a situation where you have to speak for justice against an oppressive regime, but speaking out results in the deaths and displacements of millions. On the other hand, if you do not speak out, the ruler continues to oppress, but millions do not die. Now there are nuances to this argument, as some will argue that you do not need to rebel and cause anarchy but instead what you need to do is speak out against the injustices of the leader. The issue is this: we know that under the rule of any of these tyrants (including the ones in Saudi, the US, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar and the UAE that our opponents usually wilfully neglect to mention) speaking out potentially results in the deaths of millions and they frequently do not succeed in the change: the best you can do is speak out whilst living under the protection of the West (although Saudi are happy to kill you in any country as the Khashoggi murder demonstrates) where you know there are no personal consequences to yourself. I remember during the beginning of this rebellion, it was people and scholars living under the peaceful situation that they had been afforded in the West or in other countries that had incited and inflamed the rebellion. This is to say nothing of the flagrant foreign intervention in the most florid ways from Saudi and the West on one side and Iran and Russia on the other. It can hardly be described as a ‘Civil War’ or ‘rebellion’ in the first place with that degree of brazen outside interference. Then there is the uncomfortable fact that those minorities and large number of Sunni Syrians who support Asaad still – with their arms as well as votes.

This topic brings forth a philosophical question, whether to speak out in the name of justice against a tyrant and cause a rebellion and the deaths of millions or to stay quiet and allow the tyrant to oppress his people. The Mutazalites said speak out for justice whereas Ahle Sunnah argued that one should dislike the act but do not cause a rebellion and further death. But Hamza Yusuf’s critics are nearly all from those claiming to be from the latter group. So…on what are they basing their simultaneous claims to both rebellion and orthodoxy?



I have seen a huge number of Muslims come out in force against Shaykh Hamza Yusuf about this recent controversy. There were hardly any groups that remained quiet on the issue never mind come to his defence. Even scholars such as Shaykh Yassir Qadhi came out to question Shaykh Hamza, despite the fact that he is advocate for many extremist scholars of the past such as Ibn Taymiyyah et al who would want to kill Muslims for the smallest of infractions. Shaykh Qadhi wants to overlook these actions by scholars he promotes who advocate killing willy nilly and nonetheless focus in on someone who asked a valid question “How is that revolution looking for you?” The answer is not good with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), estimated the death toll since the start of the war to be as high as 511,000 as of March 2018. Years of relentless fighting left 6.6 million displaced internally and 5.6 million around the world, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).[60] The question is that what was this unique injustice that was occurring in Syria, that doesn’t occur in any other non-western country in the Middle East that mandated a bloody rebellion there as opposed to any of the others that incited the rebellion, such as Saudi or Iran? And was rebelling due to this injustice worth the death of a half a million people? With millions of Syrians left stranded in other countries and being forced to beg in these countries such as the case in Turkey. This is why Ahle Sunnah is against rebelling.

Of course, it’s always ‘worth it’ when it’s not your country and family and when you can dispatch your mentally unhinged jihadis on a rape and pillage mission to someone else’s country – as Salafists did from Manchester to Melbourne with ISIS (formerly ‘the Syrian rebels’).

In my opinion, as someone who values the Mutazalite concept of justice, but based on my observation of the rebellion in Syria I am against such an anarchic approach, the best recourse may lie somewhere in between. For example, a case where there is another leader with equivalent or more power who is able to takeover with minimal deaths and causalities. But even then, that’s quite hypothetical because realistically in the modern world how would this occur? I am then falling into the same trap as HT who want Khilafah but when an evil group such as ISIS fulfils the conditions of their Khilafah they don’t accept it, and in fact when you do break down their arguments what they want is a Khilafah but with HT to be the head of the Khilafah. There again we may find an example in the Quran about how to deal with tyrannical rulers. We know that the Pharaoh was an oppressive ruler, who subjugated and abused the Israelites, and he would kill anyone who did not submit to his will. But if one observes the interaction of Moses with the Pharaoh, then you see that Moses attempts to negotiate with the Pharaoh. The initial process is to try to convince him to believe in God, when he rejects God then Moses leaves Egypt with his people. He did not rebel, or fight or cause the death of his people. Despite this, the fact that the Pharaoh was a tyrannical ruler meant that he did not even accept this, and instead he chased down Moses and his people, before the oppressors were drowned at sea. One has to remember that the oppressors did not possess the modern artillery that we have now, a means by which it is even easier to kill, but instead the weaponry was primitive compared to modern day standards, and despite this they did not physically rebel against the oppressive regime and cause anarchy.

What I do know is that at the time I spoke out against those rebelling and argued that there would be no positive result and instead it would cause anarchy and bloodshed. Half a million people have died and over six million have been left homeless. Those who incited it are enjoying their lives in foreign countries, and the Syrian people who were scooped up in wave of hysteria will be regretting what occurred. But let me clear, the vast majority of Syrians would not have been rioting but instead would have been innocent victims who were attacked and killed by both sides. One merely needs to look at Iraq where the man who toppled the statue of Saddam Hussain now regrets it,[61] or ask the Libyan people who say that their lives were prosperous before the war. The grass is rarely ever greener.

Therefore, we should all be asking the same question; “How is that revolution looking for you?” When a similar situation occurs and one considers rebelling and causing anarchy, those people should consider the very real possibility that they will be asked the same question:

“How is that revolution looking for you?”








[6] Quran, Surah Yusuf (12:54-55)






[12] Quran, Surah An-Nisa (4:59)

[13] (Sahih al-Bukhari 7084)

[14] (Sahih al-Muslim 1847)

[15], (Sahih al-Muslim 1848), Al-Mustadrak ‘ala al-Sahihayn, volume 3, page 558

[16] (Sahih al-Muslim 1852)

[17] Quran, Surah Maidah (5:32)

[18] Musnad of Imam Ahmed

[19], (Sahih al-Muslim 1855)

[20] See Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fatḥ al-Bari fi Sharḥ Ṣaḥiḥ al-Bukhari

[21] See Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Taqreeb Al-Tahzeeb

[22] See Ibn Hazm, Abu Muḥammad, Maratib Al-Ijma

[23] See Nawawi, Abu Zakaria, Nawawi Commentary On Sahih Of Muslim

[24] See al-Tibi, Husayn ibn `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad, Mirqat al Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih

[25]See Al-Qattan, Abu al-Hasan Ibn, al-Iqna fi Masa’il al-Ijma

[26] See Al-Bazdawi, Abu al-Yusr, Usul ud-Deen

[27] Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, Volume 2, Page 211

[28] Al-Damiri, Kamal ud-Din, Hayat al-Hayawan, Volume 1, Page 170

[29] See Al-Bazdawi, Abu al-Yusr, Usul ud-Deen and al-Ghaznawi, Jamal al-Din Ahmed, Usul ud-Deen

[30] Quran, Surah An-Nisa (4:59)

[31] See al-Nabulsi, Abd al-Ghani, Sharh Ada’at al-Dujanatee

[32] See al-Bahuthi, Manshur bin Yunus, Kashshaf al Qina An Matan al-Iqna

[33] See Abidin, Ala’ al-Din, Al Hadiyah al-Alaiya, Page 405

[34] See al-Maydani, ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Ghunaymi, Sharh Aqeedah Tahwiyyah

[35] See al-Taftazani, Sa’ad al-Din Masud ibn Abd Allah, Sharh Aqaid Nasafi

[36] See Ibn Rajab Hanbali, Zain ad-Din, Jamia al Aloom ul Hikm

[37] See Ibn Abi al-Izz, Sharh Aqeedah Tahwiyyah

[38] al-Qari, Nur ad-Din Abu al-Hasan Ali, Mirqat Al Mafatih Sharh Mishkat Al Masabih (3384)


[40] See Ibn Rushd Abu l-Walid Muḥammad Ibn Aḥmad, Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid

[41] See Al-Baihaqi Al-Muhassin ibn Muhammad, Risalat Iblis Isla Ikhwanihi al-Manahis

[42] See al-Kinani al-Baṣri Abu Uthman Amr ibn Baḥr, Risala Fi al-Nabita

[43] (Sahih Muslim 1853)

[44] (Sahih Muslim 1844)


[46] Seale, Patrick, Asad, the Struggle for the Middle East, University of California Press, 1989, Page 336

















4 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Williams says:

    very interesting!


  2. Yaqoob Johnson says:

    Wonderful article, ma sha’ Allah. May Allah protect you on the day when no protection benefits except His.


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