Question: It is said that disobeying the Caliph, ruler, or the state is an act of fitnah, not jihad. Moreover, abstaining from disobeying the Caliph is included in among the matters of creed. Then was Abu Hanifah not martyred for rebelling against the unjust acts of the Caliph. Was Imam-i Ahmad bin Hanbal not whipped for his disobedience to the Caliph? Did Imam-i Rabbani not fight against Akbar the Great?
None of Islamic scholars rebelled against caliphs or rulers. It is a pure lie and slander because all scholars would know the following hadith-i sharifs about the amir (chairman, leader):
(Be patient with your amir’s deeds that you dislike because whoever dissociates himself from the community [whoever disobeys and causes fitnah] by the measure of a hand span, he has died a death of ignorance [without faith].) [Bukhari]
(Do what the amir says and obey him, even if he seizes your property.) [Bukhari]
(The Muslim, even if he dislikes, listens what the amir says and obeys him. If the amir orders something sinful, it is not necessary to obey that order.) [Bukhari]
(Whoever rebels against his amir, he will lose all his thawab.) [Baihaqi]
(Obey your amir even if he be an Ethiopian slave.) [Bukhari]
(Obey your amir even if he be a disabled slave with amputated hands.) [Muslim]
Only a disbelieving enemy would be made a slave. The explanation to the hadith-i sharifs mentioned above is written in Hadiqa:
The statement “even if he be an Ethiopian slave” means “obey your amir even if he be a black disbeliever.”
The amir of a Muslim may be a disbeliever. For example, it is stated in a hadith-i sharif: “If the amir says to you, ‘Either abandon Islam or I will kill you,’ do not abandon Islam. Extend your neck.” (Hakim)
[A Muslim amir does not order one to leave Islam.]
The men of Abu Jafar Mansur, one of Abbasid caliphs, offered Hadrat Imam-i A’zam presidency of the Supreme Court. He said, “I cannot be a judge.” They objected, “You are lying.” He answered, “If I have told a lie, a liar cannot be a judge. If I have told the truth, I have said I cannot be a judge.” He did not accept it because he was very pious and did not value worldly posts. He was put in a dungeon and whipped, with ten more whips every day. He became a martyr the day when he was whipped a hundred times.
In Baghdad, Mu’tazilites convinced Mamun, Abbasid caliph, that the Qur’an was created, a false belief. They also tried to convince Hadrat Ahmad bin Hanbal of their false belief. They exerted pressure and oppression on him through Mamun. He was imprisoned for twenty eight months. In spite of all torture, he said, “The Qur’an al-karim is not created.” These incidents have nothing to do with rebelling against the Caliph.
Some Indian innovators complained Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani to the then ruler saying, “He thinks himself superior to even Abu Bakr,” which was slander. Salim Jahangir Shah, son of Akbar Shah, put him in prison. After two years, he repented and apologized to Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani. As you see, these incidents have nothing to do with rebellion.
The imprisonment of Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani was as follows:
The statesmen, vizier, chief mufti and even harem of Salim Jahangir were not Ahl as-Sunnah. In his letters and especially pamphlet Radd-i Rawafid, Hadrat Imam rejected la-madhhabis and called them ignorant and fools.
On the other hand, some disciples of Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani gave fiery sermons, which caused fitnah. Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani sent his pamphlet Radd-i Rawafid to Abdullah-i Jangizi, Uzbak Kkan in Buhara. He said, “Show this to Shah Abbasi Safawi in Iran. If he accepts it, it is okay. However, if he does not accept it, then it is permissible to fight him.” The Shah did not accept it, so they fought. Abdullah Khan obtained cities in Khorasan. Safawis had obtained them a hundred years ago.
Afterwards, la-madhabis in India collaborated and said, “He thinks himself superior to everybody, even Abu Bakr.” The Sultan sent Shah Jihan, his son, and invited Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani, his sons, and his disciples. He decided to kill them.
Shah Jihan went to Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani together with a mufti. He brought a fatwa that said it was permissible to perform sajda in front of the Sultan. He knew that Imam-i Rabbani was a sincere person. He said to him he could save him if he performed a sajda for his father.
Hadrat Imam said that fatwa was a rukhsa (dispensation) that could be performed in case of a strong necessity and that it was better not to apply it in terms of azima (rigorous practice).
Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani went alone without his children and friends. The Sultan showed him his eleventh letter and asked him its meaning. His answer was so good and satisfying that the Sultan became cheerful, even though he did not have a capacity to understand higher realities and secrets. Then he apologized and released Hadrat Imam-i Rabbani.
When those who were jealous of him saw that their provocation was useless, they reminded the Sultan of the sermon given by one of his disciples, “His disciples are many, and they are influential across the whole country. If we set him free, it may lead to anarchy. Moreover, he is so pompous that he belittled you and did not treat you with respect as he did not perform sajda for you.”
Hadrat Imam did not say salam to him because the Sultan was mad and furious; that is, he was far away from respect and reverence. The Sultan imprisoned him in Gwalior fort. Two years later, Jihangir Shah acknowledged his fault and apologized him. Then he freed Hadrat Imam. (Isbat-i Nubuwwat, Umdat-ul-Maqamat, Barakat)
Yusuf ‘alaihis-salam was slandered, too. If imprisonment were an honor, Hadrat Yusuf would have wanted to stay more in prison. On the contrary, he wanted to be set free right away. The Qur’an al-karim says (what means):
(He said [to the saki of the ruler], “Mention me to your lord, and maybe he releases me from the dungeon.” But Satan made him forget to mention him to his lord, and Yusuf remained in dungeon a few more years [about seven years].) [Yusuf 42]
Showing the incidences above as acts of rebellion against the ruler, it is treachery, if not idiocy, to legitimate instigators who cause bloodshed of Muslims.
Question: There are many ilm-i hal books on the market. There is no such statement as “It is permissible to rebel against the state” or “It is not permissible to rebel against the state.” However, in the book Endless Bliss, it is written “It is not permissible to rebel against the state.” What is the reason for this?
Other ilm-i hal books are inadequately written on this issue. It is written as follows in Miftah-ul-Jannat, which was a reference book for every Muslim in the time of Ottoman State:
There are 10 signs of being an Ahl as-Sunnah Muslim:
1. Going on performing salat in jama’ah,
2. Following any imam who is not known to have a corrupt creed,
3. Accepting that mash (wiping) over mast is permissible,
4. Not speaking ill of any of the Blessed Companions,
5. Not rebelling against the state or the ruler,
6. Not disputing about religious matters unnecessarily,
7. Not doubting about the religion and religious matters,
8. Knowing that both good and bad are from Allahu ta’ala,
9. Not labelling as kafir ahl al-qiblah whose creed is not known to be corrupt,
10. Believing that the four Caliphs are superior to the other Sahabah. (Miftah-ul-Jannah)
In order to be an Ahl as-Sunnah Muslim, one must have these 10 qualifications, one of which is not to rebel against the state. Not containing this fact is a drawback for other ilm-i hal books.
People ask, “Is it necessary not to rebel against a disbelieving state? Is rebellion against it not jihad?” Jihad does not mean rebellion or plunder. Jihad which is written in the books of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars means the state’s fighting with disbelieving enemies. It is not jihad, but chaos and plunder, to stage pirate demonstrations and to yell “jihad”, which harms our religion. It is stated in hadith-i sharifs:
(As Doomsday approaches, fitnah will increase. It will be like the increase in darkness as night begins. Many people who leave their homes as Believers in the morning will return home as disbelievers. Though they are Believers in the evening, they will lose their faith at night. At such times, it is better to be at home than to be involved in fitnah. Those who stay aloof are better than those who come in sight. On that day, break your arrows and leave your weapons. Address everybody with sweet words and a smiling face.) [Abu Dawud]
(When you cannot rectify a bad conduct, be patient. Allahu ta’ala rectifies it.) [Bayhaqi]
The above-mentioned hadith-i sharifs order us to give advice lawfully and to be patient. They do not order us to break the law or to bring about a revolution. Muslims do not start a revolution but at the same time do not accept cruelty and injustice. They uphold their rights in lawful ways. Lawful orders of the government must be obeyed. No one is obeyed in something haram, but in this case one should not rise in rebellion and should avoid causing chaos and dissension. One should not go against or quarrel with cruel people. For example, not performing salat is one of major sins. If one’s superior or chief is a cruel disbeliever and orders his subordinates not to perform salat, one should say “ok” with the intention of not performing salat when he is with him because it is haram to bring about fitnah and cause Muslims to suffer oppression. When one leaves that cruel man, he must perform salat right away.
It is stupidity to disobey state authorities and rise against the state. It means endangering oneself, which is haram. In history, there were so many stupid people who, due to their writings and statements, were decapitated. They also caused the bloodshed of tens of thousands Muslims. Because of them, disbelievers increased their bad conduct on Muslims.