‘Corrupt creeds, lying, cheating, injustice, innovations, lowly desires, attachment to this life, ignorance, mysticism, grave worship, bigoted blind following, and so forth… and we boast saying,
‘Our Main Problem is in Our Leaders…!!!’
Is this the case? Allah, the Most High, says, ‘Verily! Allah will not change the good (or bad condition) of a people as long as they don’t change their state of goodness (or sins and wrong doings, etc.) themselves.’ [Soorah ar-Rad (13): 11]
Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said, ‘Ponder upon the Hikmah (Wisdom) of Allah, the Most High, where He has made people's kings, leaders, and those of authority over them, of the same kind as their own deeds. It is as if people's deeds appeared in the forms of their kings and leaders. If people are upright, then their kings and rulers will be upright, and if they turn away (from uprightness), then their leaders will turn against them. And if they oppress and tyrannize, then their kings and rulers will tyrannize and oppress. And if deception and treachery becomes manifest amongst them, then the same will appear in their rulers. If the people refrain from fulfilling the rights of Allah upon them and become niggardly (regarding their execution), then their kings and rulers will refuse to give them their rights and will become niggardly (withhold their rights from them). And if they take away from those whom they oppress that which they deserve not to take, then the kings will take away from the people that which they deserve not to take and will levy taxes and impose tasks upon them. And whatever the people unjustly take from the oppressed, their kings take the same by force from them. So those in charge of the people appear in the forms of their (the ruled) deeds. And it befits not the Divine Wisdom that the evil and wicked be ruled except by those of the same kind. And since the early [Muslims] were the best and most righteous of generations, their rulers were of the same standing. But when the people turned weak, their rulers turned to be of their own rank. So it befits not the Hikmah (Wisdom) of Allah in these times (Ibnul Qayyim times) that rulers the like of Mu’aawiyah and Umar bin Abdul Aziz, be in charge over us, and even less the like of Abu Bakr and Umar. Rather, our rulers are in accordance with our own rank and standing, and the ones who ruled those before us were (also) in accordance with these people’s own rank and standing. And both matters (the status of the former rulers and those of this time) are as necessitated and entailed by [Allah’s] Hikmah.’ [From, Muftaah Daarus-Sa'aadah, vol. 1, pp. 177-178. Published by Daar Ibn 'Affan (1416/1996, Al-Khubar, KSA)]
It is very evident that from the legal perspective and by the consensus of the early Muslims, as well as by way of intellect and experience, that the true change of the status of the Ummah occurs when it turns to Allah and follows the ways that made the early generations successful. Imam Malik (rahimahullah) summed it in words few in number, profound in meaning, ‘Nothing will benefit the Ummah to come except that which benefited the early Ummah.’
Those who adopt the path of confrontation with the rulers, thinking that the change comes through this way, are trailing the path of misguidance and a path whose consequences proved it wrong by all perspectives. This is the same path taken by the early dissidents (khawaarij) who followed the mutashaabih (not entirely clear) texts instead of following the muhkam (clear) texts and referring whatever may be not entirely clear to that which is mukham. The following of the mutashaabih is a path of fitan (afflictions) that led to the rebellion against the leaders of the Sahabah, and in our times has caused bloodshed, suffering and retardation of Dawah. Allaahul Must'aan.
This matter is a matter of Deen and not a matter of emotions. And since the textual proofs are replete commanding the believers that they must obey those in authority, even if they oppress and take ones wealth, etc. As long as they do not command the believer to do sin, then we have no choice but to comply and obey. Otherwise, we will be inventing a new Deen. Allah, the One Free of all imperfection, the most High says, ‘Let those beware who withstand the Prophet’s (r) orders, unless some fitna (trial, calamity) befalls them or a grievous penalty be inflicted on them.’ [Soorah an-Nur (24): 63]
‘Whatever was not Deen at the time of the Prophet (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) cannot be considered to be a part of the Deen today.’ [Imam Malik] So if the person chooses to contend the way of the Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam), then let him remember the following verse, ‘If anyone contends with and opposes the Messenger (sallalalhu alaihi wa-sallam) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell - what an evil destination! [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 115]
May Allah, the Most Merciful, guide us all to the truth and make us hold to it and may He, the most High and Majestic, save us all from fitan (pl. of fitna) and guide us (ruled and rulers) to His Path. Aameen.
Dr. Saleh As-Saleh 22/7/1426 H (understand-islam.net)