The Fatwa of Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen Concerning Protests and Demonstrations
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen (d.1421H) – rahimahullaah – was asked in Muharram of 1416H, what follows, “What is the Sharee’ah ruling concerning what they have called ‘staging sit-ins within the mosques’ and they – as they claim – rely upon your fatwaa concerning the previous conditions of Algeria. They say that it is permissible, as long as there is no controversy or disturbance of the peace. So what is the ruling concerning this and what do you direct us to do?”
So he answered, “As for me, then how much I have been lied against! I ask Allaah to guide the one who lied upon me, until he repents from the likes of what he is upon. It is amazing to see a people doing with, whilst they do not realize what has already occurred in other countries whose youth utilized the likes of these methods! What did they achieve? Have they succeeded in anything? Yesterday the London news said that the number of those who were killed from amongst the Algerians throughout the last three years has reached forty thousand! Forty thousand!! This is a great number of Muslims to lose to the events of this chaos! And the first part of the Fire – as you may know – is a spark and then it is an inferno, because when the people hate each other and their rulers as well, and they begin to carry weapons, what will prevent them? So the affair will reach evil and chaos. Indeed, the Prophet (’alayhis-salaatu was-salaam) commanded the one who saw an evil from his leader which he hated, to be patient. He said, “Whomsoever dies without a leader dies upon a death of jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic times of ignorance).” The obligation upon us is to advise as much as we are able. As for competing in protests and staging public demonstrations, then this is in opposition to the guidance of the Salaf. Indeed, now you know that these affairs have no connection to the Sharee’ah, nor any connection to rectification. It is nothing except harm…
This was four years ago. As for today, then the statistics reports have indicated that the current number is three times as much! And Allaah knows best about those whose affair is unknown, nor is there any sign of them to be found. He is referring to the statement of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), “Whomsoever sees something from his leader that he dislikes, then let him be patient upon it. So whomsoever separates from the Jamaa’ah a hand-span, then he does not die, except a death of Jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic times of ignorance).” Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 7054) and Muslim (no. 1849) from the hadeeth of Ibn ’Abbaas (radiyallaahu ’anhu).
Said Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) – rahimahullaah – commenting upon a hadeeth with this meaning, “So this is a prohibition from revolt (khurooj) against the rulers, even if he disobeys Allaah.” Refer to Minhaajus-Sunnah (3/394). 21 Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (4/96), Ibn Abee ’Aasim in as-Sunnah (no. 1057), Aboo Ya’laa (no. 7357), Ibn Hibbaan (no. 4573) and at-Tabaraanee (17/769) and it is Saheeh. Ahaadeeth have been mentioned with the same meaning by al-Bukhaaree (no. 7053) and Muslim (no. 1747-1751) and other than them.
The Fatwa of Imaam ’Abdul-’Azeez Ibn ’Abdullaah Ibn Baaz Concerning Protests and Demonstrations
Imaam ’Abdul-’Azeez Ibn ’Abdullaah Ibn Baaz – rahimahullaah – was asked in Sha’baan of 1412H in the city of Jeddah, ‘Are the demonstrations by men and women done against the rulers to be counted from amongst the means (wasaa‘il) of da’wah? And is the one who dies in these rallies and demonstrations to be referred to as a shaheed (martyr) in the path of Allaah?’
So the Imaam – rahimahullaah – answered, “I do not view the rallies and demonstrations done by women and men to be from the treatment. However, I do see that they are from amongst the causes of fitan and from amongst the causes of evil and from amongst the causes of transgression upon some people and to have enmity towards some people without due right. Rather, the Sharee’ah means consist of writing letter, advice and calling to goodness by Sharee’ah legislated means that the people of knowledge have explained. And the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and their followers in goodness have all explained these means to be writing letters and speaking along with… and with the leader and calling him and advising him and writing to him, without publicizing the affair upon the pulpits that he did such and such and such and such emanated from him. And Allaah is the one from whom aid is sought.”