Political Demonstration and Protests¹
(Shaykh ‘Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen)
What is the Islamic position of political strikes, demonstrations, and protests in
mosques because some people claim to base these actions of theirs upon a religious verdict that has supposedly come from you, as they claim. They allege that during somepast circumstances in Algeria, you allowed these actions with the conditions that no rioting would result and no armed resistance or similar evils. So what is the ruling of this in your opinion and what is your advice for us?
How often lies are made against me! I ask Allah to guide anyone who lies
against me that he never repeats such statements.
It is amazing that people do these sorts of things while being completely unaware of what has taken place as a result in other countries in which the youth took to such methods.
What did they achieve? Did they gain anything?
Yesterday, a radio station in London announced that the number of Algerian casualties has reached forty thousand in just three years! Forty thousand people (dead)! Such an enormous number of people the Muslims have lost due to chaotic incidents like these.
A fire, as you know, always begins with a single spark then becomes a burning blaze. How do you prevent people when they begin to hate one another and despise their leaders, eventually leading themselves to take up arms? Only evil and anarchy result.
The prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) commanded that when a person sees something he dislikes from his leader that he should persevere with patience.2
He also said:
مَنْ مَاتَ عَلَى غَيْرِ إِمَامٍ مَاتَ مَيْتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً
“Whoever dies without (allegiance) to any leader, he dies the death of Jāhiliyyah (a pre-Islamic state of ignorance).”3
We must instead sincerely advise as much as we are able. As for staging public
confrontations and protests, this is against the guidance of the Salaf. You now know that these affairs have nothing at all to do with Islamic legislation nor do they bring about any rectification. They do nothing but cause more harm…
During the time of the ruler, al-Ma’mūn, many scholars were killed because they refused to accept his order and say the Quran wascreated. He killed so many scholars and forced the people to say this statement of falsehood.
Despite this, we have never heard that Imam Aḥmad, or any other of the
leading Imams, ever carried out strikes and protests in the mosques. We have also never heard that they used to publicly spread his (the ruler, al-Ma’mūn) faults just to instill within the people hatred and enmity against him…
So, we don’t support political demonstrations, protests, strikes, or similar actions. Correction and reconciliation can be obtained without these means. There must be some hidden hand, foreign or native (to the country), which tries to propagate these kinds of things.4
1 This fatwá was taken from a book called “Al-Fatāwā Ash-Shar’iyyah fī Al-Qadhāyā Al-‘Asriyyah,”
a collection of various rulings by Muhammad Ibn Fahd Al-Husayn.
2 This is based upon a ḥadīth narrated by Ibn ‘Abbās ( رضي الله عنه ) and recorded by Al-Bukhārī (no.
7054) and Muslim (no. 1849).
3 Recorded by Aḥmad (no. 16876), Abu Ya’lá (no. 7357), and Ibn Ḥibbān (no. 4573) from the
ḥadīth of Mu’āwiyah ( رضي الله عنه ) which is an authentic ḥadīth.
4 Taken from the original book: “Fatāwá Al-‘Ulamā Al-Akābir fīmā Aḥdara min Dimā fil-Jazāir” by
‘Abd al-Mālik Ramaḍānī (pgs. 139-144).
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