The Islamic World: The Obligation upon the Rulers, the Scholars and the General Masses

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  Imām ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Bāz (d. AH 1420)

A series of questions and answers concerning the obligations of the scholars, rulers, and common-folk, and an explanation of our position towards of the non-Muslims who attempt to enter into the Muslim lands.



  Whatever of good reaches you, it is from Allāh, and whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself.
Sūrah al-Nisāʾ, 4:79


[Q]:What is the obligation upon the Muslim scholars with regards to facing the trials and calamities that have befallen the Islamic world? 

[A]: From that which there is no doubt about is that sins, and being far removed from the correct Islamic ʿaqīdah (beliefs) – in both sayings and actions – are from the greatest reasons for bringing about crisis and calamities that have befallen the Muslims.  Allāh – the Mighty and Majestic – said:    Whatever of good reaches you, it is from Allāh, and whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself.” [Sūrah Sūrah al-Nisāʾ 4:79]

Allāh – the Most Perfect, the Most High – also said:  “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.  Yet He pardons much.” [Sūrah al-Shūrá, 42:30]

So Allāh is Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful to His servants, sending to them clear signs and warnings, in order that they may turn back to Him in tawbah (sincere repentance) and that He may forgive them.  So when a person turns to Allāh and draws closer to Him by an arm’s length, then Allāh draws closer to him by two arms length.  For indeed Allāh – the Most High – loves those of His servants who turn to Him in tawbah (sincere repentance) and is happy with that, whilst He, the Majestic, Most High, remains absolutely self-sufficient of His servants.  The obedience of the obedient ones does not benefit Him, nor do the sins of the sinful ones harm Him.  Rather, He is Most Kind, Ever Merciful to His servants.  And He grants them the ability to do acts of obedience and to leave acts of disobedience.  So these crisis and calamities are none other than a warning to His servants, in that they should turn back to Allāh in repentance and obedience, and He informs them of this by way of testing them.  Allāh – the Most High – said:

 And certainly We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruit.  But give glad tidings to those who have ṣabr (patience); those who, when afflicted with a calamity, say: Indeed to Allāh we belong, and to Him we shall return.  They are those for whom are the ṣʿaláwāt (blessings and forgiveness) from their Lord, and His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2:155]

And Allāh – the One free from all defects – said:  “Evil has appeared upon the land and the sea, because of what the hands of men have earned.  That Allāh may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return to Allāh in repentance.” [Sūrah al-Room, 30:41]

And Allāh – the Most High – said:  “And We shall test you by way of evil and good, and to Us you will return.” [Sūrah al-Anbiyāʾ 21:35]

And Allāh – the Most Perfect – said:  “And We tested them with good blessing and evil calamities, in order that they may return to the obedience of Allāh.” [Sūrah al-Aʿrāf, 7:168]

And there are many other āyāt with similar meanings.

So the obligation upon the leaders of the Muslims – the Scholars, rulers, and other than them – is to have concern for the various afflictions and calamities that occur, and to remind and admonish the people, and to explain to them what they have fallen into.  Also, those in authority – from the Scholars and rulers – should set a good example of righteous conduct, and should discuss the reasons as to why Allāh is angered and gives retribution; and they should seek to cure this with tawbah (repentance), istighfār (seeking Allāh’s forgiveness) and correcting their affairs. The rest of the Ummah will then follow them in this, since the guidance of the Scholars, and the wisdom of the rulers – and both being correct and upright – has one of the greatest effects with regards to the fulfillment of responsibilities.  The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, “Each of you is a guardian, and is responsible for those whom he is in charge of.  So the ruler is the guardian and is responsible for his subjects; a man is the guardian of his family and is a guardian for those under his care; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s home and is responsible for those under her care; a servant is the guardian of his master’s wealth and is responsible for what is under his care.  So each one of you is a guardian for what is under his care.  So each one of you is a guardian and is responsible for what he is entrusted with.” [2]

However, when the Muslims become accustomed to sinning and being contented with it, and those who wield authority and power do not try to prevent them, then the anger of Allāh will quickly descend upon the Ummah.  And when His anger occurs, and His punishment takes place, then it covers both the sinful and obedient, and the protection of Allāh is sought from this.  About this Allāh – the Most High – said:  “And beware of the fitnah (trial and discord) that does not affect in particular only those amongst you who are wrong-doers.” [Sūrah al-Anfāl, 8:25]

Likewise, the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, “When the people see an evil, and they do not try to change it, then Allāh will cover them all with punishment from Himself.” [3] Allāh – the Most Perfect – said:  “Indeed Allāh will not change the condition of a people until they change the condition of themselves.” [Sūrah ar-Ra’d, 8:25]

So the Scholars will be thoroughly questioned in front of Allāh with regards to them giving knowledge and guidance to the people, and explaining to them what is correct and what is wrong, and also clarifying the beneficial from the harmful.

So we ask Allāh that He favours all the Muslims and grants them the ability to be ability to be obedient to their Lord, and to cling to the guidance of their Prophet Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam), and that He grants their leaders the ability to fulfill their duties, and that He reaches their Scholars the ways of guidance , so that this all may traverse its path and direct the Ummah to it, and that He guides the misguided Muslims and corrects their affairs.  Indeed He is the Guardian over this, and the one having power to do this.

[Q]: The enemies of Allāh are very eager to enter into the Muslim lands by various methods.  So what efforts do you believe should be exerted in order to put a stop to this surge that has threatened the Islamic societies?

[A]: This is not something strange coming from the callers to Christianity, Judaism, or other religions of kufr (disbelief).  Since Allāh, the Most Perfect – and to Him belongs all praise – has informed about this in His clear Revelation, when He said:  “Never will the Jews and the Christians be pleased with you until you follow their ways of life.  Say: Indeed the Guidance of Allāh, that is the only true guidance.  And if you were to follow their false desires after what you have received of the knowledge of Revelation, then you would have neither a guardian, nor any helper against Allāh.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2:120]

Allāh – the Most Perfect – also said:  “And they will never stop fighting you, until they turn you away from your Religion, if they can.” [Sūrah al-Baqarah, 2:217]

This is why they utilize every possible means to penetrate into the Muslim lands, and use various methods and tactics to achieve this.  One of their methods is to plant the seeds of doubt and uncertainty into the minds and thoughts – and they continue to do so without easing up, nor becoming weary – utilizing the church to spread their hatred and enmity, and directing their efforts through it.

Therefore, it is obligatory upon the leaders and scholars to exert every possible effort in cautioning and directing the Muslim children, and to oppose the efforts of the enemies of Islām with countermeasures.  For indeed the Ummah of Islām is an Ummah that has been entrusted with a responsibility of carrying this Religion and conveying it to others.  So when we – in the Islamic societies – are determined to arm our sons and daughters with correct knowledge, and true understanding of the Religion; beginning this process at an early age, then we will never fear the enemy – by the permission of Allāh.  Thus, as long as we continue to cling to the Religion of Allāh, glorifying and venerating Him, following His Sharīʿah (prescribed laws), and fighting those who oppose Him, then the opposite will happen; it will be the enemies of Allāh who will fear the Muslims.  Allāh – the Most Perfect, the One to Whom belongs all praise – said:  “O you who believe!  If you help Allāh by acting upon what you have been commanded with, then Allāh will plant your feet firmly by giving you victory over your enemies.” [Sūrah Muḥammad 47:7]

Allāh – the Mighty and Majestic – also said:

But if you have ṣabr (patient perseverance) and have taqwá (piety) only doing what Allāh orders and refraining from what He has prohibited, then no harm will their cunning plots be to you at all.  Indeed Allāh encompasses everything by His Knowledge.” [Sūrah Ālī ʿImrān, 3:120]

And there are plenty of other āyāt with a similar meaning. So the most important factor in stopping this attack is to prepare a generation that truly knows and understands the realities of Islām.  This can be achieved by giving them the correct guidance and cultivation at home, and by utilizing the various means of education in order to help the society.  Add to this the role of guiding, which is the duty of those in authority, and their duty of being constant in doing beneficial acts, being constant in reminding the people with what is of benefit to them, and doing that which cultivates the correct Islamic ʿaqīdah (belief) in the people:  “Indeed in the remembrance of Allāh do the hearts truly find tranquility.” [Sooratur-Ra’d 13:28]

And there is no doubt that negligence is one of the causes that lets the enemies of Islām into the Muslim lands – along with their ideological attack – which gradually distances the Muslims from their Religion, step by step.  So with this, evil will increase amongst them and they will be affected by the false ideologies of their enemies. And Allāh – the One free from all defects, the Most High – ordered the Believers to have ṣabr (patience), to call to patience, and to strive in His Path using every method at their disposal; as He – the Most Majestic, Most High – said:

O you who Believe!  Persevere and be more patient, and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and have taqwá of Allāh (by doing what He orders and keeping away from what He prohibits) in order that you may be successful.” [Sūrah Ālī ʿImrān, 3:200]

And Allāh – the Most Perfect – said:  “And those who strive hard in our cause, we shall surely guide them to Our avenues.  Indeed Allāh is with the doers of good.” [Sūrah al-’Ankaboot, 29:69]

I ask Allāh by His Beautiful Names and Lofty Attributes that He improves and corrects the affairs of the Muslims, and that He grants to them the understanding of the Religion, gathers the word of their leaders upon the truth, and improves and corrects their close advisors.  Indeed, He is the Most Kind, Most Generous.  And may Allāh extol and send abundant blessings of peace upon our Leader and our Prophet, Muḥammad, and upon his Family, his Companions, and his true followers.


[1] Majmūʿ al-Fatāwá wa Maqālāt al-Mutanawwiʿah (4/134-139)
[2] Related by al-Bukhārī (13/100) and Muslim (no. 1829), from ʿUmar (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu)
[3] Related by al-Tirmidhī (no. 2168), who authenticated it.  The ḥadīth was related from Abū Bakr as-Siddīq (raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu). | digital daʿwah

Tags: Salafī, Sunnah, Politics, Ibn Bāz , Taqwá, Q & A