Jihâd and fitna
Question: A foreign writer says, “Muslim should revolt against a government when it inflicts oppression and injustice on them.” Is it true?
This idea of that writer does not conform with what the Islamic scholars stated. Muslims do not revolt. They do not arouse sedition and mischief. It is a sin to revolt against even a cruel government. It is not jihâd but fitna [fitna means mischief, commotion, sedition, turmoil, chaos, instigation, etc. Any act, behaviour, statement, writing, article or attitude that would lead to harmful consequences is fitna, and therefore harâm, even if it is done with good intentions apparently] to violate the laws and commands. Those who have been deceived by mischief-makers have misinterpreted the thirty-ninth âyat of Sûrat-ul-Hajj, and this offence has brought them destruction. This âyat purports, “Jihâd against the cruel who attack Muslims has been permitted.” When the disbelievers of Mecca oppressed, injured and killed Muslims, the Sahâba repeatedly asked for permission to fight against them, and their requests were turned down. This âyat was revealed upon the migration to Medina, permitting the newly founded Islamic State to perform jihâd against the cruel in Mecca. This âyat does not permit Muslims to oppose their cruel government; it permits the Islamic State to make jihâd against the armies of cruel dictators who prevent their peoples from hearing about Islam and becoming Muslims. The hadîth-i sharifs quoted in Siyar-i kabîr declare,“Paradise is harâm for a person who revolts against the ruler,”and “Perform jihâd under the command of every ruler, just or cruel.”
Jihâd is performed by a state
Jihâd, as it is written in the books of Ahl as-sunnat scholars, means fighting under the command of the state against the disbelievers of other countries. It is not jihâd but plunder to stage pirate demonstrations and to chant slogans as “Jihâd! Jihâd!” This act of theirs has a damaging effect on our religion. It is stated in a hadîth-i sharîf:
(When you cannot correct something wrong, be patient! Allahu ta’âlâ will correct it.) [Bayhaqî]
This hadîth commands not to oppose or revolt against the laws but to advise through legitimate ways and to be patient. It is also stated in another hadîth-i sharîf:
(The most valuable jihâd is to make a statement guiding to the right way in the presence of a cruel sultân.) [Tirmudhî]
As is seen, Muslims neither revolt nor surrender to cruelty and injustice. They seek for their rights through legitimate ways. It is wâjib for every Muslim to obey the government’s legitimate (mashrû’) commands. No person’s commands are to be carried out if they are harâm [a prohibited act], yet one should not revolt against them and cause fitna. One should not defy the cruel or dispute with them. For example, while it is one of the gravest sins not to perform namâz, if a person’s chief or commander is a cruel disbeliever and says, “Don’t perform namâz,” he should answer, “With pleasure. I won’t,” and think of saying that he will not perform it near that cruel person. This will prevent the fitna. For it is harâm to cause fitna, which in effect would cause Muslims to be persecuted. However, he should perform the namâz immediately after leaving that cruel person.
It is idiocy to stand against power, to revolt against the government since it is to throw oneself into danger, which is harâm. In history, there appeared such foolish people that they, on account of their statements and articles raising fitna, not only forfeited their own lives but they also gave rise to the shedding of the blood of thousands of Muslims, thereby paving the way for the disbelievers to exacerbate their already brutal stance towards Muslims.
It is not permissible for a Muslim visiting non-Muslim countries to harm disbelievers’ property, lives, or chastity. One can draw benefit from disbelievers by pleasing them.
Obey your commanders
It is more important to observe the rights of dhimmi disbelievers living in dâr-ul-Islâm and of the harbi disbelievers coming as guests (that is, tourists and merchants) to the Muslim country than it is to observe Muslims’ rights. It is worse to attack or even to backbite them than it is to attack Muslims.
Muslims become powerful by studying religious and scientific knowledge hard. Thus, they become victorious and dominant.
Hadrat Ibni ‘Âbidîn declares, “Certain sins become mubâh [permissible], and even fard [obligatory], under the oppression of a sultân or another cruel ruler who employs coercive methods, such as threats of death, imprisonment and torture, to get you to commit those sinful acts. It is sinful to disobey his commandments.” It is stated in a hadîth-i sharîf, “Obey your commanders!” Even if your commander is the most inferior one among you, it is wâjib to obey his orders agreeable with Islam. A sinful command should never be obeyed, regardless of whose command it is; yet it will be obeyed if disobedience causes fitna, for, as written in Ashbâh, it is permissible to commit minor harm in order to escape grave harm. It is wâjib to do a thing which is mubâh [a thing, action permitted in Islam] commanded by the sultân. (Barîqa)
Hadrat ‘Abd al-Ghanî an-Nablusî wrote: “It is not wâjib to obey a sultân’s commands if they reflect his personal thoughts and predilections. If he is unjust, coercive and oppressive, however, it becomes a necessity to obey also his orders and prohibitions disagreeable with Allahu ta’âlâ’s rules. In fact, if the sultân commands that those who disobey him should be killed, it is not permissible for anybody to throw himself into danger” (Hadîqa).
Muslims should pay heed to the pieces of information we have quoted from the valuable and dependable books, and they should not credit those who organize pirate demonstrations and articles.
Question: Christians and other enemies of Islam perpetrate oppression and violate the property, life and chastity of the Muslims who live as a minority in different parts of the world. In this case, will it be a fitna to attack them if a person understands that he will be killed when he attacks? Is it counted as an attempt to suicide?
An allowable war is waged by the State, armed forces of the State. It would be wrong for specific groups to rise in rebellion. When a fitna arises, the country or the city plagued with the fitna should be abandoned. When immigration is not possible, one should still keep away from the fitna. If Muslims are killed, they become martyrs. If they are raped, the Muslims who have been subjected to it will not be sinful. Our master, the Prophet (sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) declared as follows concerning this issue:
(Fitnas will spread everywhere before the time of Doomsday. At that time, a person who leaves his home as a Believer will return to his home in the evening as a disbeliever. The one who returns to his home as a Believer in the evening will get up in the morning as a disbeliever. At that time, the person getting himself into a corner is better than the person coming in sight; the person sitting is better than the person standing; the person standing is better than the person walking; the person walking is better than the person running. Then do not leave your home and do not become involved in fitnas!) [Abû Dâwud]
(When the attackers enter your house in the time of fitna, be like the son of Adam, Hâbîl (Abel), who said (as it is mentioned in the 28th âyat of Sûrat-ul-Mâida), “Even if you stretch out your hand against me to kill me, I will not stretch out my hand against you to kill you.”) [Tirmudhî, Abû Dâwud]
(In the time of fitna, do not leave your home! Break your arrows, cut your bows! Be like the son of Âdam, Hâbîl.) [Abû Dâwud, Tirmudhî]
(When fitnas emerge, if you can manage, be not the killer but the killed!) [Abû Nu’aym]
(Happy is he who does not participate in fitnas.) [Abû Dâwud]