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Ruling on backbiting/condemning the
rulers, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymîn

Scholar: Imâm Muhammad bin Sâlih bin ´Uthaymîn
Source: Liqâ’ al-Bâb al-Maftûh (62 B)
Reference: Darulhadith, Sweden

Question: Who is the one who decides that the sins in the society are to be openly condemned? Is it the scholars or the callers?

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymîn: As for the decision, it concerns the condemnation of the rulers and not the widespread sins in the society. We have for example widespread sins such as usury and gambling (games of chance, al-Maysir). Most of the insurances that exist today are games of chance. What is strange is that most of the people have accepted them. There is hardly anyone who condemns them even though Allâh mentions them together with Khamr (intoxicants), Al-Ansâb and al-Azlâm (arrows for seeking luck or decision). Even so, there is nobody who is condemning them. You assure your car and your house and give away money [to insurance companies] without knowing if your loss increases or decreases. This exactly is gambling. As for the widespread sins, you should condemn them.

However, we are talking about condemning the ruler. An example of it is a person who stands up and speaks in the mosque about how unjust the country is and how it does this and that. We are thusly speaking about this and that he is speaking about the rulers.

Additionally, there is a difference between speaking about a ruler or leader in his presence and his absence. All condemnations that have been reported from the Salaf occurred in the presence of the leader or ruler. There is a difference if the leader or ruler is present or absent. He could always defend himself and explain his reasoning if he is present. It may be that he is right and we are wrong. What is dangerous is to speak freely in his absence. That which has been reported from the Salaf has always been in the presence of the leader or ruler.

It is generally known that it would have been backbiting if one were to speak ill of an average individual in his absence.

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