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The Mufti of Saudi Arabia
about al-’Arifi’s view of the
injustice of the leader

Scholar: ´Allâmah ´Abdul-´Azîz bin ´Abdillâh Âl ash-Shaykh
What was said by al-’Arifi:
Host: How do we combine between the command of the prophet (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to hear and obey the leader even if he flogs your back and takes your property1 and what the people are doing today?
al-’Arifi: “There is of course a difference if the ruler attacks one individual. Muslim reports that the prophet (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Hear and obey even if he flogs your back and takes your property.”
This is regarding if the ruler attacks one individual that he has a problem with. Otherwise the ruler is good. But in this case he comes to one person and flogs his back and takes his property. It should be said to this person not to rise up and incite towards rebellion or rebel with armor against him. For the disadvantage of this deed is greater than him having flogged you. Look whether you can take your money from him in a different way. What we are speaking of is if the ruler takes money from the entire population.
1: “…You should hear and obey the ruler, even if he flogs your back and takes your wealth, then still hear and obey.”” [Reported by Muslim (Eng. trans. 3/1029/no.4554).]
The Mufti of Saudi Arabia:
Question: Does the Hadîth of the prophet (sallâ Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam):
“Hear and obey even if he flogs your back and takes your property.”
only apply to individual cases and that it does not apply to the general injustice or does it cover all injustice?
‘Abdul-’Azîz Âl ash-Shaykh: It is general. It is obligatory to obey the ruler even if he is sinful. It is obligatory to obey. Through the obedience, the matters and conditions are managed correctly, even if there were to exist errors. However, this error should be looked at in proportion to the all-encompassing prosperity.
As for rebellion and disobedience against the rulers, then only Allâh knows what tribulation and mess it all leads to. Draw lessons from some Islâmic countries that suffer from revolts and which they call as “The Arab spring”. Just look at the tribulations that have resulted from them!
O brothers! To hear and obey the ruler is a way to reach a stable, secure, safe and good life. Disobedience and discord for the best of the individuals is extremely harmful. We have to hear and obey and believe that we are obliged to hear and obey, strengthen, stand by their side and defend the rulers we have pledged allegiance to in accordance with the Qur’ân and Sunnah and not wish them and our country evil.

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