Many of the proponents of participation in kufr systems have used the following arguments and what they deem as evidences in justifying their actions when it comes to participation in a kufr political system:
1. The fact that in countries like America where we pay taxes, we are already participating in the system; and because of this, it is our duty to make sure our tax dollars go for the right causes and not the wrong ones like aide to Israel. We can make a difference in this country if we participate in the system and fight for our rights by having a “Muslim voice” in America.
2. The principle of “Necessity allows the forbidden things” (ad-darûrah tubîh al-mahdhûrât) allows us to participate because due to the duress we are under, we need to participate in the system so that our voices can be heard and changes can be made in order to improve the condition of the Muslims and alleviate any harm upon us. Our intentions are sincere and Allah will forgive any action that is deemed unislamic due to the fact we are under duress. Muhammad (saaws) was reported to of said that “Actions are but by the intentions.”
3. “Maslahah” (benefit; interest) is also a justification for the above-mentioned arguments related to the participation in a non-Islamic political system. “Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah” (accepting public interest in the absence of a ruling regarding an issue from the Sharî`ah) is accepted by some of the `Ulamâ’ as one of the sources of the Sharî`ah and thus can be used as a legitimate justification as to why we must participate in the system.
4. Prophet Yûsuf (as) was place in charge over the storehouses by the King of Egypt. This is a clear example of participation in a system that is not based on Divine Law from Allah (swt) and we should follow the example of Prophet Yûsuf (as) in this regard. Also, the Sharî`ah of Yûsuf (as) is valid for us to follow or Allah (swt) would not mention his story in the Qur’an if it wasn’t intended for us to follow and learn from it.
5. It is allowed to adopt laws from non-Islamic sources and participate in their system because the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) was reported to of have said concerning the issue of Hilf al-Fudûl (Confederacy of the Fudûl) that “I witnessed in the house of `Abdullah ibn Jud`ân a confederacy which I would not exchange for any number of best breed of camels, and if I were invited to take part in it during Islam I would do just that.”
6. The king of Abyssinia Negus embraced Islam but didn’t inform his subjects due to the fact that they would of have most likely overthrown and killed him. He also did not give up the position of ruling as king and he continued to rule by non-Islamic laws. Thus the analogy is drawn here that since today in the current situation we are in, do not have the ability to rule completely by Islamic law, we can partially implement Islamic law if we are put in that position due to the outstanding circumstances.
Refutation of the arguments used to justify participation in kufr political systems
I. The fact that in countries like America where we pay taxes, we are already participating in the system; and because of this, it is our duty to make sure our tax dollars go for the right causes and not the wrong ones like aide to Israel. We can make a difference in this country if we participate in the system and fight for our rights by having a "Muslim voice" in America.
There are three issues here that need to be addressed concerning this argument. The first one is the adoption of the non-Islamic principles of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” and “the ends justify the means.” The second is being forced to do an act that goes against Islam such as paying taxes to support the government versus an act that we are not forced to do but have a choice to doing such as voting in a kufr political system. Finally, the third issue is the naïve assumption that we as Muslims in a non-Islamic system such as the one adopted by America, can actually change its foreign and domestic policy by being active participants in voting for the “right candidate,” lobby and have a “Muslim voice” so that the politicians can listen to our needs and concerns and act upon them.
As for the first issue, the adoption of non-Islamic principles such as the Machiavellian “the end justifies the means,” and “if you can’t beat them, join them” has no basis in Islam. Islam is not a Dîn where it is only concerned about the attainment of a goal, rather Islam teaches that “There is no victory except from Allah” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Âl-`Imrân, 3:126) and we were created to worship and obey Allah (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah adh-Dhâriyât, 51:56). We as Muslims have been ordered by Allah (swt) to implement and carry this dîn to the world, and whatever goal we are trying to achieve that that will help aide us in the obedience and worship of Allah (swt), the means to obtain that end must be Halâl. Whether we succeed or not in attaining the goal in our lifetime is not why we strive in the Path of Allah, we strive because we are fulfilling an order from Allah and whatever happens, we must always keep in mind that Victory comes only from Allah (swt). So our main focus in life should be pleasing Allah by staying away from the munkar and doing and enjoining the ma`rûf and not just be concerned whether or not we will see our goals attained in our lifetime.
Muhammad (saaws) forbade the utilization of money obtained from forbidden things and acts (Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Vol. 7, Book 71, Hadith No. 656). So we cannot, for example, sell drugs in order to raise money to help build a mosque because although the goal of building a mosque is an Islamic goal, the act of selling drugs in forbidden in Islam.
The “lesser of the two evils” (akhaff ad-dararayn) should not be an excuse either because there is another option, and that option is to obey Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saaws) by staying away from the Harâm and doing what was commanded by Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saaws). One example where akhaff ad-dararayn would be justified under Islamic Law is if the enemy were to use Muslims as a human shield and it becomes a situation where the enemy can get the better of the Muslims by occupying territory of the Islamic State, then it would be permissible to strike the enemy and the Muslims who are with them. So basically it boils down to it being better for some Muslims to be killed than the whole Muslim community being killed and having their land occupied by the enemy of the Islamic State.
The act of compromising Islam in order to reach a resolution in a matter is also forbidden in Islam. Allah (swt) in Surah al-Kâfirûn addressed the issue of comprising Islam in belief and actions by telling us that we should keep to our Dîn and not follow the Dîn of the Kuffâr in any aspect whatsoever, even when they offer to follow our Dîn (in certain aspects) if we also follow theirs. There were several incidents during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) where he was asked to compromise the message of Islam in order to appease the Kuffâr and one time he responded by saying:
“O my uncle! By Allah if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left on the condition that I abandon this course, until Allah has made me victorious, or I perish therein, I would not abandon it.” The Prophet (saaws) got up, and as he turned away, his uncle called him and said, “Go and preach what you please, for by Allah I will not forsake you.”1
Another instance was when `Utbah ibn Rabî`ah, speaking on the behalf of Quraysh, offered the Prophet (saaws) worldly benefits such as kingship, wealth, and other things:
“We have seen no other man of Arabia who has brought so great a calamity to a nation as you have done. You have outraged our gods and religion and taxed our forefathers and wise men with impiety and error and created strife amongst us. You have left no stone unturned to estrange relations with us. If you are doing all this with a view to getting wealth, we will join together to give you greater riches than any Quraishite has possessed. If ambition moves you, we will make you our chief. If you desire kingship, we will readily offer you that. If you are under the power of an evil spirit which seems to haunt and dominate you so that we cannot shake it off its yoke, then we shall call in the skillful physicians to cure you.”2
Some have said that the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) did compromise on certain occasions such as the time during the treaty of Hudaybiyah where the Prophet (saaws) agreed to remove the words “ar-Rahmân ar-Rahîm” and “Muhammad Rasûl Allâh” from the treaty and use instead “Bi-ismika Allâhumma” and “Muhammad, the son of `Abdullah” respectively:
“Some dispute arose with regard to the preamble. For example, when the agreement was to be committed to writing, `Ali bin Abi Talib, who acted as a scribe, began with the words: Bismillâh ir- Rahmân ir-Rahîm, i.e., ‘In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful’ but the Makkan plenipotentiary, Suhail bin `Amr declared he knew nothing of Ar-Rahmân and insisted upon the customary formula Bi-ismika Allâhumma, i.e., ‘In Your Name, O Allah!’ The Muslims grumbled with uneasiness but the Prophet (saaws) agreed. He then went to dictate ‘This is what Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah has agreed to with Suhail bin `Amr.’ Upon this Suhail again protested: ‘Had we acknowledged you as Prophet, we would not have debarred you from the Sacred House, nor fought against you. Write your own name and the name of your father.’ The Muslims grumbled as before and refused to consent to the change. The Prophet (saaws), however, in the larger interest of Islam, attached no importance to such an insignificant detail, erased the words himself, and dictated instead: ‘Muhammad, the son of `Abdullah.’”3
Prophet Muhammad (saaws) did not compromise at all when he (saaws) agreed to have those words removed from the treaty. It was never a Fard upon Muhammad (saaws) to include these words in a treaty and there is no indication (qarînah) in the cited example that it was a Fard. So this cannot be used as an example that Muhammad (saaws) compromised Islam for the sake of acquiring something such as a peace treaty or anything else for that matter such as justifying the participation in a kufr political system.
The issue of paying taxes versus voting should not be seen as the same because the former is something forced on an individual in countries like America while the latter is optional and not an obligation on an individual in the respective country. If a person lives in America and gets a job to support his family, he is forced to pay taxes to the government while a person is not forced to vote in any type of elections such as the presidential elections. One cannot equate being forced to do something with being given the option to do something. The former in cases such as the one mentioned is excusable while voting for a person to run for office in a kufr political system is never excusable under Islam. Muhammad (saaws) said in a Hadith recorded in Ibn Majah that “My Ummah is not responsible for three things: mistakes, forgetfulness, and whatever is done under duress” (Sunan Ibn Mâjah, Kitâb at-Talâq, Bâb al-Mukrah wa an-Nâsî, Hadith No. 2035)
On the third issue of whether or not Muslims can influence the domestic and foreign policy of a country by participating in its system has several issues in itself the warrant a closer examination and a realization of the facts. For one, as have been proven earlier, the ends do not justify the means. Even if we are able, as Muslims participating in the kufr system, change or at least influence the foreign or domestic affairs of a particular country to help the situation of the Muslims, it does not justify participation in a system that Allah has not sanctioned as legitimate. Allah (swt) has said in the Holy Qur’an in Sûrah At-Tawbah, 9:33 that:
“It is He who has sent His Messenger (saaws) with guidance and the Dîn of truth (Islam), to make it superior and prevail over all other dîns, even though the Mushrikûn hate it.”
How can one see the Dîn of Allah (Islam) prevail over all other dîns when people are trying to prolong the existence of dîns other than Islam by participating in their system instead of trying to see that system completely abolished and replaced by Islam, as was seen during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) when the Muslims were able to abolish the system of kufr that Quraysh and all the Arab tribes of Arabia embraced and replace that system with the Dîn of Islam? The Kuffâr offered Muhammad (saaws) material benefits if he (saaws) compromised Islam, he (saaws) and the Sahâbah (ra) had the opportunity to participate in the system of the Quraysh but refused to do so. Participation in a kufr system prolongs the suspension of the implementation of the Dîn of Islam and the Muslims during the time of Muhammad (saaws) would never do an act that would prolong the suspension of the implementation of Islam. So it begs the question, why are many Muslims today prolonging the suspension of the implementation of Islam by participating in a system that will not give sovereignty to Allah (swt) nor make all of Islam applied in the land?
Allah (swt) has given us the system of Islam and a set of priorities when it comes to formulating foreign and domestic policies. Taqîyud-dîn an-Nabhânî says in his book The Islamic State that “The domestic policy of the Islamic State is to execute the rules of Islam internally”4 while the foreign policy of the Islamic State is its relationship with other states and this is based on the fixed concept of “the propagation of Islam and the conveyance of the Message to every nation and every society”. He also gives an example of how the Islamic State during the time of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) conducted and ran its foreign policy:
“The Messenger of Allah (saaws) set up the policy of the Islamic State on the basis of spreading Islam since the very first day he (saaws) arrived in Madinah. He (saaws) signed treaties with the Jews in order to concentrate on extending the Message in Hijaz. He (saaws) signed the treaty of al-Hudaybiyah with the Quraysh in order to spread the Message in the Arabian Peninsula. Finally, he (saaws) sent envoys to the countries outside the Peninsula with the aim of establishing relations based on the spreading of Islam, by inviting them to embrace it.”5
And finally, how the kufr nations, especially ideological ones like America, determine their foreign policy is based solely on interest. Whether it be economic, military, strategic or political, their motivation for the formulation of their foreign policy is interest and countless number of examples can be given in this regard when one looks into and assesses the actions of the kufr nations. Their motivation in not the spreading of Islam nor its complete implementation or enforcement. They do not things for “humanitarian reasons” unless doing so will help their interests. They subjugate other nations on the basis that subjugating them must be beneficial for their interest or else they would not even bother investing so much time and effort in dealing with a nation that will not reap them the economic, military, strategic or political benefits. This is in sharp contrast to how the Islamic State deals with nations when it comes to spreading the rule of Islam to other lands as Taqîyud-dîn an-Nabhânî so eloquently points out:
“That is why the Islamic State was never selective in the countries it conquered, it never made any difference to the Muslims how difficult or easy was their task. And although Egypt was relatively easy to conquer and its resources were considerable compared with the harsh Saharan climate of North Africa with its poverty, the Muslims never took those factors into consideration because their ultimate goal was to spread Islam. This necessitated the liberation of every country regardless of its poverty or wealth and regardless of the resistance put up by its people. Carrying Islam to other nations is not motivated based on wealth or the poverty factor, nor will the acceptance or refusal of the people stall the carrying of the Message. The main aim is simply the conveyance of Islam, to establish it as an intellectual leadership from which a way of life emanates. The Message should be carried to all mankind in all countries.”6
Getting back to the kufr nations acting based on what is in their interest, these nations do not bow down to interest groups such as the Jews in America, unless of course doing so will be beneficial to their interests.7 If countries like America did bow down to the whims and desires of interest groups, as in the words of former U.S. ambassador to London, Raymond Seitz:
“If foreign policy is merely an expression of our diverse domestic politics, then American leadership, as if in a pinball machine, will ricochet from one interest group to another and seek to satisfy the most clamorous lobby.”8
And we as Muslims should not call upon other Muslims to follow the example of the Kuffâr like the Jews in America who were able to exercise a considerable amount of influence in the political spectrum of America, despite their relatively small population in America. Instead we should call upon the Muslims to follow the example the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) who was the best example to follow as Allah (swt) made it clear in The Holy Qur’an in Surah Al-Ahzâb, 33:21:
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (saaws) you have an excellent example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remembers much.”
Concerning the time Muslims would follow the ways of the Kuffâr religiously, Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said in a Hadith:
Narrated Abu Said:
The Prophet said, "You will follow the wrong ways, of your predecessors so completely and literally that if they should go into the hole of a lizard, you too will go there." We said, "O Allah's Apostle! Do you mean the Jews and the Christians?" He replied, "Whom else?" (Meaning, of course, the Jews and the Christians.) (Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Vol. 4, Book 56, Hadith No. 662)
II. The principle of "Necessity allows the forbidden things" (ad-darûrah tubîh al-mahdhûrât) allows us to participate because due to the duress we are under, we need to participate in the system so that our voices can be heard and changes can be made in order to improve the condition of the Muslims and alleviate any harm upon us. Our intentions are sincere and Allah will forgive any action that is deemed unislamic due to the fact we are under duress. Muhammad (saaws) was reported to of said that "Actions are but by the intentions."
The use of the principle of “Necessity allows the forbidden things (ad-darûrah tubîh al-mahdhûrât) has often been misapplied to allow other things via analogical deduction (qiyâs) such as participation in a kufr system. There is an âyah in the Holy Qur’an where it mentions the ruling that one is allowed to eat prohibited foods in cases where one is starving and fears that if he does not eat the prohibited food, the necessity of hunger will not be lifted and he could possibly die as a result:
“He has forbidden you only the carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah. But if one is forced out of necessity without willful disobedience not transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-Baqarah, 2:173)
Also, there are several âyât where it mentions that Allah (swt) desires for us ease in our lives and wants to lift the burden of hardship on us and from these âyât comes two principle such as “harm is to be removed” (ad-darar yuzâlu) and “Difficulty allows ease” (al-mashaqqah tajlib at-taysîr):
“…Allah intends for you ease and He does not want to make it difficult for you…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-Baqarah, 2:185)
“Allah (swt) wishes to lighten (the burden) for you; and man was created weak.” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah An-Nisâ’, 4:28)
“…Allah (swt) does not want to place you in difficulty, but He (swt) wants to purify you and to complete His Favor to you that you may be thankful.” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Mâ’idah, 5:6)
“…He has not laid upon you any hardship in the dîn…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-Hajj, 22:78)
Also the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said in a Hadith:
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah:
The Prophet (saaws) said, “Religion is very easy, and whosoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tiding that will be rewarded; and gain strength by offering the Salâh in the mornings, afternoons, and during the last hours of the night.” (Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 38)
The above-mentioned âyât and Hadith have been used to say that necessity allowing the forbidden things is a general rule and that can extend to participation in a kufr system to help improve the condition of the Muslims and to have any duress lifted from them. So the proponents of using this principle to justify participation would use analogical deduction (qiyâs) to say for example that since the âyah concerning being permissible to eat forbidden food due to necessity such as starvation, then this can apply to other things because the general principle will be the same; i.e., that whatever will lift the duress and hardship is justified by Islamic Law and can be applied to other situations.
For example, if a Muslim is treated unjustly or discriminated against at work or elsewhere or is incarcerated under laws that do not give the person a right to a fair trial (as in the case with the so-called “Secret Evidence”), some Muslims insist that the only way to fight for our rights is by participating in the system and electing politicians who will make and pass laws that will alleviate and end injustices faced by Muslims and even persecute those who act unfairly towards them.
We must keep in mind that Allah (swt) revealed a completed and perfected Dîn to all of mankind:
“This day I have perfected your dîn for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your dîn” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Mâ’idah, 5:3)
Allah (swt) also said that He revealed to us the Sharî`ah and its methodology for its application and enforcement:
“…We have prescribed a law (the Sharî’ah) and a method (Minhâj, Tarîqah)…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Mâ’idah, 5:48)
So when it comes to the application and enforcement of Islam, it must be based on the Islam methodology that was revealed by Allah (swt). Prophet Muhammad (saaw) said in a Hadith:
Narrated by `Â’ishah (ra):
Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever innovates in this affair of ours something that We have not commanded, that thing is rejected." (Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Vol. 3, Book 49, Hadith No. 861)
Islam has a specific methodology when it comes to enjoining the good and forbidden the evil (al-amr bi l-ma`rûf wa n-nahy `an al-munkar) and this includes fighting injustice and oppression in all its forms. Participating in a kufr system and trying to fight injustice by using their methodology is not the Islamic method but the total and proper implementation and enforcement of Islam is. Systematic problems not only require a systematic solution that only Islam has but requires an entity (Caliphate) to implement these solutions. This cannot be done in a system that does not rule solely by Islam because part of the problem is that the kufr system is in itself the source of these problems in the first place.
The âyah in the Holy Qur’an (Sûrah Al-Baqarah, 2:173) which is often used as an example of the “Necessity allows the forbidden things” principle is not a general ruling that is applicable to most or all similar occurrences where one is faced with a situation where he is under duress. There are several reasons why this does not apply to most or all situations were duress occurs. For one, there must be specific text allowing this principle of necessity allowing the forbidden things that indicates the generality of the rule or else one can use this rule to apply to a situation such as a woman who is single or a widow becoming a prostitute in order to make enough money in a certain amount of time so that the duress she is under can be lifted and she can feed and maintain her family and household. Then one can say that if this act of prostituting one self is wrong, there must be specific text prohibiting the act and the utilization of the money made from prostitution. Since prostitution is an act of zinâ and Prophet Muhammad (saaws) forbade the utilization of money made from illegal things or actions, then this can apply to any act that Allah (swt) made Harâm to indulge in, including participating in a kufr system where one is in a position where he will commit Harâm such as the deputation of a person who will not rule or judge in accordance to what Allah (swt) has revealed.
Whether or not the âyah in question is expressed in a way that causes the meaning of it to be general instead of specific, the situation in Sûrah Al-Baqarah, 2:173 is specific to a certain situation (i.e., eating forbidden food when it comes to a life or death situation), because no general evidence can be used for a specific issue without first looking for specific evidence. This is because the mantûq (what is understood directly from the uttered words in the text) of the âyah clearly specifies a situation of eating forbidden food in a matter of life or death. We also must take into account exegesis of Islamic texts with principles such as “Al-Qur’ân yufassiru ba`duhu ba`dan” (parts of the Qur’an explain each other) and “yuhmal al-mutlaq `alâ al-muqayyad”(unqualified expressions and statements must be interpreted in light of qualified expressions and statements) which basically means that an âyah or Hadith might be explained in greater detail by another âyah or Hadith. Also, many statements need other statements to give it clarification so that an âyah that is intended to be for a specific situation is shown as such due to other statements (whether it be from the Holy Qur’an or Sunnah) that make it exclusive not inclusive to other situations.
Surely compromise is the easy way out of a lot of things. Although Islam is not a dîn of compromise, there are instances when Islam allows the burden of hardship and duress to be lifted from a person, but this requires evidence from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Issues such as participating in the kufr system in order to fight discrimination and injustice have been a touchy subject to a lot of Muslims and for many it becomes frustrating for them to be told that electing a person to run for office in a kufr system in order to help Muslims fight discrimination and injustices is Harâm. If there are ways in making it easier for the lives of Muslims without indulging in kufr systems and electing people who will rule by kufr running for office in a kufr system, then this of course is not forbidden in Islam. But we must not forget that full and proper implementation of Islam will alleviate the problems Muslims face when living in a society that rules by kufr. Trying to fight injustices and acts of discrimination against Muslims will be a never-ending battle because the system that allowed these problems in the first place is still in power.
We must not forget the struggle Prophet Muhammad (saaws) and the Sahâbah (ra) which made them endure through periods of extreme hardship and oppression in order to avoid compromising their Islam for the sake of ease or the attainment of a goal. If they did believe in “the ends justify the means” or “if you can’t beat them, join them,” then surely, they would of struggled and suffered less at the hands of Kuffâr. The tortures, killings, boycotting, harassment, slander, etc., they went through could have been much less frequent if they just sought the easy way out of the predicament they were in. But they didn’t, they persevered in the dîn and knew that Victory came from no one but Allah (swt) and He (swt) for what they went through which was in the Path of Allah (swt). And taking such a path where one encounters hardship in the Path of Allah is a sacrifice one decides to take and Allah (swt) has promised to reward such a person. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And shown him the two ways (good and evil)? But he has not attempted
to pass on the path that is steep. And what will make you know the path
that is steep? (It is) freeing a neck (slave) or giving food in a day
of hunger (famine). To an orphan or near of kin. Or to a Miskîn
(poor) cleaving to dust (out of misery). Then he became one of those
who believed and recommended one another to perseverance and patience, and
(also) recommended one another to piety and compassion. They are those
on the Right Hand (i.e., dweller of Paradise).” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah
“Say: ‘Truly, my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all) for Allah (swt), the Lord of the Âlamîn (mankind, jinns, and all that exist).’” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-An`âm, 6:162)
Prophet Muhammad (saaws) reminds us that this worldly life is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever:
Abu Hurayrah (ra) reported Allah's Messenger (May peace be upon him) as saying: “The world is a prison for a believer and paradise for a non-believer.” (Sahîh Muslim, Book 42, Hadith No. 7058)
As for the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) where he (saaws) “Actions are but by the intentions” (Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Vol. 1, Hadith No. 1), it has been used by the proponents of participation in kufr systems as the main justification for all their actions in regards to participation. That is to say, that Allah (swt) will forgive the act that goes against Islam as long as the intentions are good and done for the sake of Islam and Muslims. From this distorted understanding, all the arguments used by the proponents of participation in kufr systems leads back to this Hadith of “Actions are but by the intentions.”
A sin is a sin and its nature does not change with intentions. So a sin cannot turn into an act of obedience, even with the most sincere of intentions unless Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saaws) has specified an instance where one can commit an act that would be in normal situations a sin but in a situation such as when one is starving to death, there is an exception and the act of eating the prohibited foods no longer becomes a sin. But this can only happen when there is specific text regarding a specific situation due to the fact that this rule (Necessity allows the forbidden things) is not general but specific. We must also remember when it comes to intention that good or permissible acts (Mubâhât) can turn into sinful acts with the wrong intention but a sinful act can never turn to an act of obedience even with the right intention.
III. "Maslahah" (benefit; interest) is also a justification for the above-mentioned arguments related to the participation in a non-Islamic political system. "Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah" (accepting public interest in the absence of a ruling regarding an issue from the Sharî`ah) is accepted by some of the `Ulamâ' as one of the sources of the Sharî`ah and thus can be used as a legitimate excuse as to why we must participate in the system.
The overwhelming majority of the `Ulamâ’ agree that the sources of Islamic legislation are the Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijmâ` and Qiyâs. There are other sources of legislation that have no been agreed upon by the majority of the `Ulamâ’ such as Istihsân and Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah as well as different Ijmâ` such as Ijmâ` al-Ummah, Ijmâ` Ahl al-Bayt, Ijmâ` Ahl al-Madînah (`Amal Ahl al-Madînah), Ijmâ` al-Mujtahidîn and Ijmâ` as-Sahâbah10.
Those who accept Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah as a source of Islamic legislation often make the claim that the `illah (reason) for the rules in the Sharî`ah is to confer benefit and prevent harm. They believe that Allah designating Muhammad (saaws) as a mercy is an `illah for the whole Sharî`ah. They use the following âyah as a justification:
“And we have sent you (Muhammad) not but as a mercy to mankind” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-Anbiyâ’, 21:107)
So according to their understanding, Prophet Muhammad (saaws) cannot be a mercy to mankind except by conferring benefit and preventing harm, thus making benefit and preventing harm two attributes of the `illah for the Sharî`ah. This understanding is refuted and the issue has been clarified quite eloquently in Taqîyud-dîn an-Nabhânî’s book Muqaddimah ad-Dustûr11:
“…First the subject of the âyah is the Prophet (saaws) being sent
as a Messenger and not the Sharî`ah. Even if the purpose of sending
him is his message, the topic of the âyah would be the entire Sharî`ah,
including both the `Aqîdah and the Ahkâm and not the Ahkâm
alone. Second, the Prophet (saaws) being sent as a mercy to humanity
is merely a Hikmah12 , which is the consequence and not the `illah.
Allah (swt) mentions in another âyah:
‘I merely created Jinn and humans to worship Me.’ (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah adh-Dhâriyât, 51:56)
Thus, the creation of Jinn and humans is their `ibâdah. Their worship of Allah (swt) is the Hikmah of their creation and not the `illah. Regarding Hajj, Allah (swt) mentions its Hikmah:
‘To accomplish some benefits for them.’ (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-Hajj, 22:28)
Therefore, benefit is a consequence of Hajj. Also, Allah (swt) mentions the Hikmah of prayer:
‘Prayer keeps one away from Fahshâ’ (vice) and munkar.’ (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-`Ankabût, 29:45)
Thus, keeping away from the Fahshâ’ and munkar is a consequence which would occur as a result of praying. The âyah does not give the meaning of the `illah because it is the cause that makes the rule exist and not just a result or consequence of a rule. Whereas the Hikmah may or may not exist, the `illah will always exist with its corresponding Hukm (ruling), as in a cause-effect relationship.
Although the saying ‘mercy to mankind’ is descriptive and contains those letters that would give the meaning of `illah, the context does not imply an `illah. The rule mentioned in the context might not happen consistently, and also the objective of legislation was not made for this alone. The Islamic Sharî`ah may signal mercy for those who believed in and acted upon it, such as the early Muslims, but it may be viewed as a disgust to those who disbelieved in it, such as the Disbelievers who opposed them. Thus, sending the Messenger (saaws) was a torment to the Disbelievers who are undeniably are part of humanity. Furthermore, the message of Islam exists today, yet the Muslims, who believe in the message, are in misery. The mere sending of the message and the mere presence of the Sharî`ah does not make it mercy. Consequently, the mercy does not constitute an `illah for bestowing Islam. Thus, realizing benefit and removing harm is not a legal `illah and should not be taken as a basis for Qiyâs.”
Now let’s discuss the three types of Maslahah (benefit; interest):
The first type of Maslahah that is rejected due to a ruling from Islamic texts. All of the `Ulamâ’ agree that this type of Maslahah is invalid.
The second type of Maslahah that is approved by the Sharî`ah. All of the `Ulamâ’ agree that this type of Maslahah is valid.
The third type of Maslahah in which there is no existing evidence in the Sharî`ah to accept it or reject. This type of Maslahah is called Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. The `Ulamâ’ have set some conditions on the use of this type of Maslahah such as that it must be within the guideline of the Sharî’ah, it cannot go against Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijmâ` or Qiyâs, taking Maslahah should not be done at the expense of another Maslahah and the Maslahah has to be a general one and not related to one person or group13.
As for the first two types of Maslahah, there is no debate amongst the `Ulamâ’ on them. As for the third type, those who have accepted it as a source of legislation in Islam made it sure that it was not the first type of Maslahah, because that type contradicted a ruling from either the Quran, Sunnah, Ijmâ`, or Qiyâs as well as the other conditions as specified by the `Ulamâ’. Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah was never used by the early `Ulamâ’ such as ash-Shatibi to justify Harâm by making Harâm into Halâl as in the case today with many modern `Ulamâ’. Imam ash-Shatibi said in his book Al-Muwâfaqât that “The `aql (intellect) has no room in determining the Maslahah and this is based on the rule of sovereignty” (Vol. 2, pg. 219) and “If we agree that the Sharî`ah is sent for the welfare of humanity, then this should be in accordance to what the Sharî`ah prescribed and not based on their whims and desires” (Vol. 2, pg. 117). Finally he also said that “The objective behind the Sharî`ah is to liberate the individual from his desires in order to be a true slave of Allah and that is the legitimate Maslaha (Benefit)…Violating the Sharî`ah under the pretext of following the basic objectives or values (Maqâsid) of the Sharî`ah is like the one who cares about the spirit without the body, and since the body without the spirit is useless, therefore the spirit without the body is useless too.” (Vol. 2, pg. 25)
Many of the modern `Ulamâ’ use certain incidents that occurred during the lifetime of the Sahâbah (ra), such as the compilation of the Holy Qur’an into one book and especially during the Khilâfah of `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). Some examples that many of the modern `Ulamâ’ use from the Khilâfah of `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) include him (ra) suspending the Hadd (legal punishment) for one convicted of theft, his application of the Hadd for murder all those implicated in the crime, spilling the watered-down milk as a punishment for cheating, his consideration that three pronouncements of divorce constituted three divorces (instead of one) and is irrevocable, appointing six Sahâbah to nominate a Khalîfah for him, instituting the jail and Dawâwîn (records of the treasury and other affairs in the Islamic State), issuing a standard coinage and a standard weight for gold and silver currency, his confiscation of portions of wealth from the provincial governors, his refusal to distribute conquered lands of Iraq, Syria, and Egypt amongst the Muslim soldiers and suspending the distribution of Zakâh to the Al-Mu’allafah Qulûbuhum. As for the other Sahâbah (ra), many of the modern `Ulamâ’ have used Abu Bakr’s appointment of `Umar ibn al-Khattab as Khalîfah when Prophet Muhammad (saaws) never appointed anyone after him to be Khalîfah, adding a second Adhân for Jumu`ah which was instituted by `Uthman ibn `Affan (ra) and of course, as it was mentioned earlier, the compilation of the Holy Qur’an into one book which was first done under the order of Abu Bakr (ra) and finally standardized by `Uthman ibn `Affan (ra). Each and every of the above-mentioned incidents all are based on Dalîl from the legitimate sources of legislation; i.e., Qur’an, Sunnah, Qiyâs and Ijmâ` as-Sahâbah.
As for `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s suspension of the Hadd for the one convicted of theft, it was based on two evidences from the Sunnah and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. The first one is based on a Hadith reported by the Tâbi` Makhûl (this Hadith is graded as Mursal14) where it says, “There is no cutting (of the hands) during famine” and the other one are two Hadiths reported in Tirmidhi and Ahmad Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said, “Do not apply Hudûd in cases of doubt” and “Do your best to prevent the Hudûd from being implemented upon the Muslims, if you find a reason. Committing a mistake in forgiveness is better than committing a mistake in punishment.”
Many things `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) did was administrative, and this is used to facilitate the implementation of Islam (which is a Fard) and so it was not based on Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. He (ra) was basing this on the Islamic principle of “Whatever leads to a Wâjib is itself a Wâjib” (mâ lâ yatimm al-wâjib illa bihi fa-huwa wâjib). Examples of this include instituting the jail, using a Dawâwîn, issuing a standard coinage, etc. As for the institution of the jail, it was just facilitating the incarceration and holding of an individual which was done during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) when it was reported that man named Thumamah ibn Athal al-Hanafi (who later became Muslim) was tied to a pillar in the masjid which was used as a place of detention. The only thing `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) did different in this regard was use a separate building as a place of detention instead of the masjid. But the punishment of detention and jailing a person was done by the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) so what `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) did was based on Dalîl and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. As for standardizing the gold (dînâr) and silver currency (dirham), this was again to facilitate transactions between people because the dînâr and the dirham was the standard and exclusive currency adopted by Muhammad (saaws) which became metallic monetary standard by which all the goods and services were measured by. The Dawâwîn was used by `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) to keep track of his obligation to take care of the Ummah’s affairs by using new and effective tools such as the Dawâwîn, and there was no evidence from the Sharî`ah that using it was forbidden, especially when it was needed to implement an obligatory duty. As have been mentioned earlier, whatever leads to Wâjib is itself a Wâjib.
Umar ibn al-Khattab’s spilling of adulterated milk mixed with water was again based on Dalîl and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. This is because as the Khalîfah (leader in the Islamic State), he was entrusted with the authority of enforcing and supervising the application of the Sharî`ah in the society and meting out punishment for any violation of these laws. Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said in a Hadith:
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn `Umar that the Holy Prophet (May be upon him) said: “Beware. Every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shall be questioned about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well being). A woman is a guardian over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.” (Sahîh Muslim, Book 20, Hadith No. 4496)
So punishments in the Islamic State includes Hudûd and Ta`zîr. The mixing of water with milk was a fraudulent practice and deception and cheating are forbidden in Islam. So what `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) do was punish the ones who cheated in this way by using Ta`zir that happened to be in this case the spilling of the milk mixed with water, and as the leader of the Islamic State he had to make sure that the Sharî`ah was applied and enforced. Once again, this had nothing to do with Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah.
The suspension of the payment of Zakâh to the Al-Mu’allafah Qulûbuhum (see The Holy Qur’an, Surah at-Tawbah, 9:60) was not based on Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. This is because the `illah that can be deduced from this âyah is that the Zakâh is paid to the Al-Mu’allafah Qulûbuhum whose loyalty to Islam needs to be strengthened, especially in a time where the Islamic State is not very strong. But if there is no need to strengthen the people’s loyalty to Islam, such as in the case during the time of `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s Khilâfah when the Islamic state was strong, then there is no need to pursue it (i.e., the payment of the Zakâh in order to strengthen people’s loyalty to Islam). So what `Umar ibn al-Khattab did was based on the understanding of the `illah deduced from the âyah and not from Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah.
The appointment of six of the Sahâbah (ra) by `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) to nominate a Khalîfah for him was not based on Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah but on the Ijmâ` as-Sahâbah. The Maslahah is what `Umar ibn al-Khattab was hoping for to become an outcome of his actions and not its evidence for what he (ra) did. His actions was supported by the Ijmâ` as-Sahâbah. He (ra) said, “The Prophet (saaws) did not nominate his Khalîfah, while Abu Bakr (ra) did nominate (but not appoint) his Khalîfah; either one these two choices is legal15.” It must be pointed out that the Khalîfah can nominate his successor without obtaining the bay`ah (oath of allegiance) for him, but after the death of the current Khalîfah, the nominated successor must obtain the bay`ah in order to become the new Khalîfah.
When `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) confiscated the shares of money from the provincial governors whose private money was mixed illegally acquired public money, this was based on Dalîl from the Sharî`ah and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. The Khalîfah is obligated by the Sharî`ah to take care the affairs of the Muslims according to his Ijtihâd by utilizing the Dalîl from the Sharî`ah and one of these affairs is to look after the behavior of the governors appointed by him and hold them accountable. Prophet Muhammad (saaws) order those who will become Khulafâ’ after him to do this. He (saaws) said in a Hadith concerning the importance of the Khalîfah running the affairs of the Islamic State:
“It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Malik that `Ubaidullah b. Ziyad visited Ma`qil b. Yaser in the latter's illness. Ma`qil said to him: I am narrating to you a tradition. If I were not at death's door, I would not narrate it to you. I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace he upon him) say: A ruler who, having obtained control over the affairs of the Muslims, does not strive for their betterment and does not serve them sincerely shall not enter Paradise with them.” (Sahîh Muslim, Book 20, Hadith No. 4502)
Muhammad (saaws) made in clear in a Hadith that it is forbidden to tamper with public assests:
“It has been reported on the authority of Abu Humaid as-Sa`idi who said: The Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) appointed a man from the Azd tribe called Ibn Lutbiyya, in charge of Sadaqat to be received from Banu Sulaim. When he came (back), the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) asked him to render his account, he said: This wealth is for you (i. e. for the public treasury) and this is a gift (presented to me). The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: You should have remained in the house of your father and your mother, until your gift came to you if you spoke the truth; then he addressed us. He praised God and extolled Him, and afterwards said: I appoint a man from you to a responsible post sharing with the authority that God has entrusted to me, and he comes to me saying: This wealth is for you (i. e. for the public treasury) and this is a gift presented to me. Why did he not remain in the house of his father and his mother and his gift came to him, if he was truthful? By God, any one of you will not take anything from (the public funds) without any justification, but will meet his Lord carrying it on himself on the Day of Judgment. I will recognise any one of you meeting Allah and carrying a growling camel, or a cow bellowing or a goat bleating. Then he raised his hands so high that whiteness of his armpits could be seen. Then he said: O my Lord, I have conveyed (Thy Commandments). The narrator says: My eyes saw (the Holy Prophet standing in that pose) and my ears heard (what he said).” (Sahîh Muslim, Book 20, Hadith No. 4511)
So it is clear that `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) based this ruling on Dalîl from the Sunnah and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah.
`Umar ibn al-Khattab’s refusal to distribute the conquered lands of Iraq, Egypt, and Syria amongst his soldiers has nothing to do with Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah but was based again on Dalîl. Although the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) did distribute the conquered land of Khaybar amongst the Muslim soldiers, he (saaws) did not distribute the conquered land of Banû an-Nadîr between them. Rather he (saaws) distributed the spoils acquired from Banû an-Nadîr among the early Muhâjirûn but not any to the Ansâr except two men from them. It is clear that from the actions of Prophet Muhammad (see also Surah Al-Hashr, 59:7-10), that the Khalîfah is authorized to distribute or not distribute conquered land. So `Umar ibn al-Khattab it is clear that Umar ibn al-Khattab’s actions were based on Dalîl and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah.
`Umar ibn al-Khattab’s application of the Hadd to all those implicated in the crime of murder was based on Dalîl and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. As some of the `Ulamâ’ have suggested, `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s opinion on this matter was based on Qiyâs when `Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) mentioned an issue that made it analogous to the one `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) tried to resolve. They say this because of an athar (a saying attributed to a Sahâbî) regarding this incident where it was reported that:
“`Umar was confused about the issue of the punishment of a group participating in the murder of an individual; should he apply the Hadd on all of them or not? So he asked `Ali. `Ali said, ‘What if a group of people participated in stealing a camel with each of them taking a limb of it, would you cut their hands for that?’ `Umar said, ‘Yes.’ `Ali said, ‘You should do the same thing here.’”16
Others have suggested that `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) used the Qur’an and Sunnah to support his opinion. Imam Ibn Hazm said that the evidence pointing to the application of the Hadd on a group that participated in the murder of an individual in the Qur’an and Sunnah where the ruling of one who kills a Muslim intentionally is general.
And finally, `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s consideration that three pronouncements of a divorce constituted three divorces and not one was based on the Sunnah and not Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah. Some of the modern `Ulamâ’ used the Hadith of Ibn `Abbas (ra) where it states:
“Ibn `Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) reported that the (pronouncement) of three divorces during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (May peace be upon him) and that of Abu Bakr and two years of the caliphate of Umar (Allah be pleased with him) (was treated) as one. But `Umar ibn al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) said: Verily the people have begun to hasten in the matter in which they are required to observe respite. So if we had imposed this upon them, and he imposed it upon them.” (Sahîh Muslim, Book 9, Hadith No. 3491)
So according to them, `Umar ibn al-Khattab’s opinion in this matter was solely based on Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah because as the Hadith of Ibn `Abbas (ra) indicates, three pronouncement of a divorce constitute one divorce but he thought it would be more beneficial for the Muslims to treat such a divorce as irrevocable because some Muslims started to abuse this type of divorce.
This is incorrect because there is a Hadith where it indicated that three pronouncements of the divorce was treat as an irrevocable divorce:
Narrated Rukanah ibn `Abdu Yazid:
“(Rukanah) divorced his wife absolutely; so he came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). He asked (him): What did you intend? He said: A single utterance of divorce. He said: Do you swear by Allah? He replied: I swear by Allah. He said: It stands as you intended.” (Sunan Abû Dawûd, Book 12, Hadith No. 2202)
The Hadiths of Ibn `Abbas and Rukanah (ra) can be reconciled by using the following argument. If an individual pronounces three times while intending a single divorce, then his pronouncement should be treated as a single and revocable divorce as ordained in the Hadith of Ibn `Abbas. However, if that individual pronounced three times and he intended three divorces, then his divorce should be treated as irrevocable as indicated in the Hadith of Rukanah.
So `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) definitely did not base his ruling on Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah but on evidence from the Sunnah as clearly indicated above.
As for the compilation of the Qur’an which was first done by Abu Bakr (ra) and finally standardized by `Uthman ibn `Affan (ra), this was not based on Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah but was in compliance with the âyah in the Holy Qur’an where Allah said He would protect the Qur’an, and from this the Sahâbah (ra) understood that they had to do something when it came to preservation of the Holy Qur’an:
“Verily We have sent down the Dhikr (i.e., Qur’an) and surely We are its Guardian.” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Hijr, 15:9)
The institution of a second Adhân before Salâh al-Jumu`ah during the `Uthman ibn `Affan (ra) was not based on Al-Masâlih al-Mursalah but on the fact that the Khalîfah is obligated by the Sharî`ah to see that Islam is implemented and enforced, which includes notifying the people when the time of Salâh was in. The second Adhân in this case was needed to fulfil the purpose of the Adhân, which was to notify people of the Salâh. During the time of `Uthman ibn `Affan’s Khilâfah, the city of Medina greatly expanded as compared to the time of Muhammad (saaws), and since there were no loud speakers at that time and the people needed to be notified of the Salâh, adding the second Adhân was needed so that the people who were further away could hear it.
IV. Prophet Yûsuf (as) was placed in charge over the storehouses by the King of Egypt and given the authority to rule in the system of the King. So this can be taken as an example of participation in a system that is not based on Divine Law from Allah and we should follow the example of Prophet Yûsuf (as) in this regard if we are confronted with a situation where there is no Islamic system. Also, the Sharî`ah of Yûsuf (as) is valid for us to follow or Allah (swt) would not mention his story in the Qur’an if it wasn’t intended for us to follow and learn from it.
It is argued by the proponents of participation in kufr systems that Prophet Yûsuf (Joseph) participated in the kufr system of the king of Egypt and because of this, Muslims today are allowed to do the same. They say that the King appointed Prophet Yûsuf (as) in his kufr system and cite the following two âyah as proof:
“(Yûsuf ) said: ‘Set me over the storehouses of the land; I will indeed guard them with full knowledge.’ Thus did We give full authority to Yûsuf in the land, to take possession therein, when or where he likes…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Yûsuf, 12:55-56)
Another âyah is used to prove that Prophet Yûsuf did rule by other than what Allah revealed because according to them, this âyah shows Prophet Yûsuf (as) tricking the King in allowing him to judge his brother by the Sharî`ah of Ya`qûb (as) instead of the King’s law:
“…He could not take his brother by the dîn (law) of the King, except that Allah (swt) willed it…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Yûsuf, 12:76)
Thus they claim that the Mafhûm al-Mukhâlafah (divergent meaning; i.e., the opposite understanding from what is in the text) implies that Prophet Yûsuf (as) judged by a law other than from what is from Allah (swt) when dealing with someone other than his brother.
They also point out that since this story is in the Holy Qur’an, we must follow it because why would Allah (swt) mention this story if it was not meant to follow the lessons taught in it? Furthermore, they say that the previous divine law (Shar` Min Qablinâ) is valid for us to follow and they cite examples of how laws from before Islam like the ones given to Banû Isrâ’îl are also a part of Islamic Law. They cite the following âyah that claim says we must follow the guidance of the previous Prophets and Messengers:
“They are those whom Allah had guided, so follow their guidance…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-An`âm, 6:90)
Moreover, the Holy Qur’an teaches us in Sûrah al-Ahzâb, 33:21 that Prophet Muhammad (saaws) is an excellent example that must be followed. But some cite another several âyât that they see as a justification to also follow the example of previous Prophets and Messengers:
“Indeed, there was an excellent example for you in Ibrahîm (Abraham) and those with him when they said to their people: ‘Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah (swt). We have rejected you, and there has started between us hostility and hatred forever until you believe in Allah (swt) alone.’ Except the saying of Ibrahîm (as) to his father: ‘Verily, I will ask forgiveness (from Allah) for you, but I have no power to do anything for you before Allah (swt).’ ‘Our Lord, in You (alone) we put our trust, and to You (alone) we turn in repentance and to You (Alone) is (our) final Return.’ ‘Our Lord! Make us not a trial the disbelievers, and forgive us, our Lord! Verily You, and only You, are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.’ Certainly, there was for you in them an excellent example, for those who look forward to (the meeting with) Allah (swt) and the Last Day. And whosoever turns away, then verily, Allah (swt) is Rich (free of all needs), Worthy of all praise.” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Mumtahinah, 60:4-6)
In the aforementioned âyât, it said that there is an “excellent example” in Ibrahîm (as). Some make the point that since Sûrah al-Ahzâb, 33:21 mentions Muhammad (saaws) as an “excellent example” and in Surah al-Mumtahinah, 60:4-6 mentioned that Ibrahîm (as) was also an “excellent example,” we should also follow the example of previous Prophets and Messengers.
Concerning the position that was given to Prophet Yûsuf (as), it was an administrative one and not a ruling one. Ibn Kathir in his Tafsîr, states in his explanation of âyah 56 in Sûrah Yûsuf that Yûsuf (as) put in charge over storehouses where he collected and stored the harvest of Egypt. This opinion was also shared by Shaybah ibn Nu`amah as indicated in Tafsîr Ibn Kathîr. He (as) was responsible for gathering the harvest in the storehouses where he would collect it for the years of drought in which he told the people when it would come. He (as) also wanted to dispense the harvest in a way that was the most wise, beneficial, and proper. No way does this suggest that he ruled by kufr or participated in a kufr system where he was given the authority to legislate because he was not in a ruling position but in an administrative one where he (as) handled the affairs of how harvest was gathered and stored.
Another view regarding this issue is held by some where they say that Prophet Yûsuf (as) was placed in charge over the entire land in which in he (as) was given authority over the region’s most important commodity which was finance. Imam an-Nasafi said that the King was placed subordinate to Prophet Yûsuf and could not issue any judgement without his authorization. The Tafsîrs of Al-Qurtubi and At-Tabari relate an opinion from Ibn Zayd that the King gave all of his authority to Prophet Yûsuf (as). In the Tafsîr of Ibn Kathir, it reports As-Suddi and `Abdur-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam saying that Prophet Yûsuf (as) was given the authority “to do whatever he wants.” So there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Prophet Yûsuf (as) ruled by kufr, especially when he was given authority “to do whatever he wanted.” Also, in the same Surah, Prophet Yûsuf (as) said to his two companions in prison this:
“…The rule (Hukm) belongs is for none but Allah, He has commanded you that you worship none but Him, that is the straight Dîn, but most men know not.” (Sûrah Yûsuf, 12:40)
It is quite absurd to think that the honorable Prophet Yûsuf (as) would rule by kufr when his own statement was that the Hukm belonged to no one except Allah (swt) and this is the straight Dîn, i.e., Tawhîd (true monotheism) of Allah (swt). As stated earlier, there is no evidence that Prophet Yûsuf actually ruled by kufr, it was implied by some who had a misunderstanding of the meaning of the text that he ruled by kufr.
In light of all this, how could we conclude that Prophet Yûsuf (as) ruled by kufr?
As for the argument that we must also follow the previous divine law that came before Islam, Islam abrogates all pre-Islamic Sharî`ah. Previous Sharî`ah were specific to a certain nation at a certain period of time while Islam is not specific to a period of time or nation but was revealed to all nations for all times. We know that any law that contradicts Islam in which it came from the pre-Islamic Sharî`ah is abrogated by Islam, so even if Prophet Yûsuf (as) ruled by kufr, Islam abrogates this act due to the fact that Islam forbids ruling by kufr. For example, Allah (swt) says about the Jews and their law:
“And unto those who are Jews, We forbade every (animal) with undivided hoof, and We forbade them the fat of the ox and the sheep except what adheres to their backs or their entrails, or is mixed up with a bone. Thus We recompense them for their rebellion. And verily, We are Truthful.” (Sûrah al-An`âm, 6:146)
As we know the law of the Jews do not apply to the Muslims. Thus, any Sharî`ah that came before Islam has been abrogated by Islam and this is evident by the following Hadith:
Muhammad Ibn al-`Ala' told us that Ibn Numayr reported from Mujalid from Ibn `Aamir from Jabir that `Umar Ibn al-Khattab brought a copy of the Torah to the Prophet (saaws) and said: "O Messenger of God, this is a copy of the Torah." But [the Prophet] kept silent. Then `Umar (ra) started reading and the face of the Prophet kept changing. So, Abu Bakr (ra) interrupted him violently: "Don't you see the face of the Prophet (saaws)?" `Umar (ra) looked at the Prophet's face and said "May God preserve me from His anger and from the anger of His Messenger, we accepted God as Lord and Islam as religion and Muhammad as prophet." Then the Prophet (saaws) said: "By the One Who owns Muhammad's soul, if Moses (as) appeared to you and you followed him and left me, you would go astray from the right path and if he were alive and reached [the time of] my prophethood he would have followed me. " (Sunan ad-Dârimî, Hadith No. 436)
This says clearly that even if Moses (as) were alive at the time of Muhammad (saaws), he (as) would have to follow the Sharî`ah of Islam that was given to Muhammad (saaws) and not even his own. As for at the âyât in Surah al-Mumtahinah where it mentions Prophet Ibrahîm (as) being an “excellent example,” it contains the conjunction “when” (idh) which makes it specific to a pertinent situation and not general as in the following the “excellent example” of Prophet Muhammad (saaws):
“Indeed, there was an excellent example for you in Ibrahîm (Abraham) and those with him when (idh) they said to their people…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Mumtahinah, 60:4)
This is in contrast to the generality of the “excellent example” of Muhammad (saaws) which is not restricted to a specific situation but is general for all situations:
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day.” (Sûrah al-Ahzâb, 33:21)
Prophet Muhammad (saaws) also said in a Hadith that no one else has been given before him (or after him) five things, which include being sent to all of mankind while the previous Prophets and Messengers were only sent to their people:
Narrated Jabir ibn `Abdullah:
The Prophet (saaws) said, "I have been given five things which were not given to any one else before me.
1. Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for a distance of one month's journey.
2. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and a thing to perform Tayammum, therefore anyone of my followers can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due.
3. The booty has been made Halâl (lawful) for me yet it was not lawful for anyone else before me.
4. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).
5. Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation only but I have been sent to all mankind. (Sahîh al-Bukhârî, Vol. 1, Book 7, Hadith No. 331)
Allah (swt) also mentions in the Holy Qur’an that Prophet Muhammad (saaws) was sent to all of mankind:
“And we have sent you (Muhammad) not but as a mercy to mankind” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Al-Anbiyâ’, 21:107)
“And we have sent you (Muhammad) not except as a giver of glad tidings and a warner to all of mankind…” (The Holy Qur’an Sûrah Saba’, 34:28)
All and Messengers and Prophets of all were given the Message of Tawhîd and we must follow this Message of Tawhîd. Although the Sharî`ah of the Prophets and Messengers differed, the foundation of Tawhîd was also the same. But the only valid Sharî`ah for us to follow is of course the Sharî`ah of Islam that was given to Prophet Muhammad (saaws), as was proven earlier. Allah (swt) mentions the stories of the previous Prophets and Messengers to strengthen the heart of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) and to provide a lesson for us to learn from:
“And all that We relate to you (O Muhammad) of the news of the Messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this (chapter of the Qur’an) has come to you the truth, as well as an admonition and reminder for the believers.” (The Holy Qur’an, Surah Hûd, 11:120)
“Indeed in their stories there is a lesson for men of understanding…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah ar-Ra`d, 12:111)
V. It is allowed to adopt laws from non-Islamic sources and participate in their system because the Prophet Muhammad (saaws) was reported to of have said concerning the issue of Hilf al-Fudûl (Alliance of the Fudûl) that “I witnessed in the house of `Abdullah ibn Jud`ân an alliance which I would not exchange for any number of best breed of camels, and if I were invited to take part in it during Islam I would do just that.”
Hilf al-Fudûl was a pre-Islamic alliance that was formed as a result of an incident where a man from the Zubayd clan came to Makkah as a merchant selling goods to Al-`As ibn Wa’il. Al-`As ibn Wa’il refused to pay the man from the Zubayd clan for the goods. Later on an alliance between representatives of Banu Hashim, Banu Al-Muttalib, Asad ibn `Abdul-`Uzza, Zuhrah ibn Kilab and Taym ibn Murra was formed in order to resolve this dispute and make Al-`As ibn Wa’il pay the money he owed to the man from the Zubayd clan. So the Hilf al-Fudûl was an alliance between the various clans of Quraysh in which it tried to protect people who had been wronged by standing by them against the one who oppressed them until the issue had been resolved. Prophet Muhammad (saaws) said concerning the Hilf al-Fudûl that “I witnessed in the house of `Abdullah ibn Jud`ân an alliance which I would not exchange for any number of best breed of camels, and if I were invited to take part in it during Islam I would do just that.”17
Thus it is argued by some that if a law that came from a non-Islamic system or source is just, then it is allowed to use it which of course entails that we can participate in a non-Islamic system where we can deal with using as well as help make laws that are just and beneficial for the Muslims.
The attempt to make a connection between the Hilf al-Fudûl and participation in the kufr system is inherently flawed. For one, anything approved from the Days of Jâhiliyyah that Islam does not prohibit such as the Arabic language, for example, cannot be used as a justification to allow something that was prohibited by Islam. The clothes the Muslims wore at the time of Muhammad (saaws) were the same types of clothes worn by the Arabs before Muhammad (saaws). Certain customs such as dyeing the hair with henna and other material were around before Islam and approved during Islam. If the agreement that was reached during the Hilf al-Fudûl were made today would be valid because Muhammad (saaws) approved of it.
It is also important to understand the fact that the Hilf al-Fudûl was an act that can only be carried out by statesmen on behalf of a state. The various clans who took part in the Hilf al-Fudûl acted as mini city-states in which representatives from the clans were sent as statesmen, not as individuals or representatives of an organization or group. This is because since the clans in Arabia were in reality “clan-states” (similar to the city-states in Greece for example), the Hilf al-Fudûl was an alliance between these various “clan-states”. So the Islamic State can enter organization that is composed of other states or join a treaty or committee to organize and regulate various types of interaction and dealings with each other such as telecommunication, transportation, and so on. Prophet Muhammad (saaws) would of acted as a statesman on the behalf of the Islamic State if he (saaws) were to join the Hilf al-Fudûl during the time of Islam and not as an individual or on the behalf of an organization. One can draw an analogy to the fact that Prophet Muhammad (saaws) at times acted as a judge when sentencing people who has been convicted of a crime or sin to be punished by the Hudûd. Thus the role of Muhammad (saaws) in this capacity was a judge, and no else in the Islamic State can punish people with the Hudûd such as flogging, stoning, incarcerating, etc., unless they are a judge in the Islamic State. And the same goes for the Islamic State joining an organization that is composed of other states or join a treaty of committee, it can only be done by the representatives who act on behalf of the State. So as it have been proven that the Hilf al-Fudûl is an act that can only be carried by a statesman on behalf of a state, the attempt for Muslim individuals and organizations or groups to use the Hilf al-Fudûl as an excuse to partake in a kufr system and even try to legislate laws is completely invalid and cannot be justified.
Another point is that we cannot forget that what Muhammad (saaws) did never lead to the suspension of the complete implementation of Islam. What people who are trying to partake in the kufr system are doing directly leads to the suspension of the complete implementation of Islam. If Prophet Muhammad (saaws) had agreed to the Hilf al-Fudûl during the time of Islam, such on act would still not hinder the implementation of Islam. Muslims will not busy themselves in delaying the application of Islam, because the Muslims during the time of Muhammad (saaws) applied Islam whenever an âyah or Hadith came into existence. When today we have all the âyât and Hadiths at our disposal and we are not implementing all of them, then we are delaying the full implementation of Islam. Allah (swt) tells us to rule by Islam, or else why would He call those who do not either Kâfirûn (disbelievers), Dhâlimûn (oppressors) or Fâsiqûn (transgressors):
"…And whosoever does not rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed they are Kâfirûn." (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Mâ’idah, 5:44)
"…And whosoever does not rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed they are Dhâlimûn." (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Mâ’idah, 5:45)
"…And whosoever does not rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed they are Fâsiqûn." (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Mâ’idah, 5:47)
VI. The king of Abyssinia Negus embraced Islam but didn’t inform his subjects due to the fact that they would of have most likely overthrown and killed him. He also did not give up the position of ruling as king and he continued to rule by non-Islamic laws. Thus the analogy is drawn here that since today in the current situation we are in do not have the ability to rule completely by Islamic law, we can partially implement Islamic law if we are put in that position due to the outstanding circumstances.
It is argued that since Negus, the King of Abyssinia, embraced Islam in secret and did not rule by Islam in order to avoid the inevitable possibility that he would be dethroned and killed, that it is allowed to have a position of ruling in a kufr political system as well as partially implement Islam due to the circumstances. Some also say that since the Holy Qur’an was revealed in stages (see The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Hijr, 15:91; Sûrah al-Isrâ’, 17:106; Sûrah al-Furqân, 25:32; Sûrah al-Insân, 76:23)
Trying to draw an analogy here where Negus continued to rule in a non-Islamic system and our situation today is not valid. For one, Negus’ conversion to Islam had put him in a position of duress that prevented him from declaring his faith to others as well as openly practice it (some of the `Ulamâ’ say that he openly embraced Islam, see Ibn Qudamah’s Al-Mughnî, Vol. 3, pg. 336). As for the acts of `Ibâdah, Negus did not do these acts openly because of the duress he was under nor did he have anyone to teach him the Dîn in a comprehensive manner. While on the other hand, we are not in a situation where we are under duress; we can participate or not participate in elections freely if we chose. We are not forced to vote for a certain candidate in any election or seek power to rule in the kufr system. And we must remember that Negus was put in power as a ruler before he embraced Islam.
Concerning the issue of the gradual implementation
of Islam (tadarruj), some claimed that since the Holy Qur’an was revealed
in stages and in parts (see 15:19, 17:106, 25:32, and 76:23 in the Holy Qur’an)
and certain things such as Khamr (alcohol; intoxicants) and Ribâ were
not forbidden all at once, then it is allowed to gradually implement Islam;
especially if it can lead to the full implementation of Islam later on.
Allah (swt) had during the time of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) revealed all of Islam. There is nothing left out or lacking in Islam, Allah revealed the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah to the Prophet Muhammad and perfected and completed the Dîn of Islam (see Sûrah al-Mâ’idah, 5:3). The Holy Qur’an was revealed in a period of 23 years, and in those years, certain âyât in the Holy Qur’an have been abrogated and replaced with other âyât (see Sûrah al-Baqarah, 2:106), but in the end of the period of Revelation, Islam became complete and perfect and the abrogation of certain âyât came in a period of time when the Dîn of Islam was still being revealed to Prophet Muhammad (saaws). But each time an âyah or Hadith came into existence, the Muslims during the time of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) implemented them without any delay or hesitation. So there is no excuse or justification for any “gradual implementation” of Islam when we have all of Islam; Allah (swt) orders us to enter Islam whole-heartedly and not “gradually”:
“O you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly and follow not the footsteps of Satan; for he is to you an avowed enemy.” (Sûrah al-Baqarah, 2:208)
So we are not allowed to “pick and choose” what part of Islam to obey or not obey or to implement or not implement. We are ordered to enter Islam completely and implement all that what Allah (swt) has revealed. The concept of gradual implementation of Islam when Islam is already completed and perfected goes against the very concept of entering Islam whole-heartedly and implementing all of its laws. It also begs the question for those who believe in a gradual implementation of Islam is that what part of Islam will be implemented now and what part of Islam will not implemented now but later, the reason why and the Dalîl for this “picking and choosing” of Islam? As have been stated earlier, during the time of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) when Islam was still being revealed cannot be analogous to today where Islam is no longer being revealed in stages but already is complete and perfect.
All of the above-mentioned arguments have been used by its proponents to justify participation in a kufr political system. What can be concluded from this is that the attempt to justify and legitimize the act of participating in a kufr system does not hold a lot of weight under critical examination with Islam being the criterion. What we must always remember that whatever is used by the proponents of participation will always lead back to this one fact: that is the suspension of the full implementation of Islam will always occur due to the fact that the indulgence in something that does not lead to the full implementation of Islam will eventually cause its postponement. When we participate in a kufr system, we are not working towards its abolishment; what happens is that its existence is further perpetuated by the involvement of people who are working in accordance to the system. This is sharp contrast to the time of Prophet Muhammad (saaws) when he (saaws) and the Sahâbah (ra) worked hard and achieved by the Permission of Allah the full abolishment of the kufr system of Quraysh. There was no attempt on the part of the Muslims at that time to “work within” the system of Quraysh via lobbying, voting for candidates, or even running for the candidacy in a particular office in their system. The Muslims at that time could have opted to suffer much less and achieve more material benefits but did not because that would go against and compromise Islam.
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Those who take disbelievers for Awliyâ’ instead of believers, do they seek honor, power and glory with them? Verily to Allah belongs honor, power and glory.” (Sûrah an-Nisâ’, 4:139)
“O you who believe! Take not for Awliyâ’ disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?” (Sûrah an-Nisâ’, 4:144)
Allah (swt) makes it clear that it is forbidden to take the Kuffâr as Awliyâ’ instead of the Muslims, especially the ones who are openly against the Muslims such as America, who are active in their role in the killing and oppression the Muslims around the world. If a politician belongs to a system of a country that commits atrocities against the Muslims like America, he is either indirectly or directly participating in the Dhulm (oppression; acts of injustice) against the Muslims; whether he is against it or not.
Such a Walâ’ (alliance) with those Kuffâr is forbidden for the fact is that those who are indirectly or directly responsible for the oppression of Muslims are opposed to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saaws). Allah (swt) says:
“You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allah (swt) and the Last Day , making friendship with those who oppose Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saaws), even though they were their fathers, or their sons or their brothers or their kindred…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Mujâdilah, 58:22)
It is also forbidden to have of appointed a representative who will not rule by what Allah (swt) has revealed. This representation (Wakâlah) makes you a partly responsible in whatever sin they commit due to the fact that you help that person get the political position he sought after. The person will eventually have to rule by kufr and allow what Allah (swt) does not allow and forbid what Allah (swt) has made permissible. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an:
“…Cooperate in righteousness and piety, and do not cooperate in sin and transgression. And fear Allah (swt). Truly Allah (swt) is Severe in punishment.” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Mâ’idah, 5:2)
Allah (swt) we are to cooperate in righteous and piety and not in sin and transgression. A person who rules by other than what Allah (swt) has revealed is someone we cannot help support or elect in any way, shape or form. If we do so, we are cooperating in sin and transgression which Allah (swt) has made forbidden.
The good intentions of a person cannot justify doing or supporting those who do Harâm as have been proved earlier. Allah (swt) says:
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds? Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds.’” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah al-Kahf, 18:103-104)
Allah (swt) has made the Muslim Ummah the best nation ever raised for mankind when we enjoin the Ma`rûf and forbid the Munkar:
“You are the best Ummah ever raised up for mankind, you enjoin the al-Ma`rûf and forbid the al-Munkar and believe in Allah (swt)…” (The Holy Qur’an, Sûrah Âl-`Imrân, 3:110)
We cannot forbid all of the Munkar when we are indulging in it and the system that allows it; nor can we enjoin all of the Ma`rûf when we are participating in a system that forbids the complete application of enjoining the Ma`rûf. We must obey Allah (swt) by enjoining all of the Ma`rûf and forbidding all of the Munkar in a system that will accomplish this and not participate in a system that will not.
1 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Rahîq Al-Makhtûm (The Sealed Nectar), pg. 105
2 ibid., pg. 114
3 ibid., pg. 343
4 Taqîyud-dîn an-Nabhânî, The Islamic State, pg. 134
5 ibid., pg.141
6 ibid., pg. 148
7 See “The Jewry in America,” Khalifornia Journal Volume 4, Issue 1-2, January-June 1999, pg. 81-92
8 ibid., pg. 86
10 See Iyâd Hilâl, Studies in Usul ul Fiqh, pg. 64-67
11 Taken from the section on Article 12 from the book Muqadimmah ad-Dustûr aw al-Asbâb Al-Mûjibah lahu cited in Khalifornia Journal, Volume 2, Issue 3, July – September 1997
12 The Hikmah is the wisdom or what could be the result of the text. It may or may not exist. This is different from `illah. The `illah comes before the rule because it is the cause and the rule is the effect. Thus, if the `illah exists, the rule which is connected to this `illah will apply.
13 See Iyâd Hilâl, Studies in Usul ul Fiqh, pg. 94-99
14 Mursal is a Hadith where the chain of narrators is missing the name of the Sahâbî who reported it. It is accepted as Dalîl in Fiqh by Imams Malik, Abu Hanifah, Ahmad and others.
15 See “Rulings and Opinions of Umar (ra) and Al Maslahah Al Mursalah,” Khalifornia Journal, Volume 2, Issue 4, October – December 1997. We must remember that Abu Bakr (ra) did not appoint `Umar ibn al-Khattab as successor. Abu Bakr (ra) just nominated (suggested) `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) for the position of Khalîfah after he surveyed the opinion of the people in Medina.
16 ibid., pg. 90-91. See also Al-Ihkâm fî Usûl al-Ahkâm by Imam Ibn Hazm and Nayl al-Awtâr by Imam Shawkani.
17 See Ar-Rahîq Al-Makhtûm, pg.61-62