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Corrupt Leaders
According to Quran and Sunnah

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About corruption and what to do about Muslim leaders whose
methodology or teaching is to commit the haram (prohibited)

The Prophet (sallallahu aleihi wa sallam) said:

"Allah does not punish the individuals for the sins of the community until they see the evil spreading among themselves, and while they have the power to stop it, do not do so." (Ahmad)

Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said:

"This is why those who are in authority are of two groups: the scholars and the rulers. If they are upright, the people will be upright; if they are corrupt, the people will be corrupt."


The Noble Qur'an - Hud 11:85

"And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people, and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption.


The Noble Qur'an - Hud 11:113

And incline not toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you have no protectors other than Allâh, nor you would then be helped


Do not split from the Jamaa'ah
as a result of a corrupt leader


Hadith - Al-Bukhari and Muslim, and other narration by at-Tirmidhee (no. 2867) and Ahmad (4/130).

Allaah’s Messenger (SAAWS) said, "He who sees from his ruler something he dislikes, let him be patient with him, for he who splits away from the Jamaa’ah by a handspan and then dies, dies a death of Jaahiliyyah" and in a narration, "then he has thrown off the yoke of Islaam from his neck."


Be Firm yet Just with a Corrupt Muslim


The Noble Qur'an - Al-Ma'idah 5:8

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allâh and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allâh. Verily, Allâh is Well­Acquainted with what you do.


Shaykh Abdul-Azeez ibn Baaz, hafidahullah was asked, "Is it from the manhaj (methodology) of the Salaf to criticise the Rulers from the minbar (the pulpit)? And what is the manhaj of the Salaf with respect to advising the Rulers?" He responded:

It is not from the manhaj of the Salaf to publicise the faults of the Rulers and to mention such things from the pulpit because that leads to confusion/disorder and the absence of hearing and obeying the ruler in what is good. it also results in (the people) becoming engrossed (with these matters, arguing and debating) which causes harm and produces no benefit. The followed path with the Salaf, however is to give naseehah (advice) with respect to the matters which are between themselves and the leader, writing to him or by reaching him through the scholars who keep in touch with him (to advise him) until the ruler is directed towards the good. Repelling the evil occurs without mentioning the doer of the evil. So fornication, drinking of intoxicants and the taking of usury are curbed without mentioning the one who does such things. Warding off the evil and warning and the people against it is sufficient without it being mentioned that such and such a person does it, whether he is a ruler or other than the ruler.

And when the fitnah occurred in the time of 'Uthmaan , some of the people said to Usaamah ibn Zaid , "Will you not speak to "'Uthmaan?" So he replied, "You think that I will not talk to him without letting you know about it (also). Indeed, I will certainly talk to him regarding that which concerns me and him without initiating a matter which I do not love to be the first to initiate."


Hadith - Reported by Ahmad (3/403) and Ibn Abee 'Aasim (2/521) with a saheeh isnaad.

It is authentically reported from the Messenger in the hadeeth of 'Iyaad ibn Ghunum who said, "The Messenger of Allaah (saaws) said, 'Whoever desires to advise the one with authority then he should not do so openly, rather he should take him by the hand and take him into seclusion (and then advise him). And if he accepts (the advice) from him then (he has achieved his objective) and if not, then he has fulfilled that which was a duty upon him.' "


Sexual Corruption

The Noble Qur'an 24:30

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.

Hadith - Sahih Bukhari Book 25, No. 5403

Some persons from Banu Hisham entered the house of Asma' daughter of Umays when AbuBakr also entered (and she was at that time his wife). He (AbuBakr) saw it and disapproved of it and he made a mention of that to Allah's Messenger saaws and said: I did not see but good only (in my wife).

Thereupon Allah's Messenger saaws said: Verily Allah has made her immune from all this. Then Allah's Messenger saaws stood on the pulpit and said: After this day no man should enter the house of another person in his absence, but only when he is accompanied by one person or two persons.

Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi 3118, Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab , Tirmidhi transmitted it

The Prophet saaws said, "Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Devil makes a third."


In order to Lead the People,
You Must Qualify to be a Wali

Hadith - Dawud 2078, Narrated 'Aisha r.a. [also related by Ahmad, Tirmidhi, and others. Tirmidhi said, this is a hasan Hadith]

"If they dispute, then the sultan (man in authority) is the wali of those who have no wali."


The Duty of the Muslim to Give Sincere Advice to the Corrupt Ruler

"The master of martyrs (sayyid al-shuhada) is Hamza, and a man who stands up to a tyrant ruler and gives him nasiha (advice). And so the ruler kills him"

The Prophet (SAW) continued to say : 'By Allah you have to enjoin good (Maroof) and forbid evil (Munkar), and hold against the hand of the unjust ruler (Zalim), and force him on the truth strongly, or you have to limit him to the truth'. By this evidence, which is the hadith commenting on the verse, Allah (SWT) has prohibited us from remaining silent against the evil (Munkar), and He commanded us to remove it. Allah (SWT) commanded the Muslims to enjoin Maroof and deny Munkar, and made it a duty upon them to do so. Allah (SWT) said; 'Let it be from among you a group who call to the good, enjoin Maroof and deny Munkar'. Allah (SWT) also said: 'You have been the best nation (Ummah) brought to the people, because you enjoin Maroof and deny Munkar'.  [Musnad of Ahmad]


Saying of the Salaf

'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radiallaahu 'anhu) used to say:

"Whoever aids an oppressor or taught him an argument to nullify the right of an ordinary Muslims, has drawn upon himself the anger of Allaah".


The Noble Qur'an 33:60-61

If the HYPOCRITES, and those in whose hearts is a disease (evil desire for ADULTERY, etc.), and those who spread FALSE NEWS among the people in Al­Madinah, cease not, We shall certainly let you OVERPOWER them, then they will not be able to stay in it as your neighbours but a little while. Accursed, wherever found, they shall be seized and killed with a (terrible) slaughter.


Hadith - Al-Tirmidhi 3741, Narrated Abdullah ibn Abu Awfa

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Allah is with the qadi as long as he is not tyrannical, but when he is, He departs from him and the Devil attaches himself to him." [Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it.]


Fighting a corrupt muslim ruler

If an Imam (leader) or Amir (ruler) becomes corrupt he should first be given a call to Islam (submission) in private, or possibly in public if his evil deeds were done in public. If he does not turn away from his evil deeds, he should be overthrown or removed from position. However, in the process of removing him from position, he should not be physically fought, such as waging war with weapons. This is because the ruler is still muslim, and the muslims are not to attack or kill another muslim. If, however, the Muslim leader or ruler completely abandons his salat, he nullifies his Islam and can be fought if necessary. (However, to prove this, it would take an Islamic court or similar situation in which the person could defend themselves against all accusations).

Hadith - Sahih Muslim 4569, Narrated Umm Salamah, r.a.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: In the near future there will be Amirs (rulers) and you will like their good deeds and dislike their bad deeds. One who sees through their bad deeds (and tries to prevent their repetition by his hand or through his speech), is absolved from blame, but one who hates their bad deeds (in the heart of his heart, being unable to prevent their recurrence by his hand or his tongue), is (also) safe (so far as God"s wrath is concerned). But one who approves of their bad deeds and imitates them is spiritually ruined. People asked (the Prophet): Shouldn't we fight against them? He replied: No, as long as they say their prayers.

Hadith - Related by Ahmad, Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, anNasa'i and Ibn Majah
Buraidah reported that the Prophet Peace and Blessings be upon him said, "The pact between us and them is prayer. Whoever abandons it is a disbeliever."


Rulers will be held accountable to Allah

Hadith - Al-Bukhari 4.661, Narrated Abu Huraira, r.a.

The Prophet (saaws) said, "The Israelis used to be ruled and guided by prophets: Whenever a prophet died, another would take over his place. There will be no prophet after me, but there will be Caliphs who will increase in number." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What do you order us (to do)?" He said, "Obey the one who will be given the pledge of allegiance first. Fulfil their (i.e. the Caliphs) rights, for Allah will ask them about (any shortcoming) in ruling those Allah has put under their guardianship."

Hadith - Sahih Al-Bukhari 9:265

Allah's Messenger SAW said, "If any ruler having the authority to rule Muslim subjects dies while he is deceiving them, Allah will forbid Paradise for him."


The Noble Qur'an - 4:111

And whoever earns sin, he earns it only against himself. And Allah is Ever All­Knowing, All­Wise


Sahih Muslim - Volume 9, Book 89, Number 264, Narrated Ma'qil

I heard the Prophet (saaws) saying, "Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise."


The Noble Qur'an 4:79

Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself.


The Noble Qur'an 22:54

And that those who have been given knowledge may know that it (this Qur'an) is the truth from your Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may SUBMIT TO IT WITH HUMILITY. And verily, Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the Straight Path.


Action Items for the Muttaqun:

  • Stand up to a corrupt leader by first calling him to Islam in hopes that he will repent and correct any haram (Islamically forbidden) behavior or teaching.  If this does not work, consider it the collective jihad of the community to address the problem.

  • An Imam of a Masjid can be replaced, but a governmental leader cannot be overthrown as long as he is Muslim. In both cases, sincere advice based on Quran and Sunnah (not feelings) should be given to the Imam or Sultan.

  • An Imam who is sexually immoral or otherwise a proven fasiq, does not qualify to be a wali to sisters and therefore does not qualify to be an Imam or ruler over the people.

  • Facts are not established against a person until that person is allowed to defend themselves against all accusations. A person is truly considered innocent until proven guilty in Islam.

  • Enjoin the good and forbid the evil.

Remember... Allah, subhana watala, sees everything we do!


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