The accursed disbeliever and enemy of Allah Shaytaan has succeeded in motivating many deviant and moderate ‘Muslims’ into thinking that obedience to man-made law is a religious and moral obligation in Islam.
They often misinterpret verses from the Qur’aan and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and use these as proofs for their false claims. Furthermore, they also cite counterfeit fatwas (religious verdicts) which are often issued by government scholars who get paid for misleading their blind followers.
This short article seeks to refute widespread misconceptions surrounding this topic which have been circulated by the moderate (non-practicing) Muslims, by referring to the divine texts (i.e. Qur’aan and Sunnah) in accordance with the understanding of the Sahaabah (Companions).
Allah commands us to obey our rulers
Those who have deviated from the Straight Path use the following verse as a justification to commit shirk akbar (a major unforgivable sin in Islam) by obeying false deities who do not rule by the Book of Allah:
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger [SAW], and those who are in authority among you? (EMQ an-Nisaa’, 4:59)
It is quite surprising how such an unambiguous verse can be misunderstood. The one who claims that this aayah commands us to obey the Kuffaar (disbelievers) is completely feeble-minded. This is because the verse begins with: ‘O you who believe!’ Therefore, the verse is calling upon those who believe (i.e. Muslims) to obey the one who is in authority from among them. Consequently, since he is from among them he must also be from ‘those who believe.’
Moreover, such a claim implies that Allah (SWT) is contradicting Himself and the above verse practically means, ‘O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (SAW), and the one who disbelieves and rejects Islam.’ This is a clear contradiction and does not make any sense at all; therefore, the verse cannot be ordering us to obey a disbeliever after commanding us to obey Allah and the Messenger (SAW).
In addition, the majority of Salafi Mufassireen (exegetes of the Qur’aan) have explained that ‘olil amr (those in authority)’ refers to the ‘ulamaa (scholars).
To conclude, the above verse orders us to obey the Muslim ruler who rules by the Qur’aan and Sunnah, not the Kaafir who disbelieves in Allah, discards the Sharee’ah and implements man-made laws, freedom and democracy.
We have entered into a covenant and therefore we must obey the laws of the land
Evidences used for this second specious argument are verses such as:
O you who believe! Fulfil [your] obligations? (EMQ al-Maa’idah, 5:1)
And fulfil [every] covenant. Verily! The covenant will be questioned about. (EMQ al-Israa’, 17:34)
There is no doubt in the mind of any Muslim that fulfilling one’s oaths, covenants and contracts are obligations which are known from Islam by necessity. However, when we are speaking about entering into a covenant with a particular country, this agreement is valid so long as the subject matter is permissible in Islam.
The subject matter of any covenant today is that one enters into a country for protection (e.g. from persecution), or/and in order to propagate the message of Islam. In return, he will not violate the life and sanctity of those whom he is under covenant with. Any other part of the covenant is not binding upon him, especially those parts which require him to contravene God’s laws.
Hence, for argument’s sake, if part of the covenant requires him to obey the laws of taaghout (a false god, such as a queen or president) this is not binding upon him. Obedience is an act of worship in Islam; hence, if it is given to anyone other than Allah it will turn out to be shirk ut-taa’ah (associating partners with Allah by obeying someone other than Him). Allah, the Exalted, says:
O you who believe! If you obey a group of those who were given the Scripture [Jews and Christians], they would [indeed] render you disbelievers after you have believed! (EMQ Aali ‘Imraan, 3:100)
And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites? (EMQ al-Ahzaab, 33:48)
So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost endeavour, with it [the Qur'aan]. (EMQ al-Furqaan, 25:52)
And if you obey them [i.e. the disbelievers], then you would indeed be Mushrikoon[polytheists, or unbelievers etc.]. (EMQ al-An’aam, 6:121)
From the above verses we can deduce that obedience to anyone other than Allah is shirk, and thus an act of apostasy. This does not mean that obedience to one’s husband or parents constitutes shirk, for Allah (SWT) has ordered us to fulfil their rights. Obedience to the disbelievers, faasiqeen (rebellious sinners) and hypocrites is what has been made forbidden.
Those who continuously speak about fulfilling one’s covenant ? do they not think about fulfilling the covenant they made with Almighty Allah (SWT): to reject all false deities and obey none but Him?
It is not allowed to break their laws as it gives Islam a bad name
We do not determine what is forbidden and what is lawful in the Sharee’ah by what gives Islam a bad name and what does not. Allah (SWT) has informed us that the disbelievers utterly despise Islam. This is because the Sharee’ah of Islam opposes their rational desires and personal interests, such as drinking alcohol, free-mixing, fornication, taking intoxicants, freedom, the worship of false deities and so forth. Allah (SWT) says:
Intolerable for the Mushrikoon [disbelievers] is that to which you call them to? (EMQ ash-Shooraa, 42:13)
For this reason, Allah (SWT) ordered the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions to uncompromisingly invite the disbelievers to the way of life and ideology of Islam ? without being concerned about their derogatory opinions and views:
Therefore proclaim openly that which you are commanded [i.e. the message of Islam], and turn away from al-Mushrikoon[polytheists, idolaters and disbelievers etc]. (EMQ al-Hijr, 15:94)
It is He Who has sent His Messenger [Muhammad (SAW)] with guidance and the religion of truth [Islam], to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikoon [disbelievers] hate [it]. (EMQ at-Tawbah, 9:33)
The one who rigidly holds onto the principles of his belief and calls people to the obedience of One God is not giving Islam a bad name. It is the one who compromises his belief for the sake of pleasing the enemies of Allah who is tarnishing Islam. Allah (SWT) has commanded us to reject man-made laws and not to obey the disbelievers. If this gives Islam a bad name, let the dogs continue to bark.
When some of the Sahaabah (Companions) migrated to Abyssinia they refused to bow down to the King, even though it was ‘disrespectful’ at the time and gave a ‘bad’ first impression to non-Muslims. This is because they went there for protection, not to become law-abiding Abyssinian citizens.
Incredible how people nowadays are more concerned about breaking man-made laws than breaking the laws of Almighty Allah! When they hear the word ‘illegal’ they become fearful and worried, but when they hear the terms ‘haraam’, ‘kufr’ or ’shirk’ it has no impact on them.
It is not allowed to break the law as it will result in imprisonment
Although it is prohibited to obey any law other than Allah’s, this does not mean that we should deliberately break every single law for the sake of it. Some laws are permissible to observe, providing one’s intention is not to obey taaghout. For example, wearing a seatbelt is permissible in Islam. However, if it is done because the law says you must do it, this constitutes to be shirk. One can only wear it for protection or because it is permissible, not because the law obliges us to do so. Likewise, to stop at a red light is permissible in Islam ? providing it is done for personal safety or in order to not cause harm upon others.
Furthermore, we have already mentioned that it is prohibited to obey the disbelievers and hypocrites. Muslims are required to hold onto the principles of their religion and convey the divine rules of Islam (such as the killing of one who insults a Prophet) even if it is illegal to do so. If one is imprisoned for his belief it is considered to be martyrdom for the cause of Allah the ultimate aim of a believer.
The Sahaabah were arrested, tortured and even killed for going against the laws and customs of the Quraysh. Similarly, Prophet Yoosuf (AS) was imprisoned for rejecting the calls of disobedience to Allah. In his famous statement, Yoosuf (or Joseph) said:
O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me? (EMQ Yoosuf, 12:33)
Incredible how people are more frightened from being thrown into prison than being thrown into Hellfire!