These are some narrations that should help the wise differentiate between the true scholar and the faker. Most of the true scholars, these days, are either behind bars or on the battle frontlines.
‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Abbaas said that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “There shall be rulers whom you will recognize from them good and evil. Whoever opposes them is saved. Whoever abandons them is freed. And whoever intermingles with them is destroyed.” (Collected by Ibn Abee Shaybah and at-Tabaraanee; al-Albaanee authenticated it in “Saheeh al-Jaami’”, hadeeth #3661).
Abul-A’war as-Sulamee said that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Be wary of the ruler’s gates; for there, there is difficulty and humiliation.” (Collected by ad-Daylamee and at-Tabaraanee; al-Albaanee authenticated it in “as-Silsilah as-Saheehah”, hadeeth #1253).
Aboo Hurayrah said that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whoever approaches the ruler’s gates becomes afflicted. Whenever a slave draws closer to the ruler, he only gains distance from Allaah.” (Collected by Ahmad; al-Albaanee authenticated it in “Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb”, hadeeth #2241. A similar narration, save the last sentence, is reported from Ibn ‘Abbaas; al-Albaanee authenticated it in “Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb”, hadeeth #2242).
Jaabir Ibn ‘Abdillaah said that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to Ka’b Ibn ‘Ujrah, “O Ka’b Ibn ‘Ujrah, I seek Allaah’s protection for you from the leadership of fools. There shall be rulers, whoever enters upon them, then aids them in their oppression and validates their lies, then he is not from me nor I from him, and he shall not be admitted to the Hawd. Whoever does not enter upon them, and does not aid them in their oppression, nor validates their lies, then he is from me and I from him, and he shall be admitted to the Hawd.” (Collected by Ahmad, al-Bazzaar, and Ibn Hibbaan; al-Albaanee authenticated it in “Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb”, hadeeth #2243. Similar narrations are reported from an-Nu’man Ibn Basheer, ‘Abdillaah Ibn Khabbaab (from his father), Abee Sa’eed al-Khudree, and Ka’b Ibn ‘Ujrah; Al-Albaanee authenticated these other narrations in “Saheeh at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb”, ahaadeeth #2243-2246).
As for narrations from the words of the Companions, then as-Suyootee has collected from ‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib, Ibn Mas’ood, Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yamaan, and Abee Dharr, narrations of general warning against approaching the rulers or their gates. See “Maa Rawaahul-Asaateen Fee ‘Adam al-Majee’ Ilas-Salaateen”.
There are too many with similar meanings, so here are some examples:
Ibn Mas’ood said, “Whoever wishes to honor his religion, then he should not enter upon the ruler.” (Collected by ad-Daarimee).
Ibn Mas’ood also said, “A man enters upon the ruler, carrying his religion with him, then exits without anything with him.” (Collected by al-Bukhaaree in his “Taareekh” and Ibn Sa’d in “at-Tabaqaat”).
Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yamaan said, “O indeed! Never should any of you walk even a hand-span in the direction of the ruler.” (Collected by Ibn Abee Shaybah).
He collects from the later scholars of the Salaf, similar narrations from Sufyaan ath-Thawree, Sa’eed Ibn al-Musayyib, Hammaad Ibn Salamah, al-Hasan al-Basree, Ibn al-Mubaarak, Abee Haazim, al-Awzaa’ee, and al-Fudayl Ibn al-‘Iyaad.
Here are some examples from these scholars of the Salaf:
Sufyaan at-Thawree said, “Don’t go, even if they ask you to visit them just to recite ‘qul huwallaahu ahad’.” (Collected by al-Bayhaqee).
Maalik Ibn Anas said, “I met more than ten and some Taabi’een, all of them saying, do not go to them, do not admonish them, meaning the ruler.” (Collected by al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee in “Ruwaah Maalik”).
Sufyaan ath-Thawree said, “Looking at the ruler is a sin.” (Collected by Abee ‘Alee al-Aamudee in his “Ta’leeq”).
Bishr al-Haafee said, “How disgusting is it to request to see a scholar, but then to get the response that he is at the ruler’s gate.” (Collected by al-Bayhaqee in “Shu’ab al-Eemaan”).
What remains is the matter that: isn’t speaking the truth in the face of a tyrant the greatest Jihad? The answer: Yes, but other similar narrations mention why it is the greatest Jihad and martyrdom, because after he commands the good and denounces evil, the ruler kills him. This is the real speaking of the truth, not the following of desires and visiting the ruler daily until the scholar is one of his personal advisors and henchmen. The Salaf were afraid that most people were too weak to stay firm in the face of the tyrant, but instead would be affected by his power and wealth, thereby justifying religious compromise with the ruler, which is exactly what we see these days from our “scholars.” How wise were the Salaf, and how foolish are the Khalaf.
Allaah knows best.
Important Point: These narrations warn against approaching tyrannical, MUSLIM rulers, so what of those rulers who apostate by aiding the infidels against the Muslims, or by legislating manmade laws, or ruling by manmade laws, etc.