Arabic Virtual Academy

The Academy Blog
14 Oct 2012

Obedience To The Leader

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There are a lot of questions that revolve around the statement “Obedience to the leader is obligatory and who ever obeys the leader has obeyed Me.” So the question is, do we obey the leader in everything?


This hadeeth that was related by both al Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs on the authority of Abi Hurairah on the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) that he said, “Who ever obeys the leader has obeyed me, Who ever disobeyed the leader has disobeyed me”. Allah says in His book {O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.} [4:59]. This is something that is unrestricted that is made restricted by the Sunnah  It must be understood that the Sunnah and the Quran restrict each other. Therefore that which is unrestricted in the Quran can be restricted by the Sunnah and vice versa. This particular situation is an example of where the Sunnah restricts the Quran. Allah says {and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.} [4:59], and it comes in the authentic Sunnah “for obedience is required only in what is good” (related by both al Bukhari and Muslim). So from this we understand that there is no obedience to the leadership except in that which is good. Also like this is the situation of the parents, the spouse and other then them. They are not obeyed except in that which is good. Also like them is the elder of a tribe. He too is not obeyed except in the good. The mentioned hadeeth along with another hadeeth of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) when he said, “There is no obedience to the creation when it is in disobedience to the Creator.” (related by Ibn Abi Shaybah).  When the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to his companions (may Allah be pleased with them Allah), “Some leaders will come that you see good from them and bad from them.” So they said – what do you command us with Oh Messenger of Allah? Should we not fight them with the sword?  He replied, “No, rather give them their rights and ask Allah for your rights” (related by Ahmad). In another narration it is stated, “Pay their rights to them (to the rulers) and ask your right from Allah” (related by al Bukhari). In a different narration it was reported as, “and not to fight against him unless we noticed him having open Kufr (disbelief) for which we would have a proof with us from Allah” (related by al Bukhari).  There is another narration that says, “Obey them as long as they establish the prayer amongst you” (related by Ahmad). So all of this is to say that Hearing and Obeying to the leadership is restricted by the authentic Sunnah to that which is good.

[Taken from Majmoo’ al Fatwaah of Sheikh Bin Baaz]

[Translated by Abu Abdillah Abdul Lateef]

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