Imam Ahmad on Rebelling against Rulers

Abul-Hârith Ahmad b. Muhammad Al-Sâ`igh, the close and respected friend of Imâm Ahmad, reports:

I asked Abû ‘Abdillâh (Imâm Ahmad) about something that had occurred in Baghdâd, and [because of which] some people were considering revolting [against the ruler]. I said, “O Abû ‘Abdillâh, what do you say about taking part in the revolt with these people?” He decried it and started saying, “Subhânallâh! The blood [of the people], the blood [of the people]! I do not believe in this and I do not tell others to do it. For us to suffer our situation in patience is better than the fitnah (tribulation) in which blood is spilt, property is taken, and the prohibited are violated (e.g. the honor of women). Do you not know what happened to the people (in the days of the previous fitnah)?” I said, “And the people today, Abû ‘Abdillâh, are they not in fitnah [because of the ruler]?” He replied, “If so, it is a limited fitnah, but if the sword is raised, the fitnah will engulf everything and there will be no way to escape. To suffer patiently this [current difficulty], where Allâh keeps your religion safe for you is better for you.” I saw him decry revolting against the leaders, and say, “[Do not spill the people's] blood. I do not believe in this and I do not command it.”

Abû Bakr Al-Khallâl, Al-Sunnah article 89.