affairs of the Ummah

Sayings of the Salaf concerning the state and well-being of the Muslims as a whole, or communities amongst them.

Three People to Stay Away From

It is reported that ʿAlī b. ʾAbī Ṭālib – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

Do not be with the sinner (fājir), for he will beautify to you the things he does, and he will want you to be like him; and he will beautify to you the worst of his practices; and his entrance upon you and leaving from your company will cause ignominy and discredit [of you].

And do not accompany the fool (aḥmaq), for he will exhaust himself [to help you] but will not benefit you, and he may want to benefit you but end up harming you; his silence is better than his speaking, his distance is better than his closeness, and him dying is better than him living.

And do not accompany the liar, for life will not benefit you with him, he will tell others what you say, and tell you what others say; and if you speak the truth, it will not be believed.

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir AlʿIlm no. 1379.

Being Two Faced to the Muslim Ruler

Muḥammad b. Zayd b. ʿUmar reports from his father:

Some people said to Ibn ʿUmar, “We enter upon our rulers, and we say to them something different to what we say when we leave their company.” He said, “We used to regard this as [a type of] nifāq (hypocrisy).”

Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī no. 7178, and others.

Imam Ahmad on Rebelling against Rulers

Abul-Ḥārith Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Al-Ṣā`igh, the close and respected friend of Imām Aḥmad, reports:

I asked Abū ‘Abdillāh (Imām Aḥmad) about something that had occurred in Baghdād, and [because of which] some people were considering revolting [against the ruler]. I said, “O Abū ‘Abdillāh, what do you say about taking part in the revolt with these people?” He decried it and started saying, “Subḥānallāh! 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, Abū ‘Abdillāh, 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 Allāh 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.”

Abū Bakr Al-Khallāl, Al-Sunnah article 89.

Umar on obeying the Muslim Ruler

Suwayd b. Ghaflah reports that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with him – once took him by the hand and said:

O Abū Umayah, by Allāh, I know not if we will meet again after today. Fear and obey Allāh your Lord until the Day of Resurrection, as if you see Him, and obey the ruler (imām) even if he is a cut-nosed Abyssinian slave: if he beats you, be patient; if he robs you, be patient and if he belittles you, be patient. And if he tells you [to do something] to the detriment of your religion (to sin), say: “I hear and obey, [but] my blood goes before my religion.” Never leave the Main Muslim Body (Al-Jamā’ah).

Ibn Zanjawayh, Kitāb Al-Amwāl article 30; Ibn Abī Zamanīn, Uṣūl Al-Sunnah article 205 with a slight variation in wording. Also recorded in other collections.

The scholar, the ruler, and your brother

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Al-Mubārak – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is right that an intelligent person does not undervalue three [types of people]: the scholars, the rulers, and [his Muslim] brothers. Whoever undervalues the scholars will lose his afterlife, whoever undervalues the rulers will lose his worldly life, and whoever undervalues his brothers loses his good character and conduct.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā`17:251.