OBEYING THE ‘AMIR – ‘IMARA IN ISLAM

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Praise be to Allah Ta’ala and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the last and Final Messenger Muhammad, his noble family and his sahaba.

To proceed.

It is obligatory to obey the Amir, and it is haram to betray him or break the oath given to him, this is a general rule.

Obedience (taa’ah) means compliance and submission; whilst Amir is the one who takes charge of a matter, whether this matter was general like that related to an ummah or a people. Or it might be specific like that related to a group that gathered over a common issue. Thus, the one who looks after the general affairs of Muslims is considered an Amir. Likewise, the one who looks after the affairs of a group structured over a common issue is considered an Amir as well; and the one who looks after the affairs of a group in travel is an Amir also.

Amir, chairman and leader hold the same meaning. Likewise, imarah, chairmanship and leadership have the same meaning as well.

Amir can be a ruler such as amir ul-mu’mineen (leader of the believers), and amir of wilaya (governor). He might be other than a ruler, such as amir of an army, an expedition, amir of a party (hizb) and amir of travel. So, the word of amir is general (‘aamm) that includes the amir who is a ruler, and the amir who is not a ruler.

Obedience (taa’ah) is obliged to every amir, by those whom he is amir to them, within the issue/matter he is made an amir over. Thus, it is obliged to obey the amir ul-mu’mineen, to comply with him and to execute his decrees and decisions, by all the citizens who live under his imarah. It is also obliged to obey the amir of the army, comply with him and execute his orders and decisions, by all the soldiers of the army, which he leads, regarding the matters which he was made an amir over. It is as well obliged to obey the amir of a hizb (party), comply with him and execute his orders and decisions, by all the members of the hizb, which he presides over, regarding the responsibilities given to him, in accordance with the hizb rules and adoptions, which the hizb members gave an oath on; this is as long as the person remained a member in it.

The obligation of obedience and compliance with the amir has been proved in Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah (swt) says:

يا أيها الذين آمنوا أطيعوا الله وأطيعوا الرسول وأولي الأمر منكم

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and people of authority from among you”. [TMQ 4: 59]

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Aby Hurairah that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say:

«من أطاعني فقد أطاع الله، ومن عصاني فقد عصى الله، ومن أطاع الأمير فقد أطاعني ومن عصى الأمير فقد عصاني»

“Whoever obeyed me he would have obeyed Allah, and whoever disobeyed me he would have disobeyed Allah. And whoever obeyed the amir he would have obeyed me, and whoever disobeyed the amir he would have disobeyed me”.

The hadith was narrated in another form as:

«ومن أطاع أميري فقد أطاعني، ومن عصى أميري فقد عصاني»

“And whoever obeyed my amir he would have obeyed me, and whoever disobeyed my amir he would have disobeyed me”.

The words of amir and my amir that came in this hadith include the amir who is a ruler and the amir who is not a ruler, such as the amir of an army and the amir of an expedition. The Messenger of Allah (saw) had appointed amirs as rulers, such as Mu’adh bin Jabal as an amir over al-Jand, Ziyad bin Labid and Alaa’ bin al-Hadhrami over Hadramout, Abu Musa al-Ash’ari over Zubayd and Eden. He (saw) appointed also amirs other than rulers over armies and expeditions. He appointed Sa’d bin aby Waqqas amir over an expedition he sent towards Makkah, and appointed Zayd bin Haritha, Ja’far bin Aby Talib, and Abdullah bin Aby Ruwaha as amirs over the army of Mu’ta, one after the other. The mentioned hadith of Al-Bukhari and Muslim applies to these amirs he appointed as rulers over the countries and the amirs other than rulers, whom he appointed over the armies and expeditions. The Messenger of Allah (saw) considered obedience to them as obedience to him and obedience to Allah; and disobedience to them as disobedience to him and disobedience to Allah.

There are many verses and ahadith that command with obedience and urge to do it, so that obedience among Muslims becomes one of the natural dispositions. This is because obedience and compliance are fundamental and necessary for discipline and for the protection of the entity of the state, the ummah, the party and group. Without obedience and compliance there would be no discipline; besides disorder would prevail and the entity would be shattered and collapse.

Obedience came in the ahidith in an absolute form (mutlaq) and without being restricted to a specific amir or a specific matter. Thus, obedience is obliged to every Muslim amir, who is committed to the shar’, even if he was unjust, and even if he used to take property illicitly. There are sound ahadith that indicate this matter. Al-Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abbas, he said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

«مَن رأى من أميره شيئاً فكرهه فليصبر عليه، فإن من فارق الجماعة شبراً فمات إلاّ مات ميتة جاهلية»

“Whoever saw a matter he hates from his amir let him be patient about it. This is because whoever dissociated himself from the community (jamaa’ah), even by the measure of a hand span, and then he died as such he would have died a death of jahiliyya”.

FURTHER IMAM AN NAWAWI HAS A WHOLE CHAPTER ON IMARA.
Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 80
Obligation of Obedience to the Ruler in what is Lawful and Prohibition of
Obeying them in what is Unlawful

Allah, the Exalted, says:

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.” (4:59)

663. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “It is obligatory upon a Muslim to listen (to the ruler) and obey whether he likes it or not, except when he is ordered to do a sinful thing; in such case, there is no obligation to listen or to obey.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

664. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Whenever we took a pledge of allegiance to Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) to hear and obey, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would say to us, “As far as you are capable of.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

665. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “One who withdraws his hand from obedience (to the Amir) will find no argument (in his defense) when he stands before Allah on the Day of Resurrection; and one who dies without having sworn allegiance will die the death of one belonging to the Days of Ignorance.’‘
[Muslim].

Another narration is: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “He who dies having defected from obedience (to the Amir) and discards his association with the main body of the (Muslim) community, dies the death of one belonging to the Days of Jahiliyyah.”

666. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Hear and obey even if an Abyssinian slave whose head is like a raisin is placed in authority over you.”
[Al-Bukhari].

667. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “It is obligatory upon you to listen and obey the orders of the ruler in prosperity and adversity, whether you are willing or unwilling, or when someone is given undue preference to you.”
[Muslim].

668. `Abdullah bin `Amr (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: We accompanied Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) on a journey. We halted at a place to take a rest. Some of us began to set right their tents, others began to graze their animals while others were engaged in competing with one another in archery when an announcer of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) announced that people should gather for Salat. We gathered around the Messenger of Allah and he ((sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) addressed us, saying, “Every Prophet before me was under obligation to guide his followers to what he knew was good for them and to warn the evil thing which he knew. As for this Ummah, it will have sound state and in its early stage of existence; but the last phase of its existence, will be faced with trials and with things you do not recognize. There will be tremendous trials, one after the other, and to each the believer will say, `That is it’. Whenever a trial arrives the believer will say: `This is going to bring about my destruction.’ When this passes, another calamity will approach and he will say: `This surely is going to be my end.’ Whosoever wishes to be removed from the Fire (Hell) and admitted to Jannah should die with faith in Allah and the Last Day; and he should treat others as he wishes to be treated. He who swears allegiance to an Imam, he should give him the pledge in ratification and the sincerity of his heart. He should obey him to the best of his capacity. If another man comes forward as a claimant (when one has already been installed), behead the second.”
[Muslim].

669. Wa’il bin Hujr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Salamah bin Yazid Al-Ju`f (May Allah be pleased with him) asked Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam): “O Prophet of Allah! Tell us, what you command us to do if there arises over us rulers who demand of us what is due to them and refuse us what is due to us.” Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) turned away from him, but he repeated the same question. Thereupon Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Listen to them and obey them. They are responsible for their obligations and you are accountable for yours.”
[Muslim].

670. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “There will be discrimination after my death and there will be other matters that you will disapprove.” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What do you command us to do when we are encountered with such happenings?” He answered, “Give what is due from you and supplicate to Allah for your rights.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

671. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whosoever obeys me, obeys Allah; and he who disobeys me, disobeys Allah; and whosoever obeys the Amir (leader), in fact, obeys me; and he who disobeys the Amir, in fact, disobeys me.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

672. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “If a person notices in his ruler what he dislikes, he should show patience because he who departs from the (Muslim) community a cubit, dies like those who died in the Days of Ignorance.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

673. Abu Bakrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, “He who insults the rulers Allah will insult him.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

والله تعالى أعلم

وصلى اللهم وسلم وبارك على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه والتابعين

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

أخوك أبو ناصر

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