The Importance of Ruling by What Allaah has Revealed

Innal hamdalillaah was-salaat was-salaam 'alaa rasoolillaah

The following is taken from the book "Kitaab ut-Tawheed" The Book of Tawheed, by Shaikh Saleh al-Fowzaan, and translated by Mahmoud Ridha Murad. Two of the Chapters deal with the topics 'Ruling by other than what Allaah revealed' and 'Claiming the Right of Legislation, Legalization and Illegalization'

Ruling by other than what Allah revealed

Among the requirements of believing in Allaah, the Exalted, and worshipping Him is submitting to His judgment, and contentment with His laws, and the referral to His book and to the Sunnah of His Messenger (SAW), in disputes with regards to statements, fundamentals, litigation's, blood, properties, and the rest of rights. For Allaah is the ultimate Judge and judgment ultimately pertains to Him. It is incumbent upon the rulers to rule by what Allah revealed, and it is incumbent upon the subjects to seek judgment from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger (SAW).

With regards to rulers, Allaah says:

"Verily, Allaah commands you to deliver the trust committed to you to their due owners, and that when you judge between people, to judge with justice."(4:58)

And surely excellent is that with which Allaah admonishes you. Allaah is all-Hearing, all-Seeing.

And with regards to the subjects, He said:

"O you who believe, obey Allaah and obey His Messenger, and the people in authority among you. And if you dispute over anything, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger if you really believe in Allaah and the Last Day, that is best in terms of consequences." (4:59)

Then Allaah has made it clear that having faith does not conform with seeking judgment in other than what Allaah revealed. Allaah, the Exalted, says:

"Do you not see those who allege to believe in what is revealed to you and what was revealed before you? They desire to seek judgment from the Taghat, although they are commanded to disbelieve in it, and Satan desires to lead them far astray." (4:60)

Then how will they fare when an affliction befalls them because of what they have achieved (of evil deeds) then they come to you swearing by Allah, saying, 'We meant nothing but the doing good and reconciliation? It is those whose secrets Allaah knows well. So turn away from them and admonish them and give them effective exhortation concerning their insights.

And We have sent no Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the command of Allaah. And had they come to you when they wronged themselves, and asked forgiveness of Allah, and the Messenger also asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allaah oft-Returning, Merciful.

"But nay, by your Rubb, they will never become believers until they set you a judge in their disputes and then find no straits in themselves concerning what your verdict, and submit with full submission." (4:65)

Allaah, the Exalted, emphasizes by oath the lack of iman of those who do not refer their disputes to the Messenger of Allaah (SWT) and be content with his judgement submissively.

Allah also ruled that those rulers who do not rule by what Allaah sent down are unbelievers, wrongdoers, and rebellious. He says: "And he who does not rule by what Allaah sent down, it is they who are the disbelievers." (5:44) And He says: "And he who does not rule by what Allaah sent down, it is they who are the wrongdoers." (5:45) And He says: "And he who does not rule by what Allaah sent down, it is they who are the rebellious." (5:47)

It is incumbent to rule by what Allaah revealed and to seek His judgment in all cases of dispute with regards to scholars opinions to accept only those opinions or statements that are substantiated by the Book and the Sunnah without taking side of a certain jurisprudential school, or certain Imam. This must apply to all litigation and rights, not just personal statutes as practiced in some countries that are related to Islam. For Islam is one entity which is indivisible. Allaah says: "O you who believe! uphold Islam in its entity (as a whole)." (2:208)

And Allah condemned the Jews saying: "Do you, then, believe in part of the Book and disbelieve in part?"(2:85)

The adherents of Madh'hab (Jurisprudential schools) must also refer the statements of their Imams to the Book and the Sunnah to accept only those of them that are in conformity with these two sources, and reject the rest, without prejudice or bias, particularly in matters of Aqeedah. The Imams, may Allaah be merciful to them, recommended doing so strongly; and this is the real Madh'hab of all the Imams. Therefore, he who opposes them is not considered as their adherent, even if he claims to be so. Rather, he would be one of those of whom Allaah says: "They take their priests and monks, and the Messiah, son of Maryam, as lords aside from Allaah." (9:31)

The above Ayah is not restricted to Christians only, rather, it applies to anyone who copies them. He who disobeys the command of Allaah and His Messenger (SAW) ruling by other than what Allaah revealed, or requests doing so following his whims, and what he loves, he would have apostatized by departing from Islam and disposing of Imaan, even if he claims to be a believer. Allaah, the Exalted, denied such people's claim to Imaan, by using the verb, 'allege' in the above-mentioned Ayah; a verb which is usually applied to those whose action and behavior belie their claims. This is proven by the words of Allaah: "And they are commanded to denounce the Taghoot." (4:60)

Because denouncing Taghoot (i.e., whatever is worshipped or obeyed beside, or aside from Allaah) is a pillar of Tawheed (the belief in the Oneness of Allah.) If man does not fulfill this pillar he would not be considered as a believer in the Oneness of Allaah, for Tawheed is the foundation of Imaan through which all good deeds are rendered sound, and without which they would be nullified. Seeking judgement from the Taghoot means believing in it [Muhammad b. Abdul Wahhab, Fath al-Majeed, p. 467-468] Allaah says: "He who disbelieves in Taghoot and believes in Allah has surely grasped a strong handle." (2:256)

Negating Imaan from him who does not rule by what Allaah revealed indicates that applying the laws of Allah is a matter of faith, creed and worship which a Muslim must uphold and adhere to. The laws of Allaah should not be applied only because they are better for people and their safety and security, rather because applying them is an act of worship.

Some people emphasize this point only and ignore the terms of faith, creed and worship of applying the Divine laws. Allaah, glory be to Him, condemns those who apply His laws for personal interest, not because they believe that applying them is an act of worship. Allaah, the Exalted, says: "And when they are summoned to Allaah and His Messenger to judge between them, behold! a party of them turn away. But if the right is in their favor, they come to him submissively." (24:48-49)

They in fact care only about what they desire, while they turn away from anything else which opposes their desires, because they do not consider as an act of worship seeking the judgement of the Messenger of Allaah (SWT) (by going to him during his lifetime and referring to his Sunnah after his death).

The Status of applying Other Than the Divine laws

Allaah, the Exalted, said: "And He who does not rule by what Allaah has revealed it is they who are the unbelievers." (5:44)

This Ayah signifies that ruling by laws other than those revealed by Allah constitutes infidelity. This type of infidelity is either major which entails apostasy, or minor which does not constitute apostasy depending on the ruler's attitude. If he believes that the laws of Allaah are not binding, and that he has a choice, or he took them lightly, or believed that man-made laws are better than the Divine laws, because the former are not suitable for this time and age, or if he wants to satisfy the infidels and hypocrites by so doing, then he commits major infidelity. But if he believes that the laws of Allaah are binding and knows the respective laws are relevant to the case he is handling, and yet he opted to rule by otherwise, recognizing that his deed is wrong, and would be subject to punishment, then such a ruler is disobedient who has committed minor Kufr or disbelief. But if he was ignorant of the respective Divine law and tried his best and utmost seeking it, but missed it, he would have committed an error, but he would be rewarded for exerting the effort to reach the proper judgment and, whose error would be forgiven [At-Tahawiyah p.363-364]. This applies to cases that concern individuals, but ruling on cases that concern the public is a different case. Shaikhul Islam b. Taymiyyah said:

"If the ruler was religious and yet ruled ignorantly without knowledge, he would end up in Hell-Fire. But if he is aware of the Divine laws and yet he ruled by other than the truth of which he is, aware, he would belong to the people of Hell-Fire. And if he rules unjustly and without knowledge, he would be more deserving of Fire. This in case he judges in a case of an individual, but if he judges in a case which concerns the public, and altered the truth into falsehood, and the falsehood into truth, the Sunnah into Bid'ah, or the Bid'ah into Sunnah, and the good into evil and the evil into good, and opposes the commands of Allaah and His Messenger and commands what Allaah and his Messenger forbid, then this is another type to be judged by Allaah, the Rubb of the Worlds, and the God of the Messengers, the Proprietor of the Day of Requital, to Whom belongs all the praise in the beginning and the end. "[Majmoo' al-Fatawa, p.388]

Allaah says: "The judgement is His, and to Him you shall return." (28:88) Allaah says: "He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the deen of the truth, to make it prevail over all other religions. And Allaah is sufficient as a Witness." (48:28)

Shaikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah went on to say:

"There is no doubt that he who does not believe in the incumbency of ruling by what Allaah sent to His Messenger is an infidel. So he who deems it lawful to judge between people according to what he deems as justice without adhering to what Allaah sent down is an infidel too.

There is not a nation but enjoins ruling with justice, although justice according to their religion is what their leaders or chiefs consider as such. There are many who claim to be Muslims, rule by their mores and customs which is not revealed by Allaah, such as the customs of the Bedouins, which they inherited from their forefathers who were obeyed rulers. They believe that such customs must be applied, excluding the Book and the Sunnah, and such belief constitutes infidelity.

There are many people who accept Islam, but do not rule except by the prevailing customs that are commanded by obeyed lords. Such people know that it is not permissible to rule by other than what Allaah revealed, but do not apply them, rather they deem as lawful to rule by other than what Allaah sent down, they are infidels." [Minhaaj as-Sunnah]

Shaikh Muhammad b. Ibraheem (the late Mufti of Saudi Arabia who is succeeded by Shaikh Bin Baz) asserted:

"As for that which is described as lesser infidelity, it is when he refers the dispute to other than the Book of Allaah knowing that he is disobeying Allaah by doing so, and that the ruling of Allaah is the truth, and He does it once. Such a person would not be committing major infidelity. As for those who legislate laws and make others obey them, this constitutes infidelity, even if they claim that they made a mistake, and that the laws of Allaah are more just; such is considered as an infidelity which entails apostasy." [Fatawa ash-Sheik Muhammad b. Ibreheem aal-Ash-Sheik]

By asserting this Sheik Muhammad b. Ibraheem, may Allaah grant him His Mercy, made distinction between the partial ruling of no recurrence, and between the general ruling which is used as reference to all judgments or most of them, and he decided that such infidelity constitutes absolute apostasy. That is because he who discards the Islamic Shar'iah and replaces it with man-made laws, this is a proof that he considers the man-made laws as more appropriate and better than the Shar'iah, which is beyond doubt a major infidelity which constitutes apostasy and contradicts Tawheed (the belief in the Oneness of Allaah).

Claiming the Right of Legislation, Legalization and Illegalization

Legislating rulings for the slaves of Allaah to follow in their acts of worship, transactions, settling the disputes, litigation, and in the rest of their affairs is an exclusive right of Allaah, the Exalted, the Rabb of mankind, and the Creator of the creatures.

Allaah says: "Verily the creation and the command belong to Him, and He is the blessing Granter, the Rubb of the Worlds." (7:54)

He knows what suits His slaves, and legislates it for them. By virtue of His Ruboobiyyah, He legislates for them, and by virtue of their servitude to Him, they accept His judgements; whichever case it is in their interest. Allaah, the Exalted, says: "And if you dispute over anything, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger if you really believe in Allaah and the Last Day, that is best in terms of consequences." (4:59)

And He also says: "And in whatever you differ, the decision thereof rests with Allaah. Say: 'This is Allaah, my Rubb:" (42:10) Allaah, Glory be to Him, denies that His slaves should accept a lawmaker other than Himself. He says: "Or do they have partners to Allaah to legislate for them in the deen what Allah does not allow?" (42:21)

Hence, he who accepts a law other than Allah's ascribes a partner to Allaah. Whatever act of worship that is not legislated by Allaah and His Messenger is Bid'ah, and every Bid'ah is a means of deviation. The Prophet said: "He who introduces in our deen, anything which does not belong to it, it shall be rejected."[Bukhari & Muslim]

In another version, he said: "He who practices an act of worship, that is not endorsed by our deen it is to be rejected." [Muslim]

While any other law which is legislated by neither Allaah nor His Messenger in politics, or for judging in people's disputes, it is considered as the law of Taghoot, and Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic era) Allaah says: "Do they seek the judgment of Jahiliyyah? And who is better than Allaah as a judge for a people who have firm faith?" (5:50)

The right of legalizing and illegalizing, belongs to Allaah too, and no one is permitted to share this right with Him. Allaah says: "And do not eat of that on which the name of Allaah is not pronounced, for surely that is disobedience. And certainly Satans inspire their friends to argue with you. And if you obey them, then you are polytheists." (6:121)

Thus Allaah, the Exalted, considers obeying Satans and their followers, with regard to legalizing what Allaah prohibits as Shirk. Likewise, whoever obeys scholars and rulers in prohibiting what Allaah made lawful, or legalizing what He prohibited, he would be considered as taking them as lords to the exclusion of Allaah. Allaah, the Exalted, says: "They have taken their learned men and their monks, and the Messiah, the son of Maryam for lords aside from Allaah. And they are commanded to worship the One God. There is no true god but He. Far is He removed from what they ascribe to Him!" (9:31)

At-Tirmidhi and others reported that the Prophet recited the above Ayaat to Adi bin Hatim at-Ta'i (just before he accepted Islam) may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: "O Messenger of Allaah, we do not worship them! The Prophet said: Do they not make legal for you what Allaah makes illegal? and you deem it as legal, and they illegalize what Allah made legal and you deem it as illegal?' He said: 'Certainly!' Thereupon, the Prophet said: 'That is how you worship them." (Tirmidhi and others)

Hence, the obedience of the Christians to their learned men, with regards to illegalization and legalization is considered as worship and major Shirk, which contradicts the Tawheed, which is signified by the Testimony of Faith, La ilahah illal Allah. [Fath al-Majid p.107] This Testimony which signifies that legalization and illegalization is an exclusive right of Allaah, the Exalted.

If obeying scholars and worshippers in illegal and legal matters that oppose the law of Allaah, is considered as Shirk; even though the scholars and worshippers are religious people whose mistake may be forgiven if it were made after exerting their efforts, and they will be rewarded for that. If obeying such people constitutes major Shirk, then how about those who obey man-made laws that are the work of the unbelievers and the atheists, imported into Muslim countries and applied? They are much worse than the former. There is no altering of one condition into another, nor is there power except through Allaah. For the latter take the unbelievers as lords aside from Allaah to legislate laws for him, and legalize the illegal, and rule people by such laws.

Popular Books (PDF)

ISLAM -The Ultimate Covenant | الداعية الإسلامي / Caller To Islam | رب اغفر لي ولوالدي