By Shaykh Abdul Maqsood | Translated by Ibrahim Hindy
Since the events in Egypt unfolded, many of us have been waiting to hear what the scholars of Egypt think about the demonstrations. Alhamdulillah, today (after the internet was turned on in Egypt) some of the voices of the scholars have emerged.
Below I have translated the transcript of Shaykh Muhammad Abdul Maqsood, a famous scholar and da’ee (preacher) in Egypt, answering a number of questions presented to him regarding the current events.
MA Candidate, Usul al-Fiqh
Al-Madinah International University
I have received a paper asking, in light of the recent situation in Egypt, a number of questions:
Is it permissible for us to participate with those who are demonstrating?
Yes, it is permissible to participate with those who are demonstrating. This (action) does not fall under the category of Khurooj against the leader, which I have explained in great detail at a previous juncture, however I will explain it as well for your benefit.
In the Sharh of Sahih Muslim by Imam an-Nawawi, he commented upon the hadith which states:
‘Ubadah ibn al-Saamit narrated in the hadith of allegiance that: “We pledged allegiance to the Messenger of Allah to listen and obey…and that we would not fight the people of authority, unless we see clear and absolute disbelief, for which you have evidence from Allah.”
Imam an-Nawawi commented upon this by stating:
“This means, do not attempt to fight the people of authority and do not oppose them, unless you see from them clear evil which you know of from the principles of Islam. If you see this, then forbid them from it and speak the truth wherever you may be. As for Khurooj against them and fighting them, that is haram (forbidden) by consensus of the believers, even if they are corrupt and oppressive.”
The statement of Imam an-Nawawi clearly shows that he draws a distinction between forbidding evil with your tongue and speaking for truth, versus khurooj and fighting against the rulers.
So it is then permissible for you do aid those who have opposed this (clear) oppression and have attempted to remove it.
A person may ask “How can we help them when some of them (who are protesting) are not religious?”
The principles of this religion, particularly enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, proves that we should be in the aid of anyone who works towards establishing a good or eradicating an evil, even if they are corrupt themselves. This is because we all, collectively, are included in the statement of Allah: “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” (Qur’an, 5:2)
If the people you are cooperating with are corrupt, then their corruption is upon themselves. However, should they work towards establishing good or for the removal of evil then it is imperative upon us to help them even if they are corrupt.
Imam ash-Shawkani states in “Hada’iq al-Azhar:”
“It is compulsory to help (even) a sinful person in establishment of good or the eradication of evil, or in the limiting of a greater evil. Indeed, enjoining the good and forbidding evil has been established as one the most significant Islamic principles, and of the most important religious obligations. So whoever establishes (this principle) has indeed established truth. And whoever is in need of help (in enjoining the good), then it is obligatory to help them as it would be considered aiding (one another) for truth and justice and it would be considered a form of establishing the truth and not a form of establishing the sinful person (or his sins).”
And in this respect, (we should) help establish those of lesser evil and oppression over those of greater evil and oppression, and indeed this (practice) comes underneath the category of “enjoining good and forbidding evil.”
Therefore whenever we see a person working towards establishing good or eradicating evil, then it is imperative for us to work with them due to the statement of Allah: “And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” (Qur’an, 5:2) As well as what has been established in Sahih Muslim narrated by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri that:
“Whoever from amongst you sees an evil should change it by his hand, if he is unable to do so then he should change it by his tongue (by speaking against it), and if he is unable to do so then he should reject it in his heart – and this is the weakest of Iman.”
And I ask a question: Everyone who lived through the reign of (Anwar) Sadat and who has lived through this reign (i.e. that of Mubarak) – who would choose to live under the rule of Mubarak instead of Sadat? Without a doubt, everyone would choose the rule of Sadat.
In this time and reign (of Mubarak), not a single one of us has been ensured of our safety.
If we can’t be with them, in this situation, what should we demand?
I advise you to demand what they are asking for. Demand what they are demanding.
A fiqh principle: harm increases. If it is not possible to completely eradicate it, then it is an obligation to lessen the harm, or oppression, as much as it can be suppressed. This is an obligation.
So demand what they are demanding, since the protesters are of different groups and the situation requires that all the people are united on a collective (or agreeable) call and demand.
If what the protesters are calling for is Islamically-legislated such as the end to brutality or (access to) food, but are not calling for the establishment of Islamic law, would it still be permissible to participate?
Are these things they are demanding for from al-Ma’roof (the clearly good) or not? As long as it is for what is good, then help them with it, as we explained through the writings of Imam al-Shawkaani (rahimahullah).
What do you think of these events and what do you think of the future of Egypt?
The future is in the knowledge of Allah (swt). However, it is important that we benefit from these events. And it’s important to remember the statement of the Prophet ﷺ as is recorded in Saheeh al-Bukhari:
“Allah gives respite to the oppressor, but when He takes him over, he never releases him.”
Indeed our existence on this earth is only for the sake of the establishment of the worship of Allah…so it is important to remember this goal of our existence, if you believe in Allah and in the Quran:
“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an, 51:56)
So it is important for us to protect the Islamic principles and beliefs…and in this current time every aspect of our religion has been attacked.
There is also another point. Allah says:
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Qur’an, 13:11).
The people were struck by cowardice. They were overpowered by False Gods (Taghut) and their soldiers and they governed every aspect of their life. Imagine that if a person wanted to be promoted in their job, they needed to ask National Security (Amn al-Dawla)! If a person wanted to be a professor, research, travel or even swim – they had to ask National Security or the Police first. Everything was put in the hands of security forces; extreme oppression befell people. And yet the people were quiet.
So when people became concerned with change, after 30 years they brought down oppression in 7 days. Just 7 days! And they did nothing but leave their homes and stand in the streets and proclaim that they were peaceful. And as for the destruction that occurred, it is well-known that it occurred primarily at the hands of Security Forces who disguised themselves as civilians in order to put the country in panic and fear and cause the demonstrators to withdraw from what they are in.
But they stood their ground, and the people collectively stood for the safety of their homes and families. They took off the clothing of cowardice and it unleashed an inner power!
“That is only Satan who frightens [you] of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers.” (Qur’an, 3:175).
When the person removes the clothing of cowardice and puts their trust in Allah and understands that the Heavens and the Earth is under the control of their Creator, then they unleash inner power. In just seven days, they destroyed the established oppression that had governed us for years. And we ask Allah for the truthfulness of our trust in Allah and to have good thoughts of Him.
And I am not concerned with who our leader is – I do not care about the removal of Hosni. Indeed the greatest benefit of these events is that no matter who the leader is, we will not be enslaved by the police and security forces again. The police had been terrorizing the public and putting them in a state of fear.
These are some of the thoughts I wished to share. I do not know what will happen in the future, but I hope that the youth, after standing up to oppression, will also return to Allah. And I direct this advice to myself first, and then to every Muslim.