The Islamic World: The Obligation Upon the Rulers, the Scholars and the General Masses
Shaykh bin Bâz 
Source: Istiqaamah Magazine, Issue No.6 – Dhul-Qa’dah 1417H / March 1997
[Q]: What is the obligation upon the Muslim Scholars with regard to facing the trials and calamities that have befallen the Islaamic world?
[A]: From that which there is no doubt about is that sins, and being far removed from the correct Islaamic ‘aqeedah (beliefs) – in both sayings and actions – are from the greatest reasons of bringing about the various crisis and calamities that have befallen the Muslims. Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – said: “Whatever of good reaches you, it is from Allaah; and whatever of evil befalls you, it is from yourself.” [Soorah an-Nisaa 4:79]. Allaah – the Most Perfect, the Most High – also said: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. Yet He pardons much.” [Soorah ash-Shooraa 42:30]. So Allaah is Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful to His servants, sending to them clear signs and warnings, in order that they may run back to Him in tawbah (sincere repentance) and that He may forgive them. So when a person runs to Allaah and draws closer to Him by an arm’s length, then Allaah draws closer to him by two arm’s length. For indeed Allaah – the Most High – loves those of His servants that turn to Him in tawbah and is happy with that, whilst He – the Majestic, the Most High – remains absolutely self-sufficient from His servants. The obedience of the obedient ones does not benefit Him, nor do the sins of the sinful ones harm Him. But He is Most Kind, Ever Merciful to His servants. And He grants them the ability to do acts of obedience and to leave acts of disobedience. So these crisis and calamities are none other than a warning to His servants, in that they should turn back to Allaah in repentance and obedience, and He informs them of this by way of testing them. Allaah – the Most High – said: “And certainly We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruit. But give glad tidings to those who have sabr (patience); those who, when afflicted with a calamity, say: Indeed to Allaah we belong, and to Him shall we return. They are those for whom are the salawaat (blessings and forgiveness) from their Lord, and His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:155] Allaah – the One free From all defects – said: “Evil has appeared on the land and the sea, because of what the hands of men have earned. That Allaah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return to Allaah in repentance.” [Soorah Room 30:41]. And Allaah – the Most High – said: “And We shall test you by way of evil and good, and to Us will you return.” [Soorah al-Anbiyaa 21:35]. And Allaah – the Most Perfect – said: “And We tested them with good blessings and evil calamities, in order that they may return to the obedience of Allaah.” [Soorah al-A’raaf 7:168]. And there are many other Verses with a similar meaning.
So the obligation upon the leaders of the Muslims – the Scholars, rulers, and other than them – is to have concern for the various afflictions and calamities that occurs, and to remind and admonish the people, and explain to them what they have fallen into. Also. those in authority – from the Scholars and the rulers – should set a good example of righteous conduct and should discuss the reasons as to why Allaah is angered and gives retribution; and they should seek to cure this with tawbah (repentance), istighfaar (seeking Allaah’s Forgiveness) and correcting their affairs. The rest of the Ummah will then follow them in this, since the guidance of the Scholars, and the wisdom of the rulers – and both being correct and upright – has one of the greatest effects with regards to the fulfillment of responsibilities. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Each of you is a guardian, and is responsible for those whom he is in charge of. So the ruler is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for those under his care; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s home and is responsible for those under her care; a servant is the guardian of his master’s wealth and is responsible for that which he is entrusted with; and a man is the guardian of his father’s wealth and is responsible for that which is under his care. So each one of you is a guardian and is responsible for what he is entrusted with.”2
However, when the Muslims become accustomed to sinning and with being contented with it, and those who wield authority and power do not try to prevent them, then Allaah’s anger will quickly descend upon the Ummah. And when His anger occurs, and His punishment takes place, then it covers both the sinful and obedient, and Allaah’s protection is sought from this. About this Allaah – the Most High – said: “And beware of the fitnah (trial and discord) that does not affect in particular only those amongst you who are wrong-doers.” [Soorah al-Afaal 8:25]. Likewise. the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “When the people see an evil, and they do not try to change it, then Allaah will cover them all with punishment from Himself.“3 Allaah – the Most Perfect – said: “Indeed Allaah will not change the condition of a people until they change themselves.” [Soorah ar-Ra’d 13:11]. So the Scholars will be thorougly questioned in front of Allaah with regards to them giving knowledge and guidance to the people, and explaining to them what is correct and what is wrong, and also clarifying the beneficial from the harmful.
So we ask Allaah that He favours all the Muslims and grants them the ability to be obedient to their Lord, and to cling to the guidance of their Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and that He grants their leaders the ability to fulfill their duties, and that He teaches their Scholars the ways of guidance, so that they may all traverse its path and direct the Ummah to it, and that He guides the misguided Muslims and corrects their affairs. Indeed He is the Guardian over this, and the One having power to do this.
[Q]: The enemies of Allaah are very eager to enter into the Muslim lands by various methods. So what efforts do you believe should be exerted in order to put a stop to this surge that has threatened the Islaamic societies?
[A]: This is not something strange coming from the callers to Christianity, Judaism, or the other religions of kufr (disbelief). Since Allaah, the Most Perfect – and to Him belongs all praise – has informed us about this in His clear Revelation, when He said: “Never will the Jews and the Christians be pleased with you until you follow their ways of life. Say: Indeed the Guidance of Allaah, that is the only true Guidance. And if you were to follow their false desires after what you have received of the knowledge of Revelation, then you would have neither a guardian, nor any helper against Allaah.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:120]. Allaah – the Most Perfect – also said: “And they will never stop fighting you, until they turn you away from your Religion, if they can.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:217]. This is why they utilize every possible means to penetrate into the Muslim lands, and use various methods and tactics to acheive this. One of their methods is to plant the seeds of doubt and uncertainty into the minds and thoughts – and they continue to do so without easing-up or become weary – utilising the church to spread their hatred and enmity, and directing their efforts through it.
Therefore it is obligatory upon the leaders and Scholars to exert every possible effort in cautioning and directing the Muslim children, and to oppose the efforts of the enemies of Islaam with countermeasures. For indeed the Ummah of Islaam is an Ummah that has been entrusted with a responsibility of carrying this Religion and conveying it to others. So when we – in the Islaamic societies – are determined to arm our sons and daughters with correct knowledge, and true understanding of the Religion; beginning this process at an early age, then we will never fear the enemy – by the permission of Allaah. Thus, as long as we continue to cling to the Religion of Allaah, glorifying and venerating Him, following His Sharee’ah (Prescribed Laws), and fighting those who oppose Him, then the opposite will happen; it will be the enemies of Allaah who will fear the Muslims. Allaah – the Most Perfect, the One to Whom belongs all praise – said: “O you who believe. If you help Allaah by acting upon what you have been commanded with, then Allaah will plant your feet firmly by giving you victory over your enemies.” [Soorah Muhammad 47:7]. Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – also said: “But if you have sabr (remain patient) and have taqwaa (piety) by doing what Allaah orders and refraining from what He has prohibited, then no harm will their cunning plots be to you at all. Indeed Allaah encompasses everything by His Knowledge.” [Soorah Aal-lmraan 3:120]. And there are plenty of other Verses with similar meaning. So the most important factor in stopping this attack is to prepare a generation that truly know and understands the realities of Islaam. This can be achieved by giving them the correct guidance and cultivation at home, and by utilising the various means of education in order to develop the society. Add to this the role of guiding, which is the duty of those in authority, and their duty of being constant in doing beneficial acts, being constant in reminding the people with what is of benefit to them, and doing that which cultivates the correct Islaamic ‘aqeedah (belief) in the people: “Indeed in the remembrance of Allaah do hearts truly find tranquility.” [Soorah ar-Ra’d 13:28].
And there is no doubt that negligence is one of the causes that lets the enemies of Islaam into the Muslim lands – along with their ideological attack – which gradually distances the Muslims from their Religion, step by step. So with this, evil will increase amongst them and they will be affected by the false ideologies of their enemies. And Allaah – One free from all defects, the Most High – ordered the Believers to have sabr (patience), to call to patience, and to strive in His Path using every method at their disposal; as He – the Most Majestic, Most High – said: “O you who Believe. Persevere and be more patient, and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and have taqwaa of Allaah (by doing what He orders and keeping away from what He prohibits) in order that you may be successful.” [Soorah Aal-‘Imraan 3:200]. And Allaah – the Most Perfect – said: “And those who strive hard in Our cause, We shall surely guide them to Our Avenues. Indeed Allaah is with the doers of good.” [Soorah al-‘Ankaboot 29:69]
I ask Allaah by His beautiful Names and lofty Attributes that He improves and corrects the affairs of the Muslims, and that He grants to them the understanding of the Religion, gathers the word of their leaders upon the truth, and improves and corrects their close advisors. Indeed He is the Most Kind, Most Generous. And may Allaah extol and send abundant blessings of peace upon our Leader and our Prophet, Muhammad, and upon his Family, his Companions, and his true followers.
1. Majmoo’ Fataawaa wa .Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah (4/134-139)
2. Related by al-Bukhaaree (13/100) and Muslim (no.1829), from ‘Umar radiallaahu ‘anhu.
3 Related by at-Tirmidhee (no.2168), who authenticated it. The hadeeth was related from Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq radiallaahu ‘anhu