Home / Friday Sermons / April 1st, 2011

Obedience to the State

Summary of Friday Sermon delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(at)

Hudhur gave a discourse on ‘obedience to the state’ in his Friday Sermon today. Hudhur said he wished to reiterate today what he had mentioned a few weeks ago as regards a Tehreek for prayer for the world of Islam. He had asked Ahmadis to pray that may God grant sense to the Muslim leaders so that the Muslim countries are saved from defeat. In addition, the message to the masses was to avoid falling prey to the extremists or the outsiders. Hudhur said, with God’s grace, Ahmadis have understood that prayer alone is the real ‘weapon’ and they do not participate in violent protests. However, at times the thought of how much patience must one demonstrate towards wrong polices of a tyrant emerges in minds. It is wondered in some African countries as what should be the reaction to such leaders, for example as in the current situation in the Ivory Coast. How much should Ahmadis participate in the radical reaction by the public or against the anti-governmental rallies. Hudhur said even some educated people did not understand the spirit of Hudhur’s message. At times, they wish to have a definitive answer whether they can participate in a mission to forcefully take their rights and also how much oppression they should endure.

Hudhur had organised a meeting with the Arab Desk where he had explained to Haani Tahir sahib regarding the Arabic-speaking African nations and had explained in detail as to what should be the deportment of Ahmadis in the current situation. Hudhur had also directed that his instructions should be sent to the relevant countries in writing for better understanding. However, judging from some letters and questions, it appears that some do not understand the view point of the Ahmadiyya Community in this regard; view point that is based on the Qur’an Ahadith and the pronouncements of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Thus, Hudhur felt the need to explain further in order to allay all doubts.

Hudhur said the Qur’an states, and this part of the verse is recited every Friday: ‘Allah…forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and transgression’. (16:91). The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has explained the Arabic word Bagh’i (transgression) as signifying excessive rainfall that spoils crops. Hudhur explained this means one who diminishes rightful dues or one who exceeds in rightful dues. God forbids from both; neither the ruler, nor the masses should either diminish or exceed in this regard, if they do, they break the boundaries set by God. Hudhur said as these day it is the masses who are taking severe action against governments, Hudhur would address the matter correspondingly. Ahadith inform us that even if the leader is in the wrong, the masses are enjoined to be patient.

The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said; ‘After me you will see injustice, rights suppressed and others given preference over you. You will see matters that you will disapprove of’. When asked what was the commandment in such circumstances, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) replied, ‘pay their [leaders] rights to them and ask God for your rights.’ The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also said: ‘Whoever disapproves of something done by his ruler should be patient, for whoever disobeys the ruler even as little as the span of a hand will die a death of ignorance.’ A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and complained that he had appointed so and so as a ruler and had not appointed him, to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) replied: ‘After me you will see others given preference over you but you should be patient till the Day of Judgment.’ Once the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was asked how people should react if unjust rulers are imposed on them. He declined to answer, he was asked again, and again he declined. When he was asked the third time, he replied that even in such a situation the ruler should be obeyed. He would be accountable for the responsibility given to him while the subjects would be accountable for the responsibility laid on them. Once the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) took Bai’at, after which he said once someone is made a ruler he should not be quarrelled with unless he does Kufr (disbelief) publically and for this they [they people] have a proof from God.

Hudhur explained that the above explains that rioting against the government is against the Shariah. Hudhur said Wahhabi school of thought and others with extreme view infer from this Hadith that if the Kufr of a leader becomes apparent, his leadership should be snatched. They issue severely binding Fatwa (edict) that those who do not acknowledge as Kaffir people whom they have decreed as Kaffir, are also Kaffir. Hudhur said the Hadith mentions obedience and does not refer to rebellion/ transgression.

Hudhur said in our Community there is one instance of ‘disobedience’ to the state. This is in Pakistan where we are told not to call ourselves Muslims, not to read the Qur’an, not to say the Kalima, not to offer the Islamic salutation of Salaam etc. This is a religious matter for us and we have no need to obey in this. Indeed, we do not rebel and abide by all the other laws of the land. Hudhur quoted Imam Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) in further elucidation of the Hadith. He had said that Kufr here signifies sin, adding that if something wrong is detected in the government, the matter should be raised in a truthful manner, but there should be no transgression, even if those governing are oppressive tyrants. Hudhur said contrary to this today ‘both sides’ are in conflict and Muslim is killing Muslim.

Hudhur cited the following Hadith: ‘The example of those who abide by God’s regulations (Hudud) and those who violate them is like that of some people who drew lots for their places on a boat. As a result, some of them sat in the upper deck and others in the lower deck. When those in the lower deck needed water, they had to go up to bring the water which inconvenienced the people there. One person from the lower deck started making a hole in the base of the boat. People from the upper deck asked him what he was doing, he replied, ‘when I go upstairs to get water, you are inconvenienced, and I cannot do without water.’ Thus, if those on the upper deck stop him they will save him and themselves from drowning. If they leave him to make a hole in the base of the boat, they will kill him as well as themselves.’ Hudhur said some people infer from this Hadith that if those who do evil are stopped by force it is not correct, it creates disorder. Hudhur said if we understand this to signify rebellion against the state, then it is contrary to the words of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). The Hadith means that it is warrantable to stop rioting; however, this is not applicable where the state is concerned. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) could not have said something contrary to the Qur’an. He had said: ‘If you see something you disapprove of , you should alter it with your hand, if you do not have the strength for this, do so with your speech and if you do not have the strength for this, then do so in your heart, and that is the least of faith’. Hudhur said Imam Mullah Ali Qari explained this Hadith as follows: the directive to ‘alter with your hand’ is for rulers, the directive to do so with ‘speech’ is for Ulema (religious scholars) and the directive to dislike something censorious with one’s heart is for the believing masses. Hudhur said this is a fine explanation of the Hadith and as regards the earlier Hadith about the boat, only those who are in authority have the right to prohibit others. If everyone starts prohibiting each other, disorder would ensue. And the Qur’an tells us: ‘…and Allah loves not disorder.’ (2:206) and as mentioned earlier: ‘Allah…forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and transgression’.

Hudhur said we have the example of Prophets of God and their obedience to the state. Hadith informs us that 124,000 Prophets came to the world. The Qur’an mentions 20 to 25 Prophets and none among them said anything against the ruler of the state in worldly matters or even took out rallies with their followers. In terms of religious beliefs all Prophets openly refuted the beliefs of the rulers of their regions and fully disseminated true beliefs. Hadhrat Yusuf’s (on whom be peace) example is often cited in this regard. The Qur’an states: ‘We narrate unto you the most beautiful narration by revealing to you this Qur’an, while before this, you were of those who were unaware’. (12:4). Hudhur said Surah Yusuf consists of the narrative of Hadhrat Yusuf’s (on whom be peace) life and the summary of it is that he was a treasury minister in the government of the pagan king of Egypt, a Pharaoh. Had the king thought that Hadhrat Yusuf (on whom be peace) was not loyal to him and was compliant in, God forbid, a hypocritical way, he would have never made him a minister. It is indeed disrespectful to even entertain such an idea about Hadhrat Yusuf (on whom be peace). God states in the Qur’an: ‘Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not have taken his brother under the King’s law unless Allah had so willed…’ (12:77). The law of the king of Egypt did not allow Hadhrat Yusuf (on whom be peace) to keep his brother there. Thus, God so willed that he put the king’s drinking-cup in his brother’s luggage and upon search that is where it was found. This demonstrates that Hadhrat Yusuf (on whom be peace) was loyal to the laws of the pagan and idolatrous king of Egypt but he did not abide by him in religious matters. God states in the Qur’an: ‘O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority over you. And if you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger if you are believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is best and most commendable in the end’. (4:60).In explanation of this verse, the Promised Messiah said it enjoins to obey God, the Prophet and your ruler. He also said, ‘O Muslims, if you have any mutual disagreement, entrust the matter to God and His Prophet for judgement. If you believe in the Day of Judgement, take this course, for this is the most excellent interpretation’. Hudhur explained that the judgement of God and His Prophet, as mentioned earlier, is not to rebel, no matter what sort of worldly situation is faced.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘The Holy Qur’an states ‘obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority over you.’ Therein is a clear directive to obey ‘those who are in authority over you’. If someone says that the government is not included in this, it is their clear mistake. Whatever a government does within Shariah is included in this regard’. He said, ‘if the ruler is oppressive do not criticise him, rather, reform yourself. God will replace him or will make him pious. Any trouble that befalls does so due to one’s own bad deeds…my advice is this alone that you become a model of virtue in every way. Do not usurp the rights of God and do not usurp the rights of mankind.’

Explaining the same verse Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) said that some Muslims erroneously infer that this verse is only about Muslim rulers. He said this was against the rules of the Qur’an and here the significance is not of a co-religionist. God addresses disbelievers in the Qur’an: ’ …did not Messengers come to you from among yourselves…’ (6:131)Thus it is not essential that the inference is of co-religionists. The directive is to obey those who rule one’s country. If there is a disagreement with the state, it should be entrusted to God and His Prophet. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) said the narrative of Hadhrat Yusuf (on whom be peace) in the Holy Qur’an testifies that it is essential to obey the ruler no matter what his religion.

Hudhur said in situations where there is disagreement with the ruler and the masses, regardless of religion, the directive of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is: ‘I enjoin you to have God’s Taqwa and make obedience your way even if a black slave is your ruler. Those who will survive me will experience great disagreement among people. In such time, I enjoin you to practice my way and after me, the way of my Rightly Guided Khulafa. Hold on firmly to this way and just as something is held on tightly with teeth, hold onto this way and do not ever abandon the path that is mine or that of my Rightly Guided Khulafa’.

Hudhur explained a ruler should be obeyed even if he is unjust and prayers should be made to God for his reformation. Ahmadis should remember the conditions of their Bai’at. The second condition is:

‘That he/she shall keep away from falsehood, fornication, adultery, trespasses of the eye, debauchery, dissipation, cruelty, dishonesty, mischief and rebellion; and will not permit himself/herself to be carried away by passions, however strong they might be’.

And the fourth condition is:

That under the impulse of any passions, he/she shall cause no harm whatsoever to the creatures of Allah in general, and Muslims in particular, neither by his/her tongue nor by his/her hands nor by any other means’.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that destruction of peace is worse than killing. He said that to participate in strikes etc. in colleges and universities is against our teaching and it is like participating in rebellion. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him) said it is essential for Muslims to obey God, His Messenger and those are in authority over them. He said if one who is in authority does something against God’s command or that of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) then one should not obey him or alternatively one should migrate.

Hudhur said some question the rally Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) organised in favour of people of Kashmir and deem it to be a matter on par with rebellion. However, this action was to give the people of Kashmir their rights and did not entail any rioting. Here, attention was drawn towards the usurpation of property of the people of Kashmir where all the income was taken by the Raja. When Hadhrat Musleh Maud (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked what should be the stance of Ahmadis about the strike action of 1929, he said they should not participate in it but could participate in rallies as the government had allowed that. He was told that if Ahmadi shops remained open they were beaten to shut them. He instructed that the police should be informed, if they were willing to provide protection, the shops may be opened, otherwise not. He said, ‘strike action causes loss both to the customer and the shopkeeper. We can never cooperate with those who counsel breaking the law because it is against our religion. No matter how badly Ahmadis are persecuted, the law of Shariah and the law of the land cannot be broken’.

Hudhur said he had cited verse 2:206 in part earlier, the complete verse reads: ‘And when he is in authority, he runs about in the land to create disorder in it and destroy the crops and the progeny of man; and Allah loves not disorder.’ (2:206). He explained that this verse is warning unjust rulers. The Qur’an does not only direct the masses, it also enjoins the rulers, telling them not to be arrogant about their power and not be unjust. Hudhur said in the current state of affairs the same story can be heard across the board, that national revenues have been plundered and the masses deprived of their rights. How unfortunate that those whom God has informed about it all are the ones who are committing these wrongdoings. Those in authority have a great responsibility over their public and by not honouring that these rulers are creating disorder and God greatly disapproves of disorder. Muslim leaders should follow in the footsteps of the examples that are there for them; Hadhrat Umer (may Allah be pleased with him) ruled in a manner that had people [not just Muslims] distraught during Christian rule, wishing for Muslim rule to return. What is needed is Taqwa, which is non-existent among the Muslims today; both the rulers as well as the masses. The clear instruction for Ahmadis is to protect themselves from this disorder and pray most sincerely; God will one day listen to sincere prayers. And if their rulers are unjust, they will be rescued from them. In future, the changes that are afoot may bring peace on a temporary basis but it will not be permanent. When power is gained through transgression or through revolutions, after a period of time, tyrannical rule returns. Therefore, also pray that may God never impose a tyrant over us. May God make the Muslim world recognise their rights and obligations and thus present the beautiful teaching of Islam to the world.

Next Hudhur announced a few funeral Prayers in absentia that he would lead after Friday Prayers. These were of:

Amtul Wadood sahiba, wife of Syed Abdul Hai Shah sahib, Nazir Isha’at Anjuman Ahmadiyya Rabwah who passed away in Rabwah a few days ago. She was 72 years old. A devout Ahmadi, she was the mother of Ahmad Yahya sahib, chairman of Humanity First.

Muhammad Saeed Ashraf sahib who passed away in Lahore after a road accident. He was taken to hospital but passed away after a few minutes of arriving there.

Naeema Begum sahiba, passed away in Ohio, USA. She was the daughter of Dr, Hashmatullah Khan, special physician of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II . She had a very sincere connection with Khilafat from the time of 2nd Khilafat till the present day.

Naeem Ahmad Waseem sahib passed away on March 6 in USA. He used to perform security tasks with Hadhrat Khalifatul III prior to his Khilafat era. He was a sincere Ahmadi and had served Ansar USA. A few months ago he had suffered a heart attack. The first thing after regaining consciousness that he talked about was to ask for an update on chanda collection for mosque.

Hudhur prayed that may God elevate the station of the deceased and may their virtues endure in their children.

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