if the presidents of my country steal money and I make a revolution where people will die to destroy thieves in the government, will I be a sinner or vice versa the savior of the country?

2 Answers 2


It depends. Rebelling against a righteous Muslim ruler is haram - even if you dislike him. As for a ruler who really is wrongdoer then such behavior of a ruler might fall into either kufr or fisq.


If the ruler commits kufr then he is no longer eligible to rule and it is obligatory to depose him and to appoint a Muslim ruler.

The evidence of deposing him includes:

  • لا يتخذ المؤمنون الكافرين أولياء

    Let not believers take disbelievers as allies

    Quran 3:28

    The ruler is a type of ally/guardian. A disbeliever can not be a guardian and hence can not be a ruler. Hence it is prescribed to rebel against him and depose him.

  • ولن يجعل الله للكافرين على المؤمنين سبيلا

    Never will Allah give the disbelievers over the believers a way [to overcome them]

    Quran 4:141

    A ruler tends to have great authority over the Muslims, so it is contrary to Islamic goals to retain a ruler who has disbelieved. None of the laws on obedience to the ruler apply to a disbelieving ruler because of this.

  • وأن لا ننازع الأمر أهله، إلا أن تروا كفرا بواحا، عندكم من الله فيه برهان

    And to not to fight against the ruler unless we noticed him having open Kufr (disbelief) for which we would have a proof with us from Allah.


    ‏ قيل يا رسول الله أفلا ننابذهم بالسيف فقال لا ما أقاموا فيكم الصلاة

    It was asked (by those present): Shouldn't we overthrow them with the help of the sword? He said: No, as long as they establish prayer among you.


    These ahadith clearly allow fighting against a ruler when he commits kufr or abandons prayer (which is an example of kufr).


Other times the wrongdoing of a ruler might come under fisq. In this case firstly attempts should be made to correct his behavior via advice. However if that is not effective then is it prescribed to depose him by an armed rebellion?

There is difference of opinion among the scholars on this.

Most of the scholars have held that righteousness is a condition for the initial appointment of a ruler, however it is not a condition for retaining him. Hence they have stated that it is haram to rebel against a ruler even if he becomes unjust. The evidence of this includes:

  • يكون بعدي أئمة لا يهتدون بهداى ولا يستنون بسنتي وسيقوم فيهم رجال قلوبهم قلوب الشياطين في جثمان إنس قال قلت كيف أصنع يا رسول الله إن أدركت ذلك قال تسمع وتطيع للأمير وإن ضرب ظهرك وأخذ مالك فاسمع وأطع

    There will be leaders who will not be led by my guidance and who will not adopt my ways. There will be among them men who will have the hearts of devils in the bodies of human beings. I said: What should I do O Messenger of Allah, if I (happen) to live in that time? He replied: You will listen to the Amir and carry out his orders; even if your back is flogged and your wealth is snatched, you should listen and obey.


    إنه يستعمل عليكم أمراء فتعرفون وتنكرون فمن كره فقد برئ ومن أنكر فقد سلم ولكن من رضي وتابع‏ قالوا يا رسول الله ألا نقاتلهم قال‏ لا ما صلوا‏

    Amirs (rulers) will be appointed over you, and you will find them doing good as well as bad deeds. One who hates their bad deeds is absolved from blame. One who disapproves of their bad deeds is (also) safe (so far as Divine wrath is concerned). But one who approves of their bad deeds and imitates them (is doomed). People asked: Messenger of Allah, shouldn't we fight against them? He replied: No, as long as they say their prayer.


  • Rebellion weakens and disunites the Muslim state which can be more harmful than showing patience to the unjust ruler.

Others scholars have held that it is obligatory or at least permitted to depose an unjust ruler, and some of them have conditioned this to having enough power, safety from fitnah or the existence of an alternate good Imam who can be given support against the evildoer. Their evidence includes:

  • قال إني جاعلك للناس إماما قال ومن ذريتي قال لا ينال عهدي الظالمين

    [Allah] said, "Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people." [Abraham] said, "And of my descendants?" [Allah] said, "My covenant does not include the wrongdoers."

    Quran 2:124

    This verse implies that a wrongdoer can not be an Imam (leader) in the sight of Allah. When he is no longer legitimate it is permitted to depose him.

  • فإن بغت إحداهما على الأخرى فقاتلوا التي تبغي حتى تفيء إلى أمر الله

    But if one of them oppresses the other, then fight against the one that oppresses until it returns to the ordinance of Allah.

    Quran 49:9

    This verse commands fighting the Muslims who oppress other Muslims. Unjust rulers would by default be included in its meaning as it is general.

  • ثم إنها تخلف من بعدهم خلوف يقولون ما لا يفعلون ويفعلون ما لا يؤمرون فمن جاهدهم بيده فهو مؤمن ومن جاهدهم بلسانه فهو مؤمن ومن جاهدهم بقلبه فهو مؤمن وليس وراء ذلك من الإيمان حبة خردل

    Then there came after them their successors who said whatever they did not practice, and practiced whatever they were not commanded to do. He who strove against them with his hand was a believer: he who strove against them with his tongue was a believer, and he who strove against them with his heart was a believer and beyond that there is no faith even to the extent of a mustard seed.


    This and other texts on Nahi 'an al-Munkar are general and hence include correcting the ruler when he is oppressive. And fighting is the last resort method of changing wrongdoing by one's hand.

  • Some of the sahaba and those who came later are known to have rebelled or fought against the Umayyads. Examples include Hussain ibn Ali and Abdullah ibn Zubair, and the rebellion of the people of Medinah and Iraq etc.

Ref: Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah and Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu.


Rulers in Islam are not supposed to act arbitrarily. They should respect Sharia, and accept judgement by knowledgeable judges. Muhammad (p.b.u.h) who was not only prophet, but in his later time also governor and judge, in spite of being a prophet who received guidance from God, already established a council that should prevent him from going into the trap to act arbitrarily, and established Shura.

Islamic scholars teach to follow the rulers as long as you are not forced to break Islamic Law. Then you should respect the Law of God more than the ruler, and disobey the ruler. A revolution is not recommended, but rather peaceful passive resistance hanafi scholar's opinion. This is mainly based on the hadith in Sunan an-Nasa'i 4206:

The Messenger of Allah said: 'The Muslim must hear and obey whether he likes it or not, unless he is commanded to commit an act of disobedience. If he is commanded to commit an act of disobedience, then he is not required to hear and obey.'

also found in Jami at-Tirmidi and others, (graded Sahih by Darussalam)

However, other versions nourish some doubts whether the obediance really concerned a ruler. Sahih Muslim 648c

My friend (the Holy Prophet) bade me to hear and obey even if he is a slave having his feet and arms cut off, and observe prayer at its prescribed time. (And further said): It you find people having observed the prayer, you in fact saved your prayer, otherwise (if you join with them) that would be a Nafl prayer for you.

The translation on Sunnah.com adds and obey (aruler) even if he is a slave having his feet and arms cut off. This does not make sense. The ruler is not a slave.

Muslim 1835a

Whoso obeys me obeys God, and whoso disobeys me disobeys God. Whoso obeys the commander (appointed by me) obeys me, and whoso disobeys the commander disobeys me. The same tradition transmitted by different persons omits the portion: And whose disobeys the commander disobeys me.

So, the authentic core of the Hadith is probably only

Whoso obeys me obeys God; and whose disobeys me disobeys God.

Nevertheless, the authentic commandment (Bukhari 7076 and many other passages) that it is not allowed to kill a Muslim must be considered in this context. An armed revolution will result in a war against other Muslim (more but not only in a Muslim-majority state). This is haram and kufr (on both sides, of course), although it happened very early in history until now.

In the light of this, peaceful resistance is the preferable way. If you follow my doubt on the reliability of the Sunan an-Nasa'i 4206 version of the hadith, resistance may well go beyond the refusal to obey the ruler more than God, but waging an armed revolution will inevitably lead to sin, and the outcome of the revolutions in the youngest history in Islam-majority states showed that revolutions against unjust rulers unfortunately often fail to save the country.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .