Where does the loyalty for the Muslim lie today? When the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him mentioned that the Believers are like one body? Can their loyalty be to their family, tribe or nation ahead of other loyalties? Is there any other loyalty than the loyalty to Allah and His Messenger, to al-Islam and the Deen of Allah, to the Believers and the Umma of the Messenger of Allah?
الولاء و البراء
Al-Walaa` wa al-baraa`
Walaa’ (loyalty, allegiance) and baraa’ (innocence from, disowning) are amongst the key concepts of the Islamic aqeedah which every Muslim must understand and hold close to their hearts. In essence it means the loyalty to Allah, to His Messenger and to the believers, and the innocence from and disassociation from disbelief, the disbelievers and all those who aid them in any way.
Anyone who reads the book of Allah will find many verses explaining this point, such as when it is stated in the Qur’an - يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تتخذوا اليهود والنصارى أولياء بعضهم أولياء بعض ومن يتولهم منكم فإنه منهم إن الله لا يهدي القوم الظالمين
O you who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians as Auliya (friends, protectors, helpers), they are but Auliya of each other. And if any amongst you takes them (as Auliya) then surely, he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are Zalimuun (oppressors) (Al-Maa’ida 51)
Imam Baidawi commented on this ayat – فلا تعتمدوا عليهم ولا تعاشروهم معاشرة الأحباب – “so do not rely upon them and do not be intimate with them in the same manner as the intimacy of beloved ones”. Let alone to align with them, and help them against the believers as happens all across the Muslim world today from Afghanistan to Palestine.
Another ayat from the Qur’an reads يا أيها الذين آمنوا لا تتخذوا الكافرين أولياء من دون المؤمنين أتريدون أن تجعلوا لله عليكم سلطانا مبينا
O you who believe! Take not as Auliya disbelievers instead of believers. Do you wish to offer Allah a manifest proof against yourselves? (al-Nisa 144)
And as for baraa’, Allah mentions – قد كانت لكم أسوة حسنة في إبراهيم والذين معه إذ قالوا لقومهم إنا برآء منكم ومما تعبدون من دون الله كفرنا بكم وبدا بيننا وبينكم العداوة والبغضاء أبدا حتى تؤمنوا بالله وحده
Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him when they said to their people “Verily we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allah; we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you hostility and hatred forever until you believe in Allah Alone” (Al-Mumtahanah 4)
Ibn Katheer in his tafseer explains that the rejection of the disbelievers means rejecting their deen and their path (the way they have chosen to proceed in life).
To give allegiance to Allah and His Messenger , and to the ummah of our Prophet, means that the bond of Islam comes before any other relations a person may have, however close or far. It also means an allegiance to Islam at the expense of any other way of life or deen, and to uphold the laws of Allah at the expense of any other laws from any source other than the Islamic sources. A believer’s own love and hate is moulded and directed by Islam, as our Prophet said من أحب لله وأبغض لله وأعطى لله ومنع لله فقد استكمل الإيمان
Whoever loves for the sake of Allah, and hates for the sake of Allah, and gives for the sake of Allah, and prevents for the sake of Allah, has completed their Imaan (Abu Dawuud)
This understanding of walaa’ wa al-baraa’ has been exemplified in the Seerah and in the example of the Companions of the Prophet , such as the words Umar bin al-Khattab after the battle of Badr when asked by the Prophet to give his opinion regarding what to do with the prisoners taken from the ranks of the Quraish. Though Abu Bakr had already given his opinion that the prisoners should be exchanged for ransom, Umar disagreed, saying لا والله ما أرى الذي رأى أبو بكر ولكني أرى أن تمكنني من فلان فأضرب عنقه وتمكن حمزة من أخ له فيضرب عنقه وتمكن عليا من عقيل فيضرب عنقه حتى يعلم الله أن ليس في قلوبنا هوادة للكفار
No, by Allah, I do not see (the situation) as Abu Bakr sees it, but rather I consider that I should be put over such and such a person in order to strike his neck, and Hamza should be put over his brother in order to strike his neck, and Ali should be put over Uqail in order to strike his neck in order that Allah knows that there is no leniency/ love in our hearts for the disbelievers (Tabari)
This was the extent to which Al-Farooq wanted to demonstrate his allegiance and love to Allah ahead of any other tribal or familial considerations. So how can anyone today put loyalty to their nominal nation that Islam does not recognise, in front of their loyalty to the Umma and their brothers and sisters in need around the World?
Another striking example is that of a Roman general, Jaraja, who embraced Islam at the hands of the Sword of Allah, Khalid bin al-Waleed immediately before the onset of the battle of yarmuuk. The two leaders met with each other in the battlefield between the two armies, the Roman army on one side and the army of the khilafah on the other. After a discussion between the two, Jaraja embraced Islam. He then returned with Khalid back to the ranks of the Muslims, made ghusl and prayed two raka’at before joining the battle against the Romans on the side of his brothers in Islam, during which he was killed, inshahAllah a martyr for the sake of Allah.
Upon embracing Islam, his allegiance immediately changed to the Muslim ummah, at the expense of his own homeland, his own soldiers formally under his command, the Romans who he had been born from, raised and lived among. How far is this from the example that is told to Muslims today, to be loyal to their countries which have no loyalty to Islam or the Believers? How can the Muslim soldier sit still in their barracks while their brothers and sisters call out for their help, using the excuse that their role is to protect their “nation”? Do those who follow this path think that they can taste the sweetness of Imaan, without putting their loyalty to Allah and His Deen?
And this is exemplified by the words of ibn Abbas,
أحب في الله وأبغض في الله و وال في الله و عاد في الله فإنما تنال ولاية الله بذالك
و لن يجد عبد طعم الإيمان و إن كثرت صلاته و صومه حتى يكون كذالك
Love for (the sake of) Allah, and hate for Allah, and give loyalty for Allah, and have enmity for Allah, the Walayat of Allah is only bestowed with that, and a slave of Allah would not find the taste of Iman, even if his prayers and fasts were plentiful, until he becomes like that.
Al-Walaa` to the Law of Allah
wa al-Baraa’ from Secular rule
When the Prophet sent Mu’ath to Yemen, he asked him –
“كيف تقضي إذا عرض لك قضاء؟” قال أقضي بكتاب الله قال ” فإن لم تجد في كتاب الله؟” قال فبسنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال “فإن لم تجد في سنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا في كتاب الله؟” قال أجتهد رأيي
“How will you judge if a case is brought to you?” Mu’ath replied “I would judge by the Book of Allah” to which the Prophet asked “And if you do not find (an answer) in the book of Allah?” Mu’ath said “Then by the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah”. The Prophet then asked “and if you do not find (an answer) in the sunnahor the Book of Allah” to which Mu’ath replied he would exert his own opinion (meaning ijtihad based upon the Qur’an and Sunnah), abu dawud/ Ahmad
This hadith, and a similar narration regarding the sending of Abu Musa and Mu’ath to Yemen in which they replied they would make analogy from one issue to another if they could not find a direct answer in the Qur’an and Sunnah, demonstrate the basis for ruling in Islam. As mentioned in the book Awn al-Ma’bood by Shams al-Haqq Azimabadi, the reply of Mu’ath that he would -أجتهد رأيي (exert his opinion) – means accordingly -بذل الوسع في طلب الأمر بالقياس على كتاب أو سنة – a full effort in finding the issue by qiyaas (analogy) upon the Qur’an or Sunnah (therefore not meaning using best judgement depending on personal experience and intellect).
A Muslim is obligated to live their life in all its aspects according to Islam, with all rules being derived ultimately from the Qur’an and Sunnah. This is in direct contradiction to secular law based upon legislation with no reference to the laws of Allah, so a Muslim is obligated to declare his freedom from and enmity against secularism whilst his allegiance is to the Shari’ah.
The (il)Logic of Secular Law
By looking at secular law from a rational perspective, with no reference back to Islamic sources, the average person is able to quickly recognise the inherent problems in secularism based loosely upon the maxim “leave to God what is due to God, and leave to Caesar what is due to Caesar”. The basis of all secular law, whether derived from a democratic system or a dictatorial one, is that man legislates according to what he believes is best, or his desires. The only difference between the democratic and dictatorial system is that in a democratic system the legislation is theoretically more representative of the popular masses opinions and desires than that of a dictatorial system in which the interests represented may be narrower.
Without discussing the theory behind popular democracy, and whether it is ever realistically attainable or essentially a mirage utopia, rule by majority opinion can only ever ultimately lead to contradictions and despair for the populations subjected to it. Since people have varying opinions, desires, wants and needs, even by implementing (an illusory) majority rule, there will always be an oppressed minority (recognised by the existence of so-called “minority rights” within democratic systems). Evidence enough is the history of the plight of the black man in America, the indigenous peoples of Australia, apart from the plight of other “minorities” across the World.
Aside from the obvious prejudice, abuse and oppression that has occurred in modern democracies against minority populations with the assent and agreement of the majority, the variance of opinions with the variance of time also demonstrates the invalidity of rule by man-made law. What is considered legal today was illegal yesterday, and what is illegal today can easily be made legal tomorrow and vice versa, since legislation by man makes the rules and laws effectively subordinate to the whim of the present. The change of opinion in issues covering areas such as abortion, sexuality, race, the status of women, crime and punishment, has led to many corresponding changes in legislation, with no foundation for determining what is essentially right and wrong.
Such an arbitrary way of ruling and running life affairs cannot be considered ideal by any means, and almost all serious proponents of secular democracy claim that the system is, in their view, merely better than other choices rather than being the ultimate form of government as understood by modern end of history acolytes. Islam is the real alternative to not just secular democracy, but all types of man-made systems which by their inherent nature cannot deal with all of man’s needs in an equitable and just manner.
Islam and Secular Law
The basis of legislation in Islam is not man; whether that is an individual representing a set of narrow interests or a legislating body that theoretically represents “majority opinion”. Rather, Allah is the only One with the right of legislation, as mentioned in the Qur’an
إن الحكم إلا لله
Indeed, the Judgement is only for Allah (Yusuf, 67)
And also –
أم لهم شركاء شرعوا لهم من الدين ما لم يأذن به الله
Or have they partners with Allah, who have instituted for them a deen which Allah has not ordained (al-Shura, 21)
Consequently, it is obligatory for all Muslims to follow the commandments of Allah and His Messenger in all spheres of life, whether they are in the position of ruling or being ruled.
وأن احكم بينهم بما أنزل الله ولا تتبع أهواءهم
And so judge between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires (al-Ma’idah, 49)
And also -
فلا وربك لا يؤمنون حتى يحكموك فيما شجر بينهم ثم لا يجدوا في أنفسهم حرجا مما قضيت ويسلموا تسليما
But no by your Lord they can have no faith until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions and accept them with full submission (al-Nisa, 65)
The explanation of the beginning of this ayat as mentioned in Tafseer al-Wajeez interprets that the use of the oath فلا as being explained by – ليس الأمر كما يزعمون أنهم آمنوا وهم يخالفون حكمك – the issue is not as they claim (when they say that) they believe and while they go against his judgement (meaning they have cannot have that belief that they claim).
It is also mentioned in the Qur’an
ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله فأولئك هم الكافرون
And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed such are the kafiroon i.e. disbelievers (al-Ma’idah, 44)
This part of the ayat comes after narrating about the prior revelation of the Torah for Bani Israa’il, and Ismael Qadi in his book Ahkam al-Qur’an stated that –
و من فعل مثل ما فعلوا و اخترع حكما يخالف به حكم الله و جعله دينا يعمل به فقد لزمه من الوعيد المذكور حاكما كان أو غيره
“And whoever did like what they (the Jews) did and devised a law, and by it contradicted the law of Allah and made it a deen and acted according to it, then they are a part of the mentioned threat (that is, that they are from the disbelievers), whether they were Rulers or other than the Rulers (meaning those who were ruled and agreed with their rulers even though they devised laws contrary to Allah’s law)
Imam Qurtubi mentioned that ibn Abbas said in relation to this ayat
ومن لم يحكم بما أنزل الله فقد فعل فعلا يضاهي أفعال الكفار
That whoever does not rule by whatever Allah has revealed then he as done an action that is the same as the actions of the disbelievers.
If one reads over these ayaat of the Qur’an and those similar to them, and their explanations as understood by the companions of the Prophet, those who came after from the salaf and the classical books of tafsir, it is clear that there has never been any discussion over the principle that it is necessary to rule by Allah’s law in entirity. This is because the concept of the shari’ah being the basis for law has always among those accepted fundamentals that do not require any argument. Rather, the discussion between the scholars has always been around the status of the rule who governs and judges by other than the law of Allah – does he remain a Muslim or has he removed himself from the deen of Islam by his actions (this particular discussion is not relevant here, but the point is to understand around what points the classical debates were revolving and the scope of discussion they encompassed).
Belief in Secularism, and the Separation of deen and dowla
It is clear that any believing Muslim cannot adopt any way of life, or code of law, other than that derived from Islam according to the principles of ijtihad. Secular law, whether brought into being via democratic or dictatorial, authoritarian regimes, contradicts the fundamentals of our aqeedah and the command of Allah and His Messenger to obey only Allah, to the extent that it is narrated that the Prophet said
ألا أيها الناس لا يقبل الله صلاة إمام حكم بغير ما أنزل الله
O people, Allah does not accept the prayer of an Imam who rules by other what Allah has revealed (al-Hakim)
Many contemporary scholars from all schools of thought have made clear statements that separating the deen from the state is completely haraam, and it is sufficient to mention the words of just four, Mohammed al-Ameen al-Shinqiiti the Mauritanian scholar and mufassir of the Qur’an, Mustapha Sabri who was formally Sheikh al-Islam in the Uthmani Khilafah, Imam Kawthari who was a staunch hanafi sufi scholar, and Ahmed Shaker the Egyptian muhaddith, May Allah have mercy upon them all.
أما النظام الشرعى المخالف لتشريع خالق السموات و الأرض فتحكيمه كفر بخالق السموات و الأرض
As for the system of law which contradicts the legislation of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the appointment/ ruling by it is kufr in the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth – meaning it is an act of clear disbelief (Shinqiiti)
فصل الدين عن الدولة ارتداد عن الإسلام
The separation of deen from the dowla is apostasy from Islam (Mustapha Sabry)
محاولة فصل الدين عن الدولة كفرا صريحا
The attempt to separate the deen from the dawla is clear disbelief
إن الأمر في هذه القوانين الوضعية واضح وضوح الشمس، هى كفر بواح لا خفاء فيه
The issue with respect to the man-made laws is clear as the clarity of the sun, it is obviously kufr buwah (Ahmed Shaker)
In conclusion, it is clear that the believer must have walaa’ to the laws and rules of Islam, to believe in them and wish for their implementation and execution, and to have baraa’ from secularism, to disbelieve in and disassociate from the laws and rules of other than Islam, and to hate the idea and call for the separation of deen from dawla.