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Are Protest &


Demonstrations In Islam
Halaal Or Haram?

By Abdul Kareem Ibn


Ozzie
Today in this ummah many Muslim are involved going to, supporting,
helping set up and calling to protest and demonstrations on a
wide range of issues. However these actions are all haram as
protest and demonstrations are haram in Islam. Some Muslim
have even claimed protesting and demonstrations are from jihad.

Shaykh Muhammad Amaan bin Alee Al-Jaamee said in his


explanation of Usool ath-Thalaatha, “Jihad is a righteous action, the
pinnacle of Islaam. The meaning of it (jihad)is not hollow slogans and
demonstrations and declarations, no! Jihaad in the path of Allaah is
private, go if there is Jihaad, fight and you are quiet, no one knows
that except Allaah.”

Demonstrations are not from jihad they are a form of rebellion.


Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin Al-’Abbaad Aal-Badr said “No doubt
that (demonstrations) is from the ways of rebellion, rather it is from
rebellion, no doubt (rebelling against the Muslim leader is haram
whether he is good or bad)!”

Shaykh Abdus-Salaam bin Burjiss Aal Abdul-Kareem said


regarding the corruption of rebellion: “The one who thinks about
what is the result of the religious and worldly punishments in the
streets from those who split the Jamaah (community) and rebels
against their leader, he will realize the corruption with this rebellion
is immense and its effects are harmful regardless of the intent of the
rebellion.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya said a magnificent statement on


the topic of rebellion and rebelling against the Muslim ruler: ‘And
perhaps the group that rebelled against the leader do not know that in
their rebellion is a great corruption and it is greater than the
corruption that they wanted to remove’. Indeed splitting the Jamaah
and rebelling against the leader has with it:

1) Replacing the security with fear


2) Replacing satisfaction with hunger
3) The shedding of blood
4) Indecent Attacks
5) Looting wealth
6) Cutting off the paths
7) The spreading (increase) of fools (and foolishness)
8) Spreading of ignorance, and increasing the ignorance
9) Reducing knowledge, and making its people strangers
10) Weakening of the religion, and making it strange

Shaykh Abdul-Muhsin Al-’Abbaad Aal-Badr on 12th of Rabee’


al Awwal, 1432H (15th of February 2011): “…demonstrations bring
harm to the country where you find demonstrations. Because the
demonstrations, I say the smallest thing with it is the cutting of the
paths, and causing harm for the people, and it may be that these
demonstrations give way to other demonstrations which oppose it so
then the killing occurs and the corruption occurs and matters like
these. The obligation is to distancing oneself from it generally.”

Also on the 11th of Rabee’ al Awwal, 1432H corresponding to 14th of


February, 2011 the shaykh (Abdul-Muhsin Al-’Abbaad Aal-Badr)
said: “I do not know anything that proves that these demonstrations
are legislated (the shaykh is referring to the demonstrations in Libya).
We do not know the basis in the religion that proves these
(demonstrations and protests) matters. Rather these matters are
newly invented (demonstrations are bidah (innovation)), that the
people invented and that they have imported from their enemies in
the Western and Eastern countries (imitating the kuffaar which is
haram). Meaning, it does not have a basis in the religion. We do not
know of anything that proves its permissibility in the legislation. So
the people should tread the legislated paths that have been legislated
for them and abandon the things that do not have a basis and that
cause harm, corruption, killing, and cutting off (paths). If the only
harm of it was cutting the paths of the people then that would be
sufficient in clarification of its evil and that it’s not for anyone to
partake in things like that.”

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan said in Majmoo' Fataawa wa Rasa'il -


Volume Two, Number 141, 143, and 146, “Our religion is not a religion
of chaos. Our religion is a religion of discipline, and a religion of
order, and calm, and tranquillity. And demonstrations are not from
the actions of the Muslims and it is not something the Muslims are
familiar with. And the religion of Islam is a religion of calm, and a
religion of mercy, and a religion of discipline; not chaos, and not
disorder, and not (a religion) of inciting trials (fitnah). And this is the
religion of Islam. And rights are earned by asking for them in the
manner legislated by the Shariah and through ways legislated by the
Shariah. And demonstrations cause bloodshed and cause the
ruination of wealth (of the Muslims). And these matters are not
permissible.”

A person asked “What is the ruling pertaining to demonstrations, and


are they considered to be from jihad in the path of Allah?” Shaykh
Saalih ibn Fawzaan. So he replied: “There is no benefit in
demonstrations. Rather they are confusion. They are from confusion,
disorder. And what harm will be done to the enemy if the people
demonstrate a street amongst the streets and raise their tongues?!
Rather, this is from the matters on account of which the enemy
actually rejoices…
Islam is a religion of sanctity, and religion of tranquillity, a religion
based upon knowledge, it is not a religion of confusion and noise. It is
a religion that aims to bring about tranquillity and sanctity, alongside
the working of beneficial and praiseworthy deeds…
So it us upon the Muslims to traverse upon the manhaj of Islam in the
likes o,f these affairs and other than them. Islam did not come with
demonstrations and clangour, and raising of the voices, or
destruction of the state properties, or transgression. All of this is not
from Islam, it does not benefit, rather this harms the Muslims.
Imam Ibn Baaz (D. 1420h) said Concerning Protests and
Demonstration: “I do not view the rallies and demonstrations done by
women and men to be from the treatment. However, I do see that
they are from amongst the causes of fitan and from amongst the
causes of evil and from amongst the causes of transgression upon
some people and to have enmity towards some people without due
right.”

Rather, the Shariah means consist of writing letter, advice and calling
to goodness by Shariah legislated means that the people of knowledge
have explained.

And the Companions of the Messenger of Allah and their followers in


goodness have all explained these means to be writing letters and
speaking along with (A word is unclear) and with the leader and
calling him and advising him and writing to him, without publicizing
the affair upon the pulpits that he did such and such and such and
such emanated from him. And Allah is the One from whom aid is
sought.”

Shaykh Ibnul Uthaymeen said Concerning Protests and


Demonstration: “As for competing in protests and staging public
demonstrations, then this is in opposition to the guidance of the
Salaf. Indeed, now you know that these affairs have no connection to
the Shariah, nor any connection to rectification. It is nothing except
harm…

The Caliph, al-Ma`moon killed everyone from amongst the Scholars


who did not speak of the creation of the Quran. He killed a group of
Scholars and the people were forced to say this false statement. We
have never heard from Imam Ahmad (d.241H), nor from other than
him from the Scholars, that anyone from amongst them ever staged a
sit-in within any mosque (or demonstrations and protest)…
Shaykh Muhammad bin ‘Abdul-Wahhaab Al-’Aqeel advises
the brothers in Libya and the Muslims all over the world regarding
the recent situation in Egypt over Mubarak (the now retiered leader
of Egypt) his advice was ‘to stay away from these protests and
demonstrations, spilling the blood of the Muslims, etc and says that
all of these are Haraam (prohibited).’

Shaykh ‘Abdul-Qaadir bin Muhammad Al-Junaid advices


protesters and demonstrators “Indeed these protests,
demonstrations, marches, sit-ins, and insurgencies that you are active
in to remove your leader and topple his government or objections to
some of his decisions, moves, and actions are not worthy enough for
you to go out against him, and to march about it, and to be amongst
the masses of people, and organize a way to call to it or support and
be proponents to it.”
Then he explains how demonstrations are haram because they
involve coping the kuffaar in their harm actions. He said “…they are
the disbelievers from the Jews, Christians, Communists, Buddhists,
and those who are upon the way of the Baathists , Socialists, Marxists,
Secularists, Liberalists, and other than them…the recent history of
revolutions, demonstrations, protests, sit-ins, marches in the street in
their countries are hardly unnoticed or hidden from the reasonable,
insightful intellectual, as it is said (by them (the kuffaar): Freedom is
a sufficient sign…
So beware O believer in Allah and His Messenger that you will take
the path of these two groups (the Khawarij and the kuffaar), and that
you imitate their actions, and make them your examples and guides
for you will lose not win, and you will spread corruption not
rectification, you will cause disarray and not guidance, you will
deviate and not guide.
It’s affirmed from the most merciful of the creation to you and the
most sincere one to you, and he is the Prophet that he said to you and
to the believers, warning, repulsing, and disliking, ‘Whoever
imitates a people then he is from them.”’ Abu Dawood,
3512; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani.
(Ibn Taymiyyah said about this hadeeth, “This at the very least
indicates that it is haraam to imitate them (the kuffaar), although the
apparent meaning is that the one who imitates them is a kaafir
(disbeliever). Iqtidaa al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 1/237. Also he said,
“Imitating them in outward matters leads to imitating them in
attitude and actions, hence we are forbidden to imitate the kuffaar…
as it says in the marfu hadeeth: ‘Whoever imitates a people is one of
them.’” Majmoo al-Fataawa of Ibn Taymiyyah, 22/154.)

Shaykh ‘Abdul-Qaadir bin Muhammad Al-Junaid words on


demonstrations and protest being from the kuffaar are explained by
the words of Shaykh Muhammad Naasiruddeen Al-Albaanee.
“Going out for these demonstrations and protests with signs showing
displeasure and rejection of some of the decisions or some of the laws,
this system is with the ruling upon those who say: The rule is for the
people, or from the people by the people (the kuffaar who support
democracy). He made this clear when he said, “They have taken it
(demonstrations and protest) completely from the culture of the
westerners and their system of govern.” On this point Shaykh
Saaleh bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan said, “And demonstrations are
not from the actions of the Muslims (because they are the actions of
the kuffaar), and the Muslims have never known it before.”

Shaykh Uthmaan As-Saalimee said “Allaahul Musta’aan, with it


is Tawheed (monotheism) and the greatness of trusting in Allah, and
the people became… ignorant of the likes of these meanings (trusting
in Allah), they started to look at their leaders only: “What should we
give them if they fall short?” They (referring to the people of Egypt in
their recent protest) went out to the streets protesting. Some of them
were looting from others. Some of them rob each other. Importantly,
it’s a great evil (protesting and demonstrations).”

So we do not support the demonstrations and protests and whatever


resembles that. We do not support under any circumstances, and
rectification is possible without such things. However, there is no
escape from the fact that there are hidden matters, inward or outward
that are trying to spread these affairs.”

These are some of the reason why the scholars view protest and
demonstrations to be haram:

1. Free mixing between men and women,

2. brings about more harm than good e.g. violence (between police
and protesters) and killing and harming the countries economy
(shops close and tourists may leave for example)

3. imitating the kuffaar (as Muslims copied demonstrations from


them as there is no mention of demonstrations in Islam),

4. bidah (innovation as the prophet nor the sahaba demonstrated),

5. not following the way of the salaf (the early and best generations
of Muslims) who never protested,

6. cooperating upon sin and misguidance (Muslim calling to,


supporting and join demonstration which are haram so they are
all cooperating upon a sin and misguidance),

7. wasting time and money on a sinful innovated act,

8. inconveniencing others (blocking the road or preventing people


from passing by for example);

9. chanting silly slogans that are sometime haram,

10. playing instruments and sing to pass the time,

11. provides a platform for those with little knowledge of the shariah
to speak and gain followers,
12. missing the five prayers sometimes as there may be no space to
pray,

13. enmity
(hatred) towards some people without due right just
because they did not attend the demonstration or are against it,

14. wastingothers time with no shariah right (the paramedics on


stand by in case there is a violent incident, police and army
monitoring the crowd could be doing better things with their
time like arresting criminals and protecting the country),

15. women going out wearing adornment and make-up;

16. sometimeshouting slogans that are incorrect and sinful;


sometimes begging the kufr for help outside their embassy’s etc
or through use of slogans and placards,

17. holding up pictures or effigies of people;

18. using
slanderous and insulting words that are not permitted in
shariah;

19. backbiting, cursing, slandering and exposing the sins of the


people you protest against or those who do not support your
protest (I am talking about when those who you are protesting
against are Muslim or those who oppose the protest are Muslim)

20. andsometimes committing acts of aggression against the


property of innocent people (destroying their shops or breaking
their windows, or starting fires in public facilities).

As for those who say what about if a protest did not involve these
things would it be halal. No protest witness is free from all these
things at least a few will be present. Secondly all protest are haram as
they involve imitating the kuffaar the prophet said, “Whoever
imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Abu
Dawood, 3512; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. Ibn
Taymiyyah said about this hadeeth, “This at the very least indicates
that it is haraam to imitate them, although the apparent meaning is
that the one who imitates them is a kaafir (disbeliever). Iqtidaa al-
Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 1/237.

Additionally every demonstration and protest held by Muslims is a


haram bidah (innovation) as the prophet and his sahaba never
protested or demonstrated. The Messenger of Allah said:
"Every innovation is misguidance and going astray"
Reported by Abu Dawood (no. 4607), at-Tirmidhee (no.
2676) and it is saheeh. Ibn Hajr authenticated it Takhreej
Ahaadeeth Ibn ul-Haajib (1/137). Plus the prophet said: "…
and every innovation is misguidance and all misguidance
is in the Hellfire." Reported by an-Nasaa'ee (1/224) from
Jaabir bin Abdullaah and it is saheeh as declared by
Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo' ul Fataawaa
(3/58).

Also Protest and demonstrations are rejected acts of worship because


they are bidah. The prophet said, “He who innovates
something in this matter of ours that is not of it, will have
it rejected.” Recorded in, Bukhari and Muslim. Also the
prophet said, “Whoever does an act which is not in
agreement with our matter, will have it rejected."
Recorded by, Muslim.

In Islam there is no bidah hasanah (good innovation) all bidah is


haram because the prophet Mohammed taught the ummah
everything that was best for it. There is no way someone can teach
this ummah something else that is good for the ummah but the
prophet never taught the ummah. The prophet said, “Never was
a prophet before me, but he disclosed to his people what he
knew to be best for them, and warned them of what he
knew to be evil for them.” Recorder by Muslim. Plus every act
of worship that would bring any Muslim closer to Jannah (Gardens of
Paradise) the prophet taught us about it. The prophet said,
“There is nothing that would bring you closer to Jannah
(Gardens of Paradise) and farther from the Fire but it has
been clarified [by me] to you.” Recorded by Ahmad and
others; authenticated by al-Albaanee and others.

Inshallah from the above the fact that protest and demonstrations
(and what is similar to them) are haram and some of the reasons why
should be clear.

May Allah protect the ummah from the fitnah (trials) of protest and
demonstrations. Ameen.

Important point: Did The Sahaba Protest?

Some Muslims claim the sahaba supported protest and they use the
hadeeth of Umar Al-Faarooq to support this claim, however as you
will see below inshallah none of the narrations of his hadeeth
mentioning the marching in two ranks (lines) of the sahaba are
authentic rather all of them are weak.

First Chain Of Narration


Al-Haafidh Aboo Nu’aym Al-Asbahaanee in his Hilyat Al Awliyaa
(volume 1, page 40) said: (the chain) Muhammad bin Ahmad Bin Al-
Hasan narrated to us that Muhammad bin ‘Uthmaan bin Abee
Shaybah narrated to us that ‘Abdul-Hameed bin Saaleh narrated to us
that Muhammad bin Abaan narrated to us from Is-haaq bin
Abdullaah bin Abaan bin Saaleh from Mujaahid from Ibn Abbaas who
said:

Hadeeth
“I asked Umar about how he became known as “Al-Faarooq”, he said,
“Hamzah became Muslim three days before me, then Allah opened by
heart to Islam, so I said laa illaaha illaa huw, lahul Asmaa’ al-Husnaa
(There is nothing worthy of worship except He, to Him belong the
most beautiful Names). There is no person on Earth more beloved to
me than the Messenger of Allah I said, “Where is the Messenger of
Allaah?” My sister said, “He is in the house of Al-Arqam bin Al-
Arqam in Safaa.” So I arrived at the house and Hamzah was in the
sitting with his companions in the house and the Messenger of Allah
was in the house. So I knocked on the door. The people gathered and
Hamzah said to them, “What is wrong with you.” They said, “‘Umar.”
So the Messenger of Allah came out. He grabbed a part of his
(Umar’s) clothes and pulled him to his knees and said “What is it you
want Umar?” I said, “I Testify that there is nothing worthy of worship
except Allah, and I Testify that Muhammad is His slave and
Messenger.” So the people in the house make Takbeer so loud that the
people in the Masjid could hear it. I said, “Messenger of Allah, are we
not upon the truth?” He said, “Of course.” I said, “Why do we conceal
it?” We went out in two ranks, in one of which I was and in the other
Hamzah, until we entered the mosque, and Quraysh looked at me and
at Hamzah. There came upon them gloom and depression the like of
which had never before come upon them. The Messenger of Allah –
named me on that day “al-Farooq” because Islam had been shown
openly and a separation made between the truth and falsehood.”

Hadeeth Checking
Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “This narration is not authentic, with the
Praise of Allaah -Ta’aala-, rather it is very weak.” Shaykh Albaanee
said: 6531:Munkar (rejected).

Second Chain Of Narration


Aboo Nu’aym reported it in his Hilya 1/40 from the way of : (the
chain) Ishaaq bin Abdullaah from Abaan bin Saaleh from Mujaahid
from Ibn Abbaas who said:
Hadeeth
I asked Umar about how he became known as “Al-Faarooq”, he said,
“Hamzah became Muslim three days before me, then Allaah opened
by heart to Islam, so I said laa illaaha illaa huw, lahul Asmaa’ al-
Husnaa (There is nothing worthy of worship except He, to Him
belong the most beautiful Names). There is no person on Earth more
beloved to me than the Messenger of Allah I said, “Where is the
Messenger of Allah?” My sister said, “He is in the house of Al-Arqam
bin Al-Arqam in Safaa.” So I arrived at the house and Hamzah was in
the sitting with his companions in the house and the Messenger of
was in the house. So I knocked on the door. The people gathered and
Hamzah said to them, “What is wrong with you.” They said, “‘Umar.”
So the Messenger of Allah came out. He grabbed a part of his
(Umar’s) clothes and pulled him to his knees and said “What is it you
want ‘Umar?” I said, “I Testify that there is nothing worthy of worship
except Allah, and I Testify that Muhammad is His slave and
Messenger.” So the people in the house make Takbeer so loud that the
people in the Masjid could hear it. I said, “Messenger of Allah, are we
not upon the truth?” He said, “Of course.” I said, “Why do we conceal
it?” We went out in two ranks (lines), in one of which I was and in the
other Hamzah, until we entered the mosque, and Quraysh looked at
me and at Hamzah. There came upon them gloom and depression the
like of which had never before come upon them. The Messenger of
Allah named me on that day ‘al-Farooq’ because, Islam had been
shown openly and a separation made between the truth and
falsehood.’“

Hadeeth Checking
Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “This chain of narration is very weak,
Ishaaq bin Abdullaah is Ibn Abee Farwah.” Bukhari said: “Abandon
him (Ishaaq bin Abdullaah).” Ahmad bin Hanbal said: “His (Ishaaq
bin Abdullaah) narrations are not permitted with me and some of
them (sholars of hadeeth) considered him a liar.”

Third Chain Of Narration


Then Aboo Nu’aym and Al-Bazzaar (3/169-171) reported from the way
of: (the chain) Ishaaq bin Ibraaheem Al-Hunaynee: Usaamah bin
Zayd bin Aslam narrated to us from his father from his grandfather
who said:

Hadeeth
Umar said to us: Do you like me to let you know about my acceptance
of Islam? We said, yes. He said… and he mentioned the long story of
his Islam and it did not have the reason for being known as “Al-
Faarooq”, nor mention of the two ranks (lines of protest the prophet,
him and the other sahaba formed and marched to Masjid al-Haraam
in). And Aboo Nu’aym summarized the narration of his Islam with his
sister and her husband, and Al-Bazzaar said, “We do not know any
narration with this chain except from Al-Hunaynee, and we do not
know about the Islam of Umar anything better than this chain…

Hadeeth Checking
Bukhari said: “In his Hadeeth there are issues.” Shaykh Alee Ridhaa
said, “He is like Ibn Abee Farwah or close to him.” An-Nasaa’ee said:
He’s not reliable (Ibn Abee Farwah). Ibn Adee said: “Weak (Ibn Abee
Farwah), and with his weakness his hadeeth are written.”

Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “Abdullaah bin Ahmad (the son of Imam
Ahmed) reported it in his Fadhaa’il as-Sahaba (1/285-288) and he
mentioned the Islam of Umar with many narrations and none of them
are authentic.”

A Summary Of The Most Authentic Chain Of Narration


Shaykh Alee Ridhaa said, “The best chain in summary is what Ahmad
reported (1/17) and from his way by Ibn Al-Atheer in his Asad Al
Ghaaba (3/644) by way of Shurayh bin Ubayd - and he mentioned the
narration- and the men of this chain are reliable, so it’s chain is
authentic, although Shurayh bin Ubayd did not meet Umar bin al-
Khattaab (the reporters of this hadeeth are reliable however the chain
of narration is munqati (broken) as one of the reporters (Shurayh bin
Ubayd) is known to have never heard the hadeeth from his immediate
authority (Umar bin al-Khattaab), all munqati hadeeth are weak as
they are not muttasil (a continuous connected chain of narration with
no breaks in it) and (it is narrated) like that in Al Mujama’ 9/65, and
at-Tabaraanee in Al Awsat…”

Conclusion
None of the narrations of this hadeeth mentioning the marching in
two ranks (lines) of the sahaba are authentic rather all of them are
weak. As these narrations are weak they can not be used to explain a
fiqh ruling on whether protest and demonstration are halal or haram.
Imam Nawawi said in the …’Adhkar’: “As for legal (fiqh) rulings such
as what is permitted (halaal) and what is forbidden (haraam), or the
modalities of trade, marriage, divorce and other than that: one’s
practice is not based upon anything other than authentic (saheeh)
or good (hasan) hadeeth…..”
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 1/250: It
is not permissible in Islam to rely on weak ahaadeeth that are neither
saheeh nor hasan… None of the imams (scholars of iqh or hadeeth)
said that it is permissible to regard something as obligatory or
mustahabb (recommended) on the basis of a weak hadeeth; whoever
says that is going against scholarly consensus (ijma)…...
Some scholars allowed the use of weak hadeeth but only for
encouraging good deeds or forbidding haraam actions (targheeb wa
al-tarheeb) and for (fadail amal) good deeds and character and even
when these scholars use these hadeeth there are strict conditions that
they adhere to.
Ibn Hajar al-Askalani gives the conditions which all the scholars who
allow weak hadeeth to be used give.
1. It should not be very weak, and one should not act upon a
hadeeth which was narrated only by one of the liars or those who
are accused of lying, or whose mistakes are serious.
2. It should mention a good deed for which there is a basis in the
Shareah.
3. When acting upon it one should not believe that the action is
well-founded, rather he should do it on the basis of erring on the
side of caution.
From what Ibn Hajar al-Askalani has said it is clear that even the
scholars who accepted weak hadeeth in relation to encouraging good
deeds or forbidding haraam actions (targheeb wa al-tarheeb) and for
(fadail amal) good deeds and character do not accept very weak or
fabricated hadeeth like these narrations.