Is it obligatory to obey the ruler who is a kafir in lands of kufr?

Question :

Is it obligatory to obey the ruler who is a kafir in lands of kufr ?

Answer :

The summary of what the Shaykh has said :

It is not permitted to obey the disbeliever, as Allah has said,

And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph or authority) over the believers.‘ – An Nisa – 141

Some scholars have explained this with ‘authority’. And some scholars have used this verse as proof that a disbelieving father will not be given authority to conduct marriage for his believing daughter.

But we have to consider the benefits and the harms in disobeying the orders of a disbelieving ruler and whatever of the rules they place in the land. If the rules they place doesn’t conflict with Shareeah of Allah then you are like other citizens and follow them to avoid the troubles and don’t oppose them just because the ruler is disbeliever. And if you cannot establish your religion (because of conflicting rules) them upon you is Hijrah.

As for their rules that conflict with the Shareeah of Allah then it is not permitted to obey them and it might reach Kufr as some of the rules they formulate necessitate the Kufr and obeying those rules is Kufr.

Staying among is them is humiliation and the disbelievers having authority over the muslims is humiliation for muslims. Because of this the scholars have advised the muslims to do hijrah from lands of disbelief. They cannot establish the rituals of Islam openly among them, so it is obligatory upon them to do hijrah if they have ability. (Then Shaykh has mentioned the ayah in Surah Nisa regarding the obligation of hijrah and the ayah after that which say if they dont have capability on hijrah then they are excused. – Translator.)

Allah says –

“Verily! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves (as they stayed among the disbelievers even though emigration was obligatory for them), they (angels) say (to them): “In what (condition) were you?” They reply: “We were weak and oppressed on earth.” They (angels) say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to emigrate therein?” Such men will find their abode in Hell – What an evil destination!” (An Nisa 97)

Some people think that if they can pray and fast in lands of disbelief then it is establishing the religion, this is not correct. He cannot change (or warn against) any evil (like open shirk) and he is in severe humiliation in front of the enemies of Islam. They humiliate him and place on him rules of disbelief (and severe rules which makes the life of a practicing muslim hard).

Answered by : Shaykh Abu Bilal Al Hadhrami

Translated by : AbdunNoor Al Hindi