What is Islam’s view on obedience to the law of the land?

In Islam obedience to the law of the land is a religious duty. The Qur’an commands Muslims to remain faithful to not only Allah and the Prophet Muhammad(sa), but also the authority they live under:

O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority over you (Ch.4: V.60).

Any country or government that guarantees religious freedom to followers of different faiths (not just Islam) must be owed loyalty. The Prophet Muhammad(sa) stressed this point when he said:

‘One who obeys his authority, obeys me. One who disobeys his authority, disobeys me.’ (Muslim)

The present head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), has also explained:

‘A true Muslim can never raise his voice in hatred against his fellow citizens, nor for that matter against the ruling authority or government of the time. It is the responsibility of a true Muslim that he should remain loyal and fully abide by the laws of the land of which he is a subject.’ (Baitul Futuh Inauguration Reception, 11 Oct 2003)

This makes clear that according to Islam Muslims must obey the law of the land as anything to the contrary would mean that they are not obeying their Prophet or their religion.

source https://www.alislam.org/question/islam-obedience-law-of-land/?fbclid=IwAR3vkzKC8BNhPU711Ds2-xTmh1z5SCS5BR8Kt6uz3GS5ITNTQMfm7QQPU5Q

6 replies

  1. If what the article claims would be true unequivocally, any government – God forbid – would be right and could never be challenged even if it installs concentration camps and/or other sordid measures to enslave, subjugate, or may be even liquidate its own citizens, or not?

  2. Dear Brother Rafiq,

    AsSalaamu ‘alaikum.

    When Israelites were oppressed by the Pharaoh of Egypt, Allah s.w.t. sent Musa a.s. who went to Pharaoh, and the Holy Qur’an also enjoins forbidding evil and transgression. To remain patient and passive about it is not the right way when tyranny and wrongdoing is the way of the ruling authority.

    The Qur’an teaches us:

    [26:152-153] ‘And obey not the bidding of those who exceed the bounds, ‘Who create disorder in the earth, and reform it not.’

    So, how can we possibly be rightfully instructed to obey rulers unconditionally? Again we are instructed:

    [5:3] “… And co-operate with one another in righteousness and piety; but co-operate not with one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah; surely, Allah is severe in punishment.”

    How then can we co-operate with an authority in sin and transgression? Moreover,

    “`Ali r.a. is reported to have said that the Prophet s.a. said: There is no obedience to a human being if it involves disobedience to the Creator. Obedience is only in Ma`ruf (i.e. that which is judged as good, beneficial, & according to Qur’an & Sunnah).” [Bukhari & Muslim]. 

    This hadith is in accord with the Qur’an as regards obedience only in what is ma’ruf [60:13, 24:54], a qualification which is contained within the ten conditions of bai’at for being an Ahmadi Muslim.

    In addition, we have Hadhrat Abu Bakr’s r.a. first address: 

    “I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right. Sincere regard for truth is loyalty and disregard for truth is treachery. The weak amongst you shall be strong with me until I have secured his rights, if God will; and the strong amongst you shall be weak with me until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God will. Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger (Muhammad, pbuh). But if I disobey God and His Messenger, ye owe me no obedience. Arise for your prayer, God have mercy upon you.”

    Tariq ibn Shihab r.a. reported that a man asked the Messenger of Allah s.a. “What is the best jihad?” 
    The Prophet s.a. said, “A word of truth in front of a tyrannical ruler.” [Musnad Aḥmad, 18449]

    Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri r.a. reported that the Messenger of Allah s.a. said: Verily, among the greatest Jihad is a word of justice in front of a tyrannical ruler. [Sunan al-Tirmidhi 2174]

    Whilst rioting is clearly disorderly and hence unIslamic, raising one’s voice in an appropriate manner against the clear wrongs of rulers (and others) is definitely Islamic.


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