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When Scholars Visit Rulers : Anwar al Awlaki On-Line

When Scholars Visit Rulers

July 18, 2009 - السبت 27 رجب 1430 by Anwar alAwlaki  
Filed under Imam Anwar's Blog

أخرج أبو داود، والترمذي وحسنه، والنسائي، والبيهقي في « شعب الإيمان »، عن ابن عباس، رضي الله عنهما، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: « من سكن البادية جفا، ومن اتبع الصيد غفل، ومن أتى أبواب السلاطين افتتن ».

Ibn Abbass narrated that Rasulullah (SAAWS) said: Whoever lives the life of a Bedouin becomes coarse. And whoever occupies himself with hunting becomes heedless and whoever visits the rulers falls into fitnah.
Narrated by Abu Dawud, al Tirmithis, al Nasai, and al Bayhaqi and is agreeable.
Man is affected by his environment and actions. Therefore Islam guides us to which actions we should perform and which actions should be avoided and it also teaches us what environment we should live in and which people we should surround ourselves with.
The line of work one chooses affects his personality. The personal traits one gains from being in the medical field are different than those one gains from being in IT for example. Some professions make people coarse when others make them gentle. In some professions being polite is necessary for  success in the field while in others profanity and rudeness is  the rule. Even within the same profession one may find differences. Rasulullah(SAAWS) says that shepherds of goats and sheep are merciful while shepherds of camels are proud.
In the above quoted hadith Rasulullah (SAAWS) mentions three actions and their effects on the person who performs them. The first is living as a Bedouin. Rasulullah (SAAWS)says that life as a Bedouin makes a person coarse and rough in their character. The difficulty of life in the desert and the rough environment demand that man develops the traits that are suitable for his survival in such conditions.
The second action is hunting. The ability to find the game and  the desire to win against its abilities to deceive, hide and run from the hunter is exiting and can become an addiction. This may lead to a person foregoing the responsibilities that they have and lead to shortcomings in their religion and thus Rasulullah (SAAWS) says they become heedless.
The third action is visiting the rulers. Rasulullah (SAAWS) says that the person who visits the rulers falls into fitnah. In the commentary on Sunan Abi Dawud, Awn al Mabood,  it says that the meaning of falling into fitnah here is loosing one’s religion.
In Tuhfat al Ahuthi, the commentary on Sunan al Tirmithi it says: “that the one who visits the ruler and adulates him has fell into fitnah but the one who visits him and does not adulate him but advises him and enjoins him to do good and forbids him from doing evil then his visiting to the ruler becomes the greatest Jihad.”
The hadith here refers to the rulers of the Muslims who were Muslim but fell into wrongdoing and oppression. So what should we say about the scholars who visit the rulers of today who have left the folds of Islam altogether? If the hadith states that a person loses his religion by visiting an oppressive ruler what would happen to the religion of those scholars who visit the promoters of apostasy and the protectors of the enemies of ummah?
Entering into the world of the rulers is a fitnah. Their world is an artificial and deceptive one when the scholars come from a pure and clean environment. The environment of the scholars is an honest and straightforward one and does not prepare them for what they face in the world of deception and lies of the kings. These rulers trick the scholars with their words and promises and they win over their loyalty by kind treatment and “gifts”. Doesn’t Rasulullah (SAAWS) say: “Give each other gifts and you would love each other”?

Indeed some of these scholars have absorbed in their hearts the love of the rules like Banu Israel absorbed the love of the Calf.
These rulers have entrapped many scholars in their webs and recruited them to the role of protecting them, their interests and the interests of their masters, the Jews and Christians, rather than protecting the religion of Allah and the Muslims.
But there will always be a group of this ummah on truth protecting the religion of Allah and there are scholars who stand for the truth and sacrifice for it. There are scholars today who follow the footsteps of Ahmad ibn Hanbal who stood up alone for the truth only to become the Imam of Ahl al Sunnah wal Jama’ah.


178 Responses to “When Scholars Visit Rulers”
  1. AnsariyaNo Gravatar says:


    Al-Salamu alaykum wa rahmatuAllahi wa barakatu shaykh Anwar

    JazakAllahu khayrun wa barakAllahu feekum for your sincere advice and standing by al-Haqq while many others either shun it altogether or refuse to speak about such critical issues due to fear.

    The rulers have gone through their fitna and they have sold their akhira for the dunya, and likewise the scholars and the masses will go through their trials and they too must decide: truth or falsehood

    I pray that Allah The Exalted and Most Honored guides us all to the straight path, and removes from our hearts any weakness and fear. Ameen


  2. aabidNo Gravatar says:

    May Alla guide us all Seikh.

  3. hashimNo Gravatar says:

    I got this from I.A forum. ((The Hadeeth is weak due to an unknown narrator in the chain i.e. Abu Musa as Ibn Al-Qattan and others said. ))What do u say about it Shaykh?

  4. ibrahimNo Gravatar says:

    Jazakallah khair sheikh

  5. Kashif AminNo Gravatar says:

    Asalaamu Alaykum WaRahmatullah Imam,

    The hadith of Rasulullah SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam comes to mind, where he mentioned keeping good company.

    That a person who spends time with a blacksmith will end up with dirt on his clothes, whilst he who spends time with a florist (or perfume maker) ends up smelling beautiful.

    Your article also brings to light the plight of those Muslims who enter into dealings with politicians in the West (and sadly, in the Muslim world as well), and SubhaanAllah, eventually end up corrupted by the same corrupt ideologies that have afflicted those politicians (such as Freedom, Liberalism, Democracy).

    I agree with your evaluation of those scholars who choose to meet the corrupt rulers. The likes of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (RadiAllahu Anhu) demonstrated the best of Jihad in his spoken word of truth in the face of deviant rulers. His position in this endeavour should serve as the role model for our learned scholars. WaAllahu Alim.

    WaSalaamu Alaykum.

  6. RamyNo Gravatar says:

    Assalama Alaykum wa Rahmat Allahi wa Barakatu.

    Baaarak Allahu Feek ya Fadeelat Al-Sheikh Anwar! May Allah elevate your status and grant you Al-Firdaws with the Prophets, the Sideequn, the Shuhadaa’ and the Salihun! Allahumma Ameen!

    May Allah guide our scholars to what is most pleasing to Allah and most beneficial to His Deen. But ya Sheikh, Insha-Allah you can’t be taking extended vacations like this all the time. We miss you. Mafhum? ;-)

    Baarak Allahu Feek wa Jazak Allahu Khair.

    Wassalama Alaykum wa Rahmat Allahi wa Barakatu.

  7. Ibn MohammedNo Gravatar says:


    Jazakallah Sheikh may ALLAH bless you for this excellent post.

    I hope the salafees are listening.

  8. TariqNo Gravatar says:

    Asalamu alykum

    May Allah bless you and grant you Janat Al-Firdous by his mercy for your sincere, frank, and much needed words Sheik Anwar.


  9. QS71No Gravatar says:


    In 763, al-Mansur, the Abbasid monarch offered Abu Hanifa the post of Chief Judge of the State, but he declined to accept the offer, choosing to remain independent. His student Abu Yusuf was appointed Qadi Al-Qadat (Chief Judge of the State) of al-Mansur regime instead of himself.

    In his reply to al-Mansur, Abu Hanifa excused himself by saying that he did not regard himself fit for the post. Al-Mansur, who had his own ideas and reasons for offering the post, lost his temper and accused Abu Hanifa of lying.

    “If I am lying,” Abu Hanifa said, “then my statement is doubly correct. How can you appoint a liar to the exalted post of a Chief Qadi (Judge)?”

    Incensed by this reply, the ruler had Abu Hanifa arrested, locked in prison and tortured. He was never fed nor cared for.[7] Even there, the indomitable jurist continued to teach those who were permitted to come to him.

    In 767, Abu Hanifa died in prison. It was said that so many people attended his funeral that the funeral service was repeated six times for more than 50,000 people who had amassed before he was actually buried. Later, after many years, a mosque, the Abu Hanifa Mosque in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad, was built in honor of him.

    To present day Scholars who visit or are on the payroll of such “Najas” Rulers.

    Surah Al-Zalzala

    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    When the earth is shaken with its (final) earthquake. (1)

    And when the earth throws out its burdens, (2)

    And man will say: “What is the matter with it?” (3)

    That Day it will declare its information (about all that happened over it of good or evil). (4)

    Because your Lord will inspire it.(5)

    That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds. (6)

    So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. (7)

    And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. (8)

    @hashim: I would put my money even on a weak hadith (if that is the case) than the “Fitna Scholars” of present time

  10. QS71 cont 1No Gravatar says:

    PLEASE WAKE UP OH! “MOONS” in THE NIGHT SKY the “stars” of Ummah are calling on YOU.


    Despite his reluctance to render religious verdicts, Malik was outspoken. He issued fatwas against being forced to pledge allegiance to the Caliph Al-Mansur, and was punished via flogging for his stance. Al-Mansur apologized to Malik, and offered him money and residence in Baghdad, but Malik refused to leave the city of Prophet Muhammad. Later, Harun al-Rashid asked Malik to visit him while Harun was performing the hajj. The Imam refused, and instead he invited the new caliph to his class.

  11. QS71 cont 2No Gravatar says:

    YA HABEEBI Imams of today,the “Noor” of Islam, enlighten the Ummah from the darkness of our times.

    At the time of Harun ar-Rashid, he had an appointment in Yemen, as a judge in Najran. Sunnis portray that his devotion to justice, even when it meant criticizing the governor, caused him some problems, and he was taken before the Caliph, falsely accused of aiding the Alawis in a revolt. At this time, al Shaybani was the chief justice, and his defense of ash-Shafi’i, coupled with ash-Shafi’i’s own eloquent defense, convinced Harun ar-Rashid to dismiss the charge, and to direct al Shaybani to take ash-Shafi’i to Baghdad.He was also a staunch critic of Al-Waqidi’s writings on Sirah.

    In Baghdad, he developed his first madhab, influenced by the teachings of both Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Malik. Thus, his work there is known as “al Madhab al Qadim lil Imam as Shafi’i,” or the Old School of ash-Shafi’i.

  12. QS71 cont 3No Gravatar says:

    Oh! Allah (SWT) give us such True Scholars in every street corner of this world.Ameen


    The Caliph Al-Ma’mun subjected scholars to severe persecution at the behest of the Mu’tazili theologians, most notably Bishr al-Marrisi and Ahmad b. Abi Du’ad, mainly to establish the notion that God created the Quran as a physical entity (rather than saying that Quran is God’s speech in an indescribable way, as held by the orthodox view).

    Almost all of the scholars in Baghdad acknowledged the creation-of-Quran doctrine, with the notable exceptions of Ibn Hanbal and Muhammad ibn Nuh. This greatly pained and angered Ibn Hanbal, so that he boycotted some of the great traditionists for their acknowledgement and often refused to narrate hadith from them. Amongst those boycotted were a close companion and a colleague of Ibn Hanbal, Yahya b. Ma’in, about whom it is said that Ibn Hanbal refused to speak to him until he died.

    Finally, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Muhammad ibn Nuh were also put to the test on the order of al-Ma’mun, but they refused to acknowledge the literal creation of the Quran as created like other of Allah’s creatures. Consequently, they were dispatched in irons to be dealt with by al-Ma’mun himself. On the way, Imam Ahmad supplicated to Allah to prevent him from meeting al-Ma’mun. His prayer was answered in the sudden death of al-Ma’mun, due to which they were both sent back. Muhammad b. Nuh died on their return journey, and there was none to prepare his funeral, pray over, and bury him except Imam Ahmad.

    The policy endorsing the created-Quran premise was continued by al-Mu’tasim (who is reported to have had Ibn Hanbal flogged) and by al-Wathiq (who banished Ibn Hanbal from Baghdad).

    After Ibn Hanbal turned 77, he was struck with severe illness and fever, and became very weak, yet never complained about his infirmity and pain. After hearing of his illness, masses flocked to his door. The ruling family also showed the desire to pay him a visit, and to this end sought his permission. However, due to his desire to remain independent of any influence from the authority, Ahmad denied them access.

    He died in Baghdad in Rabi’ al-Awwal, 241 AH (Friday, July 31, 855 CE). The news of his death quickly spread far and wide in the city and the people flooded the streets to attend his funeral. One of the rulers, upon hearing the news, sent burial shrouds along with perfumes to be used for the funeral. However, respecting Ibn Hanbal’s wishes, his sons refused the offering and instead used a burial shroud prepared by his female servant. Moreover, his sons took care not to use water from their homes to wash the body, as Ibn Hanbal had refused to utilize any of their resources because they had accepted the offerings of the ruler.