Shaykh ul-Islaam Abul'Abbaas Ahmad Ibn Abdul Haleem Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahuLlaah) said:
Generally, Ahl us-Sunnah strive to obey Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wassallam) according to their capability. They know that Allaah sent Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alayhi wassallam) to benefit the living and provide for the servants (of Allaah), because he called to rectification and forbade causing corruption. So if an action has within it benefit and harm, the more appropriate of the two is chosen. If there are more benefits in an action then it is better to do the action but if there is more harm within any given action then it is better and more appropriate to leave the action.
This is because Allaah sent the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wassallam) to achieve and perfect benefit and to prohibit causing harm or to lessen it. So if the Khilaafah is assumed by Khulafaa' such as Yazeed, 'Abdul Malik, Mansoor and others, it was said (by some), "They have to be removed from power and fought against so that other individuals are in charge" as was stated by those who wanted to use the sword to remove them from power, and this is a destructive view as the harms involved in this are more than any benefits which may be achieved.
It is very rare that anyone will revolt against a ruler with authority except that the evil consequences are greater than any good which was brought about such as those who revolted against Yazeed in Mareligionah, Ibn 'Ash'ath who revolted against 'AbdulMaalik in 'Iraaq, ibn Muhallab who revolted against his (AbdulMaalik's) son in Khurasaan, Aboo Muslim who called others to revolt in Khurasaan, those who revolted against al-Mansoor in Mareligionah and Basra and other such instances.
The result of those people (who revolted) was either they were overpowered or they were victorious for a while and then their rule ended and there was no longevity or effect. As for 'Abdullaah bin 'Ali and Aboo Muslim, they were the two who killed many people and they were both killed by Aboo Ja'far al-Mansoor.
As for the people of Harrah, Ibn ul-'Ash'ath and Ibn ul-Muhallab, who also revolted, they were defeated along with their companions and they did not establish anything in the religion and nothing remained for them in the world.
And Allaah, the Exalted, does not instruct anything on account of which rectification of the religion and the world is not attained even if the one who does that is from the friends of Allaah, the Pious ones (Muttaqoon), and from the People of Paradise, for they are not better than Ali, Aa'ishah, Talhah or Zubayr and others (radi Allaahu 'anhum). For this reason, they were not praised for what they did of fighting, though they had a high status in the sight of Allaah and had the best of intentions among the people. Likewise, the people of Harrah had some people of knowledge, religion and etiquettes among them. Equally the companions of Ibn Ash'ath had among them some people of knowledge and religion; may Allaah forgive them all.
Indeed, it was said to Ash-Sha'bee during the corruption of ibn Asha'th; what is your stand, O Aamir? He responded:
"I am where the poet describes:
"The wolf howls so it became known with the wolf whenever it howls
And the voice of man is almost like the birds"
A corruption has hit us, we are not the pious God-fearing and not the powerful sinners."
AI-Hasan al-Basree used to say: 'Hajjaaj is a punishment from Allaah, and the punishment of Allaah cannot be averted by your hands rather you have to submit and humble ourselves to Allaah, as Allaah says,
"And We had gripped them with suffering [as a waming], but they did not yield to their Lord, nor did they humbly supplicate, [and will continue thus]?" Q23:76.
Talaq ibn Habeeb used to say: 'Repel the corruption with Taqwa.' It was said to him: 'Elucidate on Taqwa for us.' He said: 'You will work with the obedience of Allaah upon the light of Allaah, you hope for Allaah's Mercy and you refrain from the disobedience of Allaah upon the light of Allaah from Allaah and you fear Allaah's punishment.'(Ahmad, Ibn Abee Dunya).
The virtuous Muslims forbade revolting and fighting during times of tribulation, as 'Abdullaah ibn 'Umar, Sa'eed ibn Musayyib, Alee ibn Husayn and others forbade the people in the year of al-Harrah against revolting against Yazeed; as Hasan al-Basree, Mujaahid and others forbade revolt during the corruption of ibn Ash'ath.
Therefore, it became an established principle with Ahl us- Sunnah to abandon fighting during times of corruption due to the verified authentic narrations from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wassallam). Ahl us- Sunnah began to mention this in their books of 'aqeedah, they exhort (people) to have patience with the oppression of the leaders and to avoid fighting against them, though some people of knowledge and religion fought during those early tribulations.
The issue of fighting the people of transgression while commanding good and forbidding evil is an issue not similar to fighting during times of corruption, but this is not the place for its expatiation.
Whoever ponders on the verified authentic narrations from the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wassallam) regarding this issue and also ponders on the contemplations of the people of insight will know that the Prophetic texts come with the best view. For this reason, when Husayn wanted to go to the people of al-'Iraaq after they had written several letters to him, the notables from the people of knowledge and religion such as Ibn 'Umar, Ibn 'Abbaas and Abee Bakr ibn 'AbdirRahmaan ibn aI- Haarith ibn al-Hishaam advised him not to go as they believed he would be killed. To the extent that some of them said, "May you place your trust in Allaah from being killed" and some of them said "Had it not been for shafa'ah I will certainly prevent you from revolting". They were actually giving him sincere advice, and were seeking what was beneficial and better for him and for the Muslims in general.
Allaah and His Messenger command what is of benefit and not harm, but views can be right at times and wrong at other times.
It would emerge' that the affair was as they (those who advised him against revolt) had said and there was no religious or worldly benefits in his (Husayn's) rebellion. Rather those oppressors and transgressors were established on earth and Husayn was killed irrationally; martyred.
Between the time of his rebellion and death was great calamity which would not have occurred had he remained in his land. He only intended to establish good and repel evil, but he did not achieve anything. Rather, evil increased due to his revolt and death plus the good was diminished by these (his revolt, death and what occurred as a result of the action) and they became precursors for great evil; the killing of Husayn caused tribulation just as the killing of 'Uthmaan caused tribulation. So, these make it clear that what the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wassallam) instructed regarding patience with the oppression of leaders and avoiding fighting them or revolting against them is the most valuable with respect to the affair of the' servants in the world and the Hereafter. As for those who opposed this intentionally or erroneously, nothing of rectification was realized through their actions but calamity.
And for this reason, the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasaliam) praised Al-Hasan by saying: "Verily, this son of mine is a leader (Sayyid); Allaah will bring about reconciliation between two great factions of the Muslims through him", but he did not praise anyone on account of fighting during tribulations, revolting against the rulers, withholding his hand from obedience (to the ruler), nor separating from the Jamaa'ah (of the Muslims).
And the narrations of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) firmly recorded in the Saheeh, all of them indicate this. For instance, what is in Saheeh Bukharee from the narration of Al-Hasan Al-Basaree that Abu Bakrah said: 'I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) while on the minbar and Hasan was by his side, looking at people at times and to him at times say: "Verily, this son of mine is a leader (sayyid) and Allaah will bring about reconciliation between two great factions of the Muslims through him", and this explains that the reconciliation between the two parties was loved and praised by Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), and that what was done by Al-Hasan in bringing this about was from his greatest merits and virtues, which made the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) praise him for that.
And if fighting had been obligatory or recommended, the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) would not have praised anyone for abandoning that which is obligatory or meritoriuos. For this reason, the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) did not praise anyone on account of what happened of fighting on the event of Al-Jamal and Siffeen, let alone what occurred in Madinah on the Day of Harrah, and what occurred in Makkah during the siege of Ibn az-Zubayr, and what ensued during the corruption of Ibn al-Ash'ath, Ibn al-Muhalab and other calamities. Rather, it has been narrated from him (i.e. the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)) in a mutawatir form that he commanded fighting against the Khawaarij, the rebels, whom Ameerul Mumineen, Alee bin Abee Taalib (radiallaahu anhu), fought at Nahrawaan, after they had revolted against him at Harooraa because narrations from the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasaliam) were generally known concerning fighting .them (the Khawaarij) When Alee (radiyallaahu anhu) fought them, he, rejoiced at that, and he also related narrations concerning them, and the Companions also agreed with him on fighting them.
Similarly the people of knowledge after them agreed to this; this fighting (against the Khawaarij) is not like the fighting of the people of the Camel and Siffeen and others from those matters as no text or Ijmaa' has been narrated, nor any praise of the noble ones who got involved in them. Rather, they were remorseful and retracted from such.
And this narration (i.e. concerning Al-Hasan) is from the signs of Prophet-hood of our Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam), when he mentioned about Al-Hasan what he mentioned, and praised him for what he praised him for because what he mentioned actually occurred more than 30 years later.
And this very thing is the actual wisdom that the legislator (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) desired to bring about and encouraged by prohibiting revolting against the rulers, and he taught abandoning fighting in times of corruption - though those who fell into this believed their intent was to enjoin good and repel evil.
And when it is not possible to remove an evil except with what is worse, removing it becomes evil and when good cannot be achieved except that the resulting evil will be greater than the supposed good, striving for that good in this form becomes detested.
So, it is actually from this angle, (i.e. intending to enjoin good and repel evil) that the Khawaarij made lawful the (use of the) sword against the people of the Qiblah, until they killed Alee and other Muslims. Similarly, those who agreed with them in revolting against the rulers with the sword, in general terms - such as the Mu'tazilah, the Zaydiyyah, the Fuqahaa and others such as those who revolted alongside Muhammad bin Abdullaah bin Abdullaah bin Hasan bin Husayn, and his brother, Ibraaheem bin Abdullaah bin Hasan bin Husayn and others.
As for the religious individuals who fell into this (i.e. those who revolted), they err from two angles:
The first: That what they considered to be from the religion is not actually from the religion, such as the view of the Khawaarij and others from the people of desires. This is because they believe in an opinion that is a blunder and an innovation, then fought the people over it. Rather, they declare those who oppose them as disbelievers. Hence, they become errant in their opinion and in fighting those who oppose them, making takfeer of them and cursing them.
And this is the condition of the people of desires in general, such as the Jahmiyyah who called the people to the rejection of the realities of the Beautiful Names of Allaah, and His Lofty Attributes. They say: Verily, He does not have speech except the speech that He created in others (besides Himself), and that He will not be seen, and such things. They put the people to trial when some of the rulers inclined towards them (i.e. towards the Jahmiyyah), they would punish whoever would oppose their view, either with death, imprisonment, banishment or prevention of sustenance. The Jahmiyyah did this on more than one occasion, and Allaah supported His believing Servants against them.
The Raafidah are more evil than them whenever they gained authority since they were loyal to the Kuffaar and aided them, and showed enmity towards the Muslims who did not agree with their viewpoint. Similarly, those who are involved in other innovations, either the innovation of the Hulooliyyah (pantheism), the innovation of those who negate Allaah's Attributes, those who exaggerate in affirmation (of the Attributes), the innovation of the Qadariyyah, that of Irjaa and others; you find him (the innovator) having corrupt beliefs then he declares whoever opposes him a disbeliever or curses him. And the Khawaarij rebels are the Imaams of all of these (innovators) in making Takfeer of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah and in fighting them.
The second angle: The one who fights based upon his belief with respect to a view he calls to in opposition to the Sunnah and the Jamaa'ah, such as the People of the Camel, Siffeen, al-Harrah, al- Jamaajim and others. He thinks that the desired rectification and benefit will be attained by way of this fighting, but this fighting leads to nothing of such. Rather, the corruption and harm becomes greater, more than what it was initially. What the legislator (the Prophet) actually indicates and guides towards finally became clear to them at the end of the affair.
Amongst them is he who shareeah evidences did not reach or did not accept them and some who opine that the evidences are abrogated like Ibn Hazm. Also from their ilk are those who explained the evidences away like some mujtahideen did with respect to many textual evidences.
And from that which is necessary to be acknowledged is that the causes of these tribulations are actually mixed. For certain states and conditions come over the hearts that prevent them from knowing the truth and craving for it, and thus they resemble the state of jaahiliyyah since during the jaahiliyyah era, there was no knowledge of the truth or the desire for such truth.
Then lslaam came with beneficial knowledge and righteous actions, which encompass knowledge of the truth and craving for it. So it is agreed that some of the rulers commit oppression because of self-preference, and then the souls do not show patience over his (i.e. the ruler) oppression and it is not possible for them to repel this oppression except with what leads to greater corruption than it (i.e. the ruler's oppression.)
However, a person on account of his love for his right – intending to restore his due legal right, and to repel injustice done to him - may not consider the general corruption that would arise from his action [in trying to remove such oppression of the ruler].
For this reason, the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) said: "Verily, you will face hardship, so have patience until you meet me at the Hawd (the Pond)."
And it is similarly established in the Saheeh that he (sallallaahu alai hi wasallam) said: "Upon a Muslim is to hear and obey, in times of difficulty and in ease, in the disliked things (to which one disapproves of) and in the agreeable; and when self-preference is made against him."
Definitely, the Prophet (salallaahu alaihi wasallam) ordered the Muslims that they should be patient when they are oppressed, and that they should obey those who are in charge of their affairs, even if they (the rulers) give preference to themselves over them (the subjects), and that they should not contend for authority and many of those who revolted against those in authority revolted so that they may contend with them (for authority), alongside their misappropriation and domination over them so they did not show patience upon this and the one who fights remains thinking that he is only fighting him (the ruler) so that there is no more corruption and that the religion should be for Allaah only, and yet the greatest of that which actually motivated him was seeking his portion, either of leadership or wealth. Just as Allaah, the Exalted said: "If they are given part thereof (of alms), they are pleased, but if they are not given thereof, behold! They are enraged!" (Q9:58).
And in the Saheeh from the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) that he said: "There are three whom Allaah will not speak to, nor look at on the Day of Judgement, and nor will he purify them, and they will have a tormenting punishment... and a man who gives the pledge of allegiance to a leader (imaam) and he does not do so except for the sake of the world, if he is given from it, he is pleased, and if he is prevented from it, he is enraged."
So when doubt and desires arise from both sides, there is corruption. The legislator (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) commanded every man with what is beneficial to him and the Muslims - so he commanded the people in authority with justice and sincerity towards the ruled and he said: there is no shepherd Allaah has placed in charge of a flock and he dies while cheating his subjects except that Allaah will prevent him from smelling the fragrance of paradise.
And he commanded the subjects to be patient and admonish the rulers (the right way) as it is reported in the Saheeh: "The religion is sincere advice ..." And he ordered having patience upon their misappropriation (self-preference), and prohibited fighting them, and contending with them (for authority) irrespective of their oppression because the corruption and mischief which usually arise from fighting during revolt is greater than the corruption in the oppression of those in authority. Thus, the lighter of two evils is not to be removed by the greater of the two.
And whoever reflects upon the Qur'aan and the established Sunnah from Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) and considers it will find it to be in agreement with what he finds in his own soul and in the universe and this is established the Statement of Allaah:
"We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth." Q41:53.
Verily, Allaah shows His slaves signs in the universe and themselves until it becomes clear to them that the Qur'aan is the truth, His information is the truth and His commandment is evenhanded.
"And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All Hearing, The All Knower."Q6:115