The Messenger of Allaah (may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made it explicitly clear that it is forbidden to speak openly against the Muslim ruler, but rather to advise him in private, regardless of his tyranny:

“Whosoever wishes to advise the Ruler, let him not do so openly. Rather he should take him by his hand and take him into seclusion [and advise him]. So if he accepts that from him, then it is in his favour, and if he does not accept, then at least he fulfilled his duty.” [1]

To advise the oppressive ruler directly to his face is considered in Islaam to be from the best forms of Jihaad. It is reported that the Messenger of Allaah (may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The most superior form of Jihaad is to say a word of truth in the face of an oppressive ruler.” [2]

He (may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also stated in clear terms:

“The chief of the martyrs is Hamzah (the uncle of the Prophet) as well as a man who stands before an unjust ruler, commanding him with good and forbidding him from evil, for which the ruler kills him.” [3]

This reward is for the one who is in the presence of the ruler, not the one who screams for rebellion from pulpits thousands of miles away and from anonymous internet forums using hidden titles and invented names. That is certainly not Jihaad and nor rectification.

True Jihaad, in reality begins by combating (with textual proofs) the deviants who wish to corrupt the message of Islaam, such as the extremists.

Shaykh ʿAbdur-Rahmaan as-Saʿdee (died 1376H, may Allaah’s mercy be upon him), said:

“Jihaad is of two types. The Jihaad by which the correction and purity of the Muslims is intended and rectification of their beliefs, manners and all of the affairs pertaining to their lives, both the religious and the worldly affairs. And also [Jihaad] in cultivating them with knowledge and action. This type is the fundamental basis of Jihaad and its support. And it is from this first type that the second type finds its basis, and that is the Jihaad by which those who show transgression against Islaam and the Muslims, from amongst the disbelievers, hypocrites, heretical apostates and all of the enemies of the religion are repelled and held at bay.” [4]

And this is what the Salafee scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah have remained upon throughout the centuries. They consider that the Jihaad against the innovators is the basis or the foundation, and the Jihaad against the disbelievers branches off from that Jihaad.

If one is not able to advise the rulers due to ignorance or inability, then he does not openly rebuke the rulers, as Allaah’s Messenger (may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has forbidden that – upon him in this situation is to supplicate for the guidance of the Muslim rulers as agreed upon by the early scholars. [5]


[1] Authentically reported by Imaam Ahmad in al-Musnad, no. 15359, as-Sunnah, no. 1097 with al-Albaanee’s checking.

[2] Refer to Saheeh Jaamiʿ as-Sagheer of al-Albaanee, and it is authentic. It is reported by Aboo Sāʿeed al-Khudree, Aboo Umaamah and Taariq bin Shihaab.

[3] Reported by al-Haakim, verified to be authentic by al-Albaanee in as-Saheehah, no. 174.

[4] Wujoob ut-Taʿaawan bain al-Muslimeen (p.7-8).

[5] The Creed of Imaam al-Bukhaaree, p.40.