Al-Nawawi on obedience to Muslim authorities

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Al-Nawawi writes in his book Riyad al-Salihin:

باب وجوب طاعة ولاة الأمر في غير معصية وتحريم طاعتهم في المعصية

Chapter on the obligation to about those in authority if it is not disobedience to Allah, and the prohibition of obeying them in disobedience to Allah.

Source: Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn 1/214

Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

O you who have faith, obey Allah, obey the Messenger, and those in authority over you.

Surat al-Nisa’ 4:59

Ibn Umar reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

عَلَى الْمَرْءِ الْمُسْلِمِ السَّمْعُ وَالطَّاعَةُ فِيمَا أَحَبَّ وَكَرِهَ إِلاَّ أَنْ يُؤْمَرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَإِنْ أُمِرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَلاَ سَمْعَ وَلاَ طَاعَةَ

It is a duty upon a Muslim man to listen and obey authorities, whether he likes it or not, unless they command sinful disobedience. If they command sinful disobedience, then there is no listening or obedience to them.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1839, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Ibn Umar reported: When we pledged allegiance to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, on condition of listening and obeying, he said to us:

فِيمَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ

As much as you are able.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 7202, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ خَرَجَ مِنَ الطَّاعَةِ وَفَارَقَ الْجَمَاعَةَ فَمَاتَ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً وَمَنْ قَاتَلَ تَحْتَ رَايَةٍ عُمِّيَّةٍ يَغْضَبُ لِعَصَبَةٍ أَوْ يَدْعُو إِلَى عَصَبَةٍ أَوْ يَنْصُرُ عَصَبَةً فَقُتِلَ فَقِتْلَةٌ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ وَمَنْ خَرَجَ عَلَى أُمَّتِي يَضْرِبُ بَرَّهَا وَفَاجِرَهَا وَلاَ يَتَحَاشَ مِنْ مُؤْمِنِهَا وَلاَ يَفِي لِذِي عَهْدٍ عَهْدَهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَلَسْتُ مِنْهُ

Whoever rejects lawful obedience to the leader and divides the community and dies in this state will have died upon ignorance. Whoever fights under the banner of one who is blind, raging for the sake of tribalism, or calling to tribalism, or supporting tribalism, and is killed in this state will have died upon ignorance. Whoever rebels against my nation, striking the righteous and wicked alike and sparing not even the believers and does not fulfill the pledge of security, then he has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1848, Grade: Sahih

Umm al-Husayn reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, delivered a sermon during the farewell pilgrimage, saying:

وَلَوْ اسْتُعْمِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَبْدٌ حَبَشيٌّ يَقُودُكُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَاسْمَعُوا لَهُ وَأَطِيعُوا

Even if an Abyssinian slave were appointed in charge over you and he leads you with the Book of Allah, you must listen and obey.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1838, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

عَلَيْكَ السَّمْعَ وَالطَّاعَةَ فِي عُسْرِكَ وَيُسْرِكَ وَمَنْشَطِكَ وَمَكْرَهِكَ وَأَثَرَةٍ عَلَيْكَ

You must listen and obey authorities in hardship and ease, what you are eager for and what you dislike, even if they give undue preference over you.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1836, Grade: Sahih

Wa’il al-Hadrami reported: Salamah ibn Yazid asked the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “O Prophet of Allah, what do you think if rulers are charged over us who demand their rights and prevent us from our rights? What do you command us to do?” The Prophet turned away from him, then he asked a second or third time, so Al-‘Ash’ath ibn Qays pulled him to the side. The Prophet said:

اسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْهِمْ مَا حُمِّلُوا وَعَلَيْكُمْ مَا حُمِّلْتُمْ

Listen and obey, for their burdens are upon them and your burdens are upon you.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1846, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّهَا سَتَكُونُ بَعْدِي أَثَرَةٌ وَأُمُورٌ تُنْكِرُونَهَا

Verily, after me there will be undue favoritism and matters you will reject.

They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what do you order us to do if we reach that time?” The Prophet said:

تُؤَدُّونَ الْحَقَّ الَّذِي عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَسْأَلُونَ اللَّهَ الَّذِي لَكُمْ

Fulfill the duties placed over you and ask Allah for what belongs to you.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3603, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ أَطَاعَنِي فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَقَدْ عَصَى اللَّهَ وَمَنْ أَطَاعَ أَمِيرِي فَقَدْ أَطَاعَنِي وَمَنْ عَصَى أَمِيرِي فَقَدْ عَصَانِي

Whoever obeys me has obeyed Allah, and whoever disobeys me has disobeyed Allah. Whoever obeys my deputy has obeyed me, and whoever disobeys my deputy has disobeyed me.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 7137, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ رَأَى مِنْ أَمِيرِهِ شَيْئًا يَكْرَهُهُ فَلْيَصْبِرْ عَلَيْهِ فَإِنَّهُ مَنْ فَارَقَ الْجَمَاعَةَ شِبْرًا فَمَاتَ إِلاَّ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً

Whoever sees something from his ruler that he hates, let him be patient. Whoever secedes from the community by as much as a handspan and dies will have died a death of ignorance.

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 7054, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.