In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Indeed, many are the writers who speculate about Islaam and the Muslims! Some of them speculate due to ignorance, some desperately seek to propagate misconceptions in order to hide truth and others seek to wage an ideological war against Islaam. Allaah [The Most High] said: [يُرِيدُونَ أَنْ يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ – They want to extinguish Allaah’s Light with their mouths (i.e. the Qur’an, the pure Islamic monotheism and the guidance Allaah sent Muhammad with) but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the disbelievers hate (it). [Soorah At-Tawbah: Ayah: 32]
Imaam Ibn Katheer [rahimahullaah] said: They want to extinguish that which Allaah sent His Messenger with of guidance and the religion of truth, merely by way of their arguments and fabrications; so their example in this is that of one who wants to extinguish the light of the sun or the moon by way of blowing at [them] and this [person] can never achieve this. [Ref 1]
When well-informed Muslims – those who are either teachers of the infallible Islamic Aqeedah or those acquainted with the clarifications of the teachers of this infallible Aqeedah – hear the likes of these statements uttered by Mr Hof that “Legitimacy, Consent, and the Search for a Successor – A century after the end of the Ottoman Empire, no successor to Istanbul’s sultan-caliph has emerged”, they easily realize the misconception and weak understanding of the claimant in this subject matter. see here: https://salaficentre.com/2021/02/02/part-1-brief-rebuttal-against-the-al-jahlul-murakkab-manifested-in-a-statement-of-frederic-c-hof-regarding-rulership-in-islaam/
As for Hof’s statement regarding a leader amongst the Baathists who “brought real science to strategic corruption, masquerading despotic family and minority sect rule as the modern, secular alternative to Islamist sectarianism”, then indeed the Muslim’s relationship with the rulers is clearly stated in the authentic Sunnah. Whether the ruler is pious or wicked, we are commanded to obey him that which is not tantamount to disobedience to Allaah. Neither are Muslims to follow the path of the secularists nor the proponents of religious innovations when dealing with rulers. Shaikh Abdul Waahid Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] stated: “The goal of the Jihādist sects is one and the same: rebellion against those in authority and a desire to rule over the Muslim lands. They may alter their names and titles but their ideology remains the same. Islām itself, despite what these sects assert, forbids open censure and rebellion against even the most wicked and tyrannical of Muslim rulers. The Prophet of Allāh (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam), upon whose statements and actions we establish our religion, stated in an authentic tradition: “There will appear after me rulers, they will not guide by my guidance, and they will not establish my Sunnah; there will be amongst them men whose hearts will be hearts of devils in the bodies of men!” He was asked: “How should I behave, O Messenger of Allāh, if I reach that time?” He replied: “Hear and obey the Amīr (i.e. the ruler), even if he beats your back and [illegally] takes your wealth – hear and obey!” There are five traits in this statement in the presence of which it is still obligatory to hear and obey the rulers in that which constitutes good: their lack of implementing the Prophetic guidance, their lack of implementing the Prophetic Sunnah, their having the hearts of devils, their beating their subjects and illegally taking their wealth. A bitter pill to swallow for those not truly nurtured upon the Qurān and the authentic Prophetic Methodology. Also listen to lecture here by Shaikh Abu Iyaadh [hafidhahullaah]: https://soundcloud.com/salafi-publications/principles-from-the-sunnah-regarding-dealing-with-the-muslim-rulers
The Islamic View On Secularism
What is Secularism? ”It is the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions. The belief that religion should not be involved with the ordinary social and political activities of a country”.
Imaam Ash’Shaatibee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Know that Allaah has established this sharee’ah as a proof against the creation [i.e. mankind and jinn] – the old and young alike; the obedient and the disobedient; the righteous and the wicked. He did not specify the proof against anyone in exclusion of another one. Also all the other revealed laws were established as proof against all the other nations to whom they were revealed. The Sharee’ah is the judge- restrictedly and unrestrictedly; the [source of judgement] and the judge on all those who have reached the age of responsibility. It is the path attached to [what Allaah has ordained] and the Greatest Guide. And have you not seen the statement of Allaah [The Most High]?!
وَكَذَٲلِكَ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ رُوحً۬ا مِّنۡ أَمۡرِنَاۚ مَا كُنتَ تَدۡرِى مَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ وَلَا ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنُ وَلَـٰكِن جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ نُورً۬ا نَّہۡدِى بِهِۦ مَن نَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَاۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَہۡدِىٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬
And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad) Ruhan (an Inspiration, and a Mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Qur’an) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism).’’ [Soorah Ash-Shooraa. Ayah: 52]
He [alayhis salaatu wassalaam] was the first to be guided to the Book and Eemaan, and then those who followed him. The Book is the Guide and also the Sunnah which was sent down upon him explains that guidance [i.e. the Sunnah and the Qur’aan explain each other]. All the creation [i.e. mankind and Jinn] are guided by it.
Therefore, when this is the case, the Sharee’ah is worthy of being a decisive proof against them [i.e. against mankind and Jinn] and a beacon by way of which they are guided to the truth. Their nobility is established in accordance with how far they embrace its rulings- through acting upon them in speech, belief and deeds– and not merely due to the level of their intellects or their nobility amongst their people. That is because Allaah [The Most High] has determined nobility through Taqwa and no other than it. Allaah [The Most High] said: [إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡۚ- Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa] [49:13]
The one who is the firmest [in his or her] adherence to the Sharee’ah is more worthy of honour and nobility, but it is not possible for the one below this [i.e. the one whose adherence to the Sharee’ah is below that of the one who is firmest in adhering to it] to reach the highest level of honour based on his adherence to the Sharee’ah. Therefore, honour is [measured] in accordance with one’s [level of adherence] to the Sharee’ah”. [Ref 1]
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] said: What is intended by ‘Separation between religion and Siyaasah’ is that the ruler can do what he wants based on what he thinks is a means of fulfilling (responsibilities related to) affairs of the state, whether it agrees with Sharee’ah or not; or even if what he does is based on the judgement of the religion, because the meaning of separation is to distinguish between two things and give them specific definitions. Therefore, in relation to this, the ruler looks at what he considers to be beneficial even if it opposes the Sharee’ah. There is no doubt that this is a false and sinful statement, because the religion itself is Siyaasah and Siyaasah itself is the religion, but what we mean by Siyaasah is the Siyaasah that is based on equity and not oppression. The religion of Islaam came to bring about wellbeing [and upright conduct] for the people in their behaviour towards their Lord and between themselves. It establishes the Rights of Allaah, rights for the people- rights for parents, relatives, wives and the Muslims – in general. And even for non-Muslims, Islam has given them rights that are well-known to the scholars. It laid down the means and conditions for war and peace making, punishments for crimes – some of which are determined by way of specific texts and some are left to the jurisdiction of the ruler, as well as other affairs which clearly shows that Islaam in its entirety is Siyaasah. The root of this word Siyaasah is Saa’is and that is the person who is responsible for looking after the affairs of animals – fulfilling that which brings them wellbeing and repelling that which will harm them. This is Siyaasah. We find this meaning when we contemplate on affairs of the religion, and that Allaah has legislated – for the servants – things without which humans will not be able to establish [a fruitful, stable, orderly, safe] life, and forbade them from things that will corrupt their state of affairs – either affecting everyone or specific individuals. Therefore, in reality the entire religion is Siyaasah. And we are certain that anyone who separates Siyaasah from the Religion and establishes Siyaasah based on what he sees fit and what he forbids, then indeed his Siyaasah is corrupt, and it will cause more harm than good. If it rectifies one affair based on his limited [or deficient] opinions, then indeed it greatly corrupts from another angle. So, this makes it incumbent that one contemplates on the state of affairs of those who base their Siyaasah on their desires and opinions, and became distanced from the religion of Islaam, you will find -after contemplating – that either all that Siyaasah is corrupt or most of it, and that if it rectifies an affair from one angle, it corrupts from another angle. So, based on this, separation between Siyaasah and Religion is a sinful deed and it is obligated on the one who seeks to rectify himself and others that he does so only based on the religion of Islaam. [Ref 3]
Imaam Abdul-Azeez bin Baaz said: “And whoever ruled by other than what Allaah has revealed then he will not be in other than one of four situations: ” The one who says: ‘I rule by this because it is superior to the Sharee’ah of Islaam.’ Such a one is disbeliever in the sense of the major disbelief. The one who says: ‘I rule by this because it is like the Sharee’ah of Islaam, so ruling by it is permissible and ruling by the Sharee’ah is permissible’. Such a one is a disbeliever in the sense of the major disbelief. The one who says: ‘I rule by this and ruling by the Sharee’ah of Islaam is superior but ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed is permissible.’ Such a one is a disbeliever in the sense of major disbelief. The one who says: ‘I rule by this’ while he believes that ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed is not permissible and who says that ‘the Sharee’ah of Islaam is superior and it is not permissible to ruler by other than it’ but he is neglectful, or treats matters lightly, or does this action due to a reason which proceeds from his rulers, then he is a disbeliever in the sense of minor disbelief which does not eject from the religion – and it is considered one of the greatest of major sins.” [Al-Hukmu bi-Ghairi Maa Anzalallaahu wa Usool ut-Takfeer p. 71/72] [Ref 4]
An ‘Islamist’ – according to Westerners – is a person who believes strongly in Islam, especially one who believes that Islam should influence political systems, an advocate or supporter of Islamic militancy or fundamentalism, radical Islamists etc
Observation: Mr Hof is reminded of the fact that if the term ‘Islamist’ is a person who believes strongly in Islaam, especially one who believes that Islam should influence political systems’, then indeed this is praiseworthy in the sight of Allaah as one can clearly see in the statements of Imaam Ash-Shaatibee, Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh and Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon them] that a believer is only pleased with the Sharee’ah in all aspects of life. However, if what Mr Hof intends by the term ‘Islamist’ is ‘an advocate or supporter of militancy or radicalism,’ then indeed Militancy and Radicalism are Un-Islamic, because the only people known for such behaviour are the khawaarij – those whom the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi-wasallam] described as dogs of the hell fire and that they should be fought by the Muslim rulers. See here: http://www.kharijites.com/kj/ https://www.abukhadeejah.com/why-do-these-militant-khawarij-look-upon-the-rest-of-humankind-and-see-them-as-worthless-scum-who-can-be-killed-without-regard/
A for the term ‘Islamic Fundamentalism’, even though there is much dispute between the people regarding its meanings, however the meaning generally intended by those who use it is, ‘Strict observance of the teachings of the Qur’an and the Shari’a (Islamic Law)’. Therefore, if this is what Mr Hof intends by the term ‘Fundamentalism’, then indeed Allaah [The Exalted] said:
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيۡنَهُمۡ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُواْ فِىٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ حَرَجً۬ا مِّمَّا قَضَيۡتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسۡلِيمً۬ا
But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission. [Surah An-Nisaa. Aayah 65]
Narrated Abu Musa (radiyallaahu-anhu): The Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said, ‘’My example, and the example of what I have been sent with is that of a man who came to some people and said, O people! I have seen the enemy’s army with my own eyes and I am a plain warner; so protect yourselves!’ Then a group of his people obeyed him and fled at night proceeding stealthily till they were safe, while another group of them disbelieved him and stayed at their places till morning when the army came upon them and killed and ruined them completely. So this is the example of that person who obeys me and follows that truth which I have brought (the Qur’aan and the Sunnah), and the example of the one who disobeys me and disbelieves the Truth I have brought. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Vol 9. Number: 7283]
Therefore, if this is what is intended by the term fundamentalism, then indeed it is a praiseworthy deed in the sight of Allaah [The Exalted], but if he means those who advocate violence, then indeed this is the bhaviour of the khaarijites innovators – ISIS, Al-Qa’idah, Jabhat An-Nusra and their ilk amongst the terrorsists.
As for the term ‘sectarianism’, it means ‘very strong support for the religious or political group that you are a member of, which can cause problems between different groups’.
Observation: This definition also requires clarification and distinction, because truth must be supported and falsehood rejected. The basis of perfect truth in all aspects of life is the Qur’aan, the authentic Sunnah and the understanding of the Sahaabah. Whoever opposes one of these three sources and establishes a group or party on that basis, then indeed he is guilty of sectarianism and his deed is un-Islamic. The Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said: “My Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects, all of them will be in the Fire except for one, and that is the Jamāʿah.” It was said, “And who are they, O Allāh’s Messenger?” He responded, “That which I and my Companions are upon today.” https://www.abukhadeejah.com/salafis-callers-to-unity-forbid-splitting-ahlul-bidah-hizbies-astray-hyde-park-social-media/
Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ وَلَا تَنَـٰزَعُواْ فَتَفۡشَلُواْ وَتَذۡهَبَ رِيحُكُمۡۖ وَٱصۡبِرُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute [with one another] lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Saabireen [the patient ones, etc.]. [Surah Al-Anfaal Ayah 46]
[وَأَطِيعُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ – And obey Allah and His Messenger]: Meaning: obey Allaah and the Messenger in that which you have been commanded, [and keep away from everything forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger], and adhere to this path in all circumstances. [وَلَا تَنَـٰزَعُواْ – and do not dispute (with one another)]: Meaning: Do not dispute because it will cause your hearts to become disunited [Ref A] [فَتَفۡشَلُواْ – lest you lose courage]; [وَتَذۡهَبَ رِيحُكُمۡۖ – and your strength depart]: Meaning: [If you do not obey Allaah and His Messenger, and you start disputing], your resolve will depart. You will lose your strength and the promise you have been given that you will be aided -due to obedience to Allaah and His Messenger- will be withdrawn.
[وَٱصۡبِرُوٓاْۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ – and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Saabireen (the patient ones, etc.)]: Meaning: Exercise patience in obedience to Allaah [and obedience to His Messenger], for indeed Allaah will aid you and give you victory. Fear your Lord and humble yourselves to Him. [Source: (Tayseer al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan). Abridged & slightly paraphrased]
Who causes disunity and disputes in the Ummah?
Al-Allaamah Zaid Bin Haadi Al-Madkhali [may Allaah preserve him) said: ‘’The Mubtadi [the innovator] is the cause for the splitting (in the ummah); because splitting is connected to innovation and unity [upon the sound creed and methodology of the Salaf] is connected to the Sunnah. The obligation of refuting the Mukhaalif [the opposer of the truth] is not lifted from the scholar due to anticipation of harm, unless it is harm he is not able to bear. Then [in this case], Allah does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear. The earth is not devoid of people of knowledge who will carry out refutation against the Mubtadi and the Mukhaalif.” [Source: Al Ajwibah Al Mukhtasar Alaa As-ila Al-Ashrati(Page43-44)]
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said: The cause of the differences that take place between the callers is the differing in methodologies. And had the callers (may Allaah guide them and grant them success) traversed a singular methodology; and that is the methodology of the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]– that which the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-sallam) and his companions were upon, then these differences would not have occurred. Therefore, it is obligatory upon all the callers to make their methodology one–upon the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam); and that their call is (carried out) for the sake of Allaah and to make the word of Allaah uppermost. Their call should not be for the sake of desires, raising individuals or parties; rather their call should be sincerely for Allaah’s Face, to make Allaah’s word uppermost, to follow the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and to aid his Religion. (So) by way of this the differences will cease.[Source:Al-Ijaabaatul Muhimmah Fil Mashaakil Al-Mulimmah (page:221-222)] Also read article in this link: The Splitting and Differing in the Ummah is Due to the Innovations and Innovators:
This is the distinction to be made when one speaks about Islamism and sectarianism. If these terms were given their correct meaning and applied truthfully, then the affair would not have required clarification and distinction. However, we live in era in which ideologues, many journalists and writers utilise these terms to confound truth with falsehood, therefore detail and clarification is needed. Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: “The basis of Banee Aadam’s misguidance is as a result of ‘General Terms’ and ‘Ambiguous Meanings’ [i.e. terms & meanings which can either be utilised for truth or falsehood when not explained in detail and distinguished], especially if they come in contact with a confused mind, then how about when [evil] desires and misguided enthusiasm is added to that? Therefore, ask the One Who keeps the hearts steadfast [i.e. Allaah] to keep your heart firm upon His Religion and not allow you to fall into this darkness”. [Ref 5]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] also said: “It is obligated on you to give detail and make a distinction, because unrestricted and general [statements] without clarification has indeed corrupted this existence [i.e. the world], and misguided the intellects and views [of the people] in every era”. Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [hafidhahullaah] said: “There has to be detail explanation. The one who is not proficient in giving detail should keep quiet, because benefit is not acquired from his speech. And every time error occurs, its cause is due to an absence of detail explanation regarding truth and falsehood. There has to be detail explanation and distinction and not to mix up [affairs]. Indeed, it may be that there is something of truth and falsehood in an opponent’s statement, so all of it is neither deemed to be false nor truth; rather there has to be a distinction between its truth and falsehood. All of it is neither rejected nor accepted; rather a distinction is made regarding the truth and what is correct and the falsehood and error in it. And if you are not proficient in giving detail, then you should not enter into this field”. [Ref 6]
Finally, Behaviour of The Muslim Whilst Living In Secular Society
[Ref 1: Al-Itisaam 3/434 slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: https://binothaimeen.net/content/7366. Paraphrased]
[Ref 4: Salafipublications.com]
[Ref 5:An Excerpt from ‘As-Sawaa’iq Al-Mursalah Alal Jahmiyyah Wal Mu’attilah’ – Vol 3. page 927. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 6: Source: An Excerpt from At-Ta-leeqaat Al-Mukhtasar Alaa Al-Qaseedah an-Nooniyyah: Vol: 1 page: 216. By Shaikh Saaleh Al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah). Slightly paraphrased]