In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
What is Secularism? Secularism is the belief that religion should not be involved with the ordinary social and political activities of a country.(1) Therefore, this definition establishes the idea that there should be separation between “State and Religion” or between “Siyaasah and Religion”.
Al-Allaamah Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was asked about those youth who use the word secularist against everyone who commits a mistake, so he replied, “If you say to a Muslim, ‘You are a secularist’, then this is the same meaning of the statement, ‘You are an unbeliever’ because secularism is clear disbelief. Its meaning is the advocacy to abandon all religions, whether Islam, Christianity or Judaism [i.e. separation of state authorities and institutions from religious authorities and institutions]. Secularism has two orientations-its political system is democracy and its economic system is socialism. Secularism is tantamount to disbelief (in Allaah and His Messenger), therefore, one should not be easy going with regards to applying the term to a Muslim who has committed a mistake. It is a grave error (to do so)”. (2)
What is Siyaasah? It means to regulate the affairs of the citizens. It has jurisdiction over the individual’s behaviour and the society as a whole. It involves Islamic jurisprudence by way of which the rulers are facilitated with knowledge and understanding of the rulings related to looking after the affairs of the state, its set-ups and Sharee’ah principles. (3)
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] 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. (4)
Therefore, one realizes the danger when a Muslim is called a secularist. An utterer of this statement about himself either does not know what Islam is or he is damn fool, or he an evil Takfeeri who rushes to excommunicate ignorant Muslims who parrot this term due to desires. Removing a Muslim from the fold of Islam is the responsibility of the upright Salafi scholars and it has its principles. Read Nine Rules Regarding Kufr (Disbelief) and Takfeer (Declaring that a Muslim has exited the fold of Islam): http://www.sahihalbukhari.com/sps/downloads/pdf/MNJ090006.pdf
Our Responsibilities Whilst Living in a Society That Rules By Secular Laws
Shaikh Abdul Waahid Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him] said: Although Muslims in Britain are subject to British law and the British legal system, Sharī’ah tribunals are allowed in certain areas as an alternative way of resolving disputes. These are aimed at resolving commercial, civil and matrimonial disputes to the satisfaction of both sides. Sharī’ah Law is based upon the Qur’ān and Sunnah, and judgements are made in accordance to these two sources. Only those well-versed with the Religion and jurisprudence (rulings in law) are permitted to judge in Sharī’ah matters. Read more here: https://www.abukhadeejah.com/educate-yourself-ethics-1-2-shariah-redstone-academy/
Take note of Shaikh Abu Khadeejah’s statement, “Muslims in Britain are subject to British law and the British legal system”, therefore one must be well aware of this fact and distance himself from the Takfeeris and those who take the law into their own hands. One must pay close attention to the fact – out of fear of Allaah and the last Day – that it is obligated on us to behave well towards our non-Muslim fellow citizens and fulfil our covenants.
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated: Likewise I invite you to have respect for those people who have the right that they should be respected, from those between you and whom there is an agreement (of protection) [i.e. Non-Muslims]. For the land which you are living is such that there is an agreement between you and them. If this were not the case they would have killed you or expelled you. So preserve this agreement, and do not prove treacherous to it, since treachery is a sign of the hypocrites, and it is not from the way of the Believers.
And know that it is authentically reported from the Prophet that he said : “Whoever kills one who is under an agreement of protection will not smell the fragrance of Paradise.”
Do not be fooled by those sayings of the foolish people: those who say: ‘Those people are Non-Muslims, so their wealth is lawful for us [i.e. to misappropriate or take by way of murder and killing].’ For by Allaah – this is a lie. A lie about Allaah’s Religion, and a lie in Islamic societies.
O my brothers. O youth. O Muslims. Be truthful in your buying and selling, and renting, and leasing, and in all mutual transactions. Because truthfulness is from the characteristics of the Believers, and Allaah – the Most High – has commanded truthfulness – in the saying of Allaah – the Most High – “O you who believe – fear and keep you duty to Allaah and be with the truthful.”
And the Prophet encouraged truthfulness and said : “Adhere to truthfulness, because truthfulness leads to goodness, and goodness leads to Paradise; and a person will continue to be truthful, and strive to be truthful until he will be written down with Allaah as a truthful person“.
And he warned against falsehood, and said : “Beware of falsehood, because falsehood leads to wickedness, and wickedness leads to the Fire. And a person will continue lying, and striving to lie until he is written down with Allaah as a great liar.”
O my brother Muslims. O youth. Be true in your sayings with your brothers, and with those Non-Muslims whom you live along with – so that you will be inviters to the Religion of Islaam, by your actions and in reality. So how many people there are who first entered into Islaam because of the behaviour and manners of the Muslims, and their truthfulness, and their being true in their dealings. (5)
Must read articles by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him]:
Living With Non-Muslims In The West: With Fine Conduct
Alliance with the non-Muslims is of two types – misunderstanding this affair leads people astray
Treaties With The Non-Muslims: Is it Allegiance? Is it Apostasy?
The Prophet of Islam would not kill diplomats, ambassadors, emissaries or foreign delegations even if they were sent by the worst of his enemies
The Tyranny Of The Rulers, A Reason For Rebellion?
Believer’s Bahaviour Towards Muslim Rulers
[Ref 1: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/secularism%5D
[Ref 2: Asbaab Al-Ijaabah: Cassette 2]
[Ref3: See At-taleeq Alaa As-Siyaasah Ash-Shar’iyyah. Slightly paraphrased. Page 5 by Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah)]
[Ref 4: https://binothaimeen.net/content/7366. Paraphrased]
[Ref 5: salafipublications.com]