Translated & Annotated
Abu Khuzaimah Ansari
Is it from the Manhaj of the Salaf to criticise or rebuke the rulers from the Minbars? And what is the Manhaj of the Salaf in advising rulers?
The honourable Shaykh Abdul Aziz b. Abdullah b. Baz said,
It is not from the methodology of the Salaf to spread the sins of the ruler, mentioning them from the pulpits as this leads to turmoil and it prevents people from obeying them in righteousness. This leads to harmful matters and has no benefit. However, the way adhered by the Salaf was to advise the ruler, writing to them, or involving scholars who had connection with them, for them to change them in righteousness.
As for repelling evil without mentioning them by name, repelling and reprimanding, fornication, alcohol, riba without mentioning those who commit or engage in them, then this is obligatory and general textual evidence allude to this. It is sufficient to reprimand and warn against evil deeds without mentioning who did them, whether it is the ruler or other than him.
When the fitnah occurred during the time of Uthman RadhiAllahu Anhu some people said to Usamah b. Zayd RadhiAllahu Anhu,
“Have you not spoken to Uthman?” Usamah said, “You think I have not spoken to him unless you heard it? I have certainly spoken to him about the matter and it is between us without bringing it up. I do not like to be the first to bring it up. [tr. Musnad Ahmad no. 21784]
When the ignorant Khawarij opened the door to evil in the time of Uthman RadhiAllahu Anhu and they openly rebuked and criticised Uthman it was a great fitnah, killing and corruption, the effect of which has still not subsided in people today. To the extent that the fitnah encompassed in what occurred between Ali and Mu’awiyyah RadhiAllahu Anhuma. They killed Uthman and Ali RadhiAllahu Anhuma due to this reason [i.e., openly criticising and rebuking the rulers]. In fact, the same reason led to the killing of many Companions and others which was to openly rebuke and criticise rulers, to mention their sins openly. To the extent that many people had hatred for the rulers and killed them. Iyadh b. Ghanam al-Ash’ari RadhiAllahu Anhu transmits from Allah’s Messenger Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam who said,
Whoever intends to advise the ruler, he should not do this openly but rather take him by his hand and advise him privately. It is good if he accepts, and if not, you have fulfilled your duty. (Transmitted by Ahmad (3/403-404) and Ibn Abi Asim in Kitab as-Sunnah (2/521) [tr. Musnad Ahmad no.15333)
We ask Allah for well-being and safety for ourselves and our Muslim brothers from every evil, Indeed Allah listens and responds.
Wa Sallalahu wa-Sallam Ala Sayyiduna Muhammad Wa-Alihi Wa-Sahbihi
Majmu’a al-Fatawa (8/210-211)